Destination X: How To Travel Fearlessly (And Miss Flights) With Mom

Travel teaches you a lot about people, and about yourself. Want to know if you're compatible with a partner? Travel. And if you want to learn about and from mom or dad? Travel. Or be like Ning, she went on a solo Anywhr trip, and decided she’d bring her mom [who we found out, is just as easy-going, if not more, than her daughter] on another Anywhr trip right after. For Ning and mom [Adelena], their experience trip to Destination X was mother-daughter bonding and more.

Related Article: Destination X: On Ditching Hashtags For Real Experiences

Doing Things Her Way

Sitting around a nondescript coffee table in the cosy pantry of Anywhr's lair, our guests, Ning [@smallstuffbeta on Instagram] and mom [Aunty to us, and for the rest of this article] waited for us to kick things off. "Why smallstuffbeta?" The question was directed at Ning–long dark hair, athletically built, she exudes confidence and speaks with an unmistakable Australian accent. "In rock climbing, 'beta' is a term for advice or tips on how to tackle a particular route or boulder problem, but I have my way of doing things," Ning explained. Whether in climbing or life in general, Ning challenges convention. Something we'd credit to Aunty.

Passing on the adventurous streak

Source: Ning

Source: Ning

Speaking to Aunty, it wasn't too difficult to connect the dots, to understand that because of her, Ning travels the way she does, and lives life with an appetite for variety and taking the roads less travelled. As a student, she fell into the company of the National Cadet Corps and Girl Guides, making the outdoors a big part of her life. Aunty is someone we'd call garang [slang for ‘daring’]. Marrying in the 80s, she soon found herself living in Hong Kong. She had Ning and her siblings, before uprooting and heading Down Under.

Ning was born into travel, adventure and experiencing different cultures. With her dare-to-do spirit, and whether deliberate or not, Ning isn't one to follow the crowd.

Go Anywhr And [Maybe] Travel Back In Time

Back in the day, Aunty grew up on a piece of land by the beach, that's now home to a bustling airport. Standing on black volcanic sand in Destination X, she marvelled at nature's work. "You see how the waves shaped the rocky coastline, and how the sand was black, only because of the volcanic activity." (she smiled, describing the scene for us with enthusiasm). While her childhood home had no volcano, she was taken back to fond memories with her daughter by her side.

Source: Ning

Source: Ning

Related Article: Documenting Your Travels: Why and How You Should Do It

Experiencing Local Cultures And Landscapes

We send Anywhr Travellrs on journeys to experience new cultures, mostly through their interactions and encounters with locals, and sometimes at museums. Throughout their journey, the mother-daughter duo experienced genuine hospitality.

At a tea shop, they were welcomed, taught about and sampled [probably] the finest tea they ever had. And never once were they pressured to buy any of it.

Speaking the local language [even just a little] always helps. From there, you've got a launchpad to delve into the intricacies of a foreign culture. Speaking the local language, Aunty discovered how some words were used differently in Destination X, and how a variety of dialects had come about within the same country. "I speak [insert language] and locals told me how different I sound, and how I use certain words differently... it's so interesting and you learn how diverse the world is," she said enthusiastically.

Source: Ning

Source: Ning

Anywhr Without The Planning

We know Ning is adventurous, or as she puts it, "a calculated risk-taker". She's also a go-getter, if you haven't already gathered, and she takes charge–cue the planning Ning.

"Why did you choose to go Anywhr?" and "What was different about your Anywhr trip compared to your previous trips?" We asked (eagerly), every trip a chance for Anywhr's team to learn and improve. "I wanted to go on a trip without having to plan... When travelling, I take charge. I pick the destination, book flights, accommodation, think about the things to do," Ning said. "I make spreadsheets and drop pins!" (she added shyly).

Related Article: How To Plan A Trip With Friends (Without Actually Planning)

As we speak, she lets us in on how she's not the best when it comes to sh*t hitting the fan. She gets upset, flustered, beats herself up [metaphorically], basically everything your parents tell you not to do. We've all been there.

Learning From Mom

Source: Ning

Source: Ning

On the other hand, Ning's mom, Aunty, while garang, is cool, calm and collected. She speaks with a similar air of confidence but a touch slower. She enunciates her words in a sage-like manner.  She collects her thoughts before speaking. It's a mom thing, it's a parent thing.

"I don't get upset or try to control the things that I can't," (Speaking with that same soothing calmness) something she's trying to impart to her [slightly] more volatile daughter.

"At the end of our trip, I misread the details of our flight home." Exasperated, Ning went on to tell us about how it sent her into a meltdown and how her mom was there to keep her from turning into a smouldering mess at Destination X.

"Take a deep breath..." Aunty said calmly to Ning at Destination X's airport [raise your hand if your parents told you that]. They stared at a row of empty counters and had the unenviable task of booking another flight home. "ALL THE WASTED MONEY!" Ning bemoaned, but with the calm clarity of her mom and the helpfulness of Destination X's airport staff, they got home safely, soundly and with these stories to tell.


An advertising creative by day (and too many nights), I think, write and create for a living. Born in a city but raised wild, I’m a part-time outdoorsman, and when unshackled from my desk – I move.

An advertising creative by day (and too many nights), I think, write and create for a living. Born in a city but raised wild, I’m a part-time outdoorsman, and when unshackled from my desk – I move.