My name is Ahnah Han. I am a Korean-American (born and raised in California) living in Singapore with my husband, Chris, and our 2 year old daughter, Senah. I was a 1st grade teacher before my daughter was born. Now I am a full-time mom.
My husband and I thought our traveling days were behind us once our daughter, Senah, was born. Little did we know that we would take her on her first flight when she was just over 2 months old. She is now 2 years old and has been to 16 countries! She’s been to the United States, South Korea, Canada, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, the Maldives, Australia, Thailand, Cambodia, India and Brunei. Senah and I try to twin in the traditional outfit of every country we visit.
When Senah was 11 months old, we visited Tirta Empul Temple in Bali, Indonesia. We were wearing matching dresses I found in a mall in Singapore. I put on a sarong before we entered the temple to cover my exposed legs and decided to put one around Senah too. After the trip was over, the photo of us in our matching sarongs at the temple was my favorite from the trip, and I was inspired to try to replicate it in our travels.
I usually find the traditional outfits by connecting with a local shop, with the help from my instagram/facebook community or hotel. Before our trip to Vietnam, I met someone through Instagram whose sister made pretty ao dais, and she kindly asked her sister to make one for me and my baby! We even met up in Ho Chi Minh City for coffee so she could hand deliver the outfits to me. I was extremely touched as it was Labor Day weekend and she had plans to take a bus down to visit her family, but she took the time and effort to help us.
Before our recent trip to Chennai, India, I met a wonderful Chennaite woman through Girls Love Travel. She saw our twinning photos and graciously offered to help us plan our trip. Not only did she write out an itinerary for us, she came and met us to give us a tour of Chennai! She truly represented the kind and hospitable people of Chennai. She even gifted us the most beautiful accessories to go with our matching sarees.
We’d love to make this a fun mother-daughter tradition where we can learn about and explore many cultures. We would like her to be culturally aware and respectful of every country we visit. Senah will probably not remember visiting all these countries, but we hope these experiences will shape her to be a more open-minded, curious and adventurous person
Can you give us your top tips for making travelling as a family work?
Research but be flexible: I do hours of research before each trip and create a list of things to do and eat. Instead of creating a minute-by-minute itinerary, we use the list during our trip to figure out our next activity as we go, depending on what time Senah made it to bed and/or how she's feeling. If we have to reserve an activity in advance, we try to pre-commit to no more than one major activity per day.
Don't sweat it: we try to mimic our home routine the best we can, but we don't sweat it if things don't work out as planned. Kids will sleep if they're tired (eventually) and eat when they're hungry. Senah doesn't usually nap at home, but if she doesn't get her 12-13 hours at night while we're traveling, she'll often take a nap on her own during the day.
Use a checklist: I use the same checklist to pack Senah's bag before each trip. This way I never forget to pack anything.
There's always a reason why it's "not the right time" to travel. Just do it! Traveling with toddlers is definitely not easy, but it's all worth it when I hear mine gasp, "wow!" while entering Bayon temple or chowing down on papadum with local children in Chennai.
You can find Ahnah, Chris and Senah on Instagram to see where they are twinning around the world next!