Lotte Eschbach is the force behind Phenomenal Globe, a Netherlands based travel blog about combining full-time work and a family with the travel bug. Lotte has travelled to over 40 countries and lived in Barcelona and London.
She currently lives in her native Netherlands with her husband and young son and has been blogging since 2015 after taking a 5-month trip around the world.
We worked with Lotte when she took the Trans-Siberian, through Mongolia, with her husband and nine-month-old son. It was a great opportunity to share with the parents of the world the amazing places you can still visit with a little one in tow.
When did you first get the travel bug?
From a very young age actually! I’m very lucky as my parents took me and my sisters on great family holidays in Europe. We went camping most of the time and changed places every couple of days. I still love this style of travelling, back to basics and being able to pack up your things and leave for the next destination. I have so many fond memories of these holidays! Since these family holidays I’ve continued traveling, with friends but mostly with my husband and since 2018 with our baby boy.
What made you want to write about your travelling experiences?
I started Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog in 2015, after we got back from our first long-term trip. We had traveled around New Zealand and Southeast Asia for 5 months and had an amazing time. However, when the five months were up, I was nowhere near ready to go back to work…
I remember crying my eyes out at the airport in Bangkok on the night of our departure as I didn’t want our trip to end. However, my sabbatical from work was up (and so was our money?). I started writing about our travel experiences as a form of self-therapy. Writing about the adventures we had made me relive and process my experiences. One thing led to another, I fell in love with travel writing and my blog kept growing. It’s been almost 4 years since I wrote my first post and I still love sharing my stories. It really makes my day when somebody leaves a comment or sends me an email thanking me for a post that helped them plan their trip!
How have the places you travel to changed since having a child?
Health and safety have become a bigger concern when deciding where to travel. While we love Southeast Asia, I didn’t want to take our young baby there because of the risk of malaria. Similarly, I now check the government foreign travel advice to see if there are any safety concerns in the country we intend to travel to.
We also make slightly different decision during a trip. For example, on our Trans Mongolian Express trip we decided not to go on an excursion to the Gobi Desert because driving there would be too long and the road too bumpy for our baby.
Also, instead of sightseeing for an entire day (like we used to do as a couple) this trip we often only did half a day of sightseeing and half a day of playing in the swimming pool/letting our baby nap.
What’s the biggest difference in preparing and planning for a trip pre and post children?
For us the biggest difference is actually planning. When we were traveling around the world as a couple almost never booked any accommodation ahead. We were confident we would find something; our standards were not very high, as long we had a bed we’d manage (sometimes not even that and we would just sleep in our car). However, now that we have a kid, good accommodation had become much more important as we spend more time there. Also, our needs have changed: we now value a bit more space and luxury facilities like a bath, swimming pool or a kitchen so we can prepare some food for our baby.
What would your advice to parents about to travel with children for the first time be?
Relax! I know that can be very hard, but kids pick up the vibe of their parents so the more stressed you are, the more they will react to that. Travel is awesome, but sometimes often things don’t go as planned.
On our Trans Mongolian Express adventure, we ended up lugging our luggage around Beijing for an hour in the blistering heat as we couldn’t find a bank and the metro could only be paid in cash. We were tired from the Mongolia-China border crossing the previous night and craving a coffee (which we couldn’t find either). In short, we were not happy. However, instead of stressing out, we found a bench in the shade and played with our son for half an hour. Little D had been stuck in his stroller for quite a while and was getting cranky as well. After our little play intermezzo, we were all a lot happier and the subway ride to our hotel was a lot more enjoyable because or son wasn’t trying to escape his stroller the entire time (eventually we did find a bank?).
Things may take a little longer this way, but you are on a holiday, so is that really such a big problem?