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A Story of Mother-Daughter Travel:

by Liza Vinyon

My mom has done a lot of amazing things. One of the biggest was instilling a love of travel in her kids. Because of her influence, traveling abroad was something I had my heart set on during college. I had a four-year plan on how to make it happen; scheduling required courses around a semester of travel, working on and off-campus jobs, and attending preparation meetings hosted by my school’s Global Engagement Office. All my hopes came crashing down when I was sitting in my childhood home in March 2020. While digging through my email filled with COVID-19 updates and protocols, I opened an email with the subject line: All Abroad Programs Canceled for the Foreseeable Future. 

So, I spent the rest of my college experience trying to make the most of it. As much as I tried to push it away, my lack of an abroad trip still lingered in the back of my mind. My mom knew it, too. While I was home for my senior winter break, we started thinking about a mother-daughter trip we could share to celebrate my college graduation. We smiled, thinking back to the Women’s Quest retreat we’d attended years ago in Winter Park, Colorado. What prompted my mom to bring her 14-year-old daughter on an adventure retreat about self-love still baffles me! That night we opened our family laptop, typed “Women’s Quest” into the search bar and selected the Iceland Multi-Sport Retreat.

We spent 10 days together in this beautiful country. Not many 22-year-olds can say they hiked a glacier with their mom the same day they rode Icelandic horses to a hidden waterfall. Also, I think she flirted with our handsome climbing guide just as much as I did. 

There is a reason they call Iceland the “land of fire and Ice.” Game of Thrones filming sets aside, we spent a lot of time in lagoons and bodies of water naturally heated by geothermal activity. One of my favorite memories was a crisp, two hour hike into the mountains to find a heated river. With no changing rooms in sight (talk about getting close to your mom), we hurriedly slipped into our swimsuits in the cold air before sliding into the surprisingly HOT water. Sitting there with a winter hat on my head, our WQ group talked about Icelandic folklore, tattoos, and the lobster we were having for dinner. 

It was fun to see the different roles that we took on during the trip. As the resident young person, I served as an IT consultant after dinner. I shared funny stories as our group traveled together in the van and asked poor Vilborg a billion questions about her home country. My mom was a keen observer and listener. She intentionally connected one-on-one with every woman on the trip. It was enlightening to debrief with her each night before bed because we noticed such different things.

Speaking of women on the trip, we created 12 new friendships that are sure to last a lifetime. Since our trip in June, there hasn’t been a single week in which our Iceland Mulit-Sport WhatsApp group chat has been silent. Word on the street is that there might be a reunion in Peru 2024…!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to thank the incredible woman who I’ve been talking so much about. Thank you, mom, for giving me a once-in-a-lifetime gift. I cherish the memories we made together and am grateful for the ways it deepened our relationship. In the process, you have connected me with strong female role models that I look up to (almost as much as you).

Thinking about a mother-daughter trip? My mom and I each put together a list:

5 Reasons to go on a Women’s Quest trip with your mom (from a daughter’s perspective):

  1. Your bond will be undoubtedly strengthened through new cultural and interpersonal experiences.
  2. You gain a deeper understanding of each other’s perspective and personality.
  3. You get to share unique and once-in-a-lifetime experiences together.
  4. You’ll create new, shared friendships with women from around the world.
  5. You have a built-in photographer, bus buddy, bedmate and snack provider.

5 Reasons to go on a Women’s Quest trip with your daughter (from a mother’s perspective):

  1. You will see your daughter (child?) with whole new eyes in a whole new setting.
  2. You will hear funny stories of her life that you may have never heard!
  3. You will learn to giggle about shared/created Tik Toks, or whatever the latest trend it.
  4. You will be energized to be more like her- talk about a role model!
  5. You will always have these invaluable, precious memories with this one and only, amazing daughter!! Do it now!