Trust! I trusted Area D hostel in Ramallah. When preparing and designing my own trip they were of great help for me. I stayed here for my first 5 nights. Enough time to get orientated. That was a really good decision.
Follow the rythm! Everything in Palestine felt different than in the Netherlands: sounds, smelling, food, language, etcetera. On top of that each and every location in the West Bank felt completely different and I felt desorientated without google maps. I managed myself by surrendering to the rythm of each place.
Be prepared! I have read a lot about the Israel-Palestine conflict over many years. In some ways I felt connected with the Palestinians. I knew about the political situation, the permit I needed to travel in Israël/West Bank and the checkpoints I would come across. That helped. I also made some preparations in advance, for example I booked a taxi (via hantourism) from Tel Aviv airport directly to Area D in Ramallah. That was perfect!
Friendly! Without exception and at every destination the Palestinians made me feel at home. I felt safe walking and traveling on my own through the entire West Bank. When I needed help (to find a taxi station for example) people on the street were willing to help me. In restaurants I spontaneously got invited by Palestinians to join them. Palestinians are the most friendly people I ever met!
Grateful! At many moments Palestinians showed me their gratefulness: they were honoured I visited the West Bank as a tourist and not as a (charity) worker. On the other hand I was very grateful to be there and learn about their lives, surrounded by so many love and kindness.
Image! I kept wondering how I could help changing the (bad) image of Palestine to the rest of the world. This website is one of my attempts. I hope many tourists wil visit the West Bank after reading my story and travel tips!
Freedom! I could easily travel over the West Bank and back to Israël. Palistinians could not. They need permits at certain checkpoints (Area A, B and C) to travel over the West Bank and visit their family. Also checkpoints were closed unexpected. I could continue my journey by public bus for example, Palestinians could not. Try to imagine this….
Healing! I loved traveling on my own. Only doing what I wanted to do. I did not have to take anyone into account. At moments it was confronting: I had a lot of conversations with myself, call it self-reflection. And the whole journey was healing in a way I cannot describe. It is a beautiful loving feeling inside. Still always with me.