Welcome to ‘Gemma and George’, my name is Gemma Hartley and I am the proud creator of this website. A former journalist, who used my maternity leave to realise some of my travel dreams. Now, I’m sharing my tips and advice, with the hope of inspiring other parents, to use their maternity leave to explore new destinations with their newborn babies.
Like so many others, I watched my friends travel to exotic, breathe-taking and glamorous locations. With a tinge of jealously and self loathing, I gave them a ‘like’ on Facebook and told myself, “that’ll me be one day!” But life got in the way. I was committed to my career in journalism, single, not brave enough to travel by myself and living pay check to pay check.
I became a Mother for the first time in November of 2018 to my son, George. My first real experience of travel came later on in life. I’ve been on holidays for one or two week, and spent a couple of summers working at summer camps in America. But I didn’t pick up a backpack and explore, until I met George’s father, in 2015.
We spent four months in America, six months backpacking SE Asia/Oceania and then became stationary in New Zealand. Slowly but surely, we reintegrated back into normal working life. After 8 months, we moved to the UK to live. Our aim was to save enough money to live anywhere in the world and start a family. We settled into work and enjoyed travelling (when work allows us to) for a weekend, week or couple of weeks to keep our ‘travel spirit’ alive.
Over the last three years, we have enjoyed converting a Ford Transit van, driving from Manchester to the Czech Republic. Spending two weeks driving across Europe, whilst 12 weeks pregnant! Explored Rome, Majorca, spent Christmas driving the south coast of Spain. Weekend trips to Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England.
When George entered our lives, the thought of travelling abroad never entered our minds. We were knee deep in ‘baby groundhog day!’ The day after George turned 6 weeks old, we were invited to a wedding in Vietnam. We committed and spent three weeks travelling SE Asia with a then, 12 week old baby. We loved it so much that we were planning our next trip before we even landed back in the UK.
So far we have explored SE Asia, America and are currently planning a road trip around Europe. I started this blog as a project to keep me sane, maintain my writing skills and share the adventures of my son with our vast family in New Zealand.
Since I’ve been sharing my experience with friends, parents to be and fellow first time parents, I receive the same shocked response. “You’re brave!” But it actually isn’t as difficult as you expect. Infact, if I was to ever have another baby, I would do exactly the same but earlier. And we flew 12.5 hours to Singapore with a 12 week old baby!
It is through my experiences that I want to share factual information, as well as top tips for travelling with a baby. The overall aim is to inspire and encourage parents who have always wanted to travel, that maternity leave is a fantastic opportunity to explore, bond and create memories to last a life time.