In 2007 I decided to move to Paris for seven months and I ended up staying for almost three years (that's a whole other story). When I first broke the news to friends and family most were very excited and happy for me and promised to visit. My maternal unit on the other hand was having none of it. She even told me outright that I wouldn't see her again unless I came back to New York.
A few weeks prior to leaving my maternal unit excitedly showed me her first ever passport but insisted that she wasn't going to use it to visit me (yeah, ok mom). Fast forward to the spring 2008 and the maternal unit was planning to be visit me in Paris for almost three weeks. I don't care how amazing your relationship is with your mother is, three weeks alone with no buffer and no plan could be disastrous. So plan I did!
I came up with an itinerary that would show her all the amazing sites Paris has to offer, including climbing the steps to Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur and the Arch de Triumphe. From Paris we would travel to Rome for a few days where we encountered a transit strike and managed to haggle a deal on a new wheeled suitcase from a street vendor. We ate gelato almost every day, saw all the amazing sights and she even encouraged me to take a very much prohibited photo of the Sistine Chapel. After Rome we headed to Barcelona a city which the maternal unit absolutely fell in love with. She tasted her first paella, enjoyed strolls along Las Ramblas and was blown away by the colors, scents and different produce at La Boqueria Market and we both viewed in awe the breathtaking architecture oh Gaudi.
On our flights back to Paris, after about 10 days of travel she was already asking where we would be going next. This from the woman who had never traveled internationally previously and had no plans to visit me in Europe. And with that initial trip we've started a tradition that has taken us to Greece, Croatia, Morocco, Turkey, Vietnam, and Tanzania. Some people may find it odd to travel with one's parent as an adult but these trips have been life changing in so many amazing ways and I wouldn't change it for the world.