I usually publish my interviews with inspirational globetrotting parents once a month, but during August some of them are on trips that are so amazing it is worth following them as they happen. To make sure you don’t miss out on them, I have decided to add an extra interview appointment for this month and today I am delighted to publish my interview with Heidi Wagoner, author of the family travel blog ‘Wagoners abroad’.
Heidi is an expert blogger and avid travellers and, like me, an expat mum of two. Her blog is full of family travel inspiration, so please meet Heidi and her family!
Your name: Heidi and Alan Wagoner
Your blog name and url: Wagoners Abroad
Please give us a short description of your blog: We are an American Family Travel Blog.We have been traveling for 4 years and share our adventures, experiences, mishaps, travel tips and provide inspiration.
Tell us about your family: how many of you and how old are your children?
We are a family of 4. Alan and I have been married for 19 years and are originally from the west coast of the United States. Our kids Lars (14) and Anya (11), were born and raised in North Carolina until we moved to Spain in August of 2012. We are all adventure seekers and really enjoy the travel lifestyle.
Where is home and where are you right now?
Right now home is in Almuñécar, Spain. This is where we lived the first 2 years of our adventure. We then explored Southeast Asia for 1 year and then returned to the same location in Spain about 1 year ago. This is used as our home base and we travel around Europe on school holidays. In fact, we will be enjoying an 8-week road trip in Europe for the summer. Follow us here
How did you come up with the idea of a travel blog and when did you start writing?
The real story is that we have been “blogging” since 1997! Yes just one month after Alan and I were married, we moved to London for nearly 3 years. During that time international phone calls were very expensive and email was used by very few people, outside of the workplace. Alan was transferred for his job and was working very long hours, so he bought me a computer to “learn technology”. I started our very first blog or family journal, to keep friends and family back in the states in the loop of our life and travels. We kept it going June 2012. During the summer of 2012, we redirected our efforts from that website to Wagoners Abroad Blog you see today.
What is your favourite kind of travel: independent, all-inclusive resort, cruise, a mix of all? What do you like about it?
We love just about any kind of travel. In fact, we are believers of the saying “variety is the spice of life”. Many times I am budget conscious and not a big fan of too many organized tours. That said, we completely love letting go of the planning at times. We also enjoy a little indulgence with an all-inclusive resort. When the kids were younger, we loved frequenting the Beaches Resorts in the Caribbean, as it was a great way to have worry free experiences for us all. We have only had one family cruise when the kids were young, but I think it is time to do another.
How do you decide on a destination? If you have older kids: have you ever had an epic fight over where to go?
Well, we have a master list of places we would like to visit, so that is always in the back of my mind. The real deciding factor is often where the deals are. I keep a close eye on destinations, flights, hotels etc. When we see a great deal, we often jump on it. Sometimes this means the dates aren’t exactly aligned with a school break, but we are more than willing to pull the kids out of school for a new travel experience. I am pretty lucky, as no one in the family had fought over where to go.
You visited many countries: do you have a favourite so far? And your kids?
We are often asked this very question and it is like asking if we have a favourite family member. We love them all for different reasons, but the countries which have touched our hearts are Spain, Thailand, Italy, and the Netherlands.
Of course, Spain is the tops, as it has been our home base for a total of 3 years. This is our kid’s childhood home and this is where their friends are. I believe Alan and I have now visited more than 50 countries and our kids are catching up with about 28 on their list.
Do you have a dream destination you haven’t managed to go to yet?
Oh, we have several and we will get to them. We would love to visit the Philippines, South America, Iceland, New Zeeland, go on an African Safari, and spend more time in Japan. Of course we could continue that list for some time, but those are the biggies.
Many people are afraid of travelling with children: safety concerns, fear of the holiday being a lot like hard work: what is your best advice to make a family holiday a success?
First of all, it is time to stop living in fear and coming up with reasons not to do anything. I would say just have a positive attitude and include the entire family in the research. I often do some preliminary research and then present the family with a few choices to select from. I bring up the types of activities available and sights to see. We are adventurous people, so I let them know if is going to be nature, active, or something in between. We all jump in on the style of travel we want. For example our 8-week road trip will be fairly fast paced travel.
The family has requested we move no more than once a week, yet they have certain destinations they would like to visit. So about 75% of the time, we will honor the once a week move. The other times they are willing to move every few days to see the locations and sights which are on their wish list. It is all about being open, up front and realistic with how much the family can handle.
What kind of packer are you: carry on only or everything but the kitchen sink? Is there one item you never leave home, no matter where you go or how long for?
Well, that is pretty easy as we don’t even own a kitchen sink. We are typically pretty light packers. When we travelled in Southeast Asia for a year, the kids each had 1 carry on and a small backpack. Alan and I had a larger backpack and a small backpack. That was it! We still travel with very few things, but being travel bloggers our laptops, cameras, and phones always go where we go.
I am sure you have some great stories from your travels: share one with us!
Just with our family of 4, we have countless stories to tell, but some of our favourites are when my mom (Gma Bev) travelled with us. She came along with us for 3 months in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. She is an active, bright, and energetic 70 something lady. That said, she fell for just about every street scam in the book.
I remember in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. She was holding up her phone taking video of the very normal crazy traffic, when out of nowhere a scooter whisks by and grabs her phone. Lesson learned. Don’t have your camera within reach of a scooter. Well, maybe not. That afternoon we went to purchase another inexpensive phone, as this was also her primary camera. The very next day seemed to have been groundhog day. The same thing happened again! Off to the store to purchase one more phone, but this time, the lesson was learned. It was scary at the time but is pretty funny now. We have an entire series on our blog called Gma Bev’s Shenanigans, as there is a long list of mishaps. We also cover tips on multi-generational travel.
I hope you enjoyed this interview: please make sure you follow Heidi and her family on social media
- Blog http://wagonersabroad.com/
- Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/WagonersAbroad
- Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/wagonersabroad
- YouTube http://www.youtube.com/WagonersAbroad
- Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/wagonersabroad/
- Instagram –http://instagram.com/wagonersabroad/
- Google+ – http://plus.google.com/u/0/+HeidiWagoner/posts