(Pic taken in Antalya)
This year, I have stayed in several countries on a monthly basis. It starts with Jan and Feb in Sinai, March in Tibilisi, April in Istanbul, and May in Tel Aviv. It has been 2 years since I left Israel. All my friends asked me how I felt coming back. To be honest, it is hard to find the right words and 2 years is a lot of time and it led to a lot of changes in my life.
2022 is a year of change and one of the few decisions I have made includes：
Move out of Israel and settle down in Istanbul
I am moving out of Israel. I have spent a good amount of time there, being non-Jewish and all. I can't stress enough how much fun, opportunities, and growth I had while living there but it is time for me to move on. Over the years, I have exhausted all the possible ways to stay there. Being more than 30 years old, one of the biggest realizations I have is that I wanted to save more money and have more stability. I found out that just in one year of living in Turkey, I almost saved the same amount of money that I had saved in 5 years' time in Israel. Of course, this is not the only reason I am leaving Israel but overall, those past 2 years outside of Israel have added new perspectives to my life and new responsibilities on my plate. With 55 kg of belongings stuffed in 2 suitcases, I hopped on a 2-hour journey and left for Istanbul, ready to navigate this new yet familiar territory. Turkey is a familiar place for me because as early as 2015, I backpacked around the west coast. From Oct 2020 to Sep 2021, I was temporarily settled in Izmir for the sake of the pandemic. I was very grateful for the mild covid restrictions, lovely climate and also breathtaking nature.
Some thought about work
Many years ago, I dreamed about being a digital nomad. Yet I did not make much effort to make my dream come true. For many years, life in Israel was relatively easy and comfortable for me and I was happy just to be in that comfort zone. Eventually, it is the pandemic, and the pressure to survive really pushed me out of my comfort zone put me in a desperate place, and forced me to find another way of living while being location independent. The process was far from being easy but looking back, I am happy to be where I am today. Many of those motivational speeches online would tell you to work for what you are passionate about and though that's the most ideal, that's not going to be the case for everyone. In my opinion, work or a job can be just the means that brings you a good and stable source of income, and with that extra time, flexibility, and money you have, you can dedicate to exploring things that are more meaningful for you, trying a new bobby, getting a new degree, or dabbling into a new venture. Very often in my travel life, people ask about my line of work, and it would usually take me a while to explain to them, as I started from being a financial auditor in China to a tech incubator facilitator in Israel, to a business owner. Life truly can have many possibilities. Not to say it is always easy and stress-free, in fact, I have undergone lots of self-doubt and nerve-racking moments, but to be fair, those down moments always serve some purposes in life, directly or indirectly. One of the most important lessons that I learned along this journey is to trust myself. No one would take you seriously if you don't even trust yourself, so start from there, maybe one day, you will be surprised how far you can go.
I built a Shopify store for my business
Most of my friends know I started a Chinese Qipao business since I moved out of Israel. Luckily my shop has been doing relatively well and I am able to work with my family which is a blessing and a very unique working experience. Ever since my mother got sick, my aunt has quickly stepped in and filled her role. My sister is also helping with my business. All of a sudden, I am hiring most of my close family members. 2 months ago, My father got fired out of the blue because the employer complained about him being too old（my father is 60) for the job. I quickly realized this is the reality of village life in China. One day you will be laid off and told to go home with zero compensation. That is the time I felt all the financial pressure fall upon me and I am not living just for myself anymore.
I have been selling on Etsy for about 1 year and a half. Last month, I was asked to verify my bank. Due to some program errors from Etsy's side, I was not able to verify it successfully and after a few erroneous attempts, my shop was suspended for nearly 2 weeks. Fortunately, my shop is currently reinstated and slowly the traffic came back. However, the scar is still there and what happened is a good wake-up call for me for the long-term existence of my business. With Etsy, I might have seemed independent but I was not. I was at the mercy of a big corporate, and something can go wrong, even the political sensitivity between China and US will affect me. That is why I decided to built a Shopify store for my business which stands for more independence and less fragility. In between all the frenzy apartment hunting episodes in Istanbul this week, I taught myself numerous new things, including things that I really don't like such as online marketing. well, my site is finally running and the first order came through last night and gave me tremendous hope.
The weight myth unveiled
There is one more interesting experience I would like to share. Since my teenage time, I have always been on the chubby scale as a girl, given the amount of sport that I do and the diet that I have and I always thought it is probably my genes that are to blame. This year, an ultrasonic examination from my gynecologist proved my point and helped me find the culprit. It is not a big deal but I felt really relieved knowing why. Meanwhile, I was appreciating the power of genes so much that I binged watching a few educational videos about genetics and found it truly fascinating. Over the years, I started to make peace with my weight problem, and having a bad gene kinda motivates me to work out more and eat healthily. I genuinely enjoy doing many sports and also eating healthy and has made both parts of my lifestyle. Over time, I see my health indicators getting better and I am able to do more and more challenging sports.
For the people who know about what is happening in Shanghai, I have friends who have been locked up at home for more than 2 months without stepping out of their apartment once. Seeing my home country becoming a very much alienated and radical place, going back there has been less and less desirable for me. I hope some positive changes will happen soon and I will be able to see my family and friends this year.