Back in February, when my fiance Mike found out he had to go to Israel for work, I literally said to him, “When are we leaving?!” Within a few days, and only one month out from his departure, we’d booked tickets for me to go meet him on the other side of the world to create the adventure of a lifetime.
While Mike was already traveling for his work, I flew into Tel Aviv to create a mini-adventure of my own before we hopped on a plane to Greece together. (More about that soon! You can pop onto Instagram and check out some of my photos from the trip in the meantime.) My agenda in Israel? To meet up with one of my best friends from NYC, who now lives in Tel Aviv, to eat, to shop, and live like a local. (Can you say Nutella for breakfast?! Yum!)
And ahead of this trip, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun to do a photoshoot while I am in Israel?” I love taking photographs myself, but truthfully, I love being the subject of them, too! (I blame my years of stage work, singing and musical theater! Yes, I’m a total ham. Surprised? ) So I connected with Shani Scarlett Kagan, a local photographer who is whimsical, creative and inspired, just like me!
The photo adventure started with me borrowing a bike from my hotel, The White Villa, in Tel Aviv and heading down Ben Zion street until I hit the Mediterranean sea. With my purse in the front basket, I turned left and hit the bike path down the coast line to Jaffa. (Hello, almost 4,000-year-old ancient port!) With the waves crashing high, the wind blowing in my hair, the sun on my back and my poncho flying behind me like a superhero cape, I truly felt invincible. I felt like my best self.
And regardless of a little sweat when I arrived in Jaffa, Shani and I jumped right into our adventure together–walking up the back alleyways and pathways of Jaffa to find unique corners, tunnels, colors, views, cats and so much more. We just played around, shooting at every cool corner and spot, and it was an absolutely blast! Shani was full of creative ideas and knew a bunch of great hidden locations. It was incredible to collaborate with her as we spontaneously spent our afternoon together.
And as we climbed steps, walked through colorful crowds and sipped coffee by the sea, I was constantly in awe of how amazing it was to be surrounded by, and to touch with my own fingertips, walls and structures that are about 4,000 years old. It really makes you think deeply about life, about history, about our place in the universe, about our place in time and, especially for me, connecting to my Judaism. In Israel, I felt connected to my deepest self. I felt strong, worthy, empowered, inspired and ready to take on anything life threw my way. It was a noticeable moment of feeling invincible. I created this. I manifested an idea, brought it to life with Shani’s help, and truly felt like I present in my body. And it was extraordinary.
This experience felt like a once in a lifetime kind of event. To throw caution to the wind, hop on a bike and do an inspired photoshoot while traveling the world. I am forever grateful to Shani for joining me on this adventure, and I am proud of myself for doing something a little outside of my comfort zone … especially on the other side of the planet.
So where does that leave me today? It makes me realize that taking charge of my destiny really is as simple as taking action, taking a chance and rolling with the punches. Traveling always brings out the best in me. And that should also cross over into my everyday life. (Easier said than done!)
But I’ll be exploring that concept on the blog soon. Being my best me, everyday a constant work in progress. But the major takeaway from this trip is that I am invincible, I am worthy, I am capable and I am the master of my own destiny. And it’s time to create that same feeling every single day of my life. From the ground level up.
How are you going to do this, too? Leave a comment and let me know.
P.S. For more about Shani, my amazing photographer, visit her website www.ShaniscarlettKagan.com. And stay tuned, as I will be releasing more photos on Instagram from our shoot and the trip in the days to come! Yes! There is SO. MUCH. MORE.