Aida Zabidi
First week in Spain and it has been amazing, despite the occasional sub-zero weather. 

I think the best part has been the decision to drive, I’ve really appreciated the glorious plains, the contrast as the sun streams through the clouds, the breathtaking drive past mountains and heading towards sunsets, early morning sunrises and a mix of gloomy clouds and clear blue skies, depending on the day or the weather. 

It’s been interesting traveling with family and my best friend, especially with my parents, and I’m constantly impressed at how good they are at keeping up. 

My parents are both in their late fifties (gosh, I hated typing that; it just reminded me they’re not exactly in the peak of their youth), and only started travelling with all their three kids had grown up and hit high school – probably about the same time that Air Asia started their ‘everyone can fly’ promotion, which captured the imaginations and hearts of the Malaysian public. 

I digress. 

My parents generally started taking tours, while I’ve always travelled on my own itinerary.  I dislike having to stay on the schedule of others, and being rushed at times when I just want to spend as much time as I do in one place.

When I offered to plan this trip, both of them were pretty trusting of my decisions, which was something that I really appreciated - I warned them it might be slightly off the beaten track, and we wouldn't be staying in hotels, but they seemed okay with the whole idea.

Apparently I inherit that sense of adventure from somewhere after all. 

We stayed at Air B&B residences, navigated around Spain with the trusty help of Waze and Google Maps, and did a lot of walking. A LOT – my step tracker averages we walked about 20000 steps a day (opposed to my normal 2000-3000 step count in my average day). Yes, mum would complain – but she was still a champion; kept up with us most times, and at times would outpace us even. 

I’ve appreciated this trip to no end; I’ll never know how many other opportunities I’ll get to travel with my parents the way we did, like equals and friends, and I’ve learnt to appreciate them so much more throughout. 

I loved the way my father’s face would light up when he marvelled at some architectural wonder, or when the history of a place would hit him. I laughed when he started taking selfies every time my mother disappeared into a shop. I secretly envied how much my mother embraced the places we went, insisting that my father take photos so she would have enough for the scrapbook that she was already planning to make in her head, and I admired her observations about the local culture. 

I can only hope that at their age, I’ll have the same resilience and enthusiasm they have for travel!
1 Response
  1. Hi Dr. Aida!

    Long time reader here, and by fate we also have a mutual friend.

    Love this particular post of family travel and I noticed you mentioned Airbnb. On the topic of the off beaten path, spottedbylocals.com might be of interest to you for your future travels. The hand-picked spotters in numerous city around the globe shares guides for, inclusive but not limited to, restaurants (down to menu), cafe, museums loved by the locals -- something right up your alley.

    The best thing is it'll save you time from doing research, on top of trusted vouch by the locals. Try have a look and let me know what you think.


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