She did it! Just a reminder for those of you just joining us. We set out on an Adventure333 (3 Generations, 3 Months, 3 Countries+). 3 generations (my 72 year-old mom – Gma Bev), to cover 3 countries (Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia), in just 3 months (November, December, January). Our amazing Adventure333 has come to an end and Gma Bev made it all the way!
Flashback to 2015:
It has been just 2 weeks since Gma Bev flew back to the USA and it is taking our little family a bit of time to get used to traveling without her. She added an extra bit of adventure and spice to our travels. Let’s just say, she had 72 years of taking care of others and this was her time to be free. So, we just let her be free. We did misplace her more than once, probably more than 100 times, but she always found her way back! Of course, she will say that we ditched her.
Gma Bev’s Shenanigans
If you didn’t have time to follow along, please do check out the posts about what she was up to, most of the time.
Gma Bev Eats – Or Did She?
Gma Bev is not adventurous at all in the food department. In fact, she lived for 3 months on mostly white rice, french fries, candy and the occasional fruit, veggie or protein. She has a thing about food, dishes and cleanliness. In Southeast Asia, it is best not to look where the dishes are washed or the food is prepared. It is just best to know it came fresh from the market that morning and it is good enough for the locals to eat. Well, she didn’t really get past that one. She did trim down a bit and once she booked her flights home, she began dreaming about the food she would eat.
Where did Gma Bev Sleep?
To be honest, she doesn’t sleep much. She was too busy out and about chatting with people at all hours of the night. She has restless leg syndrome as well, so that limited the amount of sleep she could have at any given time. We stayed in some great places and some strange places and she was a trooper the entire way.
Oh and near the end, she was nearly out of pills for RLS and that became a bit crazy. We couldn’t find medication for her anywhere. She just needed to be sure she had enough medication to endure the 24+ hour journey home. In order to do that, she had to suffer with RLS several nights with no medication. That meant she was very tired and would sleep just about anywhere, for a brief moment. The kids had a bit of fun with that, but we did fee terrible for her.
Gma Bev Belongs To The World
It wasn’t all fun, where’s Gma games, and sights & tours. No, for her it was about the connections, the culture and the people. When we did lose her, it was often because she stopped to chat with someone, anyone, everyone! She was fascinated by so many stories and just jumped deep into the conversations, many of which consisted of charades. She didn’t care, she wanted to get to know them all. She is so caring and loving and spread her love around the world. She was up late speaking with hotel staff members. She spent the day at the local orphanage in Siem Reap, and she would chat with the security guards and taxi drivers too. No one was off-limits.
You see she didn’t just make friends with the locals, it was with other tourists as well. Many of her travel connections became deep quickly and Gma Bev now belongs to the world. She became Gma Bev to so many along the way. She even helped a young kid on the train, build up enough confidence to ask a girl out on a date (on the train!). Now he is not only dating that same girl, but realizing “he is all that”.
I don’t have photos of every person that she touched or that touched her, but here is a small sampling of Gma Bev’s love touching the world. It doesn’t stop there, she is now Facebook friends with many and with the internet he reach can hug the world.
While it was great seeing her bond with all of these people and touch their hearts. I was a bit selfish and also loved that we had time with her too. Most of my adult life I have been gallivanting around the world or the USA, and haven’t lived near her since the late 1980’s. I hadn’t had a Thanksgiving or Christmas with her in 18 years, so this was a first for Alan and the kids.
When she would come to visit us in North Carolina, it would be for a few weeks a couple of times a year. This was a first to have her all on our own with no phone calls or emergencies to steal her away. This time we got to enjoy her to the fullest. We even took her river tubing in Laos!
Of course what I love the most is that she has made memories with my kids that will last their lifetime and beyond. They have shared experiences that will live on as stories for generations. To me, that is priceless. New Year’s Eve in Saigon, river tubing, riding scooters, and scaring each other. They would sneak out late at night and get ice cream, get into mischief and nearly always sit next to each other on a tuk tuk.
Of course, there is no “being nice” or “putting on a facade” when you spend 3 months with someone. Nope, you get it all and that we did. I was scolded by Gma Bev on our bus trip in Laos. We found her taking photos of a pile of garbage in Battambang. She never got used to the toilet situation on travel days.
Oh and if you read her shenanigans in Cambodia, you will see I may have scolded her a bit too. We all had some long and grumpy travel days here and there, but it always ended in love and forgiveness.
Letter to Mom – (Gma Bev)
Mom, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your time with us. We love you dearly and I am not sure our time in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia would have been the same without you. This once in a lifetime trip has created memories that will last forever. I will never forget the day you arrived. I was so ill with a fever, so Alan took a taxi to greet you at the airport.
You arrived at our apartment with a suitcase full of goodies for us! No room for clothes, as you intended to buy them along the way. Oh and we can’t forget that ever so important 10-inch desk fan, you had in you brought along too! I still can’t believe you put a big fan in your suitcase, what were you thinking? The first time you plugged it in, zap, smoke, and out go the lights. That was just your first day with us and there were many more fun times ahead.
I am so glad we could have some laughs and that you were able to purchase your entire wardrobe as we visited each country. I know this was a once in a lifetime trip for you, but it was for us as well. There is no better gift in the world than experiences with each other. It isn’t the candy, the material things, or and of the “stuff” that matters. I am so happy that we had time with you. Something every child wants from their parents and often takes for granted.
This time it was all about loving life and experiencing what ever came our way with you. We also had time to discover each other a bit more as adults. I love your adventurous spirit and attitude. Hmmm I wonder where I get it from? You see, we may be a bit more alike than you originally thought.
As soon as you booked your return flight to the USA, I had a pit in my stomach. I didn’t want you to go and it was 3 weeks away. I tried to just put it out of my mind and live in the moment instead. Then the day came, where we did need to say goodbye. I did my best to have a stiff upper lip all morning, but the moment you hopped in that taxi to the airport, a steady stream of tears flowed. It has been years, since your departure made me sad. I guess because I always knew when we would see you next. I apologize for us having this adventurous life and not ever being around.
At the same time I am thrilled that we do, so we can have good quality time with you, when you visit. Isn’t that just like life? It is all about the give and take, the compromise and the sharing. I know I need to share you with the world and I do my best to stay back and let it happen. Being number 4 of the first round of 6 kids your raised, I know what it is like to wait my turn. We miss you and can’t wait for your next visit. Until next time mom, I love you!
Let Gma Bev Know What You Think
It is time for you to let Gma Bev know what you think. Feel free to comment below and let her know you were following along. It will only take 1 minute for a quick comment. Let’s see how many we can get. Tell her your favorite part or just what you think about her taking this adventure on. Give her a shout out!
Read more about our
Adventure333 (3 Generations, 3 Months, 3 Countries)
Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia
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