‘Planes, Canes and Automobiles’

Our last trip, to Alaska, was inspired by an interview earlier this year with Valerie M. Grubb, the Austin-based author of Planes, Canes and Automobiles: Connecting With Your Aging Parents Through Travel (Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2015). Grubb estimates she and her mom have logged 400,000 miles together over 20 years, visiting destinations including Italy, Australia, China, Thailand and Cambodia.

“Travel has brought my mother and me together in a way that no number of phone calls could,” Grubb said.

Intergenerational travel offers a way to carve out time together, reconnect in a meaningful way and have fun. Even when plans go awry, Grubb said, “It makes for a great story when we’re back home.”

My mom, who is 83, loves to travel but doesn’t feel confident making travel plans herself, and few of her friends are physically able to travel. My dad, who died in 2010, wasn’t as motivated to travel, plus his health prohibited it in the last few years of his life.

Gift of time

Mom lives in another state, and even when we do visit, there are usually distractions from work, family and other commitments. But when traveling together, we have plenty of time to chat, enjoy the sights and just hang out. It’s fun meeting new people, too. On our last trip, we were seated at dinner with two other mother-daughter pairs — one from Australia, the other from Ohio — who made for perfect conversation partners.

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