How traveling the world transformed a family

Darren Gladstone doesn’t just take care of his children; he also sees them as role models.

Why? Because in 2018, he and his wife, Shoshi, took a year-long journey from their home in Tzur Yigal with their children, Mili, who was then 9 years old, Eyal, 8, and Guy, 5. They traveled to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia , The Philippines, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Nepal, India and the Maldives.

“We thought it would be difficult for the kids to keep up with our travels, but they did it in spades,” says Gladstone. “The experience transformed our family. There was equality, not in authority, but in ability. “

The journey certainly had its challenging moments. For example, Shoshi and Guy were hospitalized in the Philippines over the New Year. They both had dengue fever and Shoshi also had typhoid fever. Within a month, Guy returned to the hospital, this time in Vietnam, for hernia surgery.

Gladstone documented her adventures on a blog that captured the family’s many exotic and exciting experiences in words, pictures, and videos.

Like when in the Philippines they found themselves in the company of a Greek anthropologist, a documentary film crew, tribal villagers and a box of eight rare wild pigs designated for a breeding program.

Darren and Shoshi Gladstone enjoy a local celebration in Nepal (credit: courtesy)

Or the beautiful 10-day hike through the Annapurna mountain range, which ended in a little drama when they crossed Thorong La pass at 5,416 meters despite Guy battling altitude sickness and required a short stop at the hospital. local to get some oxygen.

However, his father reported: “The children want to do it all over again. They never complained once; quite the opposite. “

Wherever the Gladstones went, they met newly graduated Israeli soldiers, as well as other Israeli families, with whom they were happy to hang out.

THE JOURNEY also eventually led to a new business venture. Since joining Aliyah in 2004 from London, Glasgow-born Gladstone has worked primarily in ad tech. This has included, among other jobs, spearheading UK operations for JDate; working in online marketing and co-founder of a mobile media company that he sold during his travels.

Around April 2021, in a Facebook group for Israelis who have taken long-term trips with their families, one of the members told Gladstone about Nir Even, who had developed an app for Israeli travelers.

“Nir had no commercial or marketing experience and was looking for a co-founder. After a few talks, I decided to join him on this journey. “

Travelot, which launched on September 25, is an AI-powered app that gives Israeli tourists access to other like-minded travelers and local businesses, unique activities and experiences, such as music lessons and cooking demonstrations, that they wouldn’t find. on a trip. sites.

“Traveling and taking vacations have become much more stressful in recent years due to the pandemic.

“Now, when we arrive at a destination, we want to know what is happening, what is open, what is accessible.
“Travelot brings together all those local businesses and activities you might not have heard of, those ‘hidden gems’ only the locals know about: the yoga teacher, the local running group, art classes, one-of-a-kind tour guides, local restaurants and soon.

“Users will also receive personal recommendations from real people, including where to go and what to do.”
Travelot was first launched in Eilat.

“We are excited to learn from there and expand to other destinations in Israel, probably Tel Aviv and Jerusalem,” says Gladstone. If all goes according to plan, then overseas cities are planned.

TEL AVIV is well known for Gladstone, having lived there after his aliyah.

He comes from a type of Zionist family very connected to Israel that visited Israel frequently. He used to say, ‘I wish I was born in Israel, but I don’t know if I could make aliyah.’ It seems too difficult. ‘

However, Gladstone left his advertising job in London for Israel during the year he turned 30, following his younger brother, Paul.

“I decided to quit my job and go to Israel for six months and see how it goes. I suppose I knew I would not return, but it was easier to say that it was for six months, “he explains.

Exactly one year later, he met Shoshi Mizrachi, a teacher, who started out as his roommate and ended up as his wife.

Aside from their year of traveling abroad, the Gladstone family spends a lot of time hiking and camping in Israel.

“We love the desert,” he says. “It’s just amazing.”

Coming from the UK, Gladstone greatly appreciates the Israeli weather and her sense of everyday security.
“People think Israel is a very unsafe place, but the reality is that I feel much safer here than in the UK on a Saturday night in the city center,” he says. “I love that my kids can go around the neighborhood and I don’t have to worry about them coming home.”

In fact, Gladstone says, the climate and lifestyle are what sustain it in Israel.

“Zionism is not the reason I am here. The more I live in Israel, the less my reason for being here is a connection to Israel and the more it is about the connection to the lifestyle.

“I am not religious, I don’t believe in anything, so the intersection of religion and state in Israel is problematic for me. When you live here, that intersection affects your daily life and maybe even the amount of money you have in your pocket. “

In addition to his work with Travelot, Gladstone is a partner in an advertising technology / cybersecurity company called Blaick, and this year he is beginning his studies in the Global Green MBA program at the University of Haifa.

He has a sister in London and a sister in Modi’in. His brother, who also lived in Tzur Yigal, recently moved his family to Glasgow for three years “to have a different experience,” explains Gladstone.

It seems that the appetite for world experiences is in the genes of the Gladstone family.

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