We first met Amanda Blakley through a Hey Mama event we contributed to in LA and soon fell in love with her mothering style and her passion for adventure. A devoted traveler, Amanda has passed on her love of seeing the world to her young boys as she teaches them to be global citizens. Read more of Amanda’s sweet words below and check out her Instagram feed for a fun giveaway today.
Describe your motherhood style in three words.
Tender, adventurous, intentional
We love your travel guides! What are some lessons you've learned the hard way from traveling with kids?
Obviously traveling with tots is a very different experience compared to what feels like (in hindsight) the jet-setting days before they were born. But if you follow a few rules of thumb, everyone will be able to enjoy the adventure equally. We have learned to roll with the punches and to not plan too much in the way of itineraries. We don't skint on travel gear - we love the Babyzen travel stroller - Yoyo - because it's stylish and only weighs 12 pounds and stores in the overhead compartment on the plane - brilliant. We also try to set our collective expectations in advance of a trip to ensure we are all aligned on what we hope to see, do, experience at a given destination. Be realistic - a beach holiday that used to be relaxing pre-kids, will be a very different trip with littles but as long as you know this going in, you can minimize the potential outcomes by being prepared - whether that means lining up babysitters in advance so mom and dad can have a night out or just a child-free afternoon by the ocean, do the leg work in advance to ensure the destination or resort is able to accommodate your needs.
Tell us some of your favorite places you've taken your family.
We love Latin America and have spent a great deal of time exploring South America and Mexico since the boys were both very wee. There is something about the warmth of the people, the importance they place on family and togetherness, the vibrant colors and culture as well as the climate, which is always a welcome respite from our cold Canadian winters.
We have also started a bit of a summer family road trip tradition. We escape the city and drive down to Pennsylvania's Allegheny forest and check in to the Lodge at Glendorn, an old family-camp from the golden era that has been converted into an incredible getaway. We fish, swim, roast marshmallows, catch tad poles and lounge by the lake for a few glorious days of family time.
What do you think has changed most about raising kids today vs. the way things were when we were kids?
Having grown up in the country and then a small town, raising my children in a big city is the polar opposite of my own childhood. Add to the mix all the technology and hyper-connectivity we now enjoy and we have a unique petri-dish of humanity. Hopefully we can mitigate the risk by instilling the same morals and values my husband and I were raised on. Family traditions are important to us; some we are creating as we go while others have been passed down from generations before us. Our children will become such global citizens - not just through travel, but because of access to information. They may never visit Tasmania, but thanks to the miracles of the internet, literature and other modern conveniences, they will be able to discover the world while never leaving the comfort of their living room. I can only hope this will bring them a greater understanding of (and hopefully appreciation for) other cultures and countries. I hope the world and all it's hidden corners feel accessible to them. They may never know the joy of playing in the streets until dusk or dinner time (whichever came first, depending on the season), but they will begin to understand the world by tasting the cuisine of as many countries as they can count on their fingers and toes. They may not have to wait an entire week to see an episode of their favorite show, call into a radio station to request their favorite song or feel the agony of a busy signal when trying to get a hold of a friend. Hopefully we can teach them patience and the benefit of delayed gratification through alternative practices like meditation and yoga, things that were not as pervasive or available when I was growing up.
What do you want most for your children?
For them to live a life of adventure, to stay true to themselves as individuals and choose a path that challenges and excites them. I hope they always surround themselves with good friends, laughter and the best food. As citizens of the world, I hope they can spend time discovering our earth (and perhaps even beyond), respecting it and giving back to it. I want them to understand other cultures and have empathy for their neighbours (both near and far). Hopefully they can spend time cultivating a great sense of humour and confidence. I hope they get the opportunity to be fathers and to experience the joys and challenges of parenthood and of loving someone so fiercely.
What do you want to remember about this phase of your life?
I want to remember the intensity of the emotions - the breathless fear that grips me each time I hear a baby cry or a child scream juxtaposed with the tears of joy I shed after childbirth and meeting our babies for the very first time. The physical and mental exhaustion of the newborn days vs the delicious family naps in our big bed.
I want to remember all of our inside jokes, the warm little breath expelled as the boys sleep peacefully after a full day of adventuring. The way Atticus incorrectly pronounces lawn mower and the way Archer walks like a bow-legged cowboy. So far the journey has been remarkable - I just wish it would slow down a little. A good reminder to live in the moment.