Welcome to the 10th edition of our Traveler Interview Series. Woop! Woop! Today we are featuring Family Travel Blogger Erin Parker of Love To Travel, Stay-Eat-Do. In this interview, we learn about this family of four from the land down under. I love their blog’s tagline which is “Say yes to adventure.” I’m down. Count me in. Check out her story below.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY. NAMES, CHILDREN’S AGES, OCCUPATION/S. WHERE IS HOME?
We are a family of four from Dunkeld, western Victoria, Australia. We have two boys, Finn who is 7 years old and Taj who is 5 years old. My husband, Geoff and I (Erin) are both school Teachers by day, big dreamers by night!
WHEN DID YOUR PASSION FOR TRAVEL BEGIN?
My first memory of ‘loving travel’ was when as a child, my parents packed me and my sisters up and took us on a trip around Australia for 3 months. We saw so much of our country, but there is still so much to see. I then did an exchange to France when I was at school, loved learning French and absolutely fell in love with my first European experience. My Dad moved to Thailand when I was 16 so I visited a number of times then completed my final teaching placement in Thailand, I also loved my first Asian experiences. Throughout my Uni years, I traveled to lots of different places within Australia, visiting family and friends and exploring as much of Australia as I could. After Teaching in a school in Melbourne in my first year out of Uni, I was bursting at the seams to get overseas to work and travel. I spent the most part of 2 years living and working in London and loving traveling Europe.
WHAT IS THE FIRST TRIP YOU REMEMBER TAKING BOTH INDIVIDUALLY AND AS A FAMILY?
I had taken several trips prior to my move to London, but that was the most exciting and adventurous trip that I ever took individually. I had friends in London at the time, but it was all very unknown, I had not traveled that far away on my own before, I was nervous but so so excited to see where it would take me in life. By far, one of the best experiences of my life!
As a family of 4, our first trip was to Queensland, a pretty cruisy trip for us, we were already well travelled and had done a number of trips with Finn by car and by air interstate. When Taj came along we ‘tested the waters’ with a location well known to us and within Australia, the Gold Coast. It gave us the confidence to organise our first overseas trip as a family to Thailand and Singapore later that year.
HOW MANY COUNTRIES HAVE YOU VISITED THUS FAR?
Me personally? Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, India, China, Tibet, Cambodia, England, Ireland, Wales, Iceland, France, Sweden, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Italy, Croatia, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, Andorra, Spain, Morrocco, Portugal, Netherlands, Florida (USA) – I think that is it…36.
As a family of four? Thailand, Laos, Singapore, Malaysia and of course in and around Australia!
WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE DESTINATION YOU HAVE BEEN TO SO FAR? WHY?
I hate this question!! There are always too many places I want to mention! The experiences I have had in some places have often ‘made’ the destination. I can’t only name one, I’ll try to narrow it to five!
- Traveling through Laos and northern Thailand with the boys was incredible! We had such an adventure together, experiencing so many firsts in beautiful countries.
- Trekking in Nepal was amazing! I did this with my best friend in 2005 and this is an experience that I will forever cherish.
- Yangshuo, China – on our honeymoon, beautiful scenery, amazing food, friendly culture and lots of pinch yourself moments!
- Iceland – such a unique country, every corner we took there was something so different to see, we hardly passed another car on the road, we felt like we were so far away from anything and everything, just out to enjoy nature.
- Hat Head, Australia – a beautiful beachside town which we, as a family, fell in love with. The boys were braver in the water than we’d ever seen them, they played with confidence, trying new things and the coastline along there is picture perfect.
LET’S TALK FOOD. ANY MEMORABLE DINING EXPERIENCES FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE?
Yes! In Guilin, we found the most amazing dumpling restaurant, thanks to the Lonely Planet. We searched high and low, walked down a number of side streets, back alleys and goodness knows where else to find this little gem – it was well worth it!
ANY UNIQUE EXPERIENCES OR CHALLENGES DURING YOUR TRAVEL YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE?
I have a great disaster that I probably should have written to Lonely Planet about – I got frostbite on my bum after using rocks in subzero climates in Tibet, to simulate a toilet. It really was frostbite, I had to seek medical attention and it scarred, the evidence has now disappeared but it was there for a long time! If you have been to Tibet, you will understand that the further out from Lhasa you go, the less ‘toilets’ there are, it became very normal to just go on the side of the road behind a sarong that my husband was holding up for privacy.
On the same trip, our honeymoon I might add, my husband became very unwell and we had to be ‘evacuated’ from the high altitudes. We were taken to the Nepal border and onto Kathmandu. The ‘evacuation’ consisted of about 20 hours of driving. It was an interesting experience.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BLOG? HOW DID YOU GET STARTED BLOGGING? WHY DID YOU START A BLOG?
I have toyed with the idea of blogging for several years. I have always written a travel journal, I have pages and pages and pages of stories to share from years ago – one day I will edit them and get them online. A friend of mine had been encouraging me for a long time to do it, have a go. I figured why not! It is really a hobby at this stage and it really is very much in its infancy, but I am having fun learning a new skill and reliving my travel! It would be nice to be able to make some money from it down the track, but I am not investing enough time into it at the moment to expect that, time will tell.
My blog is about encouraging and inspiring others to “say yes to adventure”, to not be afraid and to know that you can see so much of the world without having to pay a fortune to do so. Our world has so much to offer, we have all learned so much about the countries we have traveled to, the cultures, ways of life, food and ourselves – it is great to be able to shared bits and pieces of our experiences with those who want to hear it.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH TRAVEL?
That there is so much out in our world that we don’t know about and that there is so much to see and do. As a family, we have learned that for us travel is a necessity. It is our escape from the busyness of life, our routine at home, it is an opportunity to get away together as a family, to share our precious lives with the people that we love the most and to do all of the great things we love to do and do it together.
CAN YOU GIVE FAMILIES A FEW TIPS, TRICKS, AND HACKS WHEN TRAVELING?
- Always say “yes” to an adventure – your adventure will look different to anyone else’s and that is not just ok, it’s great – it wouldn’t be an adventure if everyone else had done it already.
- Don’t wait until the “kids are older”, never worry that they won’t remember things. Maybe they won’t remember the beach you visited or the meal you ate or the mountain you climbed, but they will remember a family holiday, they will learn to appreciate other ways of life, they will want to know and learn more about our world and the way it works and they will want more.
Ziplining or bungee jumping? Ziplining
Tea or Coffee? Coffee
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met so far? A guy named Andy, who I didn’t actually ‘meet’ in person, we connected on Instagram while we were traveling through Laos and Thailand, he had been where we were going and vice-versa. We traded stories and ideas and I have loved watching his journey, he has cycled through Asia and is now in Europe – amazing!
Disney World or the real world? Real
What’s been the best street food you’ve had? The Luang Prabang night markets were pretty exceptional, but I think the Chak Ngaew (Chinese Markets) in Chon Buri, Thailand, take the cake – shrimp cake to be precise!
Please tell our readers how they can follow your family travels on social media.
Thank You, Erin, for taking time out to share some of your travel experiences and valuable family travel tips.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit about Love To Travel, Stay-Eat-Do as much as we did, and that you’ve been inspired to go On Travel Mode more often!
If you or someone you know would like to be interviewed for one of our future editions, please comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, if you have any questions you’d like us to pose to future interviewees we’d love to read them!