A travel-mad mum has made the most of her maternity leave by taking her 10-week-old baby backpacking around the world on an adventurous ten-month trip.
Most parents think that having a baby restricts your travelling choices, but not Karen Edwards.
The 31 year old admitted that she also thought she would have to change her lifestyle when she started a family, but now wants to prove to like-minded parents that travelling days do not have to be over.
Karen said; ‘Now this is going to sound selfish, when I realised I was pregnant with little miss (who I love unconditionally) I instantly thought- that’s it, travel days are over’.
The mother-of-one, who was raised in Ireland but now lives in the United Kingdom, had been travelling for extended periods of time ever since she graduated from university while building a career as a nurse.
After having her daughter, Karen and her fiancée Shaun Bayes, who is originally from New Zealand, decided they were going to do things differently.
Just 10 weeks after daughter Esmé arrived, they sold their car, put their family home up for rent, Shaun quit his job as a landscaper and the fmaily packed up their possessions. Some went into the one backpack (that they shared between three) while the rest went into storage.
Karen said her family thought she was ‘completely nuts’ when she explained their plans, but Esmé made the experience easier.
‘She was really well behaved and because she was small it was easy enough to keep her in the harness when we were on the move.
‘People say having a child ruins travelling, but it really doesn’t. Obviously there were times, like at night in the hotel room when you fancy a beer and the baby is asleep, and when you crack it open she wakes, that makes it harder. But it’s worth it.’
By the age of 12 months, her daughter Esmé already had stamps in her passport from Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
‘We have no regrets, she got to experience new sights, scenes and smells as she grew and that is incredible.’
Sharing tips with other parents on her blog Travel Mad Mum, Karen recommends using air miles to pay for flights, storing lotions and liquids in empty baby food pouches to free up room in your luggage and taking your child to free library classes to socialise.
She also suggests bringing a harness, taking small toys for long journeys, not to ‘over do it’ with nappies, and letting your child try new foods.
Karen added; ‘The only time I felt Esmé was missing out was not having much socialising with other children.’
Following the sucess of their trip the couple have just booked flights for their next jet-setting, with plans to visit South East Asia – leaving in a couple of weeks.
What do think about Karen’s choice to travel with a young baby? Leave us a comment below!