Traveling abroad alone is scary enough for an adult, much less for an adult being responsible for a mini human. The following is my personal journal entry on my hopes and fears of taking my six-year-old son (affectionately dubbed by his fans as ‘The Little’) on a 14 day trip through Norway.
While most six-year-old kids were writing on the streets with chalk, I was memorizing Indiana Jones verbatim. I always had a sense of adventure, I couldn’t wait to explore. I made an expedition out of everything from playing in my back yard to waterfall hunting in the woods. I wrapped my imagination around every stone in my path and it was exciting, but mostly it was hopeful. Hopeful that when I grew up, I would explore the world and find adventure. It was an amazing fiber of my childhood. Now, looking at my son at the very same age, I want nothing more than for him to share that same sense of adventure. I’d say I’ve done a pretty good job so far of traveling with him, but there’s one aspect of traveling we’ve yet to explore. Traveling abroad alone together.
The Little has been traveling with me since he was six months old. He’s no stranger to adventure. However, we’ve always had a third person with us, either Bugs, my sister, or a travel assistant. Up until now we’ve always had a helping hand. Someone to entertain him while I do my work. Someone to watch over him while I take pictures and interview tour guides. Someone to mind him while we make our way through foreign cities. There’s always been a buffer between us. Up until now.
Today we set off on a 15-day adventure from sunny Florida to Norway where we’ll take a magical Eurail train ride from Oslo into the Arctic Circle. We’ll be exploring some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes from a first class train and on the ground hiking and with guides. We’ll be exploring the locations and culture that inspired Disney’s, Frozen and Viking heritage sites. In the Arctic Circle we’ll be exploring Sami Culture and the Northern Lights. This trip may be one of the most memorable my son and I will ever have. Yet, my current state is a whirlwind of hope, excitement and fear.
Children are so impressionable. They form opinions at the drop of a hat. Sometimes no matter how hard you try to sway them, they just blacklist experiences. The idea of my son having a bad, boring, or otherwise unfavorable experience creates a lot of pressure on me. Truth be told, I’m not the most entertaining of mothers. I love spending time with my son, but I’m not that much fun when it comes to playing catch or pajama wrestling. I’m much more of the craft, bake, or watch a movie kind of mom. Oh and of course, I won’t leave out the fairy tale sessions. So, I keep thinking,
What if he doesn’t have fun? What if he ends up not wanting to travel alone with me again?
Most of you are probably thinking I’m nuts, but it’s true! Two weeks alone with me might just drive him mad! The last thing I want is for my son to never want to get on a plane alone with me again! Then of course you have the very possible fact that our travel plans can go awry. Solo traveling can be challenging enough, much less having to be mindful of a half-pint human.
Now before you go thinking I’m out of my mind hear me out. I have never been alone with my son for more than 24 hours at a time. True story, I mean think about it. I’ve had either a gym, his father, Bugs, or school to break up our days, there’s always been buffer. So what am I afraid of you ask? I’m afraid of getting irritated (like any other day), not being able to entertain him constantly or not getting enough space to decompress and stay organized. I’m afraid of messing something up, missing a train or getting cranky at the same time. What if all those things happen and I end up ruining him for solo travel with his mom? I now you’re probably going to tell me I’m being way too hard on myself. Trust me, my hopes are high.
In a perfect world our travel plans of 14 days through an entire foreign country will go completely as planned, but my real hopes are that my son has an incredible time, that he finds adventure in each day and builds unforgettable memories with me. Most importantly, I hope this trip plants a seed in his mind that grows into a lifelong search for adventure, and a desire to explore this beautiful earth. But it would be really amazing if we didn’t miss a single train.
I never would have had the balls to make this trip if it weren’t for my dear friend Sarah at Solo Mom Takes Flight. She is absolutely amazing and travels alone with her two children for weeks sometimes months at a time. She completely empowers me in her travels and has given me the confidence to take this trip. Please follow The Little and I on this epic journey. We will be posting daily travel journals together with pictures and videos on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Do you have any solo mom with kids travel tips? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
This trip made possible by