“But why can’t you just travel for a year in the United States? There’s plenty to see around here.” She pleaded. I could see the fear and worry in her eyes and feel the concern as her voice cracked. This was my mother’s reaction 7 ½ years ago when I told her I was going to quit my job in a year and travel around the world.
I’ll never know what it’s like to be a mother – I’m sure that the worry about your kids never goes away. But her reaction honestly surprised me. Of course I expected the motherly concern – but I didn’t understand how she could think travel in my own country would be as satisfying to me as the adventure that would wait outside my home borders with my passport in hand. After all – this was my mom, she was always the social, outgoing one. The one that was the wild woman in high school, always at odds with her father, who left her farm home after high school to go to secretarial school in the big city of Norfolk, Nebraska. The one that convinced me to go with her to a male strip show in a small town in South Dakota! But this was my first glance that maybe age had tamed her fire a bit.
I’ve written about it before – there seems to be some weird human formula that as we get older we become more scared. And not just scared for ourselves – but scared for everyone else. Scared of change, scared of new things, we want everything and everyone to just slow down and stay the same. At 43 there are days that I feel that formula take hold in my mind and body. I try to shake it off by traveling. Travel forces me into uncomfortable situations, it brings on constant change, it pushes me and my brain into a more accepting space, and of course I travel because I love to see and experience new things.
A year ago – as I was hiking the Camino de Santiago I had been thinking about my upcoming trip to Antarctica with my father. At that time it was in the early discussion stages and we were trying to make it work with out schedules and budgets. I felt so lucky that my dad is always so adventurous and willing to go anywhere with me even at the age of 77. And then it hit me – my dad gets to go everywhere with me – but what about mom?
I realized that I hadn’t been fair I had taken dad places because he and I were the same types of travelers – looking for places off the beaten path and adventures in foreign countries. But my mom…well…she’s not as adventurous. Even though she wasn’t thrilled about my big international career break, she obviously came to grips with my travel plans and of course gave me her blessing – in a worried mother type way. My mother loves to travel, but she’s not about to boldly go places outside the country by herself.
That day while walking the Camino de Santiago – I decided I would remedy the situation. I knew that she had always dreamt of going to Nova Scotia Canada and for some reason my dad never got around to taking her – so now it was my turn. I emailed her that night from my albergue and told her I was going to take her to Nova Scotia – just her and I – an international mother daughter vacation.
As I type this we are on a train right now heading to Halifax Nova Scotia. It takes 2 days to get from Toronto to Halifax on the train – and this is my first train trip in Canada. Once in Halifax we are renting a car and doing a complete road trip around Nova Scotia. The only requests from my mom was to do a little hiking, see lighthouses, eat lobster, and see some Celtic dancing…all of this possible in this scenic region of Canada!
Nova Scotia is supposed to have some of the most beautiful driving routes in the world – and I can hardly wait to hit the open road – and see where it takes us. But for me this isn’t just about photographing beautiful views and seeing the sights – it’s really about spending some good quality time with my mom. And trust me – this isn’t going to be easy – I have never traveled like this with my mom, and I can imagine that there’s going to be some growing pains for each of us – which of course will make for some fun travel stories in the next few months!
You can follow along on this mother daughter vacation live on my Facebook page – or follow #VisitNovaScotia or #momtrip on Twitter.
Have you ever went on a mother daughter trip? How did it turn out? Please share in the comments.