Jewish Journal


March 27, 2011

Relentless and Reluctant about Travel



Lisa Niver Rajna at Uncovering Jewish Morocco Travel Talk

My travel talk last week could have been a total bust. That was essentially what one Rabbi told me on December 2, 2010,

What is the worst-case scenario? Can you live with doing this talk if you have a small group size? Of course, the best case is your talk is to lots of people.

I felt at the time that he was trying to discourage me from giving a talk without the sponsorship of a specific group, but I think he was being realistic. What would make people leave their home on a rainy night when they could watch news about bombing Libya, the “American Idol” results show or the new “Gray’s Anatomy” on television? I wondered last week, would any of the people show up?

During the process of getting a room, creating publicity and writing my talk, one or two of my friends called me relentless, but I prefer the label tenacious. A different rabbi told me that I am “relentlessly tenacious.”  Maybe that is what is required in our society to do something really different. When my husband and I were away for a year in Asia on an eleven-day trip, camping in tents, called Gers to the Gobi Desert, a few of our companions said, “We just don’t want to go back home and watch television every night. While we are traveling we do such interesting things. We want to find a way to do that at home also.”

Now that we are home from our travels, I want to share my experiences and reluctant foibles of traveling. My Uncovering Jewish Morocco travel talk had 37 guests and well over 75 on the list of yes and maybe RSVPs. I spoke to so many travelers on the phone. It was really incredible!

One email about my talk (which was sent to my parents who were out of town):

Lisa did a fantastic job…she was charming, very enthusiastic, well prepared, delivery excellent, truly created a desire to see HER Morocco…..we loved our trip but must say she did it in depth with a purpose…we were tourists…and she introduced me to a taste I cannot believe I never enjoyed…CINNAMON sprinkled on orange…anyway, she was awesome…the photos George took were quite good too! So puff out your chest and take pride in knowing you have a very dynamic daughter.

I had great responses on the written survey we handed out at the end of the presentation. Many people said they would even come to another talk! How exciting!

Another email reminded me how so many cannot even imagine speaking to a group:

Just thought I’d let you know we thought you made a very good presentation and spoke confidently and warmly.  I guess speaking to a classroom every day gives you the background to speak to a room of adults, too.  They say that speaking before an audience is the thing that frightens people most.

I think that not traveling frightens me the most. I just love to be on the road exploring and learning. I look forward to sharing the video of my talk with you soon. Negotiations are in process for our next talk. If you want to be part of making that happen, contact me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

I often have to remember everything starts by taking the first step, and even though I seem relentless at times, I am frequently reluctant. “Taking a risk and a deep breathe, I said yes.” That is the line I wrote in our book about choosing to go with George on a yearlong career break in Asia. He asked me to quit my job, leave my condo and travel for a year in South East Asia. I said yes, but I had so many objections. It took a lot of negotiating for me to actually go.

Then last year he wanted to go to Morocco, where I said adamantly at first, I am not going there to mingle with those people.  As a place I did not want to visit at first, I did my research and realized the trip could be great. Usually when George wants to go somewhere and I don’t want to go, I end up having the time of my life. Poor expectations are good for something, I realize! An open mind is even better.

One survey respondent at the end of the talk said:

You were so confident and had a lot of interesting information. So glad I got off my couch to come.

I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog and think about your dreams and get ready because, We said GO travel! I hope that you will rise from your couch and take a first step today. I am soon going to book a flight for my next adventure. How about you?


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