This week we speak to Mr Talon Windwalker of 1 Dad I Kid. Talon tells us about why he writes a travel blog, his worst travel experience, how long-term travel with his son has changed their relationship, future travel plans, romantic love and more.
1dad1kid.com is fairly eclectic. I blog about travel, budget travel, family travel, general travel tips, culture, parenting, and inspirational stories.
We are currently in Penang, Malaysia. In the next 6 months, we’ll be going back to Thailand as well as traveling to Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand before continue to travel around Asia.
Currently, I’m a professional blogger and author primarily. I also occasionally do scuba instruction. In the past I’ve worked in medical transcription, nursing, and as a hospice chaplain.
Least favourite travel destination
How easy is it to be a single parent, travel, work, and write a successful blog all at the same time?
Generally, it’s been pretty easy. The biggest challenge sometimes is when I need a break and some alone time. Since it’s just me, that’s really tough to get, especially if I want a weekend away or something. Writing and doing the blog is usually done during “chill” times in the morning and evening. During the day we usually get out and explore. Since we tend to travel more slowly, we often have plenty of down time. It’s a lot easier to explore more slowly when you’re in an area for a month or more at a time. Since our life is nomadic, and we have no planned end date, we can take as much time as we want in an area (as long as it works with the budget and visas).
Do you get much chance to indulge yourself, any guilty pleasures?
Not very often. I purposely don’t work a lot which means we make less of an income. We often do housesitting which helps us save up money so we can do a little more splurging, though. Usually that means a nice meal somewhere or maybe a fancier hotel than we would normally get. Sometimes it means we can go diving or something. But we don’t have a lot of indulging. Still, our quality of life is 3000% time better than when we were living in the States doing a more traditional lifestyle.
What is your worst travel experience?
Most of my experiences have been really great, but I wrote about a bus trip from Guatemala to Honduras that just was awful every single step of the way. It was seriously one of those situations where almost everything that could go wrong did. I’m so glad that even our roughest travel experiences since then have still been mild in comparison.
Is it easy looking after the family travel budget? Any advice on how to keep costs low for other parents who want to travel long-term?
Some areas have challenged us more budget-wise. For example, we spent more in France in 16 days than we spend in most countries in a month. And that was even with getting some free lodging between Couchsurfing and some special deals I was able to secure with the blog. But generally speaking, we almost always stay within a $1000/month budget (total). For most countries outside of Europe, it’s been pretty easy.
Overland transportation is usually cheaper. Couchsurfing can really help your budget, and it enables you to connect with locals, which is really the best part. Rather than stay in a hotel or hostel, we usually find an apartment or a room to rent. It’s usually cheaper than other type of lodging, and on top of it you have a kitchen so you can prepare some meals, buy cheap produce at the local street markets, and so on. Housesitting has also been a HUGE help in reducing our costs. In Morocco, we did a housesit for 2 months on an oasis and ended up spending around $400 a month total. That really helped build the bank account for our trip to France and to cover the airfare to Thailand.
Travel does not have to be expensive! We left the States almost 2 years ago and only had $900 in savings. Even though we didn’t live a luxurious lifestyle, our quality of life is 3000% better than when we had much more money and were living a more traditional life.
Why do you write a travel blog?
I write to not only share our journeys but inspire people. I want to inspire people to live their dreams, whatever they may be. I want to inspire people to step out of traditional lifestyles and create their own life based on their desires. I hope to get people thinking and to realize that we really can create our own life on our terms. I hope to encourage people to travel, especially with their families. Your life is much more enriched by travel.
Has your relationship with your son changed much since you started this journey?
YES! We are closer than ever and have a much stronger relationship than I could have ever hoped for. Before we left I was concerned what it would be like to spend 24 hours a day with my son 7 days a week (because I’m the kind of person who needs personal space), but I’m enjoying it thoroughly.
Do you have any specific requirements when choosing accommodation?
I prefer a place with a kitchen, and we generally try to get a private room with en suite bathroom. I’m just not really interested in having to share a bathroom with other people, and I don’t want to have to get dressed in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.
Please share with us one highlight from your current trip?
Morocco changed my life and transformed me. I’m in love with that country and its people. It surprised me, challenged me, got me thinking, and changed how I see certain cultures. I wasn’t expecting to become so completely enamoured with it (even though the food got REALLY boring after a bit).
Are you looking for love?
I’ve given up on finding romantic love. If it happens, I’m more than happy to receive it, but I don’t see it happening, especially with our nomadic lifestyle.
Tell us one destination, anywhere in the world, you are itching to visit?
Antarctica. It’s the one place that taunts me. It seems so out of reach. Which is probably why I want to see it so badly. I’ll make it a reality, though.
Any plans for 2013 or beyond?
Our style is very spontaneous. I generally have no idea how long we’ll be in an area or where we’re going next. Air Asia had a pretty impressive sale, though, and because of that our next 6 months are planned (as far as basic destinations). It feels so bizarre, and it definitely isn’t how we prefer to travel. But I just couldn’t ignore such a killer sale.
My only must-do in 2013 is to see the lantern festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand, this year. So, we’ll be there for that (which happens in November). We are currently considering a European holiday market tour for December, but that will depend on finances and how badly we want to do it when it comes closer to the time. Especially since we’re really enjoying Asia and would like to spend more time exploring here.
Talon Windwalker is a single parent, author, writer, former hospice chaplain, Zen monk, ultra runner, snowshoer, endurance cyclist, certified endurance running coach, scuba instructor, photographer, and lover of travelling, languages, and cultures.
Years ago when I was a young adult, I had a dream of raising my children in foreign countries and having them experience this amazing, large world. After years of working in intensive care, trauma, and with the dying, my family & life motto became Vivez sans regrets! (Live without regrets!) In that tradition, I decided now was the time to take my dream and make it a reality. To that end, on 4 May 2011 I left my traditional work life and embarked on life as a full-time nomad, traveling around the world slowly with my young son (aka Tigger), who was 9 years old when we began our new life.
I “world school” Tigger, teach languages, write, do photography, teach scuba, and do other online work along the way.