Backpacking around the world with a baby on maternity leave? As you do.

When my first baby was 10-weeks-old, a trip to Woolies was a well-organised expedition.

There was the timing– fitting the trip between sleeps and feeds and leaving enough time for “play”.

There was the packing – baby bag complete with dummies and nappies and wipes and lotions and spit cloths and blankets and hats and socks and enough paraphernalia to set up my own stall outside the supermarket selling baby goods. There was the pram, capsule and baby carrier and a few bunny rugs.

And then there was the entourage. As a brand new first-time mum when my son was a newborn I didn’t venture out without my partner, a friend or my own mother to accompany me.

Contrast that with this mumma:

This makes my first few years of motherhood seem pale and pedestrian. The mum is Karen Edwards a 31-year-old British uber mum who – without meaning to – has made the rest of us quietly playing it safe out here in the burbs secretly fantasise about what could have been. The British mum has taken her maternity leave to mean something quite different from the majority of us – she is using it to backpack around the world with her partner and daughter Esme.

The look of three very tired heads. Silly Vietjet air changing a flight to 1am!?! Very sad to be leaving Vietnam. I would definitely come back and explore the north, not enough time. So after much deliberation we have decided to go to Taiwan despite the recent typhoon. Its been bloody difficult trying to get any information about where is ok and where is not. I guess because its not particularly a tourist hot spot. We have however established Taipei and Hualien are ok, not as extensive as our original plans but it will do!.. I might be presumptuous in thinking its going to be fun getting by with our limited (no) Taiwanese! In Vietnam we’ve been fairly lucky with the amount of people that speak English.. Accept for a few times.. Like when i thought i was really getting somewhere with asking for baby food and i got handed a bicycle lock.. Classic moment and utter reflection on my ignorance! #travel #travelingwithababy #travelmadmum #adventure #backpacking #instatravel #instagood #instapassport #holiday #jetset #travelgram #wanderlust #wonderlust #discover #holiday #familytravel #takethekids #travelwithkids #livingthedream #baby #mumblogger #mum #travelblogger #blogger #hochiminh #vietjetair #vietnam #taiwan #taipei A photo posted by Travel Mad Mum (@travelmadmum) on


‘Travelmum’ set off when Esme was just 10-weeks-old.

Her and her partner, Shaun sold up the family car, rented out their home and with unheard packing skills managed to get their belongings into a solitary backpack and hoiked it off to New Zealand to see the sights.

Karen Edwards, her partner Shaun and Esme. (Via Travel MadMum Instagram.)

As Esme grew they backpacked around Australia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Bali, Singapore and Malaysia.

She writes on her blog:

“As relatively new parents, we have already been on many travel expeditions with our baby: several road trips, long ferry journeys, long and short haul flights, stopovers, camping trips and much more planned for the coming months.”

Her Travel Mad Mum Instagram page is filled with shots of Esme in exotic places, tasting new foods and generally being a VERY GOOD BABY.

With hashtags like #Livingthedream #takethekids #Instatravel and #familytravel

She’s happily perched outside a temple in Vietnam..


And shows not a droplet of sweat on her sweet baby brow while gurgling away at the Big Budda in Hong Kong…

Makes you think that anyone can do it right?

No sign of a sleepless night, a bout of mastitis or a spew covered shoulder in sight. No fevers or trips to the emergency room. No nappy rash or shots of a back-archingly-colicky- baby splitting your brain in two.

Nope just a doe-eyed fair-haired little cherub daintily poised in her mum’s backpack while taking in the sights and sounds of the monkey forest.


Do I sound jealous?

Well I am a little.

On my son’s first ever plane trip as a baby he projectile vomited on a man in the next row half an hour out of Sydney. He then came down with a fever of the likes that made me sure he was on his death bed and was rushed to the emergency ward by the kindly gents of the British ambulance service.

Organising his first overseas trip took precision similar to a military invasion. From the endless phone calls to airlines about pram sizes and baggage allowances to the carefully packed-to-the-f-ing-brim (one solitary backpack?) carry on bag with every single contingency possible in case he screamed.

Which he did.

For eight hours straight.

Shauna’s kids FINALLY made it to the Mona Lisa. ( Image supplied.)

Even our last family holiday where the kids were a little bit older was tinged with the reality of travel with kids.

“Can’t we just look it up on YouTube?” my son groaned as we stood in a queue for an hour to see the Mona Lisa in Paris?

“It’s too hot I just want to swim in the hotel pool” they moaned as we made our own trek to the Big Budda in Hong Kong.

Does this hotel have WIFI?

Shauna’s daughter in Paris. Totally OVER it. ( Image supplied.)

Don’t get me wrong travelling with kids creates memories that last a lifetime, but before you throw away the bugaboo and invest in a baby backpack remember that somewhere in memories will be that time she soiled the airline seat with a poo-nami and the time the solitude of the pristine New Zealand glacier was pierced by the non-stop screaming of an overtired cherub in an ergonomically designed infant backpack.

Memories to last a lifetime. Right?