The challenges of travelling as a single parent
Travelling alone is not an easy thing to do, in fact, it is very bold and brave in my opinion. To go to a new country where you are unfamiliar with the language, terrain, public transport system, culture etc is a huge thing. I have travelled overseas on my own before but only to english speaking countries.
To travel with your children as a single parent introduces a whole new level of challenges. Generally, being a single parent is or can be incredibly challenging. To then introduce long flights, lots of walking for sightseeing, possible late nights on top of being in a new country.... phew! It is utterly exhausting!
Until now, my experience of travelling has been either on my own, as a couple or with friends or going to family. Since having my daughter, there has been heaps of travel but never just the two of us and never to a country so far with a totally different language.
I expected that my daughter would need a couple of quieter days on arrival which we managed- albeit with several tired tantrums! We then had a couple of days where we threw ourselves into exploring. My daughter even did the unthinkable- she fell asleep while we were out and about- TWICE!!! She NEVER sleeps without an incredible amount of coaxing and planning and most definitely never during the day unless she is very unwell. Those two amazing sight seeing days, not only made every muscle in my body ache after carrying my 20kg daughter on my back for much of the time, on top of my back pack and camera. They also took it out of her. We have now had to spend two days at the accomodation.
I have to say, being away from home, I was itching to get out an see all the cool things. To show her all the new and exciting things too. Instead, I knew that if we were to be able to continue to see all the amazing things that this country has to offer, I would have to allow her this day to chill. We were only able to leave the accomodation once and that was to cross the rd to get some dinner. Even that small excursion wasn't without tantrum! I had to keep reminding her that this is not the way one behaves when we are out of the house (LOL! Like a 4yr old understands that!).
The other challenge that travelling as a single parent with your kidlets has is the lack of freedom you have in the evenings. My daughter responds so well to routine, it is ok to break it here and there but we will pay for it in moods and irrational behaviour at a later stage. So while travelling, I allow a day here or there of breaking the routine and staying out late but mostly, she is in bed crazy early and I am left twiddling my thumbs in the evenings with a glass of (well deserved) wine. It also means that regardless of what time she goes to bed, she will wake at the same time every morning. On this trip, her body clock has been waking her at 5am every.single.day!
I must say, we have now been here for a week. We have had 3 consecutive tantrum free days! I think that her little body is slowly getting accustomed to a lot more walking than usual... I also think that the threat of not making it to Disneyland is sinking in as 'D' day is getting closer and closer. I am actually really proud of the way my little princess has coped with everything. The first week was incredibly tough on both of us as we were both so tired. Maybe my new technique of having slow mornings is working... or maybe everything will bite me in the backside again tomorrow as we head from Kyoto to Osaka. Who knows. What I hope is that this big trip is just the beginning for us. Just the beginning of our amazing nomadic adventures together.