My Mom and I

Whenever I see these pictures of my Mom and I, I simply want to cry.


Travel with Mom


Dalene and Kay at Ephesus


I have a million pictures of myself whilst traveling, and some even in the exact same settings as the above. Yet I keep looking at these particular photos again and again, staring and staring.

She was here. My Mom was in Turkey.

I still can’t quite believe it.

Ever since Pete and I started traveling, we’ve encouraged all we love to come and join us, to see what we see, maybe even feel what we feel. And while my Mom did visit us in Honduras for a short while, this was different. As she said herself many times in the first few days: “This is a whole other world.”




As we rode in a taxi from the Istanbul airport to our hotel in Sultanahmet, her and my Aunt were oohing and aahing over everything in our purview: a modest fountain in the center of a roundabout, rows of white tulips lining the streets we were speeding down. There was nary a stately mosque to be seen yet, and the normally sparkling aquamarine of the Bosphorus had been dampened by the stormy skies surrounding us. The historic strait was only murky ripples of grey – it was entirely unimpressive, but that didn’t matter to either of them. Even though exhausted from their trans-Atlantic journey, they couldn’t get enough and strained to see everything in all directions.

“If you think this is impressive,” I said, “I can’t wait to show you the rest of this country.”

And I meant it. We were beginning an important journey, one that I looked forward to more than any in our past few years of travels. It didn’t matter that I would be roaming a city I had been to twice before and continuing on to popular tourist spots I had already seen.

The difference was that I would be playing tour guide to my dear family. My Mom and Aunt had afforded me the opportunity to show them all there is to love about this side of the world, to change the picture of what North American media paints and dispel the myth of a big blanket of terror covering this region.

And to show them what this life of travel is all about for us.


Kay and June in the Tulips


Family at Ephesus


After our time in Turkey had drawn to a close and as we joined my Mom and Aunt for a first few steps in Greece, I asked her what she thought of the new country. She liked it, she said, but didn’t feel the same connection to it as to Turkey. Having made a personal bond with some of our Turkish friends, Mom now had a “face” to the country, and understood why we rave about their unending hospitality and generosity.



An afternoon picnic with some friends!

She gets it. She understands the immense value of travel, that it can be so much more than just seeing famous sights. She wholly sees the appeal of waking up in a new country, living the day-to-day while under the challenge of language and location, and getting to know other souls across the globe.

She has always fully supported us, and now she fully understands.

I was bursting with pride and love for my Mom having made the trip, for having pushed past her own fears to take her first jaunt overseas. In all the history and in all the future documentation of our travels, if I never inspire another, I am okay with that. Because I know I inspired her at least a little.

And if she could somehow see to let me, I would take her everywhere.


Kay Looking Down the Road


36 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • Beautiful! Like yourself, in spite of many invitations, visits have rarely worked out. But my Mum and I spent some time in France and England, and although I wasn’t familiar with those areas at the time, it was wonderful to experience the world with her and through her eyes.

    I have a friend who might visit me here in Grenada, and I’m thrilled at the prospect of introducing a place I’m familiar with and love to my loved ones. Fingers crossed!

    • May 1 2013

      I saw the announcement that your friend is coming – yay! Have fun playing tour guide. πŸ™‚

  • April 29 2013

    What a wonderful experience for you and your mom! My mom and I have been taking trips together for almost 20 years now and make a great team. We’ve covered a lot of the US and Europe, and last year I got her to come to Shanghai on her first visit to Asia. And she loved it so much she came back this year! But as each year passes and the pain in her knees grows, we slow down more and more. Though she jokes that even if I have to push her in a wheelchair, we will keep exploring the world! No matter what the future holds, I will always treasure the experiences we’ve shared. I hope you and your mom have many more on the horizon!
    cosmoHallitan recently posted..Snapshot: Animals of Shangri-la

    • May 1 2013

      What fantastic adventures you and your Mom must have had! I hope to continue to take my Mom around the world with us too. πŸ™‚

  • April 29 2013

    You’re totally right… there’s something magical about showing your family (and friends) your new location. My dad’s first trip abroad was to visit me here in Korea, and he was in awe of every little thing. Like you said, he understood the value of travel in my life, and now in his.
    Vanessa recently posted..On Teaching Students: When You Don’t Speak The Same Language

    • May 1 2013

      I think my Mom was always a vagabond at heart, and now these travels are fueling that within her. I guess I know where I got it from. πŸ™‚

  • April 29 2013

    I just love this. I hope to get my mom out into the world, too. She just deserves it so much! I think one of the hardest things for me will be not seeing my mom for as long as we’re gone. I’m glad you had a chance to show your mom around a place you love so much.

    • May 1 2013

      That IS the tough part, not being able to see her often enough for my liking. And it was so sad to finally say goodbye when she left.

  • April 29 2013

    I love traveling with my mom, too! Although I’ve traveled more than she has, all the credit for my wanderlust goes to her, and I’m always ecstatic when she joins me on my trips.
    opportunemma recently posted..Weekly Travel Linkspiration: language learning tips, β€œoff the beaten path” travel, and small backpacks

    • May 1 2013

      It is a totally different experience to travel with Moms, I think! And one I hope to do more often!

  • Leah
    April 29 2013

    This brought tears to my eyes Dalene. I am so happy for you. For everything!

  • April 29 2013

    So sweet. My mom and I have not traveled a lot together lately but are planning to change that soon. It is so special to share those times with all family, not just our significant others. It builds such special memories.

    • May 1 2013

      OMG, the adventures we had, just in our few short days together here. Those are memories to be kept forever, for sure!

  • Dallas @ Offtoseetheworld
    April 29 2013

    Lovely story. I also keep trying to get my friends and family to travel with me. They look at me with complete confusion and the occasional eye roll when I talk about how exhilarating it is to wake up in a different country and see a whole different culture. I’m glad you got to share your experience with your mom and aunt.

    • May 1 2013

      They’ll never understand it until the try it!

  • April 30 2013

    That’s fantastic that your mother finally took an invitation and came to visit you on your travels!! Being in a place you love is always so much more special when you get to share it with someone you love.
    Anne recently posted..The Great American Road Trip: Southeast to Southwest

    • May 1 2013

      I really loved playing tour guide, and to show her what a special place this is. And for her to fall in love with it too!

  • Sam
    April 29 2013

    That’s lovely! In 6 months time, we have plans to meet my mum in Ecuador, which I’m really looking forward to. She will have just retired from her job of 30 years when she comes, something she’s a bit worried about, and I can’t wait to show her that a life like ours is not so crazy after all!

    • May 1 2013

      Ecuador is a great place for a Mom adventure! πŸ™‚

  • Kim
    April 30 2013

    So sweet. I’ve continuously encouraged my mom to visit us while we travel (she doesn’t even have a passport!!). If it ever happens it will be a big day for me. So glad you can share the experience with your mom.

    • May 1 2013

      Hope it happens for you Kim! Get your Mom her first passport stamp! πŸ™‚

  • April 30 2013

    Lovely post, and what an awesome experience to share with you mom. I’m glad you were able to make her see and understand this huge part of your life! It’s always rewarding to share something you love with the people you love, and to have them love it, too.
    Amanda recently posted..On Beaches: My Favorites and My Dream Destinations

    • May 1 2013

      I think this trip may have fueled her wanderlust even more (I really believe she is a vagabond at heart). I hope so!

  • What a beautiful story. I would love to be able to share my journey with my mother but she passed away (It’s ok… something good came from it – Its the reason we left to travel permanently), but there are times, like when reading this post, I miss her so much and feel a little sad she couldn’t be here to see me live my dreams.

    Im so glad you were able to share this part of your life with your mom, thats beautiful.
    Nicole @ Suitcase Stories recently posted..Travels in Mexico: Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum & Merida

    • May 3 2013

      So sorry to hear about your Mom, similar tragedies boosted us to travel too. I’m sure she is with you wherever you are!

  • May 2 2013

    Isn’t it a great thing to be able to share something you love so much with the people you love? Awesome! I loved Turkey to btw and bits and can’t wait to get back there one day very soon (hopefully with MY mom!) She lived in Izmir when she was 16 and hasn’t been back since!

    • May 3 2013

      Oooh, we were just making some plans to visit Izmir! (We’ve been there plenty of times as a transit point, but want to go explore). I hope you make it back with her!

  • Ali
    May 3 2013

    Such a wonderful feeling to know that someone else understands why you do what you do, and even better that it’s your mom who now understands. And what a great country for her to see with you!

  • May 6 2013

    you’re so lucky you still have a mom. we lost ours last december. keep up the amazing work! greetings from your Filipino fans! πŸ™‚
    Roaming Couple recently posted..Tierra Alta in Valencia

    • May 8 2013

      Oh, I’m sorry to hear about that, we’ve lost very close family members too and know how difficult that is.

  • May 9 2013

    Really good sincere and emotional post there Dalene! Having lived away from my parents for 10 years now, it’s kind of the only thing I really can regret from being a nomad – my parents are older now and I should see them more often. I just can’t take my Mum backpacking in Suriname or China…emotional post and sentiments echoed.
    Jonny Blair recently posted..Train Travel: A Guide to High Speed Rail in China!!

    • May 11 2013

      Thanks Jonny. Maybe your Mum will surprise you someday? πŸ™‚

  • May 11 2013

    I actually had my Mum taking local trains and backpacking in Sri Lanka recently, but at the end of the day she’s happy with a coffee and a chair. I’m happier with my backpack and a beer πŸ˜‰ Safe travels! Jonny

  • May 20 2013

    What a wonderful post, it literally brought tears to my eyes. I have so many wonderful memories of traveling with my daughter, USA and Europe, but sadly my own mother has passed away and will no longer be able to travel with us. Your story was truly inspirational to read, thank you!
    Barbara recently posted..Cedar Key, Florida

    • May 21 2013

      Thank you Barbara, for your sweet comment! I’m so sorry you don’t have your mother to travel with you anymore. πŸ™

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