Written By: Brenda Pomponio
Usually, parents who take parental leave relish the time at home to rest, nest and then look after a baby in their own environment. Well not Jade and her family from @ouroyster. Jade is currently using eight months of her 12-month maternity leave to travel! Marvellous.
We welcome Jade to the Heartfelt Series.
Heartfelt Traveller – Jade from Our Oyster
1. Tell me about your family
OurOyster is a travelling family of four. Our two boys are currently 5 years old and 9 months old. We are on again off again digital nomads. We normally live and work in Sydney Australia and try to take 2 – 3 international trips a year, plus we try to get away at least one weekend a month as well. But recently I have been on maternity leave, and we decided to spend 8 of my 12 months leave travelling around the world with our two children.
Read More about Maternity Travel Here.
2. When did travelling become a focus for you and your family?
I have always been addicted to travel, and I am probably the driving force behind most of our travel. I am one of those types of people who instead of talking about doing something someday, I instead get online and book the flight! I have been traveling for the last 12 years, and I would say that it is pretty much my lifestyle now. In fact, Australia is not even my home country. I am actually a Canadian expat.
3. Tell about some of the challenges you have had to overcome travelling with young children
To be honest, traveling with children isn’t that difficult. Sure, we want to pull our hair out sometimes, but I’m pretty sure our kids would do that to us whether we were on the road or at home. However, there is a lot more planning which needs to go into each trip. One thing which was a challenge during the planning stage was figuring out what to do about my sons school. My eldest son actually started kindergarten part way into our trip. I didn’t want him to start school late, so eventually we found an option where we were able to enroll in a public distance education school. They send us all the coursework and we scan and email it back as we complete it. This has been working really well for us and has allowed us that freedom to travel long-term during the school years. Other challenges (other than the daily battle to get everyone dressed and out of the door each day) include avoiding burn out. We made a rule before we started the trip and that was to spend a minimum of one week in each location. This has worked really well for us as it allows us enough time to explore at our own pace, while also allowing for plenty of downtime.
One challenge particular to travelling with very young children is keeping up with routine infant vaccinations. I was worried about whether this would be difficult or not to do as we travelled through South America, but in reality, I had no trouble at all finding English speaking doctors who could administer the vaccines.
4. You have covered some amazing destinations. This year what has been a highlight so far?
That’s a tough one! This year we have travelled through seven countries in South and Central America as well as Canada and the USA. I think highlights have to be Easter Island and the Galapagos Islands. Both of these places have been at the top of my bucket list for years, and they were truly spectacular. They were both also really great for travelling to with kids. My 5-year-old will never forget his experience snorkelling with baby sea lions or with hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos. And that sunrise behind the Maoi on Easter Island will be in my memory forever.
5. Where to next and how do you decide where you go?
We are currently in Hawaii and will be soon heading to Alaska and then to Canada. After that, it will be back to Sydney Australia to recover and get back into normal life again. My son will transition to a normal school and I will go back to work. Our next holiday will be over the Christmas holidays and we are still debating on where to go.
6. What advice would you give to other families considering travelling?
My main piece of advice is not to let other people’s opinions hold you back. Lots of people thought we were totally crazy when we were planning this South America trip with a baby, but it has turned into one of the best experiences of our lives. Only you know yourself and your family and what you are capable of doing, don’t listen to anyone else. And for those who want to travel but are a little bit apprehensive, I would recommend connecting with family travel bloggers either through their blogs or through Facebook groups. There is so much support and information out there from this community.