Hi Mama's meet Samy and her little Babe Noelle. When shes not globetrotting around Europe you can find her in NZ - being all kinds of creative over at www.samy.co.nz.
How old was your little babe when she first got on a flight? Where did u guys go? How did u prepare for the flight? Tell us everything mama!
Noelle was 1 and a half when she first jumped on a plane. I was 20 at the time and we were heading off to France to join her Dad. The total travel time was around 2 days non-stop, we flew from Auckland to Los Angeles then LA to Germany then Germany to France (Toulouse) then the last one hour drive to Carcassone! (the city we were staying in) It was exhausting, scary and I really had to be super alert at all times with Noelle. She was still so young so she slept most of the time on the flights, the hardest bits were during transit.
I prepared for the trip by over preparing! I made sure I had literally more than enough than what I needed, mostly for peace of mind especially if there were to be sudden delays and of course if Noelle was to be unwell at all during the travel (many countries and bugs all in a short period of time!) Other than the obvious bulk nappies, several changes of clothes, bottles etc. I think the most important part of preparing when travelling alone with a baby is your mental state and alertness. I had a lot of anxiety, in terms of security, terrorism and the well-being of my daughter mostly because it was such a huge trip but overcoming that fear with determination and mental strength was definitely key!
So you've done a fair bit of Europe (super jealous, BTW) with your little babe, what's been the best place you've travelled to with her?
Barcelona, Spain! My girl loves her outdoors, beaches etc so I was surprised just how well she managed and adored Barcelona as it is a very chaotic city! But in saying that they have beautiful buildings, tourist attractions and parks, like Parc de la Ciutadella! which we all loved. The highlight (other than the amazing food) was Noelle opening the Official Disney store of Barcelona and she was given a mini matching 'key' to take home. Definitely a memory we will cherish forever!
What are your France must sees?
We were quite unfortunate, during our stay in France many terrorist attacks were going on, and coming from little ol' New Zealand this was quite terrifying. We had to cancel tickets to Paris as literally the Paris Attacks had just happened. We lived in the south of France, which was very beautiful and had a lot of history. So for those travelling South of France, a must see is definitely the huge castle in Carcassonne!
How did you survive the big three flight trip to France?
I didn't haha!
No as mentioned before it was always about mentally preparing myself, over everything. I was packing and preparing for about a whole month before I actually had left. Knowing that I had to be alert and awake for my daughter had motivated me to stay strong and do what I needed to do without the fear of what others would have thought of me. As I said I was quite young with a baby so I was already getting weird looks! But I had to overcome that and just put all my focus on Noelle.
We all know travelling with little humans is not easy, what's been the hardest part?
Lack of stability, as we all know how important it is to keep our babies in a routine as much as we can. Other than the jet lag (which is hard on its own to get over, even more so for a child) my girl would still be falling asleep at random times, or up at night, wanting to eat at inappropriate times etc. But during the travel it was always her tiredness that was difficult to help and deal with, which would obviously make her very grumpy and very upset and agitated- to the point she would lie on the ground screaming and holding everyone up during customs in LAX airport because I had to take her out of her stroller! or when she was getting restless during passport checks in London Stansted and literally ran through the U.K border (note. an adult would get arrested for that!) good times!
What would you never leave the country without when travelling with Bub?
Sugar-free lollipops! sounds silly but honestly, I don't go on a flight with my girl unless I have something she can suck on (because of the popping in her small ears, which can be very upsetting for her) when she was a baby I would have at least 4 pacifiers in my bag, because of course they will all eventually get thrown everywhere and lost! haha
There's no doubt that we learn so much from travel (right, mama's), what has travelling with your little babe?
That I can do anything! Honestly, after the trips to and from Europe, I feel like anything is possible and no amount of travelling would be too much for us, my girl is officially obsessed with aeroplanes and loves travelling so much she constantly asks me when are we are going on a plane again! Also for me personally I gained a lot of confidence in not just being a mother, but being myself.
What was the most baby friendly place or experience you had in Europe?
Most places were baby friendly in Europe but the people not so much, But I felt the people who would literally go out of their way to help me were actually in Los Angeles, we stayed there with my cousin for a week on our way back home (the first time) the locals were just so welcoming and amazing.
If your feeling bad + boujee, what's your go to restaurant in Europe? Tell us, we love to eat!
We went to several restaurants and food markets through out Europe, but for me - nothing can beat real Paella! I don't remember the names of the places we went to, but Paella is a Spanish dish and if you're in Spain you have to try it locally!
What was the best part about living abroad with your little babe?
I think our bond grew a lot stronger. It was mostly her and I a lot of the time and we had no extended family there for extra support. But my daughter and I grew so close, I was quite young so most of our travels were also a first time for me too. It was truly special to experience all these amazing things my little best friend.
So your back in NZ (and how fab is NZ, BTW) , we're a nosey bunch of mama's so tell us what's your NZ secret place?
Out of all the places I've been to, nothing beats New Zealand. Don't get me wrong some places and their history in the world are beyond beautiful! But nothing is better than home. My secret place is my home town where my family live and ancestors rest, a small rural and stunning town in the East Coast of New Zealand called Tolaga Bay! #Represent
Where to next? If you have any travel plans please share it.
Noelle starts school next year so I don't intend to be jumping around the world for months at a time again! lol We have no active plans as of now but our next trip will definitely be to Australia.
We love chatting to mama's about their travels - if you'd like to share your story pop me an email email@example.com