The first trip just I and my mum took together was to Sydney in 1994. I was 14 years old, we went for New Year's Eve, and she tells me I moped the whole time. Sorry, Mum.
Through my 30s I lived in London, and when she visited we went to Italy, to Rye, to Norfolk, to the nightly Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. Now that I'm back, I've taken her on work trips to Northland, and Waiheke Island, so she can critique the decor while I ooh and aah at the luxury of a lodge.
Mother-daughter relationships are complicated, but travelling with my mum has always been easy. Together we've been to Sydney, Waiheke, Norfolk, London, Spain. Maybe it's because real life fades away when you're travelling, or maybe we're just both on best behaviour. But we can spend long evenings chatting over a skinful of wine and a parcel of fish and chips - or a seafood degustation at a luxury lodge.
When I fall short of her expectations as a daughter, I like to remind her that I was born on Mother's Day, making me the greatest gift she could ever have received. When she's feeling sentimental, she reminds me of that herself.
This week, we've invited journalists from across the Herald newsroom to tell us about their own memories of travelling with their mums.
Happy Mothers' Day.
Carry the weight
My Mum was what you might call an indoors woman, although I don't think it was entirely by choice. As a girl, she used to say, she'd been confined by her stepmother to the back of the house: the kitchen, the laundry, the back porch. They lived in One Tree Hill, right on the slopes of Maungakiekie, but I never once heard her talk about roaming that parkland.
Except, when she met Dad, a boy off a backblocks farm, he took her hunting. There's a photo, the pair of them in sturdy outdoor gear, him wearing a beanie, her a beret. She's gamely grinning, with a battered pair of boots hanging round her neck. He's got a large dead animal slung over one shoulder.
It's posed: that animal is a skin, a floor rug, and those boots are much too big for her. But the point of the photo is clear: she's holding the rifle.
Much later on, as a family, we used to go camping. Real camping, mostly off the grid, up gravel roads in river valleys, with canvas tents and Tilley lanterns and food cooked in billies. We kids loved it and Dad turned into competent family Dad, except that one time he was violently ill after eating foraged green apples in Totoranui.
Did Mum like it? I like to think she did. Her life was about putting up with three boys and Dad all the time, but I was a Boy Scout so when we went camping, I pitched tents, rolled river stones around the fire and got up first to light it in the morning. Showing off my skills.
Did that give Mum any respite? I don't know. She wore a pair of brown striped pants, flared, that somehow served as both city style and outdoor wear. Just the thing with a parka.
Then came the season we got serious about it. Tramping the Routeburn. The high passes, the freezing lakes, the thrilling mysteries of the bush. And straight away, on the first climb, Mum said she was sorry but she couldn't do it. So I said, "I'll carry your pack".
And I did. Her pack balanced on top of mine. Climbing and climbing, I remember so much climbing, and on the last day that long breathtakingly beautiful descent to Lake Wakatipu.
I was 16, it was our last family holiday together. And up there in the sky, in those glorious mountains, one of us weighed down and the other free, my Mum and me, we both loved it.
Life in Hong Kong
I'd just turned 7 when we flew to Hong Kong. Dad had already gone on ahead, leaving his law firm in Hastings to join the judiciary as a magistrate in Tsuen Wan. It was 1970 and Hong Kong was still a British colony.
Mum, who was born in Invercargill, had never been overseas before. Nor had my grandmother, who was already in her 80s and came with us. We were all carrying heavy winter coats; no one had told Mum we wouldn't be needing them.
I remember flying out of Napier airport in a single-engine Cessna bound for Auckland, with me sitting in the co-pilot's seat pretending to fly the plane. When we stopped over in Jakarta, Mum got so caught up shopping at the airport that we almost missed our connection and had to be personally delivered to the plane in an electric cart.
Hong Kong's international airport was in Mongkok then, and jumbos swept in so low over the high rises in downtown Kowloon that you could see people's washing hung out on poles from the windows. Surrounded by the chatter of Cantonese on the street, Mum decided the first thing she had to do was learn the language. "I grew up in a day," she once told me.
We lived out in the New Territories, a rural backwater between Hong Kong and mainland China where wild monkeys would climb up to our apartment balcony on the second floor. One afternoon, Mum's VW Beetle broke down in six lanes of rush-hour traffic in Kowloon as she drove me to ballet and it had to be pushed off the road by police.
Three years after we arrived, Mum, Nanny and I flew back to New Zealand, without Dad. This time, we stopped off for a few days in the Philippines. All I really remember about that is cantering on a horse for the first time and going to Baguio, where we canoed down the Balili River.
Mum died in 2018, five days before her 94th birthday. A few months before, we'd gone to yum cha in Auckland with a Chinese friend Mum had taught English to in Kowloon and who still made regular trips over from Hong Kong to visit her, more than four decades later.
As we left the restaurant, Mum waved brightly at the staff from her wheelchair and thanked them — in Cantonese.
Memories of mum
I remember her mostly in snapshots:
In 1986, when I was 9, she gave me the day off school and took me into town, the most exotic place I knew. We lived in Pakuranga, which was so far-flung I can still recall the flush of pride I felt the morning the 1ZB traffic report mentioned Ti Rakau Drive. We spent the morning shopping at Farmers Hobson St. She introduced me to the bargain basement and the rooftop playground. It was my first time at Farmers Hobson St, which felt like the centre of the city, which felt like the centre of the world.
In 1987, on our campervan trip around the South Island, when I was 10, she and I had a recurring joke about how the landscape looked like a painting. Thinking about it now, it wasn't funny at all, although I guess to be funny, something needs only agreement among the relevant parties.
On a rainy Saturday morning In 1991, when I was 14, she took me into town, the most exotic place I knew. We went to The Civic and watched Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, starring Kevin Costner and Canadian character actor Michael Wincott. I have just this minute googled this terrible movie and discovered it to be an excruciating 2 hours and 35 minutes long, but in 1991 I loved every minute. Afterwards, we went to Yifan's, where Mum was the only person over 18. I felt a bit self-conscious about being there with her, aware it was a negative comment on my social status, but simultaneously aware it was an accurate comment on my social status. She watched me feed coin after coin into the incredible athletics game I can't remember the name of, and I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude to her for being there.
The last trip was Sydney, 2002, 14 years before she died. We were with my then-girlfriend, whom she didn't like. We took an evening cruise on the harbour. All I can remember is her saying how much she loved the sunset.
A holiday of firsts
My mum was what you would describe as someone who practises fierce love. The main disciplinarian in the family, sometimes it's hard to even know if she had a soft side.
But that soft side I experienced on my first plane trip and first overseas vacation to Bangkok, Thailand - which was also to visit an aunt, uncle and cousin who were living there at the time.
I was really anxious about being on the plane, and Mum distracted me with stories about the adventures and delicious treats awaiting me in Thailand to calm me down.
Travelling with Mum as a child also meant doing everything together. When eating anything unfamiliar - from Thai snacks, dessert to dishes - her trick was always to suggest going "half-half" as a way to get me to try them.
What I will never forget is how Mum, so many times on that trip, behaved like a kid - unable to hide her excitement when riding an elephant or when on the river at the floating market and seeing farmers selling their produce on wooden boats.
That trip was indeed a memorable ride and really got us closer. But as a teenager and even as a young adult, I'd scoff at the suggestion of going on trips with Mum because it's just "not cool".
Now she's gone, what I would give if I could just have just one more trip with her.
Other ends of the Earth
Living on opposite ends of the globe was unintentional. When we said our emotional goodbyes at the departures gate of Heathrow airport in July 2003, I fully planned to be back in a year's time. But life never works out the way you planned and here we are — me in Auckland, NZ, Mum in Cambridgeshire, UK — thousands of kilometres and a global pandemic the barriers to being together.
To her credit, she's never complained about my failure to return. Instead, she used it as an opportunity to broaden her own horizons. In November 2003, she hopped on a plane by herself for 24 hours to come and visit me — before that the furthest she'd ever travelled was Greece.
She still hasn't quite forgiven me for making her travel like a backpacker for our trip together round the South Island. I wasn't working at the time, and was still convinced I had to stretch my frugal savings out for a year of travelling the world. We stayed in private rooms in grotty hostels with shared bathrooms and journeyed by very cramped mini-bus through Central Otago's devilishly winding roads, sandflies feasting on her delicate English flesh. She stood patiently at the top of Queenstown's Skyline while I dithered over doing a bungy jump, and didn't judge when I slept my way from Christchurch to Greymouth on the TranzAlpine, apparently one of the world's most beautiful rail journeys (I still need to go back and do it again . . . with my eyes open this time).
Hopefully I've made it up to her since with more luxurious holidays together. Last time we saw each other in the UK, we stayed a night at Cambridge's University Arms Hotel in a suite bigger than my home; another time we enjoyed a six-star river cruise along the Seine beginning and ending in Paris.
My favourite memories of our travels together though, are the times she's returned to New Zealand to visit me. It's nice to show her around my adopted country and see her fall in love with it too. I think she now understands just what it is about the place that has kept me here so long.
Hopefully it won't be long before she can come back again. There are still so many great travel memories to make together.
I often had wild and unrealistic travel dreams as a teenager. Having learned French all through high school, I had turned into a francophile and was desperate to visit and live in French-speaking countries. I planned to move to France after I finished school, only to unexpectedly gain employment as a cadet journalist; a career opportunity too good to turn up. France would have to wait.
While I worked and lived at home, I saved every penny I could from my meagre wages. France seemed out of reach, but New Caledonia was not too far away. I had missed out on the school trip that had taken my peers to Noumea for a week of French immersion, but resolved that one day I would visit. When I'd saved around $1300, I started bringing home all the brochures from travel agents for inspiration. I then started my subtle plan to convince my mother to come with me by producing these beautiful, glossy pamphlets in front of her. She took little convincing.
It was our first overseas holiday together, just the two of us, without Dad or any of my siblings. I'd never visited any Pacific Island before. We stayed in a hotel near the beach in Noumea and swam in the warm waters at Anse Vata Bay each day, wandered around the craft markets and took a day trip to the postcard-perfect lighthouse island Phare Amedee.
I was 19 at the time, and I fell in love with the azure waters, the tropical climate and the cultural diversity of the Pacific. After the angsty teenage years of slamming doors, irritability at my parents and eating dinners in silence, the holiday was a huge benefit to our relationship. It took us both out of our usual habitat, allowing us to relax and bond and learn to enjoy one another's company in a more mature setting. I'm sure I still threw some shade and slammed a few more doors over the following two years I lived at home, but the memories of New Caledonia with my mother will remain a precious gift for a lifetime.