The Road to Twelve in Twelve

The road to twelve in twelve, twelve countries in the first twelve months. A little update on our travels, how we’re getting on with it and preparing to travel again.

With my 28th birthday just around the corner, I’m excited to get back on the road again with Alex, Rio, and Inés. At just under 7 months old, this will be her third road trip as we power on through to reach our goal of Inés visiting 12 countries before 12 months. Knowing that after this one, travel will be quiet again for a while as I head back into working and going back to university! (If you’re a travel PR or hotel manager reading this though… we’re open to talk business! Ha!).

Did we settle for 12 countries though? I think most who know us probably had an inkling that we wouldn’t stop still at 12. Instead, this road trip will take Inés past her 12th country and will bring us some new countries too. Exciting!

I’m excited to see how this road trip will impact Inés’ development and milestones again. Every time we’ve travelled, we’ve seen huge leaps and bounds in her gross and fine motor skills and changes in her speech, understanding and all-round development. The new experiences, the new people, the new sights and sounds. They are all impacting her personality and development in arguably one of the most crucial years where a person does their most growth and learning in any other year of their life.

While traveling with a baby may seem like a daunting or pointless task, experts state that it can significantly boost development. Travel can expand a child’s world, making them more empathetic toward cultural differences and helping them become more resilient and adaptable to changing situations. Studies also show it does shape their linguistic development, even as early as babies.

According to the Department of Education, “recent brain research indicates that birth to age three are the most important years in a child’s development.” which paired with the above, is some of the reasons we have been so eager to travel and do as much as we possibly can with her. We intend to ensure she has the most exposure to the world, people and cultures in her early years, because even if she doesn’t remember it, the photos and the videos, plus the impact on her will be worth it. Can’t you tell we’ve both worked in education?

We think it’s especially important to do things in the now after the period of lockdown and uncertainty we all had.

I thought I’d share some of the highlights of travel for Inés so far.

Watching the lights flash on the hour at The Eiffel Tower in Paris

The fascination that radiated from her face is one that I’ll never forget. At 3 months old, she was spellbound by the EU lights on the Eiffel Tower. It’s the first time we’ve heard an audible “wow” from her little tiny voice. The tired whisper combined with the rubbing of the eyes was a magical moment. She looked at Rio briefly, before returning to be mesmerised by the lights. Once they finished, her nose nuzzled into my shoulder and she was ready for bed. Some things are worth staying up past bedtime for!

Watching the sea lions in Benidorm

Although a local experience, this is one I didn’t want to miss off. If you’re bringing a young family to Benidorm it’s worth stopping off and seeing the sea lions. Inés has loved chatting with the sea lions every single time we’ve been to Aqua Natura. Every time, she gets closer and closer to making the sea lions noises and gets louder every time. The sea lions always seem to chat back which is starting to really crack her up. Maybe she’s part sea lion?

Experiencing the fairy lights in Clermont-Ferrand

We hadn’t expected much from our night stop in Clermont, booking it solely as a respite between Montpellier and the tunnel. It was a good motorway stop off for Rio to get his worming tablet too, but it ended up being one of Inés’ personal favourites from that particular trip up. The lights combined with the chimes of the cathedral were timed perfectly.

Touching Gaudi’s artwork at Park Guell in Barcelona

You’re never too young to appreciates some fine artwork… apparently! The colours of Gaudi’s work is both stimulating and interesting to young eyes. The vibrant colour palette makes the artwork a stark contrast to the extensive green in the park. She particularly loved the dragon stairway.

Seeing snow for the first time in Interlaken

Seeing snow is magical for us all, whether that’s the first time or the hundredth time. Snow is an excellent opportunity for gross and fine motor skills, from throwing snowballs to manipulating and building. Of course, Inés was far too young for this at 4 months, but she smiled and giggled to Rio playing in the snow and snowballs being thrown. She was fascinated by the snow that melted in her hand. Tiny hands get cold very quickly outside, so she tried some of the snow inside the car.

Sitting in the porthole watching the ferry dock into Plymouth

The highlight for me seeing the ferry start to dock was knowing that a cream tea waited for me just the other side of customs, but Inés living in the present was just fascinated by the sea and the gentle rocking. 2 days before her 6 months, this was the first time she pulled herself to standing and balanced herself for a few seconds holding on to the kids play boat. Big milestone!

We are so ready to make more memories with her, especially as she’s well underway and doing so amazingly with her baby led weaning. She’s really enjoying munching on breakfast and dinner with us. At 7 months, she’s already tried an extensive range of food, so we’re excited to see how she responds to local foods on the trip. She’s also crawling around so we’ve tried to book places that allow her to explore and develop her gross motor skills on the trip. She’s getting great at walking, just holding one hand to stabilise now rather than both hands – perhaps she’ll be toddling about sooner than we think!

She is obsessed with Tangled, the Rapunzel movie, at the moment so we’ll have that downloaded ready to watch over and over. Coincidentally, it’s a movie with the moral to follow your dreams and step out of your comfort zone, plus, it’s a movie with lanterns being a reoccurring theme… LUCERNA! The perfect movie for our own little Inés Lucerna.

You really are never too young to travel and gain a knowledge and understanding of the world around yourself.

Here’s to reaching 12 very very soon.

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