Everything I Know About Travel I Learned From My Mother

My First Travel Buddy Was My Mom — Here’s How She Taught Me The Value Of Travelling 

For all the mother-daughter duos who learned to fly together.

My itch to travel began when my mother started dragging me around the world at three years old. I followed her like the tail of a comet shooting halfway across the sky. I went along without question, though I didn’t know most of the time where we were going or the hurdles she faced as a single parent to get us there. 

Needless to say, catching flights with my mother all these years has given me a new perspective on travel. If you’ve seen Gilmore Girls, you’ve probably witnessed how single mother-daughter relationships can blur the lines between sisters and best friends. Throw in the endless banter and the jokes and the lack of personal space between relatives who don’t need a filter to be candid, and you’ve got a travel buddy who will stick with you for life. Here’s how I found my ride-or-die companion in my mother. 

Also read: From a Millennial’s POV: The Pros & Cons of Travelling With Your Parents

She taught me how to be resourceful

Walking through the snow in Zermatt, Switzerland | Image credit: Tiffany Conde

My mother is constantly saving the day with her superior packing skills and emergency Ziplocs. We don’t care if it’s conforming to stereotypes; my mother and I like to make sandwiches and pack them into our bags for later. We never know if dining options will be scarce where we’re going, so you can bet that we’re saving bread and snacks just in case we get hungry along the way. In hindsight, though, this is probably why we never end up packing light! 

Aside from ensuring that we have enough food and water for both of us, my mother taught me how to read any kind of map and that there’s no shame in asking for directions if ever we get lost. 

She taught me how to be patient, especially while taking photos!

Taking a photo of my mother taking a photo of Lake Como in Varenna, Italy | Image credit: Tiffany Conde

I used to be the kind of person who would compose detailed itineraries and follow them to the letter, only to feel crushed anytime I missed an item. It didn’t matter how much I accomplished from the list. If I forgot even one activity, my entire trip fell apart. And I would always wonder about what would’ve happened if that opportunity hadn’t passed me. 

It was my mother who gave me a more laid-back approach to travel. Whether it’s waiting in long lines or missing the train more than once, she trained me to roll with the punches and adapt to any roadblocks thrown my way. Additionally, I learned that to maximise our time in a certain region, we didn’t necessarily have to do everything all at once. It was already enough to choose a few activities on the day that we could dedicate our attention to. Afterwards, we could still leave another day for appreciating the culture and unseen sights of the destination. 

From my mother, I learned that it was just as important to make time for the long journey. Coupled with the hilarious motherly antics that Filipinos call “Nanayisms,” the trials of travel have helped me forge a closer bond with my mother. We wouldn’t have become as close or as resilient together without these shared distances. 

Also read: Why You Can’t (and Shouldn’t) Force A Perfect Vacation

She taught me how to be spontaneous and open to new ideas

Our first time to see snow at Gala Yuzawa in Niigata, Japan | Image credit: Tiffany Conde

Normally I keep to myself and don’t go out of my way to meet other strangers. My mother, on the other hand, can’t help but be a magnet of positive energy whenever we travel or join a tour. Despite my reclusive nature, we always end up welcoming fellow travellers into our orbit, exchanging stories and finding new friends along the way. That’s something I really admire about my mother: how fearless and kind-hearted she can be. Where I tend to flounder in foreign environments, my mother has always urged me to discover other cultures and diverse ways of looking at the world. 

She taught me about how travel can widen horizons

Exploring the village of Grindelwald in Switzerland | Image credit: Phoebe Conde

Staying in my comfort zone for too long is a habit that’s easy for me to fall into. But in taking my education to the skies, my mother sought to give me a life filled with laughter and a never-ending curiosity for the world. From the touristy haunts to the hidden gems that are off-the-beaten-track, my mother empowered me to never stop learning through journeys of self-discovery. 

By imparting the joys of travel, she inspired me to be a perpetual student of the world: drawing life lessons richer than anything learned at school. My mother shows me every day that there’s a big world out there — and it’s much bigger than what can be found in a book or the four walls of a classroom. 

Also read: Travelling with Parents: A Beautiful Adjustment 

Enjoying the view at the Sphinx Observatory at Jungfraujoch, Switzerland | Image credit: Tiffany Conde

Someday when the pandemic withdraws from society, I hope that I’ll have the chance to reward my mother with trips in the future. I look forward to giving back what she gave me, this gift of curiosity that feels a lot like flight.  

About Author

Tiffany Conde
Tiffany Conde

Tiffany is a writer based in Manila. When she was younger, she knew she wanted to write stories or go on adventures—now, she's learning to do both. She enjoys being swept up in books that spark her curiosity for new places, both real and imaginary.

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