When the boys were younger I was frequently asked if I would be bringing them on our travel adventures. The answer was always yes! I know we traveled prior to their arrival, but I hardly remember what it was like, and with very few exceptions, the children have always joined us.
I confess there was a time when I thought occasionally leaving them behind would have been a nice option… Now that they’re getting older I realize our window for family travel is finite and I’m cherishing every opportunity. Speaking of which, my older son turned 16 this month, which is what led me to take this trip down memory lane.
Simon was only three weeks old when we took our first family trip, a car ride to Santa Barbara.
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We visited the London Zoo when Simon was 3 years old and again when he was 15 and Elliot was 9.
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It hasn’t always gone according to plan, we’ve left strollers in parking lots, formula at home, and wipes in the airport bathroom. Traveling while potty training is always interesting, and I apologize for whoever sat in our seats on United LHR – LAX back in April 2006.
Elliot suffers from air-sickness, and has pretty much thrown up in every place we’ve ever visited, (Lucky me?) I’ve been there to catch it in just as many places. On the rare occasions when this hasn’t happened, Simon usually takes his place. We’ve lost a few retainers that way.
We brought Salmonella home from Hawaii and Fifths Disease to New Orleans. Our flight left without us in Barcelona, we filled our diesel car with gas in Ireland, and once came back to a car filled with thousands of ants in Santa Barbara.
For the most part we’ve been able to make lemonade out of lemons, except maybe that time with the ants, and though our style of travel has changed as the boys have gotten older one thing has stayed the same and that’s my love of the uninterrupted dedicated time that traveling as a family gives us.
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Maui, Hawaii 2003
A trip to Maui when Simon was just 13 months was our first long distance flight as a family. Happily it went off without a hitch setting the tone for future family travels.
Seattle, Washington 2004
We loved our annual trips to Seattle to visit family, especially in the summer months when we could take advantage of the city’s many wonderful parks.
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Miami, Florida 2005
Butterfly World will forever be remembered in our family as the first place Simon decided to use the potty. The expression on his face is the way I felt when he said he wanted to use the bathroom!
London, Barcelona & Bilbao
Simon was three when we took Our first long haul flight to Europe. We visited London, Barcelona, and Bilbao. Everything was going according to plan until the plane left without us in Bilbao. Thankfully, the airline put us up in a nearby hotel where I had the best pastry I’ve tasted in my life.
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Mount Rainier National Park, Washington 2007
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Washington, D.C. 2008
The Big Island of Hawaii 2009
New Orleans, Louisiana 2010
It’s no secret that New Orleans is a family favorite, we go almost every year, and I have a feeling the kids will continue to visit The Crescent City long after they stop traveling with us.
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Rome, Italy 2011
Visiting the Forum alone with two hungry boys who wanted to be anywhere else isn’t one of my fondest travel memories, but I love what happened afterwards when I treated them to McDonalds. It was the most crowded one I’ve ever seen (to this day), and there was no way I could get inside with a stroller. I couldn’t leave the boys alone, so 9 year old Simon braved the crowd, pushed his way to the front, and ordered two Happy Meals! Where there is a will there is a way!
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The Big Island of Hawaii 2012
London, Edinburgh, Barcelona & Paris
A 28 day trip to Europe in 2013 was at that time our longest family adventure to date, and it went off without a hitch! Still a number of years before I would start this blog, I was definitely starting to feel like I had a handle on this family travel business.
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Tokyo & Kyoto
In spring of 2014 we visited Japan, our dream vacation, and it was everything we’d hoped it would be and more. A return visit is high on our family’s wish list and I hope to make this happen before Simon heads off to college…
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Portugal & Spain
A last minute trip to Portugal and Spain in the fall of 2015 meant taking the boys out of school, but dedicated family time is important and we made it work, spending the time between sightseeing and dinner doing homework in the room.
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Portugal Beautiful Lisbon
The Algarve Pinch Me Is This real?
Spain The Alhambra
Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, England Belgium, The Netherlands & France
In 2016 we set off on a six week journey, our longest trip ever. During our travels we almost kissed the Blarney Stone in Cork, Ireland, signed the Peace Wall in Belfast, Northern Ireland, went to art school in Glasgow, Scotland and walked on Hadrian’s Wall.
We spent a few days in London (I wished for more) visiting some of our favorite places, before hopping the train to Belgium where we wished we’d eaten way more chocolate, Amsterdam where we visited Anne Frank’s House and Van Gogh’s Museum and finally Paris, where we practiced our French, sailed boats and wandered aimlessly.
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Ireland Along the way… Cork
Northern Ireland Belfast
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Les Jardins de Paris
New Orleans/American Southwest/England 2017
2017 was a busy travel year. We stuffed ourselves during our annual trip to NOLA and survived the soaring summer temperatures on a 2000+ mile road trip through the Great American Southwest. Finally, we brought the year to a close in London where we froze our Southern California butts off on multiple day trips and outings including Bath, Stonehenge, Windsor, Kent, and WB Studios.
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West Coast Road Trip 2018
California & Oregon
We stayed closer to home this past year exploring the West Coast of the United States including Northern California, Oregon, and Southern California including Palm Springs.
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2018s’ final trip will be our annual visit to New Orleans, and beyond that I’m not exactly sure where we’ll be headed next, but I’ve got lots of ideas. Stay tuned…
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Such a wonderful journey you have and have summed up so beautifully. You have made such wonderful memories with your children. Wishing many more trip and journeys. Happy travelling
Thank you so much!!
Aaw this is a lovely post, so many lovely photos and memories. Xx
Thank you! We’ve had some wonderful adventures. My son turned 16 prompting this trip down memory lane.
Alex - My LIfe Long Holiday
Aww I totally loved this post and it made me realise how long I’ve been reading your blog for! I was there for several of these trips 😉 Never heard of fifths disease though – what is that!? Your disasters made me laugh as we’ve had our own fair share of poo incidents over the years on our travels! Kids eh! But I’m in the same boat as you a bit as my eldest is 15 and we are wondering when she’ll start choosing to travel with friends over family so I’m clinging on to holidays with a tight grip and for as long as I can!! #farawayflies
ps. – shame you did the UK last winter – brrrrr!
Thank you!! One of my favorite parts of the blog are the people I’ve gotten to know! Thank you for reading!! Fifth disease is an awful virus causing a body rash, fever, fatigue and swollen joints. It lasted three weeks! I’m guessing we have at best two more big trips before he ditches us…
Yes! It was very cold lay year! My family were very grumpy about it!
Alex - My LIfe Long Holiday
Haha! I bet they were. I think English weather is changing though and cold winters might be the norm now anyway. 🥶
I’m afraid you’re right.
Trish @ Mum's Gone To
What gorgeous boys! Beautiful memories and some (like the ants and salmonella!) not so beautiful! Happy Birthday to your son and here’s to many more family travels. My son is 22 and still comes with us if the offer is good!
Thank you! Good to know, I just need to make sure the offer is good!! 😂
Oh the adventures! And journey! Fab post, thank you! And you haven’t changed at all since Maui in 2003 – how is that possible?! #farawayfiles
Thank you! You’re too kind!!! We’ve definitely had some great adventures over the years! I had such a tough time choosing which photos to share…
What a cute trip down memory lane! I’ll confess that I’m a little worried that we won’t travel much once we have a child, so it’s always nice to hear from people who do. And I chuckled when you mentioned potty training and that one flight. I can’t even imagine 😉
Thank you! I wasn’t sure people would be all that interested, but I had such a fun time putting it together. You must travel with your children so they can be open minded and well rounded!! Xx
PS thankfully it was just pee. Ha ha ha ha!
wonderful family memories #farawayfiles
What a fabulous post, Hilary! We should all write one. It’s such a great way of looking back over so many years of travels. Our first trip with a baby was to Egypt which sounds very adventurous but in reality was playing safe because we were in a resort. After that we decided babies were really portable and took him to places like Brazil and Bali. #FarawayFiles
Thank you! I was a bit hesitant about writing it, but who is this blog for anyway?! LOL! Egypt sounds good! Babies are portable aren’t they…And people have them everywhere!
Ryan K Biddulph
Sensational Hilary. Nothing like seeing the world as a fam to bond through thick and thin.
Thank you! So true!
I love this walk down memory lane — around the world! I think all the adventures enrich the kids’ lives so much. And the best part is that they know you want them to share the world with them — motion sickness, and ants, and castles and all of it. They will know they are loved and accepted and cherished by you. That’s the best gift you can give these handsome young men!
Thank you so much! I really enjoyed putting it together. I feel travel with children is such a gift and like you said it enriches their lives.
This was lovely to read. So many great memories and photographs. This will be such a lovely post to share with your children. #FarawayFiles
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I often think of the blog as a sort of digital family photo album and have even had some of the posts printed into a book!
What lovely memories (I have added a similar post this time strangely!), I desperately want to go back to Japan as a family too, it was just amazing! 🙂 #farawayfiles
It was wasn’t it!!? I’ll look forward to reading your post!
Gosh I was completely exhausted reading this, like those end of year posts when we talk about the top moments of the year….then I remembered it was 16 years of travel packed into one post! And to think – I manage to have all those kinds of incidents without children in tow! lol…
Great post!! #FarawayFiles
Ha ha! It’s funny you say it’s exhausting, and it kinda is, but after I wrote it I thought, it all went by so quickly. Time flies…
What amazing memories you are creating for your children. Don’t worry, I feel like all children have left a present on an airline seat at some point! I remember when my baby vomited all over the chair just before take-off and they had to clean it and smother it with coffee granules to take away smell for the cabin
I certainly hope they look back and appreciate the adventures we’ve had. I definitely feel
It’s helped make them more open minded. Poor you about the throw up on the airplane that must have been a stressful flight!
That must have been such a lovely post to write…it was certainly a joy to read, bringing back my own memories of trips too. Our boys are a lot younger, but your post has given me reassurance that we’ll be able to travel with the kids for many years to come. #farawayfiles
It was! I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Definitely travels while you can before too long they’ll be telling you they need to hang out with their friends doing nothing more than they need to travel somewhere amazing!
Ladies What Travel (@LadiesWTravel)
Aww this post was so lovely to read – and happy 16th birthday to Simon! My stepkids entered my life aged 5 and 4 and I can’t believe how fast the time has flown. I love those special times away with them making memories! #FarawayFiles
Thank you! It’s going by too fast if you ask me!
Truly Madly Kids (@TrulyMadly7)
Wow this is an amazing post! How many wonderful memories you have made #farawayfiles
Thank you so much!
Happy memories! We take the kids with us too, you just travel differently and it is for a very short time. Going to look at our photo albums now! #FarawayFiles
They change so much so quickly its almost like the photos are of other people.
Sounds like you’ve had quite a few adventures. It’s great that you continue to do so much travel and your kids are seeing so much of the world. They’re so lucky! I didn’t go anywhere until I was about 30!
With the exception of a few trips here and there It wasn’t until my honeymoon that I really went anywhere and then it was sporadic. We tell the kids how lucky they are all the time, but I doubt they’ll understand until they have to pay for their own travel. 😂
Rosie Hill (@EcoGitesLenault)
Wow – you have the luckiest kids ever to have travelled so much. Do come and visit Normandy one day! #Farawayfiles
Normandy is absolutely on my list!
Hi Hilary, this is a very beautiful post..I have two boys and we have been traveling a lot since my older one was a few months old. I also always got that question – are you traveling with kids, are you crazy? But we love traveling with our boys and the few times that we did not, we felt so guilty!! I started a blog recently to write down all our experiences and your blogs are an inspiration to me…
Thank you so much for your kind words! What’s your blog link?