traveling is broadly associated with folks in their 20’s, people that are somewhere in or just out of their education, young people, free people, folks that are not having a family yet. But in fact, there is (almost) no reason for excluding longterm travels or journeys on rather unbeaten paths from your globetrotting possibilities once you’ve started a family.
In my series Traveling Families I am interviewing families that did not drop their traveling plans and neither ground down their wanderlust but decided to continue their journey together with their kids.
After a little break I am happy to present our 9th edition of our travelling families interview series: meet Melissa from The Roaming Family! Located in the US but with some middle east expat experience, they are travelling with their two children as much as they can.
My name is Melissa and my husband is Keith. Our kids are Max and Zoe. We started traveling before the kids were born and I decided to start a blog to help others figure out how to travel with kids. That led to my full-time career in travel with a travel agency based in Austin called Departure Lounge. My blog is www.theroamingfamily.com
Name: The Downhams from The Roaming Family
Home Base: We call Denver home now, but we’re from Chicago originally. We also had a stint living in Doha, Qatar for 3 years and it very much felt like “home”.
Tell us about your family: We are a family of 4 who love to travel! Other than our insatiable desire to see other countries, we’re pretty normal. We live in a normal house in Denver and have a crazy dog. When we’re not traveling, we’re actually pretty lazy! We hang out at home on the weekends, with occasional trips to the mountains. We definitely don’t take advantage of the outdoorsy nature of the state of Colorado!
What’s your preferred travelling style? We travel as often as our schedules (and funds!) will allow. We are not camper type people and usually mix it up between 5 star hotels and rented homes. When we ski during the winter, we’re almost always in a rental home, but when we’re out of the country, we’re almost always in a nice resort or hotel. My job as a travel advisor helps with that!
How are your kids schooled? Our kids go to an International Baccalaureate school here in Denver and have a traditional schedule. We liked the idea of an International school because our son attended one in Doha and if we ever live overseas again, they will most likely attend an International school. We tend to travel most during vacations, but we are known to take the kids out of school for a few days. Next November, when we go to Tanzania, they’ll be missing a week! We’re firm believers in a “world” education too.
Tell us about your dearest family travel memory. Last summer, we went to a resort on an island off Colombia that no one has ever heard of. We had amazing luck that weekend in that it was a new moon and the resort gave us a free bioluminescence tour in the mangroves. The 4 of us and one of the hotel owners headed out in pitch darkness into the mangroves and jumped in the water to experience a bioluminescence swim. It was incredible and the kids still talk about it.
Which countries/regions did you explore with your kids so far? Oman, Bahrain, UAE, Jordan, Lebanon, Thailand, Cambodia, Cyprus, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Mexico, Maldives, Malaysia, Colombia, Nepal, Sri Lanka. And we’re going to Tanzania in November.
Thinking back to your past travels, which on was the best and why? Cambodia and Vietnam were incredible. It was a really long trip and it was hard with a 1 year old and 4 year old, but in terms of the different culture and the amount of things we saw, it was a trip we will never forget.
What do you think you could discover thanks to travelling with your kids that you would have not done/seen without them? I don’t think we had any idea that traveling this much or extensively was possible before we had kids. Everyone told us we would never travel again. Our kids helped us discover that simply wasn’t true.
If there is a country you would not visit again with your children, which is it and why? We weren’t huge fans of Sri Lanka. Roads were brutal and we really didn’t feel like we “saw” anything.
Do you have any advice for traveling with kids? Mainly just to have fun and just do it. People get scared of what’s in store for them with a long plane trip, something going wrong, etc. When it comes to a crying kid on the plane, don’t worry about it! You’ll never see these people again! If something goes wrong, you’ll deal with it just like you deal with any problem at home! I also encourage parents to take a day off and use the kid’s club at a resort, if possible. Mom and Dad need to recharge sometimes!
What is – for you – the biggest challenge when travelling as a family? Food for sure! My kids seems to hate everything with the exception of chicken nuggets and fries. Finding a restaurant where everyone is happy is a challenge.
Traveling is always as well a learning path; what did you learn from your family travels? Anything is possible. I’m a pretty high stress person. If I can drag a kid through Jordan for a week, anyone can do it!
Why are you travelling? We started actively traveling because we wanted to show our kids that not everyone lives in a little corner of Denver with two cars. Many of the places we have gone have really stuck with our kids and shown them that the world exists beyond us. I also genuinely love seeing the world.
What do you think is the best benefit for your children from your journeys? See above 🙂 Our kids have asked us how they can help people who don’t have what we have.
Thank you, Melissa and happy travels!
Get inspiration from other traveling families and check out our previous interviews!