My Excitement, Hopes and Fears of Traveling Abroad Alone with My Child

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.

The Little Fairytale Traveler

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 Fairytale Traveler

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.

The Excitement

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.

places from fairy tales

The West Fjords in Norway by Renate Sandik

The Pressure

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?

The Fears

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.

The Fairytale Traveler The Little

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.

The Hopes

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.

The Fairytale Traveler The Little

 

In Closing

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

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About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Senior Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. Christa has been traveling the world since 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

8 Comments on this post

  1. Brutally honest? Yes, there will be a time you will get on each other’s nerves (because you’re both tired and grumpy, your routine has changed, etc etc etc). But in the end? You’re taking your kid to Norway! That’s the bottomline! And he will appreciate you for it and you’ll have the greatest memories forever. My kid and I have traveled together to Barcelona, Rome, London and India (he’s growing up, so not too fond of having me around anymore) and although we remember the sites (then again, you can always see them again someday), what we do remember the most are the conversations we had and the funny stories that happened in between. Always let him be a part of the travel and the story and everything will go smoothly 🙂

    Sandra / Reply
    • Thank you! Yeah I am sure I’m letting my fears get the best of me, but it’s just because I want him to LOVE the adventure as much as I do, even though he could very well turn out to hate traveling by the time he’s my age… Well, I guess all we have left to do is board this plane. The best is yet to come.

  2. Good luck with your adventure Your son will be very genned up on geography and nature and meet many people too

  3. My 11yr old daughter and I backpacked for 3 months ‘alone together’ in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, joining with rest of our family for a further 2 months in Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia. When they left us and we carried on to Indonesia, she was sad they’d gone but even more glad that it was just the two of us ‘alone together’ again.
    If I did irritate her it certainly didn’t put her off travel, she’s desperate to be going without me, now she’s nearly 18. The only time she irritated me was when we had to pack our backpacks… she told me later she did it badly on purpose so that I would do it instead!
    Children are such magnet for making friends I’m sure you won’t be ‘alone together’ 24/7.
    Enjoy your little boy and your trip

    Heidi / Reply
    • OH MY GAAAAWD! You’re like Supermom! That is SERIOUSLY a brave move girl! Mark my words, when I backpack with my son, i’ll be scrambling to find this comment to email you. **bows. Incredible. Thank you for the feedback. As of now, he’s already made it to time out once lol. But he’s 6 you know. He’s doing 6 year old boy stuff. Constantly testing me, always trying to see if he can push the limits. The snow covered ground has been a huge distraction for him as well, since we don’t get that in Florida. So every 37 seconds I’m like, “come here, stay with me, stop you’re going to get your hands wet and then you’ll be freezing.”. Typical mom stuff. The wine with dinner was welcomed. Ha!

  4. […] alone with The Little for the first time ever on a 14-day trip through Norway. I’ve already explored my fears and excitement. Today was all about accuracy, efficiency and endurance. We had a 24 hour travel day ahead of us […]

  5. […] depicting a mother with her children. A nice point of interest for us, especially since we were doing this whole trip alone. We always love being waterside, and felt a cozy connection to our own home as we walked dockside […]

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