Travel with an 8 month old baby…

One of my favorite pictures. 8 months old, 30 degree heat, first holiday and she's happily asleep on a loud, choppy speedboat traveling to the islands from Belize city...

One of my favorite pictures. Our 8 month old daughter fast asleep on the back of a loud, choppy speedboat traveling to the islands from Belize city.

‘You’re traveling to Central America and Asia with an 8 month old?’ ‘You’re traveling by bus overland across the Mexico Chetumal border?’ ‘You’re taking a baby away for 6 weeks?’ were all questions people asked even more than ‘You’re eloping in Belize?!’

To anyone that knows us (my visit list is up to 65 countries now, hubby’s 35) the answer was ‘of course we are – our 8 month old will love it!’ And she did.

Our route was AustraliaLA – Belize – Mexico – UK – Singapore – Australia. 45 days, 8 different beds in 5 countries, 52 hours of flights, hundreds of new faces and experiences.

I’ve honestly never seen her more curious, more happy, or more adaptable. What surprised me the most is how natural it comes to them. She got more sleep on our long haul flights & dealt with jet-lag quicker than both of us! Watching her dip her toes in the Caribbean, charm Singaporean strangers on the MRT and scoff Mexican tacos till her heart is content was utterly worth it.

We found 6 weeks away with a baby a crazy, exhausting adventure, but most of all a huge bonding experience. Our daughter relished having both mum & dad (and grandparents) around her, as well as the overwhelming kindness of doting strangers. Everyone loves a baby. I’d of had one long ago if I knew how useful they are for nabbing the best seats on buses and cutting boat queues :)

There’s so much written about the negatives of travel with children, about baby routines, about jet-lag adjustment schedules etc. People often stress about whether such young babies will miss home or feel secure.

Before we left a friend gave me the following advice, which I absolutely love (in the context of travel and just motherhood in general); “You are their home. You are their safe place. Make all the lists you want of tips, advice, things to pack. All they really need is you. “

Beautiful. Simple. True.

 

Our Belizean Wedding…

20151228_191726.jpgIf we had a dollar for every friend and family member that asked ‘Why Belize?’ we’d be a very rich couple. Our wedding – or more of an elopement really – was low key, no shoes, no fuss, completely unique and absolutely perfect for us.

The answer is; because it’s slightly off the radar, it’s hard to get to, it’s legally straightforward (for an English / Australian couple) and home to one of the best scuba diving sites in the world at The Blue Hole.

Our venue; Xanadu Resort in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, was a rare combination of luxury and ramshackle. It was beachfront and rustic, with flawless customer service. Plus, we will forever enjoy singing the Olivia Newton John classic hit every time we fondly think of it.

Highlights included screaming with laughter as we jumped from the Xanadu pier into the warm Caribbean at sunset (i’m a less than $100 dress kind of gal.) Our wedding brunch was local jerk chicken from Robin’s roadside hut, and dinner featured rum chocolate cake & cerviche from the candle lit Hidden Treasures restaurant. We discovered it down a back alley the day before when they let us shelter from a thunderstorm. We successfully and gracefully perfected the art of releasing Chinese lanterns after many a glass of champagne. Finally our wedding photographer Efrain was all sorts of awesome in indulging my requests for NatGeo style travel shots in our location shoots in downtown Belize City and Mayan temple Altun Ha. I just couldn’t resist a cheeky homage to travel Instagrammer #followmeto.

 

 

 

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Caye Caulker, Belize

Our 7 days in Caye Caulker (“Key corker.” It sounds way better in a Caribbean accent) was the honeymoon before the wedding. I just love it where, within 10 seconds of arriving somewhere you just think; this is definitely our vibe.

The island reminds us of Rashdoo in the Maldives (but thankfully with alcohol) in that it’s a 3 street town where the only traffic is a golf cart for hire, or a propeller plane from Belize City buzzing down on the jungle fringed landing strip. After the Everest Lukla plane experience however, I’ll forever opt for arrival by speedboat.

Luckily, it’s a lot less Americanized than we expected. The houses are pained in typical Caribbean postcard pink and pastel blue, and a lot of the cheaper local restaurants are in people’s front yards where they sell homemade banana bread & quesadillas.  For the ‘upmarket’ the much-famed local lobster really is as good as the guidebooks say. We ate a $200 grilled mango lobster dinner with a couple of rums each for $35 USD – total for 3 people!

The nightlife is low-key, with most of the backpackers sticking largely to ‘The Split;’ a swim up bar near a shallow channel of sea. We snuck there during daylight hours with our 8 month old, just to prove we still could. :) For us oldies in our 30’s though a couple of the ocean front bars further south were much nicer, with hammocks and swing chairs to sip cocktails from.

The rest of our days were spent relaxing by Wheezie’s Cottages pool and private pier, all very idyllic, except for Caye Caulker’s dreaded downfall… an abundance of sandflies, even inland. Grr.

Getting there: Melbourne to LA with Qantas then an direct American Airlines flight to Belize City (Only available once a week. The alternative is an epic detour via El Salvaor or Dallas/Miami.) Then a 45 min speedboat from Belize City to Caye Caulker.  Boat schedule here.

Where we stayed: Wheezies Purple Bungalow

 

 

 

 

An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

Blasts From The Past…

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