The former Wiggle may have been absent from the live shows for awhile, but his voice continues to be a critical entertainment tool on any long distance journey involving children. Now he is back with his own television show, Play Along With Sam and is on tour. Sam Moran tells suitcases&strollers about his travel experiences, how he entertains his 3-year-old daughter on long trips and what he does when his songs get stuck in his head.
You toured all over the world with The Wiggles. How many countries have you been to?
We were on television in over 100 countries and we toured to at least 15. Of course there was the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia that we spent most of our time touring. However, we also toured Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Malaysia and Ireland.
A couple of places that were quite unique were Puerto Rico and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. I found both very interesting because they were so different to the other places that we toured.
Where is the most unusual place you've travelled?
I think probably Beijing around 2001. It was interesting because it was prior to the Olympics being awarded so no big, shiny infrastructure had been built. I found it oppressive. Quite the opposite to Shanghai which has an excitement about it.
Friends who have travelled to Beijing since say that the whole city has changed and that it has an amazing new energy about it. I would like to go back and experience it again.
How frequently were you travelling with The Wiggles?
I was travelling for 7 to 8 months of the year, 2 weeks in one country, a week at home, and then 5 weeks away.
Did you bring your daughter with you on tour?
Not as much as I would like. Unfortunately, we were in a different city every day sleeping whenever we could while travelling. It's not a lifestyle that is very conducive to travelling with little ones.
That being said, my daughter had been on 30 flights by the time she reached 18 months old! With my new show, I have more control over how we tour and my experiences have shown me that there are ways of making it work.
How often do you travel with your daughter now?
We have a lot of family in the US, so even when I'm not travelling for work we try to get there at least once or twice a year.
Is it important for kids to travel?
I think it is, certainly as they get older and are more curious about the greater world. It's one thing to read about a country or culture, but if you ever have the opportunity to allow your child to actually experience another culture, I think you should do all you can to make it happen. Even as adults, experiencing different cultures really challenges your world view and helps shape who you are as a person.
Where is your favourite place to travel?
I spend a lot of time travelling around the world, so it's always that flight home that I get most excited about. The world has a lot to offer, but if you're doing it without your family, you really just want to travel home.
Where is your favourite place to take your daughter on holiday?
We have a lot of family in the US, so it's always great to visit our extended family and have my children get to spend time with them. However, there is something to be said about packing up the car with everything you need and driving to a camping spot just out of town. [It’s] your own little family adventure that, to a child, could be the biggest adventure in the world.
When other parents travel, most families have some form of Wiggles DVD or CD. What do you use to entertain your daughter?
In addition to an iPad in our house, we always have an "adventure pack" bag packed with pens and paper, small toys, glue stick and shapes. When we are going anywhere (whether it be on a plane or just for a trip to a café) we grab the "adventure pack" and my daughter knows she is going to have a good time. [For more ideas on travel-friendly toys, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]
Children's songs are notorious for getting "stuck in your head". Does this happen to you a lot?
When I'm writing a new song it gets stuck in my head, but I'm quite good now at switching it off after a while. Unless, of course, I come home from work and my daughter is watching the songs that I have been singing all day. Sometimes I can't escape myself!
Do you change the songs you write for children in different countries or is music universal?
Music really is universal for pre-schoolers. At this age, children are experiencing everything for the first time and that is no different anywhere. I've done shows in China to a largely non-English-speaking audience. The only difference we did was cut down on the talking. Once the music starts, children respond in the same way the world over – they dance!
Are you going to start touring internationally again soon?
Absolutely. I have fans all over the world that I receive messages from every day. I can't wait to get back over there and thank them all for the support they have shown me over the years. There is nothing more rewarding than performing for a young audience and I hope to be travelling the world again as soon as I can. Only this time, I get to do it in a way that works for me and my family. I get to do it my way.
To read more about Sam Moran, see the suitcase&strollers interview about his hometown, Sydney.