Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Papamoa family of six backpacking around the world

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After being inspired by another family's travel blog, Bay of Plenty couple Sophie Stokes and her partner Carl Dickens are going backpacking ... with 4 kids in tow.

A Papamoa couple with four children — the youngest aged 3 — are heading on a global adventure backpacking around the world.

Mother-of-four Sophie Stokes said her family would depart New Zealand on December 7, and would not return for 12 months.

The family aims to backpack through South East Asia for four months, then Europe and the USA and Canada for the same amount of time.

Ms Stokes said she, her partner Carl Dickens, and children Kasha, 12, Triton, 7, Ronin, 6, and Cove, 3, were just an average family with school, jobs, bills and a mortgage.

But about a year ago Ms Stokes said she stumbled across the blog of the Morgans, another Kiwi family who had taken on a similar adventure, and decided she wanted a change.

"We have been planning, organising, saving and researching since then," she told the Bay of Plenty Times.

To pay for the trip, they had taken a second mortgage on their Papamoa home, while Ms Stokes had picked up part-time work again and the family had cut down on unnecessary luxuries.

The family members would each have their own 35L backpacks and would only carry what they absolutely needed.

"We have done the standard family resort holiday to the Gold Coast but nothing like this. We have never backpacked as such so we are just doing it with the four kids in tow.

"We are going to take the absolute minimum. When we need something, we will buy it. By only having 7kg each it will be a lot cheaper for the flights we do take and easier for trains, buses and other public transport.

"We will wash our clothes in the shower each night and have one spare pair. The whole point is we get away from everything. The washing, the chores, the cooking.

"It's about having an adventure together, as cliched as it sounds, it's not the destination, it's the journey.

"I'm so excited to be on a bus for six hours and have nothing but conversations with my family — the memories we will share.

"The world would be our educator for the year."

Ms Stokes said they would not do any rigid schooling with the four children but keep them up-to-date with mathematics and reading along the way.

"The kids have all been doing their own research and have sorted out places they want to go and learn from."

Kasha, 12, was really looking forward to going to the birth place of Zeus while the younger boys were looking forward to visiting Legoland in Malaysia.

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