I had to take a rain-check on celebrating Mother’s Day with my Mom this year as I was traveling back from the second of back-to-back conferences, but she didn’t mind.
That’s probably because if there’s one thing my Mom understands it’s the importance of travel. In fact, she’s the one I blame/credit for my life-long wanderlust.
One of my earliest memories is of my Mom and real dad leaving me at my Grandma’s in Kansas while they went on a trip to California – complete with a visit to Disneyland.
At only 3 or 4 years old, I was really MAD about being left alone. And all these years later I can still remember my indignation that my folks went to this fantasy land without me. True, they brought me back mouse ears and a giant lollipop, but I ended up having a complicated relationship with these souvenirs.
You see, to the willful child I was back then, acting happy about them was “giving in” and accepting that everything was okay. Yet I really, really liked them. So I just compromised by pretending they were a bit beneath me. Ha!
Anyway, I think that feeling of never wanting to miss out on another adventure has driven my passion for travel ever since. That and the fact that my Mom has always loved it too, and passed that love onto me.
As a kid (sometime after the Disney misadventure) I used to love to pull out her photo album/scrapbook stuffed with pictures and mementos from another trip she made to Spain. Everything looked so colorful and exotic and FUN. She talked often about wanting to go back. And it made me determined to go overseas myself some day.
That’s not to say we (by then my Mom, Step-Dad, and little brother) didn’t make a lot of trips together around the U.S. There were many, many summer trips to Silver Dollar City in Missouri, or Saturday trips to various sites around Kansas, including the “World’s Largest Hand Dug Well,” the Largest Ball of Twine, and the Dalton Gang Hideout and Escape Tunnel.
These may sound like odd destinations but my folks made them fun and quirky, pointing out interesting details and pushing my love of photography. Or as my Mom would say, “We need another picture!”
There was also a driving trip to the West Coast when I was in high school that let me finally see Disneyland (yay!) and a trip up and down the East Coast when in college. Plus, as mentioned in a previous post, I finally got to see Europe with my Grandma when I was just 16.
But the best trips of all have been two I recently took alone with my Mom. She tagged along when I was sent to cover a medical convention in Vienna, Austria in 2012 and again last year when I was sent to Barcelona, Spain.
Yep, my Mom finally got to go back to Spain! And I got to see the country and all of its wonderful colors for the first time. Traveling with a parent as an adult has been a wonderful experience for me, as it feels like two friends running around, gossiping, giggling, and snapping 100s of pictures. I’ve heard horror stories from some of my friends that show that this type of dynamic doesn’t always work. And I have to admit I have had some really bad travel companions.
But whether it’s with a great friend and/or family member (like my Mom!) or alone or even with someone who isn’t a great fit, travel is still pretty wonderful – and my most favorite thing ever.
So on this Mother’s Day I’ll just give a huge THANK YOU to my Mom for passing on her love of travel to me. And maybe even for teaching me early on that I never want to miss out on any adventures.