Monday, May 7, 2012

Parenting On The Road: A Housewife Without A House

"Hot dogs always seem better out than at home; so do French-fried potatoes; so do your children." ~ Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

It was a dream we lived for 280 days that luckily did not end in tatters. But that's not to say I got out unscathed. In fact, I emerged battered and bruised. Our round-the-world trip left me slightly demented. Disorganized. And craving for a home. Any home.

Now the big BUT is, a ton of awesome memories outweighs the stinging scar. I'm mighty proud to have accomplished this epic journey not only as a backpacker, but also as a Filipina, as a wife, and as a first-time mom (who was never a fan of babies). And I am certain that the precious lessons which I managed to pick up whilst on the road, cannot be collected anywhere else.

I reckon long-term travel made me a better being.

Because a "superman" cannot wait. Praia Do Forte, Bahia, Brazil.

When we arrived two months ago in the Philippines, I was welcomed with congratulatory pats on the back. I savored the kudos, though I assume that only a fraction of my pals has a solid grasp of what parenting on the road entails. You see, my family didn't come from some grand vacation. We merely lived our life differently for nine months.

So how's it like to be a housewife without a house? Here's a quickie low-down, which will be discussed extensively in future posts. If uhm, future permits.

Settling Around

For 280 days, we crashed at in-laws' cribs, stayed for extensive periods in hostels and guesthouses, and Couchsurfed. Once we rented an artist's cabin by the beach (the only time we rented a house). We treated every place we stayed at as our home, not just a holiday accommodation.

Couchsurfing in the forest. Mullumbimby, New South Wales, Australia. Experienced living off solar energy and rain water.

I stashed our garments in closets, gadgets and toys in drawers, and groceries on shelves just so to make the room feel more personal. If there's enough space, I set up a work station and a play area for our daughter.

My So-Called Housekeeping

Yes, I did the usual mom chores, such as laundry. Not just to save cash, but also because I enjoy hand-washing clothes. I kid you not. Mind you there's actually heaps of time allocated for this, err, hobby of mine.

It didn't matter whether the hostel allowed it or not, and I hung clothes anywhere possible: Bathrooms rails, balconies, and even fences.

Kitchen Hopping

Nope, I ain't a good cook but I do whip up a dish once in a while. More often when we travel overseas, especially when I need an adobo fix. So whenever we look for accommodations online, we mostly choose the ones with a common kitchen.

Adobo cooked in a Santa Clara, California hotel room where we shacked for a month (accommodation courtesy of the hubby's employer).

We love dining out and trying munchies from different continents, but I also wanted to keep Luna familiar with the Pinoy taste. She must love patis.

Managing Belongings

Buy some, ditch some. That's how we rolled. Whenever we bought a souvenir, we let go of an item or two. And it was never an easy task. I shed a tear when I gave away some of Luna's first ever toys to street kids in Peru.

A trilobite we bought in a Moroccan fossils museum. One of the five. Plus a fossil plate. Gave up a bunch of shirts to make space for 'em.

Pinay Travel Junkie confession: I am very sentimental. More so now that I'm a mom. I kept Luna's shoes she first walked in (even if they don't fit no mo), her first doodles, and even nonsense gifts she received from strangers during the trip.

Keeping 'Em Healthy

There's no debate, health is our primary concern especially for Luna. Prior to the trip, we visited a "travel doctor" to get the necessary shots such as Hepa A and Yellow Fever vaccine (for parts of Africa).

Google translating a medicine's indication I copied off the bottle.

Then there's the other sicknesses like the common cold, cough and fever. Luna got sick every month. Every month. Self-medication may sound easy, breezy but when you're overseas it can be a gargantuan ordeal because of non-English speaking pharmacists and doctors.

Look Ma, No Yaya!

Can't say this enough: Parenting is a 24-hour task. Whenever we're on the road with the little one, we're constantly on our toes. One of us should always stay awake during an overnight bus/train/plane ride. The other one, slumbers but holds a barf bag, ready to be awoken anytime. We rarely eat peacefully because Luna loves playing with food (and running around restaurants). She also hated (and still hates) the stroller and baby carrier, so we take turns lugging her during hikes and climbs.

Me: "OMG Machu Picchu!". Hubby: "OMG Luna needs changing!".

Even during one of the highlights of our life's timeline, our long-awaited Machu Picchu trip, we had to come up with a makeshift nappy changing station because the toilets are situated light-years away.

The List Goes On

There's so much debris of thoughts swimming in my head which I'd like to verbalize, but due to your my short attention span, I'm parking my pen for now. Each part of this post requires deeper digging anyway, which could mean weeks of writing for a mom who's watching over a demanding toddler.

I kinda felt the urge to share this now even though I believe I have not arranged my points in an orderly manner, for I'm feeling mushy yet again... This coming weekend we'll be celebrating my second Mother's Day.

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evankristine said...
June 3, 2012 at 8:06 PM

It is great to know every side of a story especially the ones where people can learn from you! This made me realize that traveling isn't exactly all about the wonderful places you visit but also the reality it holds and the experiences it can offer you, some can be great some can be not so great.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Well said :) Some are sucky, but it's part of the experience... And we learn loads from it.

Jovial Wanderer said...
June 3, 2012 at 8:32 PM

ang bait naman ni Luna pag pinapalitan ng diappers, almost motionless. hehe! Ang galing mo magpalit ng diappers. Bilis! Congrats mom bff!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 3, 2012 at 8:43 PM

Tin, I think because she was freezing. Lol.

Edmaration etc said...
June 3, 2012 at 9:34 PM

My first time to meet (virtually) a mom with that kind and I know your "genus" is rare... We have similar characteristics in terms of being Sentimental. I also keep unnecessary things (but with big meanings for me) and letting them go needs enough courage. Lucky me, I have a home where I can keep them. hahaah... :)

Interesting life of a mom and a nomadic family. Space is a necessity and I understand that, you can not carry all those things. no permanent home where to keep. Basta naman, nanghihinayang naman ako sa mga gamit na kelangan ipamigay na sentimental dahil you need to carry limited loads along the road :( Kung posible lang sana I will volunteer to keep them. LOL!

I am always inspired by your posts with relation to parenting+travel.

Edmaration etc said...
June 3, 2012 at 9:36 PM

P.S. Keep safe always on the road and to Baby Doll... I'll be watching your stories on the time Baby Luna will first go to school and as a teen ager. :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 3, 2012 at 9:42 PM

Aww, thanks Edmar! You're so sweet! I HAVE TO head north to finally meet you :)

Reiza said...
June 3, 2012 at 9:50 PM

It's quite a relief to know I share my hand-washing hobby with someone else---my travel idol at that! Haha! But really, Gay, I can't salute you enough for pulling the RTW trip off with a baby in tow. Not everyone can do it. You're a real trooper, and I can see little Luna will be following mommy's footsteps. :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 3, 2012 at 9:52 PM

OMG! Reiza, I finally found you, my laundry sole mate. Hah!

Astrid said...
June 3, 2012 at 11:59 PM

People say having a child can hinder you from traveling around the world especially when they're at a very young age. I think most of them are just afraid of the challenge. Kudos to being a super travelling mom! :D

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 4, 2012 at 12:04 AM

Yeah, us moms are naturally paranoid :) Hihi.

abeng said...
June 4, 2012 at 2:21 AM

ang astig mo tlga mommy gay! apir rakenrol

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 4, 2012 at 7:57 AM

Hahaha! Pislabrakenrol.

Whacky Adventures said...
June 4, 2012 at 8:04 AM

Galing naman! Im not sure if Luna will have vivid memories of your trip but im pretty sure she'll be damn proud when she sees and reads about this. :]

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 4, 2012 at 8:23 AM

Most likely she won't :) But yes, I reckon she'd be proud when she's old enough to realize.

Franc Ramon said...
June 4, 2012 at 9:27 AM

280 days of travel. That's impressive. I get homesick just being away from my comfort zones.

Noks Sosa I said...
June 4, 2012 at 10:12 AM

WOW. Your lucky to have a kid like Luna. Napakabait and she knows what discipline is. I guess she will be as great as you. I love your travel. Its like a roller coaster experience but the most important is you made it special because you had your family with you while travelling and syempre you made it masaya!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 4, 2012 at 10:27 AM

Blissful experience despite all the drama! :)

Tin | The Average Jane said...
June 4, 2012 at 10:45 AM

You forgot to add; "Luna must also like bagoong." Hehehe!

But as I said, that experience would have one hulluva story to tell your grandkids. And who's to stop you from having a part 2 or continuation of that epic adventure right? =)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 4, 2012 at 11:08 AM

She must like buro too. Too many to mention Tin :p

biyachessa said...
June 4, 2012 at 2:15 PM

grabe gay, hanga ako sa sipag and tiyaga nyong bitbitin si luna everywhere! but i guess, anything for travel right? such a doll. :) pero someday, i think your travel experiences will bring you both closer.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 4, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Hihi. I'd rather be exhausted carrying her than miss her terribly :)

Gabz said...
June 4, 2012 at 8:13 PM

I've been following you and really admire you for "living life differently" with Luna. You didn't complete the one year trip but at least you returned with lots of lessons learned. :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 4, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Thanks for following our adventure Gabz!

bertN said...
June 4, 2012 at 9:15 PM

That's quite a feat, being on the road for 280 days with a little one in tow. I'll probably go insane.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 4, 2012 at 9:17 PM

Haha! Well, I can't say we're still sane ;p

Traveling Morion/Jeffrey Rilles said...
June 4, 2012 at 9:22 PM

luv reading this post ms gae lalo na ung paglalaba at pagsasampay:) cant imagine traveling with baby pero nagawa mo:) LUNA IS THE YOUNGEST TRAVELLER ive ever known:)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 4, 2012 at 9:24 PM

Haha! Ang saya magsampay kung san san :)

tatess said...
June 4, 2012 at 10:47 PM

I canrelate to the laundry chores in the motel/hostel rooms.I do it too and hang on everyplace possible.Travelling is really exhausting but we enjoys every bit of it with hubby and children around.

Mishidems said...
June 4, 2012 at 10:50 PM

Such an inspiring post. I hope to look back to this someday when I'm already a mom myself and traveling the world :)

Filipina Explorer said...
June 5, 2012 at 12:53 AM

I've always wondered how you managed your stuff and whether you had laundry service or not during your RTW trip. Now I know!

Girl, you truly are one kindred spirit and an interesting and rare kind of mom. You are my favorite blogger of all time :)

And boy does Luna rock that Machu Picchu ensemble.

eigroj said...
June 5, 2012 at 1:24 AM

I followed ur blog and always read ur post evrytime--- it's very inspiring and i love all your travels how u live and survive every travel that u have-- and how it changes so much specially that u have a kid now--- ^^__^^

athena said...
June 5, 2012 at 2:51 AM

I am truly impressed and amazed of what you do in your life. Traveling and re-locating every now and then is not for everybody. You are so strong-willed.


Sweethestia said...
June 5, 2012 at 5:16 AM

I am a follower of your blog. Laki na ng baby mo.

Gemma| My Dailies said...
June 5, 2012 at 7:27 AM

grabe ang galing nyo! parang after a week nga lang ng traveling e hinahanap na ng katawan ko ang umuwi sa sarili house! what more months of traveling! parang sobra exciting, plus may baby pa! now i know why you are a pinay travel junkie! kudos... sobra hanga! panalo adventures nyo!

Francis Balgos said...
June 5, 2012 at 8:25 AM

I was curious as to how you both manage to travel with a toddler.. now I know.
Don't worry, you may have not organize the post, but its still a good read from the Pinay Travel Junkie..
Now you have a lot to say to other Mom's who thinks they're are tied to being a Mom and being only at home.

Markable said...
June 5, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Ikaw na ang pinaytravellingmommy! :D

guolisha said...
June 5, 2012 at 6:39 PM

Nakakatouch naman ng photos mo with the little girl. :3 And the banner you have is so cool. Will keep updated here. <3

Micamyx|Senyorita said...
June 6, 2012 at 7:19 AM

Ilang beses ko plinay yung first video. Nakakatanggal talaga ng pagod ang ngiti ni Luna! :D

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 6, 2012 at 1:48 PM

Tess, haha! Hurrah to doing laundry 'on the road'.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 6, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Thank for the kind words, fellow Filipina Explorer! And thanks too Jorgie & Athena :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 6, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Gemma, I myself cannot believe I was able to do it! LOL. Right now I think I want to park my arse somewhere.

AyLin said...
June 6, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Wow! Astig! I adore and salute moms like you! =)

lakbay philippines said...
June 6, 2012 at 8:36 PM

this is a very unconventional family! a hippie family! hahahaha... luna is very lucky and you guys are very lucky to have luna too!

i don't know if i can pull off this stint like this. kudos!

June 8, 2012 at 12:36 AM

Luna should be very happy for the family she have right now :D once and for all, hindi biro maging ina. how much more when travelling :D I salute you my dear!! :D

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 8, 2012 at 12:38 AM

Thanks my sweet Shugah!

Mhe-anne Ojeda said...
June 8, 2012 at 5:55 AM

i enjoyed reading another witty post of yours Gay! you are a mom and a traveler rolled into one and that's a great feat to beat and one i would like to emulate coz it is difficult to say goodbye to what i love to do - to travel and check off bucket list haha! Having four mothers around me, i realized that mothering and traveling are on the opposite ends of the pendulum (kinda) but you proved it wrong big time!Kudos!!

marri said...
June 11, 2012 at 10:28 AM

TRAVELING along with a young kid with you is not an easy task.
She should be well protected and secured wherever you go. Luna is
still prone to many illnesses. The fact that you go from one place to another
makes her susceptible but she's quite TOUGH and her immunity is strong
enough. Just take care always and I feel great to meet such interesting
family like yours that spend almost a lifetime traveling and having experiences
totally different from the ordinary.

Farida of In Love With Sunflower said...
June 12, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Belated Mother's Day to you! Amazing how you juggle things at the same time plus the demands of having a toddler, hihihihi. May I know why you and your husband are always on the road? (Curious here :P)

I am new to your blog but would love to be your follower. I always enjoyed traveling but my condition (permanent wheelchair user) sometimes prevents me from visiting places due to the problems such as accessibility, etc.

God bless you!

tndcallphilippines said...
June 13, 2012 at 1:55 PM

what a great story your daughter will have to tell. She's had her diaper changed in Machu Pichu. :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 13, 2012 at 9:43 PM

Welcome to the blog Farida! We're constantly on the road simply because, it's our choice of lifestyle :) The world is so awesome we can't stop exploring!

carlo said...
June 18, 2012 at 2:27 PM

Ang galing mo Gay!
Off the charts ang level mo!
Kami nga ni Faye, travel muna bago mag-baby! haha! :)

ardee sean said...
June 20, 2012 at 9:27 AM

sobrang ganda ng experience.. congrats gay!! ang cute ni baby.. :P

killerfillers said...
June 21, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Ang galing naman na mommy..ok lang ba paligaw ko sa baby boy si Luna

David Pascht said...
June 22, 2012 at 11:21 AM

very enjoying when you're with your kid..

Paula O said...
July 7, 2012 at 6:55 PM

Gay, you are doing a great job! I hope I could be like when I become a mother one day myself. :-)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
July 8, 2012 at 6:49 AM

Thanksss Paula :)

travel philippines said...
July 21, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Good thing you had those adobo fixes. Once I visited a brother stationed offshore in Montego Bay, Jamaica, the townsfolk who dwelled near my hotel were captivated by the chicken and pork curry I made for a new friend. That friend's daughter loved it so much she threw up from overeating!

Kish said...
September 6, 2012 at 3:24 PM

I am just overflowing with good vibes reading everything on your blog! You're such an inspiration! I think I am inlove with Luna too! Keep doing what you're doing so it will always remind me that I need to get out of my seat and start doing the things that will free my spirit! I'm a real fan!:)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
September 6, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Hi Kish! Wow, that means a lot to me. Thanks for following our adventures and I hope you share with us your future adventures as well.

soloflightEd said...
October 30, 2012 at 4:40 AM

Hay, bilib ako sa inyo gayE. mga astig kayo! not certain if I can do what you guys are doing if I'll have a family, but this one is very inspiring and a proof that it's doable.

Planning to write a similar post, minus the baby. Not sure if the drama will be there. hehehe. but definitely the crazy things I do to save on costs. One example was that I used a 3-day free trial pass inside a gym in BKK. and while taking a shower, I also brought my clothes with me so I could wash them. because the water's pressure in the hostel was not strong at all. hahahah. ibang trip. hahaha.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
October 30, 2012 at 1:59 PM

Haha! I wonder where you hung your clothes after washing, Ed.

Antoinette | love.antoinette said...
November 1, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Wow... I can't even begin to imagine traveling with a kid! It's great your hubby's with you, I'm sure it helps a lot! Super proud of you :) I laughed when you said "who was never a fan of babies" Lol that's how I feel about babies right now! Anyhow keep doing your thang, woman! From one Filipina to another, we stay travelin'!

she-wolf said...
April 10, 2013 at 1:20 PM

i'm so curious where you gave birth

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