Costa Brava sets the stage for a father-daughter bonding experience.
After experiencing a heavy dose of “FOMO” last year when my aunt and I went on our Yellowstone and Grand Tetons cycling trip, my dad enthusiastically jumped at the chance to join in when the time came around for me to take part in a Trek Travel Spain bike tour in Costa Brava.
I am very close with both of my parents, so I didn’t anticipate that this trip would make my dad and I even closer. However, in the months leading up to the trip, the upcoming vacation did give us new topics to talk about outside of our usual “how was your week” and “what’s new with you” conversations. As my dad trained, he asked me questions about what to expect, I helped him pick out what to pack, and we selected our pre and post trip hotels and activities. The bonding had already begun before we even stepped foot in Spain.
Even though my dad is in great shape from running and biking, he was still concerned about the hills in Europe (as was I!) since we both live in the Midwest in cities that are relatively flat. We made the decision to both use e-bikes, and it turned out to be the best tool. As a slow rider to begin with, the e-bike acted like the perfect equalizer for me to keep up when going uphill. Since I wasn’t as winded as I normally would have been without it, my dad and I were able to continue our conversations for the full rides each day. We talked about how lucky we were to be witnessing the stunning views that were around every turn, laughed at our sweat levels, and thanked each other for coming on the trip in the first place.
Another way we further bonded was through food. My dad is very much a Midwestern meat and potatoes kind of guy (nothing wrong with that!), but on our trip, we both encountered food we normally would avoid. Whether it was pâté or raw cod for my dad or fresh clams and squid for me, we pushed each other to at least try everything. For the most part, we were pleasantly surprised at how delicious our “intimidating” foods were (but just don’t expect us to eat them every day, okay?).
Lastly, our relationship was strengthened through motivating each other. It started on the Mediterranean sailboat cruise on day four of the trip. With an overcast sky and a slight breeze, nobody was initially clamoring to jump in the brisk water for a swim. Taking the lead, I was the first to plunge into the sea for a dip. My dad is not a strong swimmer at all, so initially, he was not going to go in. After lots of prodding from me, along with our Captain Sergio strapping him into a life vest, my dad faced his fears and joined me in the water.
For me, it was being pushed to do the most elevation gain I’ve ever done on a single ride. Our trip’s fifth day includes a stunning coastal ride between S’Agaro and Tossa de Mar. After the ride out, I was ready to hop in the van to get a boost back to our hotel, but my dad said to me, “This is the prettiest ride I’ve ever been on, and I don’t want it to end.” Despite my concerns of overheating (this Midwestern gal is not built to endure high temps), we got back in the saddle, and I’m so glad we did. Even though we were on the same route we came in on, we were now on the same side of the road as the water, and the views were entirely different and even more stunning than they had been in the opposite direction. It was a ride I will never forget.
Travel is all about stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things, experiencing different cultures, and challenging yourself. When you get to also do this with someone you love and create those shared memories, you get to strengthen that bond in an entirely new way. So, take the (literal) leap into the cold Mediterranean. Climb that hill you didn’t think was possible. Eat that questionable cuisine. I guarantee you won’t have any regrets and will get just a little bit closer to your travel partner.
Thanks for the ride, Dad.
Experience Costa Brava