Before we had the boys my husband instilled in a love of travel. A passion for seeing new places. A thirst for trying new experiences, trying new foods and feasting my eyes on places that I would never have believed existed if they weren’t right there in front of me.
Together we saw the magical temples of Angkor Wat, Cambodia. We swam in the crystal clear waterfalls of Paraty, Brazil. We explored the bars on the clifftops of Paphos, Cyprus. We watched monkeys frolic on the beach in Ko Phi Phi, Thailand. We went to the tango show that wasn’t a tango show in Buenos Aires, Argentina (and haven’t been allowed to forget the faux pas since). A proposal at Iguazu Falls, Argentina. A childhood trip down memory lane in Manama, Bahrain. A flight up the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The majesty (and sore feet) of the city tour in Rome, Italy. Mini golf on a weekend to Palma, Majorca.
Then at some point during our South American trip I fell pregnant with my eldest, though we didn’t know it until we landed back on home soil. Which meant that life, along with travel, would never be the same again.
Since we’ve had the boys, the passion is still there, the how, the why and the where however have all changed somewhat. Gone are the days that we rocked up to the airport with a backpack each, a passport and nowhere to stay on the other end. Now days we rock up with suitcases, prams, car seats, a thousand toys, and no matter how much I strip back to the essentials my hand luggage is always packed full to burst. Except for our recent flight back from Malaysia where I was running particularly on nappies having only three left to last…
2016 saw us travel intermittently throughout the year, what with leaving Dubai, spending 3 months at home with my mum, then eventually moving out to Qatar everything was a little topsy turvy. We didn’t know if we were coming or going for most of the year! Still we did pretty well….
Cruising the Caribbean – January 2016
At the start of last year we finally took the plunge, thanks to my mum, and ventured onboard a cruise ship for the first time. Apprehensive and unsure of whether we would find our sealegs, we definitely didn’t expect it to be one of the most family friendly holidays we’ve ever been on, not only did we satisfy our wanderlust by having the chance to explore 8 different Caribbean Islands without lugging all the
crap paraphernalia that comes with travelling with kids around with us. It is safe to say we were completely converted to the cruise way of life after our 2 weeks on board.
A Weekend in Qatar – April 2016
After my husband was made redundant in early February we had plans to head back home. All of our belongings were shipped across the ocean and we were set to follow. Then he received a phone call that would change our life plan, asking him to interview for a job out in Qatar. After a couple of rounds of interviews, with everything looking positive, the final hurdle was to head out here to see what we thought. So a hop, skip and a jump over for the weekend our future was set.
The Long Journey Home – May 2016
We packed up, said goodbye to all of our friends, and headed for home.
We had no idea how long we would be staying, whether my husband would be joining us for a prolonged period or if he would be headed to Qatar to set up without us. So we had lots of day trips out and about through the UK. Using my mums house in Derby as a base we visited the local attractions, heading to the National Forest Adventure Farm, Thomas Land, the Sealife Centre Birmingham, Monkey Forest, Cadburys World to name but a few. My husband came home in the middle for a few days where we snuck off for a holiday down the road from my mums in the glorious Peak District, just four magical days in a cottage on our own.
As it turned out the way that the paperwork went my husband was with us for a good 6 weeks between leaving Dubai and heading to Qatar. All of us together meant time for a couple of trips….
The Emerald Isle – July 2016
Being an expat meant we have made a lot of friends around the world, our Irish contingent had headed back to Dublin the previous year and we had never been. What better way to spend a weekend than catching up with old friends, feeding the deer in the legendary Phoenix Park, taking a trip down to the seaside at Howth for proper fish and chips. And of course. The Guiness Factory.
J’Adore Paris – August 2016
Come August, we were itching to get to Qatar but waiting for the final paperwork to be completed, so what else do you do when you have itchy feet? Book a weekend away and so Paris beckoned. Marching round clocking up all those steps, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre (and the very disappointing Mona Lisa) the Jardins de Luxembourg. The pate, the brie, the rose wine!
The Big Move to Qatar – August 2016
Life changing, upheaval and a new country to explore…
A trip down memory lane Dubai – October 2016
Dubai is a 45 minute plane ride away, which meant that we are able to “nip” back for the weekend should the fancy take us. To visit old haunts, breakfast with old friends and meet new babies that had arrived. October saw us take a trip to our old home, a whistlestop tour where we packed in as much as we could. And I managed to open a corked bottle of wine without a corkscrew. I got #madskillz
A chance to catch our breath Langkawi, Malaysia – December 2016
2016 had been quite a year. Not knowing if we were coming or if we were going for most of the year. A snatched weekend here and there, then the stress of moving countries, once again. So we decided to do a bit of a Peter Kay. We booked it, we packed it, we …. well you know the rest.
A week of doing absolutely nothing bar swimming in the swimming pool and building sandcastles on the beach. A week where my biggest got braver and braver at swimming, propelling himself from myself (or the husband) to the steps. And of course the water slide. The perfect way to end the year.
So what about 2017?
Being away so close to Christmas and watching the festivities build whilst we were in Langkawi set a plan in motion to be away for Christmas 2017. Yes, we are that organised! We debated heading East. We debated heading for Scotland. I pushed for Lapland. What we came away with is something that I absolutely cannot wait to do. You see, January 2016 changed holidays for us. The cruise allowed a little bit of the backpacking, wanderlust travelling back into our lives, even with the boys, so what better way to celebrate Christmas in 2017 other than going back on a cruise, where we will be headed on P&O Cruises Britannia to celebrate the festivities this year. A trip that will see us take in Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua and Dominica.
Other than that….. well I might be organised in our big holiday sense but I still have to plan our summer in the UK, day trips making the most of getting outside and the greenery. Visiting friends and family. A potential trip down to see the Pig that we all love so much…..
Oh my goodness you really did do some travelling during 2016 didn’t you? I look forward to seeing what adventures you get up to in 2017.
My wife and I have opted to leave our kids (two boys 5 & 3) with their Grandparents usually while we go on nice vacations. Might feel a tad guilty at first but usually realize that it is much needed time alone for us to reconnect after months with the “wild boys”. I have to admit that after reading your post and seeing your amazing pictures that I am tempted to start bringing them with us! Thanks for sharing.
Oh well if I have the chance I wouldn’t say no to leaving the boys with Grandma!!
What a year- especially given that you’ve moved house/country twice during that… I think I’m almost more impressed that you’ve booked for Christmas already though! Thought I was being organised eyeing up options for October half term yesterday only to discover it’s sold out…