One for the Road: Chat with “50 Best Girlfriend Getaways” Author

We’ve looked at a variety of travel books this week that focus on moms who move — for fun, for survival, for family. To wrap things up, I thought it would be nice to have an actual chat with a travel-loving writer mom. A few days ago I spoke with Gutsy Traveler Marybeth Bond, author/editor of several women-focused travel books, including two specifically written for moms: Gutsy Mamas and A Mother’s World.

We chatted about Marybeth’s newest book, 50 Best Girlfriend Getaways in North America, which contains 70 stories and dozens of “female friendly” travel ideas. Chapters are centered around significant passages in the lives of women: where to celebrate special birthday bashes, where to embark on a true adventure vacation, and the ideal locations for healing after a relationship has ended.

I specifically wanted to ask Marybeth about mother/daughter trips and the chapter on “Family Bonding”, although almost any of the book’s suggested itineraries could work for moms and daughters who want to get away. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

Can you share with Gadling readers some of the places you suggest as ideal locations for mothers and daughters to visit together?

Charleston, South Carolina is an easy city, with wonderful museums and gardens to explore. Hiking hut to hut in Aspen, Colorado is another excellent option. And the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon is a great choice. In the book, I feature a group of women from three generations of the same family who gather to enjoy the festivities together. Some other suggestions include an Alaskan cruise or a visit to Boston, MA, and there are stories and travel tips included for all these locations.

What is unique about the mother-daughter travel bonding experience?

The parent-child paradigm shifts. As the physical location changes, so too does the way in which mothers and daughters relate to each other. And this happens regardless of age — a change in surroundings definitely impacts mother/daughter interactions, and most often, for the better. These trips can be nourishing for the souls. What you want when you travel with your daughter or your mother is lots of unstructured time to talk. The longer you’re together, the deeper it will go.

In the book, you include several personal travel tales about trips taken with your mom. Can you share some additional details about your own mother/daughter travel adventures?

I live in California, and my mom lives in Ohio, so we don’t see each other often. Besides this, even when we do visit with each other, we never have alone time — there is always another family member around. So there existed between us both physical and emotional distance.

My mother had always dreamed of rafting the Grand Canyon. This trip was a chance for us to regenerate and reconnect. My mom, 68 and suffering from arthritis, climbed right along with me on a 9-mile hike in 100 degree August heat. We also camped along the river and slept outdoors without a tent, a first for my mother. To take this trip, just the two of us, was a rare gift.

What about trips with your two daughters?

Several years ago the three of us did a camping trip by horseback with a native Navajo guide. And we’ve taken countless spirit-boosting road trips.

This July, my 16-year-old and I will be participating in a Mother/Daughter Rafting Adventure on the Lower Kern River in Sequoia National Park. (There are still spots available for anyone interested.) During the trip, I’ll be leading separate half-hour workshops for moms and daughters that focus on unique ways to capture memories from the special travel experience.

What’s up next? Will there be additional books featuring more Girlfriend Getaways?

Yes, a similar selection of girlfriend travel adventures focused on European locations is due for release in March 2008.

Excellent — Thanks for taking the time to talk more about your book and your own mother/daughter travel experiences. Have a very Happy Mother’s Day!

Marybeth Bond’s 50 Best Girlfriends Getaways in North America ($15.95; National Geographic) was published in March 2007.