Are you a traveling dad? Did your dad ever take you on vacation? Did you get dragged on a trip to go camping for the weekend when you could have been hanging out with your friends? Are you a world traveler now because of the inspiration and support of your dad? Then here’s the perfect way to celebrate Father’s Day!
Father’s Day is a special day to celebrate dads. Dads are remembered on this day for the contributions they made in our lives. Although many people may have grown up without a dad, all of us can celebrate a male figure in our lives who made a difference in us.
A Father’s Day interview with traveling dads
While dads are the ones that took us fishing, played ball in the backyard, took us camping, and would even play dolls and have tea (with daughters of course), traveling dads are unique among the family travel community.
What makes a dad who travels so unique? How has traveling with kids changed their lives? What advice can these traveling dads give to other dads?
Talon is a single dad who headed out on the road with his 9 year old in a round the trip in May 2011. Many know him better as @1Dad1Kid on Twitter with his blog 1 Dad 1 Kid.
Michael Schuermann is better known as easyhiker and co-blogger of ParisWalks. He first traveled with his son when he was 12 and knows the ups and downs of traveling with a teenager.
Craig Makepeace has spent many years traveling and living in various places around the world. Known as part of the ytravelblog tandem, he knows the ins and out of traveling with a child – from baby to young child. Now has another one on the way.
Peter Carey is best known as an expert photographer (he might not agree but I’m saying her is anyways and many agree with me) who enjoys time traveling as a single dad as well. Check out his photography and travels at The Carey Adventures.
Here’s to dads everywhere as we wish them a ‘Happy Father’s Day!’ as we celebrate travel in this interview with some traveling dads.
1Dad1Kid: We’ve always done some traveling, but usually just local or short ones. This is our 1st time traveling internationally as a whole family. So far we’ve spent over a month in Mexico with a side trip to Cuba (shh!)
Michael: I first took our son along on a weekend assignment when he was twelve. I was working as a sports commentator then and went to Munich quite frequently, about twice a month, and we went to see the town, Lake Starnberg and the Alps on consecutive trips.
Craig: Well, currently I only have one child, a daughter named ‘Kalyra’, and our first big trip was to Fiji for 10 days back in 2008. It coincided with my best friend’s wedding and it was amazing. Kalyra was only 10 months old at the time, but you could tell she was going to fit nicely into our travel lifestyle. She had a lot of fun, and the local Fijian people loved her and were very accommodating.
Since then we have lived and traveled within the United States, visiting places such as North Carolina, Savannah Georgia, Charleston South Carolina, New Orleans, and California. We have also traveled up and down east coast of Australia between Sydney and the Gold Coast in Queeensland, with many other shorter trips in between to places like Melbourne.
Peter: I first started traveling with my daughter when she was 3 months old. It was her first airplane flight (having just been on her first hike three weeks earlier) from Seattle to Pennsylvania. They’re so easy when you can hold them in one place although I don’t miss changing diapers in turbulence.
BTA: What is so unique about being a traveling dad?
1Dad1Kid: People often don’t know how to react. When a mother travels with their child
you’ll seldom hear her asked “Where’s their dad?” But as a dad I’m asked that constantly. People also tend to want to . . . help out my parenting. It seems as though much of society still thinks dads can’t parent as well as moms. Especially because my approach is more “free range” child. I let my son climb, roll around in the dirt, etc., and the traveling and local moms almost have panic attacks and think I’m clueless to what he’s doing and so feel the need to jump in and mother him. Sometimes I don’t mind, though, since they will take him to do things or give him treats which frees up some me time.
Michael: Mom’s not around: that changes the entire dynamic in the relationship between father and child. That can, quite literally, work wonders. It’s certainly the easiest way of getting to know your child better.
Craig: I guess most fathers are focused on a career and aquiring materialistic possessions. Whereas I’m a believer that life is all about creating life long memories and spending as much time as possible with the ones you love.
So the most unique part would probably be the fact that my daughter gets to have me around a lot more than most other kids do with their own dads. And we are firmly focused on increasing that travel time and bond as much as possible.
Peter: For me, being a single traveling dad, I actually get more attention, but it’s a mixed bag. Most often it is a bit of curiosity because there just aren’t many dad’s that travel with their kids, alone.
1Dad1Kid: There’s nothing to be afraid of. Really. In some ways it’s easier than being at home, and you have so many more memories and bonding experiences that you share together. It is truly a special time for both you and your child(ren).
Michael: If you want to get the best out of such a trip, your kid should not be too young – twelve is probably the lower limit. I have no experience travelling with two kids or more – we have only managed to produce the one – but I suspect that the presence of a sibling will make it harder to question and overcome family role stereotypes on both sides, so that probably would work less well.
There are many other things to say on this subject, and as it happens, I have written a piece that deals with this issue in greater detail (A Father and Son Thing).
Craig: Keep it simple to start with, even if it means sticking within your own country. Take a road trip, or a camping trip, and just go explore, have fun, and create great memories. If you do venture abroad, maybe choose a place that speaks the same language as yourself and a culture that appears similar to yours. Then you should have a fairly easy time of it logistically.
The idea is to just get your feet wet, get out of your comfort zone, and then you can branch out from there. There really is nothing to fear. If traveling with your children is what you really want to do, just know that kids adapt easily to most situations and the exposure and traveling experience will stay with them.
There really is no better education in life you can give your child than exploring the world and the planet in which we live, and learning about the inhabitants that dwell there.
Peter: I’d tell other dad’s considering traveling with their kids, but who hold back for lack of fear, to remember they are their kids’ best role model. If they have confidence while traveling alone, sharing that with their kid does them huge favors.
Also, start small and work up to it if you need to. Go on a car camping weekend or overnight with just you and your kids. Then maybe a three day weekend. For dads who don’t normally do a lot of solo caregiving, it’s usually the confidence boost you need. If you can manage to bring your kids back in one piece from a weekend camping, you can fly them to Europe with you.
BTA: Tell me about a special moment you had with your child that really sticks out to you. Why?
1Dad1Kid: We’ve had several, but recently we went swimming with the whale sharks off Isla Mujeres in Mexico. My son was all over the boat having a blast, and then we have the shared time in the water and the incredible experience of seeing these huge creatures together. As we returned the captain of the boat said to me “He’s a VERY happy kid!” No better compliment or praise, and it made feel incredibly good to hear it from a stranger and unbiased observer.
Michael: Teenage boys have their own ways of shielding their vulnerable selves from the outside world and their fathers in particular. They are, however, not very skilled defenders and cannot manage to keep this up for long periods at a time. Rediscover the sweet little boy you thought you had lost forever. Sorry for not being any more specific than that, but I am not good at sharing personal moments.
Craig: Probably the road trip we did down south in America through North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. We had been living in the States for the past 2 years and hadn’t seen our family in that time. Caz’s parents were over from Australia visiting, and Kalyra was so excited to spend time with nanny and poppy.
It was such a fun and memorable trip exploring those regions, and being able to spend several weeks with kalyra on the road with no work commitments was priceless.
The other time would have been taking her to Australia’s number 1 theme park called Dreamworld on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She had a great time going on all the kiddie rides and meeting the characters and it was awesome to see her smiling and having fun all day.
Peter: Hands down it would be safari in Tanzania. Seeing her get excited about seeing actual, real live animals was awesome. She never grew tired of spotting elephants and giraffes and her favorite, the dik-dik.
1Dad1Kid: He has a thirst for knowledge and has better geography skills than most adults. He is more adaptable and flexible and has less fear of things. He has an anxiety disorder that I’ve also seen decrease as we’ve continued to travel. He is more interested in what goes on in the world and has learned from other cultures.
Michael: I do not believe that travelling as such broadens the mind. Or that much of what you experience on your holidays is immediately relevant – in an “impact on your life” sort of way – to your non-holiday existence.
Holidays can, however, teach you lessons about holidays – what you did and what you did not enjoy, what to do and what to avoid the next time around – and that, considering the time and money we spend on our holidays, is of no little importance.
The only lesson that I think is important enough to convey to your kids is this: that a good holiday should always have an element of adventure, the excitement of not knowing what comes next. If my son has learned nothing else from our common trips, I feel he has already learned a great deal.
Craig: Kalyra has definitely come out of her shell a lot from her traveling experiences. She is so much more confident around strange people and is incredibly friendly and outgoing with everyone. She also has created fun memories that she regularly talks about, and just loves to go exploring outdoors and is not reliant on toys and TV and is very creative and able to entertainment herself.
Peter: My daughter still complains about long trips but not as much as other kids. “Remember when we traveled for 40 hours to get home from Africa?” helps put things in perspective. She’s still a kid, but she’s also a kid who mentions wanting to go to Peru even though she knows it’s a long flight or two. I also hope she is forever tolerant of other cultures after seeing there is more than the USA out there.
It’s hard for me to say if I’ve seen it shape the way she lives because, right now, I think it is little things. My hope is that is has laid a solid foundation for her to understand the world a bit better and to make her permanently curious about how other people live.
1Dad1Kid: It has also made me more flexible and forced me to slow down. Usually when I travel I try to absorb everything possible, so I’m all over the place and trying to cram everything in. With my child I am forced to slow down, spend some time resting in a hammock or floating in the water. It’s also made me better at budgeting and living within that budget, something that previously was a much greater challenge.
Michael: Travelling as a Dad has taught me three things. a.) That I am no longer the “captain of my ship” but a slightly disoriented passenger. b.) How to find joy in the joy of someone else, because that is pretty much the only joy on offer when you travel with kids. And c.) that, all things considered, it’s not a bad deal you’re getting.
Craig: First of all it’s made me appreciate the personal time I have with my daughter, away from any work commitments. Having each and every day together on the road or on vacation at a resort is such precious time.
It’s also made me realize that I want to expose Kalyra to as many thoughts, people, and environments as possible. Because I know traveling has made me a much more tolerant and caring person, and I want her to develop the same qualities.
Traveling and experiencing moments by yourself is memorable. But doing it and sharing the moments and memories with your children and whole family is amazing, and moments to cherish for ever.
Peter: Traveling as a dad has made me slow down more. It started with hikes and making sure we didn’t do anything over 2 miles at one point. And then road trips required more stops. International trips aren’t the whirlwind I often schedule for myself. When she’s along I see more and slow down to her pace. She also shows me more of the world as she sees it, which is a wonderful perspective in my eyes.
Inspiring dads to travel with their kids
So what is it we can take away from these traveling dads? All of them have a lot of experience traveling with kids of various ages. All it takes is that willingness to overcome fear and just get out and do it. You don’t have to go far to travel. And while it isn’t always easy, the benefits far outweigh the frustrations and costs – for both dads and kids.
Talon (1Dad 1 Kid) is a single parent, hospice chaplain, Zen monk, ultra runner, snowshoer, endurance cyclist, certified endurance running coach, photographer, and lover of travelling, languages, and cultures. He is embarking on a round-the-world trip with my 9-year-old son (aka Tigger) followed by a move to Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Michael Schuermann aka Easy Hiker is a German born journalist who started travelling from age 7 but discovered hiking only in his late 40s. An itinerant walker, he‘s walked all of Paris (his adopted city) in search of famous Hollywood movie sites to then write the guide book „Paris Movie Walks-10 Guided Walking Tours in the City of Lights! Camera!Action“ published by Intrepid Travel.
Craig Makepeace is a thirty-something Australian lover of life and world travel is something he totally lives for and plans to do for the rest of his life. A former Rugby player, Craig joins his wife, daughter, and another soon-to-be bundle of joy as he is looking for the next big adventure and the physical and mental challenges it brings.
Peter Carey is a former systems administrator who left his job behind to pursue his passion of photography and travel. He focuses on what he’s most passionate about which includes personal family travel journalling, photography, technology and travel in general.
Happy Father’s Day to traveling dads and all the fathers out there!
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