If you thought having children spelled the end of your globe-trotting days, think again.
One intrepid couple are out to prove that whippersnappers and wanderlust are actually surprisingly compatible – having racked up thousands of miles of travelling with their three-year-old daughter in tow.
Michelle Waring-Smith, 35, and husband, Stefan, 41, are still boasting golden tans after returning from a seven month-long expedition around South America and South East Asia, all with young Heidi by their side.
What is even more remarkable is that Heidi was born with a heart defect, and had to spend the first 18 weeks of her live in hospital.
“We want to show other people that they can do things like this, and that having a poorly child doesn’t have to hold you back” said sports lecturer, Michelle who took a sabbatical from work for the trip. “We know people with poorly children who say they wouldn’t even risk a week in Spain, but we think why not? We knew if there was any problem we could just get on a plane and 13 hours later we would be home.”
Armed with backpacks – and baby carriers – the family took in 12 countries and some of the world’s most spectacular sights, travelling 4000 miles from Venezuela to Argentina before flying on to see Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
They trekked up mountains, stayed in houses with no electricity and visited the highest lake in the world, Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. Stefan, a self-employed telecomms worker, said: “People say they wouldn’t take their children to these places, but why? They have children in all these places!
“It has been good for her to mix with other children from other cultures, who don’t have much at all. There are children playing in the streets and they have literally nothing. It is eye-opening.”
Heidi, who was born with a twisted bowel, a double squint and a hole in her heart has undergone two operations and will have to have heart surgery later this year. But the adorable tot didn’t let that stop her having the time of her young life on holiday.
“She has already been to 17 countries, and she is three,” added Stefan. “We weren’t inhibited by her illness at all. There is no reason you should be. As long as you prepare properly, you can do anything.”
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