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Karen Edward was determined to make the most of her maternity leave.

Following the birth of her daughter, Esmé, Karen and her partner Shaun Bayes, packed up their home and went travelling the world – all with their 10-week-old baby in tow.

For ten solid months of maternity leave, the couple from London boarded a plane and flew across the world to explore Asia, Australia and New Zealand.  Little  Esmé grew as they all explored the world together.

Image Source: Instagram
Image Source: Instagram

Packing just one backpack between them, the family boxed away their belongings, sold their car and put their house in London up for rent – and Shaun left his job as a landscaper. Karen, a Nurse, admitted to the Daily Mail, that her family labelled them, ‘completely nuts’ when the couple first revealed their adventurous plans.

Since setting off on the around the world family adventure, the family have visited Ireland, Singapore, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and even Hong Kong.  Karen breastfeeding baby  Esmé all around the world as they travel far and wide.

Image Source: Instagram
Image Source: Instagram

Funding the trip which has cost approximately £10,000, has come in the from Karen’s maternity pay with the NHS and Shaune using his landscaping talents along the way to earn a little bit of extra cash.  The majority of flights were booked months before they departed the UK, while the couple was earning a double income.

Image Source: Instagram
Image Source: Instagram

Since returning from the great adventure and spending a short time at home in London, the family, once again including Esmé (who is now 17-months-old) are jet setting off again next week to travel to Thailand, Cambodia and New Zealand.

Image source: Instagram
Image source: Instagram

In a recent interview with MailOnline, Karen said that the maternity leave travel was a great adventure.

“I was thinking about maternity leave and decided I’d like to take her [Esmé] travelling.  Both Shaun and I were keen backpackers before I fell pregnant and everyone thought we were completely nuts when we said that we were going to take Esmé when she arrived. “She was really well behaved and because she was small it was easy enough to keep her in the harness when we were on the move.

“We have no regrets, she got to experience new sights, scenes and smells as she grew and that is incredible.  The only time I felt Esmé was missing out was not having much socialising with other children.  However the libraries always have free rhyme classes if you need to socialise your child a little.  

Image Source: Instagram
Image Source: Instagram

“The weirdest part of the trip was actually coming home. Esmé hasn’t lived somewhere for a long period of time because we were always moving around hotels and rooms.  It’s also harder to find her things to do in London – well, compared to travelling anyway.

“People say having a child ruins travelling, but it really doesn’t. Obviously there were times, like at night in the hotel room when you fancy a beer and the baby is asleep, and when you crack it open she wakes, that makes it harder. But it’s worth it.

“You can still do everything, including snorkelling and diving, but you just take it in turns. I can’t imagine having spent my maternity leave any other way.”

Karen does also admit that travelling with a baby is sometimes hard – especially when the family is sleeping in one room together or when there are lots of people around them when Esmé is having a tantrum.

Karen has also set up a blog about her travels called Travel Mad Mum and also posts photos on her Instagram account.

“The overall aim is to inspire like-minded travel loving parents – “your travel days do not have to be over”. It is all about incorporating your little person into your way of life.”

  • I love this travel story – so inspiring and good on them for taking on such an epic adventure and family time to remember forever. Travel with kids is actually a whole lot of fun and energising too.

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  • that would be so cool to do but you would have to be organised especially if you couldn’t get your favourite baby brand in a certain country

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  • Selling all of there belongings is a bit much with a new baby. I love traveling and have been to more than 23 countries but I am waiting to take my children around the world when they can remember it and truly enjoy what the other cultures have to offer. I was fine with the whole thing until I read that part I’m sorry I’m all for adventure but that sounds like they’ll be in hot water pretty soon.

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  • love love love this story! this is so cool

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  • We enjoy using our school holidays to explore Australia with our children, creating memories they will remember for always. Travelling with children isn’t hard, in our opinion. I love this family’s concept in allowing bub to experience so many new sights, sounds and scenes. I’m afraid I’d be a bit worried taking an infant for an overseas adventure though, given the immune status of a baby. I’m a big believer in immunisation.

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  • What a wonderful idea. I wish I’d been brave enough to do some travelling with a newborn… would have been far easier than dragging a toddler around!

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  • That’s certainly something different to do on maternity leave. I’m glad it all worked out for them. sounds like they had a wonderful adventure

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  • Its great to see that they went ahead and did something amazing with their time off work.

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  • Good on them! I think it’s great!
    I get exhausted just going to the shopping centre though haha

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  • I thought travelling overseas was exhausting enough during my pregnancy! Good on them, I don’t think I could do it for that long

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  • Travelling to some of the countries they have already visited shouldn’t they all have had vaccinations? Why would you risk your baby’s life? Some vaccinations cannot be given as young as she was they headed overseas. The little girl won’t remember much about it as she is still too young. Looking at photos isn’t the same as remembering personal experiences. They are so lucky their baby never got sick while they are travelling. The medical care in some countries is poor.

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  • I was quite happy to do all my travelling before I married and felt quite settled by the time baby came along. The last thing I would have wanted to do was to live out of a backpack.

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  • When babies are young and can be carried, they are super easy to travel with. Ours was flying and travelling regularly from 6 weeks of age. Such a great story. Thanks.

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  • I think they had a wonderful idea. I’m not sure I would have been able to manage it though. I wonder how they did it with all the vaccinations, because for some the girl was too young and they did travel to so many foreign places.

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  • I have to say I admire them – braver than me! But they’re right, in some ways it’s easier to travel with a really little one.

    Reply

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