Guest Post by: Kathy Timbs.
Traveling as a Single Parent
When I first thought of traveling as a single parent, I had to take into consideration my 14-year-old. How was I going to be able to school her? Where would we stay? What would she do when I was at work? I researched these questions for about 6 months. Went on the Travel Gypsy Facebook page and started asking questions. I read what other parents did. There were a lot of nuclear families and only a few single parents at first. Then, as time went by, I found more. I found other single parents doing exactly what I wanted to do. I reached out to them via messenger and made friends. They gave me a lot of advice, from schooling, to how they actually did it.
My first assignment as a single parent was close to home.
I could stay there and just go to and from work. Just to try it. In my second assignment, I was lucky again, and it was where my aunt and uncle lived. My third assignment was in Virginia and I was from Texas. I was so nervous! Made tons of phone calls and spoke to a few people on Airbnb for the perfect place. I got all the homeschool stuff ready and got her registered online through Khan academy and Google classroom. I figured I could have her write papers about what we saw and I could grade them.
In August, my daughter and I loaded up the car with what we thought we needed. It was very full! I got her withdrawn from regular school(look at your state’s requirements) and started on her homeschool path. We got a Texas flag and decided to take pictures with it at all the states we saw. I thought that would be neat for a scrapbook later.
I looked at Airbnb and found us a basement apartment in a family home, I was so nervous and excited all at the same time.
We started our trek across many states. I made it a point to stop in every state for a cave tour, museum tour, or just a picnic. It was giving us quality time that I lost with the monotony of the grind back home. We were seeing a different side of each other. We were building a stronger bond, knowing we had to rely solely each other. It’s a different type of reliance. At home, we have the safety of family to help, but now it’s just us.
Once we arrived and got moved into our new home, we looked at where we were and what there was to do in the area. We started local at first and as time went, we expanded our horizons to other states. I don’t mind driving, so if I had a few days off we would travel up to 8 hours away. We wanted to see the leaves change colors. We wanted to see the mountains and valleys. Just see the beauty around us.
I have always had an open mind and a heart to explore. I wanted my daughter to have this also. We have seen 17 states so far! We decided to get her a bracelet from Brighton. The reason why we chose Brighton is that they have charms for every state. That became “our thing”. She would get a new charm for every state we visited together. It was a neat day trip to pick them out and we could talk about what we did in each state. She kept a list of all the states we visited and we would go every six weeks and buy them($12-20 apiece including the spacers).
It has been a blessing to us!
My daughter has learned more about geography and history than any book could ever give her. It has built a bond between us that is stronger than we could have ever hoped. She has been able to complete her Freshman year 3 months early!! She would do her schoolwork while I worked. Her schedule is synched with mine. She knows that on days I work, once I leave, it’s time to buckle down. I would FaceTime her on my lunches for math tutorials if she needed it. She was able to see that she can be an independent learner and thrive! It was actually better for her since she struggled with reading. Now, she knows she can do it at her own pace so that stress was lifted and she excelled!
People ask me, what about dances and prom? I tell them that she never really wanted to do them, but, she also makes friends through local churches that have teen programs. So, options are still available. This next trip, she is joining a travel basketball club! So, she will make friends and get to play a sport.
Traveling as a single parent with a child may need some extra work, but I would not change this lifestyle for anything in this world! All the positive that was given to our family and watching my daughters’ self-esteem grow was worth all the sacrifices!!