Meet Ruth Johnston, the blogger behind Exploramum.com and single mother who has travelled a staggering 72 countries with her son. (Is that impressive or what?!)
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I am a single older mum from Australia. I have been traveling the world to 72 countries over the past (nearly) 5 years. We both love photography, motivating others and also leaving people and places behind wth a touch of our random acts of kindness.
So we try to bless strangers, and look for ways to do kind things to people who can never repay us.
What inspired you to travel?
I was working day and night to make ends meet and spending no time with my son.
Tell us about your blog
When I decided to travel I started to research other single parents that travelled the world long-term. There were few, and the blogs really didn’t give me the information I needed on ‘how to’ pack up and go. So I decided to document all I did, so that it was a resource for other single mums who might want to embark on a long-term travel adventure.
How do you educate your son while travelling?
We started our journey in 2012 and even before we started to travel with a home-school curriculum. We used this until we were in South America in the Amazon.
One day we were up at 5:00 am. We were looking at toucans, we went in a canoe up through the rainforest learning about the wildlife and my son even trod on a snake. Then we came back to the base camp and I asked him to do his school work. He had a meltdown.
I realised the world is a classroom and we could adapt education to our everyday experiences. Now we world-school; this means we use the environment around us to learn. We often hire private guides who interact and teach my son on a one-on-one basis — this is great for historical sites. For botany we sometimes employ locals. For marine biology we have been educated by fishermen, local kids and learned scholars.
My son loves to teach himself. He has a passion for anything to do with Video Editing, Graphic Design, Photography, and Music Remixing. He is also studying to become a young entrepreneur at the moment.
How do you like to travel?
We do a mix of all kinds of travel. We like the road less travelled the most, so my favourite way to travel was when we purchased a vehicle in England and drove all over UK, Europe, down to Turkey then back up through Eastern Europe & Western Europe. Finally, we sold the car back to the same car yard we bought it from 12 months later!
We love luxury travel, but we do a mix. We also love staying in weird, exciting and unusual places. We’ve stay in a palace, castle, treehouse, bedouin tent, slept under the stars in the desert, on a train, in a bus, African round hut, hotel made of ice, and even in a water park in Mexico.
What has been your favourite destination, and why?
Kenya. We love the people. So we are back here now for our second time in two years. But we love so many countries and cities, it is honestly so hard to pick just one.
What are the top 3 destinations on your bucket list?
Anywhere I can see the Northern Lights, Uluru (Ayers Rock) Australia, and my son wants to go to Canada. But our bucket list is still VERY long!
Tell us about your best and worst travel experiences!
Best travel experience
We stayed in the Banyan Tree Resort in Bangkok. It is a resort right in the city. They have a famous rooftop bar and restaurant and you can see all over the city. The service was amazing, our suite was just beautiful, and they even own an old wooden boat the organise dinner cruises on — plus we had a great time shopping.
Worst travel experience
We were in a boat in a heavy rain storm in Lake Titicaca Peru, and the steering wheel came out and OFF!
The driver and 2 crew were young and had no idea what to do. Waves crashed over the boat as we spun in circles. All the life jackets were broken. My son sat on my lap as I sung “It’s a wonderful world” by Louis Armstrong and the whole boat stopped and listened to me. It was a calming song — I have no idea why I sung it then, but it worked!
We crashed into the rocks and then had to walk up a steep hill on an island and the local lady spoke no english. She picked herbs for us to smell for the altitude, and she took us into her home and made us warm sweet herbal tea. My son devoured the food she made us. Interestingly, that day changed him from a fussy eater, to a child that tried new foods, and he has been much better ever since.