Irish woman spends maternity leave backpacking in 9 countries - including Singapore - with baby daughter

Ms Karen Edwards with her baby daughter Esme, seen here holding her passport, at the airport.
Ms Karen Edwards with her baby daughter Esme, seen here holding her passport, at the airport. PHOTO: @TRAVELMADMUM/INSTAGRAM
Ms Edwards and Esme on the cable car in Langkawi.
Ms Edwards and Esme on the cable car in Langkawi.PHOTO: @TRAVELMADMUM/INSTAGRAM
An over-friendly monkey jumping on Esme in the Monkey Forest in Bali's Ubud.
An over-friendly monkey jumping on Esme in the Monkey Forest in Bali's Ubud. PHOTO: @TRAVELMADMUM/INSTAGRAM
The family managed to travel to Ubud despite nearby Mount Rinjani on Lombok erupting.
The family managed to travel to Ubud despite nearby Mount Rinjani on Lombok erupting. PHOTO: @TRAVELMADMUM/INSTAGRAM
Esme feeding her dad ice-cream in Taiwan's Taroko National Park.
Esme feeding her dad ice-cream in Taiwan's Taroko National Park. PHOTO: @TRAVELMADMUM/INSTAGRAM

Most new mothers spend their maternity leave recuperating, but Ms Karen Edwards is not your ordinary stay-at-home-mum.

After their baby daughter Esme was born in late 2014, Ms Edwards and her partner Shaun Bayes - both avid backpackers - sold their car, put up their house in London for rent and stored their belongings.

With Esme, who was barely 10 weeks old then, in tow, they fulfilled their wanderlust by embarking on a 10-month trip to explore the world.

"Both Shaun and I were keen backpackers before I fell pregnant and everyone thought we were completely nuts when we said that we were going to take Esme when she arrived," Ms Edwards, who works as a nurse, told the Daily Mail in an interview.

https://www.instagram.com/p/40yBicQxKT/

The couple toted a single backpack - and Esme - between them as they visited Ireland, Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Their epic journey included a short pit stop in Singapore, where a photo on Ms Edwards' Instagram account, on which she documents her travels, showed Mr Bayes and Esme enjoying themselves at the Marina Bay Sands' infinity pool.

https://www.instagram.com/p/9rdgKnwxD7/

The entire trip cost them about £10,000 (S$20,160), which they funded with Ms Edwards' maternity pay and the extra money Mr Bayes earned while doing some landscaping work in New Zealand. 

While she admitted the going was tough sometimes as she had to endure cramped rooms, take turns doing activities like snorkelling and breastfeed Esme on the go, the experience was priceless.

"Esme has had so many new experiences. She's very sociable. She really loves being outside," Ms Edwards added.

"At times, I felt sad for her that she didn't have other kids to play with.

Among some of the more memorable images of Esme included her taking an underwater family selfie in Langkawi, posing on the steps of the ancient city of Hoi An in Vietnam and trekking through Ubud's famous Monkey Forest strapped to her mother's back.

https://www.instagram.com/p/7yNcNAwxOa/ https://www.instagram.com/p/7sIQS7wxFu/ https://www.instagram.com/p/8JaHO5wxPY/

Ms Edwards has also started a travel blog, where she hopes to inspire other parents and let them know that having a baby does not spell the end of their travelling days.

And after a brief hiatus since returning home in September last year, the trio are embarking on yet another adventure to Thailand, Cambodia and New Zealand, the Daily Mail reported.