Thank You Mom, For Giving Me The Wings to Fly

“Hey Case, what do you think about going here?” Guacamomma asked little 8-year-old me, as she pointed at a magazine picture of a crystalline blue beach in Jamaica. “That’s real?! I wanna go there!” I said to her, wide-eyed and glimmering with excitement.

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And just like that, two months later our flight took off to Jamaica. I’ll never forget that hour and a half shuttle ride from the Kingston airport to our hotel; I remember passing women walking along the dirt road balancing fruit baskets on their heads, barefoot children playing in front of their straw hut homes, and that water. That magical, turqoise blue water! The sight of that white silky sand, smell of spicy Jerk chicken at the local market, and taste of juicy papaya remain as vivid as ever. Little did Guacamomma know, the travel bug had bitten me hard, and I would never be the same…

That fateful trip to Jamaica was only the beginning.

Since, we’ve hunted down the best Key Lime Pie in Key West. We’ve spent summers in Lake George horseback riding through the mountains. We’ve ditched our family reunions to go deep sea fishing in Key Largo and sniffed out the most authentic Cuban restaurant in Miami’s South Beach. We went into the shadiest parts of Baltimore, Maryland on the mission to find the city’s best crabs, and took spontaneous trips to New England on the prowl for clam chowder. From the magical Disney Cruise to taking over Buenos Aires, Argentina, from road tripping through Andalucia to village hopping through Portugal’s Algarve

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Needless to say, I’ve got a pretty cool mom.

“See it, believe it, achieve it.”

That was my mom’s mantra as I was growing up. From the age of 10, when the only thing I wanted in the world was to get a speaking role in my summer camp’s musical, to getting into my dream college at 18, to traveling the world at 22. Achieving my dream was only as far away as an arm’s reach away, combined with a little hard work and dedication, of course.

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My senior year of college, all of my friends were signing their well-earned work contracts and preparing for the next big transition into their adult lives. After achieving 8 consecutive semesters on the deans list and working a handful of prestigious internships in NYC, my career-driven, extremely business-oriented momma couldn’t have been more proud of me. Everyday, she dreamed up a new job for me, from a NYC radio personality, to a TV host on the Food Network….

And then, I broke the news to her.

“Mom, I don’t want to get a 9-5 job after graduation,” I said to her with nervous butterflies in my stomach. “I found a part time teaching gig in Spain. I’m going to move there and start a travel blog.”

Silence…

“That’s wonderful, kiddo! See it, believe it, achieve it,” she said to me.

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She’s the one who instilled in me the power, independence and lust for life that’s taken me, on my own, all over the world. Did I mention I have the coolest mom?

So, 3 years and 21 countries (and counting) later, to my very first blog reader and loyal follower, my dearest Guacamomma: On this Mother’s Day I just want to say thank you. Thank you for being the endless stream of support, my shoulder to lean on, my adventure partner in crime, my inspiration for following delicious food around the world, and my best friend.  I love you mommy!

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How has your mom influenced your life?

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