We (Graham and Trish) have been traveling the world for most of our adult lives, in one form or another. Once you get the bug, there’s no real cure. Not that we would seek one even if there was. It’s a perfectly welcome addiction, and one we fully intend to pass on to our children, Shiloh, 4.5, Judah, 2.5 and Norah, 7 months. We hope to be able to travel frequently enough to be able to raise them in a way where “foreign” experiences are the norm. So far, we’re off to a decent start.
Trish and I met while working as scuba instructors in Singapore, and after we got married in 2011, our mutual love of traveling brought us on a ridiculously ambitious overland honeymoon trip through Africa. It was calamitous and absurd and glorious and disastrous. We even wrote a book about it, which you can check out here.
Thereafter, we settled down in North Carolina for a bit and had ourselves a couple of kids. We have not stopped traveling, though. Shiloh, at a scant three years of age, has already been to 14 countries. Judah has conquered two before his first birthday (and a trip to San Diego). Norah flew for the first time at 2 months old to Miami. Many, many more are in their future. We hope to create a new normal for our family by traveling as much as possible and feeding our adventure addiction, while creating the same addiction for our kids.
This blog will feature stories, advice (mostly good, probably some bad), travel hacks, destination ideas, product reviews, and really anything else travel-related that we feel like posting. We aspire to become a resource for those wanting to travel with kids of any age, to show not only how possible it is, but how much of a joy it is. Come experience traveling with us, and learn as much as you can about this curious, surprising, incredibly diverse world we live in.
A little more about us
As a kid, I kicked around the US with my family on family trips every so often. We racked up a good number of scenic locales within our borders, and I even got my first tastes of international travel on a road trip to Canada, and once on a cruise to the Bahamas, where we spent all of seven hours in Nassau. I enjoyed it all in my own kid way, with a kid-sized understanding of the uniqueness of it all. It was fun, but not transformative.
My grown-up introduction to traveling started with a few church mission trips to Mexico and Jamaica, as well as a six month long jaunt in Hawaii and Indonesia with Youth With A Mission. But the real impetus to travel more, on my own, came as a result of good old fashioned sibling rivalry. My older brother had started traveling internationally a few years before me, and I simply could not let that stand, so I set to work to outpace him and win traveling. First to Europe, then to the Middle East, then Southeast Asia. When we were kids, we used to compare traveling supremacy by who had been to the most states. That evolved into countries, continents, cultures…
In reality, the competition aspect faded almost immediately. I was hooked on traveling all on my own terms. I now reveled in the idea of experiencing anything unique, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone to do it. Just being able to see and experience different cultures, lay eyes on world-famous landmarks, and eat things I never knew existed was more than enough to inspire me to keep doing it, as much as I could, whenever and wherever I could. I traveled for years all over the world, backpacking alone mostly, and eventually became a scuba instructor. I lived in Bali at the time, and after completing my course and internship, I got a job offer in Singapore. That is where I met Trish.
I was born in Malaysia, raised in Singapore and by the age of 22, held down a cushy government teaching job in Singapore, teaching physical education and math. The Asians have a term for that kind of job: “iron rice bowl”. Basically, it means that it is a very secure, lucrative and sought after job. It was a great job I enjoyed, and I loved the people I worked with too. Not many people can say all that!
Every single time I had a break from teaching, I was on the road to somewhere, seeking adventures, seeing places and experiencing cultures. Very few school holidays were spent in the country. Pretty quickly, I came to realize my travel love was becoming an inescapable passion. Eventually, I did the unthinkable and quit my teaching job, bade farewell to my friends and family and left Singapore to pursue an aquatic career – to be a scuba diving instructor. It was the only option for me at the time, to be able to work anywhere else in the world, as long as there is an ocean. Such a move was difficult for my friends and family to comprehend, but I knew it was the right one. I spent a few years bouncing around the globe, receiving my instructor training and then teaching in the Philippines, doing a marine conservation program in the Seychelles, and backpacking around plenty of other places. After almost a year away, I took up a temporary scuba instructor job back home in Singapore, and that’s where I met Graham and my life began to come together.
Shiloh gets very upset when her routines are incomplete, or if some book is not put back on the shelf properly or something. Seriously, if she does not have all five things she requires for her bedtime routine, she will demand them at full volume, and if she is unsatisfied, she will snowball into a full-blown meltdown.
You would think this makes her difficult, nay impossible, to travel with, but God blessed us with a bafflingly complex child who in fact adores traveling. If we’re away from home, she could not care less about her routines and comforting habits. She has a Habit Override switch that takes the form of new experiences. Her fondest and strongest memories are of things that are as different from her regular home life as possible. Most experiences are new and equally magical to a toddler, but somehow, she just loves to travel, specifically. She even loves to look at maps and see all the different places she’s been.
At one year old, Judah’s interests are, let’s say, limited. Pretty much anything bright and flashy, or anything with wheels. But we’re betting he inherited the wanderlust gene. We plan on using his incomparable cuteness and gorgeous head of hair to curry favor with people in hopes of getting airline upgrades, free food, hotel discounts, etc. There is a strong chance we will succeed.