Interview with 1Dad1Kid.com
1Dad1Kid.com is a brilliantly informative and engaging site that details the adventures of Talon and his young son, Tigger. Rather than settling in one place and taking holidays, they made the huge decision to spend their life travelling the world together! They set off in May 2011 when Tigger was nine years old and they’ve been on the go ever since, exploring many fascinating places right across the globe.
Their travels have taken them to destinations as diverse as Thailand, Malaysia, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, Spain, France, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Morocco, and numerous places across their original home country of the USA.
Talon works online and world schools Tigger, using house-sitting as a way to explore new countries and cultures and provide periods of stability in their exciting lives.
With a fascinating back story, Talon and Tigger are now taking their time to discover the many delights of the world.
1Dad1Kid.com is a treasure trove of information about travel with inspiration galore. There are also plenty of useful tips, including how to save money on airfares and travelling responsibly. You certainly don’t need to be planning a drastic change to your own style of family travelling to find this site helpful!
We wanted to chat a bit more with Talon and ask him a few questions about his nomadic life of exploring the globe …
Q: We’re really interested in all your house-sitting experiences. We would imagine it would be quite exhausting to be constantly on the move and this seems like a terrific way of really getting to know a place, keep the costs down, and enjoy a home-from-home feeling. Is it ever difficult to pack up and move on at the end of an assignment?
Some more than others. It really depends on the area and the level of needs. For example, we had a few-week sit in Cozumel, Mexico that was absolutely delightful. We had a pool and a private beach, and our dog was low maintenance and wonderful. It was hard to leave that one.
Our one on an oasis in Morocco was easy to leave. We had been there for 2 months, and while I absolutely loved it I was ready to get somewhere with good cheese, pork products, and good Internet.
Sometimes we really get attached to our temporary pets, and those can be very challenging to leave.
Q: Linked to above, have you ever had any house-sitting arrangements that just didn’t work for you both?
I wouldn’t say we started any that didn’t work out well, but we’ve had a couple where we were quite happy to be leaving when our time came up. Those are pretty rare, though.
Q: What are the main things that you sometimes miss from the US?
Diversity of food. In the US, even in smaller towns you often still have access to many ethnic foods. Grocery stores in the States have an incredible amount of variety, and that can be quite rare in other countries. For example, we’re currently in Serbia, and there are about 8 choices for breakfast cereals whereas in the US there are 100. Stores are more prevalent, but the variety is often extremely limited.
I also often miss the convenience of being able to pay with my debit card almost everywhere as well as being able to do online shopping. I was really spoiled during our last visit to the US where I could order something on Amazon Prime and have it in my hands within 2 days, even delivering on a Sunday!
Also, when we’re in the US I don’t have to worry about time restrictions to visit which is kind of nice. I can also speak with practically everyone I meet which makes it really nice.
Q: How much of the local languages have you picked up whilst on the road?
We pick up bits everywhere we go. We always learn at least a few pleasantries before we go somewhere new and you pick up things in daily life. In Iceland, we stayed with an American-Icelandic couple. They had a really fun and smart dog, and we ended up learning more Icelandic vocab by interacting with the dog than anywhere else.
Some areas are obviously tougher than others. We only have a few words in Thai and Vietnamese, but I picked up quite a bit more Bahasa in Malaysia and Indonesia. They’re just easier.
Q: Do you have a set schedule with regards to Tigger’s learning?
Not at all. It’s completely child-directed and practical education. Learning happens all day long in some form. He’s very curious and learns better when he’s moving, so we often have a lot of interesting educational conversations while we’re walking around exploring. One time a trip to the ATM in Ecuador led to a discussion that involved macroeconomics, sociology, history, and estate planning. Those stick with him far more than making him sit down and do a worksheet.
Q: What are the main things about travelling that you would say have helped Tigger to develop and learn?
For starters, I’d say an increased level of independence. He has had so much more freedom in other countries, and that has been huge for him. I also believe that having so much quality time with me has been incredibly important for his development. We’re around each other constantly rather than just a few hours after I pick him up from school and both of us are already fried from a long day.
It also teaches you flexibility and how to problem solve.
One of my favorite things is that it has turned him away from a high level of consumerism to appreciating events more. Because our lives are condensed into a suitcase and a daypack, he doesn’t have the steady urge to buy and acquire new things all the time. He actually struggles to give me a wish list for his birthday and Chrismakah.
Q: If there were no limits regarding time and money, where would you both love to explore next?
That’s a tough one since there are so many places we still need to visit, but I’d probably say more of Australia. We had a very limited exposure to that huge country, and we’d both like to go back and see a lot more of it.
For just me, I’d say Antarctica. I think he might agree, but I’m not sure he’s as interested in going there as I am.
Q: How do you overcome any differences of opinion you may both have about where to go / what to see etc?
We talk it out. Often it’s a question of identifying the degree of the feeling. For instance, if I absolutely want to go do something or somewhere, I’ll say “This is really important to me.” Usually, once one of us hears that, we go with it.
Now that he’s older sometimes the best compromise is he stays in our apartment while I go on a tour or whatever. He is completely over visiting cathedrals and castles while they still attract me. So he’ll often run around outside while I go in and explore. He wants to be more settled, so if I get the travel itch I can go on a trip solo for 2-3 days or so while he plays lord of the manor. It’s a win-win.
We also do tradeoffs. One day perhaps we’ll go to the places I’m mostly interested in, and the next we’ll either do his activities or stay home for a lazy day (his choice).
Some places I have had to avoid because he really doesn’t want to go. Like I would love to go back to Morocco, but he doesn’t want to (“No bacon and crap WiFi”). So I’ll have to save that for a later time.
Since these are really important years in his life, I tend to give his feelings more weight. Thankfully, he’s pretty flexible and easy going, so it makes things much easier.
Q: And finally, how long do you plan on continuing your travelling lifestyle, or is this the plan for the foreseeable future?
We have no plans to quit, although we are trying to identify a place that will serve as a base. Since he’s a teen, he’s interested in being more settled and having a home to come back to after a trip. He’s tired of moving from place to place to place. He’s still interested in travel but wants to take shorter trips less frequently. We’ve identified a few possibilities and are just trying to sort out visa issues so we can settle down a bit more.