The Times Of Amma family believes deeply in travel. We also highly recommend travelling with children as it brings a fresh perspective to travel.
Through 'Gypsy Moms ' we aim to to feature Moms who enjoy travel, to inspire those readers who baulk at the idea of travelling with their children.
Today we speak to Deenaz Raisinghani, the Guwhati Mom who solo backpacked across Europe with her one-year old daughter.
In her own words, Deenaz is an Indian mom to a two and half year old daughter Arianna, Army wife and avid backpacker. She quit her life as a corporate grinder, and is on her journey to becoming an academic, and maybe a closet musician.
You can also follow Deenaz on Instagram .
What does the word ‘travel’ mean to you?
Travel for me is a big part of who I am and it is the biggest release. Travelling to a distant place opens up my mind like nothing else does, and you start appreciating the little joys in life, and become thankful for what you have. So travel is my go to solution for all problems in life.
What is your preferred style of travel?
Although the body does require a bit of pampering when on holiday, and we have taken trips that include luxurious stays and comforts that only fancy hotels can give you, like saunas or 24/7 room service, or baby sitting services, my preferred style of travel is definitely budget backpacking travel. I prefer this maybe because of the challenge it presents as a traveler, and the joy it brings once you manage to conquer the destination in your own way. Also, a big part of our traveling includes stays with local people, visiting local joints, eating native cuisine and a lot of walking which I feel, has helped us enjoy our holidays even more, than staying exclusively in a hotel and doing guided tours.
Have you ever gone on a solo-trip? Could you describe it to us?
Yes, I have travelled on my own since I was in school and college. I think coming out of home for studies, and living in a different city equips you with confidence and strength which you thought you may not have acquired if you did not come out of home at the right age. I call these life skills or street smartness. There is a kind of satisfaction that only travelling solo can give you. It could be very inane like eating your favourite dish by yourself at a cafe, or going to a pub all alone and actually having a good time, or staying at a hostel on a trip and making plans with your roomies to explore the place. My stay in Auroville as a volunteer for the summer is one of the best examples I can give you of solo travel. I had the best time there, and not only was i discovering my love for cycling, walking or biking, but I was also very happy with the minimalistic style of living with no airconditioning, and no electricity or water at times, the constant heat that did not seem to bother me because I was learning so many things and living and working with a community of people from over a 100 countries. Apart from this, during my trip to Europe with my husband and daughter, I extended my trip and stayed behind with my daughter (who was 16 months old at the time), and it is after hubby went back, that I had a new sense of love for the destinations I was visiting with my little baby, and all that I was doing. I explored Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Frankfurt with her, and I absolutely enjoyed my time alone.
How has becoming a mother affected your love for travel, if at all?
Well, it has only increased my love for travel and exploration. I had planned to travel to Europe when I was four months pregnant with my daughter Arianna, and I wanted to take her before she was two years old. After she was born, I got my strength back after those initial six weeks of post partum recovery, I just could not wait to travel again. We promised ourselves that our passion for travelling would not die down after the baby. We therefore got her right into the groove since she was born, and tested a lot of home ground (places within India) to see if she could manage air, and road travel, and also, a music festival (NH7 weekender at Bengaluru when she was just 9 months old!) Since then, I have been travelling alone with Arianna as well as the three of us together, and she has completely adopted this as a part of her life.
We feel the itch to travel every couple of weeks, and if my husband wasn’t so busy guarding India’s borders, we would have loved to live on the road in a campervan travelling 24/7. Our first big trip was to Bhutan when she was seven months old, followed by Kerala and then this big Euro tour (seven countries in Europe) , so I can confidently say that my love for travel is only going to grow bigger with time and as she grows older.
The only downside is while travelling with children is, you miss out on destinations that have crazy nightlife, or a couple spa that you may have enjoyed when you didn’t have a kid. Also, it takes a bit more planning to be responsible for a little human that is completely dependent on you. But you should never let those minute and silly things stop you from travelling.
Which has been your most memorable family vacation and why?
My most favourite family vacay has to be the European holiday we took last year. I loved it because we were taking our little one with us to very different and distant countries(few in Scandinavia and few in mainstream Europe) and it was a challenge for us because it was a solely backpacking vacation, and we had a set budget in mind that we did not wish to cross. We limited ourselves to public transport, walking and stays at Youth hostels and BnB's . We did not book a single hotel, or take a single taxi while on this trip, and yet we had the best times of our lives with two rucksacks, a stroller and a baby.
Also, it got extended to me spending time alone with Arianna in Germany for the first time in my life, and following the same rules as the rest of the trip, so this holiday will remain etched in my heart for a long time to come.
What are your tips for travelling with kids?
Take that first trip, start someplace small and manageable and take it from there. I too started the same way, and now having stayed alone with her in multiple places within India, and in Europe and Cambodia, I can travel confidently with my daughter anywhere in the World.
Mothers, I would like to tell you that it’s absolutely possible to take that dream trip with your child, and one should definitely start early on in life. Kids will adjust to anything as long as you make a routine of it, and we have tried our best to make backpacking travel a routine affair for her.
There is absolutely no need to stock up on baby supplies except the absolute essentials as everything is available around the world, and it is really good for the baby's immunity if you want to introduce them to real food from all over just so they can adjust to different tastes and not cry for their home food and milk bottle.
Having said this, I obviously do not recommend taking them to unsafe locations, and leaving it to chance. There are certain instincts we ought to follow as parents while taking them out of home, but overall, travelling with kids is not as difficult as a lot of parents seem to think. Just make sure you travel light if your trip involves carrying your baby for longer periods of time and using public transport.
You need to ensure (mommies mostly) that you are carrying a spare set of clothes in case they throw up on you, and you need to make sure they get enough food and sleep on a daily basis. As long as their three basic physiological needs (food, sleep, poop) are taken care of, babies don’t trouble much, you just need to know their cues and address it at the right time. Trust me, take care of these three needs while on vacation and you will have a lovely time bonding together
Which destination is next on your list?
Well, we keep planning destinations like every couple of weeks and have just returned from a trekking holiday in Himachal, but honestly speaking, I would love to explore places in South America, Vietnam and Australasia. So, looking forward to planning one of these when I can take my next big trip
The Times Of Amma wishes Deenaz, a lifetime more of happy adventures and safe travels!
If you are a 'Gypsy Mom' or you know of a Mom who loves to travel, mail us here or get in touch with us via our Facebook page or Instagram account.