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Mom Won't Travel With Me Anymore



"Summer is coming and I want to travel. I’m a single person and my mother, who is 80, has always traveled with me. We’ve gone to some wonderful places together like Scandinavia, Egypt, China, and more. 

This year, Mom announced that she doesn’t want to take a trip with me, and gave no explanation. When I press for a reason, she just states she doesn’t feel up to it and it’s not up for further discussion.

I would feel horrible to leave her at home, as she’s been my frequent travel companion. I thought that she always liked our trips. At least, she talked that way about our adventures. 

Now I’m left to go alone and leave her behind, or stay at home myself. I’m not looking forward to either choice. Do you think there’s a chance I can convince her to come even though she already said no?"



The quick answer is, possibly. People do change their minds, and it’s possible she will.

More important here is the reason she has suddenly stopped wanting to travel with you. Clearly, something has changed in her life and she’s choosing not to share the issue with you. 

The most common reason for people to stop travelling as they get older is health. Together, let’s explore some possibilities:

  • Are your trips real adventures that are too taxing for her? Are your days action packed, with hiking, walking and other big activities?
  • Are any of her joints bothering her? This is fairly common for the elderly.
  • Has she developed urinary incontinence or a bowel issue and doesn’t know how to travel with it?
  • Does she struggle with international travel? The food, the language, the long flights, the time zone changes, etc.

Then there could be reasons that are not health related to consider:

  • Has money gotten tight, and she doesn’t want to burden you?
  • Has she seen what she wants to, and feels she is done?
  • Does she feel she might hold you back from the kind of trip you want to have?
  • Are their siblings of yours that wish her to spend more time with them?

There could be other reasons, too, but unless she tells you, waiting to find out is your only option.

I recommend you start planning your next trip solo, or with friends. Keep travelling if that’s what you enjoy, and bring back the pictures and stories to share. At this point in your mother’s life, that may be what she wants. That is okay. It sounds like you made wonderful memories together that you can share. Nothing will take the past trips away. So, move forward, and happy travels.   


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