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.
I am very happy to introduce you today to my dear friend Sarah. I know her since before I had kids and I am not exaggerating when I say that she is my parenting role model. It’s thanks to her that I learned to have trust and to listen to my guts and most important: dare to take a path that feels right, despite of everything. (thank you!)
My name is Sarah. I am a mother of 4 children ranging from almost 1 to 15 years. I love crafting, creative writing, nature and traditional English tea. 🙂
I started blogging quite a while ago to share my kids’ learning journey as we followed the un-schooling philosophy. Throughout the years my blog Songbirds Family changed and is now more focused on crafting, gardening, cooking and other handy skills.
Name: Songbirds Family, Sarah and Kids
Home Base: We are living in Germany in the south of Lower Saxony in the countryside
Tell us about your family: We are a multi-cultural patchwork family with a German, British and African background. We have followed the principals of attachment parenting and the continuum concept since my oldest daughter was born and I still love living and raising my kids this way. We love going for walks and hikes, cycling, playing music, crafting and cooking. My oldest daughter is an artist, my son a philosopher, my youngest daughter a dancer and the baby is just cute. 😉 I have been working as a childminder but am in the process of setting up a home-office right now.
What’s your preferred travelling style? As we are on a low budget we mainly go on daytrips. I do love simple travelling, camping, couchsurfing and my dream is to one day walk through a whole country just with a rucksack (and maybe a dog for company?) This of course is not so easy to do with children. That’s why we are dreaming about travelling with a camper.
How are your kids schooled? My kids are going to a private montessori-like school in Germany.
Tell us about your dearest family travel memory. Our favourite and most extra-ordinary journey was cycling on the R1 European Cycling Route from Germany to England in 2014. My kids were 7, 9 and 12 at the time and it took us 6 weeks to reach Dover.
Which countries/regions did you explore with your kids so far? We mainly travelled in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France and England/Wales
Thinking back to your past travels, which on was the best and why? Surely our cycle-tour was the most amazing thing we’ve ever done because we saw so much, met lots of lovely people and learnt a lot about ourselves. As we did camping and couchsurfing we experienced to live with the bare essentials and to get along with total strangers on a daily basis. We had to face and eventually loose a lot of fears – and to learn that most people in this world are actually nice and helpful was very reassuring! We experienced our own limits and learned to overcome them as well, and in the end we achieved more than we expected.
What do you think you could discover thanks to travelling with your kids that you would have not done/seen without them? I never thought that living in a tent and listening to the rain and thunder would be cozy, e.g. My children saw so many things in a different light than I did. And when they told me about their thoughts I would realize that I am often too busy thinking about the future or some unnecessary worries instead of living in the moment and listening to the raindrops, the wind, the cars passing by.
Do you have any advice for traveling with kids? My first journey with kid(s) was when my oldest daughter was barely 4 weeks old. Her father and I took her on a coach journey from England to Germany which took us 16 hours, and it all went smoothly. I noticed that children are quite happy and relaxed when the parents don’t fuss too much. If I am relaxed the kids are, too. We don’t take too many things with us – light luggage is always a blessing, and we really don’t need lots of stuff. This is also true for older kids and teens.
What is – for you – the biggest challenge when travelling as a family? Feeling responsible 24/7. Keeping an eye on everyone, organizing things, making sure we don’t forget something, meeting everybodies needs – all that. It is tiring.
Why are you travelling? I love travelling because it fills me with a sense of freedom. I also love “getting out”, seeing something new, getting new input, etc. In addition to that I am interested in history and try to include this in my journeys, e.g. we like looking at churches, visit monuments or castles, historical sites, etc.
What do you think is the best benefit for your children from your journeys? I think children learn to adapt and be flexible. They see that the world is very versatile and every country has good and bad sides. They also get in contact with different languages and cultures – this will help them to stay open-minded and tolerant towards foreigners.
Thank you very much, Sarah 🙂 Check out as well her Dawanda Store, she creates wonderful beanies for winter and has a very nice choice of eco-friendly notepads.
Check out more interviews with traveling families and learn about their adventures and challenges