Fear of the unknown. Many of us live our lives this way. So, when I asked my Mom, or more correctly, insisted that my Mom travel to Asia for a unique experience with myself and Hilcia, I wasn’t sure what the outcome would be. I know she’s a bit older, with a few more aches and pains, throw in a little bit of a fear of the unknown, and I just wasn’t sure what her reaction would be to my prompting her to travel outside of her comfort zone. But, incredibly, she accepted!
Thus started a two week trip across four countries throughout Asia! She first started by flying into Shanghai to stay for the night. A very long, 13 + hours flight, in a tight, economy seat…but she held up. The next morning, it was on. We grabbed our bags, jumped in a taxi and caught the flight to Yangon, Myanmar. The first leg of our Southeast Asia mini tour.
A little worse for wear, but accepting the challenge, she set out with us to walk the old city streets at night, and explore Yangon before the beautiful chaos of this place disappears with modernization. My Mom did great! The streets, and the city itself, were definitely something I knew she was not used to. Yangon was dirty, hot, humid, it had that South East city stench, but incredibly vibrant and alive! Thus started the first day of many that would test my Mom’s knees, hips, mind and mostly her patience.
We continued each day touring a variety of temples, wonderful open markets and all that Yangon had to offer. We even jumped onto the train to get a taste of what locals do to get around. I give full credit for that amazing day to my Mom, all her idea!
Next stop was a short flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia, home to the amazing Angkor Wat. I say short flight, but, one that was probably the most violent and scariest, through the jungle, that I have ever been on. Our puddle jumper of a plane hit every single pocket of turbulence through a rainy, hot night flight, as my Mom held on for dear life. I tried to comfort her as best as possible, but, in reality, I was pretty damned scared too!
Anyways, we obviously made it and what an amazingly glorious time we had. My Mom was in her own little heaven, and truly astonished, I would even say inspired, by the temples and ruins that we traversed daily. She had her camera and tried to gather as many photos as she could along our route. Once again, up and down many, many steep and grand steps, over large stones and through a variety of crowds, she still was able to succumb to the incredible beauty of the many Angkor Temples. I don’t think I’ve actually seen my Mom that happy, and that tired, all at the same time for quite a long while.
Next, we were on to Danang, Vietnam for a bit of rest and relaxation along the gorgeous Vietnam coastline. Even though we had an amazing resort at hand, my Mom was still up for a bit of adventure. So, we visited the beautiful Hoi An, traversed up and down the thousands of steps of the Marble Mountains, and laughed at my Mom’s story of getting lost in the city. A truly great ending to the final leg of our Southeast Asia trip.
Last stop, Shanghai! We had planned a grand birthday party for Hilcia and myself (our 30th and 50th!) and of course, we had all of our clothing made for the event at the Shanghai Fabric Market. My mother rose to this occasion as well, mingling with our friends and making new friends throughout the night. Two days later, her trip came to a close as we put her back on a plane to head back to the States. She was definitely a bit more achy, very tired, but alive and energized!
Obviously, the point I’m making here is this…travel my friends. Travel now, travel tomorrow, travel as much as you can for as long as you can. My Mom, at 73ish, embraced the challenge, rose to the occasion and left with memories and some truly amazing stories that she will tell forever. Let travel and fear of the unknown be your catalyst to wonderful adventures, inspired travel stories and memories that will be shared and inspire others.
You are never too young…or too old!