I’ve found that when moms travel on their own, they’re not only able to take a deep breath, but they’re also able to gain perspective on life.
We all travel for different reasons. One of the joys of meeting other women who travel solo or travel in groups is that our motives for taking “away time” for ourselves vary. Some women travel for adventure; some women travel for peace, some women travel for health, some for cultural immersion, some for service and some for food and wine.
Having a family doesn’t necessarily impede a mom’s travel behavior, but it also doesn’t make it easy for most of us to travel often on our own. Solo travel as a mother isn’t impossible. It just takes desire, a bit of beating to your own drum and a whole lot of determination.
Why I travel solo
Over five and a half years ago my ten-year-old was diagnosed with leukemia. Our lives were already taxed trying to manage his autism so when the cancer diagnosis came, I thought my travel days for my company Mom’s Guide To Travel were over.
They weren’t. My role as a mother and a caregiver took on new meaning, and so did my travels.
For the first thirty days after my son’s diagnosis, I stayed by his side, refusing to leave the hospital even for a short break. His bed was my bed. His diagnosis was my diagnosis. His bathroom was where I cried daily, wishing I could take the chemo for him to save his 4-year-old body from the violence it was enduring.
The induction period for a cancer patient is both physically and mentally grueling. For the parent of a pediatric patient, the pain manifests differently. It’s hard to deal when you’re helpless and have zero control.
When we finally moved back home, my husband and I agreed that I needed a little break. That first trip away revealed to me just how much continuing to travel was necessary for my well-being.
Traveling for Respite
In the first year of our leukemia journey, my soul, my mind, and my spirit desperately needed quiet time to find peace and re-charge. I confess to having a love-affair with the spa. However, my getaways weren’t just about getting a deep tissue massage. They were about taking a breath and gaining perspective on life itself. I’ve found that when moms travel on their own, they’re not only able to take a deep breath, but they’re also able to gain perspective on life.
Depending on where you go, solo travel can be deeply therapeutic and healing. Countries like Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Peru have natural topographies that make it easy to tap into your mental wellness.
Although The New Yorker writer Patrick Heij humorously talks about destinations like Italy, Thailand, and Mexico in this 2016 article as escapes for various life issues, there’s truth in his jest. Some foreign settings can help us in personal transformations.
Costa Rica did that for me when I first traveled to explore its waterfalls and volcanoes. And it did the same for the group of ladies I took with me the following year.
Their experiences lit a spark.
Several years ago the U.S. Travel Association began an initiative called Project Time-Off which highlighted the value of time off for workers in order to improve their personal well being, happiness, performance and success.
If we’re honest with ourselves, moms are the hardest most underpaid in our society. Suffice it to say that they are the most deserved when it comes to taking time off. And the false narrative that the black mom is a supermom is overdue for a challenge.
A new mission
After my epiphany, I decided that I wanted to help other moms see how travel could be a respite for them as well.
Traveling for respite doesn’t preclude that you have personal circumstances as extreme as mine. I don’t think you need a dramatic reason if you’re a mom. The modern-day mom has so many pressures that the occupation alone is reason enough to take a time-out.
And for the mom who isn’t interested in traveling solo, there’s a growing number of us in the travel space creating travel communities for each other. We’re diverse, unapologetic, cultured, educated, and redefining the Supermom narrative by not only demanding our solo travel breaks but also taking them.
Our survival depends upon it.
My mission is to provide quarterly retreats for moms (or moms in spirit) who want to travel with like-minded women on transformational retreats. For moms looking to join me on my next retreat, please sign up here.