Synagogue Visit!

Tonight I visited a synagogue for the first time in my life. Coming from a “Church of England” background it was a very unique experience I won’t forget anytime soon.

Initially I planned to go with my partner, for moral support. But I emailed the congregation the wrong dates and my partner couldn’t make it. So I thought, you know what? What the heck! Just go and do it. The entire week leading up to this night I was battling my nerves. Especially me riding up on motorcycle to Exeter tonight. The fear kept telling my brain “Don’t do it, turn back, they will judge you.” But I inhaled, exhaled and went on.

I parked my motorcycle right next to the Schul. The building was positioned down an alleyway I had passed thousands of times but never actually noticed. Even the street was named “Synagogue”! How I had not noticed that before baffled me. I went up to the doors. I rung the bell a few times. Knocked the doors. No one in. I was about 30 minutes early. So a little bit eager.

Just moments after I was greeted by a great big man and another gentleman just behind him. I told them that I think I was a bit early and apologised.

We all went inside, I warmed up my hands from the cold bike ride up from Torquay. It was only about 20 miles but it takes its toll on your hands.

I spoke a little while about my interest in religions in general and Judaism. The man switched on the survelliance cameras which had me a little worried and also sympathetic. There were at least six different cameras set up to catch every view of the street. I could now see and prepare myself for more socialising as more and more people turned up to the door. I noticed bits of Hebrew up on the wall, old holocaust pictures, stars of David, it was very enlightening seeing it in person particularly meeting Jewish people in person also. As I chatted to Reese, we agreed that seeing things on the internet and experiencing them in real life are very different indeed.

I was then offered a prayer book and a Kippah to wear on my head. We all sat down to the back of the synagogue where the heating was most active. The inside was stunning. The place dated back from 1763.

The candles were then lit, a prayer was said, and we all sat back down.

We then started flipping through the book and reading. I was not speaking aloud as I was trying to observe what was going on around me, and what this strange language I was hearing meant. (Luckily they all had english text right next to the hebrew text, and also romanised characters of hebrew).

First off when everyone started singing in Hebrew I found it hard to settle in and let loose. There were some good voices and some bad and I found that distracting. But I really let myself go and learnt to just listen indiscriminately and really enjoyed the melodies and the sound of Hebrew. It was a very rough, but a very satisfying kind of language. Some parts were spoken in Hebrew and some in English. People around me were bowing as we reached the meditative parts of prayer and turning towards specific parts of the building, which at points I believed was facing towards Israel, Jerusalem. which I thought was respectful and also very mindful.

As the service came to an end, we all shook hands saying the phrase: “shabbat shalom!”

I then left the building, putting my biker gear on and reflecting on what I had just been through. Absorbing the melodies and thinking of the prayers.

It was a great religious experience and I recommend it to anyone interested in understanding and respecting other religions! Particularly in overcoming nerves and going out there and doing something for yourself!

And so the adventure still continues~

I’m back..

Hey guys. It feels like a lifetime I’ve been gone for but it’s only been a few measly weeks. But those few measly weeks have changed me so much. They’ve completely changed my life’s direction. Writing on the road was difficult. To me, writing is just another medium, y’know? I took to singing a lot. I sang everywhere I went on my motorbike, coming up with the lyrics was like writing to poetry to me and I got just as much release as I would sitting in my room, writing away.

I broke up with my long term girlfriend. I know what you’re thinking. I probably met some girls along the road. Sure, there were many temptations and that’s one of the reasons I split up with her. I feel like I can’t keep missing out on these experiences. I reached John O’ Groats and it became more and more apparent to me I need to do my own thing. I need to travel without being chained down. I need to experience other people. It was such a hard thing to finally accept. But y’know what, I am 50% of the relationship too and if I’m not happy and feel like I’m not growing, then I need to grow some balls and tell her the truth.

So that has been a major change in my life.

Another one is that I’ve finally found somewhere I’d love to move to. Glasgow! Beautiful city, love the Scots and there’s literally a tonne of surrounding nature if the city life gets too much for me.

Being on the road every day was addictive. I met so many people. I had so many genuine chats. Mostly drunken ones. But aren’t we all more honest when we’re drunk or high? There’s no holding back, no barriers stopping us. What a world we’d all live in if we were all drunk.

I learnt so much about my best friend too. We were never apart the entire two weeks. I feel like right now he should be right behind me suggesting where we should eat next or which girl takes he’s into. It’s helped us grow together as friends.

So right now I feel incredibly lonely, I feel like I’ve still got itchy feet. I need to move about, I need to write, I need to express. I suppose it’s also dealing with going back to work tomorrow too. I can just feel it looming over me. I suppose with life it’s all give and take, right?

Hope you’ve all been well. I know it’s a bit raw all this, but I like to be honest and human and I’m sure you guys can appreciate that. Hope you enjoy the pics too!

Europe tour happening next year for sure after I upgrade the bike. I will miss the trusty little ped.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.