Families — Parents — Kids

Reflecting on 10 Years in The Saddle of Family Adventure Travel

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When Stuart Wickes and Kirstie Pelling got married, they honeymooned for six months in South America. Actually they rode their bicycles through South America. Not a bad way to celebrate the blissful bells that mark the blessings of becoming ball and chain. Six months later they arrived in Tierra del Fuego. As you can imagine, this was one incredible adventure honeymoon full of sweet memories. For example, the pair took a week's work as a crew on a yacht, negotiating the fjords and island clusters of southern Chile.

It was no ordinary vessel. You could say it changed their lives.

Named Nanu, the twin-masted yacht was designed and built by hand by her own Polish captain and French New Zealander first mate, Bernard and Nadine, respectively. Up to this point Bernard and Nadine had spent three years sailing Nanu around the globe. Adding to the whole package, they were also raising two children on their remarkable adventure: 11-year old daughter Sofia "already quadlingual, brought up touring the world on a papoose on her mothers back," and 7-year old Sylvan, practically raised on a boat his entire life.

The eight days Stuart and Kirstie spent on the boat introduced them to the concept that adventure travel could quite possibly aid the development of strong family bonds; that having children doesn't have to mean abandoning your desire to travel. They went home to England, and eventually started to have children. They had two boys first, Matthew and Cameron. When the boys were just squirming (and likely cooperative, right?) toddlers, they all set out on a big, fat bike ride. How big? Well they started in New Zealand, ferried to Western Samoa, then flew to the U.S. and explored the numerous nationally recognized parks by car and rail. That took 10 months. Repeat: with two toddlers.

Then their third munchkin, Hannah, arrived and they hardly hit the brakes. Alas, they simply added a tandem bike to their kit. This crew travels, and they do so independently. It's been 10 years now since Stuart and Kristie started their family, and they've compiled a nice run down called "10 Lessons from 10 Years of Adventuring with Kids." When you read down the list, you'll find that there's really not much there that's earth-shattering, no deep secrets. Getting out the door is as difficult for them as it is for anybody herding a rambunctious army of ankle biters. Even better, their list is all sensible, and as far as I've experienced, all true.

5. Family life is more fun when you’re together

Read their top 10 list right here:


Bring The Kids
+3 / 0
# Bring The Kids 2011-11-11 06:32
Reading things like this always makes me want to sell everything and run away from what everyone calls "normal"
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+2 / 0
# Amy 2011-11-11 09:11
I sooooooooo agree with that!! We really like riding our bikes as a fam but never thought about a big tour on a bike. Looks so cool!
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+3 / 0
# Lauren 2012-02-22 14:14
Very inspiring!
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