Floating at the Lowest Place on Earth


Well, I’m back.  Mostly.  Maybe not so much mentally (in fact I just asked my husband: What’s the word for when you are here physically but not ____?)  Yea, my head still feels a bit stuffed with the cottony bits of jet lag.

6,000 miles + 25 hours of travel time +  7 hour time difference = very little sleep.

Our trip had high points and low points.  It was both relaxing (no dinner making! the beach!) and exhausting (plane delays that added up to a 41 hour travel time to get to Israel, coupled with my insane flying jitters). But a bonus of coming back from vacation? (Other than my own, comfy bed.)  I am ready to get back to work.  I missed writing, reading blog posts and checking in on Twitter and Facebook.

And I hope to jump right back in as soon as possible.  That is once I get myself out from under the mail pile (virtual and actual).  It’s quite the shock going from thinking, Hmm, I wonder where we should go for dinner tonight? –to bill paying, grocery shopping, laundry and an upcoming wisdom tooth extraction (I’m playing the responsible adult to my son’s soon to be drugged state–here’s hoping I get a good night’s sleep–this is my child who once hallucinated after a dose of cough syrup).

Still I have some uplifting thoughts to pick from between the cottony spaces in my brain!

Because I saw some amazing, beautiful and historical sights from Masada, to the Dead Sea.

dead sea masada view_opt

 This is a view of the Dead Sea from atop Masada.

The Dead Sea is 1,388 feet below sea level and is the lowest place on Earth.  It is super salty–over 30% salinity.  While in the water, I touched my pinkie finger to my tongue–and it was so salty, it stung for a moment.  Note: You do not shave before taking a dip in the Dead Sea!!

dead sea mineral beach_opt

 Pretty, right?


This is a little embarrassing to admit, but I kind of thought the Dead Sea would look more like a black lake, but as you can see, the color of the water looks more like a view of the Caribbean than some imagined Bubonic plague-like body of  water.

Although we all looked scary after applying the Dead Sea mud.

 dead sea mud_opt

It was messy and smelled a bit like sulfur, but applying the mud was a fun experience.  And apparently healing, due to the mineral content.


But by far the coolest part of the Dead Sea experience?

The floating!!  It is effortless.  Due to the high salt content, you cannot fully submerge in this water.  It is denser than my travel bogged mind.


 dead sea floating_opt

 And treading water is unnecessary–the water holds you upright, even when you wade deeper.

So you just kick back and relax, because even at the lowest point on Earth, YOU CANNOT SINK.


“You know when you’re floating on your back in the lake, the water rises and falls against your ears? So that for half a second you can hear everything around you and then for the other half a second everything’s muted? It almost feels like your suspended between two worlds.”

― Tricia Rayburn, Siren


And floating there, in the very warm waters of the Dead Sea, I realized the hopeful lesson in that experience (yes, I was blogging in my head–I couldn’t help it).  I thought, how encouraging is to feel that even at the lowest depths, we simply cannot stay at the bottom?


“Still, what I want in my life is to be willing to be dazzled—to cast aside the weight of facts and maybe even to float a little above this difficult world. ”

― Mary Oliver


Days, vacations, life, they do not always go as we planned.  But even when we find ourselves sinking to the lowest points, there are moments of hope to be found.


“When the tides of time turn against you,

And the storms of life sink your boat,

Don’t cry and scream and holler,

Just turn on your back and float.”

~Ed Norton


Here’s to everyone getting some floating time this week!!

Any travel high points or low points you can share?  Or jet lag fighting tips for me to file away?

I love it when you share 🙂  I missed chatting with you while I was gone!


55 thoughts on “Floating at the Lowest Place on Earth

  1. So glad you had a nice vacation, Coleen, and that you’re back. I just got back too, but no jet lag – only a long drive and a ferry ride to Nantucket 🙂 The Dead Sea looks and sounds awesome. I bet there’s some new story material in there somewhere 🙂


    1. I love car rides a million times more than the plane–maybe a gazillion. But I’m glad I got to see what I did! Glad you had a good time too Susanna!
      I’m sure some story might be hidden somewhere in my trip–maybe a horror one involving planes? Then again maybe not, I’d never be able to get on another one!!


  2. Wow – what an incredible vacay. I can’t wait to see more beautiful pictures. The Dead Sea sounds and looks ahhhmazing!!!!
    Traveling can definitely damper a vacay. I remember one trip. On our way home we got swamped at an aiport for over 40+ hours because of a snow storm. The storm was so bad that even airport staff couldn’t get in so there were no shops, dinners etc open. It was pretty bleak and did cast a bit of a shadow on the trip. Now we try to travel at better times of the year! LOL!
    Wonderful to have you back!!!


    1. Thanks Natalie! It was truly a unique experience!
      Traveling at better times of the year is definitely a good tip–it is NOT fun to be stuck at an airport. I thought I packed snacks for emergencies, but now I know to also pack an actual pillow or blanket. I am not above laying down on the floor–ha ha.


  3. Wow, what an amazing experience. It sounds fabulous and now something I need to put on my bucket list. So glad you’re home safely and we’ll get some more blogs from you. I look forward to them.


  4. Beautiful blog! So glad you enjoyed your vacation. Did you feel the spirit of all that has happened around you while there?


    1. Thanks Pat! There is definitely a sense of intensity in Israel–spiritually, historically and more. I can’t even compare it to any other place I’ve been–even the landscapes (desert, beach, farm, mountain) are all compacted into such a tiny country!


  5. That sounds amazing! I thought it would be black too lol. Take it easy adjusting to normal. Glad to have you back!


  6. Sounds like you had quite the adventure, Coleen! Welcome back. 🙂 I hope you have a chance to catch up on your z’s soon. It’s amazing how much time difference can affect us, right?

    Road-tripping with my mom is my most recent travel highlight. My husband and I flew in to Minnesota then drove with her to Wisconsin to visit other family. We took photos by every odd looking thing we could find along the way and have loads of memories to laugh smile on.


  7. You wrote: “…how encouraging is to feel that even at the lowest depths, we simply cannot stay at the bottom?”

    Love that, Coleen! Welcome back. I can’t wait to read more about your trip. Even though jet lag stinks, your post is uplifting.


  8. I love the lessons you gleaned from this experience, Coleen. Israel is my number one top destination. If I could take a trip to any other country, it would be Israel. I would love to have my own photo of floating in the Dead Sea. My father has been there a few times and talked about the amazing experience.

    Hope you can catch up on sleep and get some writing done! Welcome back.


    1. It’s funny, but it was never on my list, but now I am happy to have the experience. For me this trip was another argument for the benefits of stepping out of the box! I imagine you will get your floating photo one of these days Julie 🙂


  9. Wow, what a fantastic trip that must’ve been! Makes my 9-hour flight home from France look like nothing. Jet lag, I had it for sire! And found the travek agent wasn’t lying when she said the beat way to deal with it is ignore it. Much easier coming from France than China (went three years ago). Good luck getting over yours and have fun digging back into your writing!


    1. Nine hours still is rough! So glad I didn’t know my travel would be like that! The only way I could’ve prepared differently was by bringing a real pillow (instead of those neck ones)! 🙂


  10. The Dead Sea sounds like it would be great for me since I never mastered the art of floating on my back. But I don’t envy you as I hate flying. Now, if I could drive there…. Our last trip was 4 days in a car driving home from Illinois to Nevada. It was our honeymoon (not much of one, I admit) and we almost divorced. But we are still together after a full 8 weeks of marriage. Next week is our second anniversary. Two full months of wedded bliss- not counting that one bad day! Welcome back!!


  11. What an incredible experience, Colleen! As a former archaeologist, I’ve always to visit Israel and James Michener’s The Source (which covers 10,000 years of history on one site in Israel) is one of my favorite books of all time. That travel time is insane though. Welcome back!


  12. Glad you’re back! What a fabulous vacation and amazing memories! That is a lot of travel time though. I hope you get in a good nap and get your mind unbogged soon! That’s always a crazy part after a great vacation. 🙂


  13. I’m not a huge fan of multi-leg flights, especially with a two-year-old. All my adventures this summer have been in my head. My hubby visited the Dead Sea. He talked about the floating. I’ll have to check if he covered himself in mud or not. Sounds like a fun trip. Welcome back.


    1. No, travel delays with a toddler are even more exhausting! I remember my first plane ride as a mom–my daughter was only 2 months old and I had to sit between two strangers while nursing her. Awkward! 🙂


  14. I am glad I got to share part of the trip with you! Glad you are back and looking forward to another relaxing lunch 🙂 Let me know if you need any help with the tooth-man.


  15. Wow, sounds like an awesome trip, Coleen, despite the long hours of traveling and all the delays. Those photos are gorgeous and the experience of floating in the Dead Sea sounds amazing and so peaceful. Except for shaving before going in. Owie! Thanks for the tip. Who woulda thunk? Welcome back. We missed you and your wonderful posts. You sure found some great quotes to go with it!


  16. I envy you…and I don’t, Coleen. I grew up with way too many disaster movies (think the Airport series and Jaws). Of course I’ve been afraid of heights since I was little, so that doesn’t help either. Anyway, I’ll never see Israel, except in pictures (if I have any say in the matter).

    Count me among the people who thought the Dead Sea would be blackish water. I also thought it would be kind of thick (like partially set Jello) and smell like rotted fish. But it’s beautiful!

    So glad you and your family had a great time there! As for jet lag…there’s something about Melatonin. I can’t remember exactly how you’re supposed to take it, but it might be worth Googling. 🙂


    1. I have the same disaster movies in my head. I only stuck a toe in the Med Sea which caused my husband to roll his eyes and say there are no sharks in the Med Sea. So not true, I Googled it. There are plenty of species of sharks in there. LOL
      Thanks for the melatonin tip, I will keep that in mind for the next time (which won’t be anytime soon). 🙂


  17. Welcome back, Coleen! Really missed your inspiring posts, but glad you had a lovely holiday. As someone who is most uncomfortable in water, I’ve always wanted to go to the Dead Sea so I don’t have to worry about drowning. It looks so relaxing! Gorgeous message, too 🙂


  18. Hi Colleen and welcome back! Looks like a fun time was had by all!

    One thing that really helps me with jet lag is not eating. If I have to travel a long ways, I just snack on non-sugary stuff and never enough to fill me completely up. A full tummy makes you tired, so try that next time and see if it helps a little. Of course traveling that far for that long, you’d have to eventually eat something, but try snacking next time.

    I think it’s interesting that the lowest point in the Continental United States and the highest point in the Continental United States are within a few hours drive of each other. Both are in the same county and can be seen from each other. Weird fact, but true. Those points being Death Valley and Mount Whitney.

    So, that’s your fun fact for today!

    Looking forward to more pictures.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


    1. Thanks for the jet lag tip! And for the fun fact–I didn’t know that one. It is interesting that they are that close, kind of speaks to the whole high point low point idea 🙂


  19. What an amazing experience, Coleen! So glad you got to go. I do not envy you the flight though. I’m not big on long flights. Ugh. LOL. But it sounds like it was worth it. Welcome back! Isn’t it wonderful to finally sleep in your own bed? That’s is always the thing I look forward to most. They have places in LA where you can go to float on beds of salt water. I’ve never tried it, but it has been suggested to me. Maybe you can make up for what you missed that way. 😉


    1. I did get in the Dead Sea, it was the Mediterranean that I balked at. 🙂 I knew with the Dead Sea that it was free of marine life! LOL But the seabed in LA sounds like a pretty cool alternative. Thanks Debra!


  20. Sounds like an amazing vacation and I love the pictures. Welcome back.

    I’m awed by the great quotes in your posts every time. You’re an inspiration. And your new photo looks really good 🙂

    The flight to Israel is really long. My best jet lag tip is to time your arrival so that you can go to bed in the late evening at local time. You’ll feel refreshed the next day after night’s sleep, and can start sightseeing with new vigor.


  21. What a wonderful experience! I have to confess myself. That is not what I would have expected the Dead Sea to look like either. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your trip with us.


  22. I’m not much of a traveler, so no stories from me, but I enjoyed hearing about your trip. So interesting about the Dead Sea. Can’t wait to share that tidbit with my family.


  23. Soooo cool!!!!

    I just love the entire area from western to eastern Asia.

    I use a dead sea soap – I’d love to actually get into that salty goodness some day.


  24. Love Edward Norton’s quote!

    I can see that you were missed Coleen! I do hope after 40 plus hours you did have a wonderful time. Do not shave before entering the Dead Sea. That’s funny. I have been in water with high salt/mineral content and it’s crazy. You can’t sink. It’s kinda cool actually. And I’m sorry for the jet lag. It’s always worse coming west/home than going. Don’t ask me why. But it takes about 5 days until your body resets. So you should be feeling more like yourself now. Hopefully. Missed blogging? Are you whacked? LOL!

    Glad your back! Welcome home!


    1. Yes, I think we both know I am sufficiently whacked!!! 🙂
      I think you’re right about the 5 days thing–someone else told me it’s a day for each hour of time difference. Which means I should be catching up um, today. ha ha


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