For some mums, parenting means routine, baby books, classes, and pressing pause on many of your own life plans. For others, it means continuing your adventure as you always wanted to but with an extra little person in tow. The idea of baby gap years, world-schooling, and backpacking with baby are taking off. An increasing number of parents are choosing to send their kids to the school of life, travelling the world side-by-side as an alternate form of education, allowing different countries and cultures to teach them geography, history, economics, language, literature, sociology and mythology, among others. Here are a few mothers who have made their adventures a shared their travelling experiences with their children, and let nothing hold them back on their journey of exploration.
Travel Mad Mum
Karen Edwards – travelmadmum.com
Karen Edwards, along with daughter Esmé and another bun in the oven, started her travelling journey while on maternity leave. When she found out she was pregnant, Karen wanted to utilise her time off with partner Shaun, and make the most of their family time together. Both keen backpackers, she recalls her family thinking they were completely nuts after telling them they were taking baby Esmé with them once she arrived. But the couple were determined. Having it all planned out, they used Karen’s maternity pay, savings and advance bookings to save on their trip.
Little Esmé arrived, and when she was just ten weeks old they began their journey. At twelve weeks they went to Singapore.Since then they have been to Vietnam, Malaysia, Bermuda, Bali, Australia, and South Africa as a family. Currently, their daughter has been to twenty-plus countries, and much of these adventures involved backpacking.
Karen has documented their travels on her website, unarguably proud that they have given their daughter an interesting start to her life. The overall aim is to inspire like-minded, travel loving parents. As Karen herself states, ‘your travel days do not have to be over. It is all about incorporating your little person into your way of life’.
Lainie and Miro, mother-and-son world travellers – www.raisingmiro.com
What was originally intended to be a one year trip has turned into eight adventuresome years on the road for this mother-son duo. Lainie, a single parent since her son was first born, has fully embraced the idea of having the world teach her 17 year old son. They live a possession-free lifestyle, volunteering and learning naturally as they slow travel around the world, with a current total of 25 countries visited.
In mi-2009 they set out on a one year trip, intending on travelling from the United States to Argentina over the course of that year. They firmly believed they would be returning to their normal life after the year was up, and only began their blog to capture and share the memories of their travels with family and friends. Towards the end of that year they jointly decided to continue their lives on the road, learning more about humanity,culture and sociology than they could from any classroom. By their seventh year they still hadn’t reached Argentina, deciding their path as they went.
Single Mum Travels
Tina-Louise – singlemumtravels.com
“If we can do it, so can you!”
This is, quite fittingly, Tina-Louise’s motto heading up her web page. A proud single mother from London, Tina-Louise travels the world with her son. So far they have visited destinations such as Paris, Petra, Indonesia, Russia and Poland, and are still going strong today.
In the last few years Tina has created an inspiring website to encourage solo-parent travels, packed with travelling advice, inspiration, and chronicles from their own travels. Includes practical, invaluable advice such as using child trackers to install peace of mind, adjusting your kid’s routines and travelling light with your little ones.
Most inspirationally, she stresses how much of an achievement even the smallest trip is as a single parent. Tina-Louise instils a sense of bravery into her website – empowering mothers to dive in and take that trip they’ve always dreamed of, and share those experiences with your precious little one too. One of her most interesting articles details a great place to start for anxious travellers – single parents and kids retreats, destinations that specifically cater for the single parent. As the article puts it, “open up your eyes to a whole new world that makes you feel like you’re not alone in this, even though, at times, it might seem so. You will get to see new and exciting locations, meet like-minded people, bond with your child, relax, have fun and also learn new things. What can be more appealing than that?”
Tina-Louise sends this powerful message to single mums, “for all the single parents out there, you got this, you can do it, trust me, it’s what I’m trying to show you!”
So whether you desire a weekend trip, backpacking abroad or a sunny beach holiday, Tina has great advice for parent travellers, and the most important of all is just to get out there and make some memories. Don’t let fear hold you back!
Written by Kelly Barrett