Dear Mom, I Want to Travel With You

A daughter writes an open letter asking her mother when they can see the world together.

By Katka Lapelosa from matadornetwork.com
Also published in Reader's Digest Magazine May 2014

decorated picture frameClaire Benoist for Reader’s Digest

Hey, mom, I want you to stop dropping me off at the airport for some trip I’m about to take and start becoming my seatmate. I want to travel with you—just you.

I want to explore a new place alongside the woman who raised me and changed my diapers, who put up with my teenage angst and my rebellious college years. I want to see my favorite cities with the lady who taught me essential life lessons, such as looking both ways before crossing the street, how to use a glue gun, and that the most important thing in the world is to help others.

I always appreciated the vacations you planned for our family: spring break in Philadelphia, where we saw Robert E. Lee’s taxidermy horse at the Civil War Museum; a summer in Williamsburg, Virginia, where you watched me learn to square-dance with a costumed historian; a jaunt to relax by the Jersey Shore, where we ate snow cones and built sand castles. Any time spent with you in a new place was always exciting and enlightening.

Despite what the other siblings might say, that summer when we rented a cabin in New Hampshire was one of the coolest trips I’ve ever taken. I loved swimming in the murky waters where On Golden Pond was filmed. I remember we shared a mushroom pizza at some New England restaurant, and we both thought it wasn’t too shabby for non–New York Italian food.

I also recall how you watched me as I read The Great Gatsby on the porch at midday. I wonder if you felt proud of me. I wonder if you knew what that awkward seventh grader would become.

These days, I am sick of traveling to places with wishy-washy friends. I want to travel with a strong woman who can see how capable I am of learning to speak French or hiking on a glacier or eating something as disgusting-smelling as a durian fruit.

It’s clear I inherited your sense of adventure too. Don’t think I’ve forgotten the stories you told me about the crazy road trips you and your friends used to take across the States or about the Caribbean resorts you used to frequent in your college days. And I still think it’s incredibly romantic that your honeymoon was spent dancing flamenco in Spain and riding camels in Morocco.

Now I want you to see how much I thrive while abroad—I’m a different person, Mom. And I know you’d be different too. I want to come home with inside jokes about weird old Greek dudes who hit on you and know that someone has shared a similar burst of emotion while snorkeling Australia’s Great Barrier Reef for the first time.

So what do you say, Mom? Will you throw caution and responsibility to the wind? I want to travel with you. Let’s just go—we can go anywhere in the world, just you and I. You can pick the place, and I’ll do the rest.

Happy Mother’s Day, Katka.

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