Kaylene Chadwell / Contributor

Dear Mom,

Thank you for being my first travel partner. You introduced me to travel, showing me the excitement of seeing new places. We’ve indulged at the Mall of America in Minnesota, walked the beautiful streets of Savannah, Georgia, laughed and cried at a Broadway play in New York City, took in the glitz of Laguna Beach, flew to Las Vegas to see Garth Brooks perform at Wynn, and enjoyed the entertainment and food at a luau on Maui. I could seriously go on for ages.

But you also never let me forget the fun we have in our own backyard in Tennessee. We’re lucky to live just outside of Nashville, a city with new restaurants and boutiques popping up around every corner, plenty of great music to enjoy, and sporting events too fun to miss out on.

Thank you for planning all of those family vacations when my brother and I were kids. Our travels are my favorite childhood memories. I truly had a blast turning tennis tournaments into vacation — always making time to explore, stopping off at shops and trying new restaurants. Our annual trips to Arizona during Christmas will always be some of my most cherished memories. I think I fell in love with traveling somewhere in the desolate deserts of Arizona that looked like another planet compared to the rolling hills of Tennessee I was born and raised in.

Thank you for showing me that travel is worth it. You’ve taught me to work hard so that I can take time off for vacation. Getting through rough spells of work is much easier when you have a light at the end of the tunnel to look forward to. We all deserve a break whether it’s sitting on a beach with a fruity cocktail, people-watching in a European square or taking a road trip with impressive views around every corner.

Thank you for supporting my decision to travel solo even though you wish I’d find someone — anyone — to go with. You don’t fully understand why I do it, but you always show interest in my travel plans and journeys. You end up sending me interesting articles and photos you find online of destinations I’m traveling to or want to see. And you always make sure I send you photos when I get a Wi-Fi connection.

Mom, we’ve been to over 20 states together. Each trip leaves us with even more memories. I love traveling together and hope it’s something we always do and enjoy. I’m excited to add more destinations to our list of adventures.

Mom & I in Savannah, GA.JPG

So thank you to the amazing woman who showed me just how cool traveling is. Thank you to all the mothers teaching their sons and daughters to travel. You’ve given them life. Now show them the world.

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July 31, 2017