My mom had never left the United States. Ok, so she had popped into Canada once and did a vacation as a young twenty-something to a resort in Mexico (who from California hasn’t?) but that’s seriously it. She had never crossed the big blue ocean to the other side of the world and her first trip abroad was a two-week adventure to Cairo…shortly after the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, to visit me at my place of residence for almost a year. (Way to go, Mom!)
The second time she got a stamp in her passport was AGAIN to visit me during my expat life as a horse trainer in Romania. She not only got to see Dracula’s Castle and watch a fancy show jumping competition whilst sipping a tea from atop a café over looking the most gorgeous riding arena I had ever ridden in, BUT she also got to learn about a country with a vivid history. A country most of her friends back in California had never even heard of!
The third time she visited me was India of all places. She was terrified of the crazy driving so I loaded her in the back of a SUV and told her not to look as we zipped all the way from New Delhi to a hill station in Himachal Pradesh, (about a 13-hour drive) and back down to Punjab to see the Golden Temple in Amritsar and of course the Taj Mahal in Agra. Her husband had gotten to tag along for this trip and he still boasts to this day that it was “one of the greatest trips and experiences of his lifetime!”
My Mom chasing after a Komodo Dragon on Komodo Island. Those things are SERIOUSLY scary!
By this time, my mom was addicted to travel and on the verge of retiring after her 20 years spent working an intense job with criminals as a Law Enforcement Officer. (That’s right, my mom’s a badass!) Which is why she booked a one-way ticket to Asia and met me in Bali, Indonesia with a two-month window of quality mother-daughter travel time! It didn’t take long to land an adventure and sure enough I had a crazy spur of the moment plan to take her 1st
to see the Komodo Dragons on the Komodo Islands, and 2ndly
to attempt to cross into Timor-Leste from West Timor, by LAND
. (Sounds easy, but trust me it wasn’t.)
We traveled to Malaysia
to celebrate the New Year in style overlooking the Petronas Towers then back to Bali for a month of yoga before heading over to Taiwan for a two-week road trip during the Chinese New Year. My mom has now began booking trips to crazy destinations with her husband and still comes to visit me in many of the countries I spend long amounts of time in! So here’s to all the women out there who want to encourage their mom’s to get out there and see the world and bond in a way only travel makes possible! My mom is in her fifties (I’m not allowed to say exactly how old) and although she has her moments, she is one tough cookie and I’m proud to have her as a travel companion!
Mom and I at the Indonesian Border Crossing into Timor-Leste.
Lessons learned from Traveling with Mom to Unique Destinations:
- I learned my mom’s comfort level. I also learned how to push her outside her comfort level in small doses at a time in order to increase her threshold and tolerance for new things.
- Going to crazy countries with my Mom put us in situations that enabled us to work as a team. Even to accomplish the simplest task can be challenging in a new surrounding and by teaming up we were able to bond.
- I learned a lot about myself by traveling with my mother. After all, no one quite points out your flaws like the mirror image of you! I have many personality traits that clash with my mother, but also many similarities. I realized I couldn’t do everything the way I wanted, as I can when I travel solo, and instead had to think of compromises that suited us both.
- We got really good at catching bugs. In many of the places we slept while roaming in non-touristy parts of Asia, we realized there were openings in the walls that were allowing the moths and bugs to enter the room as if having their very own door. We got pretty good at combating the bug population.
- No matter how much of an adult you are, moms are always going to mom. Although it may seem like a pain in the butt to have to deal with sudden outbursts of “mom-ness” while you try to defend yourself, “Mom! I’m like, 25 years old!” these little clashes will only make for hilarious memories later on. Which you can embarrass her with at her next birthday party while she regales stories of her adventures with you.
- Buying family and friends back home souvenirs and trinkets is one thing. But sharing the world and adventures with them is another altogether and sharing the memories and exotic destinations with a loved one is a truly worthwhile endeavor!