Fam­ily pro­file

Hol­i­days with Kids catches up with He­len Jan­neson Bense of Gyp­sylovin­light as she and her fam­ily chase the sun.

Holiday with Kids - - Contents -

We chat with our cover stars, Gyp­sylovin­light, about a life of fam­ily travel.

Who is Gyp­sylovin­light?

We are a Fin­nish-amer­i­can-aus­tralian fam­ily of four liv­ing in sunny Western Aus­tralia. We love the beach, trav­el­ling and spend­ing our time ex­plor­ing na­ture to­gether.

I al­ways had a vi­sion of liv­ing an end­less sum­mer and trav­el­ling to warm, trop­i­cal des­ti­na­tions with my fam­ily. I never imag­ined that my blog would en­able us to travel to so many amaz­ing places and make our dreams a re­al­ity.

Where do you get your travel in­spi­ra­tion?

I’m in­spired by na­ture, and I’m al­ways look­ing to ex­plore re­mote lo­ca­tions and off-the-beat­en­path des­ti­na­tions. We are drawn to the ocean and in­spired by the sim­ple joys of watch­ing a sun­rise and sun­set, or chas­ing schools of fish in the ocean.

Why is trav­el­ling as a fam­ily so im­por­tant to you?

There is noth­ing more im­por­tant than con­nec­tion in our fam­ily. We value con­nec­tion to each other, to our­selves and to na­ture. Trav­el­ling to­gether, we are able to build pre­cious mem­o­ries through shared ex­pe­ri­ence, and we are able to learn and form a stronger bond. Our love and care for the planet and for each other deep­ens the fur­ther we ex­plore and learn about this mag­nif­i­cent world we live in. Travel is such a gift, and a valu­able as­set to build­ing self-es­teem, pa­tience, tol­er­ance and com­pas­sion. It’s some­thing we may not be able to tan­gi­bly mea­sure, but we can def­i­nitely feel the pos­i­tive changes.

What un­ex­pected things have hap­pened to you when you’ve trav­elled as a fam­ily?

Once dur­ing a long-tail boat trans­fer in Thai­land, we hit some se­ri­ously rough weather. It started out sunny and the turquoise wa­ters were calm and glis­ten­ing. We were so ex­cited for our trip to an­other re­mote is­land within the An­daman Sea. Within min­utes we were struck with the wildest, scari­est weather out of nowhere. It soon formed into a mon­soon that lasted our en­tire Thai­land trip. At one stage the waves were so huge, I thought for sure I was go­ing over­board. The skip­per seemed con­fi­dent, but it was def­i­nitely un­ex­pected con­sid­er­ing how lovely the weather had been be­fore.

Then we have those amaz­ing un­ex­pected mo­ments where we spot beau­ti­ful and rare wildlife like manta rays, tur­tles and sharks. Dur­ing our re­cent stay at Fair­mont Mal­dives Sirru Fen Fushi, I woke up at sun­rise to see two man­tas feed­ing right in front of our villa.

What has been the most mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence you’ve had while trav­el­ling, and why?

On our re­cent trip to the Mal­dives, it was our first time tak­ing the chil­dren on a sun­set dol­phin cruise. Watch­ing their faces light up as they saw the dol­phins jump­ing and spin­ning right be­side the boat was so won­der­ful. It en­hanced the ex­pe­ri­ence for us a mil­lion fold to see how happy they were.

What is your ad­vice for other fam­i­lies want­ing to travel?

Do it! I know a lot of my friends hold back, wor­ried about their chil­dren miss­ing out on school. The world has so much to teach us. Our chil­dren are con­stantly learn­ing through in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ences that can’t be taught in a class­room. The most im­por­tant gift has been watch­ing their con­fi­dence soar. The life skills they are ac­quir­ing are price­less.

What are your sav­ing tips for fam­i­lies who would like to travel as of­ten as you do?

We al­ways hunt for good in­ter­net deals on flights and have joined many fre­quent flyer pro­grams to utilise the perks. Do your re­search on your des­ti­na­tions and work out low and high sea­son. Book­ing just on the cusp of these times can en­sure you still get de­cent weather and a good price.

When we are home, we get back into our rou­tines. We knuckle down, save and work as we pre­pare for the next trip. We don’t usu­ally do too much or spend too much here at home; we utilise the down time and en­joy some quiet fam­ily home time to­gether as we plan and en­vi­sion where we want to visit next.

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