You have mentioned your son, who was the result of a relationship that started in Lima, Peru. It does not seem like you will move to Peru full-time. How do you balance being a new father with your travel lifestyle and what role do you see in your son’s life? Also, do you think that based on your son’s exotic background he’s going to do very well with Peruvian girls?
Yeah, Aidric’s a stud. At 13 months he’s got more stamps in his passport than most Americans, and gets more positive attention from females than the best looking guy at a bar. For him, this is only the beginning of a life sure to bring an excessive amount of ladies, love and travel into its fold.
Lord help me (and my mental state) if I move to the U.S. or Peru full-time. So long as I’m not physically crippled in some form that keeps me from running or crawling away, I won’t be found in this situation. Even then, chances are good that I won’t be found in either of these places for more than a few weeks at a time every few years.
So yes, this attitude always begs the question: Where will you raise your son? Where will he go to school? Where will you or he this or that?
These answers will come with time.
It’s true. This isn’t an easy lifestyle for individuals or families. And I truly don’t know for how many months or years I’ll continue to keep it up. Personally, I love it to death, but I’ve certainly got a tolerance for it that others don’t.
The pace will continue to slow as time progresses… three months in a country or city here, six months there. Maybe one day I’ll even find a place that captures me enough to keep me there longer than a handful of months—that’s hard to envision now, but hey, so was being a father.
Aidric has been very fortunate that in his first year of life both his parents have been available or by his nearly every hour of every day. I’m a full-time traveler, but a full-time father first. Sometimes I need remind myself of such things when the distractions of travel and life start pulling your attention in different directions. This balance can be very, very difficult. You must adapt or risk everything (should you decide not to, or find yourself incapable).
Tatiana and I aren’t together simply because of our son. She’s told me as much, as have I her. And I hope to have Aidric by my side as often as possible as he grows. There will be times when he returns to the Americas with Tatiana and I don’t. There will be times when I go into some deep part of Africa and won’t allow him to tag along. I’ve an unquenchable thirst for life outside the U.S., and that will continue to be a part of my life for many years to come, just as Aidric and Tatiana will continue be a part of that life.
And as for Aidric’s love life when he’s of age? Oh man, heaven help those poor girls. A true international man of mystery that will speak many languages with perfect fluency (and carry at least as many passports to match—three at current count). He’ll have the insights of his terribly-experienced parents, and that of years of exposure to different nationalities. They won’t stand a chance, Peruvian, Swedish or otherwise.
Without a doubt, this will be one interesting fellow when he’s older.
A problem of boredom often comes up with long-term travelers. Now that you are traveling with your son, has that problem been mostly eliminated? With him are there things you can’t do now that you could before?
Here in Turkey, an elderly traveler told me a rather entertaining line the other day: “The only people that get bored traveling are boring people.”
It’s true, travelers need projects to work on while they travel, least they become unsatisfied with their ample free time. Each successful long-term traveler has their own style of projects, or what they even consider a project. But we all do them. We have to do them.
I think I would’ve gone nuts if I didn’t have a travelogue as a creative and emotional outlet during my first two years of travel. But things are different now. Traveling with another person allows you to vent and explore oddities without the need of writing to get them out of your system.
Adding my son into the travel mix of adds a crazy amount of stress and repetition. I think boredom now comes in the form of having to adopt an undesirable routine (like making baby food by hand, waking up by his schedule not yours, changing diapers, lugging around supplies, etc). Every parent must endure the pains of repetition in this manner, but we get the burden of having to reengineer or make it work at a basic level all the time because every week (or more) we’re in a new home. You’d think it’d add flavor, but it just adds stress.
Having an infant certainly limits you, but on some levels expands your opportunities. Do I think I would’ve successfully hitched onto a yacht in the Caribbean, lived in a banana plantation in the middle of nowhere, jumped off jungle waterfalls, snuck into Machu Picchu, or even participated in a Brazilian carnival the way I did if I had a child in tow? Hell no. Likewise, gone are the days of anonymous vaginas and risky sex in public places. How on earth am I gonna manage to do that now?
But having a child opens up doors to homes that might be otherwise closed. I’m less of a threat with a son and girlfriend with me—not that having a friendly smile didn’t open doors previously—and I certainly get away with photographing locals more often when Aidric’s strapped to my chest. I think in my upcoming travels to India, being a family man will alter my experience in the country dramatically compared with other solo travelers.
Long ago I came to terms with the idea that you can’t see and experience everything, but to appreciate what you do. This is just another extension of that philosophy.
You’ve mentioned you cook most of all of your meals, and I’m assuming it’s not spaghetti and tomato sauce like I see all other gringos make. Can you share one of your favorite recipes that is easy to whip up in hostel kitchens?
In Latin America, probably three meals out of four were purchased and eaten on the street. In SE Asia, finding a kitchen is about a rare as finding an actual hostel. CouchSurfing here in Eastern Europe and Turkey, that’s where the kitchen-time has been accruing at levels I haven’t known since 2005.
For me, the biggest problem with cooking your own meals is that buying the little spices and niceties necessary to make a ‘fuel meal’ a ‘good meal’ cost. I’ve not only got to buy them, but then carry them if I don’t use ’em up (least I lose that investment). So, why spend $5 on ingredients for a meal when I could just walk down the street and eat a skewer of something that looks like meat for a dollar? In SE Asia, it’d be silly to try and cook for yourself, given the abundant, diverse and inexpensive cuisine out there.
But, there are times when homemade meals make for good conversation and company. I loved cooking in groups in Latin America—especially for a group of women. Getting several people in on the deal makes it affordable, delicious and social.
CONTINUED: Travelvice Recipes