Usually, my travel articles are about destinations. This one is going to be different because it’s about a person.
My mother-in-law, Kathy Weeks, passed away last month. With her passing, I lost not only a dearly loved family member but also a role model and an ideal client. I think you’ll find her inspiring too, so I’d like to tell you about her.
She was a world traveler
My father-in-law tallied up the number of countries and territories that they had been to, and the total was over 100! (Need a list of countries and territories? Here’s one.) She visited six continents (everything except Antarctica). Really impressive!
She traveled extensively in the United States too
I had the pleasure and privilege of helping my in-laws plan a trip to reach their 50th state last summer. In case you’re wondering, it was Oregon, and they went on an amazing river cruise on the Columbia and Snake Rivers.
She was an intrepid traveler
My mother-in-law didn’t just visit destinations; she truly experienced them. My sister-in-law created several photo boards for the funeral. One of them was titled “Adventure Grandma” and showed some of her many adventures. She rode on motorcycles, horses, camels, and elephants. She petted a lion on an African safari. She ziplined across the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls.
I have fond memories of the time she and I went parasailing together in Haiti. In her younger days, she went whitewater rafting and on camping and canoe trips. And on her final trip ( a cruise with our whole family), she rode on a dune buggy and raced go-karts on the cruise ship. She wanted to experience the world, not just see it.
She was a curious traveler who loved to learn
She preferred the upscale cruise lines that offer onboard lectures by experts. She enjoyed learning about other countries and cultures. She chose destinations that gave insight into history. She believed that travel wasn’t just about rest and relaxation, it was also an opportunity to gain new knowledge.
She gave experiences as gifts
When my kids were old enough to be away from their parents for several days, my mother-in-law started taking one of my kids for a week each summer (they took turns). The first trip for each kid was a week at their Wisconsin home. After that, they took them on a trip somewhere in the US. Some of the destinations they visited include Sandusky, Ohio; Gatlinburg, Tennessee; Chicago, Illinois; and New York City. The travel industry has a term for this kind of trip: a skip-gen trip. My children have some wonderful memories from these trips.
Another type of trip they gifted us was a long weekend at an indoor waterpark. We usually took these trips every other year for New Year’s Eve. They were extended family trips with all of their children and grandchildren. The memories from these trips are priceless. Not only did my kids cherish the time with their grandparents, but they also loved every minute with their cousins.
I will never forget how excited we were when my in-laws told us that they didn’t want to take us to an indoor waterpark; they wanted to take us on a Caribbean cruise instead. We had no expectations that this would be anything other than a one-time gift, but as it turns out, they treated the entire family to three of them. The subsequent cruises were five years after the previous cruise.
The final cruise ended just two days before my mother-in-law’s cardiac arrest. I can’t say it strongly enough that it comforted us in our grief knowing that she died filled with joy and happiness from our trip together. And the memories we have of her will continue to comfort us. These cruises were unquestionably a better gift than any material object ever could have been.
She was a role model
For the last 20 or so years, I’ve been telling my husband, “I want to be like your parents when we grow up.” They didn’t just SAY they wanted to go to a destination; they made up their minds and did it. They usually had two or three trips planned at any given time and were always thinking about what the next destination would be.
You’ve probably heard that when people reach the end of their life, they tend to regret the things that they didn’t do more than any mistakes they made. My mother-in-law hadn’t been ill; her death was a surprise to everyone. We would have loved to spend another decade or more with her, but it wasn’t meant to be. However, I can say that she really did a lot in the 76 years she had on earth. I doubt that she had many regrets about things she hadn’t done.
At the funeral home, several people remarked how they would love to experience all the adventures she had in her life. Warning: I’m about to get on my soapbox.
If you want to be able to look back at the end of your life at some incredible adventures and family memories, then what are you waiting for? It doesn’t just happen automatically. You have to decide that you want to live an adventure-filled life, and then go do it!
My chosen career is helping people do just that. I would love to help you make these goal trips happen, but I can’t force you to call me. None of us can get back the time that has already passed, but we can make the most of what we have left. I hope you will find some inspiration from my mother-in-law’s life.
Read about how my services work here and then get in touch. Keep in mind that I don’t work on weekends except for emergencies. I’ll respond on Monday. 🙂