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.

dad blog
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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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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Have you recently heard the term ‘digital nomad’ and wondered what it means? I’m one, so let me tell you! It’s a person who works online and isn’t tied to any single location. We are location-independent entrepreneurs, writers, teachers, vloggers, computer scientists, marketers, photographers, musicians, and designers. Some of us are even digital nomad parenting. 

Digital nomads take many forms and infiltrate almost every industry. While there are many young digital nomads showing the world the power of the next generation, there are also people like me: single dads raising our children abroad while blogging about our journey. 

Do you think you’re ready to buck the system that breaks your soul? There’s another lifestyle out there waiting for you, are you ready for it?

I’m ready for the Digital Nomad Parenting Lifestyle!

*Affiliate links present; that means if you make a purchase through any of the links, a commission towards supporting this blog is generated at no cost to you! 

We come with extra baggage; dad joke on so many levels. 

If you’re a parent who is ready to make the leap from being tied to a desk and a plot of land–or a box in a building–to living the digital nomad lifestyle, there are a few key things you should do to prepare. 

1. Keep Your Children Well-Documented

Having your children’s birth certificates, passports, and medical records may be necessary to enter a new country. Having multiple copies of each is suggested, and always have a copy on your person. Also, have recent photos of your child on your phone showing your relationship.

If you’re a single parent, you’ll also need one of two things: your divorce decree showing that you have full legal and physical custody with no travel restrictions (like the photo below), or a letter of permission to travel from your child’s other parent.

digital nomad parenting

2. Diversify Your Income

What are you doing now to make money? Are there ways to expand what you’re doing?

I hope you’ve started a blog, if you haven’t, sign-up for hosting with this offer from Bluehost

 

Your blog is the base of your mobile life, if you don’t exist on the internet, you’re leaving money on the table.  Digital nomad parenting is hard enough without having to worry about cash flow, so up your income and your influence by starting a blog. 

If you want to copy the path I’ve been taking and find your way to working as a freelance writer, then check out  this course by Elna Cain, she helped me find my way when I was just starting and she will help you, too!

Having multiple streams of income will give you a surer sense of stability as you travel the world. I highly recommend using the programs and tools above!

3. Purchase Travel Insurance

Have you wondered about travel insurance and how it works? Is it reliable? Does it cover emergencies? What if my bags are lost? Is it expensive?

There are lots of questions surrounding travel insurance that need to be answered, but here is the most important: what’s the best company for travel insurance for Americans?

The answer is World Nomads

 
 World Nomads is well known for being reliable and covering everything from baggage loss to theft to emergency evacuations. 

Travel insurance gives you a peace of mind that is well worth it’s cost and pays for itself when accidents do occur. 

Conclusion

With the documents to move your children around legally, a diversified income portfolio, and travel insurance to keep you and your children protected, you’re ready to take the digital nomad lifestyle as a parent! 


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Colombia, Vietnam, China. Do these places sound like somewhere you want to raise your child? They do to me! I’m a single dad and my 4-year-old has already lived in these countries and more. Some people ask me how do I–as a single parent digital nomad–raise my daughter?

My response is always the same: how couldn’t I?

single dad travel blog
My daughter and I in Hong Kong

Strapped with a mountain of student debt, exhausted from working two jobs morning-to-night, and thoroughly upset to return home only to see my daughter is already asleep, I was surviving in the United States, but not thriving. 

That’s when I started reading online and seeing phrases like ‘digital nomad’ and ‘travel family’ and ‘modern nomad’ and ‘location independent’ being thrown about.

I saw families like The Holcombe Family doing amazing things. 

I would think, “who are all these super-rich, ultra-privileged, narcissistic people bragging about their life with children as they go to all these amazing destinations?”

single parent travel blog
Us checking out a waterfall in Thailand

I should’ve reserved that judgment. It turns out, the nomadic life–the ‘travel family’ life–is just as attainable as the life I was living in the United States. 

That’s when I made a choice: I was going to work towards achieving what I saw as a better life for me and my daughter, the nomadic one. 

I’ve always loved travel ever since I did my study abroad in Costa Rica. But I knew the way I ‘studied’ in university was not going to look like my parenting life. 

I needed an attainable path to location independence. 

That’s when I started to work for it. I already had a skill: writing. I just needed to monetize it.

So, I started this blog with this post talking about some serious mistakes I made in my personal life.  

If want to get started with building writing as income, I suggest you also start a blog! Check out Bluehost for an awesome web hosting service!

Once I started my blog, I was able to fully engage with my choice.

The Choice of Being a Nomad

Let’s start by saying that I love the United States, and if I could afford to live there full-time on the work I do now, I would spend at least half my time there. Probably the summer in Michigan where I’m from, for example. 

single dad travel blogger
In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

I’m not to that point yet, so the choice I made was this: if I’m going to live off my writing now, before it’s enough to live in the USA, then I have to find somewhere where I can afford to live

I felt compelled to live off my writing. Not because it gives me the chance to live nomadically, but because I love writing, and I love the work I write about. 

 

My choice was this: give up a pair of good jobs in the United States that provide economic freedom, or live a life of love and freedom of choice each day.

Both ways of living have their merits, anyone who chooses a good job in the USA is doing okay in my book, but it’s not a life I’m suited towards.

I’m not built for alarm cooks, punch cards, and bosses staring over my shoulder. That kind of stuff drives me spiritually and mentally insane and takes a massive toll on my body. 

I’m built to wake up with the sun, and then fall asleep when it does. I thrive under my own direction, and when I fail I have no one else to blame it on.

single parent travel blogger
Koh Nangyuan, just 15-30 minute boat ride from Koh Tao where we used to live

The integrity the nomadic life–and being a single parent digital nomad–has taught me keeps me driven and engaged in a way that is meaningful to me.

And, as a bonus, I love the freedom to map out each day the way I see fit. 

How does a single parent digital nomad raise his children?

I do it only by knowing it’s the best route for my daughter and me.

Her well-being is directly tied to my state-of-mind, and my state-of-mind is best when I am living a life that is self-actualizing. 

My daughter is safe, healthy, and learning so much about the world that she could never get out of a textbook in the US. 

No, I’m not making nearly as much as I once was, but I worry less about my income level on the road because it’s so much cheaper than living the US.

And I’m able to live a healthy life full of activity, delicious food, and heaps of time with my daughter. 

So if you’re curious how a single parent digital nomad can raise their children on the road, I ask you back: how can’t they?


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Is chocolate better with peanut butter? Does pineapple belong on pizza? Is Donald Trump a good president? Should I visit Discovery Bay with my kids?

There are lots of questions you and I may disagree on. But there is one question that is undeniably, unequivocally, abso-freaking-lutely a ‘yes’ to: the last one.

Good thing my single dad, parenting blog is here to bring you all the answers! 😛

Should I visit Discovery Bay with my kids?

Discovery Bay Hong Kong

Yes. Like I said: yes, again.

The beach is massive and has heaps of space available. Bring your own shade, however, because the massive beach has little of it.

The water is warm and pleasant with a sandy and clean bottom.

There are heaps of restaurants along the piernext to the beach and plenty of other establishments to explore including nearby grocery stores if you’re keen to bring some food and drinks to the beach.

What’s in it for the kids at Discovery Bay?

Well, the beach, for one.

But don’t miss the awesome zip line for kids!

You can watch this video of mine and Auburn’s day there where she took a ride on it. Needless to say, she loved it!

There is also a great playground right on the beach that the kids flock to.

What’s in it for the adults at Discovery Bay?

As I said before, food, drinks, and businesses are readily available in Discovery Bay.

The biggest draw for me is the ease of access. How to get to Discovery Bay?

If you make it to Central, head to Pier 3 where you’ll find a quick boat to Discovery Bay. After you get off the boat, you’re a 3-5 minute walk along the pier until you’re at the beach. It’s super easy to get there.

With mountains in the background and islands out to sea, it’s a wonderful place to relax.

So, if you’re asking yourself: should I visit Discovery Bay with my kids?

The answer is yes, you should.


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As a child, I always had a fascination with anything that crawled, slithered, or creeped through the garden. It’s no wonder I now have a fascination with the snakes in Hong Kong.

I would capture every animal I could to examine it further; I even once caught a bluejay a rake when I was in the fourth grade. Fish, lizards, scorpions, snakes, I loved catching them like they were Pokemon. Who knew this love would lead to a scary story in this single dad travel blog?

Thankfully, I was never stung by a scorpion. But I was bitten by snakes as a child, nothing dangerous. But I witnessed their speed and precision first hand. 

Doi Suthep, Thailand
Happy to be alive enough to tell you this story!

And though I was never bitten by a poisonous snake, teeth are teeth.

Now, let me tell you about the time that I missed death by three inches.

The Encounter, Snakes in Hong Kong

As I made my final descent through the mountains of Sai Kung, I reflected on the    unique juxtaposition of city and nature in Hong Kong   . How just a few hours prior you can be in one of the world’s most important financial sectors, and in this moment be encapsulated by green mountains filled with fluttering butterflies, chattering cicadas, and resting snakes. 

I spent the day soaking in the sun on Ham Tin Wan, possibly Hong Kong’s most beautiful beach. The day’s tranquility belied the danger I was going to encounter upon my exit.

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Hiking through Hong Kong with my dad and daughtr

I left the beach with a several hour hike through the mountainous jungles ahead of me. 

The trail was partially muddy, a patrol of mosquitoes rose from its sludge and chased my legs as I squished through the trail. Then I felt a strong bite on my left calf muscle. Mosquito, of course. 

I reached down to slap it, inspect the splatter of blood between my hand and lower leg. 

I saw my hand, and slightly out of focus behind it on the ground was something black and pulsing

My eyes dilated and rapidly focused on what I was seeing: hundreds of large, black, diamond-shaped scales wrapped around a curved tube of a body thicker than a softball bat.

snakes in hong kong
I think you get the idea. This isn’t the actual snake I saw, it was not in a woven basket.

Its scaly body pulsed in ominous breaths just inches from where my hiking boot had landed before being bit by the blood splattered mosquito on my leg. 

Time to Die, Thank You Snakes in Hong Kong

Easily within striking distance, the large snakes’ fangs inside its cotton-colored mouth could easily deliver enough venom to kill me.

In the best case scenario, my brain quickly identified, you’re going to be hit with neurotoxins and cardiotoxins, you need to remain calm after you’re bitten to slow their progress through your body.

Knowing I needed to keep calm, I instead jumped, screamed, and nearly lost my balance on the slippery trail. 

The black mass flinched and slithered off into the tapestry of leaves and ferns. 

Had I stepped on that snake–just three inches to the left–with my hard ass hiking boots, it almost certainly would have struck me in defense. 

Hours from the nearest hospital, and quite possibly, the nearest antivenom, I could have easily died in the lush mountainside of Sai Kung. 

Hiking in Hong Kong can be dangerous–would you risk it?


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Ladies, you’ve got me in a rage. I just tore a phonebook in half and bodyslammed my kitchen table. Why? Cuz I hate you and your single parent blog.

You might be saying, ‘whoa, whoa, calm down Nicholas, what did we do to you?’

My answer: nothing in particular; I just have problems. 😛

single parent blog and single dad blog
Me, frustrated by how awesome you are.

But there’s something you’re doing that ruined my day: you’re too awesome for me.

I Can’t Win as a Single Parent Blogger

I bust my ass taking photos, creating content, optimizing my language, distributing my creations, and still, you beat me. And it’s not even close.


You’re absolutely crushing my blog. Blogs like Wealthy Single Mommy, Confessions of a Single Mum, and Single Mother Ahoy all produce compelling content on a regular basis and are kicking my ass while being kick-ass mothers.

That’s why I’m enraged, in fact, I’m downright frenzied!

I checked my rankings on Google today and was incredibly excited for the first one I checked, ‘single dad blog.’

On Being a Single Dad Blogger

I’ve been hovering between page 2 and 3 for some time now and I’ve been working to move it up to page one and eventually to the first spot overall.

Today was the day I first saw my blog on page number 1!

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First appearance on page number 1

Feeling confident, I moved on to the second keyword I wanted to check, ‘single parent blog.’

I wasn’t on page 1, nor 2, 3, 4, nor 5. I was on page 8.

I might as well be the left-over crumbs on the underside of the dinner plate compared to the feasts of content that are today’s single mom bloggers.

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Hidden on page 8

Single Parent Blog Competition is Stiff

How am I supposed to compete with these freaks of marketing? These wordsmiths, zen-like parents, and givers of love and value? I’m not sure I can.

As for the other single dad bloggers, I’m coming for you. Every spot on page one of every keyword related to single dad blogging will be mine.

You’ve been warned.

But for you single mom bloggers, I’ll just try to keep up and not fall off page 8 into the depths of algorithmic hell.

|If you can’t tell this post is written tongue-in-cheek, I hate you, too|


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The Smell of Rubbing Alcohol

My feet clicked along the linoleum, one direction, then the other. Occasionally, I would stop and sit on the 3-person wide bench along the white wall and write down the recent events: 10:06am barely miss the down elevator. 10:15am stop at library. 10:45am get food @ restaurant I hate. 11:00am wait for bus; I want taxi. 11:12am get in taxi. 11:32am $93.50 HKD to taxi driver. 11:47am Miranda* checks in. 11:49am I am in waiting room.

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Typical taxi in Hong Kong

Outside the air was heavy and a sparse fog made the orange street lights glow like jack-o-lanterns. Horns and sirens echoed through Hong Kong as life for 7 million people zoomed by during the most important moment of my life.

Inside, a large, circular, convex mirror hung in the corner, but no one was coming. Was I the only person waiting? 7 million and no others here? Where are the other-

The double doors swooshed open for a lady with a white face mask and a poofy, white hairnet that made her look a bit like a walking mushroom. The mushroom gave me a status update, refused me entry, and I wrote down what she had told me.

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Hair nets look a little mushroomy.

            2:14pm Mirandas contractions hit one minute.

As much as I was hurting to finally be allowed in, I couldn’t imagine the pain she was in.


No Fear of Pain

“Are you sure you can handle it? You’re pushing a football through your body.” We had already agreed that short of having the birth at home in a tub, the more natural the labor process, the better.

“Mmmmm, no, but if it’s good for my baby then it’s good for me.” I was proud that my daughter would have such a strong mother, then thought about what it would be like pooping a football, and then felt deep relief that I am male.


Like Nat Geo

5:00pm Admission to labor room.

The first thing I saw of her was a little tuft of hair. It was matted to her scalp like someone had taken a warm sponge to it. The doctor said something in Cantonese, then a nurse handed her some gauze.

Out popped two brown eyes and a nose that a button would wear as a button. I don’t remember crying at this point; but, afterward, her mother would tell me that the nurses had kept asking her if I was okay.

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Have no shame crying man-baby

If I had understood Cantonese and been able to respond in kind, I probably would’ve laughed and cried even harder. Okay? Okay?! I was more than okay; I was rhapsodic!

Overjoyed, Overwhelmed, Overly Wordy

It’s often said that people who aren’t parents don’t know what it’s like to have a child; the love you feel is like nothing you’ve felt before.

So, what I tell them is this: imagine someone kidnaps you (this got dark quickly, I know, but stick with me even though it gets darker right now), chops off your arms, blinds you, removes your inner ear, and sterilizes you. Imagine it hardcore…like it’s real. You feel that dread and that horror?

It’s the exact opposite of that. It’s cup of water under a running tap; continuously overflowing and uncontrollable. It’s trying to hold back a wall of marbles; it’s too much, it completely takes over your entire world.

Only that running water and that wall of marbles are not wasteful nor painful. A parent’s love isn’t just the overflowing cup; it is the water, the spigot, and the drain. It’s not just a million marbles crushing you to the ground; it is the marbles, it is the ground.

It is everything.

After her face completely emerged, the rest of her seemed to slide out of a purple water slide. It’s not as gross as people make it out to be, at least not all the time. When you finally see it, it just is.

There is no judgment on the body fluids, the baby that looks like a sweet potato, or the tears pouring out of a grown man’s eyes. It just is.

And it’s beautiful.

A Fragile Moment

babies have no fear of pain
Auburn and I

The doctors wanted to push me to cut the cord immediately. But, as Miranda and I had discussed, we were going to wait a few minutes and let the last bit of placental food give our daughter the best start she could have.

She looked so helpless on her mauve towel. Limp little arms and legs wiggled as she adjusted to gravity. Lips and eyes closed and opened slowly. A few grunts, but not the screaming baby you see in the movies. Like I said: helpless.

The scissors sliced through the cord in one quick snip. The nurse clamped it shut and wrapped her in a towel. She picked her up and handed her to me. Every YouTube video, all the pantomiming, all the practice I put into holding a baby all came down to this one moment: don’t drop your baby, don’t break her neck.

And I didn’t.

With her head gently resting in the crook of my elbow, I looked down at her little face and saw the same look I still see in her eyes today: she knows I’m Dad.


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