We’ve been meeting amazing, trailblazing families who weave the magic of travel into the everyday lives of their children, opening their eyes to new adventures, countries, cultures and much, much more. Let’s hear it from the Coopers!
Meet the Coopers, From Australia
At the start of 2018, Australians Rachel and Joel Cooper packed up their house, their jobs and their kids – Poppy, 10, Wren, 5, and Oak, 2 – and bought around-the-world tickets for the whole family.
They squeezed their lives and their successful ethical fashion design business Frank & Dolly’s into five suitcases and hit the road.
They’re now traveling, designing, and home-schooling on the road. “We are currently eight months in and we’re loving it,” says Rachel. “The traveling lifestyle is really working for us as a family and as creative fashion designers.
So far we’ve been through Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Italy, France, Spain, England and Scotland.”
Next stops? New York, Canada and Mexico.
The family is basing the trip on ‘slow travel’.
“Routine is actually really important, as there are so many elements to each day. We have become very time-wise to make sure we can do all the things that we want to do every day. We need to run the business, home-school our eldest daughter, plus explore the area that we’re in.”
Rachel and Joel home-school Poppy, with help from an online tutor via weekly Facetime sessions.
“But our routine sometimes gets thrown out the window when we arrive in places like Barcelona, and end up spending all day and night weaving our way our through the colorful streets, and dancing ourselves silly in little fiestas. Or when our house in Italy has a private waterfall! Then days are spent lazing by the water, drinking coffee and eating gelato!”
Rachel says a series of smaller overseas holidays gave the family the confidence to step up for a larger trip.
“Traveling has always been a big part of our life – even after we first had Poppy, we were traveling overseas at least once a year. We saw the benefits travel had on our family and we knew that this was something we wanted to invest in.
“Our children wake up each day with such excitement saying ‘what are we doing today?’
Watching them immerse themselves in new cultures, and learning new ways of thinking and living is one of the most joyful experiences.
Whether it’s at the water temple in Ubud, a street festival in China, or a traditional feast in Italy, these experiences are things that will live with us forever.
“Luckily for us, time is on our side, so we are embracing it, and making sure we get to do and see all the things we want at the pace that works for us all.”
Flying with Kids
“Choose your flights wisely,” says Rachel. “We often end up paying a little bit more for flight times that are going to work for our family. You will thank yourself at the other end when you aren’t all over-tired!
“We also make sure that we have a variety of activities for them on the plane to help make the time pass. So we break up a movie with a game, an audio book and a puzzle.”
Choosing How to Travel
“Slow travel is a great form of travel for kids,” says Rachel. “Take your time and stay realistic so you all enjoy it. If you have limited time, pick one place, and do it well. Don’t drag the kids through the five top museums – pick one, and soak it in.”
Choosing Your Itinerary
“We have really focused on giving the kids unique experiences,” says Rachel, “such as glamping in the Scottish mountains, staying in a traditional Trulli in Puglia, and visiting the remote villages in Vietnam and horse-riding along the ancient tea route in China. The world is so diverse, and that’s what we want them to experience.
“I remember walking through the fresh food market in Provence, and the children were tasting cheeses, olives, meats, breads, oils, herbs and jams that were all made in that village – I could see how excited they were to be in that moment at that time.”