Countdown: 8 days until the Magical Mystery Tour!

It is the dim haze of mystery that adds enchantment to pursuit. — Antoine Rivarol

When it was decided that I’d take each of my daughters on a secret adventure to celebrate adulthood is unclear. The thought of quality time in an unfamiliar place felt like the perfect gift before sending each of my girls off to college. Maybe it was an excuse to take a trip. But if I’m completely honest with myself, it was a way for me to solidify our mother-daughter bond with the hope they wouldn’t forget me as they veered down their own path of independence.

In June 2008, I was packing my suitcase to head to Torremolinos, Spain, a Mediterranean resort town on southern Spain’s Costa del Sol, known for its sandy beaches, nightlife, dining, and shopping. It was the perfect place for Julia and I to bond over endless glasses of sangria, Jamón bagettes, and long beachy naps under the Andalusian sun. Ten short years later, it’s Sydney’s turn; and it’ll be a completely different adventure considering my daughters couldn’t be any more distinctive from one another.

Protecting a secret about a destination from your traveling companion is difficult. Add in the fact that I’ve had 10 years to plan and it becomes nearly torturous. There have been times when I was sure I couldn’t help blurting it out, and other times when I asked Syd, “Are you sure you don’t just want to know?” so I could release the build up of excitement and see the look of enthusiasm on her face when I told her. It’s the part I’m most looking forward to.

Mystery Tour

In 8 days, Sydney and I will hit the road to the airport, where I’ll share with her the multi-destination locations of her mystery tour. I consider it an excursion of a lifetime that has involved countless hours of research and planning. Stay tuned for images and video (if I can figure out the GoPro) of the big reveal. Then follow our two week adventure here and on Instagram at #sydsmagicalmysterytour.

Irrational Fears, Potential Pitfalls, & Uptight Traveler Strategies

backpackBeing a target for pick-pocketing – Did you know that every day 400,000 pick-pocket incidents occur worldwide? This is a real concern for tourists in many cities across the globe. For some reason, it’s always been challenging for me to blend in with a local crowd. I never seem to look like I know what I’m doing and have THE worst poker face ever created. Since I couldn’t talk Syd into wearing a hidden pouch around her waist to hold her valuables, I sprang for these anti-theft backpacks. Making its debut on Indiegogo and Kickstarter, XD Design’s Bobby Anti-theft Backpack features cut-proof material, hidden zipper closures, secret pockets, an integrated USB charging port, weight balance, water repellent fabric, illuminating safety strips and a luggage strap. Wow! We’re really excited about these and even though we’ll stand out as tourists with twinsies backpacks…I’d like to see anyone try to get into our Bobbys while we’re taking selfies.


go proWill Sydney be bored? – There were moments during the planning process that I thought perhaps our excursions leaned a bit too much in favor of my own interests. Engaging my self-awareness was important here in order to find a good balance of her passions and mine. Worried that she might become bored during the outings I booked for my own enjoyment, I decided to give her a complicated gadget to master (a GoPro Camera) and a project she’d be in charge of (documenting our mystery tour via video that she’ll produce into a compilation of our travels). Brillance! She couldn’t be more excited to test out the camera and already has a song chosen for the timelapse she’ll film in a undetermined location. I’ve mastered the art of distraction!

binderOur transfer forgets to pick us up – When Julia and I arrived in Málaga, Spain almost exactly 10 years ago, our scheduled transfer was not waiting for us. I had no confirmation, no phone number of the company that was supposed to be there, and I stood in the middle of baggage claim at the Málaga airport in tears, much to my daughter’s embarrassment. We eventually made it to our hotel via taxi cab after a “pull it together” phone conversation with my sister (who was also my travel agent) at 2am her time, but I vowed never to be in that situation again. So I’ve created a 24-page Magical Mystery Tour binder which houses itineraries, confirmations, transfer vouchers with phone numbers, etc. It’s peace of mind that I won’t have to wake my travel agent up at 2am in tears.

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