Travel with Parents

grey Travel with Parents

There are numerous blogs around which dole out useful tips on where to buy diapers in Mongolia, child friendly Asian cities or how to mute your newborn on an intercontinental flight (I strongly suggest generous lashings of Promethazine).

However, I have not yet noticed any tips on travel with parents. Most people have parents, some of us have parents that still require the occasional update on our lives:

“Yup, Hi Dad, yeah you were right Syria was a bad choice…” or

“Hi Mum… Chapelle here. What’s that….no, not that great…”

Myself? I am blessed with parents who have seamlessly evolved from two shadows haunting my childhood and pulling me out of trouble (or belting me around the ears) into great mates. Whilst planning my first world domination tour in early 2010 both of my travel virgin parents hinted at exploratory itchiness:

“I have always wanted to see the Galapagos”

“I did a grade 9 project on the Inca Trail, have always wanted to go there you lucky bugger”

Without considering the ramifications I said;

“Well, why don’t you both join me?”

I returned from about three months abroad, thrilled to discover that my parents had taken my advice and decided to join me. They not only had booked flights in parallel with mine to South America for six weeks, they had also arranged tours, hotels, taxi transfers, a Galapagos boat tour and made a shortlist of must see sights in every country we were to pass through. We had an absolute blast in those six weeks, learnt a lot about each other and shared memories that will only serve to strengthen our friendship. However, I also learnt some important pointers about traveling with Parents:

  • Your Parents have organised the logistics of your entire development. It stands to reason that they will not be happy to lob into a country with a credit card, passport and vague plan.
  • No matter how badass you try to look in dangerous suburbs, your Mum will not hesitate to lick a finger to swipe a booger off your nose.
  • There is a good reason your parents sometimes sleep in separate rooms (snoring)
  • Your Dad’s love of the Akubra hat and little Aussie patches extends beyond his home country.
  • It is extremely difficult to chat up hot Danish Lawyers on a Galapagos cruise with your parents in tow (I said hard, not impossible!)
  • Even though you have been at altitude far more often than your Mum, she will still hesitate to take your advice; “Slow. the. hell. down.” (Inca Trail)
  • Take your parents to a local nightclub and they will proudly display their lack of inhibitions and dance skill.

grey Travel with Parents

Do not despair though, travel with parents can be extremely rewarding as I have discovered;

  • Watching your parents walk through the Sungate to Macchu Picchu after 5 days trekking the Inca trail arm in arm is an extremely satisfying and misty eyed experience.
  • Having Mum steal a towel from a hotel before a 16 hour bus ride so she can nurse you through a terrible bout of gastro is extremely comforting.
  • When your parents defer to you about how to avoid a riot or strike it is strangely satisfying.
  • How many of you have spent days on a boat snorkelling the Galapagos Islands with your parents or drunk pisco sours in a shady bar in Lima with your Mum?

I know that everyone has a different relationship with their parents, clearly I am very close to mine. Since this first trip my parents have continued their travels solo and unabated. I am currently helping them to plan a six week domination tour of Europe, something I never thought I would see them do.

Traveling with my parents has introduced me to two wonderful travel companions that I already know and love. It has certainly broadened my horizons, we saw and experienced things I would not have alone. So go on, ask your parents along even for a short stint, next time you are planning an adventure. I have not regretted doing it and doubt you will. At the very least you can authoritatively correct your Dad’s grandfatherly ramblings in years to come. I just hope that our travels together has not inspired them to spend all of my inheritance!

4 Responses to Travel with Parents

  • Gregg Love says:

    great turn of phrase Ben …had a lovely chuckle ….yes you too can be an International Correspondent in 10 easy lessons ….[ or 3 hard ones]….well done Charlie…

  • Sally Kitto via Facebook says:

    Great post westy! Loved it! Sounds like you have had some awesome adventures with the pares, very special.

  • Cheers Sal, yeah they do get amongst it!

  • Gregg Love says:

    Hi my old friend .., one of your old videos came up on my facebook page treckin through YAK land .. probably China … anyways ..thought I’d send you my regards .. headed off to Thailand , Koh Lanta .. some Island hopping with the new Go pro .. trust you & the girlfriend are well & still on de road cheers .. should catch up on Facebook .. type in my email & send request .. yours in International Peace & red wine etc ..Happy Trails.

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