Back in October, I had the awesome opportunity to travel with my dad to Amsterdam and Paris. When I got back, people asked (as they often do when you return from a trip) what was the best part. And my honest answer? Travelling with my dad. Not seeing the Eiffel Tower or eating Dutch pancakes (as delicious as those are) – but travelling with my dad.
This trip came up rather spontaneously. It’s not like my dad and I have always talked about travelling anywhere, let alone around Europe, together. But it was always something I had in the back of my mind. Usually when I travel, I think of someone back home and how they would react to what I’m seeing or doing. In my past Europe travels, I would often think of my dad and how we would just marvel at the history, the buildings and the food.
I’ve been lucky enough to have done quite a bit of travelling with my mom – but not enough travelling with my dad. So I was excited just for us to have this time together. I can’t remember the last time we spent a solid five days together just the two of us. Not many people have the opportunity to get one on one time with their parents, especially not as adults who live across a country from one another.
So suffice to say, I was pretty excited about this trip. I was even more excited because I got to be dad’s tour guide on his first trip to Europe. And I would be introducing him to some of my favourite places. Right before our trip, I stumbled upon an old Facebook post from 2014 when I was studying abroad in Amsterdam. My dad had commented on it back then saying that he had got to get himself to Amsterdam. And four years later, it was finally happening!
It was fun being the tour guide and the resident “expert.” I really enjoyed sharing parts of my past travels and memories with my dad during this trip. It was awesome to take him to my favourite pancake house in Amsterdam and show him the route I used to walk to school. Living and studying in Amsterdam was such a huge part of my life and it meant a lot to be able to share that with my dad.
One of the best parts of travelling with my dad was remembering how similar we are. We crack the same kind of jokes; I loved being able to make him laugh. And we bonded really well as travel buddies. We had similar tastes in attractions, food and how long one could reasonably spend at the Louvre before calling it a day. We even seemed to be on the same schedule when it came to coffee breaks (aka an excuse to go inside, get warm and rest our feet).
During our trip, my dad and I were able to have some really great conversations. We talked about everything – work, relationships, food, future trips. One thing I really value in my adult life is the type of conversations my dad and I have. I love being able to learn from him, relate to him and share my opinion. He really values what I have to say and that means so much to me. In this age of social media and small talk, I think it’s so important to have people you can have the deep conversations with. And my dad is definitely one of those people for me.
I was so impressed by how seamlessly my dad fit into the role of a seasoned traveller. He was game to do everything on my itinerary and even lead the charge in finding us some hidden gems – including a delicious Italian restaurant we had dinner at twice! For a guy who hasn’t done too much international travel and who has never been to Europe, he was really impressing me. He didn’t get caught in any of the tourist scams, he didn’t get lost on public transit, and he only got honked at once for standing in the middle of the road to take a photo.
Another thing I really loved was seeing my dad’s reaction to everything. There were the big things, like seeing him take in the detailing on the Notre Dame and the emotional weight of the Anne Frank House. But there were the small things too, like watching him navigate the metro, try out a few words in French or compare the different washrooms in each country (FYI: Iceland was the winner with France coming in a distant third).
If it’s not obvious by now, I had an absolutely amazing time travelling with my dad on his first European adventure. This is going to be a trip I will always remember and absolutely treasure forever. I know not everyone gets the chance to have an experience like this with their dad, so I count myself very lucky.
And I really hope we get to do it again soon! Fingers crossed he’s caught the travel bug and will be able to meet me somewhere else around the world for our next daddy-daughter trip.
(If you want to share these father-daughter selfies all over the internet)