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Tel Aviv was a test; living in Tel Aviv

Frishman Beach

When I decided to make Tel Aviv my temporary home back in July, I had a lot of things hidden in the back of my mind. Living in Tel Aviv was essentially a test. Would I be able to survive X amount of months in a (relatively) big city in a completely foreign country? I knew absolutely no one when I arrived here and I knew even less about Israel. Didn’t speak the language, know the people, know the history. I wanted to discover it all for myself.

Back before I started traveling I wrote 5 Reasons Why I Want to Travel Around the World. One of those reasons, “to prove to myself that I can do it” was important enough for me to test it even further. I wanted to prove it was possible to make a life for myself in a new & foreign place. And I succeeded.

Moving to a new place is always challenging. Will you meet new people? Will you find a job? What if you don’t like it there? For me, I wanted to see, with a short-term test, whether it was possible to move to a new place (hello Tel Aviv!) and make a life out of it. And so it goes.

Part of my plan for this trip has been to live and work abroad. So why did I feel like I needed to test the waters just a few months into traveling? Back in college I had studied abroad twice (Sydney and London) so the idea of living abroad wasn’t completely new to me. But both of those semesters abroad, I had the ease and comfort of a structured life. Housing was provided. I had classes to attend. Friends were at the ready in the form of other students on the same study abroad program. Though my time studying abroad was a bit of a challenge, it was also rather easy. So I wondered, would it be as easy this time around?

How to live abroad successfully

I decided I wanted to live in Israel rather quickly. But to be able to stay, I knew I would need three things:

  • some sort of commitment to keep me occupied (and my mind active)
  • a place to stay
  • and a way to meet people

Those are the three ingredients necessary for successfully living abroad. My first week in Israel was spent as a tourist. My second, I looked for a job. My third I looked for an apartment (downtown!). Every day since I’ve made a habit of being outgoing and trying to meet new people. I used online connections, Twitter, CouchSurfing, Foursquare, friends of friends. I spoke to strangers in bars. I tried my best to not be shy.

And now, while I’m packing my backpack for the first time in months, I’m finding that though it may be easy to move to a new place & meet new people, leaving that place is not quite as easy.

Tel Aviv was a test. And what did I learn? Yes, it’s possible for me to live abroad. But picking up and going doesn’t get any easier. Especially when it feels like home.

  1. Tel Aviv was my favorite part of Israel, no contest. And while I’ve lived in Scotland, Holland and Denmark but been back in the US for four years now, lately I’ve really had the urge to live abroad again. That’s my way of saying I’m insanely jealous of you ;-)

    • Adam says:

      Thanks Kristin! Tel Aviv has become my favorite city in Israel, as well. It’s been difficult to leave it behind, but I hope to be back soon….

  2. Adam, I really like this post and I relate to it well. For me, my big test was my solo trip to Buenos Aires two years ago — I knew that if I could handle a week on my own in a country where I knew nobody and barely spoke the language, I could handle a yearlong solo RTW.

    Of course yearlong RTW became seven months in Asia. But I know what you mean — I’m already planning out how it will be possible for me to live in Thailand. I can find teaching work, I know where I’ll volunteer…we’ll see if it happens. :-)

    I’m sure you’ll return to Tel Aviv at some point. But I’m telling you, if you ever end up in Chiang Mai (where I am now), it is SO easy to end up here for a LONG ASS TIME! The crew is already telling me I’m going to be here for months!

    • Adam says:

      Kate, thanks so much! And please stay in Thailand as long as possible so I can eventually meet up with you over there. Whenever that may be! :P

  3. enrolled agent cpe says:

    I remember my very first solo trip and it was in Taiwan last year. I’m scared because of the language barrier and the unfamiliarity of the place. But once I opened myself up and just enjoy the experience it has brought me to a realization and that is I want to live there. So your tips on how to love abroad successfully might come in handy pretty soon.

  4. GlobalButterfly says:

    TV looks like such an awesome city, especially to call home! So great you tested yourself!!! Did you need to learn any Hebrew?

  5. Tel aviv is a great place am glad you had a good time

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  7. says:

    Israel is one place I have always wanted to visit.

  8. travelling is fun especially when you have someone to share your memories and one place that i am willing to go back a lot of times to is in israel because it seems that anxiety is not evident on anyones face

  9. nice.. :) hehe .. i remember the last time i go to tel aviv apartment at Israel… i really really had fun and i maximized the time when i was there…

  10. What a challenge for you!  I am not sure I could do that.  I might move to a city I have visited before and more than likely would have some sort of connections.  But kudos to you for moving to a strange city, getting a job, and really challenging yourself to connect with others!

    • Adam says:

      Thanks for the comment Jeremy,
      It was definitely a challenge, but one I wanted to prove to myself that I could do. And I did! It was a big step for me, I think.

  11. gosh i remember your posts before you left adam! so great to read this now with so much you’ve accomplished since. and it’s perfect timing for me having just shoved off (albeit to road trip n.america until next year when i’ll do abroad). it makes sense that there’s already one place i’m in love with and i’m want to spend more time in. cheers for trusting our instincts and being proactive in new places. :)

    • Adam says:

      It’s all about trusting your instincts and then actually doing something about it. One of my favorite new phrases to say is “Make Something Happen” because really, it’s all up to us.

  12. Its amazing how quickly a foreign land can become a home. Good luck!

    • Adam says:

      Funny how that happens, eh? I think it’s probably surprising to a lot of people how easy it might be to make a home or new life is a completely foreign place. It’s usually all about the people.

  13. Anonymous says:

    if you do get the chance to be in israel and you should take a look at this it may be a useful information when you’ll be here

  14. Danny Teshuva says:

    I got a lot of good information from this website:

    It’s kind of like a social website for businesses in Tel-Aviv where each business tells whats going on in there place every night…Good Stuff!

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    Oh It is too beautiful.  

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  20. tel aviv is a great city the beaches are awesome and the girls are amazing!

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