Geez how times have changed w intnl travel…I can’t really remember what it was like to land someplace (especially thinking of Thailand) needing to find a phone box to call home and then knowing it would be weeks before I could call again. And now…here I am in the airport drinking cappuccino and emailing from my own phone connected to wireless!
I woke this morning to the above email from Johannesburg, South Africa, and breathed a deep sigh of relief. One of many that I will take over the next 3 weeks. One of SOOOO many that I have taken over the past 22 years of my daughter’s travel adventures. If I put together ALL of those deep sighs, I would be hyperventilating.
But she is right! Today’s technology cuts my worry time dramatically. I don’t worry any less now that she is 38 years old than I did on her first adventure at 17, but I receive reassurances much more quickly and more often through the technology of 2016 than was possible in 1993. She is a VERY experienced world traveler/adventurer, and I am a VERY experienced worrying mother. We are a good match.
It started the summer between her junior and senior years of high school when she went to Thailand for 6 weeks. “Went” is not the correct word; “sent” is more accurate. There was a boy friend. Mom felt things were too intense for that age. I gave her a brochure for high school overseas learning experiences and told her to pick any country for a memorable summer! After buckets of tears and much foot stomping, she selected Thailand, the country furthest away from mom. And both of our lives changed forever.
Her university semester abroad in Australia turned to a year abroad, with solo trekking by camel to Ayers Rock, camping on beaches and bungy jumping in New Zealand. After graduation she drove across the US with a girlfriend. Then it was off for 10 years of living out of two frame packs. Graduate school in London. Water studies in Tanzania. Research for ski industry in Australia. (Yes, they do ski down under.) Canyoning in the Pyrenees. Avalanche rescue training in the Canadian Rockies. Running a ski chalet in the Alps. Surfing the coasts of Portugal and Panama.
(Traveling Daughter has always been considerate of my maternal instincts and never shares her intent to jump off cliffs, etc. Only after the fact do I get the details.)
I live vicariously through her adventures. It NEVER crossed my mind to strike out on my own to EXPERIENCE the world. My great adventure was marrying and moving from St. Louis, Missouri to Lewiston, Maine!
My first trip out of the country was a honeymoon at a friend’s vacation home in Jamaica. The next was a ski trip to Quebec. Subsequent trips were to visit Traveling Daughter in Australia, France and England. I did not strike out on my own until my mid 60’s, and I’ve never been courageous enough to REALLY go it alone in a foreign country. But anything is possible.
The first leg of Traveling Daughter’s current adventure is volunteering to do conservation work in Krueger National Park. NOT a group sightseer, she has always tried to live and work in the countries she visits, because she wants to understand cultures and people. In 1993, she helped build a school in Thailand. Panama. Canada. Africa. England. Tanzania. She lives with the people she is teaching and learning from.
In 2016, she is very understanding of my worrying nature and vicarious excitement. (Her fiancé is my equal in worry.) So I eagerly await her next missive, which will pop into my inbox within days or hours, hopefully with photos of her tasks in Krueger.
I truly admire this young woman I call Traveling Daughter. And I’m grateful for the technology that supports Worrying Mother.