Traveling with family can bring up mixed feelings. Depending on how you look at it, being confined with your family over an extended amount of time can either be exhausting or cathartic. As an adult, my initial response to a family trip was, I’m going to lose my mind, but traveling with my mom turned out to be the best thing for me.
I’ve come to learn it’s even more exciting to explore the world when you share it with those close to you. Plenty of perks come from traveling with family—splitting costs, being with familiar faces, and always having someone there to take your photo. However, for me the most important rewards tend to be psychological. Broadening our world view has afforded us ever-lasting memories, a stronger bond with improved communication skills, and a reminder to appreciate other people and cultures.
While we wanted to travel on our own, taking packaged tours was the most efficient option. So instead of stressing over the flights, renting a car, and researching everything, we booked trips with smarTours and they took care of these things for us. All the details were seamlessly handled and having a tour guide provided us with a more intimate experience. Plus, there were opportunities to connect with fellow travelers, as well as explore on our own. Taking professionally planned tours allowed me to focus on family and be in the moment.
Creating Profound Memories in South Africa
One of the best benefits of taking trips with my mother is the treasured memories we created. Our first smarTours trip, South Africa Highlights and Safari, was especially sentimental. Not only did my aunt join us, but her and my mom were born in Kenya, so being on the African continent again was like a homecoming for them. Being there reminded them of their first home and they reminisced of walking to school with zebras crossing the road and hearing Hyenas cackle late at night. We weren’t disappointed with Kruger National Park and managed to see all of the Big Five—elephants, rhinos, lions, buffalo, and leopards. Our favorite experience was witnessing elephants grazing so close to us you could almost touch them.
Exploring South Africa together gave us unforgettable moments that I will cherish forever. Looking back, I don’t think about what gifts my mom bought me, but rather the places we went together, the food we tried, and the views that took our breath away. These lifelong memories are simply priceless.
Gaining Quality Time in Thailand
Another advantage of traveling with my mother has been the quality time we’ve shared. More often than not, work and life seem to impede on our family time. Traveling together has helped me refocus on family priorities. It gave me the capacity to truly be present in the moment with her and those around me.
Each place has been different from what we’re used to and that forced us to get out of our comfort zone and learn about the culture. On our second smarTours trip, Amazing Thailand, we immersed ourselves with the locals and attempted to speak what Thai phrases we could. We developed the ability to be at ease with uncomfortable moments and go with the flow. Learning together through these shared experiences nourished our mother and daughter bond.
Strengthening Emotional Connections Through Community in Morocco
A third benefit of traveling with my mother has been the growth in our emotional connection to each other and the places we visit. Together we experienced the interconnectedness of humanity by immersing ourselves in foreign cities. Traveling with her evoked empathy and a deeper connection to not only those around me, but entire communities.
During our recent smarTours trip, the Majestic Morocco tour, news broke of the terrorist attacks at the mosques in New Zealand. It was a somber day that could be felt throughout the city, as a vast majority of Moroccans are Muslims. Our tour guide, Khalid, became visibly distraught when explaining the pain the community was experiencing. The entire tour group offered support and condolences to him and extended the same to the locals we interacted with. Having seen the world with my mother during both times of tragedy and peace provided an understanding of other cultures on an emotional level. It’s a common understanding that we’ll always share and carry with us.
Wandering the world with my mom has been so fulfilling and fun. Life is short and these experiences made me realize one of the most beautiful things you can do with that time is enjoy once-in-a-lifetime trips with those that matter most to you. I can’t wait to see where our next adventure takes us!
By Natasha Tieman
Natasha is a marketer, world traveler, and lifelong learner who grew up in the Rocky Mountains. Travel curiosity led to a degree in Sociology and Anthropology with a focus on cultures and geography. She’s been to 17 countries, 34 states, 23 national state parks, and continues to explore the world with loved ones.