When my mother died, she was planning a trip to Asia.
And a separate trip to Alaska.

Her adventurous, post-retirement trips started with an expedition to Tibet, a place she’d always wanted to visit. She came back with photos of herself in front of temples and with a yak, and a story about how she’d spotted the actor Colin Farrell and asked him what he was doing in Tibet.

She was curious, straightforward and fearless like that.

In her last couple of years, she travelled to Greece, Bulgaria, Egypt, London, Paris, Taiwan, Brazil, Patagonia, and Russia. Being a fan of Elvis, she also went to Graceland and came back with a guitar.

Most of these trips were with what I called her retired ladies posse — a group of retired and semi-retired friends from both coasts who travelled together. My mother, of course, was the ringleader and organiser.

That’s how I imagine her still: Travelling the world, exploring new places. Just without the airport security and hassles we mortals have to endure.


“This is how I want her to be remembered”
Illustration by Mercedes Leon
Commissioned by Charlene Lam in memory of my mother Marilyn