When I told people about my upcoming mother–daughter trip to Greece, I got two kinds of responses. The first came from people who thought it was adorable. "Aww, that's so cute," they cooed, imagining my mom as the IRL equivalent of the Lorelai Gilmore to my Rory (I do like to read). The other response was something like pity, as women projected their own complicated relationships with their mothers onto my upcoming vacation.
But what were my own expectations? I'd say they rested somewhere in between excitement and fear of what was to come. A 10-day trip, just the two of us... and it's not like it was all expenses paid—I forked over my own hard-earned cash for the plane ticket and some of our accommodations. It could be really fun. But there was also a whole lot of time to fill.
Luckily, it turned out for the best: We had an amazing time in Santorini, Mykonos, and even carved out some time in Athens. Here are five things I learned about my mom—and myself—along the way.
1. We have a lot in common!
While sharing carafes of local white wine, I realized that I truly am a lot like my mom—she's just at a different life chapter. She loves to eat good food, go on adventures (she out-walked me on a lot of our hikes), and see beautiful far-flung places. Why shouldn't we become best travel buddies? We're both always down for anything.
2. But we also have our differences
And that's OK. Denying that there's a generational gap (and a difference in world views) only puts more space between you. I found it was easiest to just laugh about it and move on.
3. Paying your own way puts you on an equal playing field
Sure, it's nice to go on vacation and have your parents to pay for it all. But when you reach a certain age, or level of financial independence, it's not really fair to expect Mommy to pick up the check every time. I made sure to pay for my share of meals—and that made her see me as an equal.
4. I'm a great travel companion
Yup, I said it. I love to do research and that makes me fun to go on trips with because by the time I get there, I'm basically a walking encyclopedia of fabulous places to go and fun things to do. I could tell it made my mom proud to call me her daughter (and we saved money on a tour guide!).
5. Getting out of your comfort zone is good
Thousands of miles away from home, it's easy to leave common conversation topics in the states and share your bigger picture hopes and dreams. And because we were so far outside our normal mother–daughter roles, I found my mom and I listening more, understanding and valuing each others opinions.