GirlFriends Listening and Learning in the Holy Land

June 4-15, 2020


TravelCircles With GirlfriendCircles:

Every trip we lead is focused on two things: the best sight-seeing in the country and connecting with women.

Our sight-seeing, designed by Altruviustas, plans an itinerary that is as intimate, fun, and experiential as we can get. We want to see everything that is well known in that country, if we can; and we also want to make sure there are some small and special experiences that leave us touched and connected with that country in surprising ways!  Plus, we want all of our travel to live up to the highest standards of sustainability and ethical travel so we place special emphasis on meeting the locals, supporting their causes, and making sure we frequent their businesses/hotels/restaurants to ensure our money is reinvested back to those who live wherever we visit.

And when it comes to connecting with women, we go to a country with the special desire of saying "We want to learn what causes are effecting our sisters in this part of the world and we want to celebrate the contributions they are making!"  So we will always visit a non-profit or two (a portion of your trip costs will be donated there!) to learn more about the needs in that country and we will make sure we shop and learn from women who are giving their gifts to their country.  Plus, our guides will be women, and we will travel as a group of women with the intentional of connecting and becoming friends with the group.  Shasta always leads loosely facilitated times for sharing what we're experiencing with each other and getting to know each other better.

So if you love travel and want an incredibly special curated trip with a group of amazing women as we go meet our sisters around the world:  you're invited to join us! xoxo

Shasta Nelson, CEO of GirlFriendCircles.com will be leading this trip, facilitating bonding and conversation among the 8-12 women who commit to travel together.

Additionally, every trip will also include a local guide (hired by Altruvistas) who will lead the group the entire time overseeing logistics and travel details, and serving as translator and guide.

Israel: June 4-15, 2020

Israel is one of the newest and smallest countries in our world and yet it's also the land that has some of the most ancient history and diverse stories. Home to sites sacred to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, we will visit many of the major sites of religious significance and pilgrimage, but even more important, we will connect with locals, step into experiences, and participate in some special moments no matter your religious background.

This is a country that is far more than religion and politics as it also boasts some of the most amazing wonders in the world, the yummiest olive oil, wine, and food, and one of the most cosmopolitan populations.  Our trip will try to cover as much as we can from the holy city of Jerusalem to the trendy city Tel Aviv; from the sunrise at the top of Masada to star gazing in the Negev desert; from the famed sacred sites to the inspiring natural vistas, and from the bustle of the cities to the walks and exercise in nature. This is a trip where we are doing "the top ten" must-sees in this country, while also adding in some of the more intimate moments that include craft workshops with local women, shopping from co-ops and artists, and learning about social justice, relationships across religious/political divides, and inspiring organizations trying to do good in their corner of the world!

We start our 12 day trip with 5 days in Jerusalem before we head out for a couple of days relaxing at the Dead Sea and watching the sunrise at Masada; then we will enjoy one night out in the Negev Desert, and return for our final weekend in Tel Aviv on the coast!

Health Note: The participants who will enjoy this trip the most will be those who feel comfortable with moderate activity (i.e. being able to walk a couple of miles) and who are prepared to be in heat (average 80 degrees, but could be hotter).

Trip Highlights:

  • Opening weekend in Jerusalem where we'll see as many sites as possible: the walled city, Jaffa Gate, David Street, the Christian and Armenian Quarters, the Dome of the Rock, the Tower of David, the Wailing Wall, Garden of Gethsemane, Mount of Olives, Church of the Redeemer, Hezekiah's Tunnel, and so much more!

  • In addition to visiting world famous sites, we also are committed to learning from the three major Abrahamic faiths in Israel, including meaningful experiences from Islam (touring a Mosque), Judaism (Shabbat dinner in a family home on Friday night), and Christianity (Sunday morning visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where Jesus was crucified and buried).

  • A moving visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum-- rated as one of the top most important things to do in Israel.

  • A spa day at the Dead Sea where we can float in the saltiest water in the world at the lowest spot on earth (1,400 under sea level!)

  • We're going to hike to the top of Masada to watch the sunrise!

  • Visit the local Bedouin villages and communities in the Negev desert where we'll hear stories, learn about their weaving cooperative, shop local beauty products, and go wine tasting.

  • A day trip to the Land of Canaan where we'll enjoy some nature and walking in the Jenin Mountains, and also learn more about the importance of olive oil to this region and how it's made.

  • A day trip to Akko (Acre), a small coastal town that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a holy city in the Bahá’í Faith

  • Lots of shopping in the suk markets, bazaar's and in local cooperatives, in addition to shopping in the big cities!

  • A final weekend in Tel Aviv-- the second largest city in Israel and the most cosmopolitan. Situated on the Mediterranean coast, it is the hot spot for food, art, music, beaches, and fun.

  • And lots and lots of food: "Israeli cuisine today is a delicious melting pot of North Africa (Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria) and its Middle Eastern neighbors (Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq), as well as the Mediterranean countries, and don't forget the Jews from all over Eastern Europe and Russia." We'll get our fill of hummus, falafels, shakshuka, fried haloumi cheese, lamb shawarma, fish, dates, olive oil and olives, couscous, challah bread, figs and dates, lentils, etc.

All trips are so much more than just famous sites and cities though! We will peppering every trip to include as many of the following components as possible in our desire to learn about the woman’s life in our destination:

  • A cooking class from that country

  • A couple of learnings experiences that highlight the women’s movement in that country and/or issues that women are currently facing.

  • Meetings with local women, whether entrepreneurs, artists, activists, teachers, or chefs where we can ask questions about life in that country from their experience.

  • Other women-focused experiences will be planned to fit the theme of each particular trip.

Plus, we've got our eye on adding the "little things" that really make a trip feel special: making your own perfume scent at a perfumeria, visiting a local spa, arranging for beautiful walks and hikes, attending roof-top concerts, sampling artisan chocolate, etc. We're about good food, fun memories, and women enjoying life together!


Who:

All women over the age or 21 are welcome to join us. The women who will enjoy this trip the most tend to value learning, connecting with others, trying new things, and seeing as much as they can in a country.  Most women come alone to meet new friends, but you're also welcome to invite a sister/friend/mother/daughter to join you.

When: 

June 4-15, 2020

Where:

We will fly in and out of Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV) in Tel Aviv. We’ll plan to arrive on the morning of Thursday, June 4 where we will gather before heading to our hotel in Jerusalem. Our final weekend of the trip is in Tel Aviv so we we have easy transfers to the airport on the morning of Monday, June 15; or fly out later that day if you want a day at the beach or extra shopping!  ;)

We start our 12 day trip with 5 days in Jerusalem before we head out for a couple of days relaxing at the Dead Sea and watching the sunrise at Masada; then we will enjoy one night out in the Negev Desert, and return for our final weekend in Tel Aviv on the coast! (4 hotels: 5 nights in Jerusalem, 2 nights at the Dead Sea, 1 night in Negev Desert, 3 nights in Tel Aviv)

Price:

The price of this 12-day tour tour is $3950 (payment plans are available) and includes double room accommodations, all program activities listed in itinerary (unless stated otherwise), private transportation to and from all activities, an average of 2 meals daily, and qualified trip leaders and translator/guides.  In addition to the trip package price, each traveler is responsible for airfare to and from the destination country (in this case TLV airport) so that you can use miles, upgrade if desired, and plan the itinerary that works best for you.

(Single accommodations: add $700)

HOW:

If you're interested, please click the button below to indicate interest so we can notify you of upcoming group phone calls or answer your specific questions via email or a phone call. To reserve a spot, you will make a $500 deposit to Altruvistas and fill out their registration form. These TravelCircles have been selling out so get your deposit in ASAP.

If you have other questions about these trips, in general, see the FAQ button below! xoxo

We are a proud partner of Altruvistas, the socially responsible and philanthropic travel company that is organizing all our details. We are thrilled to have Malia and her team overseeing our trips to ensure that our itinerary is as authentic of an experience as possible while making sure that our money is spent in a eco and socially conscious way. Malia and her team will work with you one-on-one to make sure you are all ready for our amazing adventures.

If you have questions about this trip, please email malia@altruvistas.com