Mother-daughter adventures

We meet the all-seeing, all-exploring women who found the perfect travelling companion in their parents or kids

National Geographic writer and The Gutsy Traveler founder Marybeth Bond has written 12 travel books and explored more than 100 countries, so it’s only natural that her family comes along too

“One sunny day in June, my daughter (in her 20s) and I (in my 50s) cycled out of San Francisco and headed for the opposite coast of America. Two months and 3,114 miles later, we reached the Atlantic Ocean and had raised $52,000 for the National Osteoporosis Foundation. This was not a vacation, but a rigorous physical challenge as well as a test of managing stress, maximising patience and pulling together as partners.

“We experienced a ‘rite of passage’ in our relationship. We took care of each other on the road and in many other ways. At times JC “mothered” me. I depended on her to map our directions, fix the computer and lift anything heavy. We calmed each other in the face of potential tornadoes, wild dog attacks, heatstroke and semi-trucks blasting us off the road. The mother/daughter hierarchy we knew at the beginning of the trip has been forever shattered; my role as mother has shifted from authority to partnership. We are equals and friends and share a very deep love and respect for each other. I like it that way.

“I also had an adventure of renewal and challenge with my mom when she was almost 70. We rafted the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, camping on sand beaches at night and riding the wild rapids of the river by day. I still remember the impish grin and her white curls. We were happy, pushing our limits together. She’s gone now, but the memory of her saying “We can do it” and cheering as we paddled through the big waves is with me always.”

In 2012, mother and daughter duo Petra and Veru quit their jobs, gave away all their possessions and hit the road. Since then they’ve travelled slowly, living like locals, and explored every continent bar Antarctica, recording their adventures on Simply Nomadic Life

“Looking back at the last years of our travels, the two weeks of celebrations we witnessed in a Tibetan monastery in Nepal and a visit to the world’s holiest shrine for the Sikhs, the Golden Temple in Amritsar in India, have been our two most unforgettable experiences so far. Both gave us a chance to immerse ourselves in unique cultures of the world, to be a part of welcoming communities for a while and to learn about the Tibetans and the Sikhs’ spiritual practices and everyday life.”

Innately outdoorsy Morgan Brechler has been taking her daughter trekking, climbing and camping with her since Hadlie was just a few months old

“I believe children need to be connected with nature more than technology: climbing trees, rolling down hills, falling off their bikes and playing in the mud, not sitting inside all day. Their brains are developing so quickly, they need outdoor play – then they can learn to appreciate and respect our earth too. It was never a ‘plan’ to have Hadlie join our camp outs and travels, but she just fitted right into the lifestyle. Our favourite adventures are with her, she makes the experience so much more memorable. Does it make things a little more difficult at times? Heck yeah. Does it take some more planning and packing? YUP! Sure does. But, it’s all worth it.

“One climb in particular stands out to me. We were bouldering the limestone roofs of Priest Draw, up in Flagstaff, Arizona, and Hadlie decided she was ready to climb. We searched for a boulder we thought was realistic for her size and ability, chalked her hands, and my partner went to help her up. She climbed it with no hesitation and, when she got to the top, he reached his hand out. She refused his help, and told him that she got it – cue lots of high fives and hugs. She went on to climb another couple of boulder problems that challenged her in different ways. It’s incredible to watch a young child approach a challenge with serious confidence and determination. That’s all we want for her: not to be afraid to try.”

As an editor at Rough Guides, Lotte Gross is a natural jet-setter, but her top travelling companion? Mum

“I’m a big advocate of travelling with mum – mainly because I travel with mine a lot and we have so much fun. We’ve been to all sorts of places, from India to Germany to Kenya, and we’re planning a trip to Albania right now. One of my favourite trips was to Morocco; we decided to escape the festive season at home and ended up camel trekking into the Sahara on Christmas Eve like Wise Men. We slept in traditional Berber tents, ate tagine and brought in Christmas Day with a bonfire and a few beers.”

Luxury travel writer Katie Dillon is the author of family travel blog La Jolla Mom and book Flying with Kids – both borne out of extensive overseas travel with her daughter

“My daughter is eight now, so old enough to have a say in where we travel to. This led us to swimming with pigs over a winter break in the Exumas, which is certainly one of the crazier trips we’ve taken. The pigs are big, super friendly and swim right at you! I will also be dining at the Hello Kitty cafe in Taipei on our next trip (amid other cultural activities). Letting her do some of the planning keeps her interested in travel at an age where her social life at home is booming.”

Claire and Mia Fontaine’s second co-authored book, Have Mother, Will Travel, documents their changing relationship on a round-the-world adventure

Mia: “At 27, I still felt a bit lost in the adult world. I also felt more distanced from my mom. When she asked me to join her on a global scavenger hunt across Asia, the Middle-East, Eastern and Western Europe, I jumped! I wanted to see how twenty-somethings lived in other cultures, and we felt the trip would forge a deeper bond. What a revelation to see moms and daughters interact around the world! In youth-obsessed America, daughters rarely look to their moms for advice; in fact we’ll often listen to anyone but our moms. It was the opposite in other countries, where your mother is the first person you turn to at any age.”

Claire: “At mid-life I’d lost my sense of purpose. Travel, leaving the familiar and comfortable, always returns me to myself. The trip was also an opportunity to renew my relationship with Mia, and to look at women’s lives in other cultures. After the spectacular whirlwind of circling the world, we lived in Avignon for four months, which was just as thrilling in very profound ways. Some of the most life-changing moments were there: not the most intrepid, or spectacular, but small, delicate instances that opened my eyes about my daughter.”

Ready to take off together? Read our travel blog for inspiration, or search your trip – click ‘book your trip’ now
All images are courtesy of the writers featured, contactable at the links provided. Lead image: Morgan Brechler and Jared Marvel.

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