Accessible Germany Journeying Parenting

What am I now? A female solo travel blogger?

Family shot - Kirstie and kids 2008
Written by Kirstie Pelling
Female solo travel blogger

I am off travelling again. But ALONE.

What am I now? A female solo travel blogger?

This week I am going to Germany. ON MY OWN.  As I rarely leave the country without three constantly squabbling accessories, and a husband to shuffle the passports and sort out the car hire, it’ll be a shock to the system. But on the plus side I’ll have time to consider how accessible a selection of German towns and cities are for families with young kids or granny in tow… without having to actually have young kids or granny in tow…

Going solo and my crisis of identity

I go to pack my case. And then I realise I don’t possess one. How have I reached the tender age of 44 without possessing a compact and easily wheel-able Louis Vuitton? Of course I have a raft of travel bags, trailers and rucksacks that over the years have transported the tear stained possessions of three children as well as tons of nappies, bread sticks and more recently Nintendo DS games. But no case for the girl about town.

Suitcases and rucksacks

Santa’s suitcase, rucksack or Princess case? Hmmmm

I run around the house to see if anyone else has a viable suitcase. Granny has a shopping trolley. The other Granny has a case the size of a sofa and it’s already packed full of Christmas presents she has sourced over the last eight months. Matthew has a selection of kit bags that smell of yesterday’s feet. Hannah has a lilac Disney Princess case. For a moment I imagine turning up at the airport with that? Not going to happen.

The Disney suitcase precipitates a minor identity crisis. Who am I on this trip? I can’t be a family travel blogger; not without the family. I could easily be a backpacker, but I want to take a girly suitcase. Could I be a female solo travel blogger? Nah, I’m married and anyway I don’t have enough attitude.

Kirstie and Cameron on tandem waiting for ferry

What am I? Without a bike? Or kids? But still travelling…

Because I’m worth it

But there are advantages to solo travel, of that I’m sure. In the past, there has been an absolute ban on hair straighteners. This week I will straighten the life out of my hair. I will wash it everyday, because I’m worth it. I will take more than three pairs of knickers and take pleasure in ignoring Stuart’s ‘wash one, dry one, wear one’ adventure touring rule. Not that that always worked out.

It will be a very different trip without having to organise a family onto the underground in a strange and unfamiliar city. Will I constantly feel as though I’ve left something back at the hotel?  It will be a strange experience to eat dinner without having to convince anyone that prawns aren’t the spawn of the devil and that goulash isn’t ‘goo mash.’

But I won’t be able to forget the family for long. The point of the trip is to look at ‘barrier free’ Germany. In Mainz, Koblenz, Eifel and Dusseldorf, I’ll be seeing how they cater for all the family. From people like my mother in law who don’t walk very well, to mothers who can’t go anywhere without a double buggy. I’ll be seeing what a modern European tourist board is doing to cater for all these different groups, and checking out some family friendly hotels, parks and museums. On this trip I will be a single mum without the kids looking at how a mum can get around with the kids. Still following me?

Family shot - Kirstie and kids 2008

I’ll be a mum, travelling solo, figuring out how you’d do it with kids

Because I can do it

I’m not sure Stuart thinks I’m up to it. He keeps printing out itineraries and checking flight details. But I’m not sure he knows what he’s doing. He printed out the Delta Air Lines flight details on this morning. Doesn’t he know where Germany is? If he doesn’t chill out I might just take up his offer and have that long weekend in New York.

An alarming prospect

I have to admit I’m scared. Not of travelling alone. I am very excited about being able to read a book in peace for five minutes and have a glass of wine without someone throwing it into my lap. I’m more scared about Stuart being home alone with the kids. Not because he’s disorganised, but because he does the whole domestic thing better than me. Or shall I say different to me. By the time I return on Saturday, there will be a whole new regime in place. New routines will have been established involving participation by all. A packed lunch production line will be in place. All the furniture will have been reorganised. Democracy will veer towards dictatorship. A mum shaped gap will have closed, leaving me out in the cold until chaos reigns once more. There will be no excuses for not doing the washing. There will be no excess food in the fridge and lists will have been made for every activity that it is possible to have a list for.

Stuart and kids getting on train

Stuart’s usually been there to carry and organise, but not this time

Another suitcase in another hall?

There will be no chance of littering the hall with my case. Oh dear, a case! What to do? I’ll have to tape some friends for a grown up bag, otherwise I’ll be checking in at the Lufthansa desk with a vomit lilac Disney Princess bag. And people will think I’m a Disney blogger.

 You can catch up with the other posts from this season here.


About the author

Kirstie Pelling

Kirstie is the Editor of The Family Adventure Project. A professional writer and poet, she's the creative and journalistic force behind many of the stories and features published here. She's a co-founder and co-director of The Family Adventure Project and also works as the #poetinmotion producing and performing poetry for print, video and live performance.


  • HaHa- I love this one Kirstie. Traveling without the family is so strange when we are used to the chaos of all being together. Have fun…….I look forward to your posts (Mikes parents are coming to visit and have mentioned wanting to visit Germany – not sure where to go or what to do – especially to keep the kids interested).

    Cheyenne xo

    • Hi Cheyenne. Hope you are enjoying your own family trip to Scotland and haven’t been bitten by a haggis yet. Germany was great and I now have many ideas about what it can offer people of all ages and abilities in 2013. Keep an eye on the blog but hopefully we can pull off a meeting either here or further south before you head back home!

  • I am new to your blog and it got me straight away! Beautifully written. I am really keen to learn of your travels in
    Europe as my son uses a wheelchair and is hoping to go one day when he is older 🙂 enjoy your “me” time!

    • Bron, I am so glad to have your comment. Germany would be perfect for your son. It is really putting a lot of effort into accessible tourism for everyone. I’ll be posting my thoughts and findings in the next couple of weeks. Stay in touch. I’d like to hear what you think too.

  • You are coming to Düsseldorf? Well let’s see if we cannot arrange for some kids to overthrow that wine glass after all… oh, and guess who will travel to see friends in the Eifel on Saturday.

    • Hello Thomas,
      I can’t believe we missed each other again! So near yet so far. And twice in a year! My four days in Germany were hectic so I wouldn’t have had much time to hang out. Let’s do it properly sometime, somewhere, somehow!

    • Hi Julia,
      Managed to source a case and it all went fine until I tried to fill it with bottles of Reisling! Well you can’t go to Germany and not go wine shopping can you?? I had a lovely time but great to be back with the three small ones!

  • I was smiling by the time I finished reading your blog. I so totally know what you’ve been to. I also like to travel with my children. But there are just times when I can’t bring them along with me. I know I’m going to miss them, but I’m glad I have a “me” time.

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