Turning a Dream Vacation to Israel into Reality

Bat Mitzvah Israel

I like to think I live “in the city”, but the reality is that I live in the ‘burbs. How do I know this? Easy, I drive everywhere. There’s no walking to the market, which I call a store because it’s not quaint and stocked with food fresh from the farm this morning. There’s no bumping in to friends while on a stroll. I don’t stroll. If I’m out walking, I’ve got my headphone in and am exercising, not strolling. And there surely isn’t casually grabbing a coffee since there’d be a weeks’ worth of texts just to plan a 20-minute coffee.

Paris Flower Shop


Jerusalem Shuk


Israel Juice Stand

But I wish I lived in the city. Spending time in Tel Aviv, where people were meeting for coffee all hours of the day and night, or in Paris where it seems that 20-steps from your quaint city-center flat is a flower stand filled with fragrant and beautiful buds, or even in Jerusalem where the market was bustling and filled with fresh goodness row after row, has me longing for that vibe. And while a grand summer vacation is fabulous, the reality is that summer is usually one big staycation. And I’m using staycation very loosely.

As I was missing the seemingly ease of the city-dwellers life, I shared that I wish I had the ability to just walk past a flower stand and within minutes carry out a beautifully wrapped bouquet. Stopping at the grocery store and browsing the industrial flowers just doesn’t have that same feeling. The PR team at ProFlowers noticed my public lament and offered to help me recreate that feeling with one of their beautiful tropical floral arrangements. Within days the flower shop came to me in the form of a large box dropped off by UPS. Inside was a little slice of Tel Aviv, Paris, Jerusalem, and Dublin.

Jerusalem - Hawkins Trip 2015

Instantly my house was filled with the scent that made me think of the flower shop on Rue Cler in Paris. The bouquet added just the pop of color to remind me of the little vases on the tables in the cafés along Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv. One bouquet had all of us talking about our trip, thinking about the local resorts and their huge arrangements in the entry, and feeling like “the rest of summer” was, at least for a short time, a little staycation at home.

As we traveled around Israel this summer, we hear a lot of people refer to our trip as “a dream vacation” and “once in a lifetime”. I sure hope not! While it did take a lot of planning and saving, I definitely want to do it again. And again. And again. I hope. To lots of different places. Once I knew we were having a girl, I knew about 12 years later we’d be having a Bat Mitzvah. These don’t sneak up on parents. I had a plan A and a plan B for BabyGirl’s Bat Mitzvah, because my grandma would be 93 and I’m not naive to what that could mean. When my grandmother passed away at the end of 2013, the plan B Bat Mitzvah planning was kicked into high gear. As far as Bat Mitzvah’s go, having one is Israel isn’t all that much of a stretch. While not uncommon, though, it’s not all that common either. But I was going to do it.

Jerusalem Family Vacation


Haifa Vacation

I know people who will take a cheap flight to Paris for the weekend. Or go to Iceland for a few days to catch the Northern Lights. Few people, though, ever say, “hey, let’s go to Israel next week”. And while it’s an absolutely gorgeous place, the reality is many people are scared off by the news stories. For me it wasn’t a hindrance. I’d spent weeks in a bomb shelter when I was in Israel back in the mid-80s. I knew the situation of the 2014 summer wouldn’t last long. And if it did, well, that’s what travel insurance is form.

This idea of a “dream vacation” escapes me because my grandparents traveled extensively, so I knew that the world was out there waiting for me. I feel that it’s my job to give that same sense of wonder to BabyGirl. CycleGuy didn’t grow up with his family spending a month in China, weeks in Greece, or making several trips to Israel and Egypt. And while it didn’t take much convincing, there was still some apprehension. Israel does not have the same draw, or at least  it did not before our trip, as Paris or London or Dublin.

Planning a trip of this magnitude isn’t easy. If it were “just a trip” I may have felt like there was more room for chance. Ask any parent planning a Bar or Bat Mitzvah and you’ll understand the need for orchestration. However, big dreams don’t become reality without a little bit of extra work. All that work was worth it! Now, to dream more big vacation dreams. And you? Get to dreaming and doing too!

What’s your dream vacation? How are you going to make it a reality?



Author: Sara

Sara is a life-long dreamer, creating a list of things she wants to do "someday". Realizing there is no "someday" on the calendar she's taking the steps to make her somedays a reality. Between saving for retirement and college and paying for all the usual things, many women find that they're often putting their hopes and dreams on hold. Saving For Someday is Sara's way of encouraging women everywhere to find ways to save on the ordinary so they can do the extraordinary. Sara is also a licensed attorney and writes about legal issues affecting bloggers, content creators and online professionals. This blog is for informational purposes only. You can also find me on Google+

6 thoughts on “Turning a Dream Vacation to Israel into Reality”

  1. Travel was my parents one necessary luxury. And I guess that sense of wonderl ust goes through the generations

    Since I bought my house it’s been pushed to the side and I realize I need travel to make me feel whole

  2. I been waiting for this because recently my husband and I have chatted about doing our daughters bat it’s not in Israel as well. You nailed it with the chance phrasing. As much as initially it seems smaller and more manageable – – there could be nothing left to chance.

    1. Carla, all Bat Mitzvah planning is nerve wracking. Adding the dimension of having a destination ceremony without knowing anyone at the destination is an additional layer of anxiety. Funny that people have destination weddings all the time and think nothing of it. But for a Bat Mitzvah, if you’re doing one of the pre-arranged tours it’s no big deal. But planning the whole thing for a custom experience is crazy. But, then again, we’re crazy about our kids! I can’t wait to hear what you’re going to do. I’m sure it’s going to be unique and just perfect for your daughter and family.

  3. I have two actually. One to Alaska and one to Ireland and England. If it were me I would just travel the world. I want to see everywhere unfortunately everything costs a lot. I am planning on going to Ireland one day taking care of mom has grounded me for now!

    1. Rena, I won’t disagree that a trip to Ireland/England can be expensive. But you can do it! I spent many years taking care of my grandma so I understand. Save a little each week and when the opportunity arises you’ll be more prepared to go. Dublin was beautiful and I’ve been to a few places in England several times for work. You’ll enjoy it when you go!

    2. After my undergraduate at University O treated myself to a month in Dublin. I stayed at one B&B in Temple Bar and spent the month seeing the ‘town.’ While it would have been nice to see all of Ireland during my month there; I decided that knowing the people and the culture was more important. (Granted this was when the dollar was worth more then the Euro)
      I would love to take my 5 yr old son to see the world (I have also been to Japan and extensively in Thailand as my sister lived there) but we will have to see that the money is available.
      For edification, I decided, in mid to late November, that I was going to Ireland after graduation (December). I left around January 7th. It is amazing what you can plan in a few months, if you really want to.

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