Special Mother-Daughter Travel Experiences: Part Two

Mother’s Day: Part two of our tribute to traveling with moms

In the first part of our Mother’s Day 2020 series, 10 travel friends shared their stories about traveling with their mothers. Read on to enjoy personal recollections from more contributors about their mother-daughter travel experiences.

Jo Castro | Lifestyle 50

Jo Castro with her mother in South Africa -- Photo courtesy of Jo Castro

Jo with her mother in South Africa — Photo courtesy of Jo Castro

Mum was always up for adventure, and joined us on many of our travels.

The first was in 1987 when she came with us on our honeymoon. We set off on safari to The Kruger National Park and the Eastern Transvaal in South Africa. We travelled in our old Nissan Skyline, Mum, me the bride, the groom, and my ancient Godparents too. But what a honeymoon we all had!

Some years later Mum rallied to my plea for help when my husband set off on a epic mission to cycle the length of South Africa from its northern border to its southern Cape. I was still breastfeeding my first child and a three month camping trip did not look like fun.

But what fun and what laughs Mum and I had together following Dave on his bicycle. I’ll never forget listening to Nigel Kennedy playing The Four Seasons as we drove through the Karoo on a very very hot day, windows down shrieking and ‘conducting’ into the wind — just a little hysterical because we’d nearly run out of petrol and there wasn’t a gas station for many kilometres.

Pola Henderson | Jetting Around

Pola with her mom in North Africa — Photo courtesy of Pola Henderson

I haven’t traveled alone with mom since I was a little girl. We used to take long train rides across Poland: from Krakow in the south to the Tri-City area on the Baltic coast, visiting a good friend of mom’s and her daughter, my childhood BFF.

I still remember the excitement of getting up in the middle of the night to catch the train. I wasn’t a burden, it was cool because nobody I knew seemed to be doing it. Since then, I have always looked forward to the journey, not only the destination, and I owe it to mom.

Those early wake-up calls were a big part of my childhood and adolescence, as I traveled with mom and older brother to visit dad. An engineer, he often worked abroad for extended periods of time, and the three of us traveled to Asia or North Africa to spend holidays with him.

Mom was always organized and a wizard at packing. Now that I’m a grown up, I wonder how she managed to travel across continents with two kids and not skip a beat. Respect! I hope she’ll tell me all about it when we hit the road together again.

Lyn Baker | A Hole in My Shoe

Lyn Baker's mother -- Photo courtesy of Lyn Baker

Lyn Baker’s mother — Photo courtesy of Lyn Baker

Mum had a lifelong dream to attend the Military Tattoo and in 2016 she and her 80 years twin sister booked a trip to Melbourne to see it. When her twin sister suddenly became too unwell to travel I stepped in to accompany Mum on her once in a lifetime trip. Mum experienced so much joy, from morning tea at Hopetoun Tearooms at the Block Arcade, dining on quail at a special dinner in the Grand Ballroom of the Windsor Hotel, and eating sushi for the first time. I had such joy introducing her to street art in the many lanes, and each evening we shared a Jack’s and coke together before bed. We were lucky enough to have our visit coincide with Chinese New Year and she even got to see the Melbourne traffic come to a standstill for the Chinese New Year parade. The best part was watching the absolute delight on Mum’s face amongst all the pomp and ceremony of the tattoo,  a memory we will both treasure forever. What a privilege it was to be with Mum to tick off her bucket list wish to attend this world class military event.

Penny Sadler | Adventures of a Carry-On

Penny’s sister held by their mom — Photo courtesy of Penny Sadler

Growing up, my family moved frequently, and I think my mother was too busy with the logistics of packing and moving a large family across the country to consider travel for leisure or pleasure. However, I do believe my mother was a curious person (as I am) who, if she were alive today, would approve of my adventures.

Exploring with my mother meant driving someplace close to home. As a teenager,  we lived in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California. Neighborhood adventures included typical tourist places like Hollywood Blvd. and Graumann’s Chinese Theater, the Farmer’s Market, which now includes The Grove, an outdoor shopping plaza, and La Brea Tar Pits. We usually drove through Laurel Canyon which was a lot more scenic than the freeway. My mom refused to drive the freeways but she didn’t mind navigating the winding mountain roads. That was ok with me as I loved the 70s hippie vibe of Laurel Canyon.

We moved back to Texas when I was in high school. The year I graduated, the Hyatt Reunion Hotel opened, with its iconic tower and a revolving restaurant. Mom and I made a day out of checking out the shiny new hotel (which I photographed for a photography class) and then shopping at the flagship Neiman Marcus in downtown Dallas. A visit to Neiman’s always included lunch at the Zodiac Room, a tradition with many mothers and daughters that endures today.

Valerie Delzer | Travalerie

Valerie Delzer's mother at Auckland, New Zealand airpot -- Photo courtesy of Valerie Delzer

Valerie’s mother at the airport in Auckland, New Zealand — Photo courtesy of Valerie Delzer

In 1987 I worked for Continental Airlines (so I got reduced and free flying rates) . I took my Mom (RIP) to Australia to visit some relatives that had moved there. We got first class for comfort on a 17-hour flight with stops in Honolulu, Auckland, NZ (where my Mom got a kick out of learning what WC meant) then onto Sydney, Australia.

Jet lagged; we then took a 15-hour bus ride to Adelaide. Since we were bleary eyed, delirious and enjoying the adventure nonetheless, we were chatting in the back of the bus while everyone slept. My Mom was trying to imitate the Australian accent and I tried to hush her up because she was giggling hysterically.

Around 5am daylight, the bus driver says on the loudspeaker something about those Californians who kept talking all night. Shocked, I said “How did you know we’re from California?” He said “it’s your accent!”

We all had a good laugh.

Rose Palmer | Quiltripping

Rose’s mother dressed up on a cruise — Photo courtesy of Rose Palmer

My first trip was at the age of nine when my family emigrated from Romania to the United States. But my first real vacation wasn’t until ten years later when I went to Hawaii with my mother. My father had recently passed away after a long illness and this trip was a restorative for both of us. My mother had always wanted to see Hawaii, so this was a dream come true. For her it was also the beginning of 35 years of traveling all over the world, mostly on cruises. To celebrate her 80th birthday, it was my turn to treat her as I took her and my daughter on a Caribbean cruise. I am so glad we had a chance to travel together one last time before she started showing symptoms of dementia. Eventually, she did not remember any of her many travels, but her love for traveling to new places lives on in me and my daughter.

Ava Roxanne Stritt | Spa Travel Gal

Ava Roxanne Stritt and her mother in Baden-Baden, Germany -- Photo courtesy of Ava Roxanne Stritt

Ava and her mother in Baden-Baden, Germany — Photo courtesy of Ava Roxanne Stritt

In the photo you can see my mother and I ready for a night out in Baden-Baden, Germany. We were staying at the Brenners Park Hotel, part of the Oetker Collection. She inspired me to do whatever I set my mind to do — even travel the world. We were so lucky to be able to spend Mother’s Day together a few years ago at the Brenners Park Hotel. After some amazing shopping and dinner, we ended the night at a glamorous casino. I felt like we were in a James Bond movie! She traveled the world to study education when I was a child. She slept in thatch huts on the Bay of Bengal and aided hikers who were injured while climbing the Himalayas. While her travel is much different than my interests, she was eager to join me in the country of her ancestors to explore more of their lands. Hopefully soon we can go on another big adventure. We have a trip planned to Europe this fall!

Kristin Henning | Travel Past 50

Palisade Head on North Shore of Lake Superior -- Photo courtesy of Kristin Henning

Palisade Head on North Shore of Lake Superior — Photo courtesy of Kristin Henning

Every summer during my pre-teens, my family loaded up the car around the second week of August and headed up to the North Shore of Lake Superior, continuing further north via the Gunflint Trail to the Boundary Waters. Even though these trips included my Dad and brother and sister, it felt like I had exclusive time with my mother.

I watched as she planned and packed. I trusted she had a Thermos of lemonade and a cooler of snacks accessible from the back of the station wagon for stops during the six-hour drive. We were sure to pause in Duluth to watch a ship come in. (How was our timing always so good?) Out on the pier, she covered her head with a scarf knotted below her chin. She hated the wind but loved the fresh air and the chance to stretch our legs.

In our cabin (we rented the same one each season, balanced on a massive rock slab that slipped gently into the clear cold water) my mother made breakfast using the blueberries we gathered. She read installments of Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer after dark, as we snuggled into our cots in the corners of the main room. And if the older kids had an outing with my father, she was sure to offer a special activity for me along with precious time alone together.

I was only 17 when my mother died, so those quiet moments are as poignant as any of the escapades I enjoyed with my siblings deeper in the woods. I love to return to this area now with my husband, children, grandchildren.

Carole Terwilliger Meyers | Travels with Carole

Carole Terwilliger Meyes with her mom at Hendricks Park Rhododendron Garden in Eugene, Oregon

Carole with her mom in Eugene, Oregon — Photo courtesy of Carole Terwilliger Meyers

My mom is 99 and counting.  She is housebound, and I have been unable to visit her for more than a year.  First I was foiled on her 98th birthday by my own problems with a painful pinched nerve that prevented me from traveling.  Then, after a year zipped by, I was set to visit her for her 99th birthday, but as sometimes happens with even the best-laid plans they went awry with my husband’s unexpected illness.  Then, after a lot of planning, my sister and I had coordinated our air tickets to meet, rent a car, and visit Mom together for several days in March.  And then the coronavirus struck and that plan was thwarted by sheltering-in-place.  I now am hoping to visit her when travel becomes possible again, but currently I “travel” with her on the phone as we share memories of past adventures together. Among the memorable times we’ve enjoyed together was a visit to the Hendricks Park Rhododendron Garden in Eugene, Oregon, when the rhoddies were in full bloom and this gorgeous photo was taken.

My mom, Jane Sweeney

Catherine Sweeney with her mom and sister Chris at a campground in Canada 1960s

At a campground in Canada with Mom and younger sister Chris

My mom was a person who liked going places — whether it was across the country on extended road trips or taking short jaunts not far from home in the Chicago area. I can vividly picture my mom on our drives along the highways and back roads of North America when I was young. I see her gazing out the window at stunning sights and vast expanses of desert, mountain, and rural landscapes. I wonder now what she was thinking during those quiet moments. I can see her cooking dinner on the stove in the trailer that she and my dad built themselves as we camped next to lakes or in national parks. I see her getting us settled into a roadside motel for a night, often very late after a full day of exploring. She adapted to all conditions and accommodations, making us — Dad, me, and my sister — as comfortable as possible.  In my mind, I can still hear her singing and laughing as we drove along — happy to be traveling.

I hope you’ll take some time to read more about my mom and other traveling moms in my previous Mother’s Day tributes.

Mother’s Day: Traveling with Mom

Mother’s Day 2014: Traveling with Mom 

Travels with Mom: Bloggers share their memories

Please share your mother-daughter travel experiences in the comments.

Women of Travel Share Their Stories: Mother's Day special -- Photo of Jane, Chris, and Cathy Sweeney camping in Canada

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5 thoughts on “Special Mother-Daughter Travel Experiences: Part Two

  1. Pingback: Special Mother-Daughter Travel Experiences: Part One | Traveling with Sweeney

  2. Johanna

    What a lovely collection of stories Cathy! Thank you for featuring mine too. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading them all and reminiscing. Pinned and shared 🙂

  3. Pola | Jetting Around

    Cathy, what a lovely idea for a post! It makes me really nostalgic about the times that I did get to travel with my mom, before I moved to other countries. Thank you for including my story, I enjoyed writing it (and mom was happy to see it). Hope to travel with her again when life is back to normal.

  4. Pingback: Travel with Mum

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