Two Generations of Life on the Road as a Single Mom

A single-mother of twin six-year-olds has no business in a job that requires extensive travel.

At least that’s what a lot of people will say, either directly to you or when they think you’re not listening. “A lot of people” are willing to prescribe what’s “normal” and okay for other families, but they are not willing to explain how to instill a love of the world in a child.

They are not willing to suggest how you mold a young mind into believing that anything is possible or how you demonstrate to a little person that limits are self-imposed. “A lot of people” don’t do remarkable things and they regret it a lot of the time.

The Model of the Traveling Single Mom

I was raised by a single mother just before it became a lifestyle that people actually chose. Mom had a career and eventually success in that career meant business travel; a lot of it. My mom traveled more than the average single mom, and when it was feasible she took me with her. I could order room service with the best of them at 15, and spent more than one afternoon journaling while I sa

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t at a random jazz festival in the courtyard of our hotel, or pouring over the local information that I’d gather at the airports.

I had my first “caffe latte” in the lobby of a boutique hotel in San Francisco in the early 1990s before there was a Starbucks on every corner. I felt very cosmopolitan. Mom was an idol to me. Even when she had to leave me at home, we were connected as if she were right there. Mom would call me from her hotel room before bed each night.

We’d swap stories and I’d find out what little gift she was bringing me this time. I knew she traveled both because she loved to, and because she loved me. It was during the years when my mom traveled that I caught my lifelong case of the travel bug. And I have it bad.

My Own Not-So-Normal Journey

Fast forward more than a decade and now I’m a single mom, albeit of twin six-year-olds. More entrepreneurial than Mom, I own a wedding business that is 6 months younger than my children (so in effect, I have triplets). I “audited” my life in 2009 and identified the areas where I wanted to feel more fulfilled.

As a divorced mom of two, my finances hadn’t allowed for much travel in years, and as a small business owner I spent more time in front of my laptop than in front of a rail or air schedule. It shouldn’t be surprising to find that “Travel More” hit the top of my audit, and I spent the next several months crafting opportunities to spend as much time on the road as my budget and business allow.

Business Travel by Choice

Now I travel by choice, and it’s my Mom who stays with my children most of the time when I’m on the road. I take a lot of short trips of three-to-four days and a few longer ones. Before I leave, the kids and I plot out where I’m going on their little printed maps, and they ask me questions about random things like what kind of license plates I will see, and whether the weather be the same as it is at home.

Homesickness It’s usually a day or two before the twins start to miss me (often right before I get home). In contrast, I miss them before I’ve shut the front door of our home. During one unusually long, 8-day trip recently, I missed them a lot more than usual. I even considered calling off the trip and going home early. I felt selfish, tired and seriously homesick. A group of fellow “business moms” sitting at breakfast reminded me why I travel, and exactly how unselfish it is to pursue success and happiness in the name of my children.

And my own Mom talked me down from my proverbial cliff more than once, with gentle reminders of the world I was creating for the twins.

Full Circle

So, I travel. And on our daily phone calls, (and sometimes even video chats – oh, the marvel of technology) we swap stories about our days, and inevitably my son and daughter ask me what little gifts I’m bringing home for them this time. Then they ask if they can accompany me on my next trip; their wanderlust firmly engrained and the circle complete.


Shayna Walker, professional wedding planner and author of multiple blogs, including Life in Weddings is a single mom by circumstance and a traveling business woman by choice. In January, 2010, she launched a research tour of wedding expos  in all 50 United States to promote Life in Weddings and prepare for her first book. She was recently selected as a finalist in the Road to Success Small Business Challenge by Fairfield Inn & Suites and is competing against nine other businesses for US$20,000.

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