The Local and Lufthansa have partnered to bring you three stories of life-changing travel. We asked members of our Facebook group for European travel fans to tell us about the trips that transformed them. Presenting three of their most inspirational travel tales.
Joyce Oladeinde’s Israeli Shabbat Dinner
One of the highlights of my trip to Israel a few years back – a memory that will stay with me forever – was when Dov, a kind Jewish local, invited me into his own home for a traditional Shabbat dinner with his family. Shabbat is a day of rest that begins on Friday at sunset and ends the following evening. At dinner, the tables were set with fine tableware, candles lit up the dining room, and Dov’s family interspersed the engaged conversations with traditional Hebrew songs. What affected me most about this experience of Shabbat, however, was all the thought that had gone into it – and how seriously Dov and his family took this day of rest. During the Shabbat, the use of electricity and electrical appliances was prohibited, and everyone in the family had their phones switched off. The dinner, too, had been prepared without any use of electricity. For me, this encounter became a wakeup call of sorts about the importance of rest in an age where electronic devices and social media easily consume time we could otherwise spend with our families. After meeting Dov, I often remind myself that it is okay to unplug to be more present with loved ones – or at least be available for the kindness of strangers.
Photo credits: Joyce Oladeinde (DIYwithJoy.com)
Katie Osthoff’s Volunteer Vacation in Honduras
Last year, I went to Honduras and spent time on the Island of Roatan, where I volunteered for Sol Roatan, a wonderful foundation working with community-based programs to promote the quality of education and life in less developed areas of the island. I was fortunate enough to be there when Santa Claus was visiting, bringing the crowd of ecstatic children gifts. I cooked and served hot dogs while other volunteers played hula hoop, did face paintings, and tried to orchestrate a line for the kids to meet Santa. The joy on their faces upon meeting and greeting us, playing with us, and sharing with us their interests and hobbies was something out of the ordinary for me. The hard work this organization does to give these children equal experiences and educational opportunities to those living in more privileged environments made a lasting impact on me. It also changed feelings about the future of this planet, and made me realize how important it is to foster child and adolescent development in order to secure a happy and healthy world for future generations. I was also moved by the beauty surrounding the school, the crystalline water and the dolphins playing on the horizon, and this made me think about the importance of appreciating the simple things in life, too. To this day, I keep up with Sol Roatan on social media and think about them often.
Mesmerized in Rome with Eloise Aurora Alisier
When I first came to Rome, I realized for the first time how being in a particular place can boost up your mood for days, and also breathe new life into your everyday perceptions. A native of coastal northern Italy, I grew up contemplating the vivid colors of the sky, and I used to walk by the sea almost every day, and must’ve known its every color and shade and hue. But during my first time in Rome, I found that there was a soulfulness to the place, an energy I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but that seemed to be everywhere I went. In some strange way, the sea was no longer just the sea during the duration of my stay, and the sky wasn’t just the sky, and the colors all around me were brighter and more intense, more luminous, more striking, and more deeply affecting than anything I had experienced before. I walked around the city for days, mostly by myself, kilometer after kilometer, hour after hour without getting tired one bit. By the end of the trip, it felt as though I had been walking for months, mesmerized by all that beauty.
Photo: Eloise Aurora Alisier
This content was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by Lufthansa.