The Empowering Fiat: My Mother Daughter Road Trip in Israel

The Empowering Fiat: My Mother Daughter Road Trip in Israel

Spur-of-the-moment getaways aren’t my style–as much as I wish they could be. As a freelance writer frequently juggling several projects simultaneously, I need to be deliberate about blocking out time–in advance–for vacations. Ditto for my husband, a CPA, with a raft of deadlines to meet throughout the year.

So with several assignments to finish and my husband, Michael, in the throes of tax season, a spontaneous sojourn abroad in January wasn’t anything I had ever done nor envisioned. But that changed with a phone call from my daughter, Rachel, who lives in Israel. She said her husband was going on a two-week business trip and wondered whether I could spare the time and visit her, perhaps even go on a mother daughter road trip.

Mother Daughter Road Trip
The Fiat!

As I walked from baggage check-in to security and onto the plane, a sense of independence and adventure accompanied me every step of the way.

It was an offer I couldn’t resist–and was determined to make it happen. With Mike working seven days and countless hours, I had more than enough alone time to wrap up all of my assignments before their due dates–and 10 days later, he dropped me off at JFK International for my non-stop flight to Israel.

Throughout the years during tax season, I had traveled domestically, without my husband, to attend conventions and visit family along the eastern seaboard of the United States. But since 1973, I hadn’t traveled to or from Israel solo. I had conflicting feelings–sorry that Mike’s work prevented him from joining me, thrilled for a bonding trip with my daughter. I also wasn’t sorry to miss another snow storm predicted to hit New York after my departure.

As I walked from baggage check-in to security and onto the plane, a sense of independence and adventure accompanied me every step of the way. It was a terrific yet odd feeling–since I was going to Israel, a country I had visited seven times before and staying with my daughter.

Those feelings didn’t dissipate when the plane landed. They set the tone for many of the decisions I made–as to where Rachel and I would go, what we would see and how we would get there.

mother daughter at the kotel in jerusalem
No trip to Israel is complete without a visit to the Western Wall

Eager to make this a special mom-daughter week, I suggested–and Rachel agreed–that we spend a night in Safed, which is both the center of Jewish mysticism and an artists colony. Rachel and I intended to explore the latter–which enabled us to satisfy our browsing and buying genes.

She calculated that a bus ride could take as long as four hours while a car would get us there in two-and-a-half hours. The math made renting a car a no-brainer, but I had some feelings of trepidation: for years, I had heard only negative remarks about “crazy Israeli drivers” and so, each time, my husband and I had gone to Israel and rented a car, he took to the wheel and I was the happy passenger in the front seat.

Rachel said she could drive the distance both ways. But despite my initial angst, I needed to prove to myself that I was capable to lead the way. And in an adorable Fiat, with its baby-blue exterior and interior, which reminded me of a retro kitchen, I drove up to Safed, navigating the winding paths that lead up to its historic quarter. A sense of empowerment breezed over me. It was the way I had felt in 1978 when, as a newbie driver, I had rented a car on a business trip in San Francisco and, as I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, I joyously sung out, “If they could see me now.” It remains one of my proudest, fondest memories.

Rachel said she could drive the distance both ways. But despite my initial angst, I needed to prove to myself that I was capable to lead the way.

At the very least, Rachel got to see me behind the steering wheel in Israel, I got to see Rachel drive back to Tel Aviv, and our Facebook friends “liked” our poses in front of the baby-blue Fiat.

And at the very most, I had the most wonderful time with my daughter, enjoying a week of mother-daughter walking and talking, as well as feasting on Israel’s culinary delights. It was an extraordinary experience I will always remember and look forward to sharing again and again–with Rachel and our husbands, but with me behind a Fiat’s wheel.

lunch in binyamina
Lunch in the sun in Binyamina

 

 


 

The Empowering Fiat: My Mother Daughter Road Trip in Israel

About Cara Trager

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