1. Tell me a bit about your family
Shane and Michelle did lots of stuff, including travel, for 19 years before deciding it was too easy. Life just wasn’t complicated enough. So we bought a couple of little tourists into the world just to mix things up a bit. Georgia is 7 and Brandon 4 (and Cassie the Greyhound is 3). Sydney was home for much of our lives but almost 3 years ago we moved to Melbourne and we love it. Sure we miss some things about Sydney, but Melbourne more than makes up for it.
2. Where can we find you on socials or blog?
In the social media universe, we can be found on our newly relaunched blog at shaneonthego.net or on Instagram @shaneonthego. The old blog can still be found at shaneonthego.com (it will be moved the new blog platform soonish… eventually… one day)
3. Tell me what family travel means to you?
As I mentioned Michelle and I did a lot of travel before the kids came along. We’ve discovered there’s only one thing better than travelling as a couple – travelling as a family. You gain a whole new perspective on just about everything when you see the world through the eyes of your kids. Places you’ve visited before become fresh and new again. On the other hand, you take them somewhere that you think will excite them and… they can be seriously underwhelmed. The funny thing is you never know what will excite them but when they do get excited, that’s when the magic happens. When you watch them running around Roman ruins pretending to be statues, or playing gladiators, you think this is so cool. But to them, it is just the new normal. Then you realise that kids have been doing this for thousands of years. I wonder if Roman parents watched their kids at play with a lump in the throat and a broad grin across their faces?
4. Share some of your family travel destination highlights?
Just about anything we’ve done with kids for the first time is a highlight. Sitting together in an open-air onsen (hot spring) in Japan with the snow falling was magical. Visiting the snow monkeys. Having 90-year-old Jiro, the world’s greatest sushi master, want to hold Georgia for a photo. The kids running around places like Guggenheim museum or Monastery in Lisbon having a ball. Usually, you’d think a 6 and a 3 year old would find museums boring, yet there they were excited by the art. Georgia especially loved listening to the audio guides wherever we went. There is something unbearably cute about your 6-year-old explaining the motivation behind one of Francis Bacon’s works at the Guggenheim. I must admit it was a bit of a relief when we discovered she loved the audio guides. Daddy was nearly hoarse after our visit to the Prado where he had to explain every single piece of art. Every single one. “There are a lot of Jesuses here aren’t their dad”. But carousels, merry-go-rounds, trump everything. Thanks, Europe for putting a carousel at just about every historic or interesting site in Europe. Oh, and bubbles. Anywhere there are soap bubbles. Watching the kids run around excitedly in a town square in a town in Europe chasing bubbles is absolutely a highlight. If we get a “this is the best day ever” occasionally we know we must be doing something right.
5. You love sharing your food travel journey as well on your blog, is food a big factor for you whilst travelling?
Yes, food seems to be a major factor in how we travel. It is almost like we take something like the Michelin Guide and choose to visit a town based on the number of extraordinary eateries it has. I don’t know how it happened? It sort of evolved. We’ve always liked to eat the special, the interesting and the unusual. We love regional specialities. Things you can’t get anywhere else or where they do it best. You can get sushi or tapas anywhere, but sushi in Tokyo is sublime and tapas from anywhere else but Spain is stodge (not really, but it is best in Spain). Don’t get me started about Pintxos in San Sebastian or crepes in Paris or prosciutto from Parma or Choco Moo cheesecake from Hokkaido or donuts from the Berry Donut Van. We didn’t know any better so when the kids came along they just came along with us to the restaurants (and we could never get babysitters). Now it doesn’t matter if it is one of the finest restaurants in the world or the cheapest street food. They will try almost anything and, mostly, they love it. We’ve been very lucky never to have to worry about special kids menus because most of the time they’ve been very happy with whatever we eat. Unfortunately, the downside is if we are sharing and they like it there will be less for me. The kid’s favourite food is Japanese though. For kids that are picky eaters at home, they will devour Japanese food in seconds when we eat out. That’s one of the reasons we’ve started cooking Japanese at home. What’s with children and their refusal to eat sometimes?
6. What would be your tips to other parents considering travelling as a family?
Just do it. If it works great if it doesn’t go to plan try another tack. You’re not going to be tested on your parenting skills. Do whatever works. As long as the kids are happy and you’re not panicking they will be okay even if you did just miss that connecting flight. We’ve been blessed with a couple of kids that are very adaptable – mostly. A long road trip or plane trip can be surprisingly easy as long as they’re fed and watered and have something to entertain them for a stretch at a time. That’s the great thing about travel. There is a literal world of possibility out there. There is something for everybody.