What does it feel like to complete a bucket list item almost as old as you are?
This is a brief recap of the Mary Grace Tour, the recreation of my mom’s European journey she took in the 1960s. Stay tuned for in-depth posts on each location, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm and Paris, in the weeks to come.
For starters I’m happily back in the USA, enjoying the sunrise and sunset occurring when my body expects it to. In Scandinavia the sun brightens the sky shortly after 3 am, which totally screws with one’s body clock. Light doesn’t disappear until well after 10:30 in the evening; sleeping with an eye mask mandatory. On the plus side it made exploring European cites at 9 0’clock at night, very easy.
My friend Maddie was a splendid traveling companion. She was great at circling back in each location mentioning this is where my mom was, where she walked, or what she saw. Regardless of what one believes, I’d have to say Mary Grace was definitely with us providing us spectacular weather for each location. Paris at the high 80s or above 90 degrees however, was hot, too hot. Not to hot too shop though. Mary did it and so did I. 🙂
We met and shared the story of our journey along the way with various people, the response was always positive. Though it took me years to recreate my mom’s trip, it was as natural as breathing. It was just something I was supposed to do. I suppose this clarifys my natural response to downplay how cool or amazing other’s feel this trip was. Maybe this explains an overwhelming feeling of balance and peace I’ve had since being home.
I’ve been asked if the trip was bittersweet, honestly I don’t know this feeling. One trait I inherited from my mom, is to easily well up with tears at the slight provocation of feeling emotion. I expected this to happen more, but it was almost nonexistent. Would I have liked to take the journey with my mom as we discussed, sure but somehow this was more meaningful. Going without her, at this stage in my life rather than earlier it is almost as if I got to experience everything through my eyes rather than be overshadowed by her’s. Which if I think about it, is not only a great gift but aligns with something my brother and I remember fondly… she let us be who we were and have our own ideas. On this trip Mary Grace guided me, she didn’t show me. Maybe it’s just a mother daughter thing.
Using my mom’s travel journal as our guide we replicated most of the destinations she visited in each major city. The major difference would be we flew from city to city and she was the passenger in her brother’s Austin Healy as they drove and ferried from location to location. I, however, had a bigger suitcase. Another major difference would be the 1,216 photos I took, she took a handful. Admittedly digital photography makes capturing experiences much easier. Mary Grace created a much better travel journal than I with itinerary, shopping and meal specifics. Though her journal has a strange secret, 10 missing days, we’ve yet to unlock.
I have a new understanding of my mom. I get how her journey formed the person she became.
- She didn’t fear trying a new food or recipe.(Wait’ll you read about my amazing food tour in Copenhagen!)
- She was open and kind to meeting new people. (I enjoyed meeting what seemed like lifelong friends from Instagram.)
- I understand why she took us to Disney World, but Tivoli Gardens is so much more wonderful.
- I’ve inherited her interest in gardening.
- She was nervous when she didn’t speak the language or didn’t know how something worked, but it never limited her.
- I have an appreciation for Scandinavian design, though I never realized how long ago this seed was planted.
- Earlier I mentioned arriving home with a sense of balance and peace, I now have the sense of calm she never achieved.
For those who would like more information on the Mary Grace Tour or wish to help victims of domestic violence as part of the Mary Grace Tour Crowdrise fundraising campaign, click here. The campaign is open until June 30th, 2017. Thank you to everyone for following along and who has contributed to help us achieve our $10,000 goal! We are almost there, please share so we can help Abuse, Counseling and Treatment, Inc., provide necessary services to victims of domestic violence like they provided to my mom, Mary Grace.