Remember that girl – Day 25


Remember that South African girl that went to Israel to find herself. With no plan and a tent on her back. She hiked around the sea of Galilee, slept on either side of the Jordan river. Hiked in the desert. 

I hardly remember her.

It feels like a different lifetime.

The adventure, the blisters on my feet, the depression, the laughs, the trees and the smells. It all seems like a lifetime ago.

I was so lost and confused I thought – but I was just me all along. I never lost myself. I just discovered new fragments of myself. I just learned and I suffered and I cried in ways I didn’t imagine possible. Not crying tears, but literally crying in my soul.

But I left all the horrors there.

My last night in the desert – I left all that horror and that pain and fear in the Rhamakesh crater at Mitzpe Ramon. I left it all behind.

I went looking for myself in the wild – Day 11


I had to go to Israel because I had to do it for me. The woman as well as the little girl inside me needed to go. I needed to get away from the hurt and the pain that was haunting me. I needed to be alone and to fend for myself and fight for myself and be wild and free. I needed to make a new identity and I needed to be free to be who ever the hell I wanted to be and I had to start again.

Ironically who I needed to be was me, I didn’t even change and I didn’t even try to start over. Through the mountains and the waterfalls and the desert it was still me. It was still Danielle with her past and her fears and her dreams and I didn’t pretend to be anyone else.

I had to go because I had to find myself.

Little did I know that I had been with myself all this time. I knew and I know who I am. Maybe tiny fragments got lost and pieces fell away and there were new facets to my being that were growing. But I was still myself during it all.

That is why I had to go. Because I would never have learned that it had been me all along.

I would never have realised that I was in fact the strong woman that left an abusive marriage and I would never have recognised the compassion and the hope I have for people. Things like love and family wouldn’t have become my everything, the need to be a mother would never have made itself so apparent had I not run far far away from it all. My relationships have been strengthened and I feel the beauty of nature on my skin every day now and the sparkles in animals eyes.

There is a fire burning in my heart now. A fire so strong that it will never be put out. Perhaps that is why I had to be stripped bare and thrown into the wild. Perhaps I needed to learn my own strength. Only once I was forced to question every corner of my existence, my morals and my choices, and only when I was threatened with unbearable pain and abandonment would my true fire start to burn.

Perhaps that is why it all happened and that is why I had to leave the city that I was born in and I had to run far away and grow on my own.

Now its all in the past and theres a fire burning in my heart and my soul. Now all that remains are those memories that I left on the top of a mountain in the Golan Heights in Israel while looking over the beautiful landscapes of Syria. Thats where I left it all, in the calm of the valleys when hiking along the Jordan river.

All there is left to do now is freely be myself no matter how much that girl was judged and tortured, in the end, she is all I have.


Hiking up the green trail seemed like a good idea at the time – Day 12 


Oh my fucking word. 

The desert is not your friend. 

It’s incredible. Too beautiful for words. But hiking here isn’t a joke. 

‘Just don’t come back up the green trail’ they said. 

But noooooo. Danielle thinks she’s tough. She thinks she can conquer any mountain. 

So I hiked back up the green trail and my cheeks have never been so red. 

Minefield on your left, Minefield on your right, best go straight – Day 4

I did it!

I slept on the Northern side of the Jordan river 🙂 it was so amazing to be back in my tent. I loved every second of it.

I hiked the Gilabon and along the Jordan river. The Gilabon was my favorite, it was absolutely magnificent. There was a section that was a meter wide and on each side there was barbwire with signs saying minefields, with small tunnels that were covered with grass and you had crawl underneath.

I am scratched and bruised all over my legs.

I forgot my fork, so I ate my dinner with the edge of my toothpaste tube hahahaha.

In nature.

It’s where I belong and it’s where I am happiest.

Who knew.

I have always been a city girl, I love make up and I love doing my hair. I love fine wine and painting my nails and dressing up.

But boy does it feel good to be in a war zone, scratches on my legs, cheeks blood red, hair filthy and carrying 10kilograms on my back…

Quick day hike – Day 14 

Today was my day off at the hostel. Went for a hike to the Zavitan waterfall and made lunch there. It was absolutely magnificent! 

I’m going to take a notebook next time and relax there and write. It’s so magical! 

I feel much more at home when I am in nature with myself. 

Food wise things were good! So I’m going to bed with a smile painted across my face tonight 😊

Settling in – Day 9 

You walk and you walk and you walk.

I thought I would reflect and think about my ex husband, about my divorce and my current relationship. My future, what my plans are because I currently have no job. I live in a tiny room behind my uncles house. 

But I don’t contemplate these things. 

I focus on my steps and the wind and the view. My sore feet, the straps of my backpack digging into my skin, shoulders red. Where will I sleep tonight? Will I see anyone camping or will I be alone again? 

Here and now and survival. 

That’s all I think about really.

I have pitched my tent at Ha’on and I have a beautiful view of the Sea of Galilee, opposite me, across the ocean I see the city lights of Tiberius where I woke up yesterday. 

I’m settling in. I’m making pasta and I’m writing for the first time and I am feeling calm.

I am content. 

Looking forward to snuggling in my sleeping bag 😊

I have no idea what I am doing – Day 7 

I caught a bus to Tiberius and I have no fucking idea what I am doing here.

Like seriously. Who the fuck decides to backpack with no plan through a country that is a war zone?

Honestly I am sitting in a mall and I when I step out of this mall. I am not sure where I am heading to. I’m going to walk 10km’s to the Sea of Galilee and then what?

I am a moron.

Also I feel so bad about kissing the guy. Ugh I miss Andrew,

I didn’t tell Andrew exactly. But he knows, I gave him the just of it. He said

‘Look, just be free ok, live in the moment. I miss you. You going to be ok, you need this time for yourself and you need to just be wild and do whatever you want. You are in such a confused space, just be. You need this. When you get back, I will be here’

I think he is a saint.

I feel like I don’t deserve him sometimes. What did I do to get so lucky to have such a special person in my life.