Digital Storytelling in the Promised Land

Toni Sichel
June 13, 2017

When an opportunity like taking a free trip to another country comes along, you have to take it. My adventure to Israel proved to be an eye-opening experience filled with breathtaking places, genuine people and delicious food. In this day and age, sharing your adventures with others is easier and more abundant than ever through the eyes of social media.

Snapping and Instagram-ing my way through the Middle East allowed me to create my own personal scrapbook while also sharing my experiences with my loved ones back home. There was a lot to see and do in Israel, and I’m so glad I could capture moments that so perfectly encompassed my trip.

Initial Thoughts

After tossing and turning on a ten-hour flight (shoutout to Netflix for saving my life with offline mode) I was nothing short of ecstatic to be stepping off the plane and into beautiful Tel Aviv, Israel.

This was my first time traveling to another country and I was so excited to see places I’ve only heard about or have seen in pictures. I already began posting to social media on the plane and in the airport because I was so excited. My posts were commented on/replied wish wishes of “safe travels” and “have fun.” Many of my friends ensured that I needed to “take a bunch of pictures!” and I definitely intended to.

After the flight, it took some time for me to gather my thoughts and let reality set in that I was actually in the place I’ve always dreamed about.

 Learning the Culture


Not going to lie: While all my friends back home were Snapchatting their avocado toast, I felt even more trendy snapping my authentic falafel. It’s no secret the culture in America differs vastly from the culture in Israel. Casually riding a camel through the desert isn’t usually a part of my routine back home. As the first few days went on, I started to become more and more adjusted to the Israeli way of living.

Long days in the heat are not for the weak hearted. It took me a while to learn that I needed to drink double the amount of water and reapply sunscreen every 10 minutes (not exaggerating—sunburn is no fun). While the outdoor aspects of the trip were tiring, it was definitely worth it to see the amazing places that Israel had to offer.

Hello, boys.

Everyone in Israel is required to serve in the Israeli Defense Force once they reach the age of 18, so it was very inspiring to meet soldiers around my age who have already done so many amazing things for their country.

Also in case you were wondering, the Israelis are #TeamInstagram and barely use Snapchat. Who would have thought?

The #Views

My Instagram and Snapchat games probably got ten times stronger thanks to this place.

Everything and everywhere in Israel is beautiful. No joke. From the hotels, to the pathways, to even the restaurants. Everything has an authentic and sincere feel about it that makes it so breathtaking.

It turns out that travel pictures really do perform well on social media. I’d say my follower count increased by a good five percent. No matter what you take pictures of in Israel they always come out great and people really do want to see them. I barely even used filters on my photos because the naturally rich colors and textures added to the overall product.

While some images couldn’t truly be captured by the eyes of a lens, I believe I did a pretty good job of capturing what I could of the gorgeous landscapes.

I think that one of the things that makes social media so great is its ability to connect people and make them feel like they’re somewhere through images. I was thankful that I had the opportunity to share my experiences with my friends back home through social media and I’m always eager to see their posts of their adventures as well.

I will always love Philadelphia, but it’s going to be difficult to take pictures here as crisp and beautiful as the ones in Israel.

Leaving the Land of Milk and Honey

Can I go back yet?

It seemed like ten days came and went in the blink of an eye as I packed my bags to head back home. I knew people said that the trip would fly by, but I didn’t know it would be that fast. I definitely caught the travel bug and I’m already searching for new destinations I can visit in the future.

I learned a lot from this trip but one of the most important takeaways was to take in each moment as much as I could. Our guides on the trip kept reiterating that it was important to take what we learned back with us and try not to let our adventure become a distant memory.


This, to me, is one of the many occasions where social media proves as an important and valuable asset in capturing moments and memories. The instances I captured via social media will undoubtedly help cement my trip more vividly and personally.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and in my opinion, this is absolutely true. Israel made a huge impact on me, but as time goes on it will get harder and harder to remember specific details about places and what things looked like.

I’m so thankful that I now have these captured memories to look at any time I’m missing the Middle East.