Young Emissary Rotem Linchevski: What I Learned During Quarantine

Rotem Linchevski (Young Emissary 2017-18)

Most of the people who know me know I love to travel. I love the excitement of finding new places, learning about different cultures and seeing amazing views. One of my dreams is to travel around the world, and one day—after COVID-19 is gone—I will.

For many Israelis, the holidays are an opportunity to go on a vacation and leave Israel for a while. The joke about Israel being half empty on the High Holidays is actually right in some places! Have you ever felt claustrophobic in a country? Well, since COVID-19 came into our lives, many Israelis do. Maybe it's the consequence of having such a small state.

I decided to make lemonade out of our pretty bitter lemon by starting to re-explore my own area.

It all started small; I’ve been so busy lately and got stuck on page 237 of the book I’m reading. So I searched for some new spots in my yard and found a beautiful place under an avocado tree. After the “huge” success of moving from my usual spot on the couch to the outdoors, I’ve decided to go a bit bigger.

I found new observation points just 10-15 minutes from home, supported local businesses and revisited some amazing places in Israel. I’ve traveled to Mitzpe Ramon and the Kineret, found new fountains in the desert, and ate the best burger in Ramat HaGolan. I have visited many of these places in the past; but now, in this new way of looking at things, they seemed even more exciting.

I've learned two important lessons:

  • First, I took for granted my own local area and missed a bunch of beautiful places! The “been there, done that” attitude is no longer good for me. I can always find new places. I guess I needed a worldwide virus to remind me to get excited about the small and usual things.
  • Second, Israel is such a pretty country! I know that is probably what every Young Emissary told you for years. They weren’t bluffing. The desert and the mountains, the Kineret and the Mediterranean Sea, those are all pieces of the puzzle that is my home. I remember how excited I was telling you about those places in my year in Connecticut. I promise not to take them for granted again.

So go explore your area, stay healthy and I hope to see you in Israel in the near future.