Trekking Across Israel as Staff for Israel Outdoors

Israel Outdoors and BRI logoOver the past two weeks, I had the opportunity to work as a staff guide for Israel Outdoors during the Israel By Bike cultural trek, part of Taglit Birthright Israel. Years ago, I actually participated as a guest in this exact same trip, and it was an exciting honor to now have the opportunity to lead it. Israel Outdoors calls this itinerary “Israel By Bike“, but it’s a lot more than just that. Overall, staffing this trip was an incredible experience. I had two co-leaders, and a group of about 40 participants 18-22 years old. The group was great, and I sincerely enjoyed meeting everybody, and the opportunity to contribute my enthusiasm and views on the region as we traveled through the entire country. 

During the trip, I took about 1400 photos, and edited down to a small set. View the full set on Flickr, as well as on my Instagram feed. I shot on my iPhone 5, and Sony RX-100ii cameras, allowing me to both post photos throughout the day, and shoot in raw for later editing. The full set is displayed here, and I’ll also be publishing a series of theme-specific posts in coming weeks.

Photos, Full Screen

Daily Itinerary

Day 1

  • Arrival at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport
  • Meet Israeli guide and group intros at Haas Promanade
  • Transfer to Jerusalem
  • Checkin to Hotel Accommodations -Jerusalem Gold Hotel

Day 2

  • Visit to Davidson Center, Jerusalem
  • Tour of Old City Jerusalem Jewish Quarter
  • Visit to Kotel, reflection at Western Wall
  • Explore Mahane Yehuda market and lunch
  • Afternoon relaxation on Ben Yehuda Street
  • Overnight at Jerusalem Gold Hotel

Day 3

  • Travel North
  • Scenic stop at Steia Maris Lookout and education about the Bahai Faith and Bahai Gardens
  • Visit to Arbel and Lunch
  • Checkin to hotel Savyonei Hagalil
  • Preparation for Shabbat and festive Shabbat Dinner

Day 4

  • Shabbat learning opportunities
  • Hike to lookout point
  • Havdallah Ceremony and cultural activity
  • Overnight at Savyonei Hagalil

Day 5

  • Hike up Mt. Meiron
  • Cultural tour of Tzfat, including dip in Mikve
  • Return to Hotel

Day 6

  • Visit to Banias and lunch
  • Rafting the Jordan River and relaxing on the water
  • Camping in desert near Masada

Day 7

  • Early morning wakeup in desert
  • Sunrise ascent of Mt. Masada
  • Breakfast at Masada Visitors Center
  • Floating in the Dead Sea
  • Camel Trekking with Bedouin
  • Sleeping at Negev Bedouin Camp and Campfire

Day 8

  • Biking at Nahal ZIn
  • Visit to Sde Boker
  • Shvil Hasalat
  • Dinner at Blue Bay Hotel

Day 9

  • Drive to Tel Aviv
  • Visit Rabin Square
  • Visit Independence Hall
  • Swim at Tel Aviv beach
  • Wrap up session and departure

A selection of photos taken during the trip – many were posted on Instagram during the trip.

Initial assembly of the group at JFK Airport – this was our initial meetup, and the first time my co-staffer Allie and I made group introductions.
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Let’s jet!
https://instagram.com/p/oMfw8puNzU/

We connected through Zurich, Switzerland
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Zurich Airport – great piece of architecture
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Ice Breakers at the Old City, Jerusalem
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Tour of the Old City’s Jewish Quarter
https://instagram.com/p/oQMZwPON7R/
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Visit to the Kotel
https://instagram.com/p/oQdGVzuN6z/
https://instagram.com/p/oQdQP7ON66/
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Meeting our Israeli Soldiers
https://instagram.com/p/oSrVWKuN_d/

Mt. Hertzel and Yad Vashem – very heavy
https://instagram.com/p/oTJ3pKON6E/
https://instagram.com/p/oTNccJON-K/
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Architecture of Yad Vashem
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Driving North
https://instagram.com/p/oVDIsmuNyG/

Bahai Gardens
https://instagram.com/p/oVRuNDuN8z/

Hiking Mr. Meron
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Shabbat
https://instagram.com/p/oY4v5kuN1_/

Hiking on Shabbat
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Exploring Tzfat
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https://instagram.com/p/oa92LfON9z/
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Candles in Tzfat
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More exploring
https://instagram.com/p/odBccTuN8l/
https://instagram.com/p/odnktTuN1n/
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The trip’s first bike trip
https://instagram.com/p/odn1NPuN2C/
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Sunrise hiking up Mt. Masda
https://instagram.com/p/oe3aj3uN0h/
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https://instagram.com/p/ofBVe3ONz2/
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Swimming in the Dead Sea
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Camel Riding and Desert Living with the Bedouin
https://instagram.com/p/ogPcXUuN6_/
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https://instagram.com/p/ogaOMYuN9g/
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https://instagram.com/p/oh4BatuNzt/
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Second Biking Trip
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Exploring the Market in Tel Aviv
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Final Sunset
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One response to “Trekking Across Israel as Staff for Israel Outdoors”

  1. […] great to work with – fantastic trips, fantastic staffers, and fantastic participants! Here’s my first time working with them. I worked as one of two field staff members, and managed day-to-day group logistics and planning as […]