We girls share a very special relationship with our mothers. They are the one person we love the most, trust the most and rely on the most. They are also the people who we fight with the most and pray to god that we don’t turn into them. No, while most of the time we don’t want to turn into our mothers, as we grow older we somehow find ourselves becoming exactly like them, just a more updated version.
While I have inherited my mom’s flair for overreaction and taking stress, I hope every day that I have also inherited the passion, hard work and immense strength that she shows every day.
My one passion is traveling. As cliched as it sounds, the only real goal I have in life is to see the world. Something I believe that I have also gotten from my mother. She being a geography teacher has so many stories and so many places on her travel bucket list, but with life and responsibilities she couldn’t fulfill every dream.
So, this time, when we were planning our mother daughter trip, I convinced a.k.a forced her to extend her trip for 3 more days and go to Siem Reap, Cambodia alone to see Angkor Wat in all its glory. It was something she had always spoken about and me thinking I’m doing a good deed took upon myself to arrange this mini solo getaway for her. Booked her everything from hotel to tours. I wanted her to have a little bit of that experience that I did my first time solo travelling.
I never expected her to chill at hostels and meet people and sing all night (yes I am slyly narrating a bit of my own story).
But I hoped that my mom would find how wonderful those moments of solitary can be when you visit a place you have always dreamt about setting foot in. How weirdly exciting it feels to realise that “I’m actually standing here”.
That is what I hoped and wished for when I convinced her to take this trip. But one thing I didn’t realise is that solo travelling may not all be about happy moments.
What I didn’t realise that why for a millennial like solo travel might be life changing and inspiring, for my mother it might be lonesome. I thought it would be a good break for her, get a couple of days to herself and feel relaxed. What I didn’t realise that with quiet moments of solitary, moments of feeling lost can also creep in. But I am immensely proud that she overcame that. No other Indian mom from the people I know would be able to do this.
Yes, my mother went on this trip, she saw the gorgeous waters of the never ending Tonle Sap Lake and the massiveness of Angkor Wat and other temples and took some stunning pictures like an Instagram pro!
I hope she enjoyed those few quiet moments exploring a little bit of a new world, learning about another country that might even remind you of your own. I hope she relished those few moments where she didn’t have to worry about her son’s exam marks or her daughter’s ‘struggling’ lifestyle in Mumbai.
I hope she cherished the time she stepped into Angkor Wat and saw one of the world’s most important historic monuments. I hope she will remember the struggle of waiting in a crowded airport for hours to catch her connecting flight and remember how she did it on her own.
Why did I make her do a small solo trip? Because I know that she is a strong woman who can handle the world if she wanted to. That age or a broken back won’t be able to stop her, no matter what she thinks. Because I know that feeling of a small accomplishment when you stroll down unfamiliar streets and go to a store or a restaurant and purchase something.
Because I wanted her to get a small glimpse of the world that is out there and help her understand that no matter what your age, it’s always going to be welcoming. I might not be able to convince her to do a trip on her own again, but I know that she will remember these couple of days where she was travelling alone and feel more confident.
Here’s what Ishani Roy (also known as my darling Ma) says,
“I was hesitant about going on a solo trip. However, my dear daughter coaxed, inspired and encouraged me to go, since for the longest of time, I had cherished a wish to see Angkor Wat. I went with a little sombre mood but when I finally reached Siem Reap and sat in the motorbike taxi, I felt very nice.
I felt all the excitement of seeing a new country, especially the stunning Angkor Wat. It was a wonderful experience, though I did feel a little lonely and anxious at times. Solo trip may give the feeling of freedom but it can also make you miss your loved ones.”
– Written by Yashodhara Roy.