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My (2nd) Junior Year Abroad — 40 Years Later… This time In Israel

On the surface, real life is a lot like college - but it's gotten much more high-tech
An aerial view of the Temple Mount, with the southern wall and archaeological park in the foreground. (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)
An aerial view of the Temple Mount, with the southern wall and archaeological park in the foreground. (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)

I just moved out of my Airbnb in Tel Aviv and moved to Jerusalem for one week. I will be staying at The YMCA 3 Arches, which has an incredible hotel right across the street from the King David Hotel.

Less is more. My life in boxes, a computer case, and a guitar.

I can’t wait to meet the wonderful people who make up the Made in Jerusalem community.

Next week is Rackspace Hosting Startups Week in the Nation’s Capital where I will be holding office hours and helping startups align their communications strategies with their business strategies. I lived in Jerusalem in July and August and I thought it was time to return.

Over the last 15 months, I have mastered the art of being mobile, living with bare necessities, realizing that less in your life is really more.

When I first arrived here, I was having breakfast with Sharon Kuper and told her that after my first three weeks, it started to gel that I just might be here for a while.

Her response: “Alan, look at this as your Junior Year Abroad,” a program most college students in the U.S. take when they go overseas to study in their third year.

Israelis do something different; they travel for a year after their military service, and then go on to college.

Forty years ago, I was a Junior at Antioch College and went off to London for my year abroad. I studied, worked, discovered great music, went to amazing concerts, and have friends to this day from this life changing experience.

Forty years later, I am pretty much doing the same thing. I am studying, working, have a wonderful guitar teacher and have friends here who I have known for 20 plus years

I am pretty much the same, other than I have a credit card, a home, material stuff, two wonderful children, a wonderful family, and friends.

Instead of vinyl, my music is in the cloud. I can walk into any bank or up at an ATM machine and it prints out money in the local currency. If I want to call anywhere in the world, it’s pennies or free. My children can reach me any time, anywhere, with a push of a button.

We did not have this forty years ago.

The Beatles had already broken up, and now I can listen them on Spotify, anywhere in the world. The Rolling Stones are still together, and of course, Paul and Ringo still tour, as do others who who been part of the emotional fabric and music of my life.

DSC03964 DSC03961 DSC03960

In the photos above, you will see one box with a Vox amp, HP printer, and a juicer I got on Amazon. Plug these in and rock, print, juice.

I have a book in my head I am going to start formulating next year and about this experience.

Much like my Junior Year Abroad in 1973–74, this experience in 2014–15 has been life changing.

Terrorism existed back then, as it does now. The Irish Republic Army did evil things in the subways of London. I don’t have to elaborate on what happens here sometimes, and I will tell you that ironically, it’s the safest place on earth. Regardless, its seems like humanity prevails, and good music wins every time.

I think there is a huge market of people who are between 50 and 70 (that is my focus target) who have raised their children, love to work, and want to travel and incorporate work into their travel.


It’s amazing what you can do, how the Internet lets you create something new, and more than anything, create your own reality.I am in a different life cycle and could not do this way back, when I was married, when we were having children, etc.


While I traveled for work, they were short hops back and forth Israel and mostly to trade shows and conferences for clients.

The photos above are a reflection of my life and how I get along, even though I own a home in San Antonio which I miss and love. I miss my friends back home, the community at Geekdom and living in a wonderful and culturally rich city that San Antonio has to offer.

7,500 miles to the east, I have an other community — and blessed to be living and working in the second largest startup ecosystem in the world, and one where Tel Aviv, Haifa, Nazareth, Be’er Sheva and Jerusalem, all have their own respective communities and vibes. I have been welcomed and feel loved wherever I go.

The plastic tubs came from Target on Austin Highway in San Antonio. When I go home, I fill it up with toiletries, office supplies, and my downfall, goodies from the Apple store.

As I travel, I will buy wines and other goodies I find in duty free stores and share them.

I have clothes for winter, spring, summer, and even though the seasons are mild here, when I travel, i may need something lighter or heavier.

I am returning to the same AirBN on January 3, and the owner who I rent from let me store the tubs on the back porch. They are covered in plastic, and everything is replaceable. It’s just stuff.

This experience is not.

This journey is not over.

Coming soon… Graduate School.

A big shout out to Robert D. La Gesse who believed in all this, and tutored me on the principle of ‪#‎BeHelpful‬.

More to come…

I hope everyone had a good Christmas.

About the Author
Alan Weinkrantz is a Tech PR / Startup Communications advisor to Israeli and U.S. companies, and is the Brand Ambassador and Senior Advisor for James Brehm & Associates, one of the leading IoT (Internet of Things) strategy and consulting firms.
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