Written By: Brenda Pomponio
With a penchant for travel, experience teaching abroad there was no way Riki and Sonita were going to stop travelling once little Lilah came into the world. In fact, they feel excited by the unique experiences they are embarking on as a family and take the time together as a family to immerse into a new culture and experience it fully.
Heartfelt Traveller Riki from Kiwis in Barefeet
Can you imagine Europe without castles? 🏰 __ Staying on the romantic Rhine for a week we were able to explore many castles and medieval towns along the Rhine and Mosel rivers. __ Each town had its own story and legend from the Middle Ages, like a story book coming to life. __ We love reading our romantic Rhine book to Lilah, it’s one of her favorite bed time stories. __ __ #eltzcastle #burgeltz #rhineriver #visitgermany #germanytrip #eurotrip #europetravel #europetrip #castle #castle🏰 #medievalcastle #discovereurope #exploreeurope #living_europe #topeuropephoto #topgermanyphoto #unlimitedeurope #europe_vacations #travelwithbaby #travelwithkids #familytravel #travelfamily #familytravelblog #familyvacation #familytrip #familyvacay #babytravel #wanderlust #passionpassport #travelgram
Tell us about your family
We are Riki, Sonita and baby Lilah from Kiwis in Bare Feet – we are originally from New Zealand. We have been based Internationally for 4 years teaching in Saudi Arabia and currently Busan.
What inspired you to take on a life of travel?
We had travelled quite a bit before teaching Internationally – In Europe, Asia and the South Pacific. We were inspired by the opportunity to be based where travel was convenient and affordable. We have always enjoyed seeing new places and experiencing different cultures and customs. It is something that we have quickly come to enjoy with Lilah, our 2-year-old girl. She has already visited 20 countries.
Can you imagine a whole city lit up with these lanterns? __ Seeing the lanterns light Hoi An up at night was an amazing experience, and it was interesting to learn that the use of lanterns began 100’s of years ago in this ancient port city. __ The timing visiting with Lilah was spot on for us as she is able to stay up much later now, and we could enjoy the lanterns at night. Traveling with her from 3 months old we haven’t usually stayed out late, and been able to fully experience places at night. __ 👉🏽 Our trip is now on our blog. __ __ #hoian #hoianancienttown #lanterns #visitvietnam #travelvietnam #familytravel #travelmom #wearetravelgirls #wearetravelmums #travelmum #nzmum #instamommy #myminime #instamum #familyvacay #jetsetfam #familytravels #familytravelblog #familytime #familytrip #familyvacation #travelmadfam #parentswhowander #mybabygirl #instatravel #travelingram #traveling #globetrotter #wanderlust #passionpassport
What has been the most challenging aspect of combining family life with travel?
The most challenging thing for us has been being based away from family. We do miss out on special occasions and it has been more of a challenge now having Lilah. We do manage to make a trip back to New Zealand every Christmas for 3 weeks and it’s always a great time of the year to be home. To be honest we haven’t really found anything particular to be a major challenge travelling as a young family. We think a lot about where we will go, when we will go, the weather, pace of travel with Lilah, and generally how we can best meet her needs.
We are loving exploring Hoi An, check out our story to see what we’ve been up to 🏝 __ This morning was a reminder to us of how important it is to be flexible when traveling with a toddler 👼🏼 __ We had planned to take a bike ride out to a more rural area to experience the local culture a bit more. However, coupled with the traffic being a bit hectic getting out of the city, and the bike not having the best baby seat, we decided not to 🚴🏼♀️ __ So we spent the morning at the beach instead 🌊 __ What’s your favorite Vietnamese food? It’s so good! 🥢 __ __ #hoian #visitvietnam #traveltuesday #jetsetfam #travelfamily #familytravel #travelwithkids #familyvacay #familytrails #familytrips #nomadfamily #familyoffduty #familygo #familyadventures #travelingfamily #familyjaunts #familytravelblog #familytraveltribe #havebabywilltravel #takeyourkidseverywhere #familytime #family #familygoals #familylife #familyvacation #familyholiday #familytrip #instatravel #wanderlust #travelgram
Tell us about what has been your travel highlight for 2018 so far?
Central Vietnam has been our highlight so far this year. Hoi An is just a magical place with all the lanterns and it’s a city with a lot of interesting history. Travelling up to Hue for a few days we were able to appreciate the rich history of the Imperial times. Learning about and experiencing the timeline throughout ancient times, colonisation, and communism made our stay here fascinating and authentic. It was also nice to spend some time at a couple of resorts on a lagoon and the beach.
We are looking forward to spending the summer tripping around Korea before a short stop in Kuala Lumpur prior to a few weeks in Bali and the Gili Islands. In October we are planning to take in some of the ancient sites in China, before our Xmas time holiday back in New Zealand.
Braving the cold at the Busan Xmas lights festival, all the lights were so pretty and we loved the Xmas vibe 🌲 • ✈️ Tomorrow we head to New Zealand for a contrasting Xmas experience ☀️ . . . . . . . . . #visitkorea #travelkorea #xmaslights #xmas #xmasvibes #busan #busantrip #korean #igerskorea #instamom #blogger #bloggers #momblogger #wearetravelmums #travelmom #travelmum #travel #travelphotography #adventure #travelgram #vacation #welltraveledkids #bringthekids #travelbaby #babytravel #babytraveler #familytravel #letthemexplore #havekidswilltravel #love
What makes an ideal travel experience for you and your family at the moment and how do you think the travel industry is keeping up with the changing nature of how families travel?
We enjoy all types of experiences. The most enjoyable thing for us is to stay somewhere long enough to venture out and take in the local atmosphere. We feel ticking of sites is not really a meaningful experience. Being somewhere we can relax on the beach, take in a short hike and cultural/historical sites would probably be an ideal place for us. It seems like many companies now offer excellent products for travelling families. I think this is great and it appears to be a growing and exciting industry. We have found that airlines are generally quite accommodating with children. The growth of Airbnb has been perfect for us as family travellers. We have stayed in some very comfortable places at affordable prices.
A top tip for families with young children embarking on their travel adventures?
The number one thing for us is having empathy for how suitable our itinerary will be for Lilah. This has been the case since she was 3 months old and experienced her first trip abroad. We try to think of everything we can and this has generally allowed us to travel relatively hassle-free (apart from the daily challenges of raising a baby of course!). For example, the weather is always an important consideration, staying long enough for lots of downtime, staying at an apartment with adequate facilities and space, hiring a car whenever we can, flying the most direct route as well as reducing the number of flights on longer trips, and making sure that we have all of her essentials. 20 countries later and it’s working pretty well.
You can follow Riki at www.kiwisinbarefeet.com