Evie, Can you introduce yourself and your daughter? Then, tell us a little bit about the type of travel you do.
It’s just my daughter and I. Emmie’s 10. I’m a solo parent and we’ve been traveling full time since 2016. We had a few stints back in Australia but we were predominately full time traveling and Emmie and I had been taking trips ever since she was 3 months old because I was working long hours and I didn’t get much time with her and so the way that I could manage that was take big holidays together.
The type of travel we like to do now is a little of everything. I don’t think you have to subscribe to one way of travel. We’re happy to backpack and then stay fancy so we probably are about 70% backpacking and staying in guest houses most of the time. Sometime we stay in hostels and then other times we will stay in five-star resorts.
So I kind of save on the budget by traveling reasonably cheap, then we can go and stay at reasonably fancy places as well. Then, we go and do a lot of really fun things like visiting Disney Land or going out to really nice restaurants or going on zip lines, or doing activities so I always make sure we have enough money to really enjoy wherever we are and do every experience that we can.
What fueled your passion for travel? What gave you the courage to start traveling alone with your daughter?
I first went traveling about twenty years ago. I was my best friend, we went backpacking and we spent about 8 month traveling through Asia and the Middle East and ever since then like I’ve just loved it. I grew up in one house in a small suburb outside of Sydney. I just found so much joy and freedom and love of travel.
For the courage to start traveling with my daughter, for me I always felt my best and where I really connected and where I got to spend all of my time with Emily so for me traveling with her was the logical thing and the best thing I could do.
As a fellow solo travel mom, I know how difficult traveling alone with kids can be. But the benefits outweigh the difficulties. What positive effects has travel had on your daughter?
Benefits that traveling has had on Emily.. She is so confident, she’s really adaptable, she’s really used to change, nothing really seems to faze her. She is very articulate and yeah I think she’s really confident in new situations. She’s been to different schools, she’s done online schooling, she’s been to school in Vietnam, school in Australia, she’s done distance schooling. She makes friends easily, she can hold conversations with adults and she’s been exposed to different religions and different cultures which I think is just amazing.
I love it when something will come on the news and it’s an international news story and they’re talking about something that has happened in a foreign country and Emmy knows exactly where it is, she can say I’ve been there or yeah I know what’s going on. I mean that’s amazing, we’ve got to raise globally aware children these days I think it’s something that we can do that can have a huge positive impact on the world.
Can you give us a little rundown of where all you and Emmie have traveled together?
Emmie and I have been to most countries in Asia. So, everywhere from China to Myanmar, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan Japan, The Philippines, and more. We’ve also been America. We haven’t been too far from Disney Land in the US, in California. In fact, Disney World is the only Disney we haven’t been to and that’s really because we find it so intimidating, it’s so big!
We also spent a little bit of time in Europe. Emmie has been to the UK, France, and Germany. Also, the Pacific Island, Fiji and around Australia. Mostly, Asia though.
Give us your top 5 most memorable experiences you had while traveling Asia.
- The first was leaving Australia because walking out of the airport and going through customs was an incredible feeling of freedom and when you go full time traveling and you leave behind the routine and the bills and the restrictions and the pressure to be a certain way, it’s just incredibly freeing.
2. Emmie and I both loved camping on the great wall of China.
3. Then, I have beautiful memories of being on the blue train in Sri Lanka, sitting in doorways as we go past the rolling hills of tea plantations and waterfalls, women dressed in their brightly colored saris picking tea.
4. Then also, floating down the river in Cambodia. On the roof of a boat, this beautiful movement, I was at peace there with Emmie by my side.
5. We did a border crossing in Cambodia from Vietnam on motor bikes, well actually we walked across the border then had to get on motor bikes where locals would take us into town which was really cool.
What are your top three country recommendations for solo moms traveling with their kids? Why?
I think Asia is really really safe. For solo moms, I think it depends on what type of holiday do you want. Do you want a city, do you want beach or do you want mountains and in the jungle with adventure, do you want to relax? I think for ease of getting around and language, safety, and diversity… I would definitely choose Malaysia. One of our highlights was seeing Orangutans and monkeys in the wild in Borneo. You can do that in Malaysia. They have everything from beautiful beaches, amazing food, stunning wildlife, some that are only found in Borneo. It’s got the great city of Kuala Lumpur and beautiful towns and beautiful little beach-y islands.
Singapore is great for visiting theme parks and big attractions. Asia itself is just amazing for solo parents. There are some countries that are harder to get around like Myanmar is less developed but you have a great tourist network. Of course it depends on the age our your kids as well. Of course Thailand is everyones go-to for a beach holiday, but Vietnam is brilliant for that as well. We lived in Hoi An for some time and absolutely adored Hoi An.
Do you have any travel plans for the rest of 2020? Are you able to travel now?
At the moment we are on an island, it’s called Magnetic Island. It’s just off the coast of Townsville in Queensland, Australia. We were in Japan traveling when the Australian government told all of Aussies to come home so we did. We are so glad we are because it is quite an adventure and is just beautiful. So for us travel for the rest of 2020 will be in Australia in Queensland and the northern territory.
Right now, we aren’t allowed to go anywhere, Australia is locked down at the moment. But, I really hope that we can get to Japan in March for skiing then continue to travel in Asia. But for us right now, the government has a travel ban, we literally can’t leave the country. But, that’s alright, we will get to explore more of Australia.
What’s Emmies favorite place in the world to travel? And is it also you favorite place?
When we lived in Hoi An, I really loved that and Emmie did as well. Emmie also really enjoyed China. The islands around Okinawa where also really amazing. And Emmie went skiing in Japan too which was a really cool. Of course, Emmie would also say Disney Land. Disney Land Shanghai is incredible, we absolutely loved it.
Overall, Emmie loves China and Japan. We found China to be a really beautiful country. There’s a pre-conception that it’s super industrial, but that’s not true for the whole country. The people are really friendly and she loves the soup dumplings. Japan, similarly because the people are so so beautiful and friendly. We’ve had excellent adventures there in the snow and down south at the beaches and in the cities so she absolutely loves Japan.
I love Japan as well, I really love everywhere that we’ve visited. There’s not a place that I don’t want to return to. We love it all!
A lot of traveling families choose homeschool for their kids so that they can all travel together. Can you tell us what it was like homeschooling your daughter and why you recently chose to put her in a traditional school?
We actually did distance ed. It’s very different to homeschooling because it’s still a curriculum and part of the New South Wales State Education system, but you do it online. It was a nightmare really. I can’t get Emmie to do the work, it’s so tough! I would have persevered, but the only reason she is in a traditional school now is because we had to come home from travel.
Once we can travel again, we will be doing a similar process again. Whether we switch to homeschooling or we try the Queensland distance ed system, I’m not sure but we will be traveling again as soon as we can.
Of all the delicious foods you have had around the world, what were your top 3 best meals?
- Vietnamese Cuisine, I love Pho. The soups with noodles and lots of fresh herbs. So much of the food in Vietnam is based on really fresh, green food so you always feel good after eating it. I love the spiciness as well!
2. We also both love the xiaolongbao soup dumplings from China.
3. I love the curries and pork in Thailand. I think Bangkok has the best street food in the whole world. We love it!
What advice would you give moms who are struggling to pack light while traveling with kids?
You can buy anything you need, anywhere you are. You always pack too many clothes. If you’re going to Asia, I would pack a swimming costume for everyone, shorts, sandals, a dress, flip flops, and your medical. It’s really not necessary to pack a lot.
Also, choose a small case! We always pack for the case we have. If we’re taking our day packs that we usually travel with, we just fill those. If we decide we are going to pack a big suitcase for a trip, we always fill it. So, pick a small suit case, haha!
What advice would you give moms who want to travel but are worried about having to travel with their kids alone?
I know a big concern for solo parents is safety. For solo moms, it depends on what type of holiday you want and where you will be. We have always found Asia super safe and easy to get around!