Sweet, Funny, Loving: We Share Your Fondest Travel Memories of Mom for Mother's Day

From www.justluxe.com, by Nicolle Monico
Sweet, Funny, Loving: We Share Your Fondest Travel Memories of Mom for Mother's Day

As we gear up for Mother’s Day on May 10, we began considering a fun and unique way to honor mom this year. Realizing that sometimes it’s the things that can’t be purchased that really mean the most, we decided to focus on the intangible gifts. Whether it’s flying to another country, road tripping to a nearby state or fulfilling your mother's lifelong dream, we hold our travel memories with mom close to our hearts. So we took to social media to ask you about your favorite sojourn stories involving your mother. The responses were touching, funny and deeply personal. We complied 12 of them to share with you. To get things started, here’s my own personal memory of an adventure shared with my mom:

As we gear up for Mother’s Day on May 10, we began considering a fun and unique way to honor mom this year. Realizing that sometimes it’s the things that can’t be purchased that really mean the most, we decided to focus on the intangible gifts. Whether it’s flying to another country, road tripping to a nearby state or fulfilling your mother's lifelong dream, we hold our travel memories with mom close to our hearts. So we took to social media to ask you about your favorite sojourn stories involving your mother. The responses were touching, funny and deeply personal. We complied 12 of them to share with you. To get things started, here’s my own personal memory of an adventure shared with my mom:

Nicolle — Boston, Massachusetts

When I turned 16, my mom gifted with a trip to anywhere in the US. Not really knowing much about the rest of the states (being very much a California girl), I opted for Boston. I think I had heard someone cooler than me mention it once, and I was therefore determined to visit it. Instead of flying directly to Massachusetts, we flew in to Canada where my mom had a couple friends. Anne of Green Gables was one of my favorite series back then, so my mom took me to Prince Edward Island for the day (the setting for the books).

After a few days in Canada, we rented a car and drove down through New Hampshire on our way to Boston. Along the way we checked out a cute B&B in New Hampshire and ate local seafood. Finally in Boston, we made our way the Freedom Trail, learned about the city’s historic past, visited Fenway Park and stopped into Boston College. It was a round-about way of getting to my state-of-choice, but the journey was what made it one of my most memorable mother/daughter trips. It was also on this trip that I learned how to make amazing blueberry cheesecake squares, which I typically make around the holidays.

Kimberly — Iowa

Traveling from California to my grandparent’s farm in Iowa every summer was a family tradition we all loved. In the ‘60s we had a Volkswagen van that fit our family of seven—four girls, one boy (all under the age of 10) and two parents. We were, to say the least, a lively bunch. Sometimes my Mother would shout from the front seat, “All right you kids, you be quiet back there! You (she’d point at one of us), you look out your window. You (pointing to another kid), you look out your window, and I don’t want to hear another peep out of any of you!”

This silence would last a while until my brother very quietly said, “peep.” We all tried to stifle a laugh. Then another one of us would whisper, “peep, peep!” Then, one by one, we chirped like a box of baby yellow chicks, “peep,” “peep,” “peep,” “peep,” “peep!” until my Mother started laughing with us. Which she often did as a good joke was never lost on her. In fact, my Mother was a laugh waiting to happen! It’s been 10 years since my Mother passed away, and every Easter when I see those little yellow Peeps, I always have a good laugh.

Cory — Sydney, Australia

My Mom and I traveled to Australia last year as a celebration of my graduation from college. We've traveled together pretty extensively throughout my life, but Australia was a first for both of us. In addition to hanging out with some koalas in Sydney and eating kangaroo (yes, I'm serious), we also decided to go on a day tour of the famous Great Ocean Road and visit the Twelve Apostles. We knew that the Twelve Apostles were a four hour drive from Melbourne, but we weren't prepared for the insanely curvy twists and turns of the road. For four hours, my Mom and I were getting sicker and sicker by the mile as our tour guide drove full speed the whole time. As soon as we were both about to lose it, we arrived. The Twelve Apostles were breathtaking and we were ultimately glad that we made the arduous trek to see them. It was definitely a memorable trip with my Mom and I can't wait for our next adventure to Iceland this September!

disney worldPhoto Credit: Walt Disney World

Lauralee — Orlando, Florida

When my Mom was diagnosed with cancer, I encouraged her to envision a great trip we would take as a family once she was well. She surprised me saying she wanted to go to Disney World and see the Mouse House. Who would have guessed? So I went to a travel agent and got a poster and hung it in her room. On the difficult days, I'd remind her about our plans.

Sure enough, there came a time when she was well and we made our trip with my Mom, dad, husband, brother, aunt and uncle. We all went to Orlando and did all the touristy stuff. But after two or three days in Disney, we hadn't seen Mickey Mouse. As luck would have it, we found him just as we were getting ready to call it quits for the day, and my Mom had her picture taken with him, much to her delight.

Mom wasn't wild about the photo, but I adored it and put a framed 8x10 of it in my living room. Mom died just a few months after the trip. Her sister also kept the photo of Mom and Mickey Mouse in a frame on top of her television. She claims she would often come into the room and find the photo face down, or turned around backwards. She was convinced it was my Mom's way of saying hello and reminding her that she hated the picture.

Maria — Sanibel Island, Florida

My Mom’s side of the family has been traveling to Sanibel Island, Florida for over 30 years now. Sanibel holds a special place in our hearts, my older sister even got married there in 2013. Vacations in Sanibel always bring out the best in my Mom. It’s a place where she can relax, enjoy family and sunshine. My memorable Mom story is a very faint, yet very fond memory that makes me smile every time I think about it. When I was about six, my whole family watched the sunset together and my Grandma (my Mom’s Mom), who had emphysema and needed an oxygen tank, stayed inside a large beach cabana. My Mom chased all the kids around the beach pretending to be a witch and anyone she caught had to go to the dungeon (a.k.a the beach cabana) where our Grandma made sure we didn’t escape. It was goofy, exciting and very special to see this playful side of both my Mom and Grandma.

Leslie — Costa Rica

My Mother wanted to go to Costa Rica for her 80th birthday (she is now 89 years old...and she still loves life, despite some health setbacks). Anyway, I made arrangements with a Costa Rican travel agent to provide transportation from/to each location around the country that we wanted to explore. My-high-school-age son had an electronic translator, and my Mother suggested that we learn some Spanish phrases while we were on the road.

One of the very few phrases that were pre-loaded on the device was the translation for "who does the cooking in your house?" My Mother thought this was a great phrase to learn, but we thought she was nuts! We went to a small French restaurant, where we learned that the chef and the server were husband and wife. My Mother asked the phrase to our server, the wife of the chef, she looked at my Mother emotionally, in appreciation that my Mother would ask such a question, and she answered, "I do!"

The last destination was located near the Arenal Lake and Volcano. The driver told us that the best way to get to the hotel was via a boat across the lake, since the road around the lake was bad and would add an hour or more of travel time. We drove towards the lake, expecting a dock and a medium sized boat. Instead, we found a small skiff pulled onto the grassy fringe of the lake. We piled our luggage into the small boat and went out across a rather choppy and windy expanse of water. I looked at my Mother, expecting to see her white knuckled and clutching her bench. But instead, she had a giant smile on her face and all that I could hear was, "Wheeeee!" Now that is an amazing 80-year-old Mother! She has always been able to make things fun...and I bet you believe me when I say that I love my Mother!

Nina — Cancun, Mexico

I remember the first time I went out of the country with my Mom. We went to Cancun for my 16th birthday. It was just the two of us and we stayed at Le Méridien. It was a beautiful hotel and the trip was amazing! One day we went to lunch and I ordered a strawberry daiquiri, I was pretty much done with it when my Mom asked, “Wait, did you order a virgin?” I had totally forgot about that! So the first time I ever had an alcoholic beverage was with my Mom, unknowingly, on vacation when I was definitely underage. She was slightly horrified, but she quickly got over it. I love my Mom and I love that story. We have been fortunate enough to travel to some amazing places and I will always be grateful for the experiences we've been able to share together. 

Samuella — Russia

My Mother, an elementary school teacher, gave me the love of travel. Widowed at 26 (I was born four months later) and never remarried, it was always the two of us traveling during winter or spring breaks, and a bit longer in the summer. When I graduated from Ohio University with a degree in journalism, her gift to me was a trip anywhere in the world, preferably somewhere she hadn't been. After a few years, I finally found the time to cash in and collect on a three-week trip to the Soviet Union, at a time when it was still communist. So it was best to travel as part of a tour. We ended up going with other educators from Kent State University and visiting schools in Moscow, Baku, Tbilisi and Sukhumi in December.

In Moscow, my fantasies of a Doctor Zhivago Russian experience came to life as we enjoyed a troika ride and vodka later at a Winter Carnival festival. We had Christmas Eve dinner in a cave in Baku, and the Mother Georgia statue’s commanding presence made a huge impression on my Mom. We fell in love with the monkeys at the Monkey Colony in Sukhumi, and marveled at the respect that Russians give their elderly, whom they affectingly call “long-living people.” Today my Mom is in assisted living with dementia. There are times when she doesn't recall who I am, but I will always have our Russian travel memories.

Jody — Milan, Italy

When I was 19, I was signed by a modeling agency in Milan, Italy and traveled there for the winter fashion shows. It was my first time outside of the country, and I was alone. From the very first minute I arrived in the city, the agent had me drop my bags (at the agency) and hit the pavement, running around to various modeling castings. I was suddenly thrust into this high-paced world of professional modeling in a foreign city, and it should come as no surprise that the culture shock was overwhelming for this 19-year-old from the Chicago suburbs. After a few weeks of experiencing some of the darker (real) sides of the modeling world, it was too much for me to handle, and I called Mom to save the day!

After one phone call back to the states to my Mother explaining the situation, she dropped what she was doing, and bought a ticket to Italy. She wasn't going to leave her boy there alone, half way across the world. This was the country she was married in, and her favorite place on earth. We met a couple of days later in Rome, and my modeling trip to Italy suddenly turned into the most memorable vacation with my Mom that I've ever had. She showed me the wonders of Rome, how Italy can truly embrace you the right way, and we connected on a level we had never connected on before. One night, sitting on some ancient steps in front of the Colosseum, we shared our first glass of wine together. We talked about the future, how trying to make it as a model was not what I wanted, but instead college. We talked about our past, and what laid ahead, and the world was suddenly good again.

Kristina — Greece

After I graduated high school, my Mom and I took a trip (just the two of us) to Greece, visiting Athens, Santorini, Paros and Delphi. It was an amazing bonding experience, and we had so much fun. Our first morning in Athens, we woke up early and wandered the streets for a little while before coming across a restaurant that was opening for breakfast. After we took our seats in the open-air café and ordered our espresso, the waiter came back to take our order for breakfast. My Mom asked “Do you have Greek yogurt?”

The waiter, puzzled, looked at her for a moment before answering, and I jumped in with “We’re in Greece, it’s all Greek yogurt!” We ended up both ordering yogurt with fruit and honey for breakfast and taking in the morning sunlight creeping through the ancient streets. We would go on to have yogurt with fruit and honey almost every morning we were there, but we didn’t ask the Greek waiters in Greece for Greek yogurt any other morning. I’m 22 now, and while my Mother lives in Seattle and I live in Manhattan, we still chat every day and make time to connect as best we can, even with a three-hour time difference and 3,000 miles between us.

Jenny — Europe

We traveled a lot when I was young, which was very unusual for a family of six from a small town in Central Pennsylvania. Every summer from when I was about six until 14, we vacationed in Europe. I learned an important travel tip in those years when a kid's only responsibility was to keep up with the rest of the family. If you see something you like, buy it, because chances are, you won't get back there again. That led to some very heavy suitcases going home and eventually, Mom would pack an empty duffle bag just to bring our souvenirs home. As kids, we wanted to buy things but didn't want to carry them. And then came Mom's Gucci saddlebag.

We toured Italy sometime in the early 1970s but it was on that trip that Mom bought her Gucci handbag. It was the real deal and it was huge: black leather, silver buckles and it hung from her shoulder to her hip. Each day, Mom's bag would slowly fill up with the spoils of touring. A keychain here, a t-shirt there, and before she knew it, she was carrying a bag that weighed the equivalent of a soldier's backpack. Without complaint, she'd carry that pack through the streets of Rome and Cairo, Copenhagen and London, lugging our tchotchkes. Mom's saddlebag, served her and her children well. That bag was as well traveled as we were in those years, but as her kids got older, each one of us was given our own saddlebag to tote our own stuff in. Far from sporting the Gucci label, our saddlebags were straight from the US Army Surplus Store! 

Lisa — New Orleans, Louisiana

My mom and I try to take a trip together at least once a year as a Mother/Daughter getaway. Destinations have included everything from the magnificent Ocean House in Rhode Island to quaint Kennebunkport in Maine. In September 2013, we did a girl’s getaway to New Orleans. The two of us were strolling down Bourbon Street with beers in hand, enjoying the music and live street performances when one of those men, painted in all silver and standing perfectly still, came down off his pedestal. He said, "Hey pretty ladies, if you get caught with an open container, it'll be a $500 fine!" We ran into the nearest bar with our Bud Light bottles and couldn't stop laughing. Pedestrians are allowed to carry alcohol in the streets, but it has to be in a closed container, with a lid. There we were, thinking we could've been arrested on our first day in the Big Easy!