Written by: Brenda Pomponio
I am always amazed when yet I found another inspiring travel family out there in the world, you know, travelling and parenting. However, Rachel + Joel are not only a travelling family – they are a working duo releasing incredible ethical and sustainable fashion label Frank + Dolly’s, whilst family travelling. Their sojourns in places like Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and France have seen them sharing the behind the scenes life of business owners, as well as giving us a glimpse of what incredible success their decision has been to pack up and buy that one-way ticket. After the launch of their new season, Bella crashed their website due to an overwhelming popularity – which comes as no surprise – this family are inspiring so many of us. If you haven’t heard of them get onto following @frankanddollys now.
Welcome Heartfelt Travellers Rachel + Joel
1. Tell me about your family + where do we find you on socials?
We are the Cooper Family, and at the start of the year, we squeezed our life and our ethical Fashion Label into five suitcases, with a one-way ticket around the world! @frankanddollys on Insta
2. What prompted this work + travel combination?
Travelling has always been a big part of our business and family, and pretty much for the last 10 years, since we had our daughter Poppy, we have been overseas every year to find new inspirations, to learn from different cultures and traditional ways of making, and also to place ourselves in places where our creativity can keep expanding and growing. We asked ourselves, ‘What would be the dream?’.. and the answers was ‘To travel the world, show our Children the beauty of adventure, all whilst creating beautiful garments for our brand’. So from that moment, we worked hard to make the dream a reality.
We knew the benefits travel had on our family and knew that this was something we needed to invest in. Watching our children immerse themselves in new cultures, and learn new ways of thinking and living, is one of the most joyful experiences! Whether it’s at the water temple in Ubud, or at a street festival in China, or a traditional feast in Italy, these experiences are things that will live with us forever.
3. Describe the hopes you have for your children as you travel together?
We hope that through travelling together their way of thinking, of living, of creating and of relating to the world, in general, will be expanded! Its different for each of the kids, but the wonder and awe that is constantly sparking in their eyes as we explore somewhere new is breathtaking to observe. Watching our children play and connect with kids from all pockets of the world, (from tiny remote hillside villages in Sapa to playgrounds in London, to trekking alongside on paths through south China).
There is also something magical about watching kids communicate with other kids without barriers of language! Many times we have been in places where we don’t speak the native language, but kids don’t care about that.. they can play for hours without a single word!
4. What has been a travel highlight for you all so far?
Everyday! Seriously, every place we have been has been so incredible! It’s so hard to pick one moment! There was a general heart connection we all felt in Italy, and I think this is a country that we will always return too. There is something truly special about Italy, and we felt very at home there. From the culture to the food to the landscape to the people.. we felt very connected, and we could see the kids were instantly settled and comfortable! Now, the dream would be to speak the language, so we can connect even deeper.
5. What are some challenges you have had to face working, travelling and parenting all combined?
Its interesting, as we have come to a place where the lines of all these facets of our lives have been blurred in to one. The roles of Husband/Wife/Parent/Business Partner seamlessly become one, and we are constantly dancing between conversations about business, home schooling, new campaigns, travel destinations, all whilst cuddling a child or cooking a pasta. But we actually love this, and love that our children get to observe us in our creative space, and then at the kitchen table teaching them for home-school, and then out in the city exploring and adventuring!
Not to say that its always easy.. there are days where I have lock myself in the room to get a solid block of work done, or nights where we need to do all nighters, so we can have business meeting with our Team back in Australia.. but I guess its all a part of it!
We have become great at using our time wisely, knowing when to put a foot on the breaks and just take have super slow days. Its all about finding that sweet balance, which takes trial and error, making new mistakes and remembering to take some deep breaths!
6. Advice for parents considering travelling with their children.
Take it slow, and remember your time, is YOUR time! Not anyone else’s, not a tour guides, not a to-do lists, but yours!
If you have limited time, pick one place, and do it well. Take a breath and enjoy the notion of slow travel. Don’t get a takeaway coffee, sit down and drink it. Don’t drag the kids through the 5 top museums, pick one, and soak it in. None of this ‘visit a city and pump out the sites in 2 days..’ it’s not realistic with kids, and you won’t end up enjoying any of it (or remembering any of it).
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