My brother Eyal and I were raised in paradise. It was the early 60’s in Israel and we had it all, loving parents, a carefree lifestyle and plenty of adventure that would need to sustain us for the years to come.
When we reached college age, we went our separate ways. I became a world traveler searching for answers in self-propelled adventures around the planet, and Eyal delved into the mystery and power of computer programming and was on track to greatness.
One morning our world came crashing down. Our father suffered a brain aneurism and despite my efforts to resuscitate him, he slipped away along with any family sanity. Our father left behind a financially unsustainable lifestyle and a devastated wife.
We each chose a different approach to pick up the pieces. I couldn’t bear my father’s encroaching on my life again and chose to take my bride around the world to find my lost paradise. Eyal stayed behind and tended to our mom and the struggling family business. We each stuck to our paths and a rift was created.
In 2004, Eyal was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and two years later he was rushed to the hospital with a heart attack. My little brother was hurting and my Mom was falling apart watching him withdraw into his intellect and his withered body. There was no place to hide and no place to run. Whether I accepted it or not, it was my time as the older brother to grow up.
I dug deep into my wiring for a vision to get us unstuck. It did not take long to find. I challenged Eyal to join me on a 400 mile bike trip from Jerusalem to our lost home in Eilat. Although Eyal found even walking on a treadmill to be challenging, he could not resist such an audacious challenge.
I began the uphill task of getting Eyal fit for this strenuous ride. But even before the first spin class, he was back in the hospital with what seemed like another cardiac episode. Sitting at Eyal’s bedside, we both agreed, we were going to ride together into Eilat no matter what.
The Israel Ride 2011, which is hosted by the Arava Institute, for the co-existence of Arabs and Jews, provided the perfect backdrop for the empowering adventure we took on our tandem bike “Camello”.
We rode through the landscape of our childhood dealing with both physical and mental hills and reached Eilat to find our Mom at the finish line waiting with outstretched arms. It was the coming together of so much angst, good energy and history in a single moment, the world stopped to take a breath. We have come full circle.