Gay Dad Life

Gay Dad Talon and his son Tigger: Citizens of the World

“As a single parent, I wanted more time with my son. And I wanted to get more living into my life.”


A late-age adoption — the boy was 6 at the time — the new father could waste no time in creating a new life and new memories. So the job was quit, the bags were packed, and the father-and-son travel duo known as Talon Windwalker and Tigger took to the road and never looked back. They have been traveling the world ever since.

We're Gonna Have A Good Time Then

This is a man who took Harry Chapin’s immortal “Cat’s In The Cradle" to heart, heeding the consequences of putting off bonding with a child for everyday concerns. It is an existence Talon wanted to avoid from the beginning.

“I didn’t want a situation where I am on my deathbed and going over all the things I had wished I had done,” he says. “Instead, I want to spend that time with my son, and have us talk about all the cool things we did do.”

There are worse ends. “Parenthood on the road,” however, begs obvious questions, such as how does he pay for nonstop travel?

“It’s actually very affordable,” Talon tells Gays With Kids. “What makes travel expensive is how you live, how you do it, and how much constant expenses you have back home. It’s a lot cheaper to travel full time than it is to live in the States.”

Tigger at Chichen Itza, Mexico. Photo credit: Talon Windwalker

Home and Away

You don’t rack up an impressive count of 37 countries visited and, for all intents and purposes lived in, by accident. But it does require rejecting some of the most tightly-held notions of what makes a stable family life: By Talon’s own admission, the pair are homeless; latter-day vagabonds, the two move from location to location every few weeks to every few months. And, without a steady income, they are also below the poverty line – at least by American standards. So the man gets creative.

Not having a mortgage, car insurance, or other large-scale drains on a bank account goes a long way into saving a few dollars, as does settling on those countries whose economies are kind to those dollars. (At the time this interview, Talon was in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.) What a New Yorker or Parisian may call an odd job – transcription, blogging, scuba instruction – provides more than enough income to live comfortably, if not lavishly. The occasional housesitting gig is another brainwave for cheap room and board.

He documents those nuggets of modern wisdom on not one, but three blogs: one is called Travels4Yum (because you have to eat at one point), another TalonUnplugged (don’t ask the question if you don’t want the answer). But it is his adventures on 1dad1kid that the 47-year-old single gay father shines as an expert in giving roots to his son in what seems like a rootless upbringing. Ironically, it was their sedentary life that Talon considered rootless.

Photo credit: Talon Windwalker

The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers

“I realized I was working 40+ hours a week,” Talon explains, who had been working in trauma as a hospice chaplain before traveling full time. “I sent Tigger to school, and then to day-care because I am at work. During the week, I got him for just a few hours before it was time for him to go to bed to go to school the next day. I felt like other people were raising him.”

Tigger makes traveling easy by being 14 years old; he no longer needs round-the-clock parental supervision. At the same time, he is aware of, able to appreciate, and be occupied by different cultures in the way a very young child could not.

“I wanted him to have a broader connection to the world, to be more of a global citizen,” says Talon. It is road he already knows, coming from a family of travelers. He introduced Tigger almost immediately to the great, wide world, first in short, weekend-long bursts. When his son turned 9, Talon began their world odyssey.

When it came to education, Talon turns the world into a classroom. Because Tigger has sensory processing disorder, his mental processes can neurologically “jam” to where incoming information is not interpreted in sync with his senses. It does not affect his intelligence, but can make conventional schooling a minefield. Using an approach paradoxically called “unschooling,” Talon steers everyday situations into lessons: Shopping is a practical guide to math, percentages and economics; scuba-diving brings subjects such as physics and marine biology out of books and into real-world application.

Photo credit: Talon Windwalker

School of the World

Sometimes the father gets as much of an education as the son. Their swing through Asia was a double-edged sword: While Western children are an endless source of fascination, the attention can go a little too far. In Vietnam, young Tigger was treated like a rockstar for his then-blond hair, but when random strangers went beyond photographing to touching it, his personal space was violated.

“We’re going back to Europe,” says Talon. “We’re wanting to live in Budapest, so we are going to try and get a temporary residency visa for while we are there so that we don’t have to move around too much.”

“Too much” is the balancing act he must navigate with increasing empathy, particularly as Tigger gets older and forms his own identity and opinions; there are some days where he simply does not want to see this or that sight. Thus began the tradition of “lazy days,” those spans where Tigger has time to himself, or when both father and son stay in. It is an infinitely rational compromise to make when family life is on the go.

Photo credit: Talon Windwalker

Vivez sans regrets!

Of course, all this moving around gives rise to that other inevitable parenting question: How does the boy create and maintain a social circle? Tigger himself admits that his migratory life is “getting old,” but is still excited when a new destination is planned (and he has full input). In a sign of the times, and like a true millennial, he keeps in touch with his global network friends on social media and online gaming.

“I’ve been to other countries, other communities; they are tighter and children have more independence and are able to do more, and I wanted him to be raised in those kinds of cultures, and also to expose him to many different cultures so that he could pick out the pieces that appealed to him resonated with him the most for when if he became a parent.”

It’s been a wild success for both of them. And, as they say, you cannot argue with success.

Show Comments ()
Transracial Families Series

How These Dads Address White Privilege within Their Transracial Family

The "white savior" complex is real, said Andrew and Don, who are raising two Black children.

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of ongoing posts exploring issues related to transracial families headed by gay, bi and trans men. Interested in being featured as part of the series? Email us at dads@gayswithkids.com

Andrew Kohn, 40, and his husband Donald (Don) Jones, 47, together 13 years, are two white dads raising two Black children in Columbus, Ohio. Do they stick out? Sure. Have they encountered racism? They say they haven't. "I keep waiting for the moment so that I can become my best Julia Sugarbaker," said Andrew. "I think because we're a gay couple with Black kids, we're the other-other and people don't really say things to us. We have never had people touch our kids hair or do something that was inappropriate."

Keep reading... Show less
Entertainment

Take a Virtual Tour of The Homes of These Famous Gay Dads

Many famous gay dads — including Neil Patrick Harris, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Ricky Martin — have opened up their homes to fans on the pages of Architectural Digest.

In each issue, Architectural Digest offers a peak into the homes of different celebrities. In recent years, they've featured the homes of several famous gay dads. Check out the videos and stories the magazine pulled together on the beautiful homes of Neil Patrick Harris, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Ricky Martin below!

Keep reading... Show less
Children's Books

New LGBTQ-Inclusive Children's Book Asks: What Makes a Family?

A new children's book by Seamus Kirst follows a young girl's journey of emotional discovery after she is asked which of her two dads is her "real dad."

Editor's note: This is a guest post from Seamus Kirst, author of the new LGBTQ-inclusive children's book "Papa, Daddy, Riley."

Throughout my life, I have discovered that reading provides an almost miraculous way of changing the way I think.

There is no medium that better offers insight into the perceptions, feelings and humanity of someone who is different from us. Through reading we become empathetic. Through reading we evolve. I have often emerged from reading a book, and felt like I was changed. In that, even in this digital age, I know I am not alone.

As children, reading shapes how we see the world. The characters, places, and stories we come to love in our books inform us as to what life might offer us as we grow up, and our world begins to expand beyond our own backyards.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Photo Essays

Interested in Foster Care? These Amazing Dads Have Some Advice

As National Foster Care Month comes to a close, we rounded up some amazing examples of gay men serving as foster care dads, helping provide kids with a bright future.

Every May in the United States, we celebrate National Foster Care Month. With over 437,000 children and youth in foster care, it's our honor to take a look at some of the awesome dads in our community who are opening their hearts and their homes, and providing these kids with a bright future.

Thinking about becoming a foster parent? Check out these resources here, and visit AdoptUSKids.

Meet the Foster Dads!

Keep reading... Show less
Transracial Families Series

This Transracial Family Relies on a 'Support Group' of African American Women

Puerto Rican dads Ferdinand and Manuel are raising a daughter of Jamaican descent — and love to find ways to celebrate their family's diversity

Our second feature in our transracial family series. Read the first one here.

Ferdinand Ortiz, 39, and his husband Manuel Gonzalez, 38, have been together for 7 years. In 2017, they became foster dads when they brought their daughter, Mia Valentina, home from the hospital. She was just three days old at the time. On December 13, 2018, her adoption was finalized.

Mia is of Jamaican and African American heritage, and her dads are both Puerto Rican. When Manuel and Ferdinand began their parenting journey through the foster care system, they received specific training on how to be the parents of a child whose race and culture was different from their own. "We learned that it's important to celebrate our child's culture and surround ourselves with people who can help her be proud of her culture." However, as helpful as this training was, the dads agreed that it would've been beneficial to hear from other transracial families and the type of challenges that they faced.

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

How the Shut Down Opened Me Up to Being a Better Dad

David Blacker's dad used to tell him to 'stop and smell the roses' — the shut down has led him to finally take the advice

"Stop and smell the roses." It was the thing my dad always said to me when I was growing up. But like many know-it-all kids, I didn't listen. I was determined to keep my eye on the prize. Whether it was getting good grades in school, getting my work published, scoring the next big promotion, buying a house or starting a family. For me, there was no such thing as resting on my laurels. It has always been about what's next and mapping out the exact course of action to get me there.

Then Covid.

Ten weeks ago, I — along with the rest of the world — was ordered to shelter-in-place... to stop thinking about what's next, and instead, focus on the here and the now. In many ways, the shut down made me shut off everything I thought I knew about being content and living a productive life. And so, for the first time in my 41 years, I have literally been forced to stop and smell the roses. The question is, would I like the way they smell?

Keep reading... Show less
Transracial Families Series

How This Transracial Family Creates a 'Safe Space' to Talk About Their Differences

Kevin and David know they can never understand what it's like growing up as a young black girl — but they strive to create a 'safe space' for their daughters to talk about the experience

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of ongoing posts exploring issues related to transracial families headed by gay, bi and trans men. Interested in being featured as part of the series? Email us at dads@gayswithkids.com

Is adopting a child whose race and culture is different from your own something that us queer dads need to talk about? Share our experiences? Learn from others? We've been hearing from our community, and the answer has been a resounding, "yes."

With over one-fifth (21.4%) of same-sex couples raising adopted children in the United States today (compared to 3% of different-sex couples), it's highly likely, at the very least, that those families are transcultural. According to April Dinwoodie, Chief Executive of The Donaldson Adoption Institute, Inc., all adoptive families are transcultural. "All, in my opinion, adoptions are transcultural because there are no two families' culture that is exactly the same, even if you went as far as to get very specific about the family of origin and the family of experience and almost make it cookie-cutter … no two families operate the same."

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse