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Royal Monceau Hotels


Mom, Grandma and I
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...

My mother 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 harm's way.

Bombs 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." bomb

"That was a fantastic trip."

"Yes, that was one of the best. Back in the saddle again."

"Back in the saddle again. I can't wait to go."


Tourist 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 her around.

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 re-acquainted.bomb 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?"


Nobody 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. Travelling GradmaSaddam 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.

Grandma, 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.

Girl Power...Yes!As 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.

Give it a try with mom...

heartsI'm 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."

Mom - daughter proverbs round the world...

washing dishesA mother becomes a liar and a thief for the love of her children.

As mother, so daughter.

Every mother thinks her daughter is beautiful.

heartsIt's 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!





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