On surfing, kissing and the fear of traveling alone with a child

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Besides all the regular fears we might have when about to travel (fear of being robbed, of spending too much money, of not finding a comfortable bed – very likely on a tight budget, of not making new friends and etc) there´s one that scares me the most: being alone with my child 24-7.

And here I go again, we just arrived in Nicaragua for a surf trip! Just me and Luísa and of course, my long board. Bringing the board was and adventure in itself that I don´t recommend to anyone.

I´m definitely off the light packers scene. My backpack is not as little as I wished. The board only fit in the bus when I took it off the bag. So my first action in Nicaragua was to leave it at a repair store. It was a good idea not to bring the guitar this time :)

Being with a child all the time is challenging, even at home. But at home, mine is going to a kindergarten in the mornings, so I have that secured time for myself. Going on a trip, I get scared of maybe spending too much time with her.

I had this fear before coming to Costa Rica. And my experience tells me that I can feel the fear, but I have to go for it anyway.

Surfing in a new place alone with my 4-year old, is that even possible?

Well, my first three days in Costa Rica proved so. I met a mom-friend as soon as I arrived and she watched Luísa for one hour while I rented a surf board and went for it. I couldn´t get much more surfing done, so now my plan is to hire a babysitter to watch Luísa during my surf sessions. Surfing is my priority on this trip.

I have promised myself before that my trip to Costa Rica was about surfing, but I ended up settling in a place where surf really sucks. Yeah, sorry Puerto Viejo surfers but the only respectable wave there it´s also a dangerous one: Salsa Brava, a reef break that doesn´t break that often and when it does it can be much bigger than what my surfing skills will allow me to do.

I like mellow long waves. Girly waves. I used to like much bigger waves, but that was before I became a mom (more on me becoming a wuss on a post to come).

In Puerto Viejo, there´s one surf spot that I liked (Punta Uva), but I depend on the perfect conditions of time of the year, swell, Luísa being taken care of, a car ride and well, that´s kind of too much for me to handle at the moment.

In Nicaragua, the waves seem really promising. And I have a budget that will include paying for child care with no guilt. Yeah, the hardest part of surfing as a single mom is the guilt of not using that time to work instead.

My surf vacation, my time off the screen

I had a mommy day off two weeks ago. I dropped Luísa at the kindergarten at 8am and I had a friend picking her up and staying with her until 6pm. I went on a walk to the beach by myself, with no concern about the time. I had time to be with myself, to reflect on life and how things have been going for us.

It was my first mommy day off in like more than 7 months! So if you think that I was at the verge of some psychological burn out, you are right. I haven´t realized that all this time, during this trip to Costa Rica, I never had an afternoon for myself. And all the mornings that Luísa was at school, I used to work. Only like 3 times I allowed myself to surf and skip the morning work. Some days I went for a 30 minute swim, and that was it.

So it was pretty intense to realize that I sure need a bit of space, but most of all, I sure need some SURF, which is what I love the most in life after my precious daughter.

I also realized that I need some time off the screen. My time is already limited, but I´ve read too much, watched too many videos, got an overload of information during the past year and I need time to process it and rest my eyes that are burning right now.

Preparing my kid for this trip (and the kissing part)

I always start preparing Luísa for our trips a few weeks before we go. I start telling that we are going away, that we will catch a few buses, what we are going to do and I do that repeated times until we go.

This time, I told her that we would see a volcano, a butterfly park, go to a different beach where I´ll leave her with someone nice while I surf, make new friends, maybe mom would kiss a new friend and… Hey, this could be a whole single mom and dating post, but you might have already realized  that I´m a bit shy on talking about my dating (or the lack of it).

I know it´s on the single mom´s guides everywhere on the cloud that we are not supposed to let our kids see us kissing random guys until there´s something more serious and reliable to show, and I kind of agree on that. On the other hand, I don´t plan on kissing random guys often or any random guy at all, just the very special ones.

On my way to Nicaragua I stopped to see a guy that lives by a forest, up in the mountain. I was unsure how we would make this happen. But he invited us to stay in his place and we got the old living room date going (if you don´t know what a living room date is, read it here).

And you know what? Having my daughter sharing time with me and a very special guy was super cool. I´m sure warning her was the best thing I did, she took it so lightly, she wasn´t jealous, she was cooperative, she was being a darling and actually impressing the guy with her sweetness.

So I don´t think I´ll keep her from seeing me with sweet loving guys, even if it´s just a short 3-day romance with no long term commitment on the sight. I mean, come on, if a guy is up to invite us both to his house, spend all day with my child and wait for our night make out sessions, fine by me.

If during the day he´s nice and loving and playful with Luísa, how would I ever want to keep her from that? And if she sees me happy, having a good time, kissing a gorgeous guy, I guess I´m giving her a very healthy example, don´t you think? Besides, being around special people is priceless, it´s a gift I´m willing us both to share.

The guy made this pic of me and Luísa at a buterfly park. Do you think we were having fun?

So yeah, we just arrived in Nicaragua. I have 2 posts scheduled for the next two weeks. I might be around or I might disappear, hopefully I´ll get a lot of surfing done. But I´m definitely back in August to Puerto Viejo and to our good routine there.

This article was originally posted on Tripping Mom by Marilia Di Cesare on July 13, 2011. Republished with authorization. Click here for all other posts.

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