This She is Earth interview is for all the travel obsessed families out there lusting after some adventure. Meet Marissa and Amy, the gorgeous sisters behind the wanderlust blog 'The Travelling Tribe'. Through their travel stories of adventures near and far, you'll soon be dreaming of your next escape. So get cosy and start planning with these beautiful mummas.
Tell us the inspiration behind 'The Travelling Tribe' and how was it born?
Amy: We are both travel-obsessed and found we’d be writing little guides for our colleagues and friends when they were visiting some of our favourite places. We noticed there wasn’t a digital family travel publication that was relatable, fun, personal and catered for families who were craving more immersive experiences, wanted to discover hidden gems and stay at properties with a point of difference so we thought we’d create our own.
We have read that your parent’s wanderlust was infectious; did they also take you on adventures growing up?
Amy: Yes, we were lucky enough to visit Bali and have a few ski trips when we were young. We’d also do plenty of shorter breaks and when we moved from Sydney to the Gold Coast, we spent a lot of time in Byron Bay. Our folks spent their honeymoon in a camper at Clarke’s Beach back in the day so that magical little spot between Clarkes and The Pass has always been a special place for our family.
Marissa: As well as our Bali trip (which we were so luck to have done at such a young age back then!), I have fond memories of visiting towns such as Sawtell and Rainbow Bay as kids too. When dad got his first work van we did a big road trip from our house in Tugun down to Jindabyne, stopping at towns such as Dubbo and Gundagai. I am actually planning on doing a similar trip with my kids this year and I am so excited to share this with them!
As sisters you seem to share a really special bond...has this always been the case?
Marissa: It sure has! We’ve been lucky enough to come from a beautiful, close family. We had quite different interests growing up, however our values have always been the same. Our bond has only grown stronger as we’ve gotten older, become mums and started our own businesses. We are practically morphing into one person (laughs)!
Amy: We were quite different during our teenage years as Riss was a professional athlete and I was really social and liked to party but we have always been very close. Now we are inseparable, have the same parenting style and are even known to rock up to a girls’ dinner in the same outfit. Sad but true [laughs].
Can you give us a little insight into your traveling adventures pre-kids?
Amy: I had my first solo overseas trip to Bali when I was 18 followed by a month in Greece, London and Paris when I was 21. My cousin ran nightclubs in London and her boyfriend was a famous chef so I had the most incredible time with them enjoying the city like a local. There was something about this dynamic metropolis that stole my heart and from then on, I knew I’d live there some day. At 25, I quit my job as a newspaper journalist, sold my apartment and moved to London on my own. I spent a month sleeping on my friend’s floor and then got my own place and travelled all over Europe as well as places like Morocco and Russia. I met my husband in London and when we finally left the UK, we spent five months in a converted post van travelling through France, Spain, Italy and Portugal and then onto Croatia, Egypt, Turkey, Thailand and then Western Australia. When we got back to the East Coast, I moved to Sydney for work and I was lucky enough to visit LA and London for my work as a journalist plus Bali and New Zealand a few times with my husband before our boys, Sunny and Ziggy, came along.
Marissa: While I have never felt the desire to actually live overseas, I have always loved the adventure of travel. I have grown up on the Gold Coast and really adore this paradise we call home, so I have always loved exploring our own backyard. Weekend roadtrips, long days exploring new beaches and charming towns, drives out to the mountains, discovering a a local market or cultural event. In saying that, prior to kids I saw a fair bit of the East Coast of Australia and overseas trips included Bali numerous times, the Gilli Islands, Fiji, Thailand, New Zealand and a European adventure.
Since starting a family and juggling your own businesses, how have you managed to fit in travel and how important is it?
Marissa: It is important, I feel like it’s more important than ever, to be honest. I really love discovering new places together as a family. I want my kids to learn and grow from travel, to experience different cultures, to be open-minded and accepting. It’s such a great education! Whilst big overseas holidays are not always financially viable for a self-employed couple with two kids and a mortgage, we try to get away whenever we can, even if only for a day or a weekend.
We love reading about you take your mini tribe on adventures, what is the most important thing you think your children gain from travel?
Marissa: Oh thank you! I got a little carried away and answered this above.
Amy: Travel is a great way to teach kids about acceptance and diversity in the world. There’s nothing like watching your children discover new cultures, languages, and cuisines and forge new friendships. We went to Savusavu - considered Fiji’s ‘hidden paradise’ - with the boys and were lucky to be invited to a family home in one of the tiny villages. They cooked for us, we sat on the floor and ate with the family and the kids all played rugby and chased chickens. Although, they couldn’t understand each other, they had such a good time and still talk about it to this day. I think travelling with kids also strengthens your bond and brings you closer as a family.
Do your kids love adventures and what are your top tips for travelling with children?
Marissa: They sure do! They are great little travellers, mostly. You just never know what you’re going to get with kids though, not just travelling but everyday – they could be angels or have a rough patch. So I guess just roll with it – and pack snacks! I find that when we’re all together and they are getting our full attention, which is what happens when we’re on holidays, they’re pretty damn content really.
You inspire us through your IG page and now blog to enjoy the world around us. How important is conscious living and conscious travel to you?
Amy: Thank you so much! It is exceptionally important. We like to research a destination before arriving and learn about the lives and culture of the local people and how we can help the community benefit from our dollars – not huge hotel chains and tour operators. When we travel, we try to visit local famers markets, eat at locally owned family restaurants, buy from local artisans and make genuine connections with the local people. We also try to stay in smaller establishments or eco-resorts instead of huge chains and all-inclusive resorts and make sure we are really respectful of local customs and the environment. This ensures you have a more immersive, authentic experience while also giving back to the local community.
Do you have any daily rituals that ground you?
Marissa: I do, it’s called a double shot soy flat white!
Amy: [laughs] Ditto! Double shot flat white, wine and yoga. Yoga is a must for the mind as much as the body when you’re a working mum.
Can you give us one destination you think is the perfect family getaway and why? Sorry this one might be hard!!
Amy: Hawaii. We spent 10 days in a little beach shack on the North Shore with Marissa and her family, plus a few fun days in Waikiki, when Sunny and Stevie were one and it was such a great trip. The beaches are incredible, the food is delicious, the people are friendly and the weather is unbeatable.
Can you also give us one destination you think is perfect for a sans kids getaway for parents?
Amy: Riss and I were lucky enough to enjoy a childfree trip to Samoa late last year. We stayed at Sinalei Reef Resort on Upolu, which is owned by the local Matai and his sister and is the perfect mix of luxury and traditional Samoan architecture in the most tranquil of settings. It was the perfect place to relax, snorkel, swim, drink coconut mojitos and unwind especially as they don’t accept kids under 12 [laughs]. I highly recommend Samoa as a destination. It is still so pristine with a rich culture and so many natural wonders – like the To Sua Ocean Trench and waterfalls - to explore.
Lastly, what’s the next adventure on the horizon?
Marissa: We are doing a farm stay soon and I’ll be doing a roadtrip to the snow with my family this year, then hopefully Sri Lanka in summer, with lots of road trips in between.
Amy: We had a month in New Zealand over Christmas and just got back from camping at one of our favourite places on the planet, Seal Rocks. It is a sleepy coastal town on the New South Wales Mid North Coast with some of the best beaches in Australia and only one tiny general store. It’s heaven! We have also booked a couple of farm stays for winter and I am trying to talk my husband into going back to Hawaii. Aitutaki in the Cook Islands is also high on our list.