Healthy Travel Tips from an older single Mum

Healthy Travel Tips from an older single Mum


Exploramum and Explorason – Jumping down the oasis sand dunes at Huanchaco, Peru

So Mum ‘Where do you want to go for your 53rd birthday, and what do you want to do” asks my 9-year-old son?

To some of you, this may be a normal ‘birthday’ question, but for us, it usually means a change of country or a “bucket list” item.

You see, we have been traveling the world. In fact, we are now in our 40th country and our 3rd year of continuous travel.

My son was born on St. Patrick’s Day, so his last birthday he chose Ireland – naturally.

I chose an Island off Bocas del Torro in Panama for my 51st Birthday, where we enjoyed paddle boats and kayaking as part of the day, and a long beach-walk on the white sand collecting shells – it was just gorgeous.


Exploramum and Explorason – kayaking off a small island near Bocas Del Toro, Panama for my 51st Birthday

And then it was The Bahamas for my 52nd Birthday.

So now I am turning 53 years old in January. Where will life lead us to, and what activities will we be involved in?

It is not so much a question of where I want to go, or what I want to do, but how I feel. And right now I do not feel my age, and I really don’t think I look my age – well some of you might say I need my eyes checked !!!

So what contributes to a youthful and great life when you travel?

My answer would be to eat, drink, be merry and be healthy.


Exploramum and Explorason – shopping for fresh fruit and vegetables at the local markets in La Paz, Bolivia


In order to eat well, we mainly eat vegetarian.

And I now like to cook. Now those who knew me in Australia knew I hated to cook as it took too much of my precious little time I had spare. But after all the restaurant meals, and the lack of fruit and vegetables, a home cooked meal for us is the greatest.

So we try to rent apartments, cabins, and homes with a kitchen as our first choice.

Some Guest Houses and Apartments also give us the ability to cook, and to meet others at the same time.

We buy our own fresh foods.

I make my own muesli.

We try to shop at local markets.

We carry a cool bag so I can keep the food fresh.

When we can, we try to do this as a partnership, and Explorason will chop the mushrooms, or cheese etc.


Exploramum and Explorason – Explorason helps prepare dinner at our alpine cabin in Kremna, Serbia

We also housesit. This often includes tending to the owners garden or allotment. We then get to pick fresh organic produce from their garden.


Exploramum and Explorason – Exploramum picks fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden at the housesit in Tuscany, Italy

In France there was a copious amount of lettuce, so lettuce soup was made, and it was lovely.  In Fiji, we had fresh pineapples from the plants in our backyard, bananas from our tree, and passionfruit from the vine.  In Tuscany, I had vegetables and wonderful herbs. These I tried to take with us.  I’ve also learned to dry papaya seeds and use them instead of peppercorns. Great for anti-cancer qualities, and fresh papaya on my muesli in the morning straight from the garden is glorious.

Another great part of eating fresh and sourcing our own produce would be that it caters to our budget.

We try to live off $60 a day – all up. In Europe with owning a car this is not possible but is around $90 a day, but when we housesit, this brings it right down in cost. In Fiji, we lived for an average of $15 a day.

We still eat out, but we try to order food that is good for us when we can, and we keep a check on a balanced diet.

Of course, we love a treat, and Explorason loves chocolate, so as long as it is in moderation, this is the key for me.


Exploramum and Explorason – Explorason is responsible to make sure we carry water every day. Ait Benhaddou, Morocco.


Water – We always carry water. Usually, we use our own metal water bottles and have a wetsuit type fabric cover that goes over our shoulder.

We also have an immense / boiler, so we can boil our own drinking water, so in countries where the water might not be of health standards, we boil our own at night, and then pour it into metal drinking flasks to cool overnight. This means we are safe, and we save money.


Exploramum and Explorason – Exploramum buys freshly made juice in a market in La Paz, Bolivia

Juice We love fresh juices, and in 3rd world countries these are usually available at a very good price and are a great cleanser. We make sure we ask for no ice if it is a region where water might be unclean.

Milk – Explorason loves his milk. It is a great source of calcium and we seem to go through about 1 liter a day. Where possible we buy from the supermarket, but sadly it is often long life, as this is most readily available in all countries. Fresh milk is hard to find.


Exploramum and Explorason – It is important to only drink in moderation. At the housesit in Limousin, France

Alcohol – I also like a glass of wine, and I do try to drink red when I can, but I keep my drinking under check.

If it possible I buy my own as it is less expensive than ordering out.

I find this relaxes me, and I enjoy it.


Exploramum and Explorason – Enjoying a family day of tubing just before we left Adelaide, Australia


For me being merry, means being happy. And usually, that means FUN.

So how do we have fun? Often it is jokes, or being silly. Forgetting how old’ I am meant to act’, and engaging with my son.

I try to remember to laugh. Yes, sometimes we need to remember to smile, let go and have some fun. Be spontaneous. Be a little crazy. No-one knows me, so I can be free to be me. This is a really important part of my journey.


Exploramum and Explorason – Ice-skating in Central Park, New York



So how do I take care of myself?

Vitamins – I am not the world’s best person at taking vitamins. I find they make me want to go to the bathroom often, and this is not a great thing to endure when I am on a bus or traveling. But I do try sometimes to take them.  I take no other medication unless I have a headache or become ill and require a prescription.

Smoking – I do NOT smoke cigarettes or pot or any substance. Neither do we frequent places filled with smokers.

Skin – I try to take care of my skin – In Fiji, we did a mud pool that left my skin smooth and soft for days. I also use Skincerity – a great product I was sent to try in Ireland and love it.


Exploramum and Explorason – Taking a mud pool outside of Nadi, Fiji

Feet and hands How about a foot or hand massage – with fish!

You can read about my fun time having this unique experience in Greece here.


Exploramum and Explorason – fish spa

Body Massage – I love a good massage and this is a great way to relax as well.

A relaxing massage on the beach is the perfect place for me to relax and let go of any stress.


Exploramum and Explorason – Exploramum enjoying a massage on the beach in Greece this past week.

In Morocco, I had a massage with Moroccan Argan Oil.

It is great for your hair and skin, and I had a great massage in Marrakech with the most talented of ladies, who worked her skill deep into my shoulder muscles, and gently over my scalp.


Exploramum and Explorason – Exploramum gets a neck and scalp massage with Argon Oil in Marrakech, Morocco

Hair – I use some great Jamaican products called Groganics I found in Ireland – yes a strange mix, but it is a terrific growth stimulant. I found I lost a lot of hair with stress before I left Australia, and also again with extreme temperature change when we arrived in Ireland, so I am pleased with using this peppermint oil based scalp treatment

Sleep – It is really important to sleep enough, and to sleep well.


Exploramum and Explorason – our Bedouin camp in Zagora Desert Morocco where we sleep under a million stars.


Exploramum and Explorason – Exploramum and son sleeping under the stars at a Bedouin camp in the Zagora Desert of Morocco

Beds – With all the changes in beds this is tricky.

A good mattress and pillow are important for a good night sleep.

Time – And a minimum of eight hours for me and ten for Explorason, though I find he is OK sleeping in the car if we are driving if he needs to catch up. As a driver, I can’t!  However getting a set routine of a time to go to bed can be tricky. Especially as a room usually is all in one and so if he goes to bed I must too. The answer for us is that I wake early and he continues to sleep.

I love it when we get a place that has soft white linen, and a fluffy quilt!

Light and Dark – Make it dark – I close the curtains and have the room dark. My son likes to sleep with a light on, so we have found a little battery operated candle that can give the room a dim light.

Ventilation – It is important to also make sure the ventilation is good, but not too hot or cold or allowing insects in.

I check the heating/cooling is safe and the right temperature.

Noise – Peace, and quiet is important – We try to choose a back room away from the road or any loud activity. Just in case, carry ear plugs. Roosters, meowing cats, noisy birds, and barking dogs can ruin your sleep too.

PESTS – No insects – no bed bugs, mosquitoes, flies, bats, mice, spiders, ants, scorpions, or other nasties vital for a good night sleep. Sadly we have encountered all of these and more, so we make sure we have a good repellent with us, and also a mosquito candle. If there is a Citronella plant we pick the leaves and burn them, or dry them too. We do room checks before we enter any room to make sure it has no nasty surprises. (Surprisingly the bedbugs were in a 4-star hotel opposite Disneyland!)

Get some Sun – sun makes me feel good, and a little sun is proven to be good for you too. Please have a read here.


Exploramum and Explorason – We went skiing and Tobogganing in the Snowy Mountains of Australia


Now, this was an important factor in choosing now as a time to travel.

When we decided to go on this journey together I made a conscious decision it was because I wanted to ‘do’ things with him. I wanted to be physically able to participate.

I was petrified of horse-riding when we started, but now we have risen horses that many times, that fear is completely dispelled.  I am pleased with myself I conquered that one.


Exploramum and Explorason – Horse-riding in Cerro Punta, Panama


Exploramum and Explorason – Horse-riding in Arequipa, Peru

So as we travel the world this comes in many forms.


I will give the safest sports a go.  We stayed in Hawaii and the family took us paddle-boarding.


Exploramum and Explorason – Paddle-boarding in Honolulu, Hawaii

We stayed a few in a gorgeous town called Bonito in Brazil. Here we swam with the giant goldfish and tubed the river rapids.


Exploramum and Explorason – River Tubing the rapids in Bonito, Brazil

Part of our hotel deal at an oasis in the middle of the desert was a daily rowboat on the mirky green muddy waters. Not bad for a $25 a night hotel.


Exploramum and Explorason – rowing on the oasis lake (it has green mud and water) Huacachina, Peru

Whether it is a water park, swimming, tubing, rowing, parasailing, canoeing, water skiing or any other such sports we both do this together and have fun.


Exploramum and Explorason – One of the many watermarks we have been to on our trip. Xocomil, Guatemala

It is an important thing for my son not to feel ‘alone’, so I try to go on as many times as I can with him.


Exploramum and Explorason – ready for action on the waterside at Xocomil, Guatemala

We decided to leave all our worries behind and fly through the air. My son called me “SuperMum” this day, as we hung in the silence above the crystal aquamarine waters of Fiji.


Exploramum and Explorason – Parasailing off Beachcomber Island Beach, Fiji

A unique boat ride to see the beaches around Buzios Brazil was with a waterside boat. It was raining and freezing cold, but I was determined to ‘give it a go’.  Turns out the sea water was warmer than the air.


Exploramum and Explorason – Water-sliding into the ocean off the back of this boat Buzios, Brazil


Exploramum and Explorason – Watersliding in the rain off a boat into the ocean at Buzios, Brazil

Land sports

So now comes the fitness part.


Exploramum and Explorason – cycling on a super windy day along the foreshore of Panama City, Panama

I might not be the fittest person in the world, but I am determined to give it a try.

Camel riding through the Zagora and Sahara Deserts to some of you may not be a sport, but you will feel a few aches and pains as a result, and Explorason wanted to race his camel – however, he wasn’t allowed, so he got off and ran through the sand dunes.


Exploramum and Explorason – Camel riding four times in Morocco in both Zagora and Sahara Deserts.

We have tried snow skiing, tobogganing, hiking, sand-boarding, horse-riding, donkey-riding, ox-riding, camel riding, motorbike-riding bike riding and tandem cycling, bowling, go-karting, golf and mini golf, and a myriad of other sports.  If it looks safe, fun and affordable, we will give it a try.


Exploramum and Explorason – We bought a motorbike in Brazil and rode it for 2 months to many places.

I want to have this time together.  So even if it means climbing up trees, I will attempt it, as long as there are good safety measures in place.


Exploramum and Explorason – Tree Canopy Line in Tarija, Bolivia

I also don’t want my son to do things alone as he has no siblings, so we both have an active and healthy approach to our lifestyle.


Exploramum and Explorason – Horseriding in the rain to the tobacco farm in Viñales, Cuba

For me, I find probably the most exercise we do on a regular basis is walking.


Exploramum and Explorason – hiking to El Dorado near Guatavita, Colombia

Walking through Machu Picchu with a bit of a climb, there is always walking – every day. But I want to stay young, and I want to enjoy this life together. So I choose a healthy life.


Exploramum and Explorason – hiking in Peru. This day saw us climb to the top of Machu Picchu

We walked over the Salt Flats of Bolivia and had a great time playing too.


Exploramum and Explorason – Having fun in the worlds largest Salt Flats – past Uyuni, Bolivia

We have even walked through caiman in the wetlands of Brazil. Look below and there were hundreds of them. Fortunately, they are pretty lazy and don’t attack unless provoked.

And being Exploramum and Explorason we love to explore.  We have also explored the Amazon Jungle of Ecuador and trekked through mud up to my thighs, and then a canoe in a lake watching the manatee.  Explorason swam with the pink dolphin there too, and fished and caught a Piranha. None of the other men caught any, so he was really thrilled.


Exploramum and Explorason – 3-day expedition included walking through caiman in the Pantanal Wetlands of Brazil

And to explore we need to be get up and go. We do a combination of tours, treks, expeditions, cruises, and we also plan our own travel too – all on a tiny budget.

To me, this is probably the biggest way we stay fit and healthy.


Exploramum and Explorason – Hiking at the summit above Quito, Ecuador. Access was by cab car and it was freezing 1

So, as my 53rd birthday looms ahead of me, I have to say I feel pretty good for my age.

For any of you who are contemplating traveling with your child/ren and are concerned as to how you will have the stamina – know you will.

You will if you want to.


Exploramum and Explorason – climbing the steps of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

And for me, it is the best time of my life.

I spend each wonderful day exploring this magnificent world, and that is incredible. And I have a great time with my son too.


Exploramum and Explorason – Explorason at the start of our hike up to Plaza de Michelangelo, Florence, Italy

It is the most wonderful healthy, happy, and fulfilling life.

And every day is a blessing.


Exploramum and Explorason – Sandboarding down some extreme slopes at the oasis sand dunes Huacachina, Peru

As we enjoy the water sports at the beach of Greece, I think of the words of my favorite song by Louie Armstrong, and I hope I can inspire some of you to live life to the full.

“I think to myself what a wonderful world.”


Exploramum and Explorason – Heading by boat to Paradise Beach in Greece

Questions and Comments

  • What do you make of my Healthy travel tips article?
  • Do you find it enlightening?
  • What are some of the tips you think may work out for you?
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  • Do share your comments with us below.

4 thoughts on “Healthy Travel Tips from an older single Mum

    • So glad we crossed paths too.
      You two are such happy people, and that helps make our travels a joy to meet others who add a smile and a good conversation to our days.
      Bolivia seems like forever ago!
      Hope life is treating you well 🙂

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