We chat with globetrotting family, The Worldwide Webers
Traveling solo or with your partner or friends used to be so easy. You could pack your bags and be ready for a stress-free holiday within minutes. Now that children have entered the equation, all of us can attest to the fact that traveling with littles no longer makes last minute hols an option.
Read more: Survival Guide: 7 Tips for Flying Long Haul with Your Little People
Mama of sweet baby Rae, Erica of The Worldwide Webers and her husband have traveled to over 30 countries across four continents with their baby before her first birthday. How’s that for #lifegoals! Their situation is a unique one and she shares with us how they racked up their frequent flier miles as they literally went all over the world with their newborn. Having their story featured in popular publications like INSIDE and Babycenter with their story catching the eyes of over 40,000 readers, we were lucky to chat with them and hear their inspirational story!
Tell us about yourself and how you ended up catching the travel bug.
Like many aspects of our life, traveling the world with an infant was not planned. My husband and I are American and met in New York City, where we had lived for seven years, soaking up all the energy that the city has to offer. After getting engaged, we decided it was time to seek greener pastures, both literally and figuratively. We both worked for global companies and were offered the chance to move to Singapore. While we were there, we spent nearly every weekend traveling, eating and sweating our way through as much of South East Asia as possible.
Before we knew it, a work opportunity in South Africa presented itself that was too good to pass up, so we packed our bags and booked a one-way flight to Johannesburg. While my original plan of having a zebra as my secretary didn’t work out, we did explore 11 amazing African countries, and safari’d our little asses off during our two years on the continent.
We even took a cue from the Lion King and completed our own Circle of Life by welcoming a little lion cub of our own. Our daughter Rae was born in September of 2015, after 30 hours of natural labor that culminated in a beautiful water birth. If you’re thinking that Rafiki was my midwife you’d be wrong, or at least, I don’t think he was.
Fast forward just a few months into parenthood and a new opportunity arose that would take us to Switzerland. While our two miniature schnauzers are in love with the new influx of bread and cheese, I have come to realise that no amount of breastfeeding will work off the calories of Swiss chocolate and fondue! Yet again, we found ourselves in a precariously convenient geographical location for our travel obsession.
Some families choose to slow down on the travel end when kids enter into the equation, how have you and your husband done different? What was your inspiration?
Living as expats far from family and friends meant we would have to face the travel gods one way or another. Rae took her first short flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town at two months old, her first long flight from South Africa to the USA at three months old, and has taken close to 50 flights before her first birthday. Chris and I both love to travel – to explore other cultures, eat new foods and enjoy beautiful unique hotels – so bringing our new cute carry-on along just seemed like the natural next step. Anytime we think we’re a bit crazy for traveling (which is often) we ask ourselves “Why not?”.
What are some of your most memorable moments while traveling with Rae?
For all of the moments we question our sanity, which there are many, there are some pretty amazing ones to remind us why we do this. Rae learned to crawl in Monaco, climbed her first steps in an Irish castle and ate her first solids in the tapas bars of Spain. I’ve breastfed her on just about every moving object you could think of and my husband has changed her diaper on everything from ancient ruins to museum floors.
From your first trip with Rae to your most recent travels, how have you changed the way you travel?
Along the way we’ve had beautiful family travel wins and epic baby diaper fails. We’ve progressed from our early mistakes of packing big, heavy baby gear and have now whittled our products down to the best lean, mean, travel machines on the market. We learned the hard way how to tackle flights with everything from a bassinet baby to a mobile, mini monster. And we’re constantly working to find a balance between our love of boutique, design hotels and ones that provide the creature comforts needed for baby.
Have you ever had your family and friends question your traveling lifestyle?
While others watch our adventures with wonder and awe, our parents are still suspicious that we’ve either committed a crime and are full-time fugitives or have been enlisted in the Witness Protection Program, but just never got our Facebook and Instagram access taken away!
What are some benefits and tips you can offer us Sassy Mamas who want to travel more with our families?
The benefits of travel evolve with each stage of life. The details I pick up on, the interactions I have, and the lessons I take away today, as a mum and wife are very different than the ones from my single days. Sure there’s less late night ragers and more late night feedings now and Rae can be short tempered, cranky, and hangry at times, but then again so can my husband so there’s really no difference there!
Will the baby remember hiking the ancient ruins of Petra at five months old while being strapped to me? Definitely not. Will I remember sitting at the top of the 1,000 monastery stairs nursing her as we caught our breath and took in the amazing views? Absolutely. I love seeing the world with my family by my side and no amount of extra gear or tired tears could take away from the unforgettable moments we make when we’re all together.
Travel is no different than many other aspects of parenthood that look scary and daunting before you try it. So don’t let the horror stories of baby flights gone awry or the fear or the unknown stop you from exploring the world around you with new eyes!
Thanks so much for encouraging us to travel more with our littles and make memories that will last a lifetime, Webers! You can follow more of Erica and her fam’s adventures on their blog The Worldwide Webers, on Instagram for daily photos or on Facebook.