Mom Uses Maternity Leave to Backpack Across the World With Her Husband and Newborn

So excited to let you know I have my travel blog up and running. Please check it out at This day next week we leave New Zealand to embark on a seven week backpacking trip through SE Asia with our ten-month old girl. Needless to say, many people think we are a wee bit nuts to do so much travelling with a baby. Whilst our friends without children funnily feel the opposite. Classic comments so far include: “So good your not letting your baby rule your life” “My friend can’t even go for lunch but the baby is loosing his …. for a sleep” I guess from my perspective this backpacking trip is going to be quite different to the one I did when I was 25, young single and care free!..I think she will rule it, well a bit anyway!… All I want to try and do is incorporate her into our way of life. We both love travelling and can’t see why we should stop or change our lives. I am confident the different sites, smells and sounds will stimulate all of her senses. She gets stir crazy just as much as I do when we sit around the house for too long so I am sure this can only be good for her. Time is closing in on us, so we are trying desperately to get all three of our belongings for the trip into ONE BACKPACK!! Yes just one. I have to say not one person I have spoke to believes we can manage travelling with one backpack. I really want to prove them wrong (awful personality trait) so I must do it! I have a few tricks up my sleeve which I will share later, not many, so on that note: What are your magical tricks for travelling light and compact?? #travelmadmum #backpacking #travelingwithababy #southeastasia #excited #travel

A photo posted by Travel Mad Mum (@travelmadmum) on

When Karen Edwards and Shaun Bayes told their friends that they planned to travel the world with their newborn baby, Esmé, while Edwards was on maternity leave, everyone thought they were nuts. 

"The thoughts of traveling with little ones can be quite daunting for many parents," Edwards wrote on her blog. "I know I feared being the 'mum with the crying baby' on board a busy flight... By the time our little girl was four months old she had been to four countries, on a long road trip, camping, an international ferry and two long-haul flights. I am not saying it is always easy, but at the end of the day it all turns out okay!"

After they put their items in storage, sold their car, and rented out their house, the family of three was off to see the world — and they did it all with just one suitcase!

The family has been able to check off Ireland, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Bali off of their bucket list.

Edwards, who is now expecting her second child while backpacking the world, credits her maternity leave for providing the income to travel and Bayes taking freelance jobs as a landscaper to scrape in some extra cash. Edwards also breastfed Esmé while seeing the world, which saved money on bottles.

"The overall aim is to inspire like-minded travel loving parents — your travel days do not have to be over," Edwards said on her website.

The website includes future and past destinations, frequently asked questions and tried and tested baby products.


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