I’m sorry I didn’t tell you to pack extra cash, or better footwear. I’m sorry if I failed to clarify that most of our beverages wouldn’t naturally come with paper umbrellas in them. And I definitely apologize for insisting that you declare the apple at Miami International Airport – how was I to know we’d both be escorted out by Customs officers?
But I’m not sorry I invited you to Trinidad and Tobago with me.
Of course, other friends would have joined me in your stead. People closer in age, or more experienced with travels in the ‘developing’ world. I love those friends – but not as much, never as much, as I love you.
Plus, it was (sort of) a birthday present. Though you paid your own way, and the only ‘present’ was the invite itself. (Much as every other foreign family holiday we’ve ever taken on my behalf, I fork out the excuse to visit, and you fork out the cash).
Maybe what I mean to say is, thanks for saying “Yes.” Thanks for not worrying about whether a 60-year-old could keep up with a 31-year-old, or whether the country was safe. You may have suggested more suitable companions for me, but that’s only because you wanted me to have the best trip possible.
Trust me – I did. Especially the parts where we quit being mother and daughter, and simply remained best friends. Swimming up the very last stretch of Guanapo Gorge, as we oohed and ahhed and splashed like teenagers. Swinging from rappelling ropes and laughing at our own adrenaline. Clinking rum cocktails at the most Western restaurant in the city on our very last night (yep, finally found those little umbrellas).
Thanks for patiently listening to all my “One time in….” stories, and not freaking out when those stories included loose decisions in more dangerous places. Thanks for trusting my instinct when it came to directions, currency exchanges or talkative locals.
Thanks for supporting all the previous travels that brought me here – even the ones that, in the process, stole me further away from you.
Because the thing is, your example makes me the woman I am. Even if you secretly had doubts, you still said “Yes” this time.
And that eternal ability to smile, open your heart and say “Yes” is what traveling is all about. I learned that from you.
I’m just sorry I didn’t tell you sooner…
Love, your daughter
P.S. Oh, and I’m also sorry for posting a bunch of pictures on the internet; I know you’ll hate every single one, and ring me immediately to ask “Do I really look like that?” Then I’ll answer, “What? Like the World’s Best Mother?”