Travel Bug is Genetic: A Case Study [Happy Mother’s Day!]

This post was inspired in part by this blog post about traveling with mom.

My mom has a serious case of travel bug, and she passed on the affliction to her daughter.

I believe it was fate. My mom has two brothers and one sister. They all have Parsi names: Piloo, Adi, and Soli. They all stayed in Bombay. My mom, however, was given the name Nancy, as if her parents predicted their daughter would someday live in an Anglo world.

20140509-174724.jpgWhen mom was growing up in India, she fantasized about America. She scored Elvis records, perused American fashion magazines, and made her mom buy her fancy American foods like peanut butter, which it turned out she hated and still hates until this day.

When she graduated college in Bombay, she applied to a fine arts school in Miami Beach and got a scholarship. At that, Nancy Dastur left her family and friends, and never looked back. She is proud to be Indian, but I think she is even prouder to be an American immigrant.

The expatriate life suits her well, but my mom remains a traveler at heart. I’ve been to almost 80 countries but she has been to more than I have. When asked, she will tell you that her dream is to live on one of those floating condos so that she can wake up in a different port of call each week.

When I was a young child, my parents took me everywhere they wanted to go. We visited my family in India; we took American road trips, and French road trips. To pass the time in the car, my mom would quiz me on Subway Stops in London, the islands of Japan, or Names of Châteaux in France.

We’ve been to Fiji together, Italy, Germany. A cruise to Brazil up the Amazon River, after passing through several Caribbean nations including Dominica and Barbados. Just over a year ago, mom took me on the trip of a lifetime: Antarctica. Serious peak experience there. It was a cruise that stopped also in Falkland Islands, as well as Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. As if that wasn’t enough, that same year we went to Iceland, Faroe Islands, and Norway.


It’s not just where we’ve gone together. It’s the fact that more than anyone else, Mom has taught me to appreciate other cultures. When I was still learning to read and write, mom made me memorize the names of countries and capitals. She taught me words in French, Spanish, German, and Hindi. We studied maps together, and when we see each other now, still do.

And of course, there’s the food.  Mom helped me appreciate everything from Ethiopian to Japanese before these cuisines had become well-known outside their national borders. As long as it doesn’t have peanut butter in it, mom will eat. I owe a lot of my open-mindedness to her.

Sometimes mom wishes I lived near her in Miami, but she really ought to know that it’s her fault I’m traipsing around the world. Along with her genes for brown eyes, she passed on her gene for the travel bug. I didn’t stand a chance to be sedentary. Thank you, mom.



  • How have you traveled with your mom?
  • Are you a traveling mom passing on the bug to her kids?
  • If you’re a nomad, what’s your mom’s attitude toward your traveling lifestyle?

I’d love to hear your mom tales too.

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