Sunday, 23 December 2012

Like a faded movie star well past her prime

Panama´s Contadora Island, former home of the exiled Shah of Iran (and, so the rumour goes, Christian Dior)  is a beautiful gem off the coast of Panama that's lost a bit of its polish. This abandoned ferry (and the abandoned 300-room resort nearby that's been stripped of everything but the walls and floors) symbolizes what this island once was (a playground for the rich, famous and bejewelled) and what it might be again one day if the right folks are willing to cough up the cash. It seems the days of a drug-money-fuelled economy, on this island at least, are gone, and the flagging tourism industry needs a shot of somethin'. Regardless, we're having a ball. And the girls dig it.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Countdown to Lebron live ...

A big thrill for the munchkins: Heat vs Hawks at American Airlines Arena.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

New York City tourist cliche #1

When Madonna first came to New York City and told the taxi driver to "Take me to the centre of everything", he must surely have brought her here to Times Square.

Annie and Molly take it all in, like the rockin' travel companions they are....

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Travellin' Mama weighs in at Rookie Moms

Today on America's Rookie Moms:

Friday, 23 November 2012

Next up, Central America (at last)

The last big adventure led to Travellin' Mama, which was about the funny stuff that happens on the road with kids, (and all the incredibly annoying shit that makes you want to start smoking again).
This time around, the kids are a bit older. I like to think we’re all a wee bit wiser. And I have no second thoughts about the wisdom of taking them on a two-month journey through Central America –starting eight sleeps from now with a side trip to New York City, D.C. and Miami.

This latest odyssey might lead to another book some day, but it almost certainly won’t be about travelling with kids.
Because how much more is there to say, really? I could tell you that even when things go pear-shaped, travelling with kids is still insanely rewarding. I could wax lyrical on the pleasures of forced family fun. Maybe throw in a few platitudes about giving kids experiences rather than things.

But I won’t be saying anything that Travellin’ Mama doesn’t already cover.
So for those of you who haven’t bought the book, why not give it a go? The reviews give me cause to think it’s not just me (and my friends) who find it funny!

Meantime, follow this blog to see what crazy shit we can get up to in the Big Apple and beyond, backpacking and busing around Panama – the Pearl Islands, the Canal, the Highlands and Bocas del Toro – and on to Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula and the Nicaraguan jungle.
And remember Mark Twain, who said it so well: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Travellin' Mama press release


Contact: Nancy Harper
Office: 519.846.1116


Book Urges Travel-starved Parents To Hit The Road

Travellin’ Mama: A Parent’s Guide to Ditching the Routine, Seeing the World and Taking the Kids Along for the Ride shows parents how to put an end to the excuses and hit the road.

Elora, Ontario, May 18th, 2012 –Every hockey mom worth her salt knows there’s an unwritten code of conduct for motherhood that has everything to do with self-sacrifice and nothing to do with self. So when opportunity knocks, it’s time moms start putting themselves first — a little less June Cleaver, a little more Courtney Love perhaps — and start going after what they really want.
That’s the premise behind Travellin’ Mama: A Parent’s Guide to Ditching the Routine, Seeing the World and Taking the Kids Along for the Ride.

Travellin’ Mama takes the reader on a cheeky, lighthearted, global odyssey across Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and south-east Asia as one mom, one dad and two kids cover 80,000-plus kilometres on 15 flights, 20 buses, 10 cars, 26 boats, seven horses, one submarine, one truck, three trains, two subways and three trams.
It’s a year-long adventure that’s as much about ditching the routine and tossing out the play-by-the-rules parenting playbook as it is about seeing the world.

It’s about the funny stuff that happens on the road with kids. It’s also about the unbelievably annoying shit that makes you want to start smoking again.
Travellin’ Mama is actually about showing parents, particularly those who yearn to travel, that it’s possible to have their cake and eat it too. Because all evidence to the contrary, combining one’s passion for seeing the world with the passion one has for one’s own kids can actually be done. And it sure beats living with the regret and resentment of having put off one’s own dreams to faithfully toe the modern parent’s sacrificial line.

Taking to heart neither the Courtney Love nor the June Cleaver model, author Nancy Harper discovers a motherhood nirvana that lies somewhere between those two extremes. And she shares with her readers this essential truth: That going after what we want doesn’t make us bad or selfish parents, it actually makes us happier people … and therefore better parents.
Like travel writer Bill Bryson, whose first rule of consumerism is never to buy anything you can’t make your children carry, Harper also finds that having kids around to carry her stuff is one of the many upsides of taking them on the road.

But, of course, the good stuff is just half the story. Had she known, for example, that she’d be ankle-deep in water, wringing out her undies in a thundery midnight monsoon as lightning struck directly overhead again and again and again, she wouldn’t have made for the croc-infested environs of Darwin at the height of the rainy season with plans to sleep rough. That she didn’t start smoking again is still mildly surprising. And that she didn’t smother her Kiwi husband with a pillow in the dead of night is a MIRACLE, especially after he allowed their youngest to go out on a parasailing boat with no lifejacket, no parent, and a male stranger.
Travellin’ Mama shows that even when things go horribly wrong, travelling with kids is still so right. In fact, the author and her family are preparing to hit the road again, this time for a two-month backpacking stint through Central America.

Read excerpts and download Travellin’ Mama at

The Apple iBookstore:


Google Books:


Book Cover Art in High Resolution .jpg format:

For more information or to schedule an interview with author Nancy Harper, please call 519.846.1116, email or visit or  

About Nancy Harper
Nancy is a professional marketing writer as well as a freelance travel and features writer who has worked in the industry since 1992. She lives on a rural property with her husband and two daughters in Elora, Ontario. In 2012, she released her first book, Travellin’ Mama: A Parent’s Guide to Ditching the Routine, Seeing the World and Taking the Kids Along for the Ride.


Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Travellin' Mama surfaces in the Montreal Gazette

Starting to get the hang of this media-exposure thing ... but fingers crossed it'll help me peddle a few more books so we can actually afford the next trip!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Top 10 reasons to travel with your kids

Doubters may say you're INSANE to want to take them on the road/out of school/away from their friends, especially for the long haul. But I say start packin'! Here's 10 reasons why:

1.  Someone else to carry your stuff!
2.  You don’t have to drive to the hockey arena for a while
3.  You get out of going to work 
4.  The kids notice you/maybe even like hanging out (shock!) because they’re not texting 
5.  They see a whole world out there that looks nothing like home
6.  They can help you with the self-service check-in instructions at the airport (!!)
7.  You get to decide where to go (you’re paying, after all)
8.  You get to lounge around way more than usual
9.  They get the gift of an experience rather than a thing 
10. You don’t have to live with the regret of not having done something you were dying to do


Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Out of Africa: An excerpt

A former boss of mine was kind enough to post this excerpt from the Africa chapter of Travellin' Mama. It reminds me how jazzed I was to finally be there....

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Going global (in the Globe and Mail!)

Super thrilled to have made the cover of the Life section in my favourite Canadian newspaper, the Globe and Mail, today (Friday July 20) and in their online paper here


Friday, 6 July 2012

Getting the thumbs up from "America's Worst Mom"

Lenore Skenazy (dubbed "America's Worst Mom" a few years ago for letting her nine-year-old ride the subway alone in the Big Apple) is a busy mom, an author, a blogger with a zillion followers AND her own TV show ... and she still found time to post this for me today:

Thanks Lenore. You rock! And your philosophy on parenting has helped ignite a conversation we all need to have.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The reluctant Facebooker

Is it wrong to feign interest in Facebook, Twitter and all that jazz when one’s true purpose is simply to shamelessly peddle a few of one's books so one can afford to keep travelling?

Surely it’s better to own up that after years of preaching the evils of Facebook, I'm now a pathetic turncoat who really just wants everyone to go to my author page and “like” it so I can feel like Sally Field and be done with all this shit.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Moms & dads: The power to choose

When the kids come along and everyone says you'll never travel anywhere but here for a while..... 

... but deep down you know you'd rather spend your hard-earned holiday time and $$ on somewhere awesome like this Nicaraguan treehouse...

...and see some cool non-manufactured entertainment and some very cool guys like this up close ...

Then we, too, are on the same page. Over & out. 

Monday, 4 June 2012

Next stop, cool places like this:

Just a few more months now and Travellin' Mama, Doog & the chilluns will be hitting the road again, this time for a coupla months backpacking through Panama, Costa Rica & Nicaragua. First stop: Pearl Islands, Panama. BRING IT ON!!