Traveling with my mommy.

I’ve heard so many people say, “My mom is my best friend.” I don’t know if it’s the post-Gilmore Girls excitement, but it’s becoming increasingly common. However when I say this statement, I actually mean it.

We have been each other’s traveling companion for as long as I can remember. We would go on road trips to the ocean when I was young, and my mother gave me the title “Sputnik.” I helped her navigate and kept her awake during the long hours on the road. As my interests evolved, most of our trips were within the tri-state area to see Broadway shows or concerts. By the time I graduated from high school, our beach trips became long-distance affairs to places that couldn’t be accessed with a motor vehicle alone. At times, my personal plans have gotten in the way and prevented any kind of vacation from happening.

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This is one of Sputnik’s relatives who I met in the Museum of Political History in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Because I’m away from home for all but a couple weeks of the year, the most time I spend with my mother is while we are on vacation. This year, our cross-country road trip was our vacation. The day after I finished up in Death Valley, I picked my mother up from LAX. We drove through Rodeo Drive and the beautiful Beverly Hills homes and named all of the songs we could think of that referenced this area. We spent two nights in an Airbnb in Marina del Rey while we explored Venice, Santa Monica, and the Hollywood Hills. (I swear every movie I’ve seen since then has taken place in LA.) This first leg of our journey together was relatively drama-free, aside from my mother’s fear of the wide freeways.

We tend to have one big fight on our vacations, and they are always about something ridiculous. In Grand Cayman, I dropped an iced coffee, so we fought about how controlling I am. Regrettable things are said, but we get over these rows quickly.

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My mommy and me in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
This road trip was different and I hope it is representative of what’s to come. Perhaps we are finally realizing that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to plan vacations together, so we have more incentive to enjoy the little time we spend together. The biggest issue I had with my mother was her constant reactions to my driving, i.e. putting on her “passenger brakes,” gasping when she saw brake lights, etc. I think her biggest issue with me (aside from dragging her to four National Parks) was the night I yelled something vaguely inappropriate in the driveway of our Airbnb. Her reaction was to grab a bottle of lotion and threaten to squeeze it at me. We laughed about it afterward.

I intend to work toward making all of our travels and time spent together this painless, but it is not always preventable. Any two people in such close proximity for an extended period of time are bound to fight unless they are constantly walking on eggshells. Who wants to do that? I love my mommy and I can honestly say that she is my best friend. I never feel like I have to hold something back, be it a criticism or an underlying issue I notice. I can’t imagine being so close and comfortable with another person which I can view as a positive and a negative. As my life changes, I see that she will not always be my Sputnik, but she is my first and most special.

Who do you travel with? What issues do you run into?

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