Mom Uses Maternity Leave to Travel the World With Her Newborn & the Photos Are Everything

karen edwads travel mad mum
travelmadmum/Instagram

For most moms, what little time we get for maternity leave is usually spent holed up in our homes trying to brave the first few weeks or months of having a new baby in the house. Every woman finds different ways to take advantage of the time, but this mom who is using her year of maternity leave to travel the world with her family completely takes the cake. 

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Thirty-three-year-old British mom Karen Edwards runs one of the most popular travel blogs and Instagram accounts on the Internet. At Travel Mad Mum, she speaks often about being a parent who loves to travel. Her Instagram has gained even more attention this year after she announced that she would be using her yearlong maternity leave to travel the world with her brand new baby, her 3-year-old daughter, and her husband, Shaun Bayes. 

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travel mad mum
travelmadmum/Instagram

After traveling the world during her maternity leave with her daughter Esmé in 2014, she decided to do it again -- this time, documenting it for the world to see. Karen's little family left their home London and began their journey when their son Quinn was only 9 weeks old. Since then, the family has visited Spain and Canada, taken a drive down the West Coast of the US, and then ventured into South America to visit Belize, Guatemala, and El Salvador. According to their Instagram posts, the family now seems to be living it up in Southern Florida.

Karen's lengthy maternity allowance is mostly due to her occupation as a nurse manager, where she receives a partial salary for nine months of maternity leave. Her husband, who works construction, has a flexible schedule, and the family funds the last three months of their trip with money they receive from renting out their home in London.

mom travels with family for maternity leave
travelmadmum/Instagram

Karen says that during their travels, the family has stayed with local families, in beach cabanas, in hotels, and even in camper vans. She told ABC that her young son and daughter don't seem to have any trouble adjusting to his ever-changing surroundings. "I do believe that it's definitely character-building," she said. 

In only three years, little Esmé has visited nearly 30 different countries, while Quinn has already seen seven in the first four months of his life. Karen says she and Shaun decided to replicate the year they spent traveling with Esmé with Quinn because they wanted both kids to have the amazing experience. "The most enjoyable bit was just having unlimited time for Esmé and seeing her developing without having many distractions," she told ABC. "We didn't have a house to maintain and we didn't have errands to run so it was just her and us two parents being parents."

Karen also shared that almost all of the reception the family receives on their blog and social media has been positive: "Most of the [reaction] is positive and heartwarming, that we've inspired them to do something similar." Of course, that doesn't stop some from criticizing the family's lifestyle, shaming the parents for uprooting their kids for so long, or arguing that traveling to so many foreign countries is unsafe for them.

travelmadmum
travelmadmum/Instagram

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The mother stresses that she and her husband take every possible precaution to keep their children as safe and happy as possible, and they won't let a few negative comments keep them from living their dreams. "This is the thing, we were already really into traveling," Karen told ABC. "If it's something that you really enjoy anyway, you want to pass that onto your kid in some way."

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