The Journey of a Travel Blog

The Journey of a Travel Blog – From Backpacks to Wet Wipes

This month’s travel link up hosted by the amazing Follow Your SunshineAdventures of a London Kiwi SilverSpoon London and Eppie is “Journeys”. These journeys can be figurative, literal or metaphysical.

Actual Journeys I’ve Taken

I have to admit I was a bit stumped to start with. I thought about it for a while after the girls let us know the topic. I’ve taken lots of journeys of all kinds in my life. Some have been more memorable than others I guess! Read more

My top 6 types of travel companion

This month’s travel link up is co-hosted by the fabulous Polly from Follow Your Sunshine and Leona from Wandermust Family. They’ve tasked us with writing about travel companions. As someone who writes about family travel, the most logical people to write about are the Things. BUT…. I think most family bloggers are writing about their kids for this one so I thought I would do something a bit different and I’ve made a list of my top 6 types of travel companion.

1. The Things

Ok, ok I know I said I wasn’t going to conform and write a whole article about them. On the other hand, I can’t be a family travel blogger and not even include them! Travelling with the Things has opened my eyes to travel in such a different way.

Obviously the first thing that comes to mind is the first travels we took with them. Those times when they were so tiny and yet needed more luggage than a pop star and their entourage. Those travels were fun – first beach trip, first aeroplane, first sight of snow… They were also stressful with first time mummy worries of napping, expressing milk on the road and over-stimulated babies.

Thing 1's First Ever Flight!
Thing 1’s First Ever Flight!
As they have got bigger the fun has definitely increased – building sandcastles with a kid is way more fun than doing it on your own “for their benefit”.

Still Building For Their Benefit!
Still Building For Their Benefit!
Flying actually gets worse for a long time before it gets better – crawling babies just want to move, toddling ones pre-toddle need back breaking walks up and down the aisles and attention spans are pretty short until around the age of 3 (2.5 if you’re lucky). But holidays with littlies are still fun – splashing about in swimming pools, exploring beaches or going hiking, spending time with parents who are otherwise working…

Not Much Can Beat Splashing About In A Pool
Not Much Can Beat Splashing About In A Pool
Now that our Things are a bit older still, the longer haul flights are getting much easier. We’re even getting their input on holiday locations and activities (getting them to agree is another matter) and they are taking their own interests in the plans. We arrived at the Coliseum in Rome for Thing 1 to tell us that it is in his Lonely Planet Travel Book (which he reads at 5am when he can’t sleep and we won’t let him get up – but that’s another story).

Rome With The Things Was Amazing!
Rome With The Things Was Amazing!
I’m so excited for them to get bigger and to love travel the way we do. I want to show them so much, to open their eyes and minds to the beauty in the world, to different people and cultures, to new experiences that they could never get at home. Travelling with the Things is Totally Awesome.

2. Extended Family

Just as I love travelling with the Things, travelling with the very people who exposed Mr Wanderlust and I to travel at a young age is super fun. We’ve had some incredible holidays with our parents including taking mum to Lake Como which was a place on her bucket list for years. After we had been there I couldn’t believe it hadn’t been on my list for years too! (Just goes to show your mum is always right kids – even when you’re a mum yourself!)

 

Lake Como Blew Us Away!
Lake Como Blew Us Away!
Considering we are a truly expat family (we’re in the Middle East, my family’s in the UK, my in-laws are in the US), you’d be forgiven for thinking we’re not close. I’d actually argue it’s quite the opposite. It’s important to Mr W and I that family bonds are fostered regularly. We want the Things to have good role models and healthy relationships with adults other than us. I’m glad that their grandparents meet that criteria! Travelling with our parents is great but travelling with the Thing’s grandparents adds a whole new dimension altogether.

International Family Reunion!
International Family Reunion!

3. Besties

We have had some really brilliant holidays with our very best friends – people so close we called them our Urban Family when we lived in the UK. From skiing holidays when we were young and childfree to villa holidays, going away with people who we have grown up with and who know us as well as, if not better than our family is super fun! Inevitably it involves a few late nights and some sore heads along the way… But it also involves more fun and happy times than I can count.

Fun With Our Faves
Fun With Our Faves
I am especially lucky that Mr Wanderlust introduced me to his sister who became one of my best friends. We are all even luckier that their daughter, our niece, was born just 2 months before Thing 2 giving us maternity leave together and even more opportunities for holidays and time away. She lives in LA now so we don’t get much chance to hang out face to face which makes our holidays together even more special!

Besties
Besties

4. Other Kids

Now that we are older, holidays with family and / or friends invariably involves the Things of the respective siblings or friends.

Now don’t get me wrong, when holidaying with other families, you need to be pretty careful how you choose them. Going away with a family who has a completely different routine than you or different family rules is going to be difficult at best. Its hard to arrange anything if the kids are napping at different times or have different bed times. I mean its hard enough when they won’t even eat the same things as happened to us in Italy.

Six Things = Trouble...And Fun!
Six Things = Trouble…And Fun!
But if you get it right, the kids entertain themselves way more than they can by themselves. Plus there is the added bonus of multiple adults to give each other time off. AND you get to hang out with your mates! Winner winner chicken dinner!

Mini Besties
Mini Besties

5. Myself

It probably sounds a bit weird but I am just so happy when I am travelling! I haven’t done almost any travelling on my own and, while that would be interesting to try, what I mean by this is that I just really enjoy who I am when we are on holiday (Muscat trip excepted when I was horrid shouty mummy). It’s not even about getting to know myself better, just that I’m more chilled and I’m doing what I love. What could be better than that?

6. Mr Wanderlust

Last but not least and actually in first place is Mr Wanderlust. He’s my absolute favourite travelling companion! We met 6 days after he returned from a 20 month bum around the world round the world trip of a lifetime and have been pretty much inseparable ever since. Our whole relationship has grown and developed over unforgettable holidays and character building expat assignments. I think we both realised “this is it” around the time we took our first big backpacking holiday together in Indonesia, a proposal followed in Borneo and we had as much, if not more, fun planning our honeymoon as we did our wedding!

Me and Mr Wanderlust... Happy Days
Me and Mr Wanderlust… Happy Days
So those are my top 6 types of travel companion. Who’s your favourite person to travel with?

 

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

I have been challenged to “show my face today” by Aby over at You Baby Me Mummy (the person who did the blogger summer school I was doing over the, well, summer). It got me thinking that I started so well doing Facebook lives and chatting with you all over the summer with some great posts that everyone interacted with. It’s funny as I assume you all know me since the blog started off with just family and friends reading it, plus there is the About Me page on here. But now there are more of you who have never met me!

So here’s a little blog telling you some more about me:

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

This is me!
This is me!
  1. I don’t like kiwi fruit
  2. I’ve lived in 5 continents
  3. I have worn the same watch since I was 21
  4. I speak fluent Spanish and bad French and Portuguese
  5. I have a mild Diet Coke addiction which is bad considering we can’t get it in Doha since the blockade
  6. I am still in touch with my best friend from when I was 1
  7. I had my appendix out when I was 16 on New Year’s Eve
  8. I hate doing crafts with my kids (mess – ugh)
  9. I was a model for Coca-Cola when I was 21
  10. I hoard recipe books but rarely use them

Now its your turn!

Aby’s reasoning for this challenge was that she is doing a 20 minute video for a client today so if she has time to do that then I should surely have time to take a selfie and write about 10 things you didn’t know about me. So if I have had time to write this post (its taken me around 20 minutes all things considered) then you have time to tell me something!

So here’s the challenge to you guys. What could you tell me about yourselves to let me get to know you better? And what would you like to know about me?

 

London View

10 reasons I remember I love the UK 

There’s nothing like a bit of distance to make you look at your home country with rose-tinted spectacles! We are really enjoying this awesome holiday in our own country! Here are my top 10 reasons I remember I love the UK:

1. Public transport

Gosh we used to complain about public transport. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss the rush hour scrum or the delays when it breaks. But seriously the public transport system in this country is amazeballs.

2. Waitrose and M&S

We already can’t be bothered to cook tonight and I know we will end up getting one of those great meal deals with a main, a side, a dessert and a bottle of wine for £15 or whatever they charge these days. Super yummy, relatively healthy and cheaper than a takeaway / going out for dinner.

Not just that but going in and seeing the glorious selection of food, the rainbows of fruit and veg, the broad selection, the organic range, the organisation (everything is in the same place every week…it’s quite astonishing). It’s so relaxing and calming haha.

3. (Affordable) booze and pork in the supermarket

This is a bit depressing when you see a bottle of decent but not amazing wine and how cheap it is compared to at home. But I’ll enjoy it while we here.

Add to that the fact that you just can’t beat a nice crispy bacon sarnie or bangers and mash with proper British sausages and you have one happy camper over here.

Mmm…bacon…

4. History

You walk around the UK and you are walking on streets that people have been walking on for hundreds of years. You are constantly reminded of Vikings and Romans, of kings and queens, of fires and walls, battles and famines. I remember living in San Francisco and being told to go and look at some really old houses (the painted ladies if you’re wondering). I was told they were over a hundred years old (said in hushed voices). I was non-plussed – the flat I lived in in the UK at the time was in a house that was older than that! In the UK you can stay in an actual castle – I mean it doesn’t get much cooler than that!

Now this isn’t always a good thing – our house always had something going wrong with it, the public transport network is creaking and bursting at the seams, our history has a lot in it that we shouldn’t be proud of. But its still our history and our culture.. It makes us..well, us!

5. Online grocery delivery

Gosh this is so easy. And saves you so much time. There’s quite a lot of shopping related things here. What does that say about me?!

6. Green topography

Oh it’s nice to see some green around. Especially in Devon where it’s more 50 Shades of Green instead of 50 Shades of Beige. The fact that these are all on hills is just beyond inspiring . Who knew elevations could be so exciting?


7. Architecture

Let’s be clear… I’m not knocking what we have! Living in the Middle East we are able to see some of the most iconic and groundbreaking architecture of modern times. But sometimes I miss the grandeur of seeing more historical icons like St Paul’s, Big Ben or the Tower of London or even the simple Edwardian and Victorian terraced houses that we take for granted when we live here.

8. PDAs

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the sort of person to sit snogging the face off my husband. But I am quite tactile. I do like to kiss him whenever I want and to walk along holding his hand. I really miss that at home and enjoy the freedom to do it when I can.

9. Friends and family

I always say its the people not the places and this could never be truer when we think of home. The last week and a half have been so awesome seeing the people who have known us for the longest time of anyone. We are lucky enough that we caught up with a lot of friends and family in Italy but it has still been fab to see most of them again. We have met new babies, seen old friends and done many of the same things we have always done together. It really is the people not the places.

10. Home

You can travel the world and make your home wherever you are, as we do. You can be happy where you are while still missing your home country. But when push comes to shove there really is no place like home.

There's no place like home

And there you have it…10 reasons I remember I love the UK.

Do you love the UK? Check out my other posts on our trip:

Summer holiday blues

My Facebook feed has been flooded for the past 2 weeks. Memes and posts about the end of school, summer holidays and summer holiday blues. Posts showing the side by side, first / last day of school grins are followed by questions in mummy groups about What On Earth You Can Do with kids on summer holidays for £1.63 a day. Routines are disrupted, all the useful extra curricular activities and baby classes have stopped and friends (including me) selfishly disappear on holiday. Read more

You have to go down the chute

Fear of travel…with kids

Lots of people are worried about travelling with their kids. People who freely and happily travelled before are suddenly paralysed by fears of running out of nappies or disruption to routines. I’m not belittling the fears – we have all had them! But what happens when the travel you are talking about is expat travel? When the destination is somewhere you are going to live rather than visit for a week or two? When international travel is necessary just to get home? Read more

10 things that make me happy

I’ve been set a challenge by Alana over at Burnished Chaos to write a post about 10 Things That Make Me Happy. Its not my usual type of post but I like a challenge! I think trying out different styles of writing will ultimately make me a better writer and blogger so here goes (in no particular oder):

10 Things That Make Me Happy

Read more

10 ways to take amazing holiday photos!

This is a guest post from Rebecca Allen of Becca Allen Photography on taking great holiday photos. 

I was so happy when Emma asked me to share some suggestions for beautifully capturing your holiday moments! I am committed to documenting the everyday moments for our family and I love the fun I’m able to take photos when my kids are home from school and we’re spending more time together.

Whether you’re having an adventure-packed, see-the-world kind of holiday or an easy breezy few months at home, you’re making history and memories that deserve to be documented so you and yours can relive and enjoy them for years to come! We are only given 18 summers with our children and gosh – 18 is not a lot!

Give some of these tips a shot and see how beautiful your holiday can look in photos!

Read more

Facebook Worthy Holidays 

A post by another blogger and some comments from friends got me thinking: the blogger asked about the other side of holidays – the bits that we don’t show on Facebook.

Read more

You will never be the same

Adult Third Culture Kids

Ok so this isn’t your typical travelling post but it is a bit of an insight into why I’m so addicted to travelling and what gave me the travel bug in the first place.

The call came out from my favourite podcast a few months ago (Two Fat Expats in case you are looking for a new one to listen to): Are you an ATCK (Adult Third Culture Kid)? Did you grow up in one or more countries that were not your ‘home country’ or your ‘passport country’? Are you aged 25-125? We want to hear from you! Read more