An Israeli Bucket List

As you may have noticed, I have not been as on top of the blogging as I should be…so I apologize for that. But, I’ve been reflecting recently and I realized the reason I don’t blog very often is because I don’t do many things that are really blog worthy. Now that I’m here, I’ve gotten caught up in the routine of my life:

8:00-13:00: Ulpan 13:00: Return home 13:30-15:00: Study Hebrew 15:00-16:00: Calculus lesson for Johns Hopkins 16:00-18:00: Freelancing work 18:00-19:00: Workout 19:30-20:30: Dinner 20:30-23:00: Relax/Netflix etc. 23:00: Sleep


I do this like clockwork. Granted some of the times may get switched…some days I may actually do more studying than others (yes, there are days 100% full of Netflix…) But regardless, it’s pretty much the same makeup…and to be honest, it’s not the most exciting (shocker, I know Calculus sounds great and all).


When I lived in Taiwan, I had lazy days, but I was much more apt to get out and do something because I knew my time was limited. I had to fit in an entire country in one year. I wanted to experience it all. I’ve realized that I need to get that spark back in my life here in Israel. I don’t want to be complacent and boring…I want to see and experience everything. I gave up my entire life to move here because I felt like this was where I belonged in life…and I’m not going to waste any more time! So…I’m now being conscious about it.


I’ve written a list. It’s a mixture of a bucket list and my hopes and my goals. Some of it is serious while other parts are lighthearted. Some items will carry through long term and some are one time check off the list type of ideas. Some of it I have already completed and some (read most) is still to be done. It’s just a start and I want to continue to add more as time goes on (it’s actually item #67 to add something new to the list each week)…but this list in a way, keeps me accountable. It ensures that I am using this gift that G-d has given me, a home in the land of Israel, and not wasting one more minute of it. If I want to become truly Israeli, I must experience Israel.


So without further ado, my list:


  1. Eat hummus in Jaffa

  2. Explore Neve Tsedek

  3. Eat sufganiyot at Hannukah

  4. Find the best local falafel

  5. Find the best local sabich

  6. Walk on the tayelet at sunset

  7. Play volleyball on the beach

  8. Learn matkot

  9. Run in the Tel Aviv Marathon

  10. Hike the entire Israel National Trail (6-8 weeks)

  11. Go camping on the beach

  12. Swim in the Jordon River

  13. Put a prayer in the Western Wall

  14. Order an ice coffee completely in Hebrew

  15. Try Malabi

  16. Barter with a stand owner at the shuk

  17. Learn how to make shakshuka

  18. Learn all the words to a mizrahit song

  19. Work for an Israeli company

  20. Complete Duolingo for Hebrew

  21. Spend a day exploring Rothschild Blvd.

  22. Walk from one side of Park Yarkon to the other

  23. Go in the Tel Aviv balloon

  24. Write down at least one thing per day that you are thankful for

  25. Eat at HaBasta (Shuk HaCarmel)

  26. Eat at HaHalutzim (Shuk Levintin)

  27. Watch a sunset from Hilton Hill

  28. Have a picnic in Park Yarkon

  29. Drink “The Gazoz” from Café Levinsky

  30. Fall in love with an Israeli man

  31. Have all my best friends visit Israel

  32. Visit a Kibbutz

  33. Do yoga on the beach

  34. Start a business venture

  35. Volunteer at a gan

  36. Run 5 races per year

  37. Try a new fruit

  38. Eat what’s in season

  39. Buy all fruits and veggies from the Shuk

  40. Buy art from an Israeli artist

  41. Find a synagogue that makes you feel at home

  42. Stay shomer Shabbat for a week

  43. Learn how to sup

  44. Go swimming in the Mediterranean at night

  45. Ask a stranger for directions in Hebrew

  46. Eat Baklava in Majdal Shams (Druze village near Golan Hieghts)

  47. Do one thing per day that helps you grow: and be conscious about it. Write it down.

  48. Reflect often. You can’t grow without looking back at what you were.

  49. Make a new tradition with a new friend

  50. Eat Shabbat dinner at an Israeli’s house

  51. Eat ice cream from Arte Gelateria

  52. Drink fresh made juice from the shuk

  53. Live in an apartment with a balcony. Grow plants and vegetables on said balcony.

  54. Eat a cream puff from Bakery TLV

  55. Become a dog walker

  56. Go to the concert of an Israeli musician

  57. Eat a gouda sandwich from Shuk HaNamal

  58. Taste 10 different kinds of Israeli olives

  59. Take a weekend and relax in Eilat

  60. Float in the Dead Sea and cover yourself in mud

  61. Hike at Masada

  62. Go to a hot spring in Gan HaShlosha National Park

  63. Go biking in Rosh HaNikra and see the grottoes

  64. See the Bahai Gardens in Haifa

  65. Visit Ein Gedi

  66. Cross off one thing on this list every single week

  67. Add one more thing to this list every single week

  68. Pray everyday because you are in the most holy and wonderful place on earth! You made it! Now go live every moment for all it’s worth!


So guys…my blog (and my life) are about to get a whole lot more interesting. I always say that I’m a) too busy and have to get my work done first or b) I don’t even know what to see/where to go or c) I have no one to go with. My boyfriend lovingly reminded me that these are all just excuses with little to no validity and he was right…a) I’m not too busy, b) I can go see anything (and in fact, I do know what I want to see…hence the long list above), and c) I adore solo exploring (I just needed a reminder of that). So…excuses in the past, I’m ready to turn over a new leaf and get going. You can all track my progress on this list as I blog about the things I have done. So between the list (soon to be printed and hanging in my room) and my blog readers, I’m accountable for getting things done.

Ready, set, GO. (Or as the Israelis say: Yalla!)

P.S. shoutout to my favorite Israeli blogger that I read religiously, VivaTelaviva aka Rachael Workman,  for giving me some ideas for a few of my (food related) list items! Namely numbers 25, 26, 29, 38, 46, 54 and 57 (: 

©2019 by Sammie Herrick | sammie@sammieherrick.com