A Lesson From My Mom

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Lesson from Mom


If I had a dollar for every time my Mom said: “I don’t want to go home!”…a shot of whiskey for every time she said: “I can’t believe I have to leave here!”…and a lobster for every time she simply said: “Wow!”

…I’d be making a big deposit into the travel fund, be pretty wasted (for several consecutive days), and I’d have a whole lotta lobster to give away (because I don’t really like lobster).

Granted, my Mom is excitable by nature.  You would understand this if you could talk to her during the fall harvest season, when you’d have to listen to her gush about the taste of fresh garden potatoes for days on end.  But even though I know this about her, it didn’t stop me once from relishing in her joy; I was grateful to be able to give her the opportunity to visit Honduras, and also to bear witness to it.  The constant giddiness and excitement in her voice was captivating.

She would stand and gaze out our window as the late afternoon sun cast shadows on the jungle treetops below and shake her head at it’s captivating beauty, also always commenting on the different shades of blue visible in the ocean just beyond the trees.  She reveled in each moment along the bumpy dirt road that leads to our house – especially when we fulfilled our role as neighborhood taxi, enjoying these brief interactions with this island’s native inhabitants as we gave them a lift into town.  She made friends with the brilliant green and blue lizards that frequent our patio, giving them names and talking to them whenever they showed up.

Mom enjoying the ride while I did all the work!

Mom also pushed herself to face her fears and try new things – she ate iguana and enjoyed it, and even took to the water twice (by boat and kayak) just to prove that she could – which is no small feat given the immense fear she has had all of her life with water.

To be a spectator to her wonderment was inspiring – at times it seemed that she was like a child opening her eyes to the world for the first time. And while I enjoyed every minute of it, I couldn’t help but compare her expressions in these last two weeks to my first few days on the island. Her enthusiasm trumped mine tenfold. I mean, I do recognize the beauty which surrounds me, and I am grateful to be spending this time here, but I’m pretty sure I could count my exclamations of “WOW” on just my two hands.

When I think back to my first days traveling 19 months ago, that is more comparable.  I am pretty sure I walked around Bolivia with my chin on my chest, dropping wow-bombs around every corner as I soaked up all the new sights, sounds and smells.  I pushed myself then as well – taking to long hikes in the Andes (unlike any I have done before), and jumping off a mountain with only some fabric and strings attached to my back, just to prove I could.  My reactions during that time would be much more relatable to my Mom’s in the last two weeks.

So, what does that mean for me now then?  Given my comparable lack in emotional response to the very obvious beauty of this island, am I becoming weary?  Have I lost my travel passion?

After 19 months roaming through my own country as well as eight others, I’ve seen a lot. Beautiful mountains, beaches and waterfalls?  Check. Inspiring art, unique wildlife, natural wonders?  Check. Bright green foliage, crystal blue water, scarlet red sunsets?  Check, check and check.

It is obvious that I have definitely become harder to impress.  Mountains have to be grander, wonders have to be more intriguing and colors have to be crisper for such dramatic exclamations to escape my lips.  But I don’t believe that means I’m done, that I’m ready to put my backpack to rest, or that I’ve lost my desire. My childlike wonder for new sights may have passed, but my steadfast dedication to soak in as much of the world as possible remains. I want to do it all, see it all, explore it all.

Although in my quest to keep pushing the boundaries of my journey, perhaps, just perhaps, I am missing the little things that should be continually causing me to exude passion for what I am doing today – even if it’s not particularly more spectacular or daring then what I did yesterday.  I need to be giving someone else the chance to increase their travel fund, get drunk on whiskey, and enjoy a month of lobster dinners, because of the expressions of MY joy.

I was very sad to put my Mom back on the plane home.  But I am so happy for the memories and the lessons of her visit that remains.  I have a bit more spring in my step, and the way that the sun casts shadows over the jungle below will surely get a second glance from me.  To see it all again through another appreciative set of eyes reminds me how incredible this life is that I am living. I will stop shrugging off the beauty of this place and stop comparing it to others that I’ve seen.  I will stop thinking about what is next to be explored on this journey, and start appreciating each moment I have here right now.

And so, years later, after her work of raising me is done, my beautiful and inspiring Mom still has lessons to teach me.

Thanks Mom. xoxo

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  1. It is wonderful that you and your mom got to spend this precious time together. She is lucky to have a daughter like you and you are very fortunae to have her as a mom. She is an amazing special person and I am sure you learned this from her. Love to you and Pete

    1. Thanks so much Auntie Judy, you are very sweet. We are so glad that she made it down here, and you are right, I am SO fortunate to have her as my Ma! xoxo

  2. This is the most beautiful and touching post EVER! Thank you for sharing this and all of your experiences. I’m happy for you and I’m super happy for your Mom!

    Love & hugs always…

    xoxo p

  3. Those are some great pics!

    This quality that mom has, to be joyous and excited over the little things, is my most treasured trait that I think I’ve inherited from her. I think that is what is so cute about her. I’m so glad you were able to “host” her to such joy. 🙂

    1. I was glad to be able to “host” it too, seeing as I haven’t been around to hear about the fresh garden potatoes… =)

    1. Cheers Christy! Funny how, as travelers, we typically try to dictate “living in the moment” and not worrying so much about the future, when it’s obvious (to me, anyways!) that I still don’t entirely let go of that. Maybe it’s not possible?

  4. I am so blessed to have experienced such Love,Joy & Wonderful Memories with those 2 kids of mine. I was treated like a Queen, chauffeured every day down a pot hole filled, dusty road,which I miss. Lived in the middle of the jungle with it’s small noises….such peaceful easy living it makes my soul yearn for more.

    Thank you My Darlings for such Pleasures !!!!!

  5. Lovely post…it reminded me of my late mother who was always up for any adventure. I’m sure I get my wanderlust from her (my Dad is pretty nomadic too). Great mantra! Thanks =)

    1. Thank YOU Andrea! And I’m sorry that your Mother is no longer here, but I’m glad she continues to be an inspiration! 🙂

  6. I LOVE this post! You know what you reminded me of though? Your relationship with travel is just like a human relationship – butterflies and intense excitement at the beginning and then you ease over months and years into simple, fulfilling enjoyment. You know the ins and out, you still love, but it’s different. Thank you!

    1. Wow Penny – you are bang on. What an insightful comment! I still love, but it’s different, and my love grows for it everyday! Now as long as travel doesn’t cheat on me… 🙂

  7. What a beautiful entry — written in such a heartfelt way. So glad you could enjoy your mom enjoying your life! I miss my mom — for the past eight years I’ve felt her in every butterfly, hummingbird and beautiful blossom I see. I know she would be filled with WOWs for the life I’m living too. thanks for sharing your mom’s adventures in this blog.

    1. Aw, thanks so much Jill! And I’m sure your Mom is filled with WOWs for you and your life…as she is in everything you see… 🙂

  8. As above, very nice post. It’s a good reminder to appreciate whats around you. I know after living in the same town for most of my life I don’t. I should probably adjust my attitude a bit, don’t have much time left before I hit the road.

    1. Thanks Mike. And I know EXACTLY what you mean about not appreciating your home town. It’s funny…I grew up in northern Canada and so always had a lot of exposure to Northern Lights – just recently I’ve read the goal of “seeing aurora borealis” on a couple of people’s “must-do” lists. I never thought of it as special at all, but now…I think YEAH, that was pretty cool! I know that when we returned to Canada after being away for a year, we saw the country with a whole new set of eyes.

  9. I have tears. This is beautifully written and the expression is captivating. Could you mom encourage my parents?

  10. Very nice 🙂 Up to now my parents have proved to be the best travel companions I have traveled with: never tired, always curious to new discoveries.
    There are many things you can appreciate while traveling, one of my favorite is getting to know the locals, I love trying to understand human nature and how social and cultural mores affect their daily lives.

    1. I totally agree re. getting to know the locals. I think that was my Mom’s favourite part about it – given as all her other travel experiences have been in resorts, she never really got a chance to interact with them like she did this time. 🙂

  11. Great post. I think it applies to non-travelling life too…if you’re not travelling right now, it’s good to remember there are still little wonders to appreciate every day. And then when you do travel, you’re in better practice to soak it all in. Thanks for this.

    1. Thanks Clare! And you are absolutely right. Problem for me is that I think (over time), I become a habitual non-appreciator once I’ve been surrounded by something for sometime. Thank goodness for people like my Mom, who provide these important reminders!

  12. This is such a touching post. I’m so glad you got to share such special experiences with your mom, and I’m even more glad it helped you appreciate things even more. I think we all need this kind of lesson from time to time.

  13. A beautiful post that’s a tribute to your mom as well as to the wonders of travel. Your mom is lucky to have a daughter who can see and appreciate it all, especially her.

    1. Thanks so much Donna! And she’s lucky that we travel like this…she’s hoping that we end up in Europe next so she can come and visit… 🙂

  14. What a wonderful heartfelt story! I read it a bit late but I’m glad I did because it touched me. Keep it up! I look forward to all the “Hecktick” travel stories and photos!

  15. Beautiful piece! You are so lucky to have a mom who was such a wonderful travel inspiration. I agree that the more you travel the harder you are to impress and sometimes traveling with someone who is seeing it for the first time gives you the kick in the pants you need to appreciate what you’re experiencing.

    1. Thanks Laurel! Yes, I hope to have more of my family visit me along the way, it’s fun to share our experiences and get such great perspectives from a “fresh” set of eyes! 🙂

  16. The true meaning to “live in the moment”

    I think that mindset happens anywhere. Living a block from the Pacific Ocean, on one of the state’s (and West Coast’s) most renowned beaches, I loved it. But I never truly appreciated it until I got to show it to others, and live vicariously through their virgin eyes.

    I think all it means is just that you are in need of new scenery. Maybe not breathtaking oceans and enormous mountains, maybe something like living in the hustle of a major city, or something you haven’t experienced before.

    Push yourself THAT way. Oh, and for godssake, stop comparing! 😉

  17. Great post and good job mom! I love that she got to share the experience with you, if just for a week. I hope that my mom is able to meet us somewhere out on the road. What a great lesson, too, to see things through new eyes and a fresh perspective.

    1. Her visit was just what I needed then – to remind me that what we are doing and where we are is pretty remarkable. It’s (somehow) easy to forget that sometimes!

  18. Loved this! I experienced the same thing when my mom came to visit me last year in Shanghai – her first trip to Asia! She was certainly nervous, but surprised me and herself by how much she enjoyed her time here. She tried strange, spicy foods, took taxi rides without screaming and haggled with a smile. I was so proud of her! She had such a good time, in fact, that she returned for a second visit last month 🙂 Have fun with your mom in Turkey!

    1. My Mom is so nervous this time around (she’s never been “across the pond”), but I think she will relax once she gets here. It will be so fun!

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