We are excited to share our recent feature and very first interview with our talented and good friend Robyn at Un/Subscribe Magazine
We are travel addicts! —I guess mixing an ex-flight attendant and a pilot together created this. Both Lock and I have always felt the urge to see and experience the world and witness authentic customs . I wouldn’t say we are thrill seekers, we certainly like to take the slower more relaxed road when we are on the move especially with our 12month old in tow.
Our travels normally have a food agenda, my obsession with learning about authentic recipes generally takes precedence in our search for the next location. While Lock and Riley search for the coolest beaches to surf and splash about in, we do our best to mix the two criteria’s.
As expats, living abroad in Tokyo we are away from both our home countries of New Zealand and Australia. For our families to spend time with Riley we need to make regular trips back – this naturally created a “travelling baby”. We simply had to get comfortable with long trips, jet lag and being on the move. With a few test runs around we quickly realised that babies were in fact the best travel companions – and they are completely free!
After a strong twelve months of frequent flying, we managed to find a good rhythm, Riley is aware of our inflight routine and will drop off to sleep as the planes engines rev up for take off — as long as the he has mums milk, his pillow and funnily a noisy aircraft he will kip the majority of the way.
We started to document our travels via social media, initially for our loved ones at home to follow, and to see Riley grow while exploring. Soon we became passionate about inspiring and encouraging other families to continue their travelling plans, wether it be around their own countries, yearly trips, or world schooling. We discovered a huge community of families, all positively supporting each other. It is such a great network of people who we turn to for ideas, they are alway there to answer any questions, give sound advise and share their own journeys.
From here we have found a massive love for photography, we want Riley to look back at the photographs and see the full perspective of where he has been, we take the time to snap these special moments that will last a lifetime and hopefully images he will be proud of— I joke that one day he will drag his old mother along the same travel path and re-live some of the pictures.
How long have you been travelling for?
We began our travels long before Riley was born, and continued while I was pregnant – loads of people would pass comments such as, “get it done before the baby arrives” and “once baby is here you will need routine and stability”
It was really disappointing to hear; basically we weren’t ready to stop and….to be honest we had high hopes to keep traveling with him.
Our first trip was at 4weeks old from Sydney – Auckland, airports are really baby friendly, with family lanes, prams and mothers rooms easing so much stress. We were super spoilt by the airline staff who blocked a row of 4 seats, every inch of room counts. Because our first experience went so well it gave us a heap of confidence.
How has having a baby changed your lifestyle and the way you travel?
To be fair our lifestyle hasn’t changed all that much, okay so we aren’t out partying until the early hours anymore or spontaneously heading out for late night romantic dinners, but, we still enjoy dinners with friends, make events and importantly see the world. Riley has been so good to us in that sense.
We have made changes to our travelling: Luggage! We certainly have a lot of extras now. Our ‘wing it” days are over, where we would shove our togs into a bag and jump on the next departing flight! We now take the time to map out our entire trip carefully, making sure our hotels have extra playing space and a bath for Riley’s bedtime routine.
Where has Riley travelled to so far? Has he shown that he’s had a favourite?
At 12months old, Riley has visited 31 countries and 79 destinations.
His happy place is definitely in the water – he loves the sea. We recently visited The Bahamas where he swam with Pigs and also watched his Dad swim with sharks from the jetty, he was so excited!
How do you determine where you’ll travel next?
We usually chase the sun and sand, over a glass or two of wine, we each write down our destinations for the year, basically a bucket list. Then we breakdown the best seasons and time to travel. Some destinations are places to visit friends and family who are on the move themselves, some are random spots where we have just ended up to get to another – this trip we are on now on lead us to Copenhagen due to over booked flights/staff travel – we took it in our stride and decided to check out Denmark.
Do you have any recommendations to other parents travelling with very small children? Any gadgets/ tricks to help make it a smooth experience!
Go for it! The memories you make will last a lifetime.
Enjoy them while they are young, adaptable and carefree.
We always try to pick night flights, – it is a lot easier when bubba is due for long sleeps. Don’t be afraid to ask for a bulkhead or row if available, the additional space is pure luxury!
We also always look up and stop at a local play centre in each country we visit, this is great for Rileys interaction and social skills, its also a great chance for him to burn off all that extra energy before a long flight!
We have had many triumphs and tragedies relating to products, these are our “win” items.
Mountain Buggy’s “The Bagrider” We use this from check in all the way to the aircraft, this means we can check in our stroller and not have to rush to the boarding gate. Our little Riley is a heavy boy, there is only so far you can walk with a 12kg bubba before your arm goes numb, so save the back pain and the arm workout and roll bubs instead! We never leave home without our travel pillow, vicks for bubba’s ears, baby paracetamol- which helps if teething and also the wiggles for those ultra long-haul flights!
How has motherhood changed you and the way you see the world and encounter new places?
I definitely feel different about the world: Travelling with a baby has installed an overwhelming sense of appreciation and love, people with so little always seem the happiest, these same people are kind and willing to help us for nothing in return. I find it so rewarding meeting new people and sharing experiences, from different walks of life. It has also taught me to not always listen to all the stories and that nothing beats going and seeing for yourself.
Being married to a pilot sounds glamorous! Any insight into the rhythm, routine, or lifestyle of being an aviation family?
Haha, they do say ‘Pilots live like rockstars’!
There are some cool benefits of being the wife of a pilot – duty free naming one of them!
To us he is “Dad”.
We are very fortunate for the perks of staff travel and are grateful by the staff around the world for always assisting us, discount airfares is a major assistance and has enabled us to travel so freely.
Currently we are operating two weeks on and five weeks off, allowing maximum time away to soak up as much of the European summer as possible. When we are home we completely re-collaborate, from sleep to catching up with friends, playgroup and washing the endless mountain of laundry from our trip!
We have found that working like this allows maximum time together as a family, I would hate for Lock to miss a milestone if we were living back home waiting for him to return. So for now life is perfect.
Where do you currently call home?
Ha! The aircraft! jokes!
Tokyo has become home, nothing beats snuggling into your own bed after a few weeks of on the go travel, Riley loves to get home and destroy the place while playing around with his fav toys.
The down time is also very important and sometimes two weeks at home relaxing recharges the batteries and re-ignites the travel spark again!
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
Gosh, Hopefully somewhere close to the beach where Riley will be in his element!
If Riley was to read this twenty years from now, what would you like to say to him?
Be brave, be kind – the world needs more kindness. Be respectful. Lastly see this beautiful planet, take time to read and explore, what ever your wildest dreams may be, they are only a glimpse of what is possible.
Many thanks to Robyn and the Un/subscribe team for this opportunity to share our story. Check out @un/subscribemagazine.com for more inspirational stories.