photo diaries: Israel

I recently went through my phone deleting some photos, trying to clear up space.

It seems like I try to do this at least once a week, but each time it turns into a nostalgic activity of me looking through the photos and forgetting to delete them.

This exact pastime of mine was occurring when I came across the hundreds of photos from Israel.

As I flipped through each photo, memories of moments came flooding back as if I had hit the “play” button on a home movie series starring sunburnt, sleep-deprived, happy Carrie (running on iced coffee, dried figs, and hummus).

The laughter that made my stomach hurt, the moments of silence when we were all at a loss for words (these moments were rare. New discovery: my friends are LOUD and I love it), the taste of any food after hours in the sun, watching each sunset become even more bright and beautiful than the last, these memories wouldn’t STOP.

So I thought I’d share some of those memories from those moments I was able to capture.

If you can’t tell from these photos below, I fell in love with Israel.

Whenever I talked to anyone who had already been in the weeks leading up to the trip, I was told the same thing from everyone: “It changed my life”.

So of course, I went to Israel ready to have a life-changing experience.

But Israel didn’t mind-blowingly change my life.

It didn’t help me have a job lined up for when I graduate college, it didn’t boost my GPA to a 4.0. It didn’t give me money for a nose job, or endless happiness until the day I die (but definitely gave me happiness for those ten-straight days).

Israel didn’t transform my relationship with God so that it’s perfect. I’m not magically waking up at 6am every morning for the rest of my life for a peaceful time of devotions.

Standing up for my faith still hasn’t become as easy as breathing.

But Israel made me so thankful.

Thankful that I am able to travel to the land where Jesus walked, thankful that I live in a world so beautiful (see pictures below because WOW), thankful for the friends I am blessed with (again see below because WOW), thankful for knowing a living God who knows me, and SO much more (I may write a separate post just of the lessons I learned so stay turned).

Also, I am so thankful to be able to capture moments like these with pictures (also videos!! I posted a video from the trip on my Instagram @carriedurn, go WATCH it click HERE!!!).

I get to keep these memories forever. And I get to share them with you.

Also, the very last picture is of a quote from the Holocaust Museum that changed my life.

IMG_2632Some of the kiddos who kept me laughing till my stomach (which was filled with hummus) hurt real bad all trip. Also can someone lmk if Jesus touched that green can.

IMG_5716My FAVORITE photo from the trip that I took on accident… I looked at this photo of a street in Jerusalem after taking it and noticed those two adorable boys crouched in the bottom right corner ugh heart MELT.

IMG_3201How lucky am I to be across the world on the Sea of Galilee with my BROTHER and BFF so blessed.

IMG_3339Standing between two women praying at the wailing wall in Jerusalem. I will never forget what it felt like, looking down at all the written prayers that had fallen off the wall and listening to so many women crying out to God in a language I didn’t understand. I had no idea what they were praying and yet I was still in tears, standing there in my sneakers with a scarf wrapped around my shorts. God hears us no matter the language we speak or the shoes on our feet.

IMG_5410Another of my favorites from the trip, from the Galilee. This was Hayley the entire time: accidentally modeling with some gorgeous view behind her so naturally I have so many photos of her haha.

IMG_2698STORY TIME notice how there are two (teeny) beds pushed together in this photo. This is because Hayley and Erin had bed bugs at the second hotel we stayed at (I will not @ this hotel because it was pretty neat. And because I wasn’t the one with bed bugs). I might end up name-dropping the hotel at the end of typing this story though if I get heated enough. LISTEN.

After they found the bed bugs in their room, Hayley and Erin went to the receptionist at 1am asking for a room change and the guy told them they DIDN’T have bed bugs and THEN sent a rando man to spray big repellent chemical stuff all over their beds. So Abi and I shoved our two tiny one-person beds together and fit the four of us sleeping long ways across the beds with our feet hanging off the end of the mattresses (but not Abi’s feet because she’s teeny). It was cozy though don’t stress.

ALSO that same night, Hayley blew the fuse in our room when trying to plug her sound machine into the converter (which actually wasn’t a converter lol oops) so she could sleep. The sound machine all but exploded and it smelled SO bad and the lights went out. We were screaming in the dark with our balcony door open at 2am and I’m pretty sure we woke the entire state of Israel. This picture captures all of this, including the 6am scramble to get out of bed after not really sleeping.

IMG_3532Do you like our Jerusalem cruisers. @birkenstock

IMG_2801The view from our bus rides EVERY DAY was breathtaking. The view constantly changed of course but I tried SO hard to stay awake on the bus rides (even though it hurt to keep my eyes open because no sleep lol) because I didn’t want to miss out on seeing this beautiful country. Never got old. Also LOOK at Abi. So cute.

IMG_5937Stay on the 18th floor when staying in Jerusalem and be late to dinner every night to see this sunset you will not be disappointed.

IMG_3934Our first night wandering around Jerusalem after we had found the wailing wall. We all sat here for over an hour in silence. I’ll never forget the feeling.

IMG_5610ANOTHER favorite I mean LOOK at Hayley and Erin on the Galilee ugh.

IMG_5820Sometimes i’d come back to our hotel room in Jerusalem to find Jae and this view and I just had to save it forever. I also came back to the room to find Jae napping quite a lot but instead of saving that with a camera I also napped.

IMG_5662Our feet getting attacked by teeny fish on the Jordan, a 10/10 experience.

IMG_3123Favorite little family lunch by the Galilee where they placed whole fish on our plates and distracted us from feeling bad for said fish with that view.

IMG_2576Jae and I, taking in the beauty of Israel despite the paparazzi interrupting our peaceful time.

IMG_3792VERY hard to smile when your entire body is burning thank you salt. Also the Dead Sea is so so beautiful.

IMG_3172Wandering around Jerusalem and found this man’s shop and LISTEN he was so so sweet. He was quietly painting in his shop filled with his paintings as his little son napped on a couch when we came in. He would hardly accept money for anything we bought and told us the most inspiring stories. Please go find him.

IMG_2673A FAVORITE memory. We had just arrived at our place on the Galilee (pictured right above Jae’s head LOOK) and everyone was just arriving and exploring their balconies. Some guys brought a speaker out and started playing music (pictured below Jae’s hand haha no idea what they’re looking at) and everyone was yelling and balcony hopping and introducing themselves and UGH such a good afternoon.

IMG_3845I don’t think I said a word or made a sound as I walked through the Holocaust Museum until I reached this Journal of Abramek Koplowicz. Then I whispered the words of this entre to myself over and over and realized there were tears streaming down my face. I’ll never forget the words of this boy.

I love this country.


Published by Carrie Durning

Senior at Patrick Henry College - Instagram @carriedurn

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