Big adventures for little people… by Justine Curtis
My passion for travelling started at around five years old when my folks took me on my first overseas holiday from the UK to Spain. Back then, Spain was still under General Franco’s rule and it was very different to the UK. I vividly recall the sights, smells, tastes of different foods and experience of that ‘other’ world! It was my first adventure and it is one that I will never forget.
Fast forward a few decades, and my thirst for travel and new experiences has grown stronger through the many adventures I have had since that first trip to Spain. I’ve spent a year backpacking through India on public transport; hiked through Mexico; trekked the Himalayas; traversed across the Indonesian archipelago and have forged countless happy memories through travelling to incredible places in every corner of our beautiful planet. I’ve even experienced some of those life-changing situations that have lead me to where I am today – running a busy charity challenge fundraising agency.
Experiencing the world with children…
I’m now a mother to a 4 year-old girl and conscious of the positive impact travel had on me at a young age, I am wanting to share that experience with her. I am keen to expose my daughter to the joys of travel and the cultural exchanges that come with it.
Last year, I decided it was time to do something a little more adventurous than spending holidays at family-friendly resorts close to home. Those Christmas’ in Fiji were wearing a little thin – the pained look on the underpaid staff’s faces; the buffet day-after-day; endless hours in the pool; and basically swapping our habitual life of routine to head for a different routine of breakfast, swim, lunch, swim, then dinner. I stuck with it for a couple of years because this is what a family holiday should look like, right?
Don’t get me wrong… I do appreciate this type of holiday and I realise just how privileged we are to be able to take time out and enjoy some family downtime. However after a couple of repeat experiences, I was very keen to share something more and Bhutan was the chosen destination! (see ‘Bhutan with my 3-year-old’)
Over the course of 10 days, we shared a real adventure together. We trekked in the stunning mountains (she on the back of our wonderful guide). We drank butter tea with monks in monasteries. We stayed at a home-stay with a Bhutanese family of four generations living together under the one roof. My daughter had the opportunity to play with a five-year-old girl and transcend cultural and language barriers that adults struggle with. They didn’t have a single word in common but they shared the commonality of childhood bliss and innocence. It was a priceless moment that I was delighted to witness. As our adventure continued, we ran through fields of prayer flags and stompas (temples); we crossed rope bridges; and we spun prayer wheels. We were gone for ten days but it felt like we were away for months!
The birth of Little Inspired Adventures…
For me, travelling to exciting new destinations has made me feel more present and alive than ever. The opportunity to now share that experience with my daughter and see the journey unfold through her eyes is invaluable.
This has led to the creation of Little Inspired Adventures – adventures for families with a difference. Our first adventure has just launched and we are pleased to be able to offer families around Australia an experience to discover Sumatra. This family-friendly adventure is in support of the work of RSPCA NSW. The Sumatra Challenge 2014 includes lots of adventures and experiences that will excite and thrill people of all ages – no matter how big or small. It includes a visit to an orangutan rehabilitation centre as well as 3-days camping with the aim of spotting orang-utans in their wild habitat. There are some jungle treks and a 3-day homestay in an eco-village with ample opportunities for cultural exchanges with the local community and their children. We have also included an opportunity to get your hands dirty as you experience some hands-on organic farming and tree-planting. There’s even a chance for the little ones to learn some practical first aid during a short-course run by an Australian doctor. Just imagine the delight of seeing your child spot an orang-utan in the wild!
Seeing the world with eyes wide open…
I see change coming about for the world through shared experiences. I truly believe that if we can start at a young age we can create something incredible for the world both globally and locally in our own communities. Our children are our future and giving them greater insights into our world at an early age can only be a positive step towards creating a better future for everyone.
- See more information on the RSPCA Family-Friendly Sumatra Challenge 2014
- Read more trip stories
- Learn about Justine’s adventure in Bhutan with her 3-year-old
- Take part in the upcoming Black Dog Ride to Happiness Bhutan 2013