What’s your name, where are you from, and share a little about your mom or dad.
Hi! I’m Ashlyn and I’m from Saskatchewan, Canada. I’m an avid adventure traveller and have been on the road 6 months or more of the year traveling through more than 50 countries since 2010. I’ve made it my full time career and currently freelance to keep me going. My mom, Nola, happens to be my best friend. We spend hours on the phone then hang up to call each other back because we forgot to tell each other just one more thing. She’s my biggest fan and supports me no matter what crazy things I do (like hiking 120 kilometres alone in the backcountry with no cell service in bear territory. She was worried about me but never told me not to do it!)
How often do you travel together?
We travel together as often as possible. Currently we’ve been to six continents and about 15 countries with each other. I’m in the process of convincing her to come to Antarctica with me – but honestly, she doesn’t need convincing, she's in! We’ve even got my dad and one of my brothers in on the idea too.
Best tip or words of advice for traveling with parents?
Your parents might be older than you, but that doesn’t mean they can’t or don’t want to do all the crazy and fun activities you’re doing. Forget about age and just have fun while you travel!
Any funny stories or light-hearted blunders?
The first trip I took with just my mom was to the U.K. We travelled from London to Dublin. When we checked into our hotel, we couldn’t figure out how to turn the light switch on. Apparently you had to insert the hotel key card into the light switch to get power. It made me feel better we both couldn’t figure it out.
What are your favorite activities on vacation together?
Each trip we’ve been on has been so different. I’m a certified scuba Divemaster and was pretty excited to take my mom diving for the first time in Zanzibar. She even dived the outside of a wreck. It was so special for me to share a sport I’m incredibly passionate about with her and be able to show her how unbelievable the underwater world is.
What places are on your shared bucket list?
My mom had always wanted to see Machu Picchu as well as go on a safari. Can you believe we managed to do both - together? My parents met me in Peru and I spent a few days hiking the Inca Trail while they went sightseeing around Cusco. On my last day on the trail they met me at the gates of Macchu Picchu and we were able to see the historical site together. Last year mom came back to Africa with me for a short trip and we planned a private African safari on the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. She never thought she’d ever have the opportunity to go on a real safari. It was even more special because we did it over her 61st birthday and the safari company helped me celebrate it with her. We also happened to see the big five. It truly was a special trip!
Planes, trains, or automobiles?
My mom is down to travel any way necessary! She’s even been on a few night buses with me while crossing Peru as I couldn’t afford the in-country flights. She’s definitely a trooper. However, when possible, we do try to fly if it’s not too pricey. It’s a bit more convenient and a time saver.
Any notable or unique culinary experiences?
Sharing Peruvian cuisine with my parents was pretty awesome. They humored me as I tried cuy – or roasted guinea pig – but didn’t steal a bite from my plate themselves. Mom joined me for the local night market in Zanzibar. She’s up to try most things.
Do you have a favorite travel memory that encapsulates your parent’s spirit?
This summer my mom spent a month traveling Europe with me. One particular day we were at Lake Bled in Slovenia and she was just as excited to ride the toboggan track down the hill as I was. In fact, we did it three times despite being caught in a rainstorm on the chair lift. I realized on this trip that my enthusiasm and curiosity at most things in life is genetic - because it’s the exact same trait my mom has. It’s probably the best gift she could have ever given me.
What do you cherish the most about your travels together?
These are memories I’ll be able to have and reminisce on forever. I love hanging out with my mom no matter where we are in the world, but to be able to take her along on my trips and share some really extraordinary moments around the world with her has been amazing. Now that I travel professionally, it’s been extra special as sometimes I am able to bring her along as a plus one while I work. She was invited up to a fly-in fishing camp in northern Saskatchewan with me as well as on a two week cruise through the Mediterranean. It feels great to be able to give back to her through our travel experiences together in acknowledgement of everything she gave me and my brothers while growing up.