If anybody knows the best way to spend Mother’s Day, it’s Karen and her daughter Erin. The pair traveled to Europe in May three years in a row, and we caught up with them to hear all about their shared journeys to Italy, Portugal, and Greece. One thing we learned? Together is their favorite way to see the world.
Taking in the views from the Path of the Gods on the Amalfi Coast
Why do you think mother-daughter (or mother-son!) trips are so special?
Karen: We live in different states so traveling allows us quality time together outside of our regular work and home life situations while seeing a beautiful part of the world. We’ve learned to be great travel companions and really look forward to our time together.
Erin: If you’re able to travel as an adult with your parent, it says a lot about the strength and communication in that relationship. The fact that my mom and I can go on these trips and experience the world and different cultures together is a testament to how much we work at a positive relationship with each other. My mom is a great travel buddy and we encourage each other to be our best selves.
What’s been the most rewarding part of seeing the world together?
Karen: I see the world through my own eyes but also through Erin’s youth. Erin encourages me to be part of something I’d be hesitant to do on my own. We can share our travel experiences and talk about all the wonderful things we’ve seen and done together.
Erin: Being able to go through life-altering experiences with someone who has my very best interest at heart. Traveling the world has brought us closer together, has reminded us of what’s important in life, and has taught us how to continue to communicate as we change and grow.
Trying local treats together in Portugal
How did going on tour with a group impact your mother-daughter travel experience?
Karen: I’m not as comfortable as Erin in a group and she encourages me to interact with others. Erin has taught me to embrace life and all its diversity.
Erin: I can make friends with anyone and sometimes my mom is a little more quiet. I’m able to get people to open up and feel comfortable and then we become friends. My outgoing attitude brings my mom into the circle and helps her meet people who she may not walk up to on her own. We all have the shared experience of being human so there is always someone who you will connect with unexpectedly.**
You’ve jetted off to Portugal, the Amalfi Coast, and Greece. What have been some of your favorite on-tour moments?
Karen: The Amalfi Coast is incredibly beautiful and we walked the Path of the Gods. Amazing! I learned about cork trees in Portugal and all the beautiful gifts made from cork. The best sangria I’ve ever tasted was made in Portugal. All of our trips have been very unique, and our guides on both trips have been outstanding. They contribute greatly to our tour experiences.
Erin: I love food so trying new food is the best. I am vegan but allow myself full food expression when we travel out of the country. Some of my favorite moments have been getting a small lunch where we share plates and enjoy a nice pitcher of sangria or wine while relaxing for the rest of the afternoon.
Raising a glass with fellow travelers in Portugal
You ladies have always seen the world in May—Mother’s Day month! Why do you like going on tour during that time of year?
Karen: The weather is my main factor for traveling in May. It’s not too hot. We also like to travel before kids are out of school and the tourist season is in full swing.
Erin: We like to go before it gets too hot and all the schools are out for the summer. Plus, it’s really nice to be able to spend my mom’s special day with her in Europe!**
Traveling with a loved one is always fun, but it can also be challenging at times! How have you gotten over any bumps in the road?
Karen: We don’t blame each other for anything that goes wrong. When we’re on tour and encounter a bump in the road we call it a “happy mistake” and work through it. Whatever happens, we figure it out together so as not to cause tension and anxiety for both of us.
Erin: My mom knows that no matter what happens in life that I have her best interest at heart and am always her advocate. When things get rough I remind her that we are in this together and getting grumpy with each other won’t help anything. She takes my advice very well. 🙂
Stopping to take it all on tour in Portugal
What has traveling together taught you about each other?
Karen: Patience, understanding, and kindness. We decided early on in our travels to be kind to each other and have each other’s back no matter what.
Erin: Patience and compromise. Sometimes we are in different moods or have different agendas for the day, so being able to compromise and work together is essential. It’s also extremely important to have empathy and understand where the other person is coming from. We each have different fears and abilities and when you travel together you have to stay together as a team and work with each other’s strengths and weaknesses.**
Any tips for someone who’s thinking about taking their first trip with their mother or child?
Karen: If you can afford to travel just do it. Don’t wait. Make memories and have life experiences together. If there is one tip I could share with young parents it would be to travel with your children. Show them this beautiful world.
Erin: If you have the means, do it now. Carpe diem. Life is too short and will pass by you while you’re sitting at home making grand plans.
Travelers strolling through the scenery on our Amalfi Coast Walking Tour