Sunday, May 12, 2013

Celebrating my well adventured Mama

With footprints in 55 countries (and counting!) my Mom, Nancy, is definitely the one most responsible for my wanderlust. She has always encouraged me to live a passionate, creative life and constantly seek unexpected opportunities to grow and challenged myself. Thanks Mom!

In case you didn't already know, my mom is awesome. But seriously! She hauled me around the world since I was a baby, often along with my travel loving Granny, and those experiences undeniably shaped the person I am today. My mom taught me to always choose adventure and independence.
  No wonder I ended up living abroad!

With flights to nearly any destination at her fingertips, I've tagged along on numerous work trips with her, while she has also met up with me on during my own travels and even while studying abroad in China. These days, she frequently visits me here in Amsterdam, a special treat during this chapter of my expat life.  I'm a lucky kid!

A day in Strasbourg during our canal boat trip in France

Mom, your laughter is infectious, your courage is inspiring, and your positive attitude and curiosity for living life to the fullest impresses me. Your life is a life of constantly changing scenery and you always inspire me to make new discoveries and overcome challenging situations. I can't even imagine my life without the adventures, lessons and comedy of errors we've shared not traveling around the world together but in every day life. The unique opportunities you have shown me endless and I'm forever grateful! What I'm trying to say is, thanks Mom and Happy Mother's Day!

Traveling together in France, Turkey, China, South Africa, Greece and the Cayman Islands

As long as I've had this blog, I've wanted my Mom to write guest post about traveling. She frequents multiple continents on a weekly basis but always seems to be too busy sipping wine in South Africa, dancing the night away in Paris or catching up with jetlag to write for this blog of mine.

But, today is Mother's Day and so I interviewed my dear Mom her about amazing life of travel. After 30 years as a flight attendant she's what I'd consider an expert. It was a lot of fun reading her responses and I hope you'll enjoy it too!

Visiting Amsterdam together in the 90s and celebrating Queen's Day together two decades later!

Happy Mother's Day, Mama!

Check out her interview after the break...

Travel a part of your childhood, did your parents instill in you a love for adventure? Yes! My interest in museums, culture and adventure was nurtured early on and I am definitely my father's daughter, he was very adventurous. My dad ran adventure clubs for years before we were born, so growing up we participating in lots of outdoor activities as part of his clubs.

As a family, we went camping somewhere for two weeks every summer, dragging the motor boat behind us and the canoe on top of the car! From the Rockie Mountains to New England we were usually more north where there was water and woods for swimming, skiing, hiking and activities, history and campfires. Every spring vacation was reserved for a history themed trip to places like NYC, Boston, Salem, Mt. Vernon, and the Mississippi River.

When and where was your first trip abroad? Although I covered much of the USA before age 30, my first trip abroad was with free travel with Delta (and it's been that way ever since!) I went by myself to Tahiti with a special deal for airline employees only and I met some fun people on the way.

Tahiti just seemed exotic and it was.  I really loved the beach, the sound of waves and the smell of ocean breeze. It was a beautiful island with great markets and different food. Growing up swimming and sailing on Lake Michigan we only had glorious weather in the summer so, this tropical life in the Polynesian Islands fascinated me!

Cape Point, South Africa

Why did you want to be a flight attendant and how did that experience shaped your love for travel?  At the time I was an art teacher and I applied on a whim while in grad school because I wanted to travel. Then, I quickly got the job and never completed my textiles degree...but I have had the chance to study a lot of art, architecture and culture on my travels so I still get to explore my passions through travels!

Describe your “travel style.” Affordable. I love museums, markets, parks, live music, and meeting locals. I also just like a walk-in-the-woods and simple activities. The wild adventure is always what comes from exploring what you're interested in.

What are your suitcase necessities? Of course, with my job I live out of a suitcase half the time (!) some things I always pack are: mix and match, washable clothes, a good book, new maps. Oh, yes, and now that I need them, an extra pair of glasses!

Many toiletries are available nearly everywhere but it’s good to have your basics. Things like safety pins, gum, elastic bands, batteries and a camera are always in the bottom of my purse. I still miss not being allowed to bring my Swiss army knife, it’s so handy.

How do your plan trips? I’ve been reading ‘National Geographic’ magazine all of my life, the photos and stories always inspired me to visit the different locations around the world. When researching a trip I always study maps, read books and ask others who have also visited. Actually, I learn a lot from chatting with the passengers on my plane, they often have great stories and suggestions. Plus, of course, now there’s the Internet...

A day at the beach, Jeffrey's Bay South Africa

Name a place you're still dreaming to go! I am still working on getting to places I’ve been planned for years but at the same time I’m always learning about new ones. In my line of work travel is constant and I would like to create a way to stay longer teaching workshops somewhere and sharing artwork.

I'm not much of a big city person but more interested in absorbing beautiful places and nature. I have not experienced enough of Asia, but then again, I can pick up a trip to work there too! Right now, I am leaning towards a visit to Bali or Croatia...the idea of less "doing" and more "being" and it would be great to have some time to reflect and draw pictures.

Any words of wisdom for other travelers? Just GO! Laugh at your own mistakes and be courageous. Push yourself through exhaustion when it's needed because it’s all part of the adventure. Learn something, breathe, have fun and good luck!


  1. Your mom is such a badass and she's hilarious. I wanna see more pics of you guys traveling!! Such a cool post!

    1. Thanks Rachy. I love the old travel pictures too, she has a million back home that I should scan one day!

  2. Love it! Happy mother's day Mama Nancy! Let's go travel together! I'll go to Bali or Croatia!

    1. YES! Let's do that. For real! I miss you, lady!