a fearless travelling trio...
Rebecca Finkel is
an American Journeywoman who learned very early in life
that her fearless mother was her favorite travelling companion.
About their latest international escapade, Rebecca writes...
had done it again. Somehow she had managed to endanger our
lives one more time. I don't see how she can consider me
the most important person in her life when she is constantly
taking me to the middle of nowhere and in the middle of
falling in Iraq...
We were scheduled to
leave for Jordan when the U.S. first started dropping bombs
on Iraq. I received a phone call from my mother at seven
in the morning.
"We're still going
to Petra, Rebecca. I don't care if the President is getting
impeached and bombing Iraq. We have tickets, and we're going."
"Of course we're going.
I never even thought we wouldn't be going."
"Good -- because we
are. I'll pick you up tomorrow."
"Great. Just great."
"It'll be like in Egypt
when the terrorists were attacking tourists, and we were
out sightseeing and completely oblivious to the danger."
"That was a fantastic
"Yes, that was one
of the best. Back in the saddle again."
"Back in the saddle
again. I can't wait to go."
bus attacked in Cairo...
I hung up the phone
and tried to go back to sleep but to no avail. I was so
excited about going to Jordan; I had never been there before.
The thought of traveling with my mom was exciting as well.
One thing was certain, there was never a dull moment with
I've been traveling
since I was a young child. In fact, my parents met on an
airplane (traveling was actually one of the few things they
enjoyed together). When they split up six years ago, I was
in my senior year of high school. My mom called "a bucketshop"
and booked us on the first available flight out of the country,
which happened to be to Egypt. Somewhere between the wonders
of Karnac and the train to Alexandria, the two of us were
It was (in retrospect) the perfect therapy for a newly broken
home. Little did we know that everyone back in the States
was frantically calling the tour agency to find out if we
were still alive because a bus full of tourists had been
blown up in Cairo. We were happily dipping pita into babaganoush
down the Nile while the Islamic fundamentalists haunted
the rest of our family's imaginations. As my mom explained
to them later, "We were having a grand time. Everyone we
met was so friendly. Was there really a problem there?"
interferes with grandma's plans...
That is why it never
even occurred to me that we wouldn't be going to the Near
East. Also, we were going to meet up with my grandmother
who is now living outside of Tel Aviv in Israel. Saddam
wouldn't dare interfere with my grandmother's plans. This
is a woman who, at 67 years old, has hiked the Karakoroum
Mountains, gone ice climbing with a pick ax twice her size,
and has generally wrecked havoc in more remote areas than
even National Geographic knows about. Of course, it's not
her fault that a natural disaster seems to strike in every
single country she happens to be in. There was a landslide
in northern India, an earthquake in Japan, a monsoon in
China, and... the list continues. But she always comes back
with presents, and pictures of herself looking like Rita
Hayworth on a camel, and regaling everybody with tales of
how divine the trip has been. Obliviousness must run in
the family -- or perhaps it's really the only way to travel
to a developing nation.
mom and I...
When we finally arrived
in Jordan, we set out for Petra right away. As we three
generations plus a guide, and a policeman watched the desert
whiz by, it occurred to me that I was truly lucky to have
the perfect traveling companions. It's sometime difficult
to travel with other people. Most of the time nobody else
wants to see the same sights or do the same activities.
But Madelon (my mom) and I have a rhythm, a method for taking
each place by storm. We understand each other and know what
the other is interested in doing. There's no guilt if something
on the agenda is omitted, and there's nothing to do but
make up if we argue. After all, she is my mom.
a grandmother/mother/daughter trio, we've noticed that even
in the countries where men are the most macho, we're treated
with a great deal of respect. For fear of harassment, I
would not necessarily wish to travel alone in places like
Turkey, Egypt, or Jordan. But, as part of a female family
unit, there have never been any problems whatsoever. In
fact, in Petra the Jordanians were beside themselves with
hospitality and couldn't seem to do enough for us. This
respect for the matriarchal line even included an outrageously
bumpy and smelly chariot ride "a la Ben Hur" on the Roman
cobblestone streets on the way out of Petra.
it a try with mom...
not sure if my mother raised me to be a great traveling
companion or if I just turned out like that by an odd chance
of fate. However, I am quite certain that mother and daughter
traveling is something all women must do in their lives.
You not only find out where you are going, but where you
came from. This may be why I can't help but smile when I
hear my mother utter what has become our traveling motto,
"Back in the saddle again."
- daughter proverbs round the world...
mother becomes a liar and a thief for the love of her children.
As mother, so daughter.
Every mother thinks her daughter is beautiful.
the mother who can cure her daughter's fears.
Like mother, like daughter.
See the mother, and then marry the daughter.
Ed. note: I excerpted
these proverbs from a book that my own daughter Erica gave
me for my last birthday. The book is entitled "Illuminating
Wit, Inspiring Wisdom - Proverbs From Around The World"
by Wolfgang Mieder. I love both Erica and my new present!