Long Distance: Holly Everett

Age: 29
Here: Photographer and calligrapher (maisoneverett.com)
There: Focusing on being a mom and exploring the city while her husband studies law

What was your job in Baton Rouge?
I’ve been a photographer for the past five years. My final project before our move was photographing over 30 local businesses for The Scout Guide, Volume I, which was really special for me to work on before moving away. I also started working on my calligraphy over the last year while we were in Baton Rouge because I knew it was something I could take with me wherever we moved.

What brought you to Tel Aviv?
My husband, Greg, is studying abroad for his third year of law school at Tel Aviv University. We always had the idea in the back of our minds to go abroad, and we couldn’t really believe that it all came together. Tel Aviv was the city we agreed upon—he wanted somewhere in the Middle East, I wanted a walkable city where I felt safe going out and about with our son. Being on the coast was a plus!

What do you do now that you’re based there?
My main job is being Mom to our 2-year-old son. My visa doesn’t allow me to work locally, so I knew job options would be limited. Because I own my own business, I’ve been able to do freelance work for calligraphy clients back in the States. I also opened an online shop three months before moving, and I have a part-time employee in Baton Rouge who fulfills and ships orders for me. It’s been a good season to step away and reassess my business, and I’m working on ways to grow it when I get to the States.

What were some concerns you had about moving to Tel Aviv?
I had typical concerns in regards to how to prepare for the move and what to expect daily life would be like with our son all day, every day. Then the conflict between Israel and Hamas (in the Gaza Strip) broke out a few months before our departure. That became a big concern as it lingered on, but we didn’t want to make any drastic decisions based on fear. We stayed in communication with people here in Tel Aviv who helped give us a more accurate account of what was going on. And thankfully, by the time we got to Israel the conflict had been over for a few weeks.

Now that you’re living there, do you still have those concerns?
No, not really. One thing we’ve noticed being here is that, when there is conflict, it stays relatively concentrated. People always referred to Tel Aviv as a “bubble” in Israel, and once you live here you can understand why. I feel very safe exploring our city every day.

What has been your favorite part of living there?
The fact that we can walk everywhere, and everywhere we want to be is within a 15-minute walk—the outdoor market where I buy all of our fresh groceries, the sea, our favorite bakery with a playground nearby, an amazing gelateria … I could go on!

What has been the most challenging part of living there?
Finding a sense of community and building relationships is definitely the most challenging part so far.

What do you miss most about Baton Rouge?
The people: my family, dear friends and the creative community I got know over the past year. Baton Rouge is really fortunate to have the people it does.

What is essential for you to do when you come back to visit?
Eat a good bowl of gumbo, stop by Highland Coffees to see all the regulars (from when I worked there over seven years ago!) and enjoy a long family meal at Pinetta’s.

What advice would you give to people wanting to visit Tel Aviv?
Come on! You have the Mediterranean Sea, walkable neighborhoods, cafés full of fresh food on nearly every corner, perfect weather and an incredible culture to experience … what more could you ask for?