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June 9, 2010

Being an Adventurer Isn't Always Genetic!

My mother was born in 1916. It wasn't really a time for women to be independent but my mother was. In the 1950's she was one of the few, if not the only, wife and mother in our little town who worked at a job outside the home. I remember asking her once why she didn't get together with the other moms in town to have coffee like my friends' mothers did. She just laughed and said she'd rather be working.

In 1971 at the age of 55, she retired, sold her belongings and bought a Winnebago. With her widowed mother (my grandma) and sister, she began travelling. They started their adventures by driving to Florida and then across to California. They towed a little car behind the Winnebago - mom did all the driving while her sister did the cooking. Grandma used to say that her job was to oversee them both. They called themselves the Merry Widows and were written about in two travelling magazines!

I made a list of all my mother's major driving adventures and it impressed me so much I had to share it. Remember as you read this, that in between these "big trips" she was still driving in her motor home all around N. America

1974: Arizona, Florida
1975: Maritime Provinces Canada
1976: Mexico
1976: Flew to Europe for 2 weeks
1977: Texas
1978: Florida
1985: Bought two trailer homes and parked one in Ontario, the other in Florida. Continued to drive around N. America but instead of a motor home, it was in a truck.
1990: Moved to British Columbia
1995: Moved back to Ontario
1996: On her 80th birthday, no longer driving around N. America, she treated herself to a trip to Australia and New Zealand. She backpacked for 3 weeks, with a little pink Barbie backpack.
1997: Discovered genealogy and went to Salt Lake City to research
1997: Age 81. Drove herself to Florida and back to Ontario
1998: Age 82. Went to China for 4 weeks
1999: Age 83. Went to England, Russia, Poland, Denmark, German, Sweden and Finland
2000: Age 84. Camping-hiking trip through the Australian Outback
2001: Age 85. Alaska, British Columbia and Alberta
2001: Age 85. South Africa

She made many other trips during this time - to England mostly but also to New York and other places in N. America. Oh and did I mention that at age 60, she took flying lessons to obtain her pilot's license in America? And that she then built her own ulra-light airplane with her boyfriend?

Here she is ready for a hot-air balloon ride in Australia at age 84. She's the tiny one in front holding a cream coloured hat.

and in S. Africa sitting on an ostrich at age 85.

I wish I had 1/4 of my mother's spirit of adventure! But sadly, I don't. So I guess that adventurous spirit doesn't always get passed on through our genetic code or DNA.


Lisa Wallen Logsdon said...

AWESOME!!! Totally enjoyed this post!

Kristin said...

amazing. she sounds like an interesting person. did she keep a journal of her trips?

Genealogy Blogger said...

@Kristin - Yes my mother kept journals of all her trips. I've been busy since her death compiling them into a book with scans of her various photos from each trip inserted.

My siblings each have a small version now of the trip diaries and photos. I hope to create the full journals at some point in time - but it's a huge task!

S. Lincecum said...

I wish I would have known her. Glad to have "met" her through your post!

Kathy said...

Good for her! My mother always says, "do it while you can, you have lots of years to lay with your arms crossed over your chest!"