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How Traveling Has Made This Mother-Daughter Duo More Like Best Friends

By Rachel George

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The first trip Kea Westmoreland took with her mother Valerie was to St. Louis, Missouri in 1991. Only at the time, Kea was in the womb kicking and pushing on her mom’s belly.

Valerie was excited to have a little girl to bond with and share the same nurturing experience with her daughter, as her mom did with her.

Now Kea calls her mom her bestie and she wouldn’t trade it for the world. Since she was young, Kea has traveled with her mom in and outside of the United States. Little Kea was on a flight to Cancun, Mexico with her mom and grandmother to celebrate her grandmother’s 58th birthday at just two-years-old. She was young and can’t recall much other than the loud sound of the waves at the ocean, reminiscent of a waterfall, which she is still afraid of today.

Valerie may not have won her daughter over with the waves, but she definitely ignited a traveling spark in her as well as a bonding experience the two would share for the rest of their lives.

After graduating from college in her home state of Tennessee, Kea moved to Georgia to embark on new career opportunities and her mom wasn’t far behind.

“I am an only child and so is she. We have a very close relationship and so when I moved here in 2013, she would come down to visit at least every other month. After a while, the idea of her moving down here came to fruition and I was all for it!” Kea explained.


Monthly visits turned into Kea and her mom being permanent residents in a new state, another bonding experience for both of them.

Even though they live less than thirty minutes from each other, the duo still looks forward to their annual mother-daughter trips, checking off more destinations on their travel bucket list. Resourceful planning and research are in full effect, complete with a full itinerary.

“Traveling with my daughter has been awesome. We’ve bonded and grown closer, she’s like my little sister/best friend,” her mother Valerie described.

Over time, they’ve continued to nurture their relationship through bonding over being only children, shared memories and receiving endless amounts of advice suitable for everyday life.

“’Handle your business’ that’s what my mom always says. So when I’m complaining or talking about a situation and I know what actions I need to follow through with she’ll say that one line,” Kea explained.

Even till this day, Kea consults with her best friend about everything down to her fashion styles.

“She’ll be honest and tell me if I look like an old lady or if it doesn’t look right or point out something I never noticed,” Kea said.

Photo Courtesy of Kea Westmoreland

In October, Kea and her mom took a special tour of Italy; it was mom’s first time in Europe and her longest flight ever. Together they toured the Colosseum, drank a good share of wine, and ate tons of gelato and Italian pasta. They also enjoyed the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world, housing Michaelangelo’s famous Pieta masterpiece, his only signed piece of work.

“This was the best trip I’ve had with my daughter,” Valerie shared on social media. “Day trips to Florence and Venice, Today we toured the Vatican museum, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica (which is the largest church building in the world and houses one of Michelangelo’s most famous masterpieces Pietà) and boat cruises under the famous Rialto Bridge, the ultimate #motherdaughtertrip.

“I think traveling together has made us closer, being able to bond over the experiences and memories we’ve made in other places. You learn so much about a person when you travel with them, so with her I know what to expect and she knows what to expect with me,” Kea says.

The mother-daughter duo is currently planning their next vacation on the largest ship in the world.

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