Israel. It’s a place I knew little about. In my head, I think I pictured it as a dusty, middle eastern country with a lot of rich history. I knew it was a place of pilgrimage and huge religious importance. However, a few days before I left the Philippines, I asked Nic if he thought it was cold in Israel. We also discussed what food they ate and if it was safe.
One week later and I’ve eaten a lifetime worth of hummus, seen some amazing natural locations I couldn’t have ever imagined and experienced some truly unique moments, places and people throughout my one-week adventure across Israel.
We had an incredibly talented photographer shooting the whole trip and the other four content creators snapped some awesome shots, so the quality of this edition of ‘The Weekly’, is prime!
Because there are so many awesome photos I thought I would publish a lot of them and add small captions or anecdotes with each photo for this week. It will give you an easy read and a good look at what Israel is all about.
Before I share the photos, I want to clarify that this was not a political or religious trip, it was purely to visit the sites, try the food and explore the nature/cities of the region. There is currently conflict in Israel and I am yet to explore the issue in enough depth to form an educated opinion.
I was lucky enough to be on the trip with three awesome bloggers called Mel, Becky and Alex and also Roberto the King, a photographer from Australia.
I’m currently at the airport about to board the first of four flights on my way to Darwin, Australia for two back-to-back campaigns in the outback with Dan Moore. We will be working with Kakadu Tourism and then NT Tourism.
Inside the Sepulcher, the holiest place in the world. Pilgrims come from all over the world to touch the stones and to be in the same spot that Jesus was put on the cross, laid to rest and many other important scenes. The sparkle in this old woman’s eye and her slight smile told me she has been waiting for this trip for quite some time.
Hookah or Shisha break from work for an elderly man on the streets of Jerusalem. I asked to take his portrait and he nodded and took a big puff.
Or capturing me capture the photo above. Most people around the world are happy to be photographed, even by a scary looking bearded guy like me! This old gentleman was no different.
Exploring the mazey alleys of Jerusalem.
There was no shortage of beautiful food throughout the trip. Hummus, salads, and pita were the staples.
Or capturing the small details as I wandered the streets of Jerusalem
More green than I could have imagined.
The crew with tour leader, Tamar.
The Dead Sea
Before we headed to the Dead Sea swimming spot we visited the abandoned hotels and water parks. The Dead Sea is receding, which has left a lot of businesses abandoned along the edge of the Dead Sea.
This water park was super strange. Totally deserted and slowly rotting away. I tried sliding down on a plastic bag… Unsuccessful!
I’d always heard about the Dead Sea and seen those photos of people floating reading the newspaper but you never know these days what is real and what is an exaggeration or even fake. I can never float so I thought maybe I will still sink. It was the moment of truth.
The Dead Sea is 30% salt and burns your eyes and your mouth so bad! That’s why I tried surfing Rob haha!
All jokes aside, You do float! In fact, it is hard to swim or even turn over once you are on your front! It’s so strange the water feels very thick and heavy.
Girls doing cute stuff in the Dead Sea while I hovered pretty low with the DJI Mavic drone. Iced coffee in one hand, a drone in the other and the Dead Sea.. not bad.
Repelling down the side of a cliff in Ramon Crater. This was actually one shot I’m quite proud of from this trip. It’s a spot where the angles didn’t really work at all unless you shot straight down on the repeller. I managed to find a spot along the cliffs to make the roof look like a cave, grabbed a sun star and shot the team from this position after repelling first myself! This activity was one of the many highlights in Makhtesh Ramon.
So barren! A viewpoint pitstop on the way out to our camping/glamping experience
Lunch was at a local Bedouin camp. The Bedouins used to be nomads but now live a somewhat nomadic existence in a fixed location. Shanty style tents and minimalism are the themes. However, they cook up a mean lunch and can brew a great coffee. We listened to stories from a Bedouin while we ate a beautiful lunch on the carpets in the tent.
Our accommodation for the night in Ramon Crater was glamping! It was fully catered, had a mattress, dining table and a fire that never went out! This was better than most hotels!
Sunrise from Mars, also known as the Ramon Crater!
Or capturing some portraits out in the desert.
We found an Oasis in the desert and I convinced our tour leader to let me jump into it!…. after checking the depth of course!
Sending it worldwide
A day of cliff jumping in the old town of Akko was one of the highlights of the trip. A local adventurer called Edden took us out there and it was just a big old boys trip and a ton of fun.
The Salty Tree
We had heard about this epic little salt formation out in the Dead Sea on the way back to Tel Aviv. We stopped off and thought we would check it out. I turned out to be phenomenal and one of the highlights of the trip. All of these shots are images I shot on my Dji Mavic Pro drone.
A night of incredibly weird cocktails was a fun one at Bellboy as we arrived back into Tel Aviv. The adventures were over but we got stuck in to some nightlife, cafes, restaurants and local markets.
We had a Shabbat dinner with a local family as part of an initiative that sets travelers up with local families. It isn’t to make any profit it is just to show foreigners what the local culture is like and the family is happy to share that. This was our new Israeli family.
On our final night, we spoke at a panel at a huge hostel in front of over 100 other travelers and guests. We shared our travel stories and spoke about how we got started in the industry.
This is our awesome crew minus tour leader Tamar. The guy in the white on my left is Or, the gun photographer from Israel who shot some of the epic stuff you will see in this blog post and my other Israel content.