Book Review: Have Mother, Will Travel?



Can Mothers and Daughters be friends or are they always foes? Mia and Claire Fontaine’s travels together in Have Mother, Will Travel: A Mother and Daughter Discover Themselves, Each Other, and the World
tell a story in two voices of each women finding their footing in their complicated lives. One in a quarter life crisis and one in a mid-life crisis–although they desire to support each other, they have been ignoring each other. Mia wonders how her mother could move across the country, bought a crumbling home which mirrors the state of her latest marriage and changed to a completely unsuitable job. As she says, “Mom, is this how you pictured your life would be when you’re fifty?” Claire wonders about her daughter and often speaks in the book about how mothers’ desires for their daughters and the ongoing important connections. Learning in the book of her disconnect with her own Holocaust surviving mother was surprising and made me question her stance as an “advice giving mother” when she herself was an absent daughter. As Claire says, “A woman’s relationship with herself is mirrored everywhere in her life, but no place more than with her daughter.”

The global scavenger hunt gave this team their early travel focus and Avignon a place to land for several months and decompress and reacquaint themselves with each other. Touring together is a challenge and at one point Claire comments, “Because Beijing is home to 9 million bicycles, 15 million residents, and 2 million tourists. And they’re all on this block!” As Mia explains, “Control is an issue between most mothers and daughters, and my mom will be the first to admit that she likes to be in command.”

The ongoing story of mother and daughter made me think of the movie, Brave
where Merida wonders how her mother can simply send her off to the strongest suitor.  Merida tells her mother, the Queen: I want my freedom! Queen Elinor replies: But are you willing to pay the price your freedom will cost? In the movie, we learn this engagement situation happened to mother as well as daughter. Mothers have willingly or unwillingly participated in maiming their daughters throughout history from Chinese foot binding, to African female genital mutilation and arranged child brides throughout many lands. In this novel, the history of unnoticed childhood sexual abuse and drug dependence are part of the minefield this duo must navigate and integrate.

While this book took place in many physical locations on the planet, the main movement was in the interpersonal and intrapersonal family relationships. The two women are searching for purposeful paths for their individual lives, their mother-daughter relationship and where to wander and wonder next in the world. Claire explains “Time is rarely enough to clean up a painful history in any relationship…it’s often easier to keep fighting.” I think their commitment to each other and growth will inspire you when you read. Claire wonders, “Why do so many of us choose to be good girls going for gold stars, instead of clasping tight to the gold of our lives by living as we truly desire?

Explore with Claire and Mia and at the end you will probably need to call your own mother or daughter or be inspired to repair another key relationship. As Merida tells us:  Our fate lives in us. You only have to be brave enough to see it.

About the Author: Lisa and George Rajna met online in 2007 and started traveling together internationally almost immediately. By 2008, they had quit their jobs, rented their condo and left for a year on the road. After eleven countries, twelve months, losing sixty pounds and getting engaged underwater, they returned to Los Angeles. On July 1, 2012, the next year long adventure began in Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, India and now Nepal.

Lisa Niver Rajna was recently on National Television as a science teacher on the show Career Day. She is a 2012 nominee for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, and a member of the Traveler’s Century Club for travelers who have been to over one hundred countries. She and George are spending a sabbatical year in Asia. Follow their travels at We Said Go Travel, on Twitter and on Facebook.

 This post is part of TLC BOOK TOUR for Have Mother, Will Travel: A Mother and Daughter Discover Themselves, Each Other, and the World

I did buy my own kindle copy of this book for this review. TLC Book Tours and the publisher have given me a copy of Have Mother, Will Travel: A Mother and Daughter Discover Themselves, Each Other, and the World
to give away! Please comment below about your favorite trip with your Mother or Daughter and I will raffle off the copy to one of the participants!

TLC Book Tours is a virtual book tour site. Virtual book tours are a promotional tool for authors to connect with readers via well-read book blogs and specialty blogs.


Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a television host, travel journalist as well as a passionate artist, educator and writer who has explored 101 countries, 6 continents and sailed on cruise ships for seven years on the high seas and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which was read in 212 countries in 2018 and named #3 on the top 1000 Travel Blog and the top female travel blogger 3 times in 2019. Find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over one million views on her YouTube channel. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on both Twitter and Facebook, has over 150,000 followers across social media and ran fifteen travel competitions publishing over 2500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. She has been a finalist for six Southern California Journalism Awards in the past three years and won an award for her Jewish Journal article. Niver has written for AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres (United Airlines), Jewish Journal, Luxury Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Myanmar Times, National Geographic, POPSUGAR, Robb Report, Saturday Evening Post, Scuba Diver Life, Sierra Club, Ski Utah, Smithsonian, Trivago, USA Today 10best, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave Rebel: 50 Scary Challenges Before 50,” about her most recent travels and challenges. Look for her underwater SCUBA diving, in her art studio making ceramics or helping people find their next dream trip.

2 responses to “Book Review: Have Mother, Will Travel?

  1. “It’s often easier to keep fighting.” How true that is! Traveling seems like a great way to mend a relationship and establish wonderful memories. I’m so glad you enjoyed this book.

    Thanks for being on the tour!

  2. unfortunately, my mother works way too hard to travel. However, I do remember the one week she took off for us to go away for my Sweet 15 (Sweet 16 is not celebrated in Latin America).

    I loved how she gave me my own space every evening just so I could explore on my own. I even had my very first kiss on that cruise! Then, during today, we would explore all the islands + the cruise together, partaking in activities, etc.

    This trip was truly an epitome of our lives and our relationship. I love my mother so much, she has taught me independence and that trip was proof of that — but also, of how much we enjoy spending time together!

    Sounds somewhat ironic from what you read on this comment probably, but it’s true! I can’t wait until she retires in 2 years so she can escape with me more often. I miss her traveling soul!

    – Maria Alexandra

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