Research for yesterday’s post was interesting. It’s not always easy remembering what took place decades ago. To get myself into the right frame of mind I looked for artifacts from that trip that I thought might jog my memory a bit. I was somewhat unsuccessful at first.
I have lots of photos from my 2003 stay in Israel. They were all shot with my first digital camera, a Nikon D100. But on the Birthright Israel trip I took a film camera, a Nikon N90 that I had borrowed from a college friend. 2002 was an interesting time photographically. Lots of professional photographers had made the switch to digital, but most non-professionals were still shooting film or trying out smaller compact digitals. For me, I packed up a brick of 35mm slide film, and I am now realizing that all those pictures are packed away in a bin somewhere deep inside a far away storage unit.
I don’t have many other digital relics from the trip either. I remember taking notes in a little black notebook I used to carry. The plane tickets were printed on paper and mailed to me just before the trip. I am sure all of this is also somewhere in storage.
The one item I did have handy was my old passport. I’ve had three passports throughout my life. There is my current one which expires in another year, my first one, pictured here, which I acquired right before the Birthright trip, and a third special journalist passport, which I requested for a trip to Lebanon that I never took. Fun fact, there was a mistake on that special passport which said I was born in 1946 instead of 76, which made it a fun item to share with friends when playing the “guess my age game” at bars.
Inside passport number one, I found the first couple of pages filled with entry and exit stamps from Ben Gurion Airport. I was able to piece together all the trips I made there by simply writing down the dates I found. (The nerd in me needs to let you now I put all these dates in iCal for future reference.)
Birthright Israel was my first international trip. To be honest, before writing this story, I was having a hard time remembering if it took place before or after 911. Getting the dates right was critical to my understanding of where I was in my life back then and how the events of 911 and the death of my grandfather colored the story I wanted to tell you.
As well as my Birthright Israel stamps, I also found the stamps that got me into Europe in October of 2002 and Israel when I flew from Rome to Tel Aviv in December, until I left in December of 2003. I also realized I made a third trip to Israel in early 2004. I was there for about a month in February before finally deciding to wrap it up and move back home for good. I totally forgot about that trip!