Not going to lie, I love having OG Fly Away Friday friends on my Featured Friends section! This month I'm introducing Allison, aka Becoming A Traveling Family from the wonderful city of Chicago. Her husband and her children travel around the world together as she documents it on her blog. I've been reading Allison's blog for over 6 months now ever since Fly Away Friday was created and have enjoyed each one of them. I know you will too!
1. Tell us about yourself!
Hey all, I’m Allison. I’m a West Coast native living in the great Midwest metropolis of
Chicago. I married my husband (known on the blog as D) almost seven years ago after
dating for less than a year. Hey, when you know, you know. Am I right? I spend my
days with our two adorable rug rats, Ladybug and Buddy, who simultaneously drive me
crazy and make me want to brag to the world about how awesome they are.
Although I didn’t get the opportunity to travel much as a kid, I’ve always had a strong
curiosity about the world and a desire to learn about it. I can remember, as a young girl,
voluntarily doing a report about Romania after watching their women’s gymnastics team
sweep the all-around finals in the Sydney Olympics. Does that make me a nerd? Maybe, but my hunger to learn about the world has served me well as an adult-finally
able to see the world I’ve been reading about my whole life.
2. What made you start a family travel blog?
The reason I started Becoming a Traveling Family had nothing to do with travel. Buddy
was about six months old and active and I was deep in the trenches of the terrible
threes with Ladybug. My children mean the world to me but the demands of motherhood
were wearing me down and I found myself craving an identity outside of just being a
wife and a stay-at- home mom. As cliché as it sounds, I needed a hobby. I’ve always
enjoyed writing so after a lot of brainstorming, with D as my sounding board, I decided
to combine two things I’m passionate about- writing and travel- and voilá! Becoming a
Traveling Family was born.
3. You have a section on your blog called "40 Before 40". Tell us about that.
I’ve always been a list person. There is something so satisfying about crossing
something off a list. I saw a few 30 Before 30 lists floating around the internet and I
thought it would be fun to adapt it to my travels- both personal and as a family. I’ve
mixed broad locations I want to visit, like Puerto Rico or Prince Edward Island with
specific experiences like becoming scuba certified or attending an Olympic event. Of
course, I’m not limiting myself exclusively to the travel experiences on the list. My wish
list is long and seems to be growing longer every day. And, equally as important, I want
my children to have opportunities that I didn’t have when I was young, to experience the
world and gain an appreciation for it. My 40 Before 40 list is, first and foremost, a way to
motivate myself to travel as often as possible and not turn down opportunities to see
4. You grew up in Seattle (my second home!). What's your favorite thing about the
city or the PNW (Pacific Northwest)?
The Pacific Northwest is one of my favorite places. I still consider the cute suburb north
of Seattle where I grew up my first home. Although I haven’t been a resident for years, I
am still a proud Seattle-ite.
It would be impossible to pick a favorite thing about the PNW and Seattle. What I love
about the PNW is that there is something for everyone- fabulous cities, good food,
diverse people, quaint beach towns, a quirky art scene (hello, Experience Music
Project) and countless places for outdoor enthusiasts. The main complaint I hear from
people about Seattle is the amount of rain it receives every year. Although it does rain
quite a bit, the summers and early fall are usually very nice, not cold but not sweltering.
And besides, I don’t mind the rain. It’s a small sacrifice we pay for how green and
beautiful Seattle is.
5. Where are some of the most family-friendly cities you've traveled to?
Living in the Chicago suburbs and traveling frequently to the Windy City, we’ve found it
to be very family friendly. With so much for kids to do and so many parks and beaches
to explore, Chicago is the perfect city break for families. Other cities we’ve enjoyed
exploring and have found to be good for families are Seattle, with it’s proximity to Puget
Sound, Milwaukee and Orlando.
We haven’t had the opportunity to travel much internationally since the kids were born
but we’re looking forward to once again exploring cities all over the world- this time with
our little people in tow.
6. Do you have any advice on new Moms planning on traveling with children?
My best advice is to just do it. So many people will tell you to wait to travel until the kids
are old enough to appreciate it or are better travelers. Some have even told us that we
should wait until the kids are out of the house. But life doesn’t have to be put on hold
while you’re raising kids. And what better way to help them learn to appreciate the world
they live in than by providing a way for them to see it?
True, that first road trip or plane ride with an infant is scary. There will be melt downs in
public places or hours of baby screaming from the back seat when you’re stuck in a
two-hour traffic jam with nowhere to go. And don’t forget about the toddler throw up
incidents in the car that make it necessary to go 30 minutes out of your way to a service
station in Florida to clean up the car seat, rental car and your toddler. You will get weird
looks and sometimes even nasty comments from fellow travelers without kids. But the
benefits of traveling with your kids far outweigh the headaches and messy situations.
Just do it and it will get easier with time.
7. If you were granted an all-expense paid trip to 3 different places, where would they be and why?
This is such a hard question because there are so many places I want to go. I’m not
sure where and when my love for London started but I have wanted to see London
since I was a little girl. It could be because Peter Pan, which was set in London, was my
favorite Disney movie growing up. Whatever the reason, I’m dying to see London and
we’re currently in the process of figuring out how to make it happen in the next couple of
Croatia is a country that has emerged at the top of my bucket list in the past several
months. Everything I read about this gorgeous European country makes it sound so
fascinating and I can’t wait for the chance to go and explore it for myself.
The Galapagos Islands have captivated me for years. Ecuador is one of my favorite
countries in the world. I had the pleasure of spending a few months in the beautiful and
culturally rich country but I never had the opportunity to explore the Galapagos. I’d love
to change that as soon as possible.
8. Tell us about your most unique travel experience.
My first international experience occurred when I was 22, traveling to Quito, Ecuador as
a volunteer with an organization called Orphanage Support Services Organization.
Although I worked in five different orphanages around the city, I spent most of my time
working alongside one other volunteer with a group of 2-5 year olds. This particular
orphanage was broken up into several “casas” with an orphanage worker acting as the
“mom” and the children separated into “families.” We went for two hours several
afternoons a week and played with the kids, incorporating games and activities to help
with development. Although our focus was with the preschoolers, we had a lot of
interaction with the older kids and teenagers, as well. They would always ask for help
with their English homework and they, in return, helped us improve our Spanish.
What also made this experience so interesting was that we lived with an Ecuadorian
family. Our host family was so generous with us “gringas” and went out of their way to
make all of us feel like family.
9. What do you hope to accomplish through Becoming a Traveling Family?
I started Becoming a Traveling Family as a way of documenting our family’s travels and
connecting with other travelers. My main goal is to inspire and help others who want to
travel. I want to show other parents that traveling with kids is not only possible, but so
rewarding. I want them to know that all the public melt downs and airplane blowouts are
totally worth it.
Now that I feel I have a slight handle on my main goal, I’m beginning to set my sights on
my secondary goals. Sometime down the road, I’d like to earn a little extra money to
use for our travels. I’m currently on the cusp of a new business venture that I’ve been
mulling over for a while. I’m not ready to announce what that is to the blogging
community yet but I’m hoping I’ll be able to talk about it officially by the beginning of
10. Any wise words or fun facts you'd like to share with my readers?
There are a lot of exciting things in store for my family. We’re working towards kicking our
travels up a notch in the next few years and becoming expats- hopefully in Europe, though we’ll
welcome wherever D’s company has an open position. The opportunity to live overseas and be
completely emerged in another culture and way of life is something we’d welcome in a
Follow Allison everywhere:Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/becomingatravelingfamily
A big thank you to Allison for being on my blog! As such an active member of the Fly Away Friday family, I appreciate your content so much and had a blast getting to know you!
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