This week’s family travel goal interview is with Cath from Battle Mum, an Irish expat living in Portugal with her husband and son. They are a great example of a family setting concrete goals and planning ahead in order to achieve them!
You can find more family travel goal stories here.
A Bit About Cath:
Hi, I’m Cath, an Irish expat now living in Portugal via way of the UK. My husband and I are both Irish but moved to the UK 15 years ago due to my husbands work. Our son, Alexander, was born in Wales. In 2017, I gave up my job as a scientist and we packed up our home, our worldly goods and the dog, and journeyed down to Portugal to start our new life in the sun.
I have always loved travelling, having been born in Botswana and lived in South Africa until I was 9-year-old (I blame my Dad on giving me itchy feet). My husband and I always enjoyed travelling before our son came along and vowed to continue with him. At first, we were reluctant to go outside our comfort zone of package holidays but soon realized there is a whole world out there to explore and discover with him. So, we stopped booking those types of holidays and started doing more adventurous ones.
Does your family have any travel goals? If so, what are they?
Yes, we have family travel goals. After moving to Portugal and, shortly after embarking on our most adventurous holiday to date, we sat down and made a family travel bucket list. We split it into two categories. Places we want to visit while our son is still young. These include countries or cities we think will be easy enough for him to revisit should he wish when he is older. The other categories are places we want to visit with him when he is old enough to remember them. Places like the Far East, Mongolia and Bhutan are on the long-term bucket list. These are slightly harder to reach places or will cost a lot of money to make a return visit to.
Why did your family choose these travel goals?
Having inadvertently ticked off one of our long-term bucket list destinations last year, we wanted to make a proper list of everywhere we really want to visit in the world. And to use that list to research and book future holidays. I’m not one for last-minute, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants holidays. I like to plan and book them well in advance and we figured we should start working our way through the long list of places we want to see instead of picking somewhere because it is convenient or cheap.
What has been your family’s favorite trip so far? Why?
Our family’s favorite trip so far has to be our two-week North America USA road trip last year. We flew into Portland, Oregon and drove from there to Yellowstone National Park. We had four amazing days there before starting to make our way back to Portland with a pit-stop in Missoula, Montana for a few days. We ended our trip with four days in Portland. It was a trip that took in everything from raw mother nature in Yellowstone, to smoky mountains surrounding us in Montana, to a few days of chilled family time in Portland. We did things we had always wanted to do, as well as making sure our son had time to be a child. And we all thoroughly enjoyed it. Our love affair with road trips was started during that trip and we plan to take a family road trip holiday at least once a year going forward.
What trips do you have planned in the short term? Any big trips coming up?
We have three further trips planned for this year, having just done a 10-day road trip at home in Ireland over Easter. By the time you read this we’ll have visited Barcelona in Spain for a long weekend. At the end of August, we are road tripping in the North of Portugal where we will visit Lousa, Nazare and Cascais and Lisbon. It’s our first proper holiday within Portugal itself. And last but not least, we are ticking off a major family travel bucket list destination in December when we will be going to see Santa in Lapland, Finland. That’s the one I am most looking forward to.
If you had to give other families advice about traveling, what would you say?
Do it. Don’t put it off until the kids are older, or because you are not sure how you or they will cope with travelling. The sooner you start, the easier it becomes. I’ve seen my sister-in-law travel with her kids starting with 3 under 3 and now 6 under the age of 12 and do it with ease. We thought, if she can do it, we can do it. And so can you. Just be prepared to slow down when travelling with kids, and plan as much as you can but with the view to throwing that plan out of the window if necessary. Travelling with kids can be so much more fun as you see the world through their eyes and share experiences together in a completely different way than if you were only travelling with adults. It can bring you closer together and the memories you will make are priceless.
Tell us about the name of your blog, Battle Mum. Is there a specific battle that led to the name? 🙂
My name was inspired by my husband who started his own blog shortly after our son was born. He never kept his up and I started mine when our son was 10 months old as a sort of online diary. Initially my blog was a parenting blog about battling our way through early parenthood, but I soon realized I didn’t have a passion for writing about developmental stages, toilet training and other such parenting topics. The thing I was passionate about was writing about our travels and so my blog pivoted last year to become a family travel blog and I haven’t looked back since. I know the name doesn’t quite reflect the niche I am in, but I am a mum and my battles are now trying to fit in as many holidays as possible a year around our finances and my husband’s work.
Tell us more about your blog. Where can people find it, and how can they follow you on social media?
My blog is a family travel and lifestyle blog in which I share our family travels, reviews, and hints and tips about travelling with young kids. The aim of BattleMum is to help mums with young children gain ideas and hints and tips about travelling more with their children while they are still young. I want to show other families that you can travel with young kids and still enjoy it.
I can be found in all the usual places: