About Us

 Who We Are

My wife and I and our two sons live in Sitges, Spain, just south of Barcelona, after having lived in Budapest, Hungary for the past 10 years. We are American, but have been living abroad in places as disparate geographically and culturally as Japan and Mexico since 1996. Both of our boys, now aged seven and three, were born in Hungary.

We travel a great deal, and have often mentioned how great it would be to have a website that was devoted not only to general tips about travelling with kids, but also offered details about particular destinations – what’s there for the kids to do, which restaurants are kid-friendly, does the local ski area have a fun park for children, is the beach suitable for toddlers, are there hotels or apartments with playrooms – all the little things that can make the difference between a harried holiday with your children and a great one.

We’ve also discussed how great it would be to be able to read about real-life experiences and find parenting advice that was less glossy and more gritty, that featured practical tips for parents like us, whose home sometimes looks less like Good Housekeeping and more like a fungal infection, and who feel that many of the mainstream parenting sites leave readers feeling like miscreant child-minders. Yes, it’s wonderful to know 16 Ways to Make Great Gifts out of Used Dental Floss, but it would be better to know two strategies for making your kid eat his goddamn peas.

Parenting and travel and where the two often meet. That’s the website we wanted. Well, this is that site.

A Bit of Background

My wife and I met in San Francisco while getting certified to teach English, had a whirlwind romance, and ended up (although I had intended to go back to Italy, where I had lived for two years) in Korea.  A year in a small, conservative town in Podunk Korea was enough, and we headed back to spend the summer in my hometown in Maine, then off to Santa Barbara, CA, where she finished up a lapsed undergraduate degree.

That spring we married, and beat it south to Oaxaca, Mexico, a stunningly gorgeous colonial city where we taught for a year. Although we loved it there, a Mexican salary meant that we were continually dipping into our savings simply to pay our bills, so we scouted around for a more profitable locale.

Although slightly trepidatious after our less-than-stellar experience in Korea, we opted to go back to East Asia, this time to Japan. An excellent choice all around.  The food, the convoluted culture that melded ingrained politeness and impassiveness with an underlying streak of sheer lunatic wackiness , the sea and mountains, the tranquil villages and silent forest shrines all wooed us so that by the end of two years there we were inexpressibly sad to leave.

But leave we did, to spend a year in Essex, England, where my wife picked up an MA in Human Rights. She soon got a temporary position to do a report for a Budapest-based organization on mental health institutions in Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia. I went along to take photographs for the project, which was to last four months. Ten years later, here we were still in Budapest, where my wife worked for a donor organization promoting human rights in the region, and I found a job teaching secondary school English Literature at a private British school.

Eight years ago, our first son was born in Hungary. By the time he was eight months old he had been to half a dozen different countries, and we found ourselves frequently navigating the murky, sometimes stormy waters of traveling with children. Two trips a year back to the US, one to each coast, holidays around Europe, and toting the little bugger along on occasional business trips meant that we had to learn the ins and outs on the road. It was mostly trial and error. Lots of error. Mining the internet didn’t always turn up gems of useful information, so we learned along the way.

By the time our second son was born we had a fairly good idea of what we were doing, and discovered that with a little planning and armed with reliable information, traveling with two young boys could be not only bearable but delightful. Most of the time.

Several years ago, coinciding with the birth of our youngest son, I left my school to devote myself full time to writing and editing. And daddying. When not writing during nap time I was usually knee-deep in diapers or hanging with the moms at the local playground. Or planning, packing for, and executing family trips. It might be a day-hike at the Danube bend, an overnighter to a local farm, or an extended holiday in Costa Rica, but each one requires varying degrees of forethought and preparation. How are we going to work nap times? Picnic lunch or restaurant? What’s the closest decent restaurant and when does it open? Spontaneity is great. I’m all for it. But when you have kids, the spontaneous only works if you’re prepared for it. You kids want to take off your clothes and run around in your underwear on a sunny riverside Sunday? Go for it! But if you didn’t slather that sunscreen on your kids before you left, everybody is going to get burned.

Well, I sincerely hope you find this website helpful in your travels. Get out there with your kids. Share the wide world with them. And when you get back, drop us a line about your trip. We love to hear our readers’ insights and comments.

63 thoughts on “About Us

  1. Pingback: A Re-Blog: Is it OK to Shout At Your Kids?

  2. What an interesting life you and your wife and 2 children have had already..My husband and I have been married for 42 years and have 3 adult son’s. We are born and bread Aussies and have never left it’s shores. We have seen a good bit of Australia but gosh how I wished we had been able to travel more. Our son’s have seen more of the world than us so thankful for that and special for them. I love your story and you guys sound like you have got all bases covered with raising your littlies too…Well done
    Cheers from Annie on the Gold Coast in Australia 🌞 🌴 🌊

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    • Thanks for taking the time to check us out from Australia. We have gotten around a bit, but there is always a balance to be reached. In many ways it’s nicer to have a solid home roots rather than blow in the wind. We’re seeking balance here in Spain. Hopefully we can find it. Thanks for visiting and leaving your comments!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am really glad to find your blog. It looks that we share the same passion for travelling with kids. It is my dream to build a community of travelling parents who would inspire other families with kids to start travelling, especially as self-organised trips.
    In ‘About us’ you mention about your trip to Costa Rica. For my family Costa Rica was the best trip so far. Yesterday I put the first film from these holidays on our webpage and now I am working on the next post and film from Costa Rica holidays. You can check if we share similar memories from Cost Rica: http://www.familyindependenttraveler.com. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been hopping through your blog and thoroughly enjoy your good humor and honesty. I am not a parent, but I work with families, and greatly appreciate a lot of what I’ve come across in your writing. Cheers! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: The Sunday Showcase: Best of the Week In Blog | A Game of Diapers

  6. Hi, first let me say that I truly enjoy reading your blog. I don’t know if you’re into the Influential Awards thing, but I’ve nominated you for the Most Influential Blogger Award, a bit of blogging fun. Go to my blog to find out more: strokingthecortex.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We may be planning a last-minute family road trip to take in the last of summer. I’m trying to convince my husband that Maine would be a brilliant destination. Would you mind sharing your thoughts for a good location to spend a couple of days? Thanks in advance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You can’t go wrong with either Ogunquit or Kennebunkport – personally I’d go with Kennebunkport, but I’m biased. Both are in S. Maine so you don’t have to slog all the way north. K’port has tons of gorgeous little B and Bs, or you could look into a house or flat rental through airbnb: https://www.airbnb.com/s/kennebunkport-maine
      Both have good dining, interesting shopping, fine beaches, rocky coastal walks, pretty old shipbuilders’ homes, etc.
      Let me know if you want more specifics like restaurant recommendations.

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      • Thank you for taking the time to get back to me. Unfortunately, my husband put the kabash on the maine trip. Looks like it’ll be a day-trip to Sesame Place. Again. Sorry, I fell asleep for a second.
        Hopefully we can somehow get a crazy person (aka grandma) to watch the kids so we can go ALONE to maine this fall.

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  8. So delighted to have found your site. I am so impressed that you and your wife were able to keep your lifestyle by living abroad and to be able to share with your children the different countries and their cultures. I look forward to reading more. So a big thank you to you, Allie.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Versatile Blogger Award | Mitts and Measures

  10. Hy! It’s nice to meet you! Just letting you know we dropped by! Have a look on our blog, maybe you like it! It’s a blog with complete articles on men’ style, fashion and lifestyle!

    Fraquoh and Franchomme

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have loved to travel. I taught English in Japan too for a time and then just lived there for a year. My life didn’t quite turn out to be a traveling life but I think I’ll be plunking down and reading your adventures. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Liebster Award. SWEET! | Free Little Words

  13. Loved your blog. I’m Lisa’s (from New Zealand) Mum and just moved to New Zealand from the UK. I envy your children’s experiences and think they will have a wonderful basis to enjoy all that life can offer.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi there, just found your blog and looking forward to reading more. I travelled back and forth to Australia as a child – with my parents, I should add – and am a great believer in showing your kids the world at an early age. However, now that I have two children of my own and getting out of the house to a toddler group takes me about two hours, I am baffled as to how we’d take them further afield. Hoping your blog will give me ideas!

    I was also wondering: how many languages do your children speak?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Love your blog, so glad I found it, and admire your adventures with two little ‘uns. After leaving two comments only now have I visited this page and realised you’re also an expat. And your wife studied in Essex, where I’m from! How was it for you in England? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Fiona,
      Thanks for visiting, and I’m so glad you are enjoying the blog. I had a brief look at yours, and I’m looking forward to spending a lot more time with it. There is actually a slim chance that we might be moving to Barcelona, so my interest level is running high on all things Spain right now.
      We really enjoyed our time in England. The University of Essex itself is a horrid collection of 1970’s utilitarian architecture set amid lovely rolling parkland, like smallpox scars on a beautiful face. The English are quirky and funny and absolutely obsessed with accents, something that was an endless source of amusement for us. Just the place names were charming in their peculiarity – only the English could call a town Fingringhoe with a straight face.
      Reading over your own ‘about’ page I was struck by how much we seem to have in common.
      I very much enjoyed your book reviews – Julia Donaldson is a particular favorite of ours, and ‘The Snail and the Whale’ tops my personal list. I’ve been writing children’s stories and trying to get them published, but have met with no success and hit a bit of a dead end. I’m going to have to search new avenues.
      Anyway, thanks for your comments – they’re much appreciated.

      Like

    • Thanks, Faye. It’s always nice when readers say they can relate to our points of view and experiences. I look forward to spending some time on your site. Right now, in fact. Cheers!

      Like

    • Thanks, familynomadic! I’ve enjoyed checking out your site as well. There are so many great destinations in Europe, and traveling with kids is fairly easy. How old are your boys?

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      • My oldest is 3 and the youngest turns 1 in December. We just took our first trip up to Stockholm last weekend and are looking forward to many more destinations to come. If you have any clear favorites, I would love to hear them.

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  16. Hi. I’m going to follow you–my first such endeavor as a relative newbie (I posted my first time about nine months ago, but didn’t “get into it” until this past week). We are bringing up two kids in Taiwan, yet lived in Switzerland last year, so we can relate to much of your experience (on the surface) and questions about traveling with kids. My three-year-old has been to eleven countries herself. Anyway, I appreciate your insights and will read more! Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. An excellent website! Funny, thought provoking and often quite moving! Clearly written by a professional daddy. Taking kids to the cemetry: wonderful! Sam

    Like

  18. It’s great to discover you, and what a super idea for a blog. (What a super idea for a life, for that matter!)
    We were able to share the wide world with our kids–we’ve been traveling with them since our first was born. We also lived in Europe for a while: two adults, three years, four kids.
    I’ll be entering that contest of yours when I can find five minutes to download a photo. And, I’ll be following your blog, with fond memories. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comments, Robin Jean Marie! I took a quick peek at your blog and look forward to spending some more time with it. We love the Big Sur area, and I’m definitely going to have to give the cobbler a go. Can’t wait to see your photos!

      Like

      • Thanks for your sneak peek and your happy comments.
        I just submitted a photo–you’ve seen it, but I think it captures the spirit of a family filled with wanderlust.
        Thanks for offering this contest!
        All the best,
        Robin

        Like

  19. Already done, Merryn. (Before, in fact, I extended the invitation. I might be silly but I’m not crazy.) Let me know what you’d be interested in writing about. Go to the ‘contact us’ page to get in touch. Cheers!

    Like

  20. Great to discover your site, folks. We have recently returned from seven months of travel with our two sons (12 and 10) and had lots of fantastic times – and some nightmares. Excellent advice on taking good photos of your kids. Keep on enjoying!

    Liked by 1 person

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