Over this past winter break, to celebrate the new year and my upcoming 21st birthday, I️ got to explore the beautiful Hawaiian Islands with my mom. Now, let me just say, my mother would be the first person who comes to mind when you mention a lot of things: support system, dinner date, person to brag about my accomplishments to and cry about my failures with. “Travel buddy” was not at the top of the list. However, after this epic, two-week journey through paradise, I️ thoroughly believe that everyone should travel as an adult with their mother. Here’s why:
1) You’ll try new things.
If I️ had gone with my college girlfriends, this trip would have looked a lot different. Probably more laser lights and bumping music, with fewer historic tours and nature drives. But I️ have my whole life (and every college spring break) to travel with my friends. Traveling with my mom made me try new things and participate in activities I️ may have passed right by. The best example on this trip was the Byodo-In Temple that my mom was dead set on seeing. I was initially neither here nor there on it, but after a morning of kayaking and snorkeling, I️ was tired and not really interested in walking around vast, humid grounds. However, the experience ended up being spectacular, as well as quite humbling. Trying new things is important in creating a well-rounded view of the world and getting out of your comfort zone. (P.S. another new thing you get to try, being no longer on your own college budget, is nice hotels and accommodations… instead of a sketchy $20 Airbnb and couch surfing. Yes please!)
2) You’ll make memories to last a lifetime.
Children will not, and should not, outlive their parents. One day, your mom won’t be around anymore to laugh, cry and hang out with. When you travel together you are forced to spend ample amounts of time in the same, usually small, space. Long car rides and airport layovers are the perfect breeding grounds for nostalgic stories and creative past times to emerge. These little moments will stay with you forever. Even more than the epic adventures you take on together, you will remember the time you and your mom, say, drove the endless Road to Hana, sides nearly splitting in laughter over the unnecessary extent of the journey and the GPS narrating tour guide who wouldn’t shut up about the “most amazing waterfall in the world” around literally every curve (and the Hana Highway, HI-360, has 620 curves). Memories can be curated through itineraries and excursions (and be meaningful in their own right), but it’s the unplanned bits of connection that will glue together your stories for years to come.
3) You will be inspired.
As a teenager, I️ would have sworn to you that I️ was nothing like my mother. We had our fair share of spats and arguments that led me to think I️ was “too cool” for her. But through traveling together, I️ learned we are more alike than different. When you stick two strong-willed, independent, passionate women in the same space for a long period of time, of course, there will be some disagreements. In our arguments, and in our celebrations, I️ could see myself in her and began to realize how inspiring that really is. If one day I️ can become half the woman my mother is, I️ will be proud. A driven, loving, supportive, single mother-of-two who never stopped giving of herself to support our dreams and ambitions, even through tragedy and adversity. A woman who decided to go get her pilot’s license just to see if she could, and who chose a scuba certification as her 60th birthday present. Always searching for new adventures and new challenges to continue to learn and grow into the best person she can be. Traveling with my mother inspired me to step up and walk in stride beside the amazing woman who has, all my life, fearlessly led the way.