Have Baby, Will Travel – Going on Tour with an Infant

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Cruising the beaches of Long Island, NY!

Talk about niche blog topics, not only will this article focus on travelling on the road with an infant, but also covers info for musicians taking their babies on tour with them!

When I told people that I was going on tour this winter, they thought I was crazy for several reasons. For one, touring in winter can bring about awful snowstorms and cancelled shows. Secondly, how on earth are we going to travel with a 3-month old baby without the comforts of home?

Looking back, not only did we do it. We would do it again in a heartbeat. However, I would imagine it being more difficult as she gets older (e.g. 7-12 months when more aware of her surroundings).

It wasn’t easy, and it took a ton of planning, but we had the most special family adventure with moments that will last a lifetime.

Let’s break it down.

The Trip

February 1 – March 25
Two Weeks – Bay Area, California
Five Weeks – North East U.S. – NY, NJ, CT, MA, PA

The Planning

  • Sensible travel – I’ve done tours where I drive 3-4 hours a day – every day in order to reach more schools. This tour, I was much more strict on the areas I would visit. The goal was to stay in one place at a minimum 4-5 days. The less packing/unpacking the better!
  • Introducing foods – We knew that we were entering the stage of solid food introduction and made a game plan of introducing only fruits and veggies while living on the road. Introducing common allergens would wait until we got home.
Dining with the Dines at a Diner

Dining with the Dines at a Diner

The Accessories

  • The strollerThe most important thing of all. We needed something not only compact, but that could double as a bassinet for sleeping if we couldn’t find a crib. We found the perfect one second-hand online.
  • The carrier – Our Baby Bjorn carrier rocks. Strap on a baby and go! There were times when this was essential – especially airports.
  • The feeding chair – A high chair wasn’t an option as they take up too much room, so we brought a cool little seat that we could plop anywhere. Most meals, she was on top of the kitchen table. It helped keep a bit of consistency to mealtime as we started introducing solid foods.
  • The play centre – We did not bring this originally, but saw a really compact foldable one at a consignment baby store. Baby LOVED it and it gave my wife a bit of time to catch up on work when I was out at gigs.
Try before you buy! We loved browsing through baby consignment stores.

Try before you buy! We loved browsing through baby consignment stores.

The Pit Stops

  • 2 Hour Max – We found that two hours was the maximum driving time before needing a break. We all appreciated to stretch, feed, and have a bathroom/diaper-changing break.
  • Starbucks – Coffee and change tables? Need I say more?
  • Family Bathrooms – For the first time in my life I used them. They are wonderful. Malls/rest stops that go out of their way to make a private/clean place to change a baby have my newfound respect.

The Accommodations

  • AirBnb – I couldn’t recommend this enough. I was very transparent when requesting to book that we are travelling with a baby. She cries minimally in the night, but I still don’t want hosts to be surprised by this as it’s not for everyone! We had many private spaces that gave us our own kitchen and even backyards to play in. It also makes a long trip not seem so long when you are discovering new areas as you start to feel at home.
  • Hotels – We did two nights overall in hotels which went fine. We were given foldaway cribs upon request. We couldn’t imagine staying any more than 1-2 nights at a hotel after knowing the benefits of AirBnB places.
I loved this AIrBnb because of the large play area.

I loved this AIrBnb because of the large play area.

The Travel

  • Airplanes – We took advantage of family pre-boarding which gave us some time to gate-check the stroller and get settled in our chairs with toys and food accessible. Aisle seats were key in order to get up and walk around with baby. Feeding on takeoff and arrival helped dealing with the air pressure.
  • Rental Cars – Making sure that our rental car came with a car seat (about $75 extra). Also enough space to fit my guitar, a hockey bag of music gear and two speakers. That space proved to be tough, but we packed that car like we were playing Tetris!
  • Minivan – We had access to a minivan for our big east coast trip (1 month+). It was amazing for carting around little extras that we couldn’t afford in California (e.g. feeding chair, play centre, extra music gear!)

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The Entertainment

  • Children’s Museums – Our GPS would show us “Children’s Museums” under the “nearby attractions” area. She loved the “baby room” in the Nassau, CT children’s museum.
  • Aquariums – What a treat to see the Monterey Aquarium! Our baby loved it!
  • Parks – Not an option on the cold east coast, but we greatly enjoyed strolls around some beautiful parks and trails in California.
  • Swimming Pools – We searched up local YMCA’s and community centres and went to “family swim” several times. We were disappointed a few times with places that wouldn’t allow babies under the age of 6 months.
  • Department Stores – We shamelessly went into many department stores to kill some time between shows, as well as check out (or perhaps play with….) the baby toys.
  • My gigs of course! She didn’t come to all, but it was so fun seeing my little one at the back of gymnasiums soaking in the kid-friendly music. She didn’t cry at the sight of my puppets so that’s a good start!

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As I gear up for another solo tour, I know I will be reminiscing a lot about this special family adventure we had. Thank goodness for FaceTime!

Daddy long legs! Having a blast in Atlantic City :)

Daddy long legs! Having a blast in Atlantic City 🙂

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Food Allergy Bloggers Conference Recap

I was so unbelievably thrilled to be able to attend the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference (#FABlogCon) in Las Vegas last weekend.

I admit….I am not the best allergy blogger as I think I average one post a month! However, you know my main mission is to spread awareness through music, and I loved having the opportunity to meet and network with so many incredible bloggers, advocates, companies and more at this conference.

I was lucky to attend on behalf of Anaphylaxis Canada who was one of the conference sponsors. They have two great blogs that I highly recommend you subscribe to for their unique content:

1) Allergy Free Press – Blog written by teenagers with food allergies (www.allergyfreepress.com)

2) Adults with Allergies – Blog written by allergic adults – you guessed it! (www.adultswithallergies.com)

I also moderated a panel on food allergies and intimacy which I thought went over very well. I work a lot with allergic teens, and pulled together some first-hand accounts from teens and their thoughts on the topic. There were many perspectives on the panel that helped create a really unique session.

I don’t even know where to start on describing how amazing this conference was. It was truly one of, if not the best conference I’ve ever attended. So many amazing topics were discussed, the food was unbelievable, and the organization by Jenny Mitchell Sprague and Homa Woodrum was top-notch. I see this conference getting bigger and bigger every year.

I loved meeting all of these amazing people face to face after years of collaborating online. I also met some new people doing some very creative things in the allergy world that I was happy to connect with. One of the most fun moments of the conference for me was the after-party on the first night. I decided to bring my guitar along with me, which then turned into a long night of singing and having fun.

I came out of this conference with so much more knowledge, connections, and friends. I can only hope to attend again next year and hope to see you there!

With my good friend Caroline Moassessi  from http://www.gratefulfoodie.com/

With my good friend Caroline Moassessi from http://www.gratefulfoodie.com/

One hilarious quote I saw this week "Only Kyle Dine can pull off a puppet at a cocktail party!"

One hilarious quote I saw this week “Only Kyle Dine can pull off a puppet at a cocktail party!”

Anaphylaxis Canada's table (more info at www.anaphylaxis.ca)

Anaphylaxis Canada’s table (more info at http://www.anaphylaxis.ca)

Getting to meet Jerome Bettis was an absolute thrill! He was my childhood idol - I'm a huge Steelers fan!

Getting to meet Jerome Bettis was an absolute thrill! He was my childhood idol – I’m a huge Steelers fan!

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Having fun at the after party!

 

10 Crazy Days on the Road

The biggest driving parts of the tour are nearly complete! Time to get to the clustered northeast shows.

The biggest driving parts of the tour are nearly complete! Time to get to the clustered northeast shows.

I have never covered so much ground in such a short time. Over the course of the past 10 days, I visited Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois…and Washington D.C.

Here’s the recap:

Last Thursday and Friday, my parents and I had a great time watching live music on the hip 6th Street of Austin. We then kicked back on the beautiful Riverwalk in Austin. I was sad to see them fly back to Canada the next day as I really enjoyed having their company for a portion of the trip! Then I had the biggest drive of my life – a 15 hour power drive from Austin to Denver. It wasn’t too bad as the weather was great, and the Jim Henson biography audiobook I listened to was excellent. What a puppet pioneer!

Next was a fun community show in Loveland, CO followed the next day with a local school show.IMG_6021

That night I did something that I spontaneously decided upon the week before…I jumped on a red-eye flight to Washington, D.C. My wife was there for work and I had a 3 day break and just couldn’t resist seeing her after one month apart!

I got in early the next morning and tracked her down! She was busy with work, but we managed to squeeze in time riding bikes all around D.C. and meeting up with friends. The cherry blossom trees were just spectacular.

We are so used to “goodbyes” but as always, it was not easy this time knowing we have another two months apart. Nonetheless, flying out to D.C. was such a good decision and I felt inspired and rested for the next leg of my tour.

D.C. in April is just beautiful!

D.C. in April is just beautiful!

Speaking of the tour – I then picked up where I left off in Denver and was blown away by the rocky mountains. I had a moment I will never forget watching a colourful Colorado sunset over the rockies from the view of a hotel hot tub! Perks of the road! I performed the next day at a school in Dillon, then headed to Boulder for a support group show the following day.

Now, I thought I was smart planning a tour where I wouldn’t see any snow. NICE TRY! Thanks to the mid-west, I received snow, ice, hail and all that lovely stuff driving through Nebraska and Kansas. I drove very carefully and dreaded getting out for gas in the blustering mid-west winds with my light spring jacket. Packing lessons learned!

It has been a crazy 10 days, but I’m enjoying having two nights in the same hotel near Chicago. After driving over 7,000 miles, staying in one spot for an extra day goes a long way!

A few shows in Illinois and Michigan this week, then heading home for Easter to spend the weekend with my family and rest up for the next leg of the “Let’s Go Nuts!” Tour.

Wishing you and your family a happy and safe Easter weekend!

PS – I just love this song, AND movie!

Performing at the Blue Bird Cafe

Kyle Dine performing at the Blue Bird Cafe

 

I love it when my bucket list gets one item shorter! The other night that was exactly what happened after I played an open mic at the legendary Blue Bird Cafe in Nashville!

I was incredibly lucky to even get into the jam-packed small cafe, let alone perform. I met an incredibly nice guy in the lineup before hand who pulled some strings to get my name into the hat. I was then blown away when my name was picked 7th and built up some guts and battled some nerves during the 6 performances before mine!

I played a song that I wrote for my wife called “The Sweetest Thing”. Yes…I don’t only write songs about food allergies! I was definitely nervous and am smacking myself on my forehead for messing up the bridge in the song!! Ah well, the fact that I can say I played on that stage is all I needed to be flying high for a long long time!

In case you’re interested in seeing the video, here is a link to “The Sweetest Thing“.

Home for a Rest

Cottage
After three flights and six time zones, I am back in Slovenia. I’m so thankful to everyone I encountered over the past two months while on tour. Food allergy moms and dads are INCREDIBLE.

While living on the road, you let me stay in your homes, invited me to dinner, made me sandwiches for lunch, took me sight-seeing, chatted with me between shows, let me do laundry, gave me advice, helped set up my equipment, and shared with me your food allergy story which strengthened my commitment to educating others.

So many of you that I didn’t meet sent me notes of encouragement on Facebook or Twitter. I want to let you all know how much I appreciate your support and that it truly made a difference in keeping me focused on being my best over this period. You are such a kind and caring community and I feel fortunate to be a part of it. THANK YOU ALL!

Goodbye California

Surfin' USA (2)

 

Let me start off by saying…my new favourite thing in the world is surfing! Besides the amazing weather, great friends, and incredible sunsets, my three days of surfing the waves of Santa Monica made it very hard to leave!

The last month may have been the most memorable I’ve ever had on tour. It was a jam-packed schedule that took me down the entire beautiful west coast. I started in Seattle and ended up driving down all the way to Los Angeles. I had a school performance nearly every single day and loved visiting new schools as well as a few repeat ones too!

Surfs up! After many wipe outs, I finally got the hang of it on day 3.

Surfs up! After many wipe outs, I finally got the hang of it on day 3.

Managing food allergies along the way seemed to be a breeze. I was lucky finding restaurants that were safe, and accommodation with my own kitchen to cook in. My flights all went smoothly too with no peanuts being served or eaten around me.

My two best friends live in Southern California so it was a refreshing break at the end of the trip to hang out with them and catch some waves together.

The tour now moves back to the east coast where I will be performing at schools in Massachusetts and New Jersey before heading back to Canada for a few more next week.

Two more weeks left on tour and still have lots of energy! My two sprained toes from surfing are slowing me down a little… but it’s a small price to pay for finding a new hobby and trying something that’s always been on my bucket list!

C’est la vie!

Kyle