I moved to Israel almost 12 years ago. My wife and I packed up our businesses and home and just left to make a new life, which is strange because we lived in a kind of paradise, in Boulder, Colorado at the time. The local paper did a story on us when we departed, and my wife’s quote during the interview has become a classic when telling the story to friends on both continents: We just up and left Paradise for the Promised Land. I hope to get into some of the other crazy bits of our backstory in later posts, but for now just know that I wasn’t even born Jewish and now find myself loving life, and an integral part of the world around me, as well as being a foreigner in a foreign land.

Ebike - Drew NollSo … my kid just got out of the IDF and is traveling in South America for 7 months. He’s my good friend, too, since he left his `ebike behind for me to ride back and forth to work. Well, I work in 2 places, actually, at the Zichron Art Center teaching, curating gallery exhibitions, and building stuff, and I work from home inside my bomb shelter studio … making art. I also like to write, which is why you are reading this now. I wrote a blogpost recently and one of the co-founders of Israel Travel Secrets contacted me to see if we could hook up and develop our platforms together. So, I showed up at his door, well … actually it was the lobby door to his building. After trying to ride my borrowed `ebike up the disabled ramp, popping wheelies all the way since it’s one of those souped-up illegal versions that zip around Israel, I struggled and every turn was an adventure as I tried to keep the thing under me.

I grew up at the beach, in Laguna Beach, so because of the trauma of moving away from the Pacific Ocean to Boulder, Colorado, I was absolutely going to end up at the beach again when I made Aliyah. I now live in Zikhron Yaakov next the Mediterranean Sea and as a bonus, also near a private nature reserve with a garden and cave grotto that Barron Rothschild and his wife were buried in. I love my current surroundings more than I can describe here, hiking, biking, surfing, extreme culture nearby, and so much more.

So … I made it to the top of the disabled ramp with little to no damage and then started looking for address numbers to guide me. He told me that the building number was 1, on the fourth floor. I looked up and saw an aleph. Well, I thought, in Hebrew that’s pretty close, but I should give him a call anyways. I locked my `ebike to a pole, removed the giant heavy battery to try and thwart thievery, and made my way to the front door. The entry to the building was by code only, so once I got him on the line he tried to buzz me in, but ended up just giving me his personal passcode over the phone instead. I guess I should have figured something was wrong then.

Ramat-Hanadiv - Drew NollI’ve always been bad with numbers, but was able to enter the digits into the keypad while I kept him on the line. The door buzzed open and I was in. Good. I must be in the right place. I had to wander about a bit to find the elevator; really … I walked back and forth at least twice. You’d think they’d put the elevators in the lobby, but planning is not one of the Startup Nation’s best features, as anyone can tell after passing the first freeway sign indicating that you just drove past your off-ramp. Down the hall, running my hands along the walls to keep my bearings in the dark, I found the elevator call button, got in, then punched in the 4th floor. I got out and then turned left, just like he said to. It was pitch-dark and the light switches were camouflaged between other people’s door buzzers, so again I just ran my hand along the wall to find my way.

Standing there, the only light in the hallway seeping from under the door of apartment number 9, exactly where he said I would find it, still lugging the giant battery from the `ebike and my helmet in one hand, I pressed the door buzzer. I remembered he had a dog, so when the mad barking began from the other side of the door I convinced myself, again, that I was in the right place. When the door opened the dark hallway was flooded with light—the surprise on the face of a little old lady standing there made me squirm and forget all my Hebrew. I was on the right floor at the right apartment number, but at the wrong building completely. Oy.

Drew (Doron) Noll

Drew Noll is a professionally trained fine artist and a self taught writer living in Zikhron Yaakov, Israel. He has taught privately drawing, painting, mixed media sculpture, ceramics, and creative writing, and he recently began teaching English as a foreign language at a local high school.

Drew has a background as a fine woodworker and business owner, and his artwork has been exhibited in the US and Israel. Drew has contributed to various blogs and websites as a ghost writer, along with producing The Brave New Land, a personal blog that revolves around his adventures as a new immigrant to the Middle East, his other travels around the globe, and his personal thoughts and experiences relating to his life and artwork.

Please feel free to contact Drew through his website: doronoll.com.