Update from Israel #Bus82 #BUBirthright

Thank you to Bus 82 for sharing their experiences in Israel! For more updates from this trip follow their trip blog.

IMG_6019.JPGShalom from Israel! Kaitlyn Cyprian is reporting on Bus 82’s second day of the Birthright trip (it was my birthday afterall!). Day one was a lot of waiting, waiting and waiting – and sleep. But we’re on an Israel Outdoors trip, so outside we go!

We woke up after a refreshing 4 hours of sleep to catch the sunrise at Masada, and reached the top after an easy 10 minute walk. After the sunrise we learned about the history of Masada, its story, the evidence, and why Masada is important today. Since the time the history of Masada was discovered until now it’s been a complicated and divided subject. Did the people do the right thing by ending their own lives? What do we take away from their actions today? Although these questions are large and hard to answer in one short trip, we were able to shout out our quick thoughts against a canyon: stay strong.

After an hour long walk down to Masada, we enjoyed breakfast with lots of warm pita bread and headed to our next destination – the Dead Sea! According to our bus driver, it should be called the “Nearly Dead” Sea. Swimming, or rather floating in the Dead Sea was definitely a highlight for the day. There were chunks and mounds of salt in the water and on the shore, and it was harder to stand up straight than it was to just float on your back or stomach. Downside? The sheer amount of salt on your body makes you oily. Worth it? Definitely.

After cleaning up we headed to our final destination for the night – the Bedouin tents! Once we dropped off our things we all rode camels, who are arguably even harder to handle than a group of Birthright participants. The rest of the night was full of activities – songs and jokes by the fire, a delicious Bedouin dinner, and a crash course on Bedouin hospitality. The best – but craziest – part of the night ended up being when our group walked out to the desert to reflect on who we were, what we wanted, what our dreams were, etc. It was a thoughtful and very rewarding experience to sit under the stars by yourself and just think – until Sawyer went missing. After the search parties were deployed, it turned out he was just sleeping 15 feet away from the rest of the group.

Before bed, the night ended with smores, birthday celebrations and some guitar and ukulele jams. An incredibly long and successful day was over, but as a group we all bonded that much more, and there wasn’t much else to do to seize the day except go to sleep to enjoy Day Three that much more.