The kids and I gate-crashed my parents romantic ‘trip of a life time”! They have been wanting to do this stunning voyage up the coast of Norway for over 30 years – could not have been more excited when they asked us to join them! I read that "along this coast line are views to make you weep" - whoever wrote that was not kidding!!! Everything about this trip was breathtaking – from the scenery, to the freezing cold air! And experiencing the Northern Lights was more beautiful (& much more emotional) then I’d prepared myself for.
A couple of beautiful days in Bergen
Boarding MSFinmarken (Hurtigruten)
Our cosy cabin
Hiking round the Hjorund Fjord
The beautiful town of Ålesund
In a hot tub, sailing in to the arctic circle!
On top of Mount Stornsteinen
Mount Stornsteinen's playground
Reaching Nordkapp, the furtheset most Northern point in Europe
Reaching the end of our voyage, Kirkenes
One of four viewings of the spectacular Northern Lights
Taking over the flight deck on our journey home
Malawi/Zambia - 2017
Mumbo Island, Malawi
Monkey Bay, Malawi
Myanmar - 2017
Such a privilege to visit this incredible country that still feels so magical & undiscovered. We began this trip on the beach at Ngapali, then travelled to Mandalay. We then took a long road trip to Bagan via U-bein bridge. We visited an elephant sanctuary in Kalaw, & spent a few days on Inle lake before heading home via Yangon. We have so many highlights from this three week trip, but (in the name of preserving their memories) this is what the kids said were their's...
"My favourite things about Myanmar was lots of swimming, seeing the Bagan temples at sunrise with Mum & LOADS of family time." - Archie, 8
"My favourite things were learning to swim like a nemo fish & looking after the ELEPHANTS!!!! (Especially the little elephant called "naughty boy" - he was my favourite!)" - Milo, 6
"I loved cuddling lots of babies & making new friends. And making friends with the kind monks." - Lottie, 3
Arriving at Ngapali Beach
Mandalay Hill, Mandalay
The Temples of Bagan
Elephant sanctuary, Kalaw
New York - 2017
Carl's work takes him away from home several times a year. Where possible - we try to go with him! This was a very fun, caffeine fuelled, city break to New York. We were only there 4 days, so decided to use LonelyPlanet kids as our guide. We got a birds-eye view of the city from the “Top of the Rock’; spent a blissful day in Central park; visited the Natural History Museum; the Museum of the Moving Image; and spent a day on a water taxi viewing New York from the river Hudson.
“I loved our view out of our bedroom window - all day long it changed. Seeing the Statue of Liberty was also amazing” Archie, 8
“I loved going to ‘Ess-A-Bagel’ for breakfast - best bagels in the whole world” Milo, 5
“Yellow cars!!!! That was my best. And we saw some green ones too” Lottie, 2
Australia - 2016
Having family living on the other side of the world is HARD!!! But also wonderful as it makes trips accross the globe easier and even more fun! This was a special little girls trip to Byron Bay to hang out with some of the cousins :-)
Thailand - 2016
Thailand is a brilliant country to explore with kids! Easy and accessible modes of transport make this a fun country to backpack through too. On this trip we explored some of the beaches around Phuket, stayed in three jungle tree houses in Khao Sok national park; took a long tail boat to the remote island of Koh Yao Noi, and then stayed in Bangkok with friends.
"Snorkeling off the tiny islands was amazing - it was like seeing another world under the sea" - Archie, 7
"Living in a tree house was my favourite bit, and sleeping under mossie nets with Archie every night!" - Milo, 5
"A cheeky monkey ate my pens!" - Lottie, 2
Sri Lanka - 2015
Sri Lanka is a tiny island but packed full of amazing things. If you are thinking of trying backpacking with kids - Sri lanka may just be the most perfect place to start! It was so empowering to realise that backpacking as a family of 5 was still possible, and not just possible, but really fun! We have never visited a place that offers so many travelling experiences so accessibly! In 3 weeks we visited jungles, mountains, tea plantations, went on safari, enjoyed an incredible variety of food, and stayed on one of the most beautiful beaches we have ever seen.
These were the boys highlights:
"My best memory was climbing Sigiriya rock with my friend Evie. There were 1200 steps. It was really hard, but the view from the top was amazing" - Archie, 6
"Sri Lanka has all the best drinks. Coconut milk, 'Milo' milk and Sri Lankan tea! I loved everything about it!" - Milo, 4
Cyprus - 2014
This wasn't a backpacking trip - but a very special holiday all the same. Cyprus is one of the few countries we have kept going back to - after each baby we have used Cyprus as our post baby practice run! Its only a 5 hour flight away, we can guarantee nice weather, easy transport and lovely people. Some people find travelling with a baby the easiest stage - we don't! We've needed time to gently ease back in to travel and adapt to the changing dynamics that each new baby has brought. For us Cyprus has been the perfect place to do that.
New Zealand - 2012
We loved campervanning around New Zealand, and it is a brilliant trip to do with young children. You can properly explore and feed the wanderlust without having to pack and unpack all the baby paraphanalia everytime you hit the road! We were worried about how the kids (& we) would cope with 5-6 hour journeys in the van, but with views for days, perfect picnic spots, and huge empty roads to lull the kids to sleep - the big drives became our favourite bit!
We started this trip on the North Island where we celebrated two special friends getting married. We then travelled round the South Island in our campervan visiting Christchurch, Lake Tekapo, Wanaka, Queens Town, Fox Glacier and many other amazing stop offs in between.
Bali - 2010
This was an amazing trip to Bali to see my gorgeous little sister get married. Travelling accross the world to the 'Wedding-of-the-decade', but with a toddler in tow and being 20 weeks pregnant, is NOT the same!!! We were still at the start of our journey of traveliing with kids here. We did so much learning on this trip about how to cope with different travel expectations pre and post kids. Wouldnt change it for the world - but would love to do that wedding again without a bump & jetlagged baby!
Malawi - 2009
This was our first family backpacking trip with a 7 month old Archie. Travelling has never been the same since!!!
This trip felt like a safe choice - back to a country we love, to visit a project we know very well, living in a place that was so familiar to us as a young couple. As we flew in to Lilongwe airport I felt like i was seeing Africa for the first time - I guess I was, through the eyes of a new Mother! This tiny boy suddenly seemed very vulnerable, he was completely dependent on us, and the choices we were making. Nothing prepared me for how different it would feel to travel with children. How completely exhausting, but incredibly rewarding it would turn out to be!
On this trip we went back to visit our friends, the Mkandawire's, an amazing Malawian couple who run a very special project in the rural villages of Malawi called 'Hope Missions'.
Us before Them!
These are some of our favourite travelling memories pre-children...
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Etosha National Park, Namibia
Makgadikgadi Pan, Botswana
Cape Town, South Africa
Bloukrans Bridge, South Africa
Bloukrans Bridge, South Africa
3 months working for Hope Missions, Malawi
3 months working at TLC Orphanage - Johannesburg, South Africa