Welcome to Sophie’s World
– a blog about the world’s curious and often unsung corners. And travel with children.
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Ever since I was a child, I’ve enjoyed writing. Every job I’ve had has included a fair share of it – from speech writing for government ministers to random scribbles. Now, I’m a bilingual freelance writer. My work has appeared in various Scandinavian and English print and online media, including British Airways’ Business Life, Qatar Airways’ Oryx Magazine, Thai Airways’ Sawasdee Magazine, the Matador Network, National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel and more. I’ve done my share of guidebook work as well, for NileGuide and msot recently for Fodor’s Travel Guides.
And travelling? There’s little I enjoy more than hopping off a train in a new city, not knowing what’s around the corner. I’ve lived in New Zealand, Norway and the USA and have visited 113 countries. Or 150, depending on how you count a country. Do I think that’s fun? I kinda do.
I was first on an airplane when I was 11 years old. In contrast, my oldest daughter took her first flight at 11 weeks. How things have changed! These days, things have changed even more. I didn’t see many families travelling with children outside of charter groups and in the early 90s, my 4-year-old raised curiosity here and there. She must be in at least 100 family photos around South-East Asia. Today, European children are no longer a rare sight in other corners of the world.
In 2002, I adopted my youngest daughter from China. Her first flight was on her first birthday, going from Fuzhou to Beijing; the first leg of her journey home. The memory of that trip still brings happy tears to my eyes. China – and most especially the province of Fujian – will forever hold a special place in my heart.
After high school, I turned down a job as a piano player on an Alaskan cruise ship. (Still haven’t made it to Alaska). I adore Black Adder and have had a crush on Michael Palin ever since I bumped into him in a book shop in Takapuna (New Zealand).
About the blog
Sophie’s World focuses on two things – the world’s more curious destinations – and travelling with children. Unusually for a travel blog, the kids often share their take on things, too.
We aim to entertain you with tales from around the world, but perhaps most especially from places that may be less familiar. At Sophie’s World, we’re fascinated by the world’s more remote and often unsung spots, such as Skopje, Chisinau, Minsk, Vaduz, Pristina, Mbabane, Maseru and Nuku’alofa. Heard of them? They’re all national capitals.
Other interesting and remote outposts we’ve been fortunate to experience include Arctic Svalbard, Faroe Islands, the Azores, Norfolk Island, Srpska, the Great Rann of Kutch in India’s Gujarat province, the five lesser-known Arabian emirates, the fascinating region of the world that is the Caucasus, and the somewhat obscure non-country Transdniestr.
Others we have yet to experience. High on my travel wish list are Kaliningrad, Pitcairn, Afghanistan, Suriname and St Pierre&Miquelon. We dream of taking the Royal Mail Ship to St Helena. Well…, I dream of that. The kids aren’t that thrilled about the prospect of the 31-day journey from Europe. Antarctica is another dream – along with South Georgia and the Norwegian island of Bouvet. Just waiting for the youngest to reach the minimum age limit required by the expedition companies – not long now…
But that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy the more world’s more familiar places. We love Singapore, San Francisco and Sydney. We adore London, Paris and Brussels, too. And whenever possible, we try to see these places with fresh eyes. London may mean Hyde Park and Tower. But it can also mean a thrilling historical walk through 700 years of murder and mayhem. The Caribbean may mean a cruise ship. Or a deliciously slow sail among near-deserted islands in a 30 ft sailboat.
Travelling with children
Sophie’s World is also about showing how the exhilarating world of travel need not diminish once you have children. In fact, children and travel can easily be combined. (Hint: It’s all about compromise. And enduring the occasional meal at international fast food joints.) You can find a few general tips in this article.
Follow along to the world’s curious and unsung corners – mostly with children, sometimes solo.