Jamie’s Journey Chronicles the Connection a Teenager Made with Her Father
By Rachel M. Anderson
(St. Louis) - There are some journeys in life that just have to be traveled, but the trip 16-year-old Jamie Goodman of St. Louis embarked on with her father in the summer of 2012, is one she never expected to go on.
Her parents had divorced when she was two and until then, she and her father, Dr. Rick Goodman of Pembroke Pines, Fla., hadn’t really spent much time together. In her book, Jamie’s Journey: “Travels with My Dad,” published in Jan. 2014, Jamie Goodman chronicles an amazing journey where she discovered one of the most important lessons in life: you should never take an important relationship for granted.
Jamie and Dr. Rick didn’t have the kind of normal relationship most kids have with their fathers. “He wasn’t the Dad who coached t-ball or went to all my sporting events. I saw him a week over winter break, a week over spring break, a couple of weeks over summer and sometimes for Thanksgiving, so maybe four or five times a year,” said Jamie Goodman.
“Even though I wasn’t around I talked to Jamie and her brother, Alex, every day. As she got older though, I felt like she wasn’t sharing certain things with me. She would talk to her mother and stepmother about them, but not me,” said Dr. Goodman.
Throughout the years, he had continuous thoughts of taking Jamie on a trip to try and connect with her, but it just never happened—that is until Jamie’s stepmother, Jackie, got sick. “Jackie’s cancer really affected my Dad,” said Jamie. “He was very stressed out and it was taking a toll on our relationship. It was Jackie’s idea for us to get away from the stresses at home for a while and spend some quality time together.”
Dr. Goodman, who is a team-building expert and speaker, had traveled extensively on his own for business purposes, and proposed a 24-day trip to some of his favorite places—London, England; Paris, France; Florence and Rome, Italy; and Israel. At first, Jamie wasn’t sure if she should go.
“I knew if I didn’t do the trip I’d always wonder what it would have been like if I had gone. I knew I would likely one day look back regretting the decision and second guessing it,” she said. “So I decided to go for it.”
Within three months of accepting the invitation, Jamie found herself on an airplane. The trip happened the summer before her Junior year in high school. Once they got underway, there was an important ground rule—no technology.
“I think the pain for a lot of parents right now is the inability to communicate with their kids, who typically hang out in their rooms, close the door and start texting with their friends,” said Dr. Goodman.
“If we had both been able to use our phones and a computer, I know it would have substantially limited our ability to build the kind of relationship we did,” said Jamie.
Sure they had occasional disagreements during the trip, like the time they got mad at each other for the distraction that caused them to miss the train stop for their hotel in London, and the time Jamie refused to wear a jacket despite her father’s suggestion that she do so. “But in the end, it was all good,” said Dr. Goodman, who discovered a lot about his daughter that summer. “I discovered that my daughter is a giver, she is open to new things and has a sense of adventure.”
Jamie discovered a lot about her dad too. “Turns out we are a lot alike,” she said. “We are both strong minded, strong willed and hard workers.” But perhaps more importantly, they really got to know each other during the trip. “It is that mutual understanding about each other’s lives that has made us closer,” said Jamie.
While there were a lot of great memories captured during the trip, Jamie says one particularly stands out in her mind. “My favorite part of the trip was when we went to the Western Wall on Shabbat and there was just this sense of unity there. Everyone praying and coming together as one.”
“It would be really hard for me to label a favorite part of the trip,” said Dr. Goodman. “It’s the whole adventure from beginning to end... the trip exceeded my expectations. Jamie and I are much closer now.”
In addition to sharing the details of their trip, Jamie’s Journey:“Travels with My Dad,” also serves as a good travel guide for any family planning a trip of their own to Europe. Included at the end of each chapter are “Jamie’s Gems,” where she offers advice such as...Your parents aren’t always right, but sometimes they are! Listen to them... Make sure to be nice to everyone you meet and attempt to stay connected... and know your limit. If you are tired during the day, don’t push yourself, and don’t be afraid to say you need a break when you are done for the day.”
Since its release, Jamie’s Journey has received numerous favorable reviews. Shep Hyken, who is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, said, “Jamie takes us inside the mind of today’s teens and demonstrates the importance of spending more time with our children, building relationships and memories that will last a lifetime. Every parent and teen should read this book... together.”
In his review of the book, Russell F. Robinson, Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish National Fund said, “This wonderful journey of discovery of each other and of themselves is tied into 3,000 years of stories of biblical journeys when they are in Israel and find their soul on the ancient soil of their ancestors. I was touched by their view of the beauty of the sights they saw the people they met and the willingness to see it all through each other's eyes. A must-read to see yourself and to understand the possibilities of life.”
Jamie’s Journey “Travels with My Dad,” is available for purchase on Amazon.com. For more information, visit www.jamiejourney.com.
About the author
Jamie Goodman is a graduate of the Alexander Muss High School in Israel and a senior at John Burroughs School in St. Louis, Mo., where she serves as President of the ALS Club and sports editor for the school newspaper. She is planning to pursue a journalism degree at the University of Missouri after graduation.