20 tips for travel around the world with your pooch
12 of world’s dog friendliest hotels
travels in the UK (but if you have a pit bull, they are not allowed/banned in the UK)
Around the World in the 80’s featuring places I visited in the 1980’s. Specifically, I traveled from 1987 to 1989 with an international, interdenominational, interfaith prayer ministry OIM.
Israel… my crazy prayer
In, 1988, I was traveling in Israel “learning to live on faith.” Praying for guidance, it seemed I was to go to Tiberias again.
I had “failed” once before so I arrogantly demanded in prayer that within five minutes, I would have to have a reason and money to travel.
Smugly, I walked away from the Western wall thinking I was off the hook. But there was Rivke, inviting me to visit her family in Sefat (near Tiberias) for the weekend!
I now had a reason to go. Uh oh. Suddenly, I remembered that hidden at the bottom of my purse were some English pounds I had totally forgotten about.
God had answered my crazy prayer!
Rivke had invited me for Shabbat but I was being guided to go on Thursday. Arriving at Sefat, a mountainous area, with a heavy suitcase to carry, I started feeling stupid and doubted my guidance especially when I found that all the hotel rooms in the area were booked up.
I called Rivke’s aunt to see if I could stay at her place one day early.
She told me that her house was filled up with relatives and there is no place for me to stay all weekend! But she would speak to her husband and asked me to call her back in ten minutes.
I panicked, but then decided to pray and thank God. What else was there to do?
I felt more ridiculous by the moment.
When I called the aunt back she told me “My husband is the director of a Jewish young woman’s seminary. One of the girls is leaving and you can have her bed for the entire weekend!”
While I was in Sefat, I met another Rivke who invited me into her home in Jerusalem after the weekend. A ten year old prayer of hers was answered while I was there deeply touching both of us.
She reminded me that one of my favorite songs as a kid was “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
“When You walk through a storm, hold your head up high, and don’t be afraid of the dark, at the end of the storm is a golden sky and the sweet silver song of a lark. Walk On. Walk on with hope in your heart and You’ll Never Walk Alone. You’ll never walk alone.”
JUST SOMEONE WHO CARES
Dachau. Bergen-Belsen. Auschwitz. I didn’t want to visit ex-concentration camp sites while I was visiting Germany but it somehow seemed inevitable. I had been having a lot of flashback memories ever since I arrived in Germany. When I first visited Munich in 1977, I knew the city although I had never been there.
So now, in 1988, where would I go to find a concentration camp? I was in the Frankfurt area, Griesheim, to be exact. Working for the Stars and Strips newspaper. I decided to call the local library.
On the phone, a librarian told me there were no such things as “conzentrationlagers.” “Nein, nein, nein,” she insisted.
I prayed for help internally and a male voice unexpectedly interrupted the conversation. He gave me a phone number and told me to call him in about 15 minutes. I was stunned and the phone went dead.
Curious about this turn of events, I made the phone call at the appointed time.
Albert “just happened” to be passing by when he heard my conversation with the librarian. He was a Catholic man who had converted to Judaism and he was eager to assist me. A few days later, we met in Darmstadt, and he gave me a ticket to Dachau near Munich.
The day I traveled was dark and somber befitting my mood. The leftover snow looked as old and muddy as I felt.
Numerous busses, trains, and trams would take me from Darmstadt to Munich. I dreaded the trip.
Normally, in Germany when you are in public, everyone speaks German. But on this day, everyone near to me spoke English. Entering the last bus, EVERYONE was speaking English. When I chimed in, we all laughed. I found out that a group of New Zealand high school students were visiting Dachau and would take this journey with me.
As the bus stopped so did my heart. Exiting the vehicle slowly, I walked towards the gate. My feet felt like stone. Ahead, there was a building with a sign that said “Crematorium.”
Looking at the barbed wire surrounding the camp, my footsteps faltered. Seeing the sign, a deep sobbing from within me erupted. I could not stop crying.
Normally, I am a suspicious New Yorker so what happened next was inexplicable.
A stranger approached and put his arms around me. He held me tenderly as my sorrow ran its course.
“Who ARE you?” I asked rudely when I “came to.”
“Just someone who cares, ” he replied softly. This teacher was from New Zealand and offered me companionship for the day. I turned down his kind offer because I needed some alone time. To see the camp for myself. To spend time in prayer.
Still I was touched because I had assumed that the only other people who would be visiting Dachau would be Jewish folks from around the world. It never occurred to me that people from faraway places like New Zealand would want to visit Dachau.
While touring the camp all day, I kept asking God Why. Why did this happen? How could you do this? I felt angry, sad and many emotions. The photos of stereotypical Jews, the Kristallnacht, and the arm bands. What sense did it all make? I wanted answers. I wanted peace and understanding.
Hours later, back at the front gate, I met the high school girls from New Zealand. They were crying and put their arms around me and apologized to me for what happened during the Holocaust. These sweet innocent girls apologized to Me.
At that moment, I realized that this was why I went on this journey. To put to rest the doubts, fears and terrors of the Holocaust. To forgive the Germans and the Nazis for the wrongdoing so that I could still believe and have faith in God. So that in my world all could be as Anne Frank wrote… after all that she had been through, she still believed in the basic goodness and kindness of human beings.
I had grown up angry and afraid of the Germans. My family and many Jewish people I knew hated the Germans. They would not buy German cars nor associate with Germans in any way. The Germans were the enemy. But now, I could finally let go of the deep hatred in my heart that I had held there for so long. Bitter hatred I did not even know I had dissipated. And I felt FREE.
The Holocaust Journey
From Ashes to Healing: Mystical Encounters with the Holocaust by Yonassan Gershom
An Overview of the Bangladesh, Thailand and India project
India… I spent 8 months there (1988-89, to be exact)…only southern India. I loved Bombay, for being a big city, after having spent much time in smaller cities and Calcutta, Madras, Bangalore, and others (8 states, Bengal, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Mahareshtra).
I did not want to go there… I had a love/hate relationship with India. I traveled with a prayer ministry (OIM).
what I wrote:
The Indian people wear their spirituality as visibly and as proudly as the Indian ladies don their colorful silk Kanchipuram saris or the men wear their homespun lungis or dhotis. The Ramayana and Mahabarashtra (tales of the Hindu gods and their consorts) are seen on television, in books, in the songs, at art museums, and in theatres. Every part of Indian cultural life is spiritual. Mostly, I experienced that the Indian people have a special reverence for God in everything they do.
Traveling in India is a challenge. Your every sense is assaulted night and day. Strange smells, weirder sights, noisy Indian music blasting your ear drums in the hot sun (we were there from April to November, part of the monsoon season and in the summertime). Going to the outdoor markets was an experience in Bangladesh and India. People would offer to sell me live chickens and as always the famous chai chai chai (tea) or cawfee cawfee cawfee sounds surrounded me. All become part of the background landscape of the place.
Spicy foods that you don’t know the name of that make your mouth burn so much you think that you are going to die until you eat a cool refreshing coconut or a yogurt drink. Everything contributes to the invasion and plays havoc with your American or European sensibilities.
Between the short time we stayed in Thailand (three of us, including a 2 year old) and the time we spent in India, we also visited Bangladesh for several weeks.