AN IN­TER­VIEW WITH TINA FROM SIN­GLE MUM TRAV­ELS

Tina is 28, Joshie is 6 and to­gether they travel the world, they’re plan­ning to cy­cle the world in 800 days, and they’re do­ing all this as a sin­gle par­ent fam­ily. Based in Lon­don where Tina works in prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, they travel for fun but also to lea

Lift Magazine - - Contents -

HI TINA! THANKS FOR TALK­ING TO US... TELL US, DID YOU AL­WAYS WANT TO TRAVEL?

Ab­so­lutely, yes! For me, travel is like breath­ing, it’s what truly makes me feel alive, it helps me recol­lect my thoughts, heal and feel strong. It’s about learn­ing about my­self as much as it is learn­ing about oth­ers.

To me life isn’t about pos­ses­sions, it’s about ex­pe­ri­ences, travel hum­bles me.

HOW DID YOU AND JOSHIE START TRAV­EL­LING?

I started trav­el­ling dur­ing my teenage years, with road trips dur­ing col­lege breaks. My un­cle drove trucks on the Euro­pean con­ti­nent - once we drove from Lon­don to Milan, through five coun­tries!

My first trip with Josh was to Oman. There was a lot of neg­a­tiv­ity in the me­dia about Is­lam and I felt anx­ious about it all, so I reached out to find the truth. I found a fam­ily who would host us in Mus­cat, Oman’s cap­i­tal city and af­ter an eight hour flight, we were warmly wel­comed into their home. Even though our chil­dren didn’t speak the same lan­guage, they played like old school friends. I spent time learn­ing what Is­lam was for them and met many won­der­ful and kind fam­i­lies. What I learnt from that ex­pe­ri­ence was if some­thing is strange and un­known then we should em­brace it.

Our next big ad­ven­ture was to South Amer­ica. I had a ran­dom day­dream of green rolling hills, heat and sun­shine dur­ing lunch at work one day, so I went back to my desk, Googled un­til I found what I was look­ing for and booked flights to Peru then and there!

DO YOU TRAVEL IN­DE­PEN­DENTLY OR WITH A TOUR GROUP?

100% In­de­pen­dently! I like the free­dom and making it my own ex­pe­ri­ence. I don’t see travel as a hol­i­day, it’s an ad­ven­ture and a learn­ing

ex­pe­ri­ence. You have to push your­self out of your com­fort zone to really ap­pre­ci­ate it and ex­pe­ri­ence per­sonal growth.

When I booked our flights to Peru it left me just 7 weeks to plan the itin­er­ary which was ac­tu­ally a really ma­jor project. Us­ing an agency isn’t a bad thing, but what I paid for our ad­ven­ture to Peru would have been more than dou­ble through an agency.

HOW MANY COUN­TRIES HAVE YOU BEEN TO NOW?

Not half as many as I wish! Ha­haha… so far it’s been; Oman, Jor­dan, Egypt, Tur­key, France, Ger­many, Lux­em­burg, Switzer­land, Italy, Bel­gium, Poland, Greece, Peru, and Rus­sia. I think next we want to ven­ture out to Ja­pan where Josh wants to ride the bul­let train.

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE EX­PE­RI­ENCE?

Vis­it­ing the Pa­caya Samiria Na­tional Re­serve in North­ern Peru. We took a mo­torised ca­noe to a na­ture re­serve and saw a wealth of an­i­mal species from ma­caws to three-toed sloths, squir­rel mon­keys with ba­bies, weird dragon crea­tures up in trees, pink Ama­zo­nian dol­phins (which I swam with!), ro­dents, bees nests, we heard howler mon­keys, gazil­lions of birds in­clud­ing the hoatzin, poi­sonous snakes and many creepy crawlies. I even held a poi­sonous dart frog, yep and I didn’t die!

WHAT ABOUT JOSHIE’S FAVOURITE?

I’m so glad you asked this ques­tion! With­out a doubt it was Pi­ranha fish­ing in the Ama­zon River! He was 4-years-old and caught the very first pi­ranha fish that day, it was also the largest. I think that was our proud­est mo­ment thus far; he still talks about it. We went back to the lodge that af­ter­noon with about four or five red-bel­lied pi­ran­has, the chef pre­pared them and we ate them for sup­per! I was sur­prised at how de­li­cious they were; they tasted like salty chicken!

Over­all, travel for Josh has been a really pos­i­tive thing; I’ve seen his con­fi­dence grow tremen­dously.

ARE YOU EVER SCARED TRAV­EL­LING WITH JOSHIE ON YOUR OWN?

Fear! Fear can make you or break you. I was really ner­vous trav­el­ling to South Amer­ica. You hear lots of sto­ries about drug gangs and get­ting kid­napped or robbed, but you just have to have a flex­i­ble plan that’s based on re­search, re­search, re­search! Make con­tacts be­fore you fly out, even if it’s just with ho­tels and talk to peo­ple who have been who can of­fer first hand ad­vice.

When I went to Jor­dan last year I trav­elled to the Dead Sea and to Pe­tra to see the Trea­sury where In­di­ana Jones was filmed. Some of the on­line fo­rums were talk­ing about sleazy men who’d ha­rassed women in the area, so I talked to the ho­tel staff about it. They then ar­ranged my trans­port and sug­gested a guide who was great. I felt much more con­fi­dent. Wher­ever you’re trav­el­ling, just trust your in­stincts and lis­ten to your body, how you feel is very im­por­tant. If you feel too ner­vous to do some­thing or go some­where then don’t un­til you’re ready.

I WOULDN’T HAVE EX­PE­RI­ENCED ANY OF IT IF I HAD LET MY FEARS OVER­TAKE ME

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 5 TIPS FOR TRAV­EL­LING SOLO WITH A CHILD?

1. Let them have their own cam­era! In­vest in a semi de­cent one too, you will never re­gret it. Your child will cap­ture things you wouldn’t have given a sec­ond glance.

2. Apps! There are heaps of Apps for the trav­el­ling child. Load up your de­vice, get them learn­ing, play­ing and ex­plor­ing dur­ing those “bor­ing” road trips.

3. Medikit. Take a compact zip­pered polyester pouch prefer­ably with a wa­ter­proof lin­ing and top it up with hand san­i­tizer, pain re­lief and Hy­dr­a­lyte sa­chets, travel sick pills, tweez­ers and ther­mome­ter, an­ti­sep­tic wipes, Bandaids and a fold­ing mini travel cloth.

4. A travel jour­nal. Get one from any good book store, cover it with wrap­ping pa­per of a world map and let them take pride in writ­ing about their ad­ven­tures. They get to prac­tice es­sen­tial hand­writ­ing skills and tell all their friends about their ad­ven­tures.

5. Con­tact! Write your con­tact de­tails in­side your child’s shoes and on a piece of pa­per in their pocket. Use an eas­ily iden­ti­fi­able back­pack or brightly coloured hat in su­per busy places and teach them how to dial your mo­bile num­ber and the lo­cal emer­gency code. Al­ways let them keep some cash, you never know when they (or you!) will need it. An­other thing I al­ways do is take a few busi­ness cards when­ever I get to a ho­tel, one for me and one for Josh, that way we have the phone num­bers and ad­dress so if we take a taxi and can’t speak the lo­cal lan­guage we just show them the card. That’s saved us a lot of time and has­sle try­ing to con­vey the de­tails to the driver.

IS IT DIF­FI­CULT FUND­ING TRAVEL ON YOUR OWN? HOW TO YOU SAVE FOR YOUR TRIPS?

Yes, it sure is! I be­came a sin­gle mum at 23 (af­ter 6 years with Josh’s dad) dur­ing my fi­nals at univer­sity. I still fin­ished my stud­ies and then took a job sell­ing toys in Har­rods for ex­pe­ri­ence. When Josh and I first moved out, I slept on the floor be­cause I couldn’t af­ford a bed, I re­mem­ber times when I couldn’t af­ford to buy food for my­self or even a bus ticket. I couldn’t af­ford a TV ei­ther so we walked every­where and spent the days out and about ex­plor­ing the lo­cal parks.

Even­tu­ally, I man­aged to get a job work­ing in a small de­sign com­pany and I now man­age my own projects, I’ve worked on cre­at­ing prod­ucts for lux­ury brands and a va­ri­ety of global fi­nan­cial com­pa­nies. So now, in short I work, save a lot and travel.

YOU’RE PLAN­NING TO CY­CLE THE PLANET IN 800 DAYS. TELL US MORE!

Oh yes! I really enjoy cy­cling and af­ter read­ing bi­ogra­phies of peo­ple who have cy­cled around the world and see­ing how en­rich­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence was, it’s urged me to ven­ture into the world too, so we’re plan­ning to cy­cle around the world when Josh turns 12. We’ll take tour­ing bikes and cy­cle through coun­tries in­clud­ing South Amer­ica, Asia, China, Viet­nam, Aus­tralia and Africa.

If the English­man Phileas Fogg went around the world in 80 days, I’m sure we could man­age it in 800 days on a couple of tour­ing bikes, you never know we might even go tan­dem!

YOU CAN FOL­LOW MORE OF TINA AND JOSHIE’S TRAV­ELS AT SINGLEMUMTRAVELS.COM

Machu Pic­chu

Jor­dan Grand Masjid, Mus­cat

Red Square - Moscow

Red Sqaure - Moscow

Ama­zon ca­noe ride

Pi­ranah Fish­ing

Cusco, Peru

The An­des

Cusco, Peru Mi­raflo­res, Lima

Cusco, Peru

Pe­tra, Jor­dan

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