Shandi is a US-born family travel blogger who writes about trekking the world with young kids. She currently lives in China with her husband, 3-year-old son Ashton, and also finds the time to teach English.
During the winter and summer vacations, she loves to take her son on adventures all over the globe. He is 100% her little mini me and loves travelling as much as she does! Check out Shandi’s IQPlanner profile here.
Why did you start travel blogging? How long have you been doing it?
I’m a newbie to the blogging world. I started just over a month ago, but have been travelling around the world for over 10 years and have been to over 30 countries.
A lot of people told me when I was pregnant that I wouldn’t be able to travel the way I used to, and would have to start settling down.
I started blogging because my 3-year-old son is now my best and favourite travel partner. I want to share our experiences with other families thinking of travelling, so they’ll know they can do it too.
I like to give tips and ideas for where to go, and what to see/do while travelling with your little ones.
Name your top 3 most memorable places.
Cambodia is absolutely amazing. I’m a huge history nerd, so exploring all the ruins and temples was so fascinating.
My son is a big animal lover so I took him to the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue. There, we were able to touch, feed, and interact with elephants who had been rescued from cruel owners or the ivory trade. It’s a great cruelty free way to experience elephants.
They also had bears, monkeys. and tigers at the rescue. The tranquil, turquoise waters of the islands aren’t too bad either...and by that I mean, I never wanted to leave.
China is where we call home, but it’s such a huge, diverse country that it’s so much fun to explore and see what else is out there.
You can find the most beautiful natural landscapes in the most rural areas of China. One of the most memorable that is actually super close to our home here are the ‘Avatar Mountains’ in Zhangjiajie, Hunan. The sights are just breathtaking and my son loves the cable cars there.
Egypt isn’t a trip that I’ve taken with my son...although I hope to go in the next few years with him! I went when I was still in college and it left such a lasting a impression on me.
Probably because, again, I’m a huge history nerd and Egyptian history is one of my favourite time periods.
The grandeur of the temples and pyramids are so humbling, and the tombs in the Valley of the Kings is something I’ll never forget.
What’s the best thing about being a travel blogger?
Being able to share my stories, tips and photos with a large audience. I love knowing that maybe my experiences will help another family get the knowledge or courage to travel with their little ones.
It can be scary or daunting to fly around the world with a baby but it can be done! Travel can be such a rewarding and educating experience for both you and for your kids.
The world would be so much kinder and tolerant if we grew up understanding how others live.
It doesn’t matter if you save up for years to take a trip to New York City, or if you go trekking through Malaysia for a year.
Just giving kids that experience can be so rewarding for the both of you. I like to think travel bloggers play a small role in inspiring others to take their own journeys.
And the worst!? (if there is one)
A lot of people think, ‘Oh, travelling around the world with your son sounds so wonderful’.
It is...but there are times where it’s just downright terrible and exhausting. There are times when your baby pukes all over you in a crowded bus and you realise your spare clothes are stowed away.
There are times when they throw a complete tantrum in the middle of somewhere completely inappropriate (ie...the Killing Fields in Cambodia).
There are times when they’ll have a miserable fever and you won’t be able to find baby Tylenol anywhere (ALWAYS bring some with you!). However, those experiences are far outweighed by the good parts of travelling.
Give your top tip to a blogger starting out.
Just know it will be more work than you initially anticipated, so be passionate about your blog topic! I’m only a month into this, so I’m still learning things everyday.
However, I’m realistic and realise that all of the successful travel bloggers I look up to have been doing this for 5 to 10 years.
Don’t judge yourself too harshly if no-one visited your site one day. Lastly, be open to constructive criticism!
Hotel Freebies: take ‘em’ or leave ‘em’?
Take ‘em’ as long as the hotel understands I’ll be transparent with any review or mention of their services.
I’m not going to dupe my followers into going somewhere if I had an awful experience. I see no problem, however, sharing a great experience with my followers so they can enjoy it too!
What’s at the top of your list for destinations this year?
I’d like to try and get to Europe later this year. I really want to take my son to Germany to see Neuschwanstein Castle, to Greece to see the islands, and/or to Ireland to go castle-hopping.
Next year I’m hoping to get to South America. I’ve never been and I think Ashton would love exploring the ancient Incan, Mayan, Olmec, or Aztec sites.
Why should people subscribe to your page?
On our site you’ll be able to find itineraries of trips we’ve taken, tips on how to travel with little ones, and what to see and do with your kids in various cities around the world.
You’ll also get to read all about our adventures or being a multi-cultural family living in China. I also post a lot of great photographs from our travels.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten on your travels?
A lot of insects. I’ve had crickets, cockroaches, scorpions, and frogs. Yummmm.
With the exception of the frog, they were all fried for so long that they just tasted like oil. The frog was actually pretty good — it really does taste like chicken!
Name a place, city, or country where you feel happiest?
Anywhere my son is, is where I’m happiest. However, if I have to choose a specific place I’d choose Vermont: my home state in the US.
It’s green, mountainous, and just plain beautiful. The people are a rare breed too, as they’re extremely environmentally and socially conscious.
Co-ops, farmer’s markets, and community activities are a common occurrence there. You can find people hiking and swimming in abundance.
There are also so many people who are culturally sensitive and like-minded when it comes to travelling.
Where’s your next adventure?
Our next adventure is in a few weeks. We’re going to Zhangjiajie again to see the Avatar Mountains for a long weekend getaway. However, our next long adventure is to America from June to August.
We’re going to be hitting all sorts of cool sights on the east coast: Washington DC, New York City, Assateague Beach, Boston.
Our final stop will be to Vermont to visit some family and do lots of hiking and camping. I’m so excited because my son hasn’t been around America that much.
Finally, on our way back home to China, we’re going to stop in Seoul, South Korea for a bit.
Read up on Shandi's next adventures by clicking on any of the links below.