Please introduce us to your family
I live with my husband Brett and our sons Bryce ( 13) and Dorian ( 10) in Burlington, Ontario in Canada. Brett works in transportation and loves jamming with the “Kanuck” band while I’m an entrepreneur working from home. My passions include advocating for autism, writing, singing, and performing puppet shows.
Bryce, our son, loves acting and wants to follow in my family’s footsteps.
My mom Hazel Gorin is Maynard’s original ‘Sour Granny’; my dad is Ken Gorin; a church singer (Sacrifice); my sister Stephanie Gorin; a Toronto Casting Director and my brother-in-law is Joe Bostick; Fight Director/Actor. My two nephews are also in the ‘biz’ Devon Bostick who played Rodrick in ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ and Jesse Bostick who was Antonello in ‘The Borgias’.
Dorian also has the ‘showbiz’ bug and dreams of being a rock star one day, and music teacher working with autistic children.
Why do you like to travel?
Living with an autistic child is challenging since public awareness, and acceptance is lacking.
Venturing out causes “anxiety” for our family.
Travelling takes more preparation and a lot more time to ease our child into the journey though it is a welcome escape from the “norm”.
How would you describe your preferred family travel style?
We love travelling by car.
Going on “ adventure rides”, we stop periodically; meeting new people along the way. Landscapes engage my children in something other than “electronics” which is wonderful. By the way, our favorite travel game is ‘Punch Buggy’.
How has travel helped your family?
When you live with autism, the family dynamic can be strained. Bryce’s need for “alone time” hurts Dorian’s feelings; causing some of his meltdowns. During our car travels, both brothers find ways to co-exist amicably, so it’s “quality time” for the entire family.
What is your best vacation memory?
My favourite vacation was our honeymoon to Myrtle Beach.
Brett and I left before sunrise.Without planning a route or knowing where we would sleep along the way, we played it by ear. We also took turns driving throughout the night. It felt quite adventurous.
What was your worst vacation story?
Our family vacationed at a Collingwood resort offering a kids’ summer camp. Needing a break from the everyday chaos, we enrolled Dorian in their half-day camp. After a couple of hours, they requested we pick Dorian up. Apparently, after he was ordered to leave the pool, by the lifeguard, Dorian screamed, “No!” Then, flailing his arms, Dorian accidentally fractured the nose of the counselor coming to console him.
Though Dorian apologized the next day, his camp participation was terminated.
What has your son learnt from traveling?
We haven’t ventured outside of Ontario yet, so Dorian has learned very little about the outside world.
We’re hoping that will change this year when we take our first big trip to Orlando, Florida.
What does your family travel bucket list look like?
Bryce dreams of travelling by air.
I’d love to enjoy an early morning latté at an outdoor Paris café; Dorian wants to visit Egypt and Brett dreams of visiting somewhere exotic.
How did you come up with the concept of your project?
My friend Karen Ellis shared the story of a little girl with cancer who wanted to travel but couldn’t.
So, she sent her teddy bear to travel around the world instead of her. She saw the world through the bear’s eyes; and from postcards she received.
It was a lovely story, and when I shared it with Dorian, he responded, “Mommy, I want to send TIKKO™ (Dorian’s GANZ Webkinz Polar Bear) into the world to raise autism awareness!
I don’t want people to keep TIKKO™; I’d miss him too much.” I replied, “Why don’t we ask our friends to take TIKKO™ on vacation and bring him back when the trip is over? ” Dorian loved the idea.
And that’s how “Travelling Tikko™” started!
As TIKKO™ travels, I research local autism organizations where he visits, AND posT links on Facebook’s Travelling Tikko™ page.
By taking TIKKO™ on vacation, families help raise autism awareness and their vacation photos are shared on Facebook.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I avoid “five-year” plans.
My angels will guide me where I’m meant to go.
I would love to see more people advocating for autism; understanding ASD with love and compassion.
Ultimately, this is Dorian’s legacy. For now, I am his voice, helping Dorian realize his dream of making the world a better place.