Traveling Mamas

Inspiring you to explore our world

  • While cruising on the Carnival Magic while she was in Europe, I caught up with Carnival’s Senior Cruise Director John Heald. John is not just the man who puts together the entertainment and activities on the Carnival Fun Ships, but he’s also a husband and dad with a passion for cruise travel.

    John Heald and Shannon Hurst Lane on the Carnival Magic cruise ship

    In the video, John gives a bit of insight about general cruising and how his outlook of cruise travel has changed since becoming a parent. We also discuss the Carnival Magic and the many offerings for guests on a Carnival Cruise.

    To find out more about John Heald and keep up with his antics with Carnival Cruise Lines, be sure to check out his award winning cruise blog: John Heald Blogs. You  can also check out his page on Facebook for real time updates and behind the scenes fun.

    The Carnival Magic sails out of Galveston, Texas. To book your cruise on this Fun Ship, visit or contact your favorite travel agent.

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  • Tales of a Travelling Mum by Alice GriffinAlice Griffin is the author of the informative and inspirational book Tales From a Travelling Mum: Navigating Europe with a Babe-in-Arms. It is chock full of useful tips and advice on traveling with little ones. Alice was kind enought to answer a few questions for readers.

    When did you first develop a love for travel?

    Growing up with parents who often spoke about travel and road trips they had taken with my siblings (I missed out there being the youngest!) I think my love of travel is deep-rooted. Really I have been dreaming of far-off places for absolutely as long as I can remember and when, at 23, I had the opportunity to spend six months in Japan – I was bitten. I haven’t looked back.

    Alice Griffin in the Spanish Hills of Almeria

    What inspired you to write this book?

    When pregnant with my daughter all I ever seemed to hear was that independent travel with babies/children was a nightmare. I didn’t believe and I didn’t see why I should give up my love of the world when I became a mother – I wanted to share my love of the world with my daughter! We did our first trip when she was 8 weeks and at one-year-old we sold our house, gave up our main income and headed off on a long-term road trip. We have had such amazing experiences that I felt I should share them with others who might feel a little apprehensive about travelling with children. The result is a story about all the trips we took during the first two years of my daughter’s life and covers Greece, Norway, France and Spain by plane, boat and road. I guess you could say it is a travelogue interspersed with practical advice and tips.

    Do you have one moment that stands out while traveling with your children?

    I couldn’t pinpoint a specific moment, but just seeing my daughter enjoy the world, watching her interact with so many faces, cultures and environments – it gives me hope that she will grow into a compassionate and fearless young woman.

    Alice Griffin and her family

    Do you travel without your children? If so, how do they cope when mum is

    As yet I have not travelled without my daughter.

    What items do you always travel with?

    A favourite comforter toy, a bubble cot and a small rucksack of toys and books to keep her occupied. Oh, and I always keep raisins on me for when all else fails!!!

    Last thought about travelling with children:

    Just that people shouldn’t be daunted by travelling with a baby or with children. Yes it’s different – but seeing the world through my daughter’s eyes has, so far, been magical. Embrace it and remember that if you manage to stay relatively calm you can defuse most testing situations. You will also be overwhelmed by the kindness and support of strangers when you travel with children!

    You can learn more about Alice Griffin by visiting her official website. Want to purchase her book, visit to purchase Tales of a Travelling Mum.

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  • Season 7 of American Idol was probably one of the more memorable for the CajunMama family. We really enjoyed Jason Castro’s performances and his choice of songs for most episodes. The 21-year-old artist sang a few numbers that were meaningful to us, including “Travelin Thru” (which should be one of our theme songs), IZ’s arrangement of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (Hello, Hawaii), and “I Shot the Sheriff” (which brought Mr. CajunMama and I back to our honeymoon in Jamaica).

    I’m a big fan of entertaining and talented musicians, so when Little CajunMama and I were able to get an interview with the Texas native while we were at Disney World we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to ask him a few questions about how he travels and where he went on family vacations as a kid.

    Little CajunMama took time out from touring the parks so that she could get her list of questions ready for Jason. Yes, Little CajunMama asked the questions. If you are already familiar with, then you’ll know we like to do things a little different with our Staycation Boycotts and Festivus Celebrations, so who better to conduct the interview than a 10 year old (soon to be the old age of 11).

    We observed as TV crews went in and out with all of their camera gear. In fact, things began to run a little late as we patiently waited. When our allotted time came around, we went in to meet Jason, with Flip Mino HD at the ready.

    Jason Castro is a very nice, polite young man, so big kudos to his parents for how they raised him. He was super sweet and was a joy to interact with. The video quality on YouTube is a little off (as is the sound), and I’m thinking that the Flip Mino HD isn’t going to make it on our On the Move Approved list like the Flip Ultra did, but I’ll save that review for another post. Here’s the interview, and if you can’t see it on your screen, this is the direct link:

    Also, if you aren’t already familiar with Jason’s talent (or even if you just want to listen to him over and over), we’ve embedded a playlist below the video for your listening enjoyment. We’d also like to send a shout-out to Jason’s fans at Castrocopia and The Dreadheads Forum. To learn more about Jason Castro, visit his Official Artist Site.


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  • January is the time when people look back at the past year and make resolutions for the year ahead. This day last year, we loaded our first post on a travel blog. We started with a few dollars and a little bit of common sense (we trademarked the name). Along the way – 438 blog posts later – we’ve grown into what you see today.

    Each of us feels blessed to have as a fun and rewarding outlet. We four have full editorial control of what content we feature, and our goal has always been to help mothers and travel researchers find useful and practical information to plan how to spend their hard-earned money.

    Over the last week, we all dug through our old photos, emailing to each other and laughing at how goofy we all look (may perms never come back in style). We recalled our times together on trips, and now we are planning our next getaway so we can all bond in person! Hawaii last May was truly magical.

    Here’s a little reflection of our first year that gives a brief background on how we came to this moment. Thanks for sticking around through our first year; we really appreciate the support. We absolutely love hearing from readers, and making connections with other travel bloggers and travel-industry folks means the world to us! We look forward to seeing what 2009 will bring for the Traveling Mamas. Onward and upward!

    If you can’t see the video, here’s the direct link:

    And Mamas – I MISS YOU! Thanks for making 2008 a rocking year of travel blogging. Here’s to 2009 and the Year of the Traveling Mamas. I hope ALL mamas out there start planning their travels now, both with their families and their mama friends.

    Like the music? The song featured is Everything I Need by Chris Michols. His entire album can be downloaded for free at

    And special thanks to Terry Shibao of Digital Imaging Plus, who took the great photos of us at the Westin Maui.

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  • Alan Rider, a traveling dad, shares with an inside look at his inspiring site, and how it came to fruition. He and his wife of 16 years are the parents of Sky, a 10-year-old adventure lover like his dad. They reside in a really small town in northern California.

    Paragliding over the Pacific/La Jolla, CA Copyright Alan Rider
    Paragliding over the Pacific/La Jolla, CA Copyright Alan Rider

    Have you taken your family with you on your travels?
    I’ve been fortunate to be able to take both my wife and son on many of my work trips over the years. But Sky and I just had our first real father-son trip a couple of months ago — to an American Le Mans Series sports car race at the historic Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey, CA.

    Besides spending quality time with your son, what else made it memorable?
    Going in I thought he’d be all excited to see (and hear) these million-dollar race cars up close, as he has a ton of toy versions. But when we got home and his mom asked him what his favorite part of the event was, Sky told her “We had ice cream bars at the race track!” Gotta love 10-year-olds!

    How does your family feel when you travel solo?
    I typically fly over 100,000 miles a year so we’re all kind of used to it. That said, I do try and minimize the impact by making my solo trips as short as possible — I’ve been known to fly across the country and back in 48 hours to do a story!

    Recording our parts in The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd Copyright Alan Rider

    Recording our parts in The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd Copyright Alan Rider

    How do you make things easier when you are away?
    Unless I’m in some remote jungle, I’m pretty fanatical about calling home twice a day to check in. I think it helps all of us feel more connected.

    How did you come up with the idea of What is the purpose behind it?
    As a former disc jockey and long-time travel writer and magazine editor, I’ve been fortunate to have had an awful lot of really cool adventures over the years. With that background, I eventually got tired of reading stories on the same old tired vacation destinations and activities. So I launched, the world’s first guide to truly “extraordinary experiences.” Of course, there’s something deeper going on here too, namely the deeply-held belief I gained from a near-fatal motorcycle crash that life was meant to be lived to the fullest. And that’s the real purpose behind the website — to encourage and inspire people to go out and do all those things they’ve always wanted to do.

    How do you define “extraordinary experiences”?
    Good question. The experiences we feature run the gamut from unique to quirky to downright mind-blowing. We’re talking real once-in-a-lifetime adventures here, things it’s pretty much impossible to walk away from going “Yeah, I guess that was sorta okay…”

    The definition of an “extraordinary experience” also has two other important aspects. First is “doability” — specifically, is this something an average person can do? The second is “affordability” — is this something someone of ordinary means could afford? The point here is that having a truly extraordinary experience is no longer limited to the supremely physically fit or the super-wealthy. There are tons of experiences on the website that your kids or your grandmother could do equally well. And even if it means you have to start a simple exercise program or save your pennies for a couple of years to make it happen, well, that seems like a small price to pay to live out your dreams.

    Thanks, Alan, for sharing a little of your life with our readers. That’s what we’re all about at Inspiring You to Explore. If you have a unique experience to share with Alan, he can be reached at info at

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