One Parent Families
My daughter interrupted my travels and since her birth I have been plotting ways to escape and head back overseas. As she has just turned 3 and is now quite capable of carrying her own pack (lol, kidding!), it seems like the time has come for us to hit the road.
After many, many hours online it looks like teaching English is going to be the best way for us to do this, and I have started a blog An Turas - the Journey, although we've not yet left the ground!
I'm a single parent of a 3-year-old boy. I made the unfortunate mistake of reading, back to back, Eat Pray Love and The 4 Hour Work Week, after being divorced, laid off, and starting my own business. Now I've decided to travel. I've always craved cultural immersion. Now I get to introduce my son to it.
We just returned to our "home base" for a week after trying my first domestic trip with the kidlet. Next up: Brazil, for five weeks, where we are staying with a family friend.
Sometimes I think, "Good lord! What am I DOING?!" and other times I think, "Hey, at least he is potty trained."
I'm in the US and would love to find a way to travel around the world for the coming year. My biggest hang up is affordability - I choke when I add up the cost of the hotels night after night. The reason I originally came to BnA was to learn about family hostels. I don't savor the idea of bunking next to drunk 19-year-olds.
Maybe the three of us could host each other for a few months in our own countries. Look, we've got Scotland, Australia, and the US. No need to learn a new language.
Hosting is not a bad concept - I know there are a couple of websites for single parent travellers (more focussed on holiday travel rather than the live/work abroad) but I haven't come across anything on hosting.
The cost of travelling alone with a child is pretty scary. For a start you only have one income when you are trying to save/budget. Then you get hit up with the dreaded "single supplement".
I got pregnant whilst I was a 'backpacker' so have never really progressed to hotels. If I were travelling through Europe I would stay in hostels no question. They are cheaper, many are now opening up to the idea of family stays and in the UK (but not all of Europe as I discovered!) many have self-catering kitchens which cuts down on travel costs.
Scotland hostels are great. You can buy a YHA/HI membership card for around 6 quid (the cheapest in Europe, I think) and there is also an independent hostel association with some lovely hostels. IMO the Scottish YHA are going full tilt towards being 'family hostels', with family rooms, package travel deals etc.
I found hostels in the US were not as clean and/or atmospheric/interesting as those in the UK and Europe. Some were pretty scary and in my experience budget travel is better in Europe than the States. I didn't spend a lot of time in the US though so could be wrong.
Fiji is another great place for families, and many people have commented that Asia works well when you are on a budget because the currency rates are fairly favourable for ppl from Western nations.
We should keep in touch anyway - be good to have a wee single parent network and if we end up in the same parts of the world, or even have a hankering to travel to similar places, we can meet up/travel together and beat that single supplement!
I'm planning a long trip, maybe 10-11months, with my two kids, who will be 8 and 5. We're thinking of leaving in November or Decmeber. Where will you all be?
A couple of ides:
I've been looking at CouchSurfing.com, which seems like a great idea with kids. They have a family travel section, so they like hosts who prefer families (kid meltdowns would be expected, not a shock) and a few were single moms looking for other single moms to visit.
ANother idea is (maybe?) Workaday.org, although I may not have that one just right. I saw it on another thread on this board, under WWOOFing. The site lists hundreds of opportunities to work five hours or fewer a day, 5 days a week or fewer, in exchange for lodging. Some would not be suitable for families, but quite a few seemed more like lonely older couples who needed a little gardening or dog walking. It's worth checking out.
We will be in South America from July 23 to October 15, Peru and Argentina. We will be volunteering at an orphanage in Peru for 1 month and I used volunteerhq.com and they have been so helpful and reasonable in their fees. I couldnt believe some of these websites charging over $1000 for one week of volunteering.
We will then go to Las Vegas to meet my family as my dad is turning 70 in October. We will then head out to NZ and Australia in November, then off to Chiang Rai to volunteer again for 2 weeks and travel around Cambodia and Vietnam. The beginning of January, we will hit India for 3 or 4 weeks, where will will again volunteer.
Then its off to Dubai (Im trying to get some of my friends who work at Atlantis in Nassau to get me into Atlantis the Palms), Oman and Yemen. We will be living in Yemen for 2 months as I have always wanted to learn arabic and its soooo cheap, we will spend $600 for an apartment for 2 months.
Then we will go to S. Africa for safari and meet up with some old friends.
Finally we end up in Cairo and will overland to Istanbul from May to August.
If any of you will be in those places, let me know. Would love to meet up with other families travelling too!
A quick hint: I traveled with both a stroller and a car seat. The skycaps told me that if I checked it in right away, the airline would charge me for the car seat, however if I checked it at the gate, no charge. LOL - I schlepped it all the way to the gate on the way there. On the way back, I let them charge me. A car seat, a carry-on, and a one-year-old in a stroller were simply way too much.
However, I also found out in Houston that they are very happy to take moms with kids and accessories on the little trolleys that carry the older people to their gates.
I'm hoping to take her to France next year!
- finish assignments (2... )
- pack/sell/ditch STUFF (oh god why is there SO much???)
- do tax return (every little helps...)
- sell car (may have family member keen to take it off my hands)
- get letter from M's dad giving 'permission' for us to travel (
- buy pack
- buy camera/video thingy (okay, have to actually make a decision on that first)
- get flights...
Wow, not much lol! At least the possibility is now there. As we have rented house and not sold it means I have to consider Plan B - travel to a place where I can work (teaching) to start with rather than blowing all the savings at once (in case tenant doesn't work out...)
house still on market so roll on the buyers I say...RTW travel lost more fun with money!!
We have travelled for 14 months starting in Turkey then overland through the Middle East before flying from Amman to Bangkok. We spent seven months in S.E. Asia then 2.5 months in the USA. Now we are spending some time living in Mexico, renting a room month by month and plan to spend at least a month in each place which works out a lot cheaper than even two beds in a dorm in a hostel and we have the comfort and familiarity for my daughter of living in a home environment.
We have couchsurfed a lot and found it to be a wonderful community of friendly and helpful people. It was also nice when we stayed with families as my daughter had ready playmates.
Ours is an open ended trip, we sold and gave up everything in England and are in this for the long haul. We are both loving it but of course if my daughter should ever start to feel differently then we would return home. Although she enjoyed Israel so much she has been asking to move there should we settle. That was before we came to Mexico, now she says she never wants to leave Mexico City!
There have been times when it has been tough. Fourteen months together, sharing a room, being together 24/7 but we are closer than we already were and we have great shared memories and experiences. My daughters' confidence has come on leaps and bounds and she can hold her own in any company and situation, there have been times when I have been in awe of her when she has stayed calm and cool headed in a crisis, thankfully, there haven't been that many.
She now is in the process of setting up her own website because she wants to share what she has done with other children. I am building it but she is putting together all the content.
Her website is not ready to be published yet, but now we have regular internet access I am writing about how we planned it, how it has worked out and all the trials, tribulations and all things we have done at http://www.nomadicmother.com if you want to get an idea of what it has been like.
Enjoy your travels, they will be some of the most amazing things you have done!
I would totally recommend that you do it, rather than thinking about it, because otherwise, before you know it, the chance will have gone for good.
You can follow what we get up to at my blog - Travels with a Nine Year Old (http://www.travelswithanineyearold.com) - which, I hope, is pretty unvarnished and honest.
He's taken the initiative and started his own as well (I stay well out of it, so it's very much his take on things): you can read his at http://9yearold.wordpress.com.
So far, we have encountered no hassles. A degree of surprise at the absence of a husband and the small size of our family, but we have been welcomed everywhere we go, and are getting on, in fact, infinitely better than I'd expected.
@Nomadic Mother, I love your blog. Have you stopped travelling? Stopped blogging? Or just found something else to do?
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