I travel as a single parent because it’s more sustainable for me than living in the United States.
My rent is lower abroad, the food is cheaper and healthier, the cost of transportation is minimal, and because I don’t need to hustle my life away to pay rent, I have heaps of time to spend with my daughter every morning, evening, and weekend.
To me, single parent travel is about giving my child as much of me as possible.
I was stretching myself too thin in the US, and this approach to life puts my parenting first, instead of my paycheck.
Who are these single parent travelers?
Like myself, there are single parent fathers out there doing the same thing.
Most people that I talk to are on board with the idea of single dad travel.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not met with skepticism.
Consider this story of a single dad who was traveling with his teenage daughter when the authorities were called on him by the hotel staff because they thought he was a pedophile.
Perhaps it’s the stigma that ‘single dads are bums’ that lead to this unfortunate incident, causing the staff to not stop to think, ‘oh yeah, some single dads are good dads.’
Whatever it was, there are some really unique challenges to being a single dad.
You can read a little more about mine in this Reader’s Digest article I was quoted in.
There’s another brave father out there with the heroic name of Talon Windwalker, and I’m pretty sure it’s his real name.
Anyway, he and his child have done heaps of travels, including scuba diving all over the world.
If we know that, what can we ponder about the way they must have lived?
I like to imagine I’m living 250,000 years ago.
(You can skip past this italicized portion if you’re not interested in creative fiction, if you like spending some time in a pretend world, however, the italicized portion is for you).
My eyes slowly peel open when the sky is dark blue, moments before the first birds start singing. I look over at my daughter who’s rolled away from me. Her mother was eaten by a sabretooth tiger one night when she went out to urinate alone.
I stand up and pull my tanned-hide cloth up around my waist. Looking around the dark interior of our hut, I see other parents stretching their arms and putting on their cloths, even some of the late-teenagers have sat upright.
I’m the first out the door, I take it a deep breath through my nose of the winds coming across the plain, and I recognize our problem and know our solution immediately. My closest friend in our 40-or-so-family community steps out of the hut, smells the wind, and exhales in exasperation.
“What’s wrong?” I ask, “The herds move every season, it’s more fun trying to find them after they’ve moved over night! It’ll be an adventure.”
“It will be,” he replies, “but we’ll be running into rain later.”
I inhale deeply through my nose again, faintly smelling the onset of rain in the distance, “good nose.”
We quickly disseminate among the families that the herd has moved and it’s time to follow.
Myself and several others prepare to track and find the herd while everyone else breaks down camp and gathers the necessary tools and skins for travel.
With a razor-sharp knife cut from stone, a 6-foot spear of the strongest and lightest wood, and a skin of water enough for 3 days, our team of 6 sets out in pursuit of the buffalo.
At first we jog, following their scent, faint as it is on the wind and masked by the impending rain, zigzagging a bit to get a sense of where they went.
For hours we search, until we find their tracks. 2 of the team members turn around, to give word to the other families which direction to follow.
Our jog intensifies, our barefeet land ball-first, coil the heals down, and the rear tendon snaps back to push us forward.
Our run is rhythmic, simple, and efficient.
We could run like this for two-days straight. One of the team members once did, just to prove he could.
After hours of prodding across the open plains, watching the sunrise and feel the heat intensify, the rains begin to fall, but only lightly.
We find the rear of the herd. Walking slowly and lazily, they’re resting, enjoying the coolness the rain brings.
Steam rises from the sea of their backs and horns.
This is the time of year they aren’t going to stop moving.
They’re leaving these plains because they know the rain is leaving.
The journey ahead is a long one, and every member of the 40-families will have to endure it.
(The creative fiction ends here and the blog continues)
Obviously, we don’t know for sure what people were doing 250,000 years ago. But I like to think about things–even single parent travel–from an evolutionary standpoint.
Our eyes point forward, our hips are upright for walking and jogging, our feet are biological masterpieces of efficient forward motion.
I truly believe we evolved to travel.
That’s where the urge for far-off destinations came from.
Our ancestors were all travelers.
That’s why great kings expand their empires and why we visited the Moon.
It’s why we look at Mars and think, what if? It’s why we create movies like Avatar, Star Wars, and even Dora the Explorer.
So if you ask why single mothers and fathers want to travel with their children, just blame it on first humans who loved chasing buffalo across the open plains.
How do single parents travel?
Okay, we no longer carry spears and chase buffalo, but long-term with kids is still possible, even for single parents.
Let me put this plainly: single parent travel–if done properly–is less expensive than living in the United States.
That’s even compared to my home state of Michigan, which has a relatively low cost of living.
Also it’s frozen AF for half the year, but that’s another story.
When people think of parents traveling with their kids, they think of the vacations they’ve taken in their lives that cost thousands of dollars for the family to stay 7-days and 6-nights at an all-inclusive resort.
That is not what single parent travel actually looks like, and the costs are nowhere near the same.
Single parent travel is about downsizing what you own to maximize your time with your kids.
It’s about finding the cheapest flights, staying in the most affordable place for a long time, and living as close to a local’s budget as you can wherever you go.
It’s a life focused on consuming less material to spend more time doing what’s right for our families.
That alone should be enough to convince anyone that single parent travel is okay, but they’re always concerned with the logistics and the finances.
And rightfully so.
But their concern overwhelms them and turns into fear and fear turns into excuses that reinforce the ideas that keep them away from encountering their fears.
Single parent travel is keeping concern at face value.
It’s something that’s there, but you can prepare for it and it doesn’t have to stop you.
Here are some of the excuses I hear about why people think single parent travel isn’t possible, and what I think about those excuses.
Excuse 1: Travel is expensive, I can’t afford that.
Does your child currently go to daycare or preschool in the United States?
Mine did and her school cost just shy of $1,000/month.
Your entire cost of living with one child as a single parent in Chiang Mai, Thailand will be less than that.
If you can afford daycare in the US, you can afford to travel.
I do understand that income is tied to your job, but nowadays it’s not so hard to find a job that lets your work remotely.
And you don’t need to be making much to make it a sustainable lifestyle.
Ways Single Parents Can Make an Income While Traveling
Teaching English is the most abundant job, but if you have a specialty, all the power to you.
I taught Math and English in Hong Kong.
Travel nursing is a real thing.
Heaps of people do it.
Special skill instructor
Think SCUBA, surfing, dancing, singing, yoga and whatever other skill you can teach.
You can take them all on the road.
What better way to connect with the world around you than volunteering on a farm somewhere far away?
Your whole family will be stronger and healthier.
People leave their houses, they need others to take care of their houses and often their pets.
That can be your job.
Transfer within your own company
I know heaps of people who have been able to spend time traveling simply by transferring within their own company to another of their locations overseas.
Could you do that?
It’s easy to make around $20/hour teaching English online to Chinese children.
The education style that’s being taught in the US isn’t preparing our children for the world they’re growing up in either.
That’s why less traditional schooling options are on the rise:
Traditional curriculum in a non-traditional setting.
No set curriculum; learn from life experiences; self-driven education.
Classes are taught outside; children are given the ultimate freedom to explore nature.
Self-driven education in an experience-based classroom.
If those aren’t your thing, single parents have the option–like I do–to send their children to an international school that will still provide them with the education and certifications that they need to attend universities back home.
When you throw in the fact that children in travel families get to learn new languages, try new foods, and see the world, you can see why your child’s education is going to be just fine.
When they know their income and education concerns are covered, they instinctively worry about themselves.
Excuse 3: I’d have no support system.
That’s a pretty fair point.
Taking care of a child, they say, takes a village.
But a life of travel and interpersonal support systems aren’t mutually exclusive.
Though I loved selling through the fundraising packets our school gave us as children, my first real job came at the age of 12-years-old.
No, my parents didn’t force me into it to make ends meet.
I wanted to work on the weekends so I could have money to buy a Gatorade and some Slim Jims before basketball practice.
So, after harvesting, I took up a job on a farm bagging beets.
They’d give me a roll of some big ass plastic bags, a ring of ties, and I’d stand next to a mountain of beets filling up those bags by hand.
I’d make $5/hour for two hours of work every Saturday and Sunday morning.
Just throwin’ beets into bags and tying them up.
Sounds pretty boring, yeah?
But it did a few things for me at that age.
It taught me raw beets are delicious.
It taught me that hard work pays off in the long run.
So, I loved that job, even while I was doing it because I knew I’d be getting a Gatorade and snapping into some Slim Jims after school on Monday.
2. Photoshoots with Flipper
The summer of 2008 was a glorious year for me. I was 21-years-old and headed to Orlando from Michigan to spend my summer vacation as an Intern Photographer at Discovery Cove.
It’s a beautiful, all-inclusive theme that at the time was owned by Anheuser-Busch in their Busch Entertainment Corporation.
I began my job in the learning zone: the entrance where guests get their first photo.
As my skills improved, I became a photographer next to the waterfall, and then in the aviary, and then I got my feet wet in the stingray pool, and I eventually made it into the dolphin pool.
While the pool I worked in had about 15 of the resort’s dolphins, I can only remember one of them, Akai.
He was the oldest and largest dolphin in our pool.
I can even remember his face: many of his teeth missing, a dark melon, and scratches from scuffles with his pool mates.
Despite his grittiness, he was a gentle giant.
And when I felt the power of his tail as he swam by me, I knew his age was no barrier to his strength.
I loved that job for the dolphins, though as I’ve grown older I feel more pity for them now.
I remember the baby dolphin, one of Akai’s sons–who frequently strayed from his trainer to explore the videographer and I–split her legs and nearly caused her to drop her camera into the water.
Who says dolphins don’t have a sense of humor?
3. Summer Camp is the BEST!
I can think of no better job for me than ‘summer camp counselor.’
It’s a grueling schedule of daily sports, entertainment, education, and safety regulation.
But if you don’t have energy, you won’t last through summer camp.
And you’re doing it all on nothing but pasta, salad, and a lack of sleep.
I make it sound rough, and it is.
But it’s that good struggle.
The daily regimen, the obedience to authority, sometimes harsh working conditions; on paper it sends up nothing but red flags for someone who finds happiness in freedom and self-driven pursuits.
But in practice, summer camp is as beautiful as it is heartbreaking.
It’s the practice of bringing people together from all over the world, and molding them into a giant family that knows there will be a day when you have to say goodbye.
I loved being a summer camp counselor because it gave me a fresh perspective on how to approach life and death.
Life is when camp begins. It’s easy in real life to forget that death will catch us, but in camp, you only have two months.
You know what you do now is already on the march to its end, and you accept it as a part of camp.
And this acceptance brings about a glorious feeling of timeless unity and energy.
That you’re all in this grind together, that you’re all an important part of your big family–your camp family–that’s where the energy to be a camp counselor for 14-hour days over 8 weeks straight comes from.
I realized that if I can accept my inevitable death in the long run like I do the final day of camp–which I both dread and always look forward to at the same time–then I can live my life in the same marvelous, camp-life-like fashion.
I’m too old to be a summer camp counselor these days, but it will always be a job that I loved.
4. What I Do Now
Though I don’t love the onsetting carpal tunnel from a gazillion hours on the computer over the past two years, I do love writing and creating content.
I don’t love it as a job because I enjoy the process of content creation itself (though I do), I enjoy it as a job because it gives me the freedom and self-drive that I mentioned earlier.
I’m a stay-at-home single dad and I need flexibility in my schedule.
As a single parent blogger and freelance writer, I can set my own hours.
I usually work all day when my daughter is at school, but if I want to take a day off to go snorkeling then I can get my work done at night.
From blogging to freelance writing to my poetry and books to YouTube and Facebook videos, I’m getting a lot of content out there these days and I never feel emotionally exhausted from it.
That’s a big reason I love doing what I do now: I don’t feel the ‘stress of everyday life’ anymore.
There’s no long commute through traffic, no having to clock in each day, no one staring over my shoulder, etc.
Today, my biggest stressor is my daughter. And that’s how it should be.
I remember brewing my coffee and watching it spiral and steam. I took a sip, sat down, and typed into Google search, ‘how do I start a profitable blog for free?’ I thought I could start a blog, make money, and be done with it.
I never did find a satisfying solution, but the last sip of coffee was still delicious.
If you’re looking to start a blog for free, then making money from your blog in 2019 probably isn’t in your future.
If you’ve been wondering, ‘how do I start a blog that makes money?’
Now we’re talking.
I’ll let you know from experience, if you don’t put money into your blog, you can’t expect much out of it.
That doesn’t mean a blog has to be expensive.
It just means that you have to invest something.
And that something can be as much or as little as you like.
If you’ve created a blog for free and have successfully monetized it, please let me know in the comments! I’d love to see how you did it!
If you consider yourself a beginner, but you’re ready to make money from a blog before 2019, this post is for you.
*You may click on an affiliate link, and I only link to products I believe in or use myself. Affiliate links give me a portion of the company’s profits from your purchase at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclosure here.
Here are four actionable and easy steps to get started!
Action 1: Name Your Blog
What exactly are you going to be writing about?
Is it your dog’s extensive fashion wardrobe?
Are you obsessed with Nerf guns?
Do you travel and want to share your experiences?
Your blog needs focus, what’s yours?
When you know what your focus is, you can start thinking of a name for it.
Key things to remember when selecting a name:
Is it easy to remember?
Is it relevant to your blog?
Is it SEO optimized? (will people type the words you’re using into a search engine?)
You can always change it later if you don’t like it.
Use this domain name search engine to see if someone else already has it:
Once you have a name for your blog, it’s time to claim it.
Action 2: Claim Your Name with BlueHost
This is where the process starts getting a bit more technical, so I’m going to walk you through how to get your first blog post up step-by-step.
Bluehostis the perfect, easy-start hosting service to getting your first blog up.
Most importantly, it includes a money-back guarantee if you don’t like it!
But I still use it to this day because their Q&A section quickly solves any problems I run into when working the backend of blogging.
I’m no tech whiz, but Bluehost is pretty easy in my opinion.
The reason Bluehost is a great tool for your first blog is because it includes your domain name, SSL certificate (important to keep your site safe in this internet-era), and 1-click install of WordPress.
To get started with Bluehost, click this link nowthen return back here for in-depth instructions and help.
Step 1: Once you’ve arrived, click ‘Get Started Now’
Step 2: You need a plan with BlueHost, select the ‘Basic Plan’
Step 3; Input your Blog’s name as your ‘New Domain’ name.
If you haven’t decided, you can choose later, just click the option below where the red arrow is.
Step 4: Sign Up with Your Google Account
The next page will ask you for your account information.
I suggest signing up using your Google account just to make it easier on yourself.
Step 5: Customize Your Account Settings
Scroll Down to ‘Package Information’
View the ‘Account Plan’ tab. (This is for my pretend website: babyburgerpizzajoint.com)
It should indicate that you’ve already selected the ‘Basic Plan’
You can choose between the 12, 24, 36, and 60-month month options.
The 36 and 60-month options give you the best value, while the 12-month plan gives you the lowest upfront cost.
Scroll down to ‘Package Extras’
I recommend only adding on the ‘Domain Privacy Protection’
The Domain Privacy Protection keeps people from being able to see who owns the site and where they live (your address).
The other add-ons are superfluous–in my opinion.
Scroll down to ‘Payment Information’
Enter your card info, click the checkbox indicating you read the T&C’s, then click submit.
There you have it!
You own your first blog!
After submitting, you will be asked to create password for your account (if you haven’t logged in with your Google account) and you’ll need to select your theme.
Action 3: Customize Your Platform with a Template
Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of themes available for your blog.
You can pick one now and change it later if you want to.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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)!
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.
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
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.
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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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.
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.
Onward and upward! SUBSCRIBE below if you liked this article and want to be kept up-to-date on my life as a single parent traveling with my awesome daughter! You’ll also receive insider offers on my upcoming books and products!