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Meet the women behind Family Travel

It’s International Women’s Day, so we’re shining a spotlight on the inquisitive, adventurous women behind Family Travel. We’ll take any excuse to laugh at each others failed holiday selfies, but we’re also celebrating the diversity of our travel styles, favourite holiday spots and experiences.

Between us, we’ve covered a lot of ground. Morocco, Bulgaria, Timor Leste, Macau. The list goes on. Here’s why, how and where we love to travel.

Alison Godfrey: Digital Editor

Allie at Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, Japan.

Why do you love to travel?
Travel allows you to get outside your bubble. It makes you realise there are other ways to do things, and that’s OK. Plus, I am a huge fan of skiing and for the best powder – you need to head overseas.

Who do you travel with?
I mostly travel with my husband and two children but I also do loads of multi-family trips and I sometimes sneak away with girlfriends.

What’s your favourite family holiday experience?
Nozawa Onsen Japan in winter. Nothing can beat the snow, the culture and the incredible food. The ski runs are long and fun with great kickers and rollers that kids really enjoy taking on. You can stay in traditional ryokan hotels with futons on the floor and eat sushi and dumplings every day. My kids ask to go back every year. If only we could!


Belle Jackson: Partner Coordinator and Office Manager

Belle and her three daughters on a recent trip to Bali.

Why do you love to travel?
Our family love to travel, it is the only way to stop a world of routine and tasks, homework and life stresses. We give ourselves permission to just be messy and unplanned.

Who do you travel with?
We are a party of 5, and make a crowd!

What’s your favourite family holiday experience?
I just gotta keep travelling till I find it, keep exploring, keep planning. As long as you are with your family, you are already having a great time out of the routines back at home.


Bethany Plint: Writer and Social Media Specialist

Bethany at the Angkor Wat Temples in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Why do you love to travel?
I was blessed with parents who really saw the value in travel. After our first trip abroad to Thailand, I became obsessed. I was hungry for anything new and different. From family adventures to solo expeditions, I live for the rush of getting lost, discovering new places and never really knowing what’s on the other end of that plane journey.

Who do you travel with?
Fiercely independent since birth (according to my mum), I am no stranger to solo travel. However, some of my most memorable trips have been surrounded by family. Even now that my brothers and I have grown up and left the nest, we still try to take an annual trip as a family. We recently celebrated my mum’s 50th birthday in Cambodia. Although we’d celebrated birthdays abroad when we were kids, it was nice to toast with champagne instead of soft drinks.

What’s your favourite family holiday experience?
In 2012, my Uncle and Aunty got married in England which gave my family the perfect excuse to spend a month travelling around Europe. It was our first big, multi-country adventure and we still laugh about all the crazy, wonderful things that happened. From skiing in the Swiss Alps to swimming in the Mediterranean, I’m incredibly grateful for the awesome experiences we had together. 


Emma Tuchin: Video Producer

Emma at Corin Forest in Canberra.

Why do you love to travel?
My love of travel comes hand in hand with my interest in anthropology. When I go somewhere I want to spend as much time as I can there and experience everyday living in another culture, not just go and see the tourist sites (although I do that too). Wherever we are in the world humans have so much in common, and yet have so many quirks and behaviours that make us so wonderfully different!

Who do you travel with?
For the last 12 months I’ve travelled mainly with a whole bunch of other families up and down the east coast for our Families of Australia filming.
Lots of solo travel and with friends in my 20s, but now my travel companions are the husband and two very small boys. I’m busting to show my kids more of the world (just waiting for the 2 year old to grow up a bit so he can keep up with our pace), and so we can justify more future visits to Disney. I am also enjoying encouraging my parents to spend my inheritance by travelling with them and have them join us on adventures. It’s important we create memories for our children with their grandparents.

What’s your favourite family holiday experience?
My family is very young, we haven’t had many experiences together YET, but the most fun we have had so far the 4 of us was our road trip to Dubbo Zoo. We have also had lots of fun on holidays with friends who have young kids – a week in Lennox Head visiting friends and a farm stay in Bungendore, near Canberra are two of my favourite experiences so far.


Janeece Keller: CEO

Janeece at the Golden Bridge near Da Nang, Vietnam.

Why do you love to travel?
It’s a running joke in my family that I travel through my tastebuds. I’ve always loved food and those experiences are up there as the top reason I like to getaway. I keep a running log of the best best pizza (Napes with NYC as a close second) and did a year or testing margaritas around the world. But more than just food, what I love about travelling anywhere is that it creates the opportunity to see and do things I rarely prioritise doing at home … wandering aimlessly through a city, going into a gallery “just because” or stopping to people-watch in a random cafe.

Who do you travel with?
I’m a proud PANK (professional aunt, no kids) with a large blended family and a circle of friends that primarily includes kids under 10… so that means most of my trips include travelling with other people’s children. Even professionally, I’ve spent much of the last 12 months on the road for Families of Australia filming and travelling to all the corners of the country with families of all shapes and sizes.

What’s your favourite family holiday experience?
I’m a beach girl when it comes to holidays and of all the places I’ve travelled, a beach holiday at Copacabanna on the NSW Central Coast is my absolute #1 pick. We’ve been holidaying there since I was in primary school and it will always hold a very special place in my heart.


Jem Newlyn: Staff Writer

Jem from Family Travel

Jem being blessed by an elder in Nepal.

Why do you love to travel?
I think it’s super interesting to observe different social etiquettes. How different people place value on different things – education and age and food and their mums. I like that meeting people with different cultural backgrounds can challenge/question your idea of what is conventional.

Who do you travel with?
My sister, my friends, and then my new friends I meet along the way.

What’s your favourite family holiday experience?
My sister and dad moved to the ski town of Jindabyne, NSW for a season. I came down to snowboard on the weekends.


Louise Shuhin: Travel Partnerships and Sales Consultant

Louise hanging out in Bali.

Why do you love to travel?
After a taste of different cultures, communities and food at a very young age I was an avid traveller. Travel gives me the opportunity to live in total freedom and pushes me to try new experiences. I’m able to walk exciting streets and explore unknown surroundings. You gain a new appreciation and understanding for the world around you.   

Who do you travel with?
As a child I would often travel with my mother, step-father and two step-brothers which made for exciting and eventful family holidays. Now my partner and I will often travel back to his hometown with his family for Chinese New Year family celebrations with every generation.

What’s your favourite family holiday experience?
Road tripping down the south coast with my dad was is my favorite family holiday. It was a great father and daughter bonding experience and was something we would do every year.  


Natasha Keller: Head of Marketing and Partnerships

Natasha from Family Travel

Natasha and family fresh off the plane at Disneyland California.

Why do you love to travel?
There’s nothing like that moment when you first set foot in a new destination. It’s that sense of anticipation and opportunity. All those new sights, smells, sounds and tastes waiting to be discovered. I’m not a traditional traveller. While I like to ‘see the sights’, the part I love most is getting off the beaten track and meeting locals, learning about why they love their town, wherever that may be, and seeing it through their eyes.

Who do you travel with?
I predominantly travel with my husband and two young children (pre-school and primary school aged), but also regularly travel with my extended blended family – comprising of grandparents, step-grandparents, siblings and cousins.

What’s your favourite family holiday experience?
Sunset picnic dinners by the beach after a day of adventures.


Sophie Cullen: Product Marketing Assistant

Sophie from Family Travel

Sophie in the Moroccan desert, North Africa.

Why do you love to travel?
I love chatting with people, tasting my way around new places and living like a local. I think encountering different cultures and natural landscapes makes you a more grateful, more tolerant person. Plus it is a lot of fun!

Who do you travel with?
I went on lots of trips in NSW and Australia with my parents, brothers and grandparents when I was younger – still do occasionally! Otherwise with friends or solo.

What’s your favourite family holiday experience?
We did a lot of road trips when I was in primary school. One night in Winton, we returned from a gorgeous sunset walk on abandoned railway tracks to find that one of the dads (still wearing dishwashing gloves) had been roped in to audience participation at a bush poetry reading. By the end of the night, all of us “Sydney city folk” had made our bush poetry debuts in a tiny hut in our campground, and had witnessed a personal demonstration from 80 year-old champion whip-cracker Nell. The memory sums up everything I love about Australia and travel – the raw landscape, the spontaneity, the storytelling and the fascinating people.


Tatyana Leonov: Editor of Family Travel Magazine

Tatyana from Family Travel

Tatyana jumping for joy high above sea level.

Why do you love to travel?
Because every day is different! You get to experience different cultures, meet new people, get lost, find cool laneway bars, try weird and delicious foods, snorkel with sea lions, fly over mountains carpeted in grass, laze about in hammocks immersed in Windex-blue water, horse ride alongside gauchos, call sleeper trains, igloos and yurts home for a night, cycle past giraffes, dance with Masai warriors, play with local school children…  Why wouldn’t you travel?

Who do you travel with?
I usually travel with my husband and daughter, sometimes I travel alone, and when we can get the whole family together (my dad, three siblings and their partners and kids; or my husband’s side of the family which is just as big) we tend to book out a big house.

What’s your favourite family holiday experience?
There are too many to list, but both my brothers got married overseas, which meant the whole family, extended family and many friends travelled overseas together. My older brother got married in Brussels, Belgium and we all turned it into a massive multi-country trip. More recently, my younger brother got married in Poland in a small town, which was so much fun as it showed us how country folk in Poland party. After his wedding, I went on to explore Latvia and Lithuania with my husband and dad before heading to another wedding in Estonia (yes, all these lucky Australian men now have beautiful European wives living here in Sydney).


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