This week’s guest post comes from the Hedrick Family, travel bloggers behind Thumbtacks Blog. They explain ‘Jai is the fearless four-year-old explorer. Elijah is searching the cosmos for answers. Rian is finding inspiration in everyday objects. All three make up the Hedrick family. Each of us brings something unique to our quaint family, but we all have an abundance of love for each other. We have recently decided that the “American Dream”, is not our family dream. By giving up our normal comforts and hopping around the world, we hope we can piece together our dream.’
1. What is your name and where do you come from?
Hi! We are the Hedrick Family, (wife) Rian, (husband) Elijah, and (son) Jai. We hail from Richmond, Virginia of the United States of America.
2. What sort of traveller are you? Full time / part time / business / backpacker etc
Currently, we seem to be full-time backpackers. We are traveling the globe as a family for 10 months. The only items we brought were 3 backpacks holding 7 kilos of clothes and travel items, and a stroller to push our kid around. Before this world trip, you could have classified us as part-time travelers. We might have taken a week-long vacation 2 or 3 times a year. Now, we hope to stay in the full-time category.
3. How do you fund your travelling?
We save money from working and cut down on our expenses. I know, it sounds super simple, but it takes work. Traveling was a priority for us, so it was easy to cut out cable T.V., change our cell phone plan, eat a lot of peanut butter sandwiches, and sell most of our household items. Right now we are renting out our home so we can have some income each month. To learn more about our money-saving tips, you can visit How To Save If You’ve Never Saved
4. Where is the best place you have ever been and why?
These are always so hard to answer. It’s like asking who is your favorite child, which is why we only have one. It makes it easy for us. Rian’s favorite – Costa Rica, it was such a lush green paradise. The people are laid back and seem content and happy with life. They have a phrase, ‘Pura Vida’, which means Pure Life. This was the first passport stamp Elijah and I got as a couple. I still dream of having a hostel and living in a jungle next to the water. Elijah’s favorite – Rome, Italy comes to mind. For Rian and I’s honeymoon, we took a 20-day cruise around the Mediterranean. Rome was one of our stops and it was amazing. In school, you read about the history of these places, but being there and standing by the Colosseum is a surreal moment. I had a teary moment after we trekked for 8 hours in the streets of Rome and made our way to Vatican City. I just could not believe I was standing there, thousands of miles away from home. I always thought people couldn’t travel until they were older, retired and had lots of savings. Rian helped me to realize it was possible now. Jai’s favorite – Disney World, for obvious reasons.
5. Where is the worst place you have ever been and why?
We both can agree that Sicily was the worst place we have visited so far. On our honeymoon, we visited Palermo and Messina, both on Sundays. Everything was closed and it didn’t seem like the friendliest port town. We actually had a woman yelling at as we were minding our own business walking down an empty street. We like to explore on our own and get lost in the streets, but we should have booked one of the cruise excursions to see more. We did find one place that was open in Palermo and enjoyed a fresh cannoli.
6. Do you have a Bucket List? If so where are the 3 top places on it?
Although we are not very fond of the extreme cold we would like to visit Antarctica. Not much is known about the continent and we would feel like real explorers. We also would like to visit Iceland to see the northern lights and relax in thermo spas. The last place is more of an area, we would like to both learn how to sail and island hop in the south pacific ocean and learn about Polynesian culture.
7. What 3 things (apart from the essentials – food/water etc) do you always travel with?
Elijah just got a new toy, a GoPro. He has taken some amazing videos and it would be hard to revisit this trip without the video memories. A smart phone/computer is essential because of long flights and wait times. Not only is it a good tool for the adults, but our son is a perfect little angel when he has a movie to watch or games to play. We have even downloaded fun learning programs so he doesn’t turn into a vegetable. The last thing we travel with is a thin blanket. It has come in handy so many times as: a beach blanket, a bed sheet, a towel, a cover-up for temples and other religious sites, a sun blocker when our son is asleep in the stroller, and laundry bag. It is magical and we are still discovering it’s many uses.
8. What makes you happy and why?
Traveling as a family is the best feeling. People are always chasing family time, and we get to have it every moment together while traveling. It’s great to grow together and share all these new experiences. As parents, we love seeing Jai interact in all the new environments and think that this is part of a normal life. We are all becoming well-rounded people by learning other’s perspectives and adding them to what we already know about the world.
9. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
We have only just begun to blog about travel this past April, so 7-months. It initially started as a way to keep family and friends up to date, but then we said why not include everyone. Planning for this world trip we came across lots of great travel deals and useful information, but that was after hours of searching the net. We wanted to make things a little more accessible for people who wanted to stop living in a box and get out and explore. It just seemed like a natural step after so many people kept asking us how we were going to travel for so long with a child.
10. What makes your blog unique and why should people read it?
Our blog is all about travel, but the many different sides of it. Of course, we talk about the destinations and what we did there, but we have sections called Kid View and World View which offer something fresh. The Kid View is traveling through our son’s eyes. We talk about all the family-friendly places at different stops and how Jai is reacting to his changing environments. Sometimes people can’t imagine a child traveling so much, so we hope the videos and articles help them see it through Jai’s eyes. Our World View section is a series of interviews of people we meet along the way. It is a mix of locals and other travelers, and their perspective of culture, traveling, and life. We hope this section breaks stereotypes people may hold on to and that they can see the similarities and differences of people across the globe. If it inspires the viewer to plan their own trip I think it’s a win/win for us.
From ESLT – thank you to the Hedrick Family for taking the time to answer our questions. Safe Travels 🙂