I Love To Travel With My Mom
Growing up on a farm in rural Ontario, Canada, we didn’t travel or take vacations much. While most of my friends had been to far away places, I didn’t fly in a plane until I was 17, taking a solo trip to Vancouver. Farming is a full time commitment – you can’t tell a bunch of cows you’ll ‘see them in a week.’
That changed in 2010 when I set out on my first trip around the world and I convinced her to meet me somewhere in the world.
Recently, I was featured on the blog ‘Travel With Bender’ in their Mother’s Day post titled: ‘Should You Road Trip With Your Mother?‘ Inspired by this, I want to share with you here on Backpack With Brock why I love to travel with my mom and say thank you for all the great adventures we’ve had together.
Backpack With Brock Bucks
So, as I was saying…2010, I’m about to head out on my big trip around the world. I was trying to convince my mom to come meet me somewhere, ideally Europe. She had never left North America and this was her chance. For Christmas I gave her ‘Backpack With Brock Bucks’ and the only way she could redeem them was by flying to a foreign country I was going to.
At the end of July, a little over 6 months into my trip, I was picking her up at the Rome airport. With her was my aunt Teresa who has been an excellent addition to our travel posse. And so began a series of incredible adventures with my mom.
On that first trip we visited 7 cities in 5 countries in 16 days. Rome, Pisa, Budapest, Vienna, Krakow, Prague. ‘Whirlwind’ doesn’t even begin to describe our itinerary. Overnight trains, new languages, a ‘hostel’, lots of walking, eating, and sightseeing. We did it all.
The Adventures Continue
A little under two years later, we found ourselves on a one week New Hampshire road trip. It was the longest we had spent in a car together and we had a blast!
In 2013 my mom joined me in Europe yet again. In under two weeks we explored the southern Spain cities of Malaga, Granada and Seville followed by Lisbon, Portugal (her own awesome addition to the itinerary) and 24 hours in London! On that trip, I convinced my mom to stay in hostels and as always, she gave it a go. Private rooms in hostels might just be her new favourite way to stay.
Later that same year we, along with my aunt, road tripped through Canada’s beautiful province of Newfoundland and Labrador, spending 50 hours in the car on the way home as the result of an unplanned detour.
Why I Love To Travel With My Mom
If there’s one thing about my mom, it’s that she’s got the biggest heart. She would go to the end of the earth for you and never expect anything in return. She’s also easy going, hardworking and truly wonderful to be around. I really lucked out. With that said, when I began travelling with my mom she surprised me. I’ll admit to being a bit worried that she might be overwhelmed by the often unpredictable aspects of international travel, that foreign languages and unfamiliar foods would prove challenging and frustrating.
Nope. Nadda. Not at all.
On that first trip, my mom was the most relaxed and game-for-anything I’ve ever seen her.
She had not been in Rome even 2 hours when I spotted her in our mini hotel lobby. There she was offering donuts (she had brought me a box of my favourites from Tim Hortons on the 12 hour, red eye journey with her) to the father and son sitting next to her telling them the story of me and my travels and the donuts, and the little family just sat there wide eyed and quiet. I don’t recall if they took a donut but when I chuckled and shared with her later that they didn’t speak English, she said she knew – she just was just being friendly. We could all take that genuine approach more often.
My mother also manages to have me in fits of laughter on a daily basis when travelling. Sometimes she mixes up what city or country we are in, she’ll post like different statues, attempt to speak the local language, get the ‘perfect’ photo with her iPad, try foods she might never at home and while always remaining respectful, find the humour in pretty much any situation.
Even as someone who is very social and meets people easily, I meet even MORE people when I am with my mom. We make friends everywhere we go and she has a knack for connecting with these people beyond just everyday conversation. She finds a story, a common thread, that makes it all so easy.
One of the times I’ve been most amazed by her in my life was during our visit to Malaga, Spain. My friend Alejandro whom I had met while he was living in Toronto for a year invited my mom and I to his parent’s home to meet them. Alejandro’s family spoke Spanish but very little English. While I knew some very basic conversational Spanish, my mom only knew how to say hello and thank you (and even that was a stretch: Graaaa-ceee-aaasss.) Alejandro had to take care of some errands so at first it was 6 of them and 2 of us sitting around their living room. We were working hard to communicate and my mom, well, she could have simply sat there, smiled, nodded and drank some coffee. Not my mom. Determined to chat up a storm she pulled out her iPad, opened some app with pictures and translation and created conversation based on the images she had to work with. I stared in amazement. My adorable little mom, having lived in a tiny town in rural Canada her ENTIRE life was chatting up a storm in Spain with a family who only spoke Spanish. She was nervous. She wasn’t frustrated. She was smiling and laughing the whole time and ensuring they too felt comfortable. There was nothing impressive about the Spanish I had learned in comparison to my mother’s ingenious approach to communication. I was so proud of her. Since then I have called her ‘Madre’.
And of course, it would be amiss if I did not share with you how much she truly does take care of me. When we met up in 2010, I’d be on the road for nearly 7 months and although I was and am, very self sufficient, it was of course so wonderful to have my mom there to help me out a bit. She would sew up holes in my shorts, make me meals when we stayed in apartments, wash and fold my clothes and let me sleep on her shoulder during long train rides. As wonderful as it was for me, I know that she enjoyed it too. She loves taking care of her kids, my sister Mallory and I. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship.
Thank You Mom
I am so grateful for my mom. If I wrote down every single detail of that gratitude I’d likely wear out the keys on my laptop or the next ice age would stop me – whichever comes first. My mom deserves the most credit for who I am today. She has selflessly put me (and my little sister) before her without hesitation and used every bit of energy, knowledge and, no doubt, patience, to ensure that we have the best life and opportunities possible, growing up to be compassionate and respectful contributors to the world and people around us. There is no doubt in my mind that my mom would take a bullet for me, but in truth that’s only if she beat me to the bullet, as I would do the same for her.
My mom has supported me through all of my dreams and endeavours, sitting through countless music lessons and soccer games. Eventually that transitioned to travel.
People would ask my mom: ‘You’re actually letting him go to all these far away countries? Aren’t you worried?’ She’d simply smile and tell them ‘It’s his life and he has to live it. He’ll go whether I like it or not so I might as well be on board. Plus, I know he’ll be fine.’ Many a time she’s gone days without hearing from me, always trusting that she has taught me enough to stay safe and alive. Only twice has she veto’d a destination: Mexico and Kosovo. I listened and didn’t go to Mexico. She wan’t thrilled when I called her from Kosovo.
My mom is my best friend, knowing me better than anyone else. And since we began seeing the world together, my friendship with her has only grown. With the stresses of day to day life removed, far away from any commitments or work, we can simply enjoy each other’s company and the beauty of whatever place we’re exploring.
Setting out to travel the world, I knew I would miss my mom while I was abroad. What I didn’t know was the many ways those same experiences would help our friendship grow even more.
Thank you mom for loving me. For the laughs, adventures, inspiration to be the best version of myself and for always helping me dance.
I love you to the moon (and every country on Earth) and back!