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 third installment of the "Travel Family Spotlight" series.
Kady Lieber is a mom of two and the business owner of Tava Adventures. Kady creates mini-travel guides (passport cards) for kids to use as they explore new cities. Up until recently, she and her family were based in Switzerland and they have been on family travel adventures all over the world. Her latest adventure, however, has involved slowing down and experiencing life at a different pace as she has adjusted to being a mom of a two-year-old cancer warrior, Ava. Kady is an inspiring mom who looks for the positive and "the amazing" in her every day life (even though she's spent 150+ days in the hospital this year with Ava). We hope you'll enjoy our interview with her. You can follow Kady on Instagram at @tavadventures or on her website at www.tavadventures.com.
Tell us about your family.
We are the Liebers. We have 2 daughters, Taylar 7 and Ava 2. We have been living in Switzerland for the past 8 years and just recently moved back to the USA. We are very passionate about travel. Living in Switzerland we were fortunate enough to travel all over Europe with our girls. We also started a small company in July 2015 that sells travel guides for kids. We wanted to make travel fun and exciting for kids so we made travel passports with information and games about major cities in the world.
Where do you live when you aren't traveling?
Currently we are in the USA. That may change, but as of now we are in Utah. We are loving being in the USA for a while and enjoying all it has to offer.
How have your travel plans changed over the past year or two as you have dealt with your daughter's cancer? What has changed about the way you choose to travel now that you have to be more careful because of Ava's health?
Before Ava was diagnosed in August 2015 we had our biggest travel season yet planned for Autumn 2015. It all came to a screeching halt when Ava was diagnosed with a Meduloblastoma (Stage 4 brain cancer). For about a year we weren't really able to travel much. We did take a trip to Como as a family but that's about it We tried to just do local things around Switzerland but even that was hard with Ava. It's been about a year and a half now and we are hoping to start to travel a bit more. Though, we still have to be careful as her immune system is still quite fragile. We are planning some small adventures close to home for the next couple of months and just enjoying the Utah winter as we have had loads of snow so skiing is amazing right now!
How did you come up with the idea to create travel guides for kids? Tell us a little bit about the process? How do you decide which countries to pick?
When we first moved to Switzerland we had lots of guests come visit us and they all wanted me to play tour guide. While I loved doing this it got a little tiring after a while. I realized that most people don't want to know tons of information about certain places but just enough to make their trip interesting so i actually started making travel cards for adults. I wanted something that was easy to carry and had enough information so people knew a bit about where they were.
Once we started having kids I realized that there weren't really any guides for kids that are easy to carry, entertain the kids a bit and are still educational. So I decided to take matters into my own hands. I have a huge love for art and art history. When we moved to Europe and started traveling I wanted to hit every art museum in every city. So I made the travel cards for Taylar so she would be entertained in museums so I could see the art I have always wanted to see. She loved them so I kept making more.
Our city selection process is easy. I pick cities we have been to and we know. That way we have good experience with how that city works with kids and can give real life advice to parents on traveling to that city.
What are some unexpected things that you've encountered as you have traveled with your family?
I think the most unexpected thing we have encountered traveling as a family is how sweet and kind people are to us. When we first started traveling I was always nervous that people would be annoyed by my kids, but we have experienced the opposite. Even on airplanes people have been so kind to us. It's been very unexpected and has helped me relax more when I travel with my kids.
What's the most memorable travel experience you've had with your family?
Last spring we took a weekend trip to Como. It was our first trip after Ava had finished chemo therapy. It felt like a victory for our family. It was a short, simple trip. We didn't have loads of things to do, we just relaxed by the pool, sat by the lake and played. It was such a great trip. By far my favorite because it helped us feel like a normal family again.
What advice would you give to other families who want to travel more with their kids?
Do it! Don't wait until their older, or more well-behaved, just do it! You will never regret taking a trip with your kids. No matter how near or far, you will never regret it.
What are your favorite travel resources?
I love the Instagram community of family travelers. There are so many amazing people. We have met some great friends through Instagram and gotten some invaluable travel tips. Instagram is probably where I go first for travel resources.
What are three items you never leave home without?
Ava's pink blanket
Diaper bag stocked with all Ava's medicine and supplies.
Where are you headed next?
We are hoping to go to the Caribbean in April. Until then we may take a few short weekend trips to explore more of Utah's National Parks.