Kayaking with Mom is always cause for celebration. (Photo: Lanee Lee)
By Lanee Lee
Still haven’t found a gift for your mom yet? Try giving her a vacation. Even if it’s a simple overnight trip to check out a cute B&B in town, it is the best gift you can give your mom.
That’s certainly been the case for me.
Every year, my mom and I take a Mother’s Day trip together to explore a different part of California. Since she lives near Santa Cruz and I live in Los Angeles, we scout out a town that’s roughly halfway between us. I do the planning — it’s my gift to her, after all — and then together, we share this carved-out nugget of time in a beautiful setting.
But the trip is more than just enjoying the scenery. It also strengthens our relationship, helps mend the past, creates lasting memories, and so much more. And so, based on my experience taking trips with my mom — everywhere from Avila Beach to Sonoma to glamping in El Capitan Canyon near Santa Barbara — here are all of the reasons why you should travel with your mom, too.
“Glamping” — glamorous camping — with my mom was such a treat. (Photo: Lanee Lee)
1. You can slow down and truly spend quality time together.
Ever notice how time flies when you go home for the holidays or for a family reunion? Between all of the visits with siblings, grandparents, and old friends, time goes by at a dizzying rate — and sometimes, you can leave feeling like you didn’t even really get to see anyone in a substantial way. When it’s just you and your mom, however, time slows down. Traveling with my mom has given me the opportunity to really get to know her as an individual, not just as a parental figure with a load of family baggage.
Stopping for a #MomSelfie in Morro Bay, Calif. (Photo: Lanee Lee)
2. You can set skeletons free.
Speaking of baggage, a trip with Mom can be better than therapy. I’d rather have a tooth pulled than confront someone — and addressing heavy issues on the phone is not fun, either. But on a trip, conversation flows more naturally. We often find ourselves in relaxed, neutral settings — like hiking a scenic trail or playing cards in the hotel — and these environments are simply more conducive to serious talks. It’s simple if you think about it: When you’re in a more relaxed situation, it feels easier and more comfortable to share grievances that have popped up in the past. Usually, by the end of the trip, Mom and I have taken many pesky skeletons out of the closet, thus paving the way for an even closer relationship in the years to come.
3. You’ll see each other in new ways.
Let’s face it: In family settings, we all have designated roles that, intentional or otherwise, we tend to play. But when you travel with your mom, you get to see another side of her that you may not see when she’s with your dad or stepdad, or your siblings, or your pets.
And you may be very surprised at what you learn. I always knew that my mom was a pretty cool lady, for instance, but had I not vacationed with her, I don’t think I ever would have known that at one point in her life, she wanted to be a professional clown. Or that she secretly likes to hug blue, buff sharks.
If you don’t go, you’ll never know… (Photo: Lanee Lee)
4. You’ll learn to appreciate the little things even more.
My mom is a fun travel companion. Even when things go wrong — like the time we missed our flight home because we lost track of time at a winetasting — she still has an attitude of gratitude. And gratitude goes a long way in making a vacation special. My mom oohs and aahs over simple stuff, like the attentive service at a restaurant, or meeting a passionate artisan, or even the hotel’s fancy soap or landscaping — and chances are, your mom is somewhat similar. It’s really nice to have someone who truly appreciates the little things, because aside from making the trip more enjoyable, it may help you readjust your mindset when you get back to your day-to-day, too.
5. You’ll seize the moment.
These days, it seems as though everyone is insanely busy, taking trips for weddings and vacations and work and everything else. But whenever I get overwhelmed and think I just may be too busy to plan a Mother’s Day trip, here’s what I remind myself: There’s a chance that, down the road, she might not be willing or healthy enough to travel. And that thought alone reminds me to seize the moment now. Create the memories now. Because someday, you may look back and wish you’d spent more time together in your glory days. And your glory days are happening as we speak.