I’m not alone! Thank you to My Well Traveled Friend Evie @ Mum Pack Travel for being brave, inspiring and breaking the norm. New kitchen? Why when you could travel for a year.
You live in Australia with your lovely daughter who is five now. I know you have been doing a fair amount of traveling in the past but for those that haven’t internet stalked you.
Where have you and Emmie already traveled to and what has been your favorite place so far?
Hahah thank you Anna, and thank you so much for having us on your blog!
Emmie’s first trip was to Fiji when she was four months old, followed by Disneyland and Barbados! We’ve returned to Fiji and Disneyland every year since as resort holidays make it very easy when traveling with babies and toddlers. And now Emmie is five we’re able to become more adventurous. We’ve also travelled to Singapore, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, America, Mexico, Hong Kong and Borneo. All of our trips have been special time between us – with me working full-time it’s hard to get enough time together – we love Fiji, and Disneyland will always have our hearts – but Borneo was an incredible adventure. Orangutans, proboscis monkeys, vipers, jungles trekking, rainforest waking, enormous caves, underground river systems and so much more…we had the best time!
Can you tell us a secret tip about your favourite destination?
In Kuching, Borneo we tested our budget abilities and stayed at the Tune Hotel which was about $30 AUD per night. One of the luxuries we missed was having a swimming pool – but on day two we discovered the Hilton Hotel across the road did $10 pool day passes – so we rented the lifestyle! It’s perfect for when you’re traveling on a budget but craving more. Swimming and poolside beers in the afternoon was lovely at a fraction of the cost if we’d stayed there. Many hotels have day passes so make sure to check them out of you’re staying budget!
You are based in Australia what’s the longest you have been away from friends and family and how did you cope?
So far our longest trips have only been around three weeks. During our last trip to Borneo Em really missed her best friend Tilly, so we used text messages and email to keep in touch. Next year we will be away for a year which will present even more challenges but hopefully we will meet up with friends and family along the way and you know what, we will just have to work it out! I am a backpacker from back in the day and I’ve lived and worked overseas so I’ll be fine – and wow, the internet has changed travel so much – no more post restante for basic communication! I know I’m going to have to be really on my game and super fun mum but I doubt that will be hard because a) I won’t be working or have the stress associated with it and b) I will have no day to day worries! Yippee!
You travel alone with your daughter which is amazing but I know it has its own challenges what have you found to be the most difficult thing and how have you tried to solve it?
Getting downtime can be difficult which is why I love breaking up budget hotel stays with time in hotels where they have a Kids Club and swimming pools. While we prefer to be out and about, after weeks of roaming around outdoors it’s nice to stop and have some poolside luxury, Kids Club and room service. This is also the reason why I adore Fiji – it’s just so easy. We can take a week’s holiday and spend hours together and then Em can have a few hours in Kids Club and I can read a book or have a cocktail!
In January 2016 you are about to embark on what I gather is your biggest trip so far. Can you tell us a bit about where you are going?
We are so excited about this trip! We leave for 12 months at the end of January when school goes back and our first stop is the Philippines for three months of beaches, mangoes, waterfalls, rice terraces and whale sharks. We may pop over to Sabah, Borneo for a few weeks and then it’s off to China for a couple of months – camping on the Great Wall of China, seeing the Terracotta Warriors, pandas and incredible national parks. From here we will travel to Vietnam and from then I need to work out the rest of the plan that will include as much of South East Asia as possible – Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and possibly Indonesia. I would love to visit the Maldives but it’s probably out of the budget, and we may meet friends in Bali. I feel like one year will not be enough so we will see how we go! This is all funded by the money I saved to renovate the kitchen – I can’t think of a better way to spend it.
Here at My Well Traveled Friend we love to travel plan and tend to use a mixture of classic guides like Lonely Planet and of course fellow travel blogger sites but honestly as a mum I have so much less time. I recently found some great inspiration on Pinterest which feels like less of a time suck. What is your method of planning and have you discovered any new and surprising sites or ways to do it?
I am actually using more time just doing key word searches and finding blogs and seeing what those travellers liked, it can be more up-to-date than the LP and I love reading personal accounts of adventures. I absolutely love Instagram though, you can post a question and people from our travel community there will answer. Only today I had a comment on a Hong Kong picture that turned into a chat about camping spots and then I discovered you can camp on the Great Wall of China – so that is on our list and I’ve already organised it! How amazing! I would never have known that if it wasn’t for my chat with my new insta pal @mightyheartmum
Apart from the usual technology, cell phone, lap top or iPad have you found a cool new accessory or gadget that you think will be awesome on your trip?
Oh gosh this is a big one for me cause I have learner plates with technology. I just asked the travel community on Instagram about this and got such helpful responses. Definitely adding a portable battery charger to the list and possibly a charge board – although we have one pack between us so space is very limited! And while it’s not a new invention I do adore my GoPro for its brilliant underwater shots although I am still working out how to use it haha.
A lot of people that contact me on my site are worried about bugs and the heat when traveling to Asia. I know you are totally intrepid and of course fearless but what is you one Oh god what if?!
I think my fear is that since there’s just the two of us, what if something happens to me and there’s no one to look after her in a strange country. I’m going to have to be really careful and I’m making sure I’m fit and healthy. I think that we can always create fears to stop us from doing things. People have asked me – what if you can’t get a job when you get back, what about schooling, won’t you be lonely? My biggest fear is not living a wonderful, memorable life with my daughter so nothing will stop us from taking this adventure. We will sort everything out when we get back.
I have always tried to present My Well Traveled Friend as a place to support and inspire moms to travel either as a family or as a solo mum. What inspires or motivates you to travel with your daughter most?
We both love adventures and we love spending time together so it’s a fabulous combination. I want to share the world with her and encourage her to stay outside the lines and have a broad view of the world, to be tolerant and educated in life and have really meaningful experiences. I can’t afford to take a year off work and stay in Australia, but I can afford to do it if we travel through Asia. My other inspiration is my beautiful friend George who passed away last year. She was young and has two gorgeous young daughters. She was the most amazing human and also loved traveling, she inspires me to share experiences with Emmie and live life as much as I can. I am mindful our time on this earth is so short and I want to be more than a busy working mum to Em.
We love Instagram, update it daily and I feel a lot of our “traveller” interactions take place on here. Where will you be sharing your latest adventures?
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, I can’t wait to watch your journey unfold.
My Well Traveled Friend Mum Pack Travel