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5 Reasons To Have Your Parents Visit You While Travelling

Mom and Dad have now packed their bags and headed back to sunny Saskatchewan! It was an amazing four weeks full of adventures, and Shawna and I couldn’t have been happier that they came to spend their winter vacation with us.

Here are a few reasons why:

Getting ready for a little Easy Ridin' in Dalat

1) A Different Perspective

It took about a week for it to set in, but one day Mom blurts out:

“I think I am experiencing culture shock!”

It was probably while walking through the alley where our guesthouse in Saigon was located…. likely stepping past the man who was chopping up raw pig meat on the side of the road. Or maybe walking beside the ladies who were picking knits out of their friends’ hair. Either way, she realized that the Vietnamese culture is different, very different, from what goes on back home.

After you have been travelling for a while I think you tend to forget about those differences, or you simply do not see them as being as incredible as you might once have. You brush over them a little too quickly which is unfortunate, because the actions, customs, and cultures of people around the globe are one of the greatest parts of travel. Having Mom and Dad here with us reawakened our senses to that a little.

This doesn't look like the butcher in Saskatchewan

Sidenote: in fairness to Mom, she probably didn’t actually ‘blurt’ it out as I said above. Mom simply isn’t a blurt-er. I have no doubt that she thought over what she was going to say for an extensive period of time. But the verb seemed to work as I was typing, so for the sake of this story… she was blurting.

2) They Are Great Couriers

It wasn't easy, but they agreed to take our possessions across the border

When travelling, we are constantly running into things which we would love to have back at home. And virtually every time we have walked away from these things because it simply doesn’t make sense. It costs too much to send home, and we certainly are not going to carry it around with us for the rest of our trip.

Enter…Mom and Dad, the finest pack mules money can buy! With just over month on the road, they had some shopping to do, and brought the extra empty luggage to prove it. Fortunately, there was even enough space for us to send them home with a few gifts for others and even one or two things we found for ourselves.

3) A Different Pace

Shawna and I travel at fairly typical pace (at least we think so) for a couple who is hoping to see as much as they can of the world over a 15-18 month time period. We haven’t stayed in any one place for months on end, but we take our time travelling overland as much as possibly and smell the roses (or in the case of Vietnam, smell the fish sauce) whenever possible. However, for our 25 days with Rick and Jackie, we did quicken the pace just a little:

Arrive in Saigon (2 nights)
Fly to Phu Quoc Island (5 nights)
Fly back to Saigon (1 night)
Bus to Dalat (2 nights)
Fly to Danang, then taxi to Hoi An (3 nights)
Overnight train to Hanoi (1 night on the train, 1 night in Hanoi)
Halong Bay, Aboard the Calypso Cruiser (2 nights)
Bus back to Hanoi (1 night)
Fly to Nha Trang (3 nights)
Train to Saigon (1 night)
Bus to Mekong Delta for a homestay (1 night)
Return to Saigon (2 night)
Head to airport and say goodbye!

WOW! I am outta breath just typing that!
We saw and did an incredible amount in the time they were here... and we absolutely loved it! Sure Shawna and I typically move a little slower, but we didn’t feel that we were skimming over anything we did. We got everything out of each day that we could – no one can argue with that. And do you know what? Every once in awhile it is really refreshing to take a 90 minute plane ride, as opposed to a soul-draining 15 hour bus ride.

Sometimes it is just worth it....

4) We Were ‘A Little’ Spoiled

Oh sure, we spent a little more in Vietnam than we typically would have (and I’ll give you all the thrilling details of that in the next budget post), but I can assure you we saw more value for our money here than in any other country, and for that….we have only two people to thank.

Because each couple was travelling on a different budget, we often looked for places a little more high-end for Mom and Dad, and then a nearby hostel or guesthouse for Shawna and I. The deal was that we would take M&D to their place first to ensure that they were settled in and that all was in order and then we would head to our place and slum it out (okay, maybe it wasn’t that tragic). Well on two of these occasions, namely the Nha Trang Sheraton and the Bamboo Village Bungalows in Hoi An, they must have seen the not-so-well-hidden envy in our eyes, and suddenly the deals were on the table. It wasn’t free accommodation, but I doubt there are many people who paid the paltry sum that we did to stay in these outstanding establishments.

This view from the Sheraton Hotel in Nha Trang was due to the fine generousity of M&D. Shawna was thrilled that Mr.Pectorals lounging behind me was also included in the price.

And that is not even including the generosity shown to us for our 5-nights in the Saigon Phu Quoc Resort which kicked of our time together in Vietnam!

It is unlikely that we could have been more spoiled. Mom and Dad, thank you. It was incredibly unnecessary but enormously appreciated!

Not many backpackers can say they golfed at the Dalat Golf Club. And how about our caddies, eh?

5) They Represent A Little Piece Of Home

Travel is awesome. Really awesome. But family is awesomer. And so when we had the opportunity to spend almost four weeks with Mom and Dad (and just after that six weeks with Shawna’s sister!!) we couldn’t have been more thrilled! There is no better way to have kicked off the first few months of 2012 than to have visitors like this who mean so much to us!

I don’t miss much from back home, but family is one thing that I do wish I could keep a little closer to me. Their visit was simply good for the soul. Heck, if I could get family to visit us every four months I would probably travel forever….. although I suppose Shawna might have something to say about that! :)

Thanks for the visit guys! We love ya tons and are so glad you came….and the next Vietnamese Beach Resort is on us!!

On our way to our hotel in Hanoi - tight fit, but we made it work every time!

Last Day in Vietnam

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12 Responses to “5 Reasons To Have Your Parents Visit You While Travelling”

  1. jackie (mom) March 14, 2012 at 12:19 am #

    Thank-you so much for the lovely post. You are both very welcome. Actually,dad and I feel that we are the ones who were spoiled,not many people get to travel with two of the best tour guides in the whole world.

    • Skott March 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

      Oh look, now I am blushing! Thanks Ma and Dad!!! Love ya tons! It was amazing having you here!!!

  2. Gillian @OneGiantStep March 14, 2012 at 3:01 am #

    That is so cool that they could spend so much time with you and in such a great country as Vietnam! Sounds like you guys found a good balance between vacation travel and long term travel while you were together and they had the pleasure of seeing what your time away looks like.
    Gillian @OneGiantStep recently posted..Monday Moment: Bia Hoi Shop, Hanoi, Vietnam

    • Skott March 16, 2012 at 9:33 am #

      It is true – we compromised here and there just to make sure we were working within their comfort level and our budget level….and in the end it worked out perfectly!!!

  3. Ashley Lenzen - Traveled Earth March 14, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    Great post!

    You said it perfectly… “their visit was simply good for the soul.” Having just said goodbye to my mom after travelling with her, I couldn’t agree more.

    I do have to say though… it seems you were more than “a little” spoiled – those suites looked incredible!

    Ashley Lenzen – Traveled Earth recently posted..Horseback Riding on Isla de Ometepe

    • Skott March 16, 2012 at 10:01 am #

      I cannot tell a lie – $15 hostel rooms will never be acceptable again…. we have been ruined.

  4. Michelle April 2, 2012 at 7:46 am #

    Cute post! I love it when I get to see my parents, especially when I’ve been travelling for a long time! It makes it a bit surreal too seeing them in a distant land with me :)
    Michelle recently posted..Do you have travel smarts?

  5. Michelle April 2, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    Cute post! :) I love seeing my parents especially after travelling for a long time!
    Michelle recently posted..Do you have travel smarts?

    • Shawna April 5, 2012 at 4:31 am #

      It’s true! We feel so lucky that we were able to experience Vietnam together as a family. These are definitely memories that we’ll treasure forever!

  6. Uncle Gerry April 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    10 days without talking–sounds pretty tough. Are you allowed to think or is lack of thought part of the type of meditation you are doing.
    I was in Bali in 1969 & again in 1980 with Louisa . I’m sure it has changed a whole lot since then.
    Amazing trip you two are taking.

    All the Best,
    Uncle Gerry

    • Shawna April 10, 2012 at 11:03 am #

      Hi Gerry! Skott is “released” from his silent meditation retreat tomorrow so I’ll make sure he lets you know if there was any thinking allowed. Bali is certainly beautiful! I would love to see photos of what it looked like when you guys were there…I think there has been a lot of development here. My favourite city so far is Ubud. Did you go there?


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