After a 20-hour flight from California to Israel, with a stop along the way, I landed in Tel Aviv and checked in at the Rothschild Hotel - ready to start the adventure! I joined a group of fitness experts for a gathering in the lobby and met everyone I would be sharing this experience with. It's always exciting to greet new people, especially when they share a passion for fit living! I have to admit I was pretty nervous about this trip, not because of travelling to a new place, that was the thrilling part. It was more about meeting the other fitness experts and feeling like I fit in. I always get so worried about saying and doing the right thing! I have been on an influncers trip before and could not wait to get home! It was really clique-y and I felt like I was all on my own. This trip put on by Vibe Israel brought togther an amazing group and it really was the people who made the trip what it was. Unbelievable!
That night we got to know each other and all our camera equipment over dinner at Night Kitchen. We tried a bunch of traditional food including whole mini fried fish! I gave it a go, not something I will be ordering on a regular basis though! The food was great, lots of bread and hummus. I had a feeling this was going to be in most of the meals we had, and I was right!
The next morning we were given a presentation to learn about Isreal and the culture. Did you know that this country is roughly the size of Wales?! So that's pretty small, meaning you will often bump into someone you know! The majoirty of peope that live in Israel are Jewlish and the country has been around for just 69 years. There is a great emphasis on entrepreneurship and start-up companies in their culture and the best thing I heard was that 85% of their water is recyled, next in line is Spain with just 18%! So now it was time to explore some of this culture, with an action packed 7 days I knew I was going to get a taste for lot of new things!
For the first adventure, the group of us piled into a van and drove to Jerusalem for a guided tour by BatSheva Miller where we walked around the markets and visited a place where some religions believe Jesus was buried. Our tour guide was AMAZING! I LOVE to ask lots of questions (just ask Cory), so it was perfect for me to just ask away and get all the factual answers. Part of the tour was to see the Wailing Wall. This is said to be a very sacred place where many come to pray. It is also custom to write your prayers down on paper and put them into the cracks of the wall. I wrote a note that I actually shared on my Instagram if you want to go and check out something personal to me. When you go to the wall men are on one side and women are on another, as you walk away from the wall you do it still facing towards it, never turning your back on it. The amazing architecture all around us helped me to practice my photography skills and appreciate the little details in every place we visited.
That night it was back out for dinner for more food! It just kept on coming at teh Dalida which had a really cool, cosy vibe that I loved. The group were joined by two more fitness experts from Isreal, we all shared our stories on how we had to got to where we are which was really humbling. I was exhausted so as soon as we were back at the hotel, I jumped on my laptop to finish up some work where I found out Alphie had to go to the vets! Not something I wanted to hear while thousands of miles away. Can you belive it, he just needed his anal glands, yes you read correctly, his anal glands needed expressing! Embarassing! In fact it was worse because this procedure hadn't been done in a while so it was going to take more than just a routine appointment. I was up until 2am figuring out with Cory and Alphie's sitter what the best course of action was. After I mentioned that Alphie is a HUGE drama queen the next vet was able to get in and do what they needed to do. My heart dropped being so far away and not being able to help. I knew he was in great hands though back home and managed to get some sleep for yet another big day!
Sunday morning and we are up bright and early to get breakfast before our first activity of the day! I have to admit I was nervous about our next adventure, not half as nervous as what was coming up in just a couple of days though. A whole bunch of running was on the agenda! Luckily or unluckily two of the fitness girls who were on the trip were runners! I am def not trained to run, although I do have the mindset never to give up because I can have an ego not to give in sometimes! At first I felt like, oh crap there are runners and I am not. What if I am really slow and hold everyone up? Then I thought ah, what if they could actually teach me some things about running and I could learn some more skills?! This is how I made decisions during the trip and its running events. It also helped that these girls were soooooo down to earth and genuinely wanted to help with our technique and teach us about pacing. I guess I might have felt less comfortbale if they were stuck up running buddies who just wanted to run their own race! Thank god they weren't!
And just like that I am off running the streets of Tel Aviv with Run Active. They are a community in Isreal who work with companies and groups of people to get people out moving and running. Such a fun bunch with muisc and lots to chat about. I even met someone who lived in my home town in England for 2 years, such a small word! We ran through the marketplace which, I have to say, slowed the pace down a bit! Trying to dodge people doing their Sunday shopping was certainly part of the fun. We crusied down to the beach which was such an epic spot. Of course we had to have a bit of a photo shoot, so after getting our toes wet in the unbelievably warm water we jumped around for some photos in true fitness style! After working up quite the sweat and appetite, we were in need of food. Well you always hear me say post-recovery is the most important! In the local market you could get smoothies and although they didn't offer whey proetin (haha) I thought it was only fair to try one of the local juices!
That evening it was time to kick it up a notch with our fitness, a leisurely 5k run was certainly not enough for our day's schedule! We headed over to a... well lets put it like this, a very male-dominated boxing gym. When we walked in, I wasn't quite sure what we had signed up for. We were introduced to Ran Nakash who was going to be our Krav Maga instructor for the next hour. This was a self-defense session, the same techniques taught to the Israeli army. By the end of the hour I had some pretty neat skills of my own that I thoroughly enjoyed learning! Of course we had to finish the day with more food and more bread! There is a lot of bread with my new favorite dipping sauce: tahini. We were joined at this dinner by fitness entrepreneur Shai Elancry. It's always great to meet people in your industry and share stories & ideas!
As you can see, this trip has been pretty action packed so far, though the best is yet to come! On next week's blog read about how I felt the moment before I led the fit camp (it will suprise you) and how I handled one of my biggest fitness fears yet! I hope you enjoy reading about my experiences. Please leave a comment below!
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