You think you know parenting? You know the struggles of waking up early, dealing with tantrums, and ensuring your children’s needs are met each and every day? Try on the crazy struggles of single parent travel.

You’ll be glad you’re not doing it.

1. There is no such thing as “sleeping in.”

Oh, it’s Saturday and you want to sleep in until 10?

Too bad, you have a child who wakes up with the sunshine, is massively hungry, and won’t stop bouncing on your bed.

Here’s a video of how little space you can have while traveling with your kids:

Thought it was fun to stay up late with a few beers and binge watch Stranger Things?

Big mistake.

Sure, Stranger Things is pretty awesome, but now you’re dehydrated, exhausted, and a child just cannon-balled your chest cavity.

2. You have to trust, a lot.

When you grow up hearing the phrase, ‘don’t talk to strangers,’ that really does something awful to your ability to trust people.

And when you’re traveling as a single parent, you have to trust.

single parent travel blog
When I trusted that Auburn could learn from people all over the world, she started showing her true colors.

You have to trust strangers that don’t speak your language around your children.

You have to trust the world to bring you good luck.

And most importantly, you have to trust yourself to be able to respond to any emergency in an effective way.

You have your   children’s lives depending on that.

3. Sometimes people look down on you.

“You need to do what’s right for your child.”

“Your child needs something more stable.”

“Aren’t you worried about your child?”

I am.

That’s your opinion.

And, yeah, single parents who travel are not monsters.

difficulties of single parent travel
Maybe Auburn’s not so sure about that. 😛

People have a weird idea of who you are and what you do.

Single parents dragging their children from one country to another sounds antithetical to everything they’ve been taught, and they will judge you for it.

Are they wrong? Yes.

Does it suck? Also, yes.

4. It’s exponentially more expensive to travel with children than solo.

So many living the life of travel are budget travelers.

They take the cheapest long-distance routes.

They eat only the cheapest food.

And they don’t spend money on big attractions.

I’m on board with those ideas.

But I also have a child.

That means double the airplane tickets, double the dinner plates, and the occasional trip to Disneyland.

With these extra costs, mingling with the budget travelers and their buckets of change can feel disingenuous.

difficulties of traveling
Budget travelers these days.

They’re my people, but family life appears more expensive (it is), and my people probably think I’m rich (I’m not). 

Also, I’m pretty awkward with peers and I’m a super weird dad so maybe the money has nothing to do with it?

5. There’s so much to carry through airports.

When you’re by yourself, you can easily carry your bags in the airport by rolling your check-in luggage and throwing your carry-on over your shoulder.

Single parents roll multiple check-in bags, a carry-on over each shoulder, and a snack bag to keep the kids happy during the most testing moments of the transition.

I can’t tell you how many single parents have been crushed and killed in airports by the luggage they have to carry.

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Mine and Auburn’s packing list.

There aren’t any stats for that kind of tragedy.

6. So many documents, single parent travelers need a PA.

If you’re not crushed by your luggage, you have to pull out a rolodex of passports and a briefcase of legal documents proving you’re able to travel as a single parent.

Solo travelers have one easy passport to carry, they don’t face this existential crisis at immigration checkpoints.

7. Transition periods are hard, later on.

Transition periods from one place to another aren’t the hardest part of the transition, despite the aforementioned difficulties.

The most difficult part of the transition is the emotional aftershock it has on children.

They can be super happy to travel, excited all the way through!

Then, like my daughter did, immediately begin crying for their grandma as soon as the plane lifts off the tarmac.

Then there’s the sleep and time adjustment to a new time zone.

You’ll be exhausted, your children will be wide awake.

After the initial shocks, the secondary shocks set in: homesickness, difficulty falling or staying asleep for a week or so, separation anxiety, the list goes on.

Transition periods are hard not just during the transition period, but for days or weeks after.

8. Reverting to co-sleeping.

When you’re trying to overcome all these stressors, you might think it’s a good idea to get your rest, ensure that you’re able to function during the day.

To do that, you let your 4-year-old crawl into bed with you, and they fall asleep quickly and stay asleep all night.

Sometimes they sleep like this.

via GIPHY

 

But, you made the right choice, right?

Wrong.

You’re back to where you were in the past, when your child was dependent on you for their sleep.

It can be tough to let them struggle through the adjustment of a new place, and it’s something that many single parent travelers stumble over before they overcome it.

9. LTR Dating is impossible.

Speaking of stumbling and sleeping alone: dating!

Finding someone who is compatible to fit your travel lifestyle with your child isn’t great.

Sure, you can hop on Tinder and be unliked as soon as someone reads your profile and notices you’re a single parent, but why not expedite that rejection and just try to meet someone face to face?

How my pickup lines are generally taken:

via GIPHY

It’s probably the best way to meet anyone: in the grocery store, at the ice cream shop, at the park.

Actually, if you’re looking for a long-term relationship, you probably aren’t a single parent traveler.

10. Your children can speak languages you can’t.

If you’re discontent with your lonely life as a single parent abroad, prepare to feel even more isolated.

Your children have new friends, and they’re talking in a language you can’t understand.

Are they giggling about the boy they like, or planning to shaving-cream my face when I take a nap?

single parent blog
Auburn with her Chinese family. She wasn’t really speaking much Chinese at this time, but she sure does now! To see for yourself, follow us on IG: TheSingleDadNomad

How’s one to know unless one takes that nap?

11. You. Move. Very. Slowly. Everywhere.

Speaking of napping: children walking.

My god, I’ve never seen something move so slowly, and I tried to watch grass grow as a child.

difficulties of single parent travel
Here’s a picture of Auburn when she’s walking. For real, I didn’t think I’d ever get to use this photo in my blog, this is best chance I’m gonna get so here it is.

You can’t. But it grows faster than children walk.

Attention children everywhere: ya’ll need to hit the gym.

12. There is no nightlife.

If I hit the gym and expand my chest to look like Arnold, who cares?

I can never flaunt it at the club.

Nightlife is nighttime for single parents who travel.

There is sleeping, some Youtube, maybe some starlit yoga.

single dad blog
Well, she doesn’t like yoga.

Outside of that, it’d be irresponsible of you to go to the bar when your children are sleeping.

Unless you can effectively drink a martini while watching your baby monitor, of course.

13. Your children won’t remember these awesome times traveling, what a waste!

Young kids these days, I tell ya. They just don’t remember the good stuff.

Small children generally don’t retain their memories.

traveling with children
She probably won’t remember bonding with this adorable Vietnamese child a few years ago. That’s okay.

That means my daughter won’t remember looking over the edge of Niagara Falls or playing in the waves in Colombia.

But then again, hopefully, she doesn’t remember  the time she fell into a hot spring in Thailand.

14. Picky eaters become even pickier when traveling.

Kids can be picky eaters.

It’s our fault as parents, we know.

Blah, blah, blah.

single parent travel with pizza
Yes! Yes! Yes!

Here’s what I know: when kids are being picky and they don’t have their favorite restaurant to soothe their grumpy bellies, shit gets real.

But what am I supposed to do? Not encourage my daughter to eat pizza with me?

That’s a disgusting idea.

15. You can’t ride all the roller coaster rides.

Kids hold us back in so many ways.

There’s no love life, no nightlife, and worst of all, you can’t ride the best rides.

Here was our trip to Ocean Park for her 5th birthday!

 

Luckily, when my daughter and I went to Disneyland in Hong Kong, she was just big enough to ride most of the cool rides.

Though I’m surprised her tiny body survived the jarring Star Wars Experience and the Tony Stark 3-D ride.


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Have you ever asked yourself the question, “should I move to Thailand?”

If you have, you’re in the same position I was in a few years ago. I wanted to quit the American rat race to find a better way to live. I felt stuck. Until I found salvation by asking myself one question, “should I move to Thailand?

Moving to Thailand isn’t going to solve your problems in life, but it is a way to live an inexpensive, healthy, and pleasant lifestyle.

So, if you’re considering moving to Thailand, here are my top 9 reasons you should!

1. Moving To Thailand Is Cheap!

should i move to thailand?
Big city life in Thailand. It’s different, but as the Thai people will tell you, it’s ‘same same.’

When you first get there (you’ll likely land in Bangkok), you’ll see that life isn’t that much different than living in a big city in a Western culture.

There are skyscrapers, noisy streets, and well-maintained roads.

But, you can go out at night with $10 in your pocket, eat a buffet of different street foods, consume colorful drinks, and meet people from all over the world, without running out of money!

Though Thailand has its own style and is not identical to Western comforts. The housing, dining, healthcare, and transportation are all substantially less expensive than what you’ll find in the West.

2. The Food Is Healthy

If you’re not a fan of noodles and rice, you might not enjoy the majority of the cuisine.

But don’t miss the spicy salads, grilled arthropods, and fresh fruit stands all over the place.

Interestingly, while there are popular traditional Thai dishes, each restaurant will offer what they call “same-same, but different.” It’s a common saying that means everyone makes pad thai, but everyone makes it a little bit different, for example. 

moving to thailand
Seafood pad thai

Did I mention it’s super cheap? 

3. You’ll Feel at Home

Spend more than a few weeks in one place and you’ll be recognized by locals who will appreciate you using phrases like sawatdee and khop-khun-kha (hello and thank you).

They’ll wave to you, smile at you, and if you purchase from their food stalls often enough (or have an adorable child like I do), they’ll give you free food with whatever you order (be grateful for this, but don’t expect it, obviously)! 

moving to Thailand with children
Locals love Auburn

We just returned to the island we love the most for the first time in 1.5 years. Within the first week, several locals have stopped us and told us they remember us, luckily, I’ve remembered (most of) them also!

4. The Weather is Exceptional

Yes, there is a rainy season that drops ungodly amounts of rain on you at certain times, but for most of the year, you’ll be looking at blue skies with (sometimes scorching) sunny days.  

 

via GIPHY

5. You’ll Learn to Defend Yourself

should i move to thailand
Muay Thai in the river, even the children are obsessed with the sport!

Ever heard of Muay Thai? It’s like boxing except their allowed to kick and use elbows.

It’s a brutal sport, but it’s a great method of self-defense to learn in Thailand.

Bonus: some schools will help you get extended, year-long ‘education visas’ just for studying Muay Thai.

And, you don’t have to be kicked in the head to learn how to kick someone else in the head. Awesome!

6. Life is Better, Down Where It’s Wetter, Under the Sea

Yes, that’s another Disney reference (that’s what you get when you read this single parent travel blog!).

Redundancy aside, Thailand is home to some of the best scuba diving in the world, and it’s one of the top places to learn on a budget.

The video below shows my daughter’s first time snorkeling in the open water!

I’m currently living on Koh Tao, and even though I get seasick and don’t enjoy scuba diving that much, I can’t deny the underwater beauty here.

That’s why I live on an island for divers where I don’t dive; I LOVE to snorkel here! 

7. You’ll Get Unique Insight into Gender Roles

move to thailand with kids
Some cultures have up to 5 described genders. That certainly changes the debate.

What you’ll see in Thailand is that there are men, women, and everyone in between, and many times, you can’t tell the difference. 

The term ‘ladyboys’ is thrown a lot here, and I’ve met and seen many people who don’t fall into traditional gender norms the way the West sees them.

The image above is pretty obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at cashiers in 7-11 and not been able to decipher their gender for absolute certain. 

8. You’ll Meet Insanely Industrious People

Have a problem you think you can’t solve? Thai people can solve it.

You can’t own a tiny motorbike with a family of 5? Thai people can show you how everyone easily fits and rides comfortably. 

should i move to thailand
This has her restaurant attached to her motorcycle. Pretty common sight in Thailand.

Do you have a small business idea? Thai people are already doing it. What’s more, they’re doing it with half the resources you grew up with. 

9. You’ll Be Safe Even When You’re in Danger

There are many expats that have moved to Thailand for a variety of reasons.

What you’ll find special about Thailand, however, is that the best hospitals, doctors, and dentists are all top-notch.

In fact, many expats that live in the neighboring Southeast Asia countries will fly to Bangkok to get serious medical care. Thailand’s health care system is held in high regards. So no need to worry about moving here with your children.


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Teaching Math and English in Hong Kong. It was my first ‘real job’ out of college, and I burned out in a few years. 

Can Single Parents Teach Abroad?

For a year, I taught (mostly) pleasant students, and dealt with amicable parents.

My next teaching job started a few months later, and it wasn’t the best.

I won’t complain about the conditions but I’ll just say I didn’t last long.

I taught for one month in Colombia before I decided that it wasn’t the right place for me.

can single parents teach abroad
It’s all for this little face right here! My prime motivator 😀

My next teaching job came a few months after that as a Writing Consultant for a community college.

My position made me the first point-of-contact for international students, and I taught them how to read and write at the university level.  

Overall, my teaching career was nothing to complain about.

It had its good parts and its bad parts like any job, but I don’t regret teaching for a few years, even though I burned out.

Teaching is a great way to get started traveling and living a life as a digital nomad.

It didn’t matter how pleasant or intellectual the students were, I just couldn’t teach anymore.

It wasn’t that I didn’t find satisfaction in seeing people grow in their education and working with students who were excited to learn, I did very much.

I just hated doing it on-the-clock, because the clock ate up the time I should be spending with my daughter. 

For the record, even the income from my community college teaching job left me working a second job: umpiring high school sports.

And that would keep me through the evening and early into the night. 

My number one goal is to spend as much time with my daughter as I can before she grows up and moves out from under my wing. 

single parent travel blog
More times like these, please.

So, I can’t work for a clock; I work for my time. 

A Man Not Made for the ‘Job’

There’s only been one job that I truly enjoyed doing on-the-clock, and that was working as a counselor at a summer camp in upstate New York.

Unfortunately, that job doesn’t exist year round and I’m too old too experienced for it these days. 

Other than that, I’ve always felt like the clock and necktie lifestyle just doesn’t work for me.

Sure, we all gotta do it.

Unless we design our own lifestyle. 

I went from tired teacher to trudging writer. 

single dad travel make money
A few of the journals where you can find my work.

Writing for a Living; A Single Parent Lifestyle that Works for Me

I like what I do now, it’s taken me two years of freelance writing to get to a point where I still worry about my writing prospects, but I also have the experience of succeeding through that worry.

2 years ago, I set a 10-year goal for myself to make writing a sustainable, full-time career.

I started by ghostwriting heaps of content, around 150 articles, before I got my first byline. 

 

single dad blog
Could definitely go for more of this.

Now, I’ve had a book published, poetry featured in several major magazines, gotten around 50 paid bylines, and have been quoted in Reader’s Digest and South China Morning Post 

I’m feeling more confident today than I was two years ago, and that’s a good feeling.

Not because it’s confidence, but because it’s confidence built off of a long-term dedication to hard work and slogging through the mud.

It’s taken me a long time to finally feel that reward system fire.

It took a commitment.

single dad travel blog
This is what I really committed to.

That’s what I did two years ago, and I’ve been grinding for 24 months.

With my 50th byline, I feel like I’ve taken my first step out of the mud and onto hard land, and now, drenched in the muck of progress, I need to shake it off and start climbing the mountain.


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When we got to Asia one year ago, I was committed to spending at least a year here so Auburn could learn her grandparent’s language. This wasn’t an easy choice; growing up in the countryside of Michigan, I learned to love the fresh air, the space, and the sounds of nature. Hong Kong has nothing of the sort (in most parts, at least). 

Moving to Asia with Children

As an asthmatic, I’m not a big fan of living in cities anyway, but one year was enough time for me.

move to asia with children
Hong Kong in the distance.

Now, I need to live in the fresh air again for a while.

My lungs and throat got sick 4 or 5 times over the past year and usually, I don’t get really sick like that more than once, maybe twice in a year. 

So, off to Thailand, to a  place we’ve lived twice before! 

To be honest, we weren’t planning on coming to Thailand this time.

single parent blog
A previous visit to this island.

We were planning on moving to Cambodia for the school year to try something new.

However, I overlooked a significant detail: Auburn’s passport expires before the end of the visa I would get in Cambodia, so they wouldn’t grant her a visa if we were to try. 

Thankfully, I noticed this before we made concrete plans to move to Cambodia to get the fresh air we needed.

single dad blog

My child and I decided we would return to a place we know and could practice something she’s been learning to love recently: swimming. 

For these Few Months in Thailand with my Child

After a few breakthroughs in the pool in Hong Kong, the island we live on now is a good step up from that.

There are plenty of pools to use, but the immediate access to the sea and coral reefs is going to be a good way to teach her to snorkel. 

We’ve practiced a few times this week already, and hopefully we can find some good weather to give it a go this weekend in the open blue!

I’ll catch some video for you if we do so you can see her first snorkeling experience in the ocean!

After Our Thai Visas Expire, Where Will We Go?

I’ll be getting a few documents in the mail soon that will allow me to apply for my daughter’s new passport.

We are going back to Hong Kong to do this because we can visit her family again, and I like the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong, it’s very efficient. 

That shouldn’t take more than a month to get the new passport in hand.

Once we have it, we will be moving to Cambodia at that time–our original plan!

Now that the final piece will be in place–the passport–we can then get to Cambodia and spend a year in the countryside where we can kayak, play basketball, swim, fish, and breathe fresh air. 

We’re both looking forward to it, but that will be later this year, of course.

single dad travel blog
We can get here in 30 minutes pretty easy. Top-notch snorkeling.

For now, we’re in Thailand and I’m excited to teach Auburn how to snorkel and freedive! 


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The gymnasium has already been swept up after Pre-K graduation. The teachers are breathing a sigh of relaxation. And I’m reflecting on this last year  living in Hong Kong  as a single parent. 

There’s much to reflect about in terms of my personal growth, business development, and physical fitness and health. But, since this is a single dad blog, I will focus this post on how my little family changed over this past year. 

living in hong kong
Being a single dad isn’t so bad!

My Relationship With My Daughter Improved

Before we came to Hong Kong, she was struggling with sleeping a full night’s sleep. As a single dad, I was dealing with this by myself and it was really wearing me down. 

My muscle tone was depleted, I was always tired, and as a result of my poor physique and tired mind and body, I was short with my daughter when she was whiny or in tantrum mode (which happens often enough that I was feeling like a pretty crappy parent at times). 

Now, one of the first things you might notice if you ever move to Hong Kong, is that your living environment is probably going to be much smaller than what you’re used to if you’re coming from the United States like me.  Like 1000 times smaller. 

If you know me, however, you know I don’t mind living in a small place 

And this time, I’ve found that it helped improve my relationship with my daughter.

Our small room in Hong Kong keeps us physically close, but we’ve also grown closer emotionally as she’s had the freedom to wake up in the middle of the night and sneak into my bed without waking me up.

No creaking doors, no squeaky floors, she just shimmies to the foot of her own bed, one-steps the gap to my bed, and crawls up next to me (or so I assume!). 

single parent travel blog
Auburn sleeping peacefully. With her underwear on her head! 😛

Sometimes she wakes me up by accident, but even so, single parent travel has been awesome with my daughter.

Since I’m physically close to her all the time, I’m also more keenly aware of her emotional state. I’ve been preventing tantrums as a result of seeing their onset early on and guiding her away from them. 

If you’re used to living in a big home and having lots of space to separate yourself from people, you might be surprised–like I am–to find that living in a small place can vastly improve the relationships in your life. 

single parent travel tips and ideas
Auburn in her scouts uniform in Hong Kong. They are known as Happy Bee 🙂

My Daughter Speaks a Language I Don’t Understand

Yup, you read that right. I have a 5-year-old who not only speaks a language I don’t understand, she also makes fun of me for not speaking it!

She’s just kidding with me, of course, and I love that she is speaking Cantonese! 

Seeing her speak with her Chinese grandma and grandpa–in their language–fills my heart, and I’m so proud of her for wildly exceeding my expectations in her language development. 

raising children in hong kong
Auburn and her Chinese grandma, grandpa, and half-brother

Living in Hong Kong Has Made Us HUNGRY For More 

Auburn and I have lived in Colombia, Thailand, Vietnam, USA, and of course we’ve spent time living in Hong Kong. Each place has given us a new perspective on life and encourages us to keep learning.

Now, after our year in Hong Kong, and despite the awesome outcomes we’ve achieved here, we are ready to escape the noise and hustle of the big city. 

living in hong kong, expat life
Auburn overlooking the city that has taught her so much this past year.

We both are yearning for consistently fresh air, easy access to the sea, and cheap, healthy food. 

That’s why I am ready to reveal to you where we are headed in just one week: Koh Tao, Thailand !

Of course, we’ve lived there before and it’s part of the reason we are going back. I love it there!

The school she goes to is awesome, the food is incredible, and I feel so healthy while I’m there.

In fact, I’ll take a before and after picture of my body, I won’t change my exercise routine at all, and I guarantee you that I will lose at least 8 pounds of fat–that I’ve gained living in Hong Kong and eating so much oily food–just from the diet we’ll be on. 

It’s a wonderful place. And that’s why we’re headed back for the next three months! I’m ready for more of this single-parent adventure travel!

Do you want to travel with your children one day? Let me know in the comments!


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