Angie Davis is an incredible single mom of two. Her boys are Japanese/Australian and are now living in beautiful tents with their mom in native Australia in preparation for a trek through Nepal later this year to raise money and awareness for women who are abuse survivors with Angie’s foundation, The Aniccaway. She is also a co-founder of Single Mom Travel. An abuse survivor herself, Angie is passionate about female empowerment, travel and surfing. She and her sons, 5 and 7, spend most of the year in Australia, and three months in Japan’s north for winter. She let us into her fascinating life and journey below.
What’s Your Single Mom Story in a Nutshell?
A karmic mix of self-destruction and re-birth. I married young to a Japanese photographer. I had been living in Japan for two years when we met and had planned to continue traveling around the world at the end of the second year. I committed to the relationship instead, drawn to the romance of being a bilingual photographer/writer duo and there were promises to travel the world together writing books and working for magazines.
Following the Japanese disaster in 2011, we were forced to evacuate to the southern islands of Japan and eventually relocated back to Australia. I was pregnant with my second son at the time, and he was born safely in Byron Bay (my first son, was born in Japan). I was working freelance throughout both pregnancies and by the time my second son was six months old, with my husband not working due to depression and visa issues, I had to apply for a full time position. I hit the jackpot and became the Travel Editor and Producer for Australia’s largest online media at the time.
Standing atop the cliffs of Chicama in North Peru at 31 years of age, I was filled with an incredible empowering energy that to date I still can not fully comprehend. I knew then and there I would divorce upon my return to Australia two weeks later.
This was inevitably the beginning of my single mum path, however I was well-prepared, as in the early years my ex husband was often away for weeks or months at a time, and with cultural differences it was always expected that I as the mother would assume the full responsibilities of raising the children.
A year ago the stresses of debt left in my name and the burden of feeling trapped with a lease and full time domestic and parenting duties whilst trying to balance a full time professional career as a writer and filmmaker got too much for me. I searched within and the answer was to sell everything and travel full time with my kids, adopting the lifestyle of a digital gypsy. It’s been the best thing I’ve ever done; life is so much simpler – at present we have been living in tents for two months and counting, in our previous ‘home town’ actually where my youngest was born, as the kids wanted to catch up with friends for a while and attend school until we fly out again soon. The compromise for returning ‘home’ was that we would camp full time, so as not to consume more ‘stuff’ and so my gypsy heart could flourish freely.
Before becoming a mom, were you passionate about travel? How have things changed since you started taking your boys on the road?
Absolutely. My parents travelled for 10 full years, to 66 countries, before they divorced when I was born. So whilst I wasn’t part of those journeys, I definitely inherited the travel bug. Both parents took me camping a lot as a kid, but I didn’t first go overseas until I was 12 years old, to Bali. That trip essentially changed my life; I still recall the smells, the colors, the foreign language and how mesmerized I was by it all.
I was passionately drawn to social impact travel and my initial plan was to volunteer around the world…following in my parents’ footsteps to a degree but making travel a full time gig so I didn’t ever have to come home to start a ‘real’ job. I wanted travel to be my real job and I set about making that happen. I had a couple overseas trips during my Uni days, Japan and South Africa, but it wasn’t until I moved to Japan on a one-way ticket with nothing but a rucksack that I truly embarked on my path and the lifestyle I had envisioned.
I fell pregnant during my time freelance writing for several surf and travel magazines and also at a time when we were about to venture on a one-month epic trip to India – something I had always wanted to do – for a Japanese surfing lifestyle magazine. The pregnancy was a shock, I was 24 at the time, and my doctor advised immediately to cancel the trip. The air tickets were booked, the magazine commission in place, and when my husband suggested he go without me I was mortified and said “No Way, I’m going!”
I called my mum and told her the news, and when she stopped crying with joy that I was pregnant we discussed India. Mum had spent six months traveling in India in her 20s and is always my starting point for travel research and destination advice.
“You’ll be fine, just trust your instincts and stay healthy…Indian women have babies all the time!”
We went on the trip, traveling back pack style from the north to the south via the west coast, and I surfed for at least half of the trip. It was my first life change toward spirituality, consciousness and natural health, and we came home to then publish a 26-page cover feature story for the magazine.
In hindsight, I think this trip was the starting point of my mindset for traveling with kids. I went against a lot of advice to not travel during my first trimester, yet I was healthy and strong, but most importantly in tune with my body and took my common sense with me on the journey. Traveling with the boys has been a constant evolution of strategy and systemization. In the early years, it was breastfeeding one baby who would sleep all the way from Japan to Australia, and loved sleeping in cars, so essentially travel with him was a breeze, and he saw a lot of the world tagging along on work trips. When the second one was born, I had on my hands a ‘schedule baby’ who slept and behaved brilliantly as long as he was in routine. I had some horrible flight experiences with him in his early years where I was literally ‘that mum’, who you either sympathize with or hate because she’s got a screaming baby on her lap for an eight hour flight…
The boys taught me to be organized, travel lightly (we still travel with too much!), but that I can’t control everything so when shit hits the fan now I just let it go.
What inspired you to start The Annicca Way?
Healing. It kind of started as a selfish endeavor! I was in the depths of my personal healing journey and needed an outlet to write, create and share. It’s morphed and transformed over the past year and especially the past few months, but the focus now is a platform to document my journeys as a single mum traveller, sharing stories and interviews with all that and who inspires us along the way. The goal is ‘Raising Unity Consciousness’ through the themes of: travel often, live simply, eat vegan, heal thyself, thrive.
I want to share inspiring humans, enchanting destinations, unedited musings, health and wellness articles, community voice, video and images.
The next step is a 360 YouTube series I am currently in the process of pre-producing. I want to document our travels in 360 Virtual Reality, and normal video, and share them as a way to inspire other single mums, any mums, and dads, to travel more.
What are your top three travel tips for parents traveling with children?
1. Always pay for a VIP lounge day-pass whenever you can on a layover longer than 3-4 hours. You will not regret the space, comfort, safety, showers, kids rooms, WiFi, free food and drinks.
2. Workshop your carry on luggage. Plan for the worst – both kids will be asleep when you board or disembark and you will have to carry them both plus your luggage. It’s not physically possible if you have heavy bags. At one stage I used to have an Ergo on my back with my eldest, a sling carrying my youngest in the front, and a shoulder bag with our necessities. Nowadays my little men are 5yo and 7yo and I usually can manage to wake the eldest one up to walk, but always end up carrying the youngest. I pack as light as possible on the plane.
3. Go with the flow. Try not to over plan and create down-to-the-hour itineraries. Kids get tired and emotionally overwhelmed at times and some days their little bodies require some nurturing and rest.
What has been the most emotionally challenging about lone-travel with your boys?
Long drives or flights can physically and mentally pull you down and at these times it can be easy to slip out of consciousness and get frustrated when your kids are demanding a lot from you. I try not to fall into that frustration cycle though and look for solutions to the situation. I think my most stressful incidents with my boys is check-in line ups when they are both excited or exhausted, and so I always try the old ‘travel with kids’ trick of walking straight to the business class check-in line and asking the airline staff if you can check in there for your economy flight as your kids are exhausted/about to meltdown/grumpy/hyper. The same goes with security lines and immigration/customs. Most airports are very accommodating for solo mums traveling with their kids, except LA. I hate that airport haha!
What are the most important values you hope that your boys pick up from your life on the road?
The unity of all beings. Presence. Love and kindness.
Of course I hope they always have a love of the outdoors, nature and adventures, so as to cultivate the above throughout their lives. I think that is the secret to happiness, and whilst I will support them no matter what they choose to do in life, I will also guide them firmly wherever I can if I see them venture off the path of consciousness. No doubt they have their own experiences, mistakes and relationships to create in life and I will certainly try not to intervene to stop them making these as it’s all part of their evolution.
And finally, what is your dream destination with your sons? Anything coming up that you want to tell us about?
I have always looked forward to when they are old enough to go on a surfing boat trip with me, ideally the Maldives or Indonesia.
We have a lot coming up! Next month we will hit Far North Queensland for a couple weeks, I want to take the boys to the Great Barrier Reef before its (sadly) too late, then through the centre of the state to spend some time interacting with local Aboriginal communities.
In September work is calling me to Japan for a short trip, so the boys will come along and visit their father briefly.
Then in November, we pack up our current ‘home base’ in Lennox Head, NSW, and head off to Nepal where we are hosting a trek for Domestic Violence Awareness
We will be living at a women’s refuge Her Farm for a month or so, and then I want to travel through to north India with the kids, hopefully over to Bhutan and Tibet, then over into China and get the boat over to Japan where we will again spend the winter snowboarding. I also have some work projects in the pipeline for VR video and film production, so who knows what else will pop up but essentially this is the rough plan for the next 6-9 months.