I’m an only parent. I say “only” because “single parent” implies that there is a second single parent somewhere hidden from view who is sharing the work load. But there’s just me.
And before I became an only parent, I was solo-traveler. This is mostly a woman’s game, this solo-traveling thing. See the world, find yourself. It’s how Stella got her groove back, after all. And now that I’m doing it on my own with my kid, I like to think of it as solo travel 2.0.
If I knew how good traveling with a baby would be – how easy and fun it really is, man I would have had one of these rugrats a decade ago. Traveling as a single parent is where the elevator reaches the top. Even if you are in a co-parenting situation, I am really encouraging you fellow moms to take your kids on an adventure alone.
And here’s why:
First, you will be done with those pesky line-ups. Those are for peasants. They’re for Bachelorette parties and backpackers and families with two parents. Lines are in your rear view now. You are a meek mom traveling alone! You can’t handle a line – All. By. Yourself. The airline/bus driver/rental car/security/Starbucks attendant must rescue you from the burden of doing it alone immediately by helping you to jump the cue and go straight to the front.
In some cases, they’ll even take you to a totally separate space or open up a line just for you.
(Talk about a +1 with perks!)
Second, everyone is going to help you. They will give you ear-to-ear smiles. Security with babies, by yourself, is so much fun, ’cause even if those babies are being the world’s biggest jerks, people want to help you so bad, they will get in and make jokes and entertain those jerks for you. Everyone will fall all over themselves to help you because they are so in awe that you are pulling this off solo. Especially if you are crossing a border by foot, carrying your own bag and child. Then you are hailed as a super human. Women will high five you, and men will stare, slack-jawed. Plus, without another person there, they feel they can approach you and help you without stepping on anyone’s (read: a man’s) toes.
Third, and this is the biggest – you will make SO MANY FRIENDS. When you travel as couple or as a two-parent family (even if you bring your brother, it still looks like he’s the dad), then there is this closed-unit feel to it. It’s harder as a couple to make friends, because no one approaches you. Kids are conversation pieces because everyone has kids. I know in Canada lots of people don’t, but in like 180 out 188 countries, everyone has kids. Like 5 times more kids than you will ever have, and they love to talk about them.
Literally everyone from cab drivers to street food vendors, to seat mates on airplanes, everyone will talk to you and tell you their stories. These new friends will also recommend good restaurants, places to stay and offer their cousin or neighbor as a driver for you in town. Take their advice, get their numbers, be friends with them. They are right in that adventure with you.
If you are scared to do it (especially if you have two or more kids), then you can get in touch with single mom’s on this thing called the internet that I hear is pretty popular. There are tons of mom groups out there of expats and travelers and they will also help you every step of the way. There is an army of only-parenting-traveling-women out there just waiting to help you get to the front of that security line.
photo cred: @jnance21