While the exact amount of time allotted for maternity (and paternity) leave tends to vary depending on your company and country, one thing is for sure: It’s probably the most time off you’ll get for a long time. Most new moms use their break from the workplace to figure out how to take care of a brand new human but Karen Edwards, a new mom and nurse from London, decided to instead use her 52-weeks off to take her newborn on a trip around the world.

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Karen and her husband Shaun Bayes are both experienced backpackers. After they gave birth to their baby girl Esmé, the couple decided to sell their car, put their London house up for rent and take a trip across the world.

Back in November of 2014 when Esmé was just 11 weeks old, the new family packed all their travel necessities in one backpack (the other pack was holding Esmé) and headed off to Ireland (where Karen is from), New Zealand (where Shaun is from) and then continued on to Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The family didn’t return until September of the following year.


Esmé received the necessary travel vaccinations before they left the UK and during their time in New Zealand. They also made a point to avoid countries where there was a risk of malaria as an extra precaution.

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Karen told the Daily Mail they were able to fund the trip (which she estimates ended up costing about $14,400) with the money she received from the UK’s National Health Service (her employer) for maternity leave. Her husband was also able to pick up some landscaping work during their travels for some extra cash.

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Over on Karen’s Instagram Travel Mad Mum where she documents her family’s adventures she writes, “All I want to try and do is incorporate her [Esmé] into our way of life. We both love traveling and can’t see why we should stop or change our lives. I am confident the different sites, smells and sounds will stimulate all of her senses. She gets stir crazy just as much as I do when we sit around the house for too long so I am sure this can only be good for her.”

Have you traveled with a newborn? Share you experience with us on Twitter @britandco.

(Photos via @travelmadmum)