Five Reasons Everyone Should Go Travelling with Their Family

Snake on a Stick

Evie about to try snake on a stick in Cambodia

By Evie Hadley (aged 8)

Delicious Food

One reason everyone should go travelling with their family is because it means you can try a lot of different foods like fried insects, snakes, amazing Thai fried rice and Vietnamese phô.

Strange Asian Languages

You can learn a lot of different languages such as Thai, Bahasa Malay/Indonesia, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Nepali and many more besides. Now I can say “three twins” (meaning triplets) in five different languages: fet sam (Thai), tumba tika (Bahasa Malaya/Indonesia), gom blua bai (Cambodian) and sinba (Vietnamese).

Happy Family

Another thing I really enjoyed was spending a lot of time with my family because I don’t get to see Mummy and Daddy as much at home. I miss my friends quite a lot though. I also miss NanaRara*. My Mummy and Daddy are our teachers whilst travelling which I really love.


I absolutely love trekking because there was an amazing view of white-peaked Mount Everest through a curtain of trees. There were many more mountains such as Gokyo Ri (which we climbed in the snow).

Elephant Land

You should come to Nepal and see Elephant-roamed Chitwan where you might make a large friend!

* Nanarara is the phrase Evie and her sisters use for Janet’s parents. They got Nana and rara (they couldn’t say granddad) conflated when very little and it’s stuck.

Snake on a Stick

Silk Worm Salad

We’ve been pretty adventurous in our eating as we travelled round Asia. Deep-fried crickets haven’t defeated us. Nor have beetles, grubs, silk worms, bamboo worms or caterpillars. We’ve eaten frogs (curried and fried), fish heads, pig’s brain, chicken feet and pig’s ears.

I was determined not to chicken (sorry) out on this trip, because last time I travelled through South East Asia, my big regret was not being able to bring myself to try eating insects at the night market. Several times I set myself to do it, would walk purposefully up to the insect stall but, as I regarded the baskets of crisped-up insect bodies, something inside me would recoil and I’d find myself backing away.

My greatest surprise this time round was that, upon persuading my girls to try crickets in Koh Samui, they were soon begging to try all the other kinds. With exclamations of “yum, gooey inside!” and expert advice of “don’t forget to pull the sharp back legs off”, bags of critters were soon disappearing down their gullets. I thought they were adventurous eaters when their favourite food as babies was olives but this was something else.

Yesterday, as we explored downtown Siem Riep, we discovered a new challenge: a stall selling barbecued snake on a stick.

Once again, I feel my stomach revolting, the urge to back away mounting. But now I have to appear brave in front of my kids. I started off this whole “you’ve got to try everything once” resolution. So when we go out into town tonight, we’ll have to do it. Tonight, our evening’s ‘appetizer’ is going to be snake on a stick.

Wish me luck.

A Night Time Encounter

I still had my eyes half closed as I stumbled back to bed from night time toilet trip, torch in one hand. I’d reached the mosquito net and was about to start searching for the opening when a thought finally forced it’s way past the haze of sleepiness fogging my brain. Something had been moving in the bathroom as I’d turned and closed the door.

Moving? Nothing should be moving, should it?

I tried to dismiss it as a fragment of dream. It was pitch dark on the island now the day’s electricity was done. I was half asleep. It was probably some combination of flashing torchlight, blurry vision and squinting creating an optical illusion.

No. It was definitely a snake.

Snake! Instantly, I was awake. I turned back to the door and, re-opening it slowly, scanned the wall with my torch.

I froze.

Yup. There it was. A thin, green snake squeezing itself out from a gap at the edge of the tiles around the wash basin, tongue flicking the air. Its body curved out about 30cm from the wall, like it was being charmed horizontally. Like, I thought dimly, the toy snakes made of plastic links that writhe slowly when you hold them by the tail. Except I could see this snake’s muscles contort as it pushed more of its body into the room.

Then it saw me.

It froze.

We gazed at one another for a while, our noses a mere metre apart, unsure of how to address the sudden appearance of this stranger into our night time wanderings. I cocked my head to the side. So, too, did the snake.

I shrugged and stepped back. My thoughts had strayed momentarily to the two sleeping kids in the bed behind me but apart from initiating some kind of midnight snake fight, there didn’t seem much to be done. In the bathroom, the snake seemed to reach a similar conclusion. Reversing its contortions, it started shrinking back into the wall.

I closed the door, covered the gap underneath with a heavy bag, and, getting back into bed with a yawn, made sure the mosquito net was tucked in very, very tight.