Welcome to another edition of our Traveler Interview Series. Today we are featuring Family Travel Blogger Astrid Vinje of The Wandering Daughter. In this interview, she shares with us that her family is in the midst of an exciting 3 year trip around the world. Astrid also shares some unfortunate challenges her family has encountered on their travels. Check out her story below.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY. NAMES, CHILDREN’S AGES, OCCUPATION/S. WHERE IS HOME?
We are the Bush-Vinje family, from Seattle, WA, USA, and we’re currently on a three year trip around the world. We’ve spent a year so far traveling through the United States, Mexico, and Italy.
We are digital nomads, traveling the world, and working while we travel. We travel with our two youngest kids, aged 8 and 5, who are homeschooled. I’m a writer, and my husband is a software engineer.
WHEN DID YOUR PASSION FOR TRAVEL BEGIN?
For me, travel was a passion instilled in me since I was a kid. My parents took us on family trips every year, so travel was always a part of my family culture.
WHAT IS THE FIRST TRIP YOU REMEMBER TAKING BOTH INDIVIDUALLY AND AS A FAMILY?
I don’t remember my first trip from when I was a child. But my first trip solo as an adult was when I had just graduated college. I took a solo trip to Indonesia, spending a month visiting the islands of Java and Bali.
As a family, our first trip was to Southeast Asia. We spent three weeks visiting Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, and Japan with my husband, our fourteen year old son, and our 22-month daughter.
HOW MANY COUNTRIES HAVE YOU VISITED THUS FAR?
Including the countries I’ve lived in, I have visited 34 countries so far. These countries are: Indonesia, Singapore, United States, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Canada, England, France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Japan, South Korea, Togo, Ghana, Benin, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Kosovo, Slovenia, Philippines, Paraguay, India, Zambia, South Africa, Vietnam, Mexico, and Italy.
WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE DESTINATION YOU HAVE BEEN TO SO FAR? WHY?
It’s hard to choose a favorite among the places I have visited. Each one has something that I can appreciate and enjoy. Some of the places I would love to return to are Indonesia, Togo, and Mexico, mainly because I have spent an extended amount of time there.
LET’S TALK FOOD. ANY MEMORABLE DINING EXPERIENCES FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE?
A recent memorable food experience was stumbling upon a fantastic osteria (family-run restaurant) in the countryside of Italy’s Parma region. We had delicious home-made tagliatelle pasta and ravioli, as well as beef carpaccio. And the lady who served us was so forgiving of our limited Italian language skills!
ANY UNIQUE EXPERIENCES OR CHALLENGES DURING YOUR TRAVELS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE?
For us, traveling as a family of color is interesting. Because our heritage is rooted in Indonesia and the Philippines, our darker skin tone affords us the ability to blend in when we visit countries like Mexico, Costa Rica, India, and many parts of Southeast Asia. People assume we are locals, until we open our mouths to speak. However, when we travel in Europe, the United States, and Canada, we often notice when we are the only dark-skinned people in a place.
Sometimes people don’t treat us any differently, and sometimes they do. We recently had an experience on a bus in Italy where some old men were throwing racial slurs at us. And I’ve had instances while traveling in Africa where people have yelled, “Hey China!” at me.
These experiences haven’t stopped us from traveling. Instead, we use it as a teaching moment for our children. We talk to them about prejudices and stereotypes, and stress the importance of keeping an open mind when meeting new people.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BLOG? HOW DID YOU GET STARTED BLOGGING? WHY DID YOU START A FAMILY TRAVEL BLOG?
My blog, The Wandering Daughter, is dedicated to helping families adopt a travel mindset in their everyday lives. I share tips for how to visit other countries, how to explore places close to home, and how to be responsible and ethical travelers.
The Wandering Daughter initially started as a hobby blog. I had just returned from serving in the Peace Corps in West Africa, and I was keen to have an outlet for my personal thoughts and reflections. Eventually, it evolved into more travel-focused content. And once I became a mother, the blog naturally shifted to family travel.
These days, the blog is more than a hobby, it’s a business. I work with travel-related brands to promote their products. And I use my blog as a portfolio to showcase my travel writing.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH TRAVEL?
There is so much of the world to explore and learn from. We do ourselves a great disservice by never venturing out of our bubble.
Also, as a mother, I have learned that there’s no such thing as being too young to travel. Even if your kids can’t remember a trip you took as a family, that culture of travel will have been imprinted on their personalities.
By raising a child who travels, you are helping to develop people who are engaged and connected with the world.
CAN YOU GIVE FAMILIES A FEW TIPS, TRICKS, AND HACKS WHEN TRAVELING?
The biggest tip is to start small. If you’re not comfortable with taking a big trip overseas, start with taking a small weekend trip to a nearby town. Get your kids used to travel, and then keep challenging yourself a little bit with each trip.
Ziplining or bungee jumping? Ziplining
Tea or Coffee? Coffee (although I used to be an avid tea drinker!)
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met so far? My grandmother, who recently passed away this year.
Disney World or the real world? I prefer the real world, although I admit it’s fun to visit Disney World from time to time.
What’s been the best street food you’ve had? Singapore, hands down.
Please tell our readers how they can follow your family travels on social media.
Thank You, Astrid, 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 The Wandering Daughter 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!