Many of us dream about travelling the world and exploring different countries and cultures, but most of us do it as adults or even during retirement. Esme was just 10 weeks old when she boarded her first plane on the start of her travels that took her all over the world on the trip of a lifetime.
Karen Edwards 31, was not content wasting her ten months of maternity leave sitting in her London home, so along with her partner Shaun Bayes, they packed up their London home, put it up for rent, sold the family car and planned the most unusual maternity leave ever.
When baby Esme was just 10 weeks old the family boarded a plane bound for Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Packing just one backpack between them, Shaun left his London job as a landscaper and they were off. Karen admits that when she first told her family about her plans, they were shocked and thought she and Shaun were completely nuts.
Since the family have set off they have visited Ireland, Singapore, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Karen breastfed Esme while travelling and she received her vaccinations before they left in the UK and again in New Zealand as they were travelling.
The trip cost the family around £10,000 which was mainly covered with Karens maternity pay from the NHS and Shaun doing some landscaping work while the family were in New Zealand. They also saved money by booking the flights in the UK many months before they left and used up air miles they had accumulated. Karen estimates that booking the flights in advance saved them around £2000.
Finding other children for Esme to play with and socialise was the only real problem that the couple faced while travelling. Karen managed to find some free rhyme classes in libraries and the little girl was able to meet other children her age.
Karen says that the hardest thing about the whole trip was coming home and finding things to entertain Esme in London. The little girl has no experience of living in one place or even having more than just a hotel room to play in.
While travelling the couple still did every thing that they would normally while on holiday, such as scuba diving and snorkelling, they just arranged it a little differently and took turns looking after Esme.
Travelling with such a young baby however can be hard and Karen admits that being crammed into one room with Esme when she was sleeping or napping was difficult, as was the fact that they were always around people while travelling which could be hard when Esme was having a temper tantrum. Karen also faced the problem of not having enough toys around for Esme to play with as everything had to fit into the backpack that the family were sharing.
Karen writes about her travels in her blog Travel Mad Mum and you can follow her on Instagram @travelmadmum