Breaking out of the Bubble

Growing up in a town that is just 7 miles long and attending a high school with just 200 people per class, I’d say weather I’d like to admit it or not, I grew up in a bubble. I knew that going to the grocery store down the street I would more times than not run into a neighbor or a friends mom or dad. I knew how to get an A in my health class because not only did my sister and I share the same health teacher, but we also shared him with our dad who had him when he was in high school. Everything was comfortable for me growing up in the sense that I felt like I would never encounter any curve balls so to speak. The key word there is comfortable. Looking back, I really could have done things to live not such a comfortable life. I could have put myself out there more and not had so much of an “invulnerability shield.”I don’t live my life today out of regret and that is because one, ten day trip changed my life.

13435581_10154092510165225_5435703617133116271_nWhere it all started: This past February, I saw that pre registration for Birthright was open for summer. I thought to myself, why not apply and I can always back out if I want to later on. For those who don’t know, Birthright is a “free” trip to Israel with the one simple requirement of “being jewish.” It might seem too good to be true, but thats simply it. Flights to and from Israel are paid for, along with living accommodations while you are there. I was apprehensive about this trip for a few reasons. I’ve always considered myself Jew(ish). Meaning that I would say something along the lines of “Half” or “Yes, but I don’t practice.” I was also apprehensive because that is something so uncharacteristic of me to do; to go to a foreign country, completely alone, not knowing what to expect or how it was going to be. I’m kind of a control freak, so having zero control over a situation is, let’s just say, hard for me.

Months went by and I found myself pursuing the registration, paying the deposit, and eventually packing for the trip. I had been so set on going on this trip until about an hour before I left for airport. I said to my mom, “You know, I could go on this trip, but I could also really not go and be totally fine.” I felt myself slipping back into the bubble and putting up my “invulnerability shield.” My mom simply replied, “You’re going babe, so strap in.”

13394050_10154092516550225_2232270299392657384_nThe turning point: As I walked into Los Angeles International Airport, I felt a strange feeling inside of me. I knew that my life was about to change. By myself, I walked up to the only group of people at the airport at 1:00am and reached out my hand and said, “Hi, my name is Jess.” And just like that, I put myself out there and positioned myself to have the greatest experience of my life because I was in that moment allowing myself to be vulnerable. That was just the beginning.

13312634_10154092516330225_3671569247691238031_nRelease: Throughout the trip, I really allowed myself to feel emotions that I never wanted to intentionally feel before. At first I had to tell myself to be open and to feel, but quickly after that, it all came so natural. As I was walking through the Holocaust museum, I felt angry. As I was hiking the Masada during sunrise, I felt at peace. As I explored Mount Herzl and heard stories of fallen soldiers, I felt distraught. I truly thank this experience for showing me the all the positive to vulnerability. I left that trip not only being so proud of my culture, but also for teaching me so much more about myself than I ever thought I could have learned.

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6 thoughts on “Breaking out of the Bubble

  1. Hi Jess,
    I think that is very brave of you to choose to go on that trip! Going out of the country, by yourself to an unknown place sounds scary to me but also great. You got to have a once in a life time experience and now you know that you can do it. You would never have been able to feel those raw, true emotions without being in Israel yourself. I am sure it is an amazing place to visit! Glad you had a good time!

    Carly

  2. Jessie,

    I applaud you for diving into your Birthright trip. It sounds like such an amazing and enlightening experience. I think it is great you were able to reconnect with your culture and in such a unique and holistic way. The fact that that avenue is still open to so many is pretty amazing. I sort of wish I had an opportunity similar to a Birthright trip. If I was eligible myself, I would absolutely make the journey.

    -Drew

  3. Jess,
    I am so impressed that you went on this trip! I can’t imagine how nerve-wracking it must have been going into a trip not knowing anyone. From the looks of the photos and what you had to say about it, it seems that it was an incredible experience! One that will stay with you forever. This makes me want to branch out and travel.

    -Nina

  4. Hi Jess!
    Your journey is so inspiring! It’s great that you took a chance and it turned out to be one of the best experiences of your entire life. I’m glad that you were able to learn so much about your culture and yourself. Being in tune with you emotions is extremely important in order to maintain peace within yourself. You seem extremely passionate about the knowledge and experience you gained from this trip. Glad you had such an incredible time!

    -Gina

  5. Hi Jess!
    This blog post was very insightful on your personal way of expanding your world. I have a friend who just went on his trip to Isreal and his experience was very similar to yours. Growing up in a small town can make you very comfortable and it is admirable that you were able to break free and see more of the world. Would you consider going back to Isreal ever? This post was very inspiring!

    -Kyle

  6. Jess,
    Although my high school and town were slightly bigger then yours, I understand the “bubble.” The larger size of my town was made up for by the never ending gossip and fast moving rumors. If something happened to a person one night, it would be public knowledge by morning. I am not Jewish, but am pretty familiar with the Birthright program. I am glad that you were able to have this experience to fully break from your “bubble.”
    -Nina

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