Today is Mother’s day in Australia. My Mum isn’t spending it with her two daughters, or even with her two grand daughters. She’s spending it touring the Champagne houses in Reims, France. How rude…
My Mum is a prime example of “It’s never too late to travel”, and at 61, she is certainly making up for lost time.
Mum raised us on her own and was kept very busy with two daughters. A cleaner, taxi driver, counsellor, tailor, coach, and chef weren’t jobs she could put on her CV along with her paid work, but were, nonetheless all full-time jobs in their own right. I don’t know how she did it, but she did, all with inexhaustible positivity.
I still have vivid memories of Mum’s daily wake-up call, “Good morning my darlings! It’s time to get up!”, which was usually greeted by teenage groanings and doonas pulled over disinterested ears. But still, she never changed her morning cheer. Of course I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but now I am at the age at which she already had two young children (and can still barely string a sentence together in the morning), I realise how special she really is.
I could go on and on about my amazing Mum, but since this is a travel blog, I want to focus on her globetrotting exploits, and hopefully encourage other ‘mature’ readers to follow suit, pack a bag and discover a new, exotic place. I’ve devised a few tips that my Mum has employed to travel the world, because where there’s a will, there’s a way…
If You Can’t Travel the World, Bring The World To You!
Mum has hosted foreign students in her home for the last ten years or so. When I was still living at home, our first ever home-stay student arrived, Taka from Japan. We didn’t know what to expect, but Taka was a very special guy, and became part of the family in no time. After his initial stay, Taka bought a van and drove around Australia, stopping in to visit our relatives in Adelaide.
A few years later, Mum and her sister Jenny went to stay with Taka in Osaka, Japan and, I get a tear in my eye when I think about this, he even started calling her ‘Mum’ (but would write ‘Mam’ on all his cards) since his had passed away.
Taka was the first of many students Mum has hosted, and definitely set the bar pretty high, but since then numerous students from all over the world – Mexico, Brazil, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Japan and China to name a few – have passed through Mum’s doors.
In return, Mum has visited many of them in their home countries during her various trips, and has been shown hospitality most tourists only dream about.
After her kids flew the nest, Mum had a few extra rooms in the house and often had two students at a time. It helped her out financially, but she always provided great hospitality, hosting barbeques and showing them around. In return for her efforts, she has made life-long friends and connections all over the world.
Follow Your Kids!
My older sister set the travelling trend in our family when she embarked on the Aussie ‘right of passage’ to London, where she lived, worked and travelled from for 3 years. As my cousin Adam had done the same thing, Mum hooked up with her sister with the excuse of ‘visiting the kids’, and used London as their base for a European tour.
They joined an organized group, and though it was a whirlwind, was a great way to get acquainted with the magical cities of Europe like Paris, Rome and Florence.
Eventually it was my turn to high-tail it to London. When Mum took a redundancy from her job, she embarked on a four-month solo journey through Europe. I met up with her in the amazing Amalfi Coast in Italy for one trip, Tuscany and the Cinque Terre for another, and Paris and the Champagne region for another.
But in between those times, Mum travelled to places like Sicily, where she climbed a volcano, Croatia, where she stayed with a local family, and Switzerland where she had to spent the night in a train station with other travellers when all the hotels were booked for the night!
Of course recently, Mum has visited me here in Chiang Mai, before catching a flight to London and then on to Paris for her next adventure. She is meeting a friend that she met on her solo trip through Europe almost five years ago now. So you see, travel is contagious, once she took the first trip, she was hooked!
Turn A Milestone Into An Opportunity To ‘Top Up’ The Travel Fund…
For Mum’s 60th birthday, my sister and I wanted to get Mum something really special, but had no idea what that special thing was. Soon, we realised Mum would rather take a trip than have an expensive watch or piece of jewellery, so, along with all mum’s friends and family, we contributed enough money for an airfare to Europe, or anywhere she chose, which she is using right now.
Rent Out Your House!
Mum is renting out her house for the duration of her current trip (about 5 weeks). It was a lucky turn of events that led to her being able to do this, since she works for a company called Perth Orientation Services that helps families and individuals who are relocating to Perth, Western Australia.
But for the inconvenience of packing a few clothes and personal belongings away, Mum can cover a big part of her trip, which sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
Renting out your home is a great way to cover the expenses of travel, or your mortgage while you’re away discovering exciting new places…
So wherever you are, Mum, I hope you have an amazing Mother’s Day!
And to all the mothers I know who might be reading this blog, including my sister Rebecca, my aunties Jenny and Shirl, Billianne, Sue, Erin, Renee, Gemma, Penny, Cassa, Brooke (nearly!), Lisa (nearly!), Jody, Doreen, Kate, Jen, Sam, Kirstin, Kristy, Sally, Christine, Nina, Danielle, Irene, Sheryl, Taz, Andrea, Rosa, Tyrhone’s Mum Heather and all the other Mothers out there, I dedicate this post to you all, for all the sacrifices you make for your kids. Happy Mother’s Day, I hope you have a wonderful day.