Who Are We?
Get to know our blog
Awesome! You found us! You are now travelling with the Bender family.
We left our home in Perth, Australia many moons ago in May 2012 and, other than a brief stint back in Perth for Christmas and a wedding in early 2014, we have been travelling the world nomadically ever since.
Open-ended travel sounds like a dream come true. So why do we do it? We love new experiences and seeing more of this wonderful world. It’s heaps of fun, but it’s also a rich learning experience for all four of us. We loved travelling before kids, and frankly, they weren’t going to stop us.
Contrary to the most common question we get asked – no, we have not won lotto. We are just an ordinary Australian couple who use our laptops, internet connection and a bit of creativity to keep working on the road wherever we go.
We have been to dozens of countries and stayed in over 100 hotels and apartments. So we’ve learned a thing or two along the way and enjoy sharing these tips with others who are looking to venture out to an exotic distant getaway or perhaps a local jewel just around the corner. Sometimes it may seem a little overwhelming travelling, especially for parents with young kids, so we are hoping to inspire you to take that first step out the front door on a marvellous, life-changing journey, and show you that if we can do it, so can you.
We’ve connected with fascinating people during our travels, and have experienced dizzying highs and the occasional lows. This blog is our way of documenting and sharing our experiences in a transparent, fun and entertaining way. It’s a form of therapy for us - a constant anchor to focus on when every day is different. And it’s a neat way you can get to know our family and join our journey without paying for a plane ticket.
We initially started the blog so we didn’t have to repeat the same stories to numerous family and friends. But as more and more people started following our journey we shifted our focus on becoming a unique and invaluable travel resource to parents, couples and singles alike. Now our blog reaches tens of thousands of readers from all over the world each month and has been featured in national prime time TV programs, national newspapers, magazines and major websites like HuffPost. It’s been a whirlwind ride and we always working hard to make it even better for you.
So thank you for checking us out. We’d love to hear from you so, please write a comment on a blog post or two, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, join our email newsletter, and come along for the ride. We promise it will be fun.
Get to know each of us
Now you know a bit about our blog, get to know a bit more about each of us – yes, we’re real people just like you and we won’t bite… well, Caius might, but the rest of us won’t :-)
I am the founder and senior writer of this blog, and this is my little baby. Well, not so little any more.
I’ve enjoyed writing as long as I can remember. I just never knew my passion would find its expression and fulfilment in travel, since I enjoyed dabbling in fiction writing when I was younger.
With a Degree in Marketing, I am a seasoned specialist in social media so you can always catch me on Facebook chatting away. You’ll find I’m transparent, accessible and always available for a laugh or a meal.
Up close I’m a Sanguine personality, which is loud and proud, and the first to organise a party. I’ll be first in line at the theme park roller coaster but can’t stomach the spinning teacups anymore.
I never considered a nomadic travel lifestyle before all this; I can firmly blame Josh for igniting that spark. But it’s blossomed into a wondrous journey and I’m now able to spend much more quality time with my adorable kids.
The last few years have moulded me in unexpected ways. I’m now more spontaneous and far easier going. I had precise life plan expectations - go to university, get a job, get married, get a mortgage, have kids and finally retire. I no longer feel the pull of that social pattern. There is no longer a predetermined path; it’s open to my choosing. The plans have been messed up, but in a good way. Life’s winding route is exciting, unplanned, scary, stimulating and more rewarding. It’s built brick by brick with small choices every day.
The world is so much smaller to me now. Places that seemed so distant are really much closer. Friends are found on every corner of this planet. Home is no longer a fixed address, no longer a room, or a house or an apartment. It’s a feeling.
As an avid reader, I devour every kind of fiction. I cannot go to sleep without reading. I am because I read.
They say that the world is a book and those who don’t travel read only a page. I’d never leave a book that I’m reading unfinished, so I guess I’ll be travelling and writing for quite a while longer.
G’day! I’m the brains behind the operation. No, not really! But with over 15 years experience in web development and a decade in Internet Marketing, I do know a thing or two about websites. So that has certainly helped make the TravelWithBender.com website stand out from the array of other travel blogs you may have read.
Standing at 6’9” (205cm), I’m slightly taller than the average bloke, but people who know me would say I’m a gentle giant (except when I’m on the basketball court).
I love my wife and kids more than anything else. Family is my first priority. And it’s because of this that I am giving the gift of travel to my kids while they’re young. It will shape and mould them to become more well-rounded individuals and develop more compassion and understanding for their fellow man. It will also give them a deeper appreciation for this planet we call home and provide them with unique learning experiences that they won’t find within the four walls of a classroom.
A nerd at heart, I’ve always been fascinated with technology. From gadgets to software and even communications, it captures my imagination. Chances are you’ll probably find photos of me on this blog wearing a technology-inspired t-shirt.
With a strong entrepreneurial bent, I’m always thinking creatively and analytically. You won’t find me wasting time. I have very little patience for TV or games. I love to learn about everything, in particular understanding what makes people tick and the factors that mould them - culture, religion, philosophy, politics, economics, genetics, and environment. It helps me to better understand myself as well as make meaningful connections. And secondly, what makes this world tick. From geology to history to astronomy to biology, I find it all captivating.
I thoroughly enjoy photography and in particular, landscapes. I’d like to think my photography has been getting better the longer we travel, and it also helps that I upgraded my camera a couple times. I’m always pushing myself forward trying new techniques, finding new inspirations, honing post-production skills, and developing my artistic eye.
In line with my passion for photography, I find inspiration from all forms of design: graphic design, industrial design, architecture, interior design, and fine crafts.
That dovetails with my keen delight of the culinary arts, and probably explains why a healthy slice of my Instagram photos are dedicated to perfection on a plate. We are what we eat. So there’s something deeply meaningful about understanding the produce, preparation, techniques and inspiration that goes into each dish we enjoy. The combination of flavours, history and culture merge into a moment of dining delight. There are few things better than that.
So hopefully you now know me a little better, let me introduce you to my daughter Mia…
Hi, I’m Mia and my mummy and daddy asked me to say a few words.
I like going to the pool, drawing with daddy, dancing like a fairy and eating yummy food.
I don’t really like big people museums, but as long as mum and dad take me to a playground afterwards I’m happy.
At home I love to cook and help daddy clean the kitchen. SpongeBob SquarePants is one of my favourite shows.
In new places we visit I like meeting new friends and playing with toys together.
I’m a bit rusty now, but I’ve learned to count to 10 in four different languages. Learning about numbers is also fun.
I’m happy most of the time.
And most of all, I really like to eat ice cream – especially SpongeBob SquarePants ice cream. Yummy!
Now from Mum & Dad:
Mia is our vivacious, sociable 8 year old. Mia is also our little miracle child. She took over a year and a half to conceive and is now the apple of our eye.
She is funny and sweet, and an absolute angel. She loves gadgets and mastered the iPad/iPhone when she was just 12 months old. Toilet trained by 2 years, she proved to be super motivated and ultra determined.
Her love for all things creative has blossomed over the last few years, taking the form of drawing, painting, dancing and now cooking.
A water baby from before she could walk, she took to water like a fish – donning floaties as a baby and jumping in the pool or ocean at any chance she got.
She was fiercely independent from birth. She always wanted to be left alone, put in her cot with no one talking to her or touching her. I will never forget the day we were in the car and my mum and sister were in the back with her trying to get her to go to sleep. She was not even 1 and I said don’t look at her. They both looked out the window and she very happily nodded off to sleep.
She takes after her father in a quiet, sensitive way. She doesn’t like movies that are too scary.
Mia has grown into a beautiful young girl and as parents we are absolutely proud of her – her kind personality, caring nature and sweet spirit.
She loves making friends all over the world and will often ask to be excused from the dining table at a restaurant to go chat with other diners. She loves hotels with pools, and while she is an excellent flyer she still claims it as boring and prefers not to do it. She wants to be a YouTube-er when she grows up and has already started her own channel.
But she is genuinely caring and supportive, and her little brother’s biggest cheerleader. The world is not right if he is not with us.
I asked Caius to say a few words about himself, but he wasn’t that interested.
Now from Mum & Dad:
And so this is Caius (pronounced Kay-Us). Caius was 2 years old when we left Australia and is now 6. He has spent over half his life travelling the world, having visited over 60+ countries along the way. It probably explains why he loves Dora the Explorer.
Caius was a welcome surprise after the long wait for his sister. They are only 16 months apart, which brought its fair share of interesting moments when they were younger. Now as they get older, Caius and Mia are best friends and they love every moment together.
He has his own way, which is the right way. He is determined, confident and focused like a laser. If he says the sky is green, then the sky is green.
He, too, loves gadgets mastering the iPhone and iPad at an early age. It is definitely his favourite pastime. In fact he was given iTunes vouchers for his 2nd birthday, as friends were aware we were leaving the country and needed small travel-friendly gifts. He uses many educational apps and could confidently spell words and count numbers from as early as 2 years old. He’s probably going to be smarter than his Dad.
Caius can sleep anywhere. When he is well rested he is smiley, cheery and friendly. When he hasn’t slept enough he can be down right grumpy.
He loves to be in the water and learned to swim independently by the time he was 2 years old. He doesn’t mind what country he’s in this week as long as a playground is nearby.
His favourite food is rockmelon (cantaloupe), milkshakes and chips (hopefully not all at the same time).
He is our favourite little boy in all the world and takes after Erin a lot. He makes our lives complete.
And that’s a wrap!
You now are up to speed with our family. Thank you for taking the time to get to know us a bit better. We would love to continue to stay in touch, so please take a few seconds to join our free email newsletter so you can be updated when there are new stories and tips on our blog, or connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ or Pinterest.
Now, if you haven’t already, take a wander around our blog and check out some of the interesting (and crazy) things we’ve been up to recently in...
You never know, hopefully we can be your inspiration and give you the tips you need to start your own adventure, wheather it be 2 days, 2 months or 2 years. If we can do it, so can you.
Good places to start reading on TravelWithBender.com...
- Common questions from readers
- Before the blog
- The birth of a travel dream
- Where have we been?
- Top Photos of 2013, 2014, 2015
- Travel tips
Here's what you have to say..."I respond to every comment by private email. So please leave me comments, I love chatting to you" - Erin Bender
I was surprised to find you in Israel right now,
We family of couple + 3 kids 4,6,7 ages. living in Kibbuts up up north of Israel.
We would love to have you here. wish to show you the beutiful places,cool small rivers,mountains and more.
if it sounds good for you -please conatct.
We share a similar story but I made the mistake of thinking our travelling days had to end when our gorgeous girls came along. Feeling inspired - off to the drawing board!
Your post about all of the feelings swirling around as you return to Australia was very heartfelt, and must be so true. I wish you the best!
Hope to follow your beautifully captured journeys often and would love to catch up sometime...
good luck to you and your family,. Nice story!
If this is possible could you try this for me and email me with the good and bad.
Looking forward to your blogs.
Keep up the good work and what a lovely family you are.
All the best,
Renate from thatwanderlust.com
I am jealous. I really want to see the rest of the world, and now that I found this thing called House Sitting, it'll probably be a little cheaper for me.
I'm going to continue reading your blog from now on, and hopefully I'm doing the same thing soon!
Brittany @ www.BrittanyJefferson.com
My own blog www.theeducationaltourist and the ebooks for kids I write came out of trying to make sure the adventures were educational and memorable for the kids as well!
Love reading your blog!
Natalie, The Educational Tourist
We too are a family that loves travelling, blogging and we are from Perth!!
Really have to catch up.
Prunella and family
I am super impressed with what you guys are doing, I have a seven year old and I know a bit about travel with kids but you guys are the masters.
I am going to be following all your exploits on your blog now and see what I can learn from your experiences.
My wife and I moved from London to a very sleepy part of Spain and we have a fantastic life on the beach combining bringing up our daughter with our web work but what you guys do is totally amazing.
Respect to all 4 of you and happy travelling, life is after all for living :)
Alex (madeforspace in case JB remembers me)
I'm a single mum of an awesome 10yrs old and we're in the final stages of planning our big open-ended adventure... Due to head off July 2017... although were doing 6wks in Chiang Mai and Cambodia over Christmas :)
Little Miss 10 and I have travel heaps since she was 6 but alway only for 4-6wks at a time because of school.... But it's time to put our big girl pants on and so it for reals!!!! Starting with either Chiang Mai, Ubud or Hoi An.... Still haven't decided.
So I have a few questions for you...
- I know your kids are younger than Perry and you don't "formally" school... But how do you see them getting them getting the require mainstream qualification eg high school certificate etc?
- do you ever join local homeschool groups or attend local schools part time?
Thanks so much for your time,
i love reading your blog, article and family travel.Proud and Brave family travel around the world.
May i know, is it possible to use iPhone Apple 6splus or 7plus in winter? And taking pictures? im from Asia country Singapore. Very impressed and excited to travel to Finland after seeing your video to Roviami Safari taking husky rides. Which month was that? This will be our first trip for that kind activities.
i wish success on all your journey.