A couple from Edgware kicked off 2017 by quitting their jobs and leaving the UK to travel the world, along with their two-year-old daughter.

Husnara Khanom, a 32-year-old NHS researcher, her husband Ru, a 34-year-old sales manager and their daughter Ava are currently in Bangladesh. Next they will head to Nepal, hoping to visit at least 15 countries over the next year.

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I spoke to Husnara about why they made the decision, how they prepared and what it is like travelling with a toddler...

What made you decide to do it?

There was a combination of many factors that led to our decision to quit our jobs and pursue the biggest dream of our lives. One of the biggest reason was that a close friend of ours was diagnosed with stage four bowl cancer at the age of 31.

This gave us a massive reality check and changed our perspective on time and, more importantly, living life with no regrets.

Did it take a lot of planning?

Yes and no is the answer. What took a lot of time and planning was the wrapping up of our lives: our work, mortgage, renting out our home. In terms of the trip all we did was book travel insurance and our one way flights.

The rest we will do as we go. This gives us flexibility to stay somewhere longer when we want, discover new places and gives us total freedom.

How did friends and family react?

It was a mixture of excitement and massive support from the majority of our friends, although with our family the situation was somewhat different. Coming from a Bengali background it is definitely not the thing to do with a young child so we were met with a lot of concern and worry. But in general, the majority have been massively supportive and so excited to hear about our big adventure.

What is your advice to people travelling with young children?

Firstly, we would say that there is the element of accepting that things will change, routines will need to be adjusted, delays will happen, naps will be missed and at times even meals will be skipped. But it’s accepting that these changes are not forever and children are adaptable, in doing so you become more relaxed and can enjoy the ride.

There are a few products that we found invaluable for travelling with children:-

  • A small baby stroller – XXS from Mothercare. It’s tiny and can be carried in as hand luggage on the plane.
  • A thermos food flask to carry warm lunch with us on the go - believe me this has been a life saver, especially when we’ve been out on day trips and there’s been no food places in sight.
  • Tablet with lots of Peppa Pig videos!

What do you do prior to flights and while flying to keep your daughter calm?

We always talk to her about the adventure, where we are going and what we are going to do so that she is somewhat prepared. Before flying we also get her a special toy or a treat for the journey and tell her that she can open it and play with it on the plane. This gives us some essential moments of respite on the flight. Half of my backpack is also filled with toys, sticker books, the tablet and one or two treats, like a kinder surprise, raisins and crackers; these are handed out at intervals.  

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What has been the hardest part of travelling with a child?

The hardest part has got to be the lack of spontaneity. Our adventures are ruled by Ava’s routine and her safety which dictates everything that we do.

Just the other day on a rural village walk in Bangladesh we came across a make shift bamboo bridge which was about 15 centimetres wide and 20 meters long. This is something we would have ordinarily crossed without even thinking about it, however with Ava we just can’t afford to take any risks.

Having a child does limit what we can and cannot do. Our next stop is Nepal, although we would love to do the trek to Everest Base Camp, we’ll have to save this for another trip when Ava’s older and give us another excuse to come back. 

What is the best thing about it?

It’s hard to pin point just one thing and we are always discovering wonderful aspects of travelling with a child. Firstly, waking up every day as a family to the warm morning sun, or not having to have breakfast in the car, drop Ava off and endure the madness of the Northern line at rush hour.  

It’s wonderful to have a slow, lazy breakfast every morning and then go off to discover something new. You start to do things more slowly with a child and really take things in, even a donkey ride across a country lane somehow becomes such an excitement.

We have also found that having a child helps to break down boundaries. People are always approaching us and its help us engage with local people. 

Husnara and Ru have started a blog, passportsandprams.com, to document their journey and share travel tips with others.