An ode to my mom to celebrate HER this Mother’s Day:

We all have mothers. Although not everyone has a great relationship with theirs, some of us (okay, I)  lucked out and landed one of the most influential ones of all. It’s easy to take our parents for granted as they are and have always just been there, which is why it’s so important to take some time to appreciate them while we have the chance. Today is a great day to appreciate my mom.

Let me tell you a little about her:

My mom isn’t like most moms…she’s a cool mom. & when I say “cool”, I mean adventurous, smart, silly, loving, kind, gentle, a fantastic story teller and when most people meet her, they are, within a few moments, excited to see all these things ring true. You’re gonna love her!

She started an amazing travel company from scratch! Kendi World Adventures takes small groups on tours of Costa Rica and India. She was so determined to show others just how much travel can truly change their lives that she put in the hard work to make her dream come true. And now she shows people from all over the world that travel CAN be attainable for them! Her kind nature ‘holds hands’ as much as people need to be able to build their confidence to explore the globe! Her soul truly desires to live life to its fullest and help others do the same. 

She wrote a travel memoir! No Return Ticket is so incredibly well written that it will have you laughing with joy and sadness. This book is her perspective of the 2-year-long backpacking journey that she took (bringing me & my dad along for the ride) and she is able to describe the moments so well that the reader feels transported to that time and place. After she strips away  the shy initial greeting, she is an amazing story teller to her core. I really admire that about her. 

She (along with my dad), transformed a short school-bus into a beautiful home on wheels & is planning to drive it from Alaska to Argentina along the Pan-American Highway! (I told you, she’s a freaking cool mom!) They spent countless hours doing physical and mental labor to make this dream a reality & now they are living it! I am so proud of her dedication and drive!

Those are a few of the big ones, but here are some parts of her that not everyone may know:

Her ability to make anyplace she goes feel like home is impeccable. She has shown me that it’s okay to feel comfortable, even outside of your comfort zone. That I can mold my environment to be a place I want to be. 

Her love of cooking has taught me to look through all the options to find a way to express myself.

Organized. She is amazingly organized. (#goals)

The way she loves my dad, showed me what a healthy relationship should be. Those two give me some pretty high standards. 

Her silliness is something I love most about her. (Thanks mom, for teaching me to not always take myself so seriously)

Her hammock game is ON POINT. She shows me every time we travel that there is no wrong place to hang a hammock. That it’s okay to take a day to relax, even if you’re in a foreign place. And the importance of stillness.

She faces her fears like a boss. The strength it takes to not only face your fears, but to smash straight into them and do the thing anyway is incredible and my mom does this on nearly every adventure she takes! 

The way she interacts with nature is admirable. Her gentle spirit loves on every animal she sees and appreciates every plant. 

So this year, for Mother’s Day, I chose to take a minute to appreciate my mother. 

Thank you Mong, for teaching me all of these incredible life lessons (also that it’s okay to be both “fancy” and “gang-sta”). Thank you for being someone I can look up to when it comes time to listen to my gut, follow my dreams, and grow through life’s experiences. Thank you for being a person I can come to when I have any question (at all), when I need advice on writing or travel, or life in general. Thank you for helping to give me the travel bug! I love you and can’t wait to see what adventures we will get up to!

  ❤ Raya

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