All about the journey so far. Start here!

Hello!  We’re a family of four having adventures around the world.  In 2015, we left our jobs and schools, rented out our house and spent a year backpacking around Asia and Australia.  Now we’re in the planning stages of our next family world adventure.  It’s a big one and it involves a sailing boat and the world! 

This is the story of our travels.  We’re growing a pair of little adults, growing their confidence, growing their sense of adventure, growing a pair of truly global citizens.  Hopefully we can inspire you to travel with your kids too.  Welcome to our Growing a Pair travel and sailing blog!

How it all started…

Floss has always wanted to travel and in 1995, she loaded her backpack and inter-railed her way around Europe for three months. No money, no plan, no worries.  That’s about as detailed as her planning got.  They say that opposites attract, and Dez is much more of a worry monkey.  It took several years, a massive spreadsheet and a three week backpacking practice in Spain before he was ready to see the world.

Trekking in Nepal Everest

The Nepal Himalaya – trekking toward Everest Base Camp

But he got there eventually and, in 2003, we spent an amazing and unforgettable year backpacking around the world.  We hiked up Himalayan mountains, visited iconic buildings and dived on beautiful coral reefs.  We saw the Taj Mahal, Macchu Picchu and Angkor Wat.  We experienced the Galapagos at sunrise, Uluru at sunset, and the Franz Joseph glacier in the depths of winter.

Skydive over Cairns

Floss jumping out of a perfectly good plane in Australia

After a full year of excitement, the money was spent and we returned home to Hampshire, UK.  We got busy buying a bigger house, having a family and dreaming of the time when we could do it all again.

Cows on the banks of the Ganges

Varanasi, India. Chilling out with the cows.

view over Macchu Picchu

Macchu Picchu, Peru.

The ‘Eight Year Plan’

Having kids is the biggest adventure imaginable, but we never stopped thinking about travelling.  It was always at the back of our minds, like an itch that needed to be scratched.  However, we thought we’d have to wait before we could think about taking the kids adventuring (Wrong, BTW.  Do it now!).  We hatched a plan and started saving to allow us to make the most of the eight years that we probably had with the kids before they became too stroppy and teenager-like to want to go on holiday with their ageing parents.  The “rules” said that we’d have to fit in around school holidays.  Only eight years.  Only eight countries.  If only there was an alternative.

Our First Family Travel Adventure

Once the kids were seven and nine, the time had come to break open the piggy bank, grab a backpack each and start living our dream, slice by two week slice.  So two weeks travelling around Thailand it was!  Exploring the sweaty insanity of Bangkok, eating street food, and surviving the traffic.  Travelling on a sleeper train up to Chiang Mai to talk to monks, cycling between the wats and living in an elephant sanctuary.  Finally a train, a plane, a taxi and some ferries got us down to the beautiful island of Ko Lanta for a week of amazing food, unbelievable beaches, snorkelling and exploring.

Tropical snorkelling in Thailand

Sam snorkelling off the beautiful island of Ko Rok

Ordering food on the street in Chiang Mai

Evan looking very unsure about ordering street food in Chiang Mai

On the twenty-seven hour long journey home, Dez said

“This is a very inefficient way to show the boys the world”

…which got us thinking…

Maybe we don’t have to do this slice by slice.

Maybe there is another way.

Maybe, just maybe, we could show the kids more than eight countries….

Elephant Nature Park

Washing the elephants at Elephant Nature Park

Planning our Big Backpacking Adventure

We started working on a plan for a six month adventure, squeezing the seven remaining countries into a “once in a lifetime” adventure.  It soon became apparent that six months wasn’t going to be enough.  Six months became seven months.  Seven months became nine months.  And if we’re away for nine months, we might as well be away for twelve.  It was the best “buy one get one free” offer we’d ever invented.

As the plans expanded, so did the budget.  We saved every penny we could find.  We sold what we didn’t need and relentlessly decluttered the house.  This felt good!  Every eBay sale was a step closer to paying for the airfare.  Every car-full of rubbish that we got rid of was another day closer to being able to rent the house out.  The weekends were filled with DIY and preparing the house.  The evenings were spent studying the National Curriculum and figuring out how to be homeschoolers.

Before we really had time to think about it, it was September 2015 and time for the really big things.  The car was sold.  Dez quit his job.  Floss started a year of unpaid leave.  We de-registered the kids from school.  And just five months after Nepal’s devastating earthquake we climbed aboard a one-way flight to Kathmandu.

Ko Lanta beach - Family World Travel

Stunning beaches of Ko Lanta

Our Family Travel Blog

The story of our year backpacking through Asia and Australia with our children is here, on this website. It’s a bit higgledy-piggledy. We’re working on tidying it up.

We created the Growing a Pair Travel Blog for several reasons: as a journal of our year away, as a homeschooling exercise to encourage Sam and Evan write stuff down (check out their Smug Monday posts), and for our friends and family to follow us around on our journey.  Our 2003 website was very popular with our friends, although I fear that may have been mostly due to the ‘Poo Diary’ and ‘Arses Around the World’ sections.

You can find a round-up of where we went on our first family travel adventure here (link to be added – check back next week). We’re hoping we can help to inspire other families to step away from their usual lives for a while and explore the world with their children. Childhood is too short. We only get to spend a few years with these amazing, funny, special little people. We don’t want to waste that precious time sitting in an office or a classroom. There’s so much to see, so much to learn, so much to experience.

Check out some of our favourite posts.

What now?

For the moment, we are back at home in the UK, earning as much money we can, and planning our next travelling adventure.  Sam and Evan are back in school.  Dez is working away in Europe. Floss is working part-time and obsessing about travelling the world with our family.  We have plans, exciting plans!  Read about them here.

We would love you to follow our travelling adventures and we intend to tell it as it is.  Please don’t be offended.  We will try not to swear but we can’t fecking promise. We will try not to post photos of Dez’s bottom, but some things are inevitable. And one day, we will almost certainly publish our travelling Poo Diary…. one day…..

Floss, Dez, Sam and Evan
Growing a Pair
2017

Growing a Pair in Australia


All photos are taken by us, unless credited otherwise.   We’ve got a Facebook page too.  And we’re on Instagram, Youtube and Pinterest.