This is a story about our tour clients, Andrea and Monica, a mother-daughter duo.
Realizing that after all these years they didn’t really “know” each other, Andrea surprised her mom with a Cinque Terre tour. It had been ages since they had spent any real quality time alone together. What she found was that the trip allowed her to see her mom in a whole new light.
Here’s how traveling with us made everything flow together, beautifully.
Letter from our founder, Bianca Gignac:
Andrea is a mom to three young children, and as is the case with many mothers, her time is very seldom her own.
She was hitting a wall — one of those walls that involve dreaming about checking yourself into a hotel for a weekend, just to sleep.
At the same time she heard from a friend about our Italy trips for women. Tucking into an almond croissant in a tranquil lemon garden in the Cinque Terre, getting a boat’s-eye-view of the Amalfi Coast’s cascade of pastel buildings, relaxing into a massage at a spa on a volcanic Italian island — these images that seemed so far away from her real life began to take the shape of possibility. Something just clicked and she said, “I want that.”
“I was thinking about coming on my own at first, but then my husband gave me the idea of bringing my mom. I let that idea seep in, and the more I did the more the idea really grew on me.
“It was exactly the kind of a trip that I wanted to do with her. We’d never done anything like it before.”
Andrea and Monica live in different cities — Mexico City and San Antonio.
When they do see each other, it’s very rare that it’s just the two of them.
Get-togethers usually also involve husbands/kids/grandkids, and so of course it’s always about wrangling, managing, and taking care of everyone else.
Andrea said she realized she didn’t even really “know” her mom as an adult. Life was so busy that they hadn’t really had a chance to connect since she moved away from home,
“I didn’t have much of an adult-to-adult relationship with my mom. I remember growing up she was always there, she was always doing her best job. When you’re older, you appreciate the sacrifices they made, but what happens is you have your own kids, and your relationship ends up revolving more around them.
“I realized that I ‘knew her’ but I don’t ‘know her’ — or about what’s really happening in her life. I lacked a renewed connection because everyday stuff seemed to take over.”
So when the possibility of going on a trip together came up, Andrea thought, “Yeah. Maybe we should.”
One of the tipping points for Andrea in making her booking was the fact that the trip was already perfectly planned for them. That took a ton of stress out of the situation because she knew that had they set out on their own, her mom would have wanted to do one thing and she would have wanted to do another.
Coming on an organized trip meant that they didn’t have to hassle over the “big decisions.” There was nothing to worry or disagree about.
“The only thing we had to decide,” Andrea said, “is do we go and jump in the Mediterranean or do we go and eat another bowl of pasta?”
Andrea was ready. And she discovered her mom was too.
“We were both ready to do something that enriched us and we both acknowledged the fact that we needed to recalibrate ourselves as individuals.”
Mothers and Daughters Daring Greatly.
Andrea recently read the book Daring Greatly by Brené Brown.
It talks about scarcity, and about the premise of feeling we’re “not enough.” We feel like we don’t deserve this, we’re not good enough. We build an armor and we always feel guilty.
No, I don’t want to spend the money, because the kids need to go to camp. You think, I can live without it. And that’s because you think you’re not enough, you don’t deserve it.
This trip was a lesson for Andrea in the importance of putting HERSELF first.
“With a family, you always think family first, especially with kids. So you’re willing to sacrifice yourself in a way, you know? Then at one point you realize you’re not a good mother, you’re not a good wife, you’re not a good person to yourself. You’re so consumed with what’s going on all the time around you and you’re so exhausted, that you sort of disappear into thin air. We’re constantly being distracted and doing everything for everyone else, but it’s so important to remember every once in awhile that you need to do a little something for yourself too.”
Reading Brown’s book helped Andrea realize how the slippery slope of “good enough” might be holding so many mothers back. And because it’s so deep rooted, and passed on through generations, we don’t even notice it. Even to accept that we need help, and to allow ourselves the luxury of having someone else do all the work, is the start of something powerful.
“I thought, ‘What a wonderful thing that someone is already planning this for me. All I have to do is pack my bags, buy my ticket and fly away!’”
When Andrea came home, even if she was right back in the thick of things within the week, she was able to see things more clearly and put things into perspective.
“You’re not a new person. But you’re a rested person physically, and you are on your toes, ready for round two.”
As for Andrea’s relationship with her mom, because of the time they took to connect, they were able to open a new door, to “a very HONEST relationship where we can talk about things. Where we can listen. A door where SHE talks, and I listen. Because now, she needs to talk. And to have someone listen. Before I always thought, how can I give my mom advice? What could I possibly have to offer her? Now she needs to talk to me. This was about reconnecting as friends instead of just as mother and daughter.”
How cool is Andrea, right? Taking her mom to Italy? She’s an inspiration! So many people think about doing something like this, but how many people actually do it?
The years can pass so fast, and especially as our parents age, you never now what’s around the corner. Putting off traveling is a risk, because traveling takes health. If you’re healthy now, and your mom is healthy, carpe diem. Because tomorrow is always uncertain.
You need to think, what’s the downside?
If the only thing you can come up with is money, then take a real look at that.
Where will you be next year if you don’t make changes today that you want to make?
It’ll just be the same ol’ thing.
Now, I’d love to ask you this.
Do you feel that ditching the to-do list and traveling more?
Can you relate to Andrea?
Are you so busy running a family and a household that people massively important in your life have taken a backseat?
If you feel energized by the thought of letting yourself “be enough,” you’re in the right place.
It’s an exciting place to be.
You’re not reading this because of chance, you’re reading this because you KNOW it’s time. Time to reconnect with your mom, your sister or someone else you deeply care about.
Do something wild, brave and bold for both of you. Shine the light on someone else. Make them feel they matter, and in the process, step into “mattering” too.
The rest, we’ll take care of. We have it all perfectly planned for you. Just show up. We’ve got this.
The only thing you need to do is choose your backdrop: the colorful villages of the Cinque Terre, the stunning Amalfi coast and Puglia, or the magic of Sicily.
Never forget: this is YOUR life. You get to choose YOUR own adventure. We’re just here to help make that adventure more magical.
Know that we’re all in this together.
Bianca Gignac, Founder, Travel Beautifully Media Inc.
P.S. Do you know a mom who could use a re-set? Could you share this story with them? It’s a little love and I-see-you admiration you can send her way. Encouragement can be EVERYTHING at certain points in life, and it’s always nice to spread a bit of positivity around.