LAST YEAR, I wrote a letter to my mom talking about how I wanted to travel with her. She loved it, and has been bugging me to plan a trip. While we’ll probably start off somewhere small — like Newport, Rhode Island — this is my dream list of mother-daughter trips to take.
1. Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland is one of those places that’s so small, yet still so uncharted, that every trip there feels unique and different. It also has some of the greatest, warmest sweaters I’ve ever bought. My mom would enjoy talking with the knitting grannies at the Kolaportið Flea Market, hiking through Þingvellir National Park, or petting Icelandic ponies that we randomly came across while road tripping around the island. In the summer, she could party all night under the midnight sun, and in winter, she could brag to her coworkers back home that she’d seen the Northern Lights.
2. Sossusvlei, Namibia
The dunes at the beach where my mom hangs out in the summer are nothing compared to what we would see on a trip to Sossusvlei. The color, the size, and the eerily deserted landscape would make for a very interesting mother-daughter trip. My mom is afraid of heights, but I think a hot-air balloon ride above the red earth could help her overcome that fear pretty easily.
3. Mexico City, Mexico
My mom is always going off about my safety and protection. She absolutely hates it when I travel on my own, especially to Mexico. Lucky for her, Mexico City is one of the safest places travelers can visit in Mexico. Plus, it’s super cosmopolitan — there’s great shopping, dining, and historic sightseeing just outside the city. There might be drugs there too, but if she didn’t find them in my dresser drawer in high school, she won’t find them in Mexico City, either.
4. Chiang Mai, Thailand
The northwestern part of Thailand is completely different from the hecticness of Bangkok and the drunken beaches of the peninsula. My mom would love being surrounded by the natural setting Chiang Mai has to offer, along with hanging out at elephant sanctuaries and volunteering in local villages. She also just recently got into Thai food, and I’ve heard that the best, most authentic meals are had alongside locals in non-flashy bamboo bars.
5. Montevideo, Uruguay
My mom is naturally social — with a calabash gourd, bombilla, and some yerba mate, she could befriend the whole of Montevideo. I’d like to see her get loose and flirty amongst the super romantic Uruguayans, and all that colonial architecture.
6. Agra, India
Seeing the Taj Mahal should be on every person’s bucket list — I think India would also be a totally crazy cultural experience for my mom, who’s not used to the colors, head nods, and smells that come with a trip to India. It will either make her appreciate the lifestyle she has at home, after visiting a place where 55% of the population lives in poverty, or it will turn her into a crazy hippie.
7. Accra, Ghana
On my last trip to Ghana, I brought home bundles of bright fabric and had some dresses custom-made by the seamstresses in my village. I’d love to show my mom around the markets of Accra; she loves the beadwork I showed her in photos, and it’d be cool for her to get an outfit of her own. I know she’d also enjoy the friendly people we’d meet in places like Kumasi and Hohoe, and she’d especially like waking up to white pineapples every morning.
8. Bali, Indonesia
Mom’s a big beach fan, but I bet she’s never experienced a resort like the ones I found in Bali. Everything is just so damn perfect in Bali — we could kick back, relax together, and enjoy Indonesian hospitality at its finest. It would also be cool to take a Balinese dance class, and do some yoga at a mountain lodge.
9. Havana, Cuba
The ultimate adventure would include my mom and I exploring Cuba — you know, before the United States makes it easy for Americans to get there. I don’t know much about this city or the country it calls home, and neither does my mom. Sometimes, the best trips are the ones I’ve gone into blind, where I have no expectations or goals. My mom needs to be more spontaneous, and I think a Cigar Crawl in Havana could do the trick.
10. Memphis, Tennessee
What better way to end a round-the-world trip than drinking whiskey at a country bar somewhere in Tennessee? Memphis is supposed to be super chill, yet classy. The music scene is legendary, and its citizens are a strange mix of Midwestern roughness and Southern charm. She could tell me all about her crush on Elvis, and I could eat my weight in barbecue.
Happy Mother’s Day!