In two days, I leave for Tanzania with my mom. I am so stinking excited. I have no idea what day it is right now, I’m so excited. I have thought it was Thursday since Monday. I have never been to Africa, so that will be amazing. We will be there during the Great Migration, so the animals should be amazing. It will be warmer than Minnesota, which is amazing. But honestly, the thing I am most excited about? The twelve days I get to spend with my mom.
Every year, my mom and I go on a trip together. We’ve been doing this for about five years now. We have been to Lisbon, Wales, Austria/Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, and Italy. My mom loves to travel. My dad, for all that he is a very curious and brilliant person, does not love to travel. So my mom takes me on her adventures. We travel incredibly well together. We go at more or less the same pace. We like to see the same things, we like to shop the same amount, we both know the value of naps, and we have a similar sense of wonder for the world. But most important, we both know how hilarious we are.
Each trip starts out with both of us passing a sane and normal travelers. We get through airport security with cheerful excitement. We wait patiently at the gate for our plane. We board, we get settled in. My mom puts on her airplane booties. Yeah, she has airplane booties. We read our books, we watch the movies, we try to sleep a bit.
Somewhere mid-flight, the giggles begin. Lately, it has tended to involve one or both of us putting our travel pillows on our heads.
I do not know why this happens. But it is hilarious. Other people are not always party to our hilarity. One lady on the flight to Italy was grouchy at us for grooving to some music on the headphones we were sharing. She clearly did not know how to travel.
By the time we finally reach our destination, the loopiness has set in. Jet lag is a funny thing. Travelling is exhausting, but we never end a flight grumpy. We end it in giggles. Literally everything is funny. Especially when it’s nothing. In Portugal, we dissolved into giggles taking our “after flight” selfie. We always take a before and after photo. There was nothing objectively funny about the photo we were taking except that we were both in it and very, very tired.
We have pretty much giggled our way through Europe. In Belgium, there were always french fries around and they always smelled amazing. After a long day of walking, the smell of fries caused us both to perk up and look for them. This was cause for a photo, in which my mom somehow managed to look like she had swallowed a goldfish. I would post the picture here, but she would kill me. Trust me, it is hilarious.
It is hard to write about inside jokes because, as I have said, not everyone gets how funny my mom and I are. It’s pretty much just us who get it, really. But my mom is one of the most unintentionally funny people you could ever meet, and being around her makes me so very very happy. Travelling with her is one of my favorite things. I am always excited about the destinations, of course – the places we have been have been wonderful. But the best part has always been and will always be the laughter my mom and I share. When memories of the trips have become fuzzy, the memories of the laughter are sharp and clear and present. I treasure that. I love my mom and I feel so blessed to share in the joy that surrounds her.
So watch out, Tanzania. I think accidental photos of zebra butts are about to become uncommonly funny.