Travel With Bender

Uncovering the best family holidays

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 family 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 :-)

Josh

G’day! I’m the brains behind the operation. No, not really! But with over 18 years experience in web development and 15 years 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…

 

Mia

Hi, I’m Mia and my 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 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 my vivacious, sociable 8 year old. Mia is also my 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 her oma and aunt 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.


Caius

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 65+ 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 his mother 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...

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" -
Posted by Brooks on
Nice. Look forward to following your journey. Looks like you guys have a wonderful family!
Posted by Ruth on
Wow! Interesting story! Lovely family! What sort of business is Josh running?
Posted by Danielle on
Wow what a fantastic idea to travel the world
Posted by Iris Schuster on
As we follow Families which are doing RTW via the web.. dreamimg to do so one day..
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.
Iris Schuster
Posted by Nicola on
After following your Facebook posts for so long it was finally nice to have the time to read all about where and your inspiring little family started out.

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!
Posted by JoAnn wood on
Really a nice family wish I was as brave as u and travel around the world.
Posted by Sarah Glashagel on
What a lovely family you have! I'm sad to say I just found your blog recently, as you are heading "home," but I look forward to reading past posts. We are a couple in our late 40's/early 50's, from the U.S., with 2 teenagers left in the house, and are planning to start our lives abroad in a couple of years. (We're not putting it off using excuses- just have responsibilities we can't get out of yet!) We've loved traveling as much as we could over the years- I also have some great friends who hail from Perth!! I had the pleasure of staying with them for a couple of months when I was in college.
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!
Take care,
Sarah
Posted by Vicki on
great blog and photos. Can you tell me what sort of camera you used please?
regards
Vicki
Posted by VJ Sharma on
Very inspiring !

Hope to follow your beautifully captured journeys often and would love to catch up sometime...

Cheers,
[email protected]
Posted by peter davis on
Glad to see theearly days where my entrepeneur skills got passed on to you Josh
good luck to you and your family,. Nice story!
Posted by Erin on
Thanks everyone. We love hearing from you. I have replied to everyone privately.
Posted by Hitch-Hikers Handbook on
Lovely blog guys! Keep up the great work and travel safe! Oh… and all the best in the New Year! :)
Posted by Gary Darcy on
What an adventure,I have a free app that I would like to find out if it works out side of Australia.
If this is possible could you try this for me and email me with the good and bad.
Looking forward to your blogs.
Cheers Gary
Posted by Pamela Koefoed on
I look so forward to reading about your travel to lovely and interesting places with your beautiful family.
Posted by Pamela Koefoed on
I went back to your page and read some more and discovered that you invited readers to share their blog with you. Thank you. My husband and I are driving across six states to meet our first grandchild and will stop frequently along the way to take in fascinating sites, national parks, and we'll stay over night in beautiful places. We're blogging our adventure and will include our five cents worth--reviews. If you're interested in the southwestern United States, you can find us at my author website, http://pamelakoefoed.com. Happy Trails. Blessings to you~ Pamela
Posted by Bronnie - Maid In Australia on
What a happy, adventurous family you are. Love that you are living the dream. I blog at http://www.maidinaustralia.com We do a lot of travelling, but not as much as you!
Posted by Fiona Cunningham on
Your blog is very inspiring to us! We are a family of 3 from the uk, Our son will be 18 months When we start travelling which Is in July. First stop Florida how exciting! Please check our blog out ( think it links to Facebook at the moment) www.travellingwiththecooks.com we are also on Instagram as @travellingwiththecooks :)
Posted by Karin on
This makes me miss you more
Posted by Erin on
Please note that I do respond to every comment on our blog by private email. So please leave me comments, I love chatting to you - Erin.
Posted by Rhiannon on
My favourite and the best travelling family out there!
Posted by Renate Rigters on
Hi guys, just found your article on Tikal and started reading some more of your posts. Really, really nice!
Keep up the good work and what a lovely family you are.

All the best,
Renate from thatwanderlust.com
Posted by Susan Hinds on
Wow, I am so excited for your family. What a wonderful way to live. I also love travel and have been moving around Australia but next year it is overseas. I am so happy to follow your progress. I also have an online home business and I just love the freedom that it gives me.
Posted by Marisa on
Hi guys, I just found your blog today and have spent hours going through the archives! Very inspiring as myself and my husband travel with my 2 year old - your archives have given me so many great ideas for our next trip...I dabble in photography and am looking to update my camera, your photos are just so amazing, I was wondering what camera you use?
Posted by Bianca on
Hi! I heard you talking about "Travel with Bender" while we (yes, "we", because I was just a seat behind you :)) were going from London to Brussels with the Eurostar, just a few days ago. It sounded so interesting so I had to look it up, and here I am.
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!
Posted by Jim KABLE on
Thanks for tweet! Bravo Bender Family and all the travel, adventure. Differently managed - but travel a part of the life of my wife and myself - from 45 years ago. It's a kind of virus (good kind) - once in the blood - the need to travel never dies down. My first travel was to NZ - then Fiji - then Europe! Asia, (USSR) - living in the UK/Spain/Germany) across to North America - many years in Japan. House-sitting for friends so far in south-east OZ gives me the chance to explore/re-connect with old friends/past lives - and explore/re-explore those places. Above all has been the chance to be amazed by the human capacity for cultural richness and variety/diversity - yet, withal - wherever we go - to uncover with others of difference our essential humanity - love of family/place - desire for peace/good education/friendship! !Buen viaje!
Posted by Natasha Laurie on
Hi guys, we recently left Melbourne with our 2 young boys and have relocated to Ireland for a while, in search of adventure! I am working 3 days a week while my husband, Jake stays home with the boys, aged 2.5 & 6 months, on my 4 days off a week we go exploring Ireland or jump on a plane to anywhere in Europe. Look forward to hearing more about your adventures.
Posted by Brittany on
Your blog is AWESOME! We only have one little one now but I could see my family doing the same thing... traveling the world. So thanks for this inspirational blog!
From,
Brittany @ www.BrittanyJefferson.com
Posted by Anne on
So glad I stumbled upon you guys! I love your "bios" and look forward to getting to know you better through your site! So inspiring. I am currently on a year long trip with my boyfriend and am getting to the point in my life where I'd like to start a family. I love seeing examples of taking kids with you and how it's done. Way to go!! :)
Posted by helen on
Hi, I came across your blog by chance. We have 3 kids and left Melbourne 13 Dec 2014 to travel for a year and do distance education with our kids (ages 15,13 and 7). We went to Fantasia today...If you are ever back in Bangkok, we walked to Pratunam Pier (near Centre World) and then took the khlong (canal) boat all the way to Bang Kapi Mall for 19 Baht each and not paying for our youngest. brilliant ride with the locals AND A SUPERB AFTERNOON OF FUN at the water park. Also reluctant to advertise it too much as despite it being New Years Day, there were not really queues for the slides and just enough people to make it festive.I gather you are still on your travels....maybe our paths will cross...our teenagers think we are a nuts to take them travelling but we are sure they'll think differently in hindsight. [email protected]
Posted by Robyn Paulete on
Hello Bender Family - thank you for your beautiful, fun and transparent sharing. I am a recently single mom of two little girls and have always been a travel-lover. I want to use this shift in our lives to life more fully, more profoundly and more globally - sharing in the joys of exploring the world with my kids. I have been working on a local un-schooling community here in North Carolina but have recently decided to really go for my bigger (scarier) dream of creating a traveling world-school on a sailing ship....so I'm looking to learn a lot, connect with others all over the globe and collect resources to connect with while traveling by sea. Looking forward to sharing more with you all :)
Posted by admin on
Thanks everyone. I hope you all received my personal messages to you. I love hearing all your stories and reading new blogs, so keep commenting. As for the camera, Josh is currently using Canon EOS70D - there is more about that in our Resources section. Stay in touch!
Posted by The Educational Tourist on
Wow! You guys are on quite an adventure!! We love travel and in addition to our family adventures we often follow hubby when he travels with work.
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
Posted by moo on
it really nice blog thanks alot for your information ....wish you and your family happy alwayssss
Posted by Sabretoothed Chickens on
Hello Erin and family;
We too are a family that loves travelling, blogging and we are from Perth!!
Really have to catch up.
Prunella and family
sabretoothedchickenstour.wordpress.com
Posted by Peter Hosie on
Hi there, Gill my wife only just found your blog tonight when she was searching the Internet for some info. I have just spent the last hour or so looking at some of the places you have visited. The places I read about that you have gone so far are truly amazing. We have now been on the road off and on for the last 4 years and have an Internet based business that we can operate from anywhere as well. Currently we are travelling the East Coast of the USA moving on next year to central USA. Your right it's a fantastic lifestyle and one that we would find difficult to not imagine ourselves doing. There certainly are a number of years difference between yours and our ages but we admire what your doing. Peter & Gill
Posted by Alex Hutchinson on
Wow, this site has totally blown me away. I know Josh as JB from his work in web development but had no idea he was also doing this.
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)
Posted by Sue on
Love your 12 day Ireland road trip, so informative and inspirational. Im adding Ireland to my travel bucket list for 2016 and an upcoming blog post and wanted to ask if I could use one of your amazing photos and link back to your blog so that my readers could see where I got my inspiration? Please let me know. Many thanks for your consideration
Posted by Erica DeCorla-Souza on
Hi Erin, love your blog! I came across it after looking for info on traveling to Tikal with kids. My husband and I are planning to go with our 2 year old this June. Did you have any safety concerns when you were traveling into Guatemala? Also, how were the mosquitoes/other insects there? We're thinking of starting our trip in Tikal (not sure yet if we're going to fly in to Belize City or Guatemala City and go from there) and then we're planning to go into Mexico to see Palenque and finally travel into the Oaxaca region. Any other tips you have for this kind of trip with a toddler are appreciated. Thank you!
Posted by Ali Donalson on
I found your pinterest page on The Ultimate Irish Road Trip Guide: How to see Ireland in Twelve Days. My husband and I are looking into a similar trip for just the two of us. I really appreciate how you laid out your trip day by day and include tolls and accommodations. It seems like just the vacation we are looking for. I was wondering if you wouldn't mind sharing your total trip budget? We are working on laying out a complete budget for our Ireland Trip and haven't found an itinerary that we are in love with. When I found yours, I was very excited but am wondering if it's in the ballpark for what we are looking to spend. Thank you so much for posting and hope to hear back from you!
Ali Donalson
Posted by Sue L. on
I have just found your blog and love it. My husband and I travelled before the children came along and other commitments meant we haven't done any for years. The husband is working in Bulgaria at the moment so we are hoping to join him. I am nervous about travelling with two children on my own though (ages 4 and 6) especially as they don't like lots of people and like routine and need their sleep. Any advice to make this easier for me. You are inspiring.
Posted by Ira on
Hi Erin, your blog is my precious reference :) Since I'm arranging trip for my big family to Lombok & Bali next July, and a little quite dizzy as we travel with complex ages. From my '73yr-old' father until my '3yr-old' daughter. It was fun in process finding a right place to go for kids yet not make the older ones tired. I hope I could resume our journey like you and make it a memorable journey. Nice to know your blog Erin! God Bless...
Posted by Janice L. on
Like your blog.
Posted by Frankie on
Oh my golly gosh I'm so happy to have found your blog Erin & Josh! So awesome to see another Aussie travel open ended WITH KIDS!!!

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,
Frankie
Posted by Suriati on
Hi Erin
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.
Posted by Harry on
Thank you for the photo review of the LG4 As professional photog the reality moving to Smartphones is vital. Yes definitely LG4 showing by the next couple years DSLR would be on the verge.
Personally by the next few months will get ride of 50% of what I own. BTW last month I shoot w Moto X Pure a small food project ...the results was amazing. Josh , God bless you all!
Posted by Sameer on
I've been going through your article from time to time, really interesting to go through your travel diaries. I would love to see you come to our country Nepal as well. Cheers guys and keep travelling.
Write a comment...
(Your email will not be publicly displayed.)