Since this blog is newish, I haven't yet had the occasion to write about my famed--make that infamous--annual mother/daughter trips. But trip #5 is a'coming next week so... get ready, people.
BACKSTORY (Cliff's Notes Version):
My mother and I have always had a strained relationship. I can't go into details as to why, because I'm saving it all for my brilliant and humorous memoir about these trips. Basically, five years ago my mother suggested (or rather, her therapist suggested) we start taking a trip alone together once a year so that she and I would have forced time together to work on our relationship. Forced being the key word. The carrot she dangled to get me to agree to said trips was this: "You can pick the place. We can go anywhere or do anything you like within reason."
Now, I loves to travel, and I have a pretty big bucket list of to-be-seens. Conversely, I have a pretty small travel fund so... I wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth (what does that mean, anyway? hope I used it correctly. it sounded like it should make sense there).
The past 4 years have been quite a journey--a journey I plan to exploit by writing that memoir I mentioned. The whole thing is a bit like a country line dance or a lame Paula Abdul song, a series of two steps forward, one step back.
TRIP #1 - World's Longest Yard Sale.
If you don't know about this, click the link. It runs through four states and is insanely fun if you like flea marketing, the thrill of the hunt and southern drawls. Taxidermy'd beavers and old tin toy collections abound. Two steps forward.
TRIP #2 - Night in Old San Antonio.
I was born in a VERY small town just southwest of San Antonio, TX. This trip was my first visit back to the neighborhood/home in which I lived for the first six years of my life. Unfortunately, due to a grossly uncomfortable scene at Lake Austin Spa, one step back.
TRIP #3 - Southern Cooking School at The Mansion Forsyth in Savannah, GA.
Cooking. Eating. Strolling a beautiful city. A teary breakthrough and a long-overdue hug. Two giant steps forward.
TRIP #4 - The Kentucky Derby.
Exhilarating and visually stimulating. Just not with mom. No amount of mint juleps could dull the pain. Three giant steps backward.
and now.... TRIP #5 (drumroll, please....) Banff and Lake Louise, Canada.
Canada has been on my bucket list for some time. I have always heard great things, and I do love their exports: maple syrup, Michael Buble and Ryan Reynolds. I am hopeful this trip will put us forward a few steps. Or at least back to where we started.
That said, I am wary for this reason: my brother lives in Seattle. My mom offered to fly both him and his girlfriend out to stay with us in Banff for two days--all expenses paid--so we could all spend some time together. I haven't seen my brother in two years, and I don't know when I would again, since neither he nor I can afford to fly across the country (Seattle >< Florida). And what did my financially-challenged, untraveled brother say to this free vacation to a beautiful place with his girlfriend, sister and mother? "No thanks, I'm good."
Hmmm. Troublesome. Does he have some crystal ball for what awaits me in Banff? Sweet cheeses, I hope not. We'll all know soon enough. I leave for Canada on Friday.