Five years of travel for my favourite young traveller

My wonderful little man turns five this week, and it seems like a good time to reflect on his travels over the first five years of his life, in happy combination with Instagram Travel Thursday. I’m thrilled and proud to say that he’s a keen and curious young traveller who talks about other countries often, and I think I’ve probably already planted the seed for a lifelong love of exploring the world (I’ll honestly be super-surprised if he turns out otherwise!). Our family has a long history of being highly curious and he seems to have got a mega-dose of that and having seen ten countries already seems to have cemented his need to see more.

Young travellers and their first passports

My first passport was a joint one which included my mother and sister – back in the day, that’s what they did! These days even a six-week-old baby needs their own passport. We used this passport all the way up until last year and many an immigration officer held it up for long scrutiny – there’s a big difference between my son’s appearance as a tiny baby and as a four-year-old!

First passport: The tale of a young traveller

My young traveller’s very first passport

Every young traveller needs a teddy bear

Jack the bear is a very well-travelled bear. His origins, if you ask my son, are a little murky. He’s named for Jack the person, one half of a couple of friends of ours who sent us Jack the bear to celebrate our son’s birth. These friends usually live on the east coast of Australia, but the only time that my son remembers meeting them was when they were temporarily living in Ireland, so he keeps telling me that Jack is from Ireland. I haven’t quite yet convinced him otherwise. Regardless of his origins, Jack has been a big comfort on our travels and here is pictured outside our hotel in Dubai. We’d spent a few hours sleeping there during a layover en route to Europe from Australia and I think bear and boy (then aged 3) both look rather like I felt too!

Young travellers need teddy bears

Jack the bear looking a little tired in Dubai

My young traveller meets the locals in Europe

Meeting the locals is one of the best parts of travelling, and it is so different to just heading to a hotel room and feeling detached from the real daily life of a place. I’m glad I’ve been able to introduce my son to lots of locals on our travellers but one of my absolute favourite moments was the one pictured below. My gorgeous Slovak friend Z invited us to stay with her in Trnava (note: not her pool in the background – just focus on the happy spinning boy!) and my son made friends with her daughter, despite an age gap, gender difference and no common language – that, to me, is what meeting the locals is all about.

Young traveller meeting my friends abroad Slovakia

I loved introducing my young traveller to my friends in Slovakia

Later on that same trip, we stayed with friends (the couple who gave us Jack the bear, in fact!) who were spending six months living on tiny Inis Meain, one of the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland. Not too many tourists make it out that way and we were lucky to be introduced to plenty of Inis Meain locals by our friends.

Young traveller meeting the locals on Inis Meain

Meeting the locals: The librarian on the tiny island of Inis Meain, Ireland

A beautiful moment was this one – our friend took us to see the tiny library on Inis Meain, and the librarian there was so thrilled to meet a young Australian boy and she immediately had a reading session with him. If I remember correctly the book was about a cat – it was in Irish, of course, but she translated it along the way. She even gave my son a book to take home with him, which we still look at often and remember where it came from.

Exploring south-east Asia as a (very) young Australian traveller

Before my son and I went to Penang I was kind of nervous to travel with him alone to someplace I’d never been before – but it worked out brilliantly and I realised that at three-and-a-half, he was already a “good traveller”, thanks to all my intense training!

On the day I took this photo of the two of us on a local bus in Penang, he proved himself wonderfully – we took two reasonably long bus trips to reach the Kek Lok Si temple, then had a long walk up all the steps right to the top of the complex, in hot, sticky weather – and he was perfectly happy! (As was I.)

Young traveller on the bus in Penang

Travelling with this young fellow has changed a few of the “must sees” on the list, though. While before I would have thought a museum or a delicious cafe was the must visit spot, this son of mine thinks that checking out the local rubbish bins is far more important – as you can see from this collection of pictures from our recent trip to Bali. It has certainly given me a new perspective on understanding how the locals live in different places and I have to admit, it’s actually quite fascinating. (I know – who’d have thought?!)

Young traveller passionate about bins in Bali

Anyway, five years of travelling with my little man have been brilliant and I look forward to a lot more trips together. (Even when he reaches the age where he doesn’t want to go with me … I’ll be bribing him somehow!).

Do you love taking your kids travelling too?


This post is part of the Instagram Travel Thursday linkup, so please head along to some more of the interesting posts added below.

[inlinkz_linkup id=511578 mode=1]


  1. This is a lovely blog post, Amanda! I’m sure your son has not only inherited the right genes for travel, but how could he not have a love of it passed down from his parents. Best wishes to him for his birthday, and I can’t wait to read/see/hear more about your forthcoming travel adventures!
    PS. I love his interest in international rubbish bins comparisons!

  2. What a sweet post! The first image of his passport made me think of my daughter Anaïs. Yesterday in London at the passport control she got scrutinized about the picture – she’s ten now and the pictures was taken 9 years ago, some difference there…

    • Oh yes, first passports are hilarious – they only let kids have them for five years at a time here in Australia, so he now has a new one with a much better likeness!

  3. Yashy Murphy says

    Happy birthday lil man!!! My two have been travelling since they were 2 months so I know we’re going to laugh at their 1st passports in a couple years! Perhaps include it in their wedding slide! lol.
    I was TOTALLY thinking last week about how we used to be on our parent’s passports!! Cheers lil man to the many adventures ahead!

    • Yes it’s funny that we used to be on our parent’s passports, isn’t it! I can still remember the picture we had with my mum. And yes I will definitely keep that first passport picture for some big events and embarrassment!!!

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