Photo by Jonathan Gallegos via Unsplash

Travelling with the people we love allows us to create more memories with them and to learn new things about them; both good and frustrating lessons (just pick up your dirty clothes from the floor and no one gets hurt!).

Who better to get on our nerves because they refuse to ask for directions when they’re lost and indulge in our expensive food cravings than our mums? This Mother’s Day, #teamZafigo shares destinations that we’d love to travel to with our mothers.

Marina with her mum at her graduation


Marina Mahathir, Founder

My mother comes from a generation that never travelled alone… not much at least. In the 60s, she travelled on her own — once — to London, to meet Dad and almost got stranded at Heathrow airport because he mistook the date of her arrival. She flew on her own all the way to Ann Arbor, Michigan to do a course, and returned to Malaysia after a month away to a weeping 10-year-old me. I hadn’t even realised I missed her that much until I saw her again.

Since then, we have travelled together many times, but as a family for holidays. We have been to the US and to Europe several times, the whole jingbang plus the various staff and security detail that need to accompany my parents while they’re in office. Moving around was always like lugging a long trail of heavy cloth, pulling at one end and making sure that the rest follows.

The memory of travel I remember most was when Mum came alone to watch me graduate in Brighton. We stayed in my little flat on the seafront, went to get my gown at the Brighton Pavilion, and hung around with my friends and their parents as we waited for the ceremony to start. Mum watched as I received my degree from the broadcaster and natural historian, David Attenborough, and afterwards we went for lunch at a nearby restaurant. After lunch we walked along the seafront back to my flat, stopping to greet my friends moonlighting as ‘deckies’ (deckchair attendants) for the summer.

It was a precious few mother-daughter days for me; when Mum and I got to talk without having to pay attention to anyone else. Since then, I’ve tried to replicate those moments with my own daughters, taking them on mother-daughter holidays whenever I can. If only they were not so reluctant…

James and his sister with their late mother

Far East

James Chong, Director of Strategy & Development

One of my biggest regrets is not taking my mother on more trips outside the country when she was still with us. She would have loved to visit Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China – she always loved watching Chinese TV series and food programmes – but I was always too busy with work, or she would tell my sister and I that she didn’t want us to waste any money on her.

By the time we decided to plan for the trips, mum was too weak and frail, and that gave her more reason not to go. We renewed her passport, but it was never used before she left us. For some things, there are no second chances, so go on a holiday with your mother, discover new experiences with her, and show her you love and cherish her by spending dedicated time with her. I wish I could have done that more.

Xin Xin’s mother with her daughter

Edinburgh, Scotland

Lee Xin Xin, Graphic Designer

If there’s one place that I would really like to go with my mum, I think it would be the land of the Loch Ness Monster – Scotland. I grew up listening to stories of Nessie from my relatives and have always wanted to go visit our family members there. Of course, the beautiful lush scenery and castles form part of the attraction too. I’ll take her to visit the Scottish Highlands for sure, and explore other cities like Glasgow and Aberdeen. There are so many castles, we’ll be spoilt for choice.

It’s generally less busy in winter, so we can fully enjoy and take our time. The best part is, we’ll experience our first white Christmas. Visiting during winter, although freezing, may also allow us to see the dazzling displays of the northern lights! Wouldn’t that be nice?

A young Rathika with her mother

Vatican City

Rathika Sheila, Contributor

My mum’s not a pious woman by any means, so it was a little strange when she said Vatican City is her dream travel destination. I wondered if it was the architecture and art that she was keen to see, or maybe it was to get the Pope to ask God if it was too late to return her monstrous children (kidding, we’re angels!).

Later on I realised going to the Vatican meant more to her than just experiencing its divine glory; it’s a way for her to feel connected to her late mum (who was a devout Catholic). She didn’t get to heal from losing my grandmother because she was occupied with being a parent and working full-time, so I think a trip here would do wonders for her spirit. It may even allow her to say the ‘goodbye’ she didn’t get to say 11 years ago. I might burst into flames upon entering the city, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take for my mum.

Maggie’s mum’s younger years

Christchurch, New Zealand

Maggie De souza, Events Manager

Mum travelled a lot during her younger years, still repeatedly tells my sister and me stories of how much she enjoyed those years being abroad. Since she had me, she hasn’t travelled outside of Asia and would love to one day go back to New Zealand to see how much things have changed since her first visit in the 80s.

Christchurch has been on our shared bucket list for some time now, but we’ve yet to find a time suitable for both of us to pack our bags. That hasn’t stopped us from planning, though! She really enjoys the laidback countryside where things are slow, and there’s nothing much to do other than take long walks, and sit and admire the sunrise or sunset. Booking a B&B stay on a farm seems pretty appealing to her. She also loves farm animals (she had pet chickens, rabbits, and a turkey as a kid) so that’s a plus.

Irene’s mum, her sister, and her at dinner

A cruise ship

Irene Tan, Office Manager

My mum comes from a family that doesn’t enjoy travelling. Even now, at 79, we always have to convince (read: drag) her to travel with us. We’ve always travelled as a family and have no intention of leaving her alone at home.

She’s a wonderful traveller though, healthy for her age, and can still walk fairly well enough to keep up. After my Dad’s passing, she requested to visit Italy. She’d never made any travel requests in all the years we’ve travelled, and so off we went to see Milan, Rome, and Venice, which she thoroughly enjoyed.

Next up, a cruise. Now, if only I can convince her that the ship won’t sink and that she won’t be bored looking out at the endless horizon!

Tengku Zai and her mother in Istana Negeri Kubang Kerian

El Nido, Philippines

Tengku Zai, Sub-editor

I’d want to take my mom to El Nido, Palawan, in the Philippines. It may seem like an odd choice, considering she’s from Manila. However, the reason I wouldn’t choose the typical European destination is that she’s spent most of her life here in Malaysia (about 35 years), and says herself that she feels more Malaysian than Pinoy. She’s pretty much a foreigner in her own country and tells me that I’ve explored the islands more than she has.

I know deep down she wishes she could explore her country more, as despite feeling more Malaysian, she still has a strong sense of #PinoyPride. Why El Nido? Personally, El Nido is one of the best holidays I’ve ever had and remains my favourite beach destination (it definitely trumps the Maldives), so I want to share that with her. I want her to be able to relish in some of that real #PinoyPride instead of only feeling it by proxy of an internet video or photo gallery.

Baby Eliza with her mother

Halle, Belgium

Eliza Thomas, Editor

I don’t know how to explain it, but my mother has an inexplicable love for flowers and plants. She is constantly ooh-ing and aah-ing over random potted plants or bushes we pass. I didn’t inherit her passion for flora, so I can’t say I get it.

For that, I’d like to take my mum to Hallerbos, otherwise known as the Blue Forest. This woodland is located in the city of Halle, a 30-minute drive from the Belgian capital of Brussels. Tall trunks of beech and oak trees make up the forest, but in the springtime, an almost fairytale-like change happens. Lush carpets of bluebells sprout from the ground and create a sea of purple-blue on the forest floor that is absolutely breathtaking.

Knowing my mother, she’ll take a million photos, make me take a million more of her striking poses in the ocean of bluebells, and then spend a better part of an hour just studying her surroundings. As I said, I don’t get it, but if it makes her happy, I’ll do it.

If you’re wondering why I can’t just take her to Japan to see the equally-as-pretty-and-fascinating cherry blossoms, I’ll tell you this — the woman hates Japanese food. This is something else I don’t understand and (thankfully!) didn’t inherit from her.

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