Jenny is a successful family travel blogger from the UK who has worked with Lonely Planet and many other prestigious travel brands. Jenny and family are on a mission to dispel the myth that adventure has to wait till the kids are older. Her two young boys (aged 3 and 5) have hiked to 3000m in the Nepalese Himalayas, meditated with monks in Thailand, ridden tuk-tuks across Sri Lanka and traversed sub-Saharan Africa for four months in a Land Rover Defender, with of course a few tantrums and meltdowns along the way. Here we ask the family 10 questions to get to know them better and learn about their travels!
1. If you could describe your family in three words what would they be?
Intrepid budget travellers
2. What has been your favourite destination you have visited so far?
Thailand will forever be our favourite destination and we return time and time again. We love the buzz of Bangkok, the mouth-wateringly delicious food and the perfect beaches. It’s also a fantastic destination for young kids. Our boys love nothing more than zipping around traffic in a tuk-tuk to explore an ornate temple, before devouring a banana pancake on the beach with their dinosaurs digging in the sand.
3. How do you keep the boys entertained while travelling?
My boys are of an age where they can find entertainment in the smallest of things. Sticks and leaves are always a favourite, and a beach will keep them entertained for days. We don’t tend to change the daily activities too much from what we would do as parents, we still visit temples, go hiking in mountains and go on safari drives. We just slow the pace and allow them to lead the way with what they want to explore.
However, we always allow for some downtime, and for that I always pack a small craft kit with coloured pens, paper and glue. I also pack a couple of CBeebies magazines and they have their Amazon Kids’ tablets loaded with all their favourite books, games and tv shows.
4. What has been your most memorable experience so far?
It has to be our 101 days traversing sub-Saharan Africa in a Land Rover. This epic adventure took us through South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Namibia. There were some challenging moments with corrupt police and border guards, not to mention the once-in-a-generation downpours of Tanzania making roads impassable. But the freedom of the open road with our boys as we passed dusty villages, and camping each night under the African stars, are just memories I’ll hold dear for my lifetime. Africa truly stole our hearts.
5. What do you hope travelling will teach your children?
That we shouldn’t live in a bubble and there is so much of the world to explore.
6. What are your 5 travel essentials?
Head torch, quality walking shoes, good family medical kit, detailed map, and the kids’ tablets.
7. Do you stick to a routine when you are away?
We used to when the kids were younger as that mid-day nap was so important for the day to work. But now they’re that little bit older (3 and 5), we can stretch bed times a little later when needed. However, we tend to be most active in the morning when the boys have more energy.
8. Have you always been passionate about travelling?
Holidays as a child for me were always the Peak District (where we now live) and Eurocamp in France. I didn’t venture out of Europe until I’d finished my A-Levels and spent the summer working and travelling around Kenya. This really opened my eyes to a whole different way of life, and I was hooked. I met my husband at University 6 months later and we travelled extensively together for over a decade. In that time, we travelled from London to Sydney over land and sea (without a plane), trekked to Everest Base Camp, lived in Italy, New Zealand and Australia, and travelled much of Australasia, Asia and Africa whenever funds and time off work would allow. We’re rather obsessed with travel and we live a frugal live so we can spend as much money on travel as possible. When the boys came along, we knew this wouldn’t change.
9. Is there anywhere you feel everyone should try and visit?
Not at all. Everyone is different and finds wonder in different things. But as a family, I do think it’s important to make time to be together and create memories. Travel is a perfect way to make this happen.
10. Where are you off to next?
Iceland next week! It’s a place we’ve wanted to explore for so long. Then in December we have a weekend in Lisbon. We have just returned to the UK after a year living in India and four months traversing Africa, and with our eldest having just started school, we’re looking at doing short, frequent trips over this coming year.