Who’s read Eat, Pray, Love? I don’t fancy the idea of a divorce, but a journey to discover incredible food, spiritual balance, and to fall even more in love with my amazing family? That, I can get on board with.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s story resonated with millions, and she’s one hell of an inspiring woman; her trip after her divorce saw her visit Italy, India, and Bali on this voyage of self discovery. While I’m not looking to fall in love with a stranger, a foodie experience in Italy, spiritual enlightenment in India, and falling further in love with myself, my husband, and my children in Bali ticks some pretty decent boxes.
When Phil and I have travelled in the past, we’ve done a mixture of hotels, lodges, and rocking up with backpacks on to find whichever hostel had a mattress on the floor we could crash on. We really like the idea of villas though, and regularly scour the internet for inspiration. For the sake of my Eat, Pray, Love dream, a Bali villa rental sounds like total bliss; palm trees gently arching over a warm pool, with views out to the dense forested mountains or clear blue ocean.
I really love the idea of an adventure mixed with luxury. Beautiful accommodation after a day trekking up mountains, glorious food after a family yoga session to nourish the body and soul. Our children are very young still, but we want to raise them to live a full life, embracing cultures and activities that aren’t simply on our rural English doorstep. Toby and Martha are already fascinated by the outdoors, so we dream of holidays that open their little minds to all the amazing things the world has to offer.
We LOVE our food, and right from the early days of weaning we have encouraged the children to try a huge variety of flavours. From sushi to curry, noodles to salmon, Toby and Martha have great diets and one incredible part of any holiday is sampling local cuisine. As a vegetarian myself, I wouldn’t be sampling any freshly caught fish and seafood! However it’s the flavours of local herbs and spices, fresh fruit, marinades and the such which can come through as beautifully in vegetables and rice dishes as on meat, so I’m sure I’ll be okay wherever we head.
As a non-religious family, we’re raising our children to be accepting of all faiths and none, to prioritise humanity and good morals above all else. That said, Phil and I are both very drawn to many spiritual concepts and when I first visited Thailand in 2007, I spent a week living in a Buddhist monastery and meditating daily with the monks.
Should our children choose to follow a religion or not, we will allow them to explore all faiths and cultures as they find their own path in life. I think that things like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness could help every one of us live calmer and more fulfilled lives.
Our travels won’t be about forcing religion down their necks, nor mocking it or intruding upon local customs, rather we will embrace the cultures of each place we visit, and use it as an element of discovery. As the children get older, they will learn to respect all people and cultures, and I love the idea of their minds being full of all the varied practices that the world is made up of.
Our busy lives so often stop us from loving ourselves properly, from looking into our partner’s eyes and telling them that they are the only person you want to spend the rest of your life in love with, from holding our children an extra few minutes to breathe in their delicate scents. Sometimes, we just need to stop, and to love.
Travel has always been a form of escapism for me. I no longer want to escape my life at home, but I want to take the most important things from that home and bring them with me as we hit pause on the deadlines and stress, the awful commutes and the frantic morning rush to get ready. Travelling with children can be far from stress-free and idyllic, but it can still be amazing, and with some good planning, we can all fall that little bit more in love thanks to the space and time to truly embrace family life.
I’m adding another title because I think so many of us want to work to live, yet end up living to work. We are dictated to by 9-5, by client deadlines, by catching up at night because the kids were home sick in the day, by downing coffee to keep our eyes open as we finish one more thing.
That needs flipping on its head whenever possible, so that we are working to live. Phil and I work our backsides off and a huge focus for us is on taking life back down to basics; doing the jobs we love (which we do) but without carrying the stresses along with us outside of work times. We need to focus on the small and amazing moments that we work for – days out with the children, spa weekends together, holidays to places we really want to visit rather than just looking for the cheapest options. If we are more frugal on a day-to-day basis, then we can free up so much more time and energy for the fun and fulfilling things in life, and that can only be a good thing.
** This is a sponsored post, but as always every word, thought, and photo is my own **