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  • Writer's pictureKaren Custer Thurston

"Top 8 Reasons Why I Love Traveling With My Daughter Rachel....Mostly"

As you can imagine, traveling internationally as a mother and daughter for the past 20+ years comes with unexpected perks and pitfalls....

Rachel Sarah Thurston has been my travel partner for 20 years. I’ve been blessed to kick around 6 continents with the most fun and intelligent adventurer by my side.

When I’m tired or upset, she makes me laugh with her affected Scottish accent. When we are in dangerous situations, she has my back. When we disagree, we negotiate. She listens when I need to be heard.

She takes great photographs and videos of me. (I do the same for her.)

We stand in two passport lines so the one in the slowest can flee to the fastest.

We watch each other’s stuff for bathrooms, which are so dodgy we want nothing we own to touch the floor. Dodgy bathrooms are those which have no doors, no hooks for belongings, squat toilets, toilets with no seats, vomit on the floor.

Rachel will repair broken tent poles, ripped rain flaps and damaged tent parts with the most amazing knots she learned as a river guide.

Now, as a loving and adoring mother, all the above information is true BUT there are trade-offs.

As one half of "Around The World With The Thurston Girls," I’ve waited interminably for her in the Kao San district of Bangkok while she decided on which pillow cases to buy as I breathed in the fragrances of banana pancakes, chicken satay, diesel fumes and Nag Champa incense in the oppressive heat and humidity of the backpacker area.

I’ve pantomimed "Do you have a chair?" to clerks in every shop in every town in every country while Rachel sorted through racks and stacks of products. The tinier the product, the longer she takes. Earrings are painful.

When I’ve had it and am so ready to walk away, she looks at me with those big brown eyes and pleads, “Just one more, Mama?”


1. She lets me choose where to eat. As long as it’s Mexican. Even in Slovenia, she found a Mexican restaurant.

2. Rachel is very friendly. I am, as well. When we are both taken with a new friend, I put my hand on her knee. That is my special signal for her to let me talk a little bit.

3. She is always happy, but especially when there is something to buy.

4. We always get instant attention and service from men in tuk tuks, markets and taxis.

5. I can get more scoops on my ice cream cones with her by my side. It worked in Morocco. She says I pimped her out for ice cream.

6. She helps choose what I should wear. I didn’t know that I had no sense of fashion before she came along.

7. She allows me to read a book while I "shop" with her but I must be attentive for the inevitable “How do I look?” and “Which one do you like best?" neither of which have no basis in reality and, for which, there are no right answers.

8. She will, inevitably, buy the one I didn’t like. Must be a mother and daughter thing.

And what will I say when Rachel next asks about our next travel adventure?

I’ll say, "When?! Where?! And how soon do we leave?!”


*You can follow our adventures here on FB.

Photo Credits:

Photo 3: Rachel Sarah Thurston

Copyright 2021 Karen Custer Thurston

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