Planning a vacation is simultaneously exciting and stressful. “Where should we go?” “Is that a good price for that?” “I want a non-stop flight!” (The latter is my mother’s rant, which plays on a continual loop.) Yes, folks, I am taking a mother-daughter vacation in August. And for the most part, I feel very blessed to have a mom who is still around to do this with, and whose company I enjoy enough to want to undertake such an adventure. The trick is making sure our trip doesn’t turn into a MISadventure instead.
At first, my mom and I thought we’d go to Alaska. Everyone loves Alaska, right? I watched “Northern Exposure” back in the 90s. I would’ve gladly played “Doctor” with Rob Morrow’s character, Joel Fleischman, any time. (Not to mention my mom would’ve loved nothing better than for me to marry a Jewish doctor—perhaps even a fictional one.) And everyone you talk to seems to rave about Alaska and say how it was the most “amazing vacation they’ve ever had”. I’m thinking, “Ummm… okay… Isn’t it just nature?” And not to say nature isn’t wonderful. I spent years camping every summer in the Adirondacks (And I’m talking where you carry a forty-pound pack on your back and hike four miles into the woods. No showers or bathrooms, my friends.) I’ve climbed Mt. Olympus in Greece and gazed in awe into the mouth of the Grand Canyon. That said, beautiful and eye-catching natural wonders can be found in many places around the globe. Do I really want to go to Alaska in August, where the temperatures can drop to 40 or 50 degrees and it might rain all the time, just to stare at a bunch of glaciers? Sorry, Denali, maybe next year in the small window of time between June and July when we are most apt to get perfect weather.
Somehow, we went in a completely different direction and turned our attention to Europe. I know, Europe—a whole different spectrum from Alaska. My mom has NEVER even left the country. And that’s kind of the point. My parents didn’t get to travel the world together, and now I feel strongly about showing my mom as much of it as I can. And what better way to do that than on a cruise? Memorial Day Weekend is good for two things: barbecues and sales. So there was a super saver sale on cruises and I found an amazing deal on a cruise to the Mediterranean for 11 nights. At first, we were looking at Holland America, but then I remembered that particular cruise line was for people of… a certain age. And my internet research confirmed my suspicion. (Bedtime on Holland America cruises is apparently right after dinner. Yuck.) Well my mom, being of a certain age herself, exclaimed, “I don’t want to go on a cruise with all old people. I’m NOT old!” And truth be told, she’s right. So we found a cruise on Norweigian instead and are leaving out of Rome, departing for destinations in Italy, Spain and Greece! Sure, cruises are cheesy as heck, but that’s kind of what I love about them. You can go sit in a piano bar at 11pm at night and listen to people belt out their favorite Disney song or Billy Joel tune (and I admittedly love both). And my mom gets to hum along VERY loudly to whatever anyone is singing. My mom and I went on a cruise out of Puerto Rico last year (where she lived with my dad for two years when they first got married) and we had a blast. We kept in touch with a couple we met on that cruise, in fact. So despite what people say about cruises, it’s a fun way to travel with someone like my mom, who doesn’t want to drag her suitcase from hotel to hotel on a multi-country trip. And quite frankly, I’m not sure I want to do that right now either. I drag enough crap around in NYC on a daily basis!
After days of painstaking analyzing and tormenting, we booked the trip and it’s too late to cancel. Guess we’re going! Now what? We wait… and in my case, I save money for all the days I will not be working while I’m gone. No vacation pay for this gal. And during this waiting period, my mom has inevitably begun spewing her concerns (please feel free to read with a Bronx accent): “What about the currency? I’ve never dealt with foreign currency before.” “Why do we have a stopover on the way back?” “I’m nervous to leave the country.” “What’s airbnb? Can’t we stay in a hotel in Rome?” The Jewish girl in me just wants to say “Uyyyyyy” and not respond to any of these things. Because I know at the end of the day, my mom is going to have a great time. In fact, she was nervous on the last cruise because she was terrified the ship would sink and she’d drown. Now, she is obviously past that and is all about cruising so her little Jewish heart had to find new things to worry about. So I think the answer is, besides waiting, I will spend the next few months convincing my mom everything will be okay and that it’s going to be a fun-filled, beautiful vacation. As for me, I’ve been to some of the places we’re going, but many will be new for me too. And I feel like a kid in a candy store at the thought of watching my mom experience literally a whole new world she’s never seen before. I’m just waiting for the moment on the trip she says, “Oh my God. It didn’t look like that at Epcot.” Until then, it’s back to the barrage of questions my mom has. Oh wait, I think that’s her calling right now. And away we go!