Mother’s Day: Traveling with Mom

Our Mother’s Day Tribute

For the past few years, I’ve really looked forward to publishing my special TWS Mother’s Day edition. I’m always impressed with the variety of contributions and the perspectives that the writers chose. Each amusing, poignant, or insightful memory is special and touching in the sentiment it represents. I hope that you’ll love these stories and photos as much as I do.

Agata Mleczko | Null N Full

Agata Mleczko

Agata Mleczko and her mom

My mum is a very special case. It’s mostly due to the fact of being born in the early fifties in Poland, which meant a difficult and highly oppressive time of deep communism. She couldn’t travel at all. None of us could until late eighties, when the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall collapsed. My mum had been always interested in the world and before she started traveling she read hundreds of books. It was her way to travel when traveling was not possible.

I remember a few travels we made in the late nineties. We drove by car in Holland, Belgium, France and Germany. What I found most amusing was the fact that she hadn’t seen these places before I did. There was no patronizing and making it an educational experience. She was equally enthusiastic and eager to see everything like me, like a child. And it was brilliant! It was the moment when we discovered the world together, on equal terms, just like our age did not matter.

Alison Abbott | Green With Renvy

Alison Abbott's mom ready to fly to Bermuda

Alison Abbott’s mom ready to fly to Bermuda

I often spend time thinking about why I enjoy certain things in life, that old nature vs nurture question. This is a photo of my Mom taking off on a trip to Bermuda with some college friends and a “chaperone”. My how things have changed! One thing I am sure of, is her influence on my love of travel and exploring other cultures. She bravely traveled alone to Japan to marry my father in 1953. I think of her strength often when I am on the road and slightly anxious about arriving in a new location, not knowing anyone. It is a chance for adventure she would say. Enjoy yourself! We took many road trips together as a family and I now enjoy the same tradition with my kids. Planting the seed early, demonstrating how important travel is for making memories, making it and us a priority. That is what I would like to thank her for on this Mother’s Day.

Amanda Ponzio-Mouttaki | MarocMama

Amanda Ponzio-Mouttaki and her mom in Morocco

Amanda Ponzio-Mouttaki and her mom in Morocco

I have always loved learning about the world and my parents indulged this passion whenever possible. At 16 my high school gave us the opportunity to travel to Greece and while many parents rejected the notion, my mom (and dad) didn’t seem to flinch. As I got older and wanted to go further and alone they held back many of their reservations, trusting my judgement. Even though the life I dreamed of was unconventional when compared to others in my rural Midwestern community my mom never doubted me even though she had never left the US. So when my husband and I relocated to Morocco I knew she had to come visit. We spent two weeks exploring Morocco, I then took her on a Caribbean cruise and another Morocco vacation – her first time traveling internationally alone. Showing my mom why I love traveling so much has been one of the greatest gifts in my life. Her unconditional love and support has made it all the more sweet.

Carole Terwilliger Meyers | Berkeley and Beyond

Carole Terwilliger Meyers' mom in the "Clark Gable" room at Weasku Inn

Carole Terwilliger Meyers’ mom in the “Clark Gable” room at Weasku Inn

A few years back I had the pleasure of driving with my mom from her home in Eugene, Oregon, to my home in Berkeley, California. Mid-way we stopped in Grants Pass, Oregon, for an overnight at the rustic Weasku Inn on the Rogue River. This was the favorite fishing lodge of movie star Clark Gable and where he holed up for two weeks to mourn the death of actress Carole Lombard–his third wife and the love of his life–when she perished in a plane crash in 1942. Mom adores Clark Gable and was thrilled to visit the room he stayed in and showed it by hugging one of the pillows. Very sweet. By the way, she named me after Carole Lombard.

Chrysoula Manika | Travel Passionate

Chrysoula Manika and her mom on summer holiday on Lemnos Island, Greece

Chrysoula Manika and her mom on Lemnos Island, Greece

I have gotten the travel bug through my mom. We were always very close because we didn’t have a big age gap and because I grew up with her since my parents were divorced. Every summer since I was a little we used to travel to the Greek island of Lemnos to visit my grandmother. The most memorable trip though was in Kenya and Egypt when I was only 12. That Christmas we spent 10 days doing a safari, spotting lions in the savannah, watching elephants, giraffes and zebras from close distance and cruising the lake along with rhinos. You can imagine how thrilling that was for a 12 year old! At the end of the trip we got to visit Cairo, a city I was so passionate about since I can remember myself and explored the pyramids. My mum taught me that travel broadens your horizons and I am thankful she did.

Katie McGrain | Around the World in KT Days

Katie McGrain and her mom

Katie McGrain and her mom in Madrid

For my entire life, my mom has been my biggest advocate and supporter when it comes to travel. She did everything in her power to make sure my siblings and I experienced as much of this world as possible, and her insistence of exploring new places made deep roots within me.

I have a lot of travel memories with my mom, but my favorite is when I was 13 years old. She and I took a special mother-daughter trip to Madrid, Spain. Having my mom all to myself for a week while exploring a brand new country was pretty special. I loved being able to do things differently without the other members of my family tagging along. We ate dinner at 10PM (!!!), I tasted wine for the first time, and we did a lot of shopping. Fifteen years later I can still remember almost all of the details from that trip!

The last few mother’s days have been pretty special as well. Last year I returned home from months on the road on Mother’s Day, and this year, my mom and I will be reuniting after 8 months apart in Hong Kong.

Lance Longwell | Travel Addicts

Lance Longwell and his mom traveling the 50 states of America

Lance Longwell and his mom traveling the 50 states of America

I am a traveler because of my mother. She grew up in retching poverty in the rural Midwest – a home on the railroad tracks with a dirt floor. She had to get her first job cleaning other people’s houses at the age of 9 so she could buy her own clothes and pay for doctor’s appointments. She dreamed of escaping Middle America and the poverty. She dreamed of traveling. And travel she did – even with limited money. When she had me, she gifted me her love of travel. Together, we set a goal to visit all 50 of the United States by the time I graduated from high school.

Marcia Mayne | Inside Journeys

Marcia Maynes and her mom at Gallery West

Marcia Mayne and her mom

I wish now that I had kept it — the train case Mama carried on every trip. I remember it clearly: light blue, with slightly rounded corners and a saddle-stitched trim.

As a child, whenever I heard the loud, snapping sound the latch made as it released the clasp, I’d run towards it because I knew it meant one thing – that we were going somewhere. Where didn’t matter as long as Mama’s firm hand clutched mine. Many times, it was just the two of us – and the train case.

Looking back, I can’t imagine what she carried in that case since Mama was never fussy about cosmetics. Usually, she’d slather Noxzema on her face – never lipstick or rouge – and a dab of scented powder or perfume, yet that train case was always with her.

Mama kept hers long after they had fallen out of fashion, long after she‘d stopped traveling.
In my twenties when I bought my own, I felt adult and sophisticated. The train case I decided on (shown above) looks nothing like hers but it has that same loud snapping latch.

Nathalie Harris | A Cook Not Mad

Nathalie Harris' mom in the 1940s

Nathalie Harris’ mom in the 1940s

We’ve had many memorable family road trips over the years. But the trip I cherish the most is the one my mother and I took after my father died. We were both emotionally drained and flew to Florida to visit my dad’s siblings, I was 19 and my mother 55. We bought a bottle of Amaretto and drank it in tumblers on ice, while sunbathing by the water. We went shopping and played mini golf and cards late into the night. It was a distraction we both needed after a hard few years.

Shara Johnson | SKJ Travel

Shara Johnson

Disney fun for Shara Johnson and her mom

My mom will turn 80 years old on her next birthday. She felt her grandson, my nephew, should get to experience every kid’s dream — a trip to Disney World and the new Harry Potter rides. So this past March she funded a family vacation to the suite of theme parks in Orlando, Florida, in spite of her own aversion to wild amusement park rides. But in true family spirit, she took a motion-sickness pill each day and at nearly 80 years old, rode her first roller coaster. And not just one, but she rode every ride the rest of us did. She and I generally have very different ideas about what “fun” is, but I was so proud of her for stepping way outside her comfort zone in order to be with her family. It wasn’t an exotic or lengthy vacation, but definitely one I’ll never forget.

Shraddha Gupta | StreetTrotter

Shraddha Gupta and mother

Shraddha Gupta and her mom

My dad always read to me, and that’s probably how I got into reading and writing. And my mom always prompted us to travel, giving me my love for traveling. Together it has made me into this free-spirited professional package I am today. If someone asks me in a heartbeat, who will be your best travel partner, I would proudly say ‘my mom’. Simply because every time I traveled with her, she inspired me with a confident and free-woman kind of vibe. I grew up feeding on her cravings to go on holidays, which were mostly within India. This is because she firmly believes that most people die without visiting their own country completely, longing for the world abroad. And just like that – I ended up travelling around India intensely with my family.

Our trips have never been bland, because she loves food as much as she likes the camera. Growing up in the shadow of such passion, I instinctively have this similar urge to try different cuisines and clicking beautiful images. She took me to all possible hill stations in India, gazing at the mountains and bathing in waterfalls. We have explored Kashmir on horse rides and stayed in houseboats. We have traveled as far as the entire south of India, and have baked happily in the lands of Rajasthan. Today, while I am traveling the rest of world, she is always on my watsapp, as I feed her back with pictures and tell her stories of my experiences. In a lot of ways, I am exactly who she is – ‘this liberated sort of female traveler’.

Stefan Arestis | Nomadic Boys

Stefan Arestis and his mother as they traveled to her abandoned home town in Famagusta, Cyprus in September 2010

Stefan Arestis and his mother traveling to her abandoned home town in Famagusta, Cyprus

I recently lost my mother to breast cancer. But one of my favourite travel memories was taking mum to see her long lost home town, Famagusta one last time before she passed away.

In 1974, Turkey invaded North Cyprus, forcing many Greek Cypriots like my parents to flee. The part of Famagusta where my parents are from was fenced off with barbed wire. No one has since been allowed to set foot in it and it is now a deserted space, with decaying buildings and nicknamed the ‘Ghost Town’.

Since Turkey started allowing people to temporarily cross over to the occupied part of Cyprus, I took my mother there on a day trip.

The Ghost Town itself is guarded by Turkish soldiers, who stop you from getting too close and taking any photos. We did however manage to spot mum’s decaying home from afar, now a completely looted and neglected building, with all memories completely stripped away from it.

Whilst we still dream for a solution, I was at least glad to take my mum to see her childhood home one more time before she passed away.

Susan Fitzgerald | Vibrant Ireland

Susan Fitzgerald's mom (right) with a friend at Zwartbles Ireland farm

Susan Fitzgerald’s mom (right) with a friend at Zwartbles Ireland farm

My Mom instilled a spirit of adventure in me, even though she hadn’t travelled much herself. Each summer we drove across several states, and I got to stay with my grandparents ‘all on my own’ for many weeks whilst my parents returned home- so exciting! At home, Mom brought me to art galleries, museums, and nature centers; igniting a love which lives on in my joy in cultural & nature travel now. When as an adult I moved across the ocean to Ireland, it was fabulous to be able to introduce her to all the natural & cultural treasures here; she’s now visited me many times. On her most recent trip, Mom’s (and her friend Joan’s) highlight was meeting the sheep and alpacas on Zwartbles Ireland farm. Mom’s happiness at actually being able to interact with & stroke these soft & fuzzy animals for the first time in her life brought us full circle from when it was her introducing me to new wonders. Special treasures of the mother-daughter relationship; giving each other joyful new experiences.

Susan Moore | Bemused Boomer 

Memories of a mother/daughter travel experience: The beauty of nature at Sequoia National Park Photo by Katrina Skovold

Memories of a mother/daughter travel experience: The beauty of nature at Sequoia National Park

Wanderlust is an inter-generational trait in my family. As soon as I could buy a car, I began sojourning up and down my native state of California, and when I got an opportunity to be a flight attendant for a worldwide charter airline I jumped at the chance. Later, as a single parent, I wanted to share the joys of traveling with my daughter—on an extreme budget.

I reinstated the car sojourns. We could pack a tent, all our gear and the dog into our little Honda Civic and camp in such places as Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, where the ancient trees are huge and the brush underneath them is twice as tall as a car. On one trip, we spent part of the night holding still and whispering while a bear snuffled outside our tent.

My daughter seemed to enjoy staying in camp and reading more than exploring. I wondered if she would “catch” the family wanderlust.

Now she’s a travel blogger; writes great articles and takes amazing pictures. so–Yes, yes she did!

Vera Wolters 

Vera Wolters and her mom

Vera Wolters and her mom

“Mom, which year did we go to London again for New Year’s?” I asked my mother. “You know, when you said: ‘I’m never going to travel with you again!’ to me afterwards.” My mom seemed confused: “I said that? Why would I say that?” I couldn’t remember, either. “I was probably being obnoxious,” I offered, which we both agreed to be a believable reason.

So it takes some skills in the selective memory department in order to keep traveling together but we still do it. Maybe it’s because of the early start: I was on a plane with my mom before I even turned one, when we moved from Germany to Africa (where the picture was taken).

I behaved very well on that flight (something I personally attribute to the abundant leg room); hence, my mom decided I made a decent travel companion and that she would keep me. And although she might have regretted that once or twice ever since, she bravely and cheerfully continues to hit the road with me – thanks, Mom!

My mom, Jane Sweeney

Cathy Sweeney and her mom at the Little Bighorn, Montana

Mom and I at the Little Bighorn, Montana

My mom and dad were both great influences in my passion for travel. They loved to travel and they inspired and encouraged me to take advantage of any traveling opportunity. I especially treasure the memories of our road trips across North America when I was growing up. But one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given was the chance to travel with my mom on several road trips with my dad a few years before she passed away. I almost felt like a kid again sitting in the back seat with dad behind the wheel and mom in the passenger seat as we admired the passing scenery. We stopped at national parks, toured historic sites, and stayed in roadside motels along the way, much as we often did so many years before.  We laughed about long ago vacations and shared quiet times when we were just taking in the experience of enjoying this beautiful country together. Although my mom had very serious health problems during that time, she was always an enthusiastic and happy traveler. I’m grateful for all the times I was able to travel with Mom, especially those bonus road trips in her final years.

Happy Mother’s Day! 

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10 thoughts on “Mother’s Day: Traveling with Mom

    1. Shara

      🙂 I asked her if she would ride them again, she said “absolutely not.” haha. I think the fun for her was just being part of the family. but once was enough!

  1. Patti

    Very nice! My mother passed this past December. She was 92-years-old and living life on her terms. We were estranged for years before she passed, but I do have lovely memories and contributed a story to your post last year. Thanks for sharing these stories.

  2. Marcia

    Very poignant stories, Cathy. Our moms (and dads) have given us wonderful and lasting travel memories that have shaped our lives, made us comfortable with taking risks, and open to embracing new experiences. What a beautiful legacy! Thanks for including me in this lovely tribute to our moms.

  3. Pingback: Special Mother-Daughter Travel Experiences: Part Two | Traveling with Sweeney

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