When I had my first baby, "travel" to me meant walking to the park at the end of my street. I was exhausted and confused – and incredibly lonely. But it doesn't have to be that way.
One clever mother is using her maternity leave for world travel with her family – for the second time. London nurse Karen Edwards shared her travels for the first time when she was on maternity leave with her daughter Esmé in 2016, on her blog Travel Mad Mum.
And now Karen and her husband Shaun have packed their bags for a second trip, this time with three-year-old Esmé and four-month-old daughter Quinn.
"I am a nurse in the UK and I am very lucky to be allowed to take a year off work," Karen wrote on Instagram. "It's not all paid, but quite a lot of it is. We rented our house out when Quinn was nine weeks old. This time is different, especially with three-year-old Esmé."
The family's new adventure has taken them from Calgary to Vancouver in Canada, and on a road trip along the entire west coast of the USA.
"We've since been exploring Central America and arrived in El Salvador this morning," Karen wrote on 3 November. "So as you can see, we've come a long way from when I had Esmé!"
"It is amazing and I wouldn't change it for the world, but we have bad days too [including] messed up travel schedules, missed buses, lost luggage, crazy toddler tantrums and a sick baby in the back arse of nowhere.
"It's totally worth it for the endless family time we have together and as a second-time mum, I'm very grateful to have @travelmaddad [Shaun] around every day." Karen says she is often asked how she and her family are able to travel so much. She wrote, "We are not rich. Like I mentioned I'm a nurse and my hubby is a builder.
"I like to think we are savvy travellers. First time around we did it all out of our own pocket. This time is a little different since we have a successful blog, many hotels like us to write a review for them. That is more than we could ever have dreamed of. "I hope we can inspire you to travel deeper with your kids."
When she spoke to HuffPost UK after the family's first big world trip, Karen said travelling had helped her adjust to becoming a parent. "It was easy to become a parent abroad," she said. "We had two parents looking after one baby the whole year and I think that if I was to sit at home it would've been incredibly lonely.
"I was distracted and I always had help – life didn't change drastically for me."
Karen said she loves getting emails from parents who have been inspired by her adventures. "People realised it was a possibility," she said. "It's the norm that you stay at home during maternity leave but it doesn't have to be that way. "I think people are slowly realising that."