Jessie and I are switching up our days for the next two weeks due primarily to reasons explained below.  She’ll be writing on Wednesday this week so stop back then too!

Dear MoB Readers:

I am so excited!!!  This Wednesday night I am leaving for an eight day personal journey to the land of my people – Israel.  And although I have never suffered from significant wanderlust, I have a feeling that this trip is going to be life changing.

Actually, I think most people would describe this feeling as nausea.  I am going on the longest business trip of my life — by myself — to a country I shamefully know very little about.  My aspirations for the trip comprise coming back…. alive.

I am lucky enough to be part of a U.S. venture capital delegation meeting with other associations from around the world in Jerusalem.  We will be convening for several days of discussion, meetings with dignitaries, and touring of the country.

Have you ever tried to pack for a trip which involved dressing for business events, hiking, “smart casual” dinners, and potentially spending time with a few heads of state?  Not easy.  I have set up a pivot table in Excel to assist my planning, fully expecting to forget something important, like underwear.

The huge irony of this trip is that it will be the first of TWO that I will take to Israel in the next seven weeks as we were already planning to make the pilgrimage there with my family over Winter break.  Its taken me 43 years – but now I am going twice!  I’m looking forward to the opportunity to scout out the country before heading back with Dave, the kids and my in-laws in December.

Oh the frequent flyer miles I will earn!  Does this mean automatic upgrades for all of 2012?  I’m looking forward to testing the sleep medication for the 12 hour overnight flights this first time around so that I can properly dose my loved ones next month.

I have heard so many fantastic things about Israel from those that have been there.  My friend Sue thinks I will have an AHA moment at some point during my trip, perhaps about my heritage or spirituality.  I hope she is right.

The truth is I am feeling extremely insecure about my Jewish roots despite my ever growing involvement in and love for my synagogue at home.  Suddenly, I wish I knew more Hebrew, remembered every blessing, and had deep knowledge of the Israeli countryside, politics, and religious practices.  I am worried that the Christians in our delegation will know more about all of this than I will.  Is it too late to buy “Judaism for Dummies” for the plane ride?  Shalom anyone?

I will miss my family while I am gone but I know deep down inside that this time away from each other is good for everyone.

Is it okay that I am most worried about the emotional state of the dog?  I’m pretty sure the humans will get through the week with minimal long-term scarring.  Although the fact that I am going to be gone for Halloween (one of Dave and my least favorite holidays) is going to require some major kissing-up by yours truly upon my return.

This trip was sent to me by the universe as an opportunity.  It will be liberating, eye-opening, and fulfilling.  I can’t wait to tell you all about it when I return!

I am pretty much scared shitless.  My list of a hundred fears ranges from being killed by terrorists to having to wear a bathing suit in front of my boss.  For the next two nights I will verbally express all of these concerns to anyone who will listen.  Because saying them out loud means they won’t happen.  Feel free to call me anytime.   I may indeed be too exhausted to write while “abroad” so follow me on Twitter (@emilymendell) for breaking news and send good vibes to the Middle East while I’m there.  You will certainly be in my thoughts.  It will all be fine.  Fine.  Yup.  Fine.

xxoo EM

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