We LOVE it when we come across special guests and interview them about their lives, jobs and adventures. Stacy Jessee is strollering the globe with her husband and children; she documents her adventures on her website and makes sure others get informed on some of the perks of exploring other lands. Please join us on this marvelous adventure while we interview Stacy about her destinations.
Q – Hi Stacy, Could you please tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
A – I’m a mom to three kids under the age of six, and currently pregnant with our fourth child. We’re an American expat family currently living in England and we travel constantly. I run the family travel website strolleringtheglobe.com where we take a humorous look at the highs and lows of traveling with young kids. Our motto is “traveling with kids is simply parenting with a prettier backdrop.”
Q – I imagine people’s perception about traveling with kids is not always accurate. Could you please tell us what it’s like to travel with young kids?
A – A lot of parents think that once they have kids they can only travel to places like Disney World. And that’s so NOT true! My kids have enjoyed hiking in Scotland and exploring waterfalls in Croatia as much, if not more, than our trips to Disney World. And kids are surprisingly good travelers. Traveling with young kids is still parenting. There will still be the occasional meltdowns and temper tantrums, but life goes on. Kids are adaptable and learn quickly that airplanes mean unlimited screen time for them. As babies, planes provided excellent white noise and the perfect amount of vibration to lull them to sleep for entire transatlantic flights. Yes, they’ve also peed through their clothes and onto airline seats, vomited on long road trips in rental cars, and more. But it’s worth it. We’re bonding and forging family memories. We look back and laugh at the rough patches. And perhaps that’s the key—you must have a sense of humor to travel with kids. It’s rarely picture perfect, but the great moments and epic experiences we share with our kids are worth a couple bumps along the way.
Q – That’s very true! As an expatriate, What do you miss about home when you’re away for too long?
A – I miss my family and the food—especially the food. I think my preganancy cravings are in full effect! Between the time difference (grandparents are still asleep when we wake up in the morning) and the expense involved in flying back to the US, we’re lucky if we make it “home” once per year. But technology definitely makes the separation a lot easier. Skype, FaceTime, and WhatsApp allow my kids to still have regular and meaningful interaction with their relatives in the States. And as for the food—well, I never thought I could miss Mexican food so much. The English do not do Mexican food. And there are so many other restaurants we miss, but it’s probably good for our waistlines!
Q – Which country has the best weather?
A – Oh, that’s tough. NOT England, that’s for sure. We had a random bout of snow last week. It’s certainly not Spring here. I’m partial to warm weather, so living in Europe has been a bit of an adjustment. I spent my early twenties living and traveling in the Middle East and I’d have to say that for me, the climate of places like Egypt and Turkey are pretty perfect. But again, I’d rather be hot than cold any day.
Q – How are you documenting your trips?
A – At first, we documented mainly with pictures. I mainly use my iPhone since it’s easily accessibly when holding/corralling multiple kids and my husband is an excellent photographer. He lugs around the “real” gear and takes the best photos. But about a year and a half ago, friends and family suggested I start a blog to document all our travels. And that’s when our website, strolleringtheglobe.com was born.
It started out as very humorous tales of all our initial travel mishaps upon moving to Europe: my son’s epic tantrum in front of Stonehenge when he needed to pee, etc. And it’s evolved from there. The mishaps continue, despite us being more season travelers. So most of our posts about a destination are less must-see lists and more stories. For example, our recent trip to Norway was completely tainted by my children’s obsession with Frozen and our articles about Norway reflect this element of family travel. The blog has been an excellent way to recount our travel adventures and now my kids love it when I pull up a previous story and let them scroll through the pictures on the screen while I read the text. It’s preserving wonderful family memories for us and hopefully inspiring other families to get out there and see the world.
Q – It’s interesting to engage our children with other cultures and let them explore and discover. How are your children communicating with others who don’t speak the language abroad?
A – The educational opportunities for children are endless when you’re traveling. The language barrier is one of my favorite opportunities for them to learn something new. We make it a point to practice a few basic phrases and greetings before we go, so my children can say “hello”, “thank you”, “good bye” and “I’m sorry” in multiple languages. But they’ve also learned the universal language of a smile and have mastered universal gestures. You’d be amazed how easy it is to communicate “My child needs a toilet now” just by the expression on my face and the frantic child trying to hold it in!
Kids also open up so many doors to a more authentic, cultural experience. People everywhere love kids and it’s a common bond that unites parents everywhere. It’s because we travel with our children that people seem to go out of their way to talk to us and engage with us in other countries. They laugh at our kids’ antics, show us photos of their kids, offer to hold the baby, etc. So my children are not only learning basic language skills, they are learning that despite language barriers it’s possible to make meaningful connections with people that seem very different from us.
Q – What and who inspires you Stacy?
A – My parents and their nonchalant attitude towards traveling with kids has definitely been a source of inspiration. But military families stationed across the world that regularly move and travel everywhere are my biggest inspiration. It’s the military wife traveling solo on a plane with a bunch of young kids that is truly inspiring. They do what needs to be done and don’t think anything of it.
Q – Thank you for your service Stacy! Last question: What do you think of Human Diaries?
A – I love the sense of community that Human Diaries is fostering. It’s so easy to become disconnected from “real” people in this online age, but Human Diaries does a great job putting the spotlight back on the real people. The stories are genuine and remind us that we’re all part of a global community with more in common than not.