Editor's note: This is part of an occasional series on teachers' unique summer plans.

East Ridge High School English teacher Katie Carlson got a taste of three diverse cultures this summer when she traveled to Paris, Rome and Israel.

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Carlson said the trip, which lasted from June 13 to July 1, came together after she and her husband decided to take their belated honeymoon to Paris and Rome.

"It's basically been three years in the making," she said.

Israel came into the mix since Carlson has family there. And since they had never been, it seemed like a good time to visit.

"Once you have the travel bug you kind of just want to keep going," she said. "When in Rome, go to Israel."

Cultural divide

Carlson and her husband spent three days each in Paris and Rome.

Carlson did a lot of the basic tourist attractions -- the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, the Coliseum and the Roman forum.

"We also went to the opera one night, which was fabulous," she said. "And of course we ate a lot of delicious food."

After Rome, Carlson's husband returned to the United States, but Carlson continued on to Israel with her mother and an aunt to meet up with family.

"I'm glad we went from Rome to Israel because we went from Mediterranean to deeper Mediterranean," Carlson said. "Paris is so completely different that it would have been a shock."

During the trip, Carlson stayed with her relatives.

"It was very different than the first part of my trip because the first part of my trip was kind of 'touristy' and in Israel we were staying and living with natives."

While in Israel, Carlson traveled to the Dead Sea, visited the kingdom of Masada, the city of Okta and visited Krumran, a tomb where the ancient rabbis are buried.

Carlson said food was the biggest change between Europe and Israel.

"I'm pretty adventurous when it comes to trying different foods, so that wasn't that big of deal," she said.

Visiting Israel was an eye-opening experience for Carlson, she said, because she was able to see just how militarized Israel is.

"That constant military presence was a really big change for me," she said. "I knew going in that's what it was going to be, but it's different when you go into a restaurant and there's a guy sitting next to you and he has an AK-47 sitting under the table."

However, Carlson said she never felt in danger.

"As much as it's a militaristic nation," she said, "It's a really peaceful place."

Bringing home

Carlson said her trip helped her become more open and adventurous.

"It's all about the spirit of adventure," she said. "It's so easy to get into your routines and stay in your little neighborhood and not push yourself, but I'm more adventurous now."

Carlson also said another one of the things that she took away from her trip, to Israel in particular, is that we should be more concerned about what happens around the world.

"So often here, you hear 'there's unrest in the Middle East' and so often you tune it out because it's always going on and it doesn't directly impact us," she said. "But when it's 15 miles away, you realize how much it impacts them and how it should impact us more."