One of the greatest rewards at AdventureWomen is receiving emails, letters, postcards and phone calls from our guests after our trips as they tell us their favorite and most memorable moments on our trips. We thought this month, we would share some mother-daughter reminiscing in celebration of all things “mom”. Here are two wonderful stories sent in to us over the past few months.
By Julie Plotkin
I am the youngest of four children. My parents travelled a lot when I was a child and somehow the art on our walls also spoke to worldly adventure. After my parents divorced and my siblings left the house physically (or symbolically), my mom and I were left to kind of start our own lives together. She took me out canoeing and biking in Michigan, white-water rafting in Idaho and adventured into triathlon competitions and running races with me at home. Though I finally grew into a teenager and fought with my mom at healthy intervals, we had established something: we were going to do things together. And just so you understand, my mom and I live in different parts of the “time and organization” spectrum. My mom, stunningly organized, is packed (according to the travel checklist guidelines) three days before departing for a trip. I, on the other hand, have misplaced my travel packet and am wondering the night before traveling (for example, to Iceland in July with AdventureWomen) what the weather will be like so I can start packing. And yet, we still do it – we travel together.
Traveling with my mom sparks many things for me. One of the most important and mundane realizations I’ve had traveling with my mom is that she is not like me. That might sound silly and egotistical, and on some levels, it is. However, essentially living with my mom- sleeping in a hotel room, eating three meals a day together and sharing a seat on a bus with her- this was a really important realization for me. To know her not just as my mom, but as a human, beautiful and flawed. The truth is that while it was absolutely wonderful to stand next to my mom on an Icelandic glacier, or to share a pint of Guinness with her at an Irish pub (whose live band is playing American country music), some of the most fun we had was goofing off on the tour bus. And the times I felt deep gratitude rising up for my mom was listening to her converse during dinner or observing her absurd (and practical) method of packing. Traveling is this wonderful paradox: if you don’t go, you may not experience these exquisite human emotions. And yet, these wondrous and magical emotional experiences occur doing the most everyday things.
My mom is a rock. Unwavering in her love and support for those she loves. Constantly. And it blows me away. Though we may have always had guides on our trips, it occurs to me now that my mom has really been guiding me, opening up opportunities to see the world and the vast, beautiful diversity beheld by humans, animals and mother nature. It’s like she’s sharing this secret with me that’s not really a secret at all. And yet it feels full of reverence. And maybe she doesn’t even know she’s expressing this secret to me which says, “The world you know is not as small as you think, it’s expansive…just look around you!”
In the year that she turned 75, she sat behind me on a snowmobile as we glided and bumped our way across the endless expanse of a glacier. She was uncomfortable and on some level I think she wasn’t even sure she should do it. Arriving at the entrance to go into- underneath- the glacier, we were nervous and excited. Walking through the under-ground/glacier tunnels we marveled at the beauty of the ice and the resonance of sound inside the caverns. Yet, it’s when I reflect that my mom and I share this memory together that my heart sings. She taught me to be adventurous and she participates in exploring Life. I don’t know if Joseph Campbell traveled with his mom but he sums it pretty well, “Our life experiences will have resonances within our innermost being, so that we will feel the rapture of being alive.”
By Ali Mollet.
Wind is rushing past my face and I’m getting tossed from side to side as six of us AdventureWomen speed down a river in Iceland in a jet boat. My mom is up front getting flung around on every turn and my grandma is in the back smiling from ear to ear as she hangs on. It’s so cool to have all three of us on an adventure together. We are having so much fun with Adventure Women and this is my favorite activity so far. As we fly around every turn I’m having an absolute blast, and I try to look over my shoulder when I have a chance to make sure my grandma is doing ok in the back. Our driver slows down a bit and then twirls his finger in the air which means we’re going to do our first 360 on the boat. We all take a deep breath and hold on even tighter. He speeds up, cranks the wheel, hits the breaks and we all scream as we spin around and water sprays everywhere. It was such a thrill! I start to turn around to check on my grandma, but before I even have a chance I hear a joy-filled shout, “Wooohooo! Let’s do it again!!!” It’s my grandma! She’s loving it just as much as I am!
Traveling with AdventureWomen with my mom and grandma was not only incredibly fun, but it was also so special to be able conquer fears, and get out of our comfort zones together. I got to learn a little more about myself, but best of all I learned a lot more about them. That was my favorite thing of all. Thanks AdventureWomen for making these experiences possible for us!