If you thought a maternity leave was simply to enjoy all the pre and post-partum rest, London’s Karen Edwards, 32, will bewilder you. Using her year-long maternity leave, Karen traveled to 10 countries with her husband, Shaun and newborn daughter, Esmé. Along with a nursing job, Edwards even blogs about her sojourns on Travel Mad Mum
. On the blog, she also advocates baby travel products and advice for parents that love traveling.
Being a couple who loves traveling, Shaun (who is an avid traveler himself) and Karen on knowing that they are expecting a baby, decided to not stop seeing the world. They took on this advent to experience how it was to feel like a new family, and traveling perhaps would be the most apt way, to do so. After all, traveling with a baby on the back certainly is a one-of-its-kind experience. Stating that she would have started much earlier (she started a little over halfway through that first 10-month trip), had she not contemplated it much like other new moms do.
Then on, the adventure began and there was no stopping! Having traveled to 10 countries, Edwards was most apprehensive about Taiwan, as she didn’t come across much information about traveling there with kids. But much to her delight, Esmé had a great time there! She calls Taiwan ‘really, really child-friendly’, with its nappy-changing facilities, free wipes and a big sofa to breastfeed at the metro stations.
Referring to parenting as a ‘communal approach’, Karen found Vietnam and Bali very welcoming. The new mum was called selfish for this decision. Karen states that it, in fact, is a great time for the new family to be together. Much thought was actually given to this venture by her; with Shaun getting to spend a year with the baby, to consulting a doctor who prescribed this to be the best time to travel for newborns, while they are still being breastfed, getting all the immunity they require from the breast milk. And then, of course, the bliss of a vacation
, was still there even with a baby. No cooking, cleaning, and maintaining a household!
Esmé, two years old now, has the privilege of boasting that she has traveled to 17 countries already and likes to fly on a plane, more than playing on a swing! Having traveled to Thailand, Cambodia, South Africa, Spain, and Cuba this year, the plan to go to Italy next.
No one said that it was all glory traveling with a baby. This travel mad mum and dad were not left out either. With their share of a cranky baby and occasionally lesser naps, they are now well-practiced at handling the hysteria. And Esmé is one happy baby girl!