This month, Pam goes travelling is running a Mothers’ Day special campaign where I invite travel bloggers around the world to share on their travel stories with their mums.

In today’s post, I have Jenny from Jenny Far Away to share with us on her travel adventures with her mum. Take it away Jenny!

1) Where have you travelled to with your mum?

My mom came to visit me in South Korea for a few weeks in 2007, where we managed trips both in/around Seoul, in Jeonju where I was living, and to Jeju Island.

She also visited me in Hanoi, Vietnam for a few weeks in 2011, from where we took a trip out to Lan Ha Bay and Cát Bà Island, up North to the Chinese border and Ba Bể National Park, and a couple of hours South to Ninh Bình.

Mom and Bob kayaking in Lan Ha Bay, Vietnam.
Mom and Bob kayaking in Lan Ha Bay, Vietnam.

My stepfather, Bob, has come with her both times, but she is not afraid to leave him behind and go off with me or even on her own!

2) How has your mum inspired you on your travels?

My parents are both travellers and I grew up hearing about a year-long round-the-world trip they took a few years after they got married. My childhood was dotted with stories about their travels, from the Australian Outback to the colourful chaos of Pakistan, and about how they got a gun pointed at them at the Czechoslovakian border, so I ended up wanting to try it yourself!

I think we often expect our parents to be more conservative and timid in their travels than we are, but my mom is pretty adventurous. She often manages to surprise me with the things she is willing to do when she is travelling, and I admire that.

My Mom sitting on a water buffalo!
My Mom sitting on a water buffalo!

She and Bob are into rocks, gems, and minerals, and will do just about anything required to find the best specimens in any country. In Vietnam they took a train by themselves from Hanoi to a small mining town in Lục Yên district, where they shopped in the gem market and tried to get people to take them to the nearby mines, all without the benefit of any Vietnamese language skills!

When we went to Bản Giốc waterfall on the Vietnam/China border, she decided to climb up a path to a spot where we could look out over the waterfall. It was so steep with some big drops that I was questioning whether we should go but she just told me not to be silly and charged right on!

A view of Ban Gioc waterfall from the top of the scary climb.
A view of Ban Gioc waterfall from the top of the scary climb.

My younger brother and sister are adopted, and when Mom was in Korea she went to visit the orphanages they’d lived in. She went by herself, found the right places and managed to communicate why she was there, so the carers showed her around and let her play with the kids. I know it meant a lot for her to get to see where her children had come from. I felt a bit ashamed that I hadn’t done it myself after being in Korea for a couple of years, but I had thought it would be much, much harder than that!

Mom visiting the orphanage my brother came from.
Mom visiting the orphanage my brother came from.

3) How different/ similar is your mum’s travelling style as compared to yours?

Not all that different, actually!

We are both careful with our money, and she would not hesitate to take a ride on a crowded local bus or train if it costs less. Cheap hotels are good, as long as they’re clean, but we also both are willing to pay just a little bit more for a bit more comfort rather than stay at the cheapest place in town.

The main difference in the way we travel is when it comes to eating. Of course we both like cheap food, but while I eat just about anything, Mom has to be careful about it because she cannot tolerate any spicy food and also has a very sensitive stomach. Having said that, I have definitely seen her throw caution to the wind and just eat what looks good! However I have also seen her pay the consequences for that later.

Tucking into a delicious Korean meal of doejigalbi.
Tucking into a delicious Korean meal of doejigalbi.

4) What kind of activities do you both love and agree on without compromising?

We both like to just go for a wander to see the place we are in; historical spots, wildlife, the local market and of course the people and the way they live. We also both like to have fun with the kids when we travel. On our trip through the North of Vietnam, at one of our many stops along the road we encountered a bunch of kids on their way home from school and Mom ended up handing out an entire bag of oranges to them!

We met these girls on their way home from school in Northern Vietnam.
We met these girls on their way home from school in Northern Vietnam.

5) What was the most memorable moment during one of those travels?

There have been lots of memorable moments! When Mom came to Korea it just happened to be Halloween, and I was heading to a party at the local expat bar. Rather than sit it out, she and Bob stuffed orange garbage bags and made themselves into pumpkins! They looked great!

Me with Mom and Bob at Halloween, 2007.
Me with Mom and Bob at Halloween, 2007.

Also memorable was when we went down to Ninh Bình, about two hours South of Hanoi. We went to Tràng An, where we got in a boat and were rowed through a series of caves. I’ll never forget heading for the first one, where the opening was so small it looked like we were just floating right into the cliff face! We actually had to duck our heads inside to make sure we didn’t whack them on the rocks.

Entering the cave at Trang An.
Entering the cave at Trang An.

6) How does your mum feel about you travelling so much?

Luckily, my mom is very supportive of my travels. She knows I am happy spending my life on the road so although I know she misses me, she does not complain about me being away all the time. Besides, it means she gets to come visit me and have a built-in tour guide!

7) Where is the next destination you intend to travel with your mum and why?

At the moment we do not have any actual travel plans together, but we will both be going to my sister’s wedding in Las Vegas in October, so that should be fun!

Mom and I holding up a bridge on Jeju Island, South Korea.
Mom and I holding up a bridge on Jeju Island, South Korea.

Jenny Singleton is a long-term world traveller who took a trip and just kept going! She didn’t know at the time that this was going to become her lifestyle but now is completely unable to stop. She believes in seeing the world slowly, taking her time and soaking up the atmosphere. In the past 10 years she’s lived in South Korea, Scotland, and Vietnam, and has traveled extensively around Asia, Europe, and New Zealand. She blogs about her travel experiences at Jenny Far Away.

Have you encounter any adventures while travelling with your mum?

Pamela Loh

Pamela, born and raised in Singapore. She is a dreamer, explorer, traveller and local tour guide.

A perfect day for Pam would be being on the road, having beers and endless of great conversations that shape a wider perspective.

Come say hi!

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4 Comments

  1. Jenny, your mom and I began as work partners at school, and have maintained a good friendship to this day. This blog is such a beautiful tribute to your mom – I know she is incredibly proud of you. I enjoy reading all your blogs very much. They are so well written and the photos are invariably beautiful. It is fun to follow your travels and enjoy seeing all those places vicariously.

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