We are now just over 3 weeks into our 4 week tour of Canada & USA, and now staying in hotel No.7 of 8 in that time.
There is no doubt about it we have made the most incredible memories and seen some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen in my entire life and in general we have had a LOT of fun. I have no regrets in making this decision to take this year out to travel but I don’t think I realised quite how hard work it was also going to be in many aspects. I have learned a lot about travel, a lot about myself and a lot about being a single parent on the road.
It’s surprisingly lonely!
Last year when we spent 3 weeks in Barbados we actually spent very little time in our hotel room other than to sleep. Even if we were not out and about we would be around the pool or on the beach. Cam made friends with other kids and by default I automatically found myself becoming friendly with their parents, I got to know other people staying in the hotel, staff members and the locals. Evenings were spent sitting out at the surf bar, Cam playing on the beach and I generally had someone who engaged me in conversation.
This trip has been different, 7 hotels in 3 wks we haven’t got to know anyone at all. It’s just not ‘that’ kind of holiday and with a totally different type of climate when you are at the hotel you are not sat out around the pool, you are in your room…for me with a 6yr old 24/7. It’s hard work!! It’s amazing how much time you kill at home with cooking, cleaning, laundry, gardening, school runs etc, that’s without the normal working week – when all of that gets stripped from your life it creates a lot of down time and a 6 yr old isn’t going to sit down and have an intellectual conversation with you, in the same way that I don’t want to ‘play’ with him all day every day. We both have different needs from our own peers and age groups which is lacking and even within a short time leaves a huge gap in your life.
Even with all the things I am trying to create for him, I know there are times when Cam would love to be back running around with his friends, playing whatever 6 yr olds play, and I would just love to be sitting in a restaurant with a friend having an semi-intelligent ‘grown up’ conversation!
I have caught up with a couple of friends and my cousins along the way during this trip and boy have I cherished that time for some adult interaction. We also met a new younger generation of cousins in Vancouver and I know he, and they, relished in the short time they had playing together.
And don’t even mention the s** word, all those friends who keep saying “hey you’ll meet the man of your dreams on your travels” yeah right! You can just imagine it “Hey come back to my place and let’s have some fun in this tiny room I am sharing my with 6 yr old” This is my life, or should I say ‘our’ lives for the next year. I am not only sole parent but sole teacher too, and I admit at times it bloody hard! I have probably overshared greatly on Facebook, but sometimes that feels like my only communication with the outside world beyond our little mother & son bubble. Don’t get me wrong, I am loving this time with Cameron, but it is all about balance..for both of us,
We are both missing Georgia too, although we speak almost every day it’s not the same even if she is grown up and independent now. I am so looking forward to the 8 weeks in the New Year when she will be joining us, even if she is messy as hell and I know will be driving me insane having to share a room with her untidiness 😫
This is not a holiday in the traditional sense. I still have to build in an element of formal education for Cameron each day. I am also still running my own business which means still dealing with emails and phone calls every day. I try and ‘top & tail’ my work by doing it each end of the day, after Cam is asleep and before he wakes in the morning. As a general rule this has worked well so far and each day I feel a huge sense of gratitude that technology had come to the place where I can still run a lot of my business remotely otherwise it would just not be possible for us to even be doing this trip as I am not in the financial position where I could even think about not working. I have cut down a lot this year for obvious reasons and I am surprisingly suffering massive withdrawal from not conducting ceremony’s. I don’t think I had consciously considered how much purpose this gave me in life, however it has also made me appreciate life a lot more too.
Vancouver to New York City is actually quite a trek, other than a couple of dodgy days in Toronto I have LOVED it all, but in hindsight transporting a six yr old and all of our luggage to 8 hotels in 4 weeks has proved to be quite a marathon and I am both physically and mentally exhausted. There have been days when I wish we had hired a motor home so we would just chuck everything in there and go from place to place without having to re-pack every time. I must admit that a coast of coast R.V. trip across America and/or Canada is still pretty high on the bucket list, although I am not sure I could handle it as the sole adult driver and endless repetitions of “are we there yet?”. Something I have to say I have not encountered at all travelling by rail.
The endless moving around has been stressful but I have to give full credit to Cam he hasn’t complained once, even though I know he has found it exhausting and I have felt guilty watching him trying to stay awake in restaurants and taxis etc. He has been an absolute little trooper!
Our next trip is a bit shorter but also involved 4 moves in two weeks and connecting flights. However after that the next non-stop trip we will have much longer in most locations to help us immerse a little deeper into local cultures, we will also have a couple of cruises so we can benefit from seeing lots of places without constantly re-packing. (yaaaay)
Medical emergencies have not been fun either, Cam woke up one morning in Calgary with agony in the top of his leg and couldn’t walk at all, this had come on completely out of the blue as he had not had any apparent injury or illness, but there I was in a strange country and whilst I do have medical insurance I still didn’t know how the medical process worked in Canada. Should I take him to a doctor? should I take him to the emergency room? where is it? how do I get him there? It wasn’t like we were in a 3rd world non english speaking country – we were in Canada! But the worries seem to magnify 100% as soon as you are out of your own country.
To add to that I’ve started suffering with nose bleeds since I got here, every few days to start with, then more frequently to every morning as soon as I go from lying down from sitting up. Then 2 days ago I woke up at 2.30am choking on my own blood – and I couldn’t stop it! Finally it did stop about 30 mins later. I know I lost a lot of blood in that time but once again my mind was in overdrive – what if I bleed to death? what if I fall unconscious and Cam wakes up to find me in a pool of blood? what would he do? would he know what to do? Can he even access my phone? It’s these things you don’t give much thought to before you set off, especially as this too has come completely out of the blue. Suffice to say our 3 days in Albany have been pretty quiet and we have only ventured out for 2/3 hours each day. That’s a lot of time spent vegetating in a hotel room and Cam has spent far too much time on the ipad, he not complained! and I consider that’s a better option than me ending up in hospital here.
Tomorrow however we are onto our final destination and last hotel for this trip in New York City. I think we are both ready for some home comforts for a little while and to sleep in our own beds. I will take many new lessons with me on the next trip, but most importantly we will both take home the most incredible memories from these last 4 weeks which I know I (and I hope Cam) will remember for the rest of our lives.
This has been a real learning curve for me as well as the most fantastic adventure. Yes I would do things a little differently if I did it again, but the challenges are also enriching me. I thought World Schooling would just be for Cameron’s benefit but I am learning something new myself each and every day.