Dead Sea, Israel

Last September I took  a long overdue trip to Israel. Overdue not because of religious ties or generational legacy, nothing so simple or straight forward.

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During the long vacation we took time for a mini adventure; my mother, best friend and I headed out from Jerusalem to see one of the original wonders of the world: Petra. We rented a car, hooked up ways on the iPhone and began a journey none of us will ever forget. As we twisted and turned on the open desert road, barely pushing 40mph up steep hills in the putt putt vehicle that could, a sense of comfort and familiarity took over me.

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Life was simple again. Just girls on a road trip without a schedule or responsibility, lots of coffee and the Israeli version of bugles to fill a certain someone’s pregnancy cravings.

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Along the way we stopped at the Dead Sea, twice actually. The first to a high end resort charging the equivalent of $200 US for access to their beach, towels and go carts – an amount we chose not to pay and instead used that choice to justify seven or eight other luxury purchases later in the trip. We settled down the coast and I looked forward to a nice refreshing dip in the salty sea as the desert sun beat down. I covered myself in the traditional healing mud (purchased for 30 shekels at the gift store) and stepped in to the murky deep.

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The shallow water was uncomfortably warm and the salt burned as it entered my unprotected pores and unhealed cuts. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, although floating without effort is a surprisingly surreal experience. I rinsed the salt water off in a cool outdoor shower and looked over at the Jordanian mountainside, mentally preparing myself to transition into a deeper level of the conservative Middle East.

During the road trip across Israel and through Jordan I thought often about how I would describe this experience in a blog centered around a doughnut swimsuit. Ultimately, I remember my experience in terms of the women I was with. The pregnant mother, spending her first nights away from her 18 month old son, translating and navigating through two countries in the culture she dove into seven years ago. The mother excitedly fulfilling a life long dream with one daughter under the shadow of grief from the death of the other. The Indian women in Petra, dressed beautifully in their richly colored saris, walking barefoot in the sand and rocky stairs, asking to take pictures with us: the tall, pale Americans.

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The Beaudoin women in Jordan, eager to practice their impressive English with a group of women traveling internationally without their husbands. And the woman, once lost, finding her way through the complexity of a life she had feared.

What connects these women who live so far away, both geographically and culturally? They are some seriously bad ass babes.

Post written by Daphne Monaco

Shop the Dough Naughty Cross Backed Bikini Top and the Dough Naughty High Waisted Swimsuit Bottoms that Daphne wore throughout her trip to Israel.