One of my favorite things about social media is meeting other families that love to travel and adventure. I like to dig in and find out what works for them and what draws their family to want to be "on the go" so we started a little series here on the blog where we spotlight other travel families. We hope you will enjoy the second installment of the "Travel Family Spotlight" series.
Bron Leeks is a travel mom to three children who travel all over the world (like us) so we felt a kindred spirit with her immediately when we found her on Instagram at @smithsholidayroad. We admire her family's focus on travel as a vehicle to change themselves, push themselves, and prove that they are capable of anything if they try. She provides a unique focus on inclusive and accessible family travel, which she has first-hand experience with because her eldest son, Cooper (age 10) uses a wheelchair. We hope you'll enjoy getting to know this family of five a little bit better through our interview below. You can also find them at www.smithsholidayroad.com.
Tell us about your family.
We are a family of 5. We are outnumbered 2 Adults, 3 Kids. Cooper is 11, Pepper is 8 and Elwood is 5.
Where do you live when you aren't traveling?
We live in Melbourne, Australia. We take as many family adventures as we can!
How often do you travel with your family? Is it local travel or international or both?
We travel both locally, domestically and overseas. We try and go overseas twice a year. (Some of the places they have traveled include: Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, UAE, England, Wales, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and France)
Tell us more about your focus on sharing inclusive and accessible family travels. Are there a lot of places that are very difficult to travel to with a wheelchair? What resources do you use to help assess whether somewhere will be accessible before you travel there? Do you think your website and instagram help empower other families who have kids with disabilities to travel?
We started blogging and sharing our adventures on Instagram with the view of inspiring all types of families. We do things a little differently because of Cooper's disability but that is actually the best part of it. We get to do and see things we might not have usually been exposed too. We do a little research just so we know what to expect but we would never not explore a place because access is bad. We just have to prepare a little bit more in those cases.
Why do you like to travel with your kids?
I love the family connection time away from routine. I love that kids open our eyes to so much difference and can often be the icebreakers in meeting new people. I guess I like the escape it can create and the challenging situations you can discover.
What's a memorable travel experience you've had with your family?
Without doubt it was traveling to Cambodia. When we arrived at Siem Reap airport we had 70 kids welcoming us with big signs! Cooper had recently done a fundraiser for New Hope Cambodia and raised $15,000 and we were going to see the Kindergarten.
What are the easiest and hardest parts about traveling with your kids?
The easiest part is they all love to be out exploring. They are pretty fierce and driven so we can push them in different situations. The hardest part is trying to find activities to suit all ages and interests and abilities. Often we will divide and conquer. Andrew will take Cooper and I’ll have the younger two.
What are your favorite travel resources?
I love family travel blogs and Lonely Planet Kids.
What are three items you never leave home without?
My DSLR, Travel insurance, and chewing gum.
What's your next travel adventure?
We are spending Easter exploring the North Island of New Zealand.
**All pictures are property of @smithsholidayroad and cannot be used without permission**