BOARDING PASS – Jillian in Italy

I was lucky to grow up in a family that traveled a lot, but besides a cousin’s wedding in Toronto, I didn’t leave the U.S. / North America until I was a junior in high school.  It’s amazing to imagine Jillian Crocker aka Jillian in Italy (a Canadian living in Italy for 10 years) venturing around to all these fantastic places with her twin daughters (10) and a son (7). Travel for all + I must admit travel is the best classroom I’ve ever encountered. In addition to documenting their adventures on her blog, Jillian also contributes to Classic Play sharing tips for traveling with kids. Thanks, Jillian! –Anne

Jillian on the top of a mountain near Kobe, Japan.

last trip taken:
Our last big trip was to Japan last Easter and since then we’ve done some little trips within Europe.

next trip on deck:
Morocco in two weeks time! We’re really looking forward to some warm weather and tasty Moroccan food.

Having lunch under the cherry blossoms during sakura in Kyoto, Japan.

one place you would go back to again and again:
I would love to return to China.  There is so much to see and experience there and the people are so kind.  Plus, it’s such an affordable destination once you get there.

Exploring The Forbidden City in Beijing China.

place you’d most likely recommend a friend go visit:
I would have to say Japan.  It is seriously one of the most gorgeous countries I have ever visited.  It’s so much fun to experience a culture that is so different from your own.

Beautiful little antique village overlooking the majestic Mount Fuji.

preferred method of transportation:
I absolutely love cycling around a new country and discovering places you wouldn’t normally see by plane/car/train/bus.  For long distances I love traveling by train.  You get to calmly sit and admire the landscapes, meet interesting locals and it’s virtually stress free.

I love Japan and all their little quirky purchases.  Here is a pack of gum with little papers to use when finished chewing.

place you’ve never been but dying to go:
I would love to visit India in the near future.  I’m a lover of colour and I think India offers lots of it!

The famous red gates at the temple of Fushimi Inari.

place you’d never go back:
I can’t think of one place that I would not like to visit again.  That’s not to say I haven’t had a few trips that were less enjoyable than others though.  But I guess I’m always willing to give a place a second chance.

most memorable trip in 2 sentences or less:
I’d have to say our recent trip to Japan with our three children because it was such an amazing and invigorating country to visit.  Japanese history, culture and food are absolutely fascinating and the people are some of the nicest and most welcoming we’ve ever met.

One of my favorite things to do is fly kites on a deserted white sandy beach in Nova Scotia, Canada.

how do you prepare for a trip?
I usually start months ahead by doing lots of research online, by talking to friends and by reading books.  Over the months leading up to our trip I slowly book and pay for transportation, accommodation and special tickets to shows and events. That way the trip is mostly paid off by the time we leave. Beforehand we spend lots of time learning about the country’s history, culture and language with our children as well.

Visiting the Longji rice fields in Pingan, China.

how do you record your travels when you’re traveling?
I take thousands of photos!  We also all take little journals to record our days, make little sketches and glue in brochures/leaves/special candy wrappers etc.

what is your favorite thing to photograph in a new place?
The people.  I absolutely love taking photos of locals going about their daily lives.  I also love going to local markets and taking photos of the vendors and all the produce and local specialties.

Enjoying a freshly cooked seafood pasta on a boat off the coast of Sardegna.  Bliss.

on an average, how many pictures do you take on a trip?
For a two week trip I usually take at least 1500-2000 photos (which I eventually edit down to a few hundred).

A little pit stop overlooking a lake in Switzerland.

what’s in your “designer travel kit”?
I take my Canon dslr, our moleskin journals and my beloved iphone which I use to take videos as well as photos.

Tandem cycling on the beautiful Belgian seaside

what do you do after a trip? how long after a trip does this happen?
One of my favorite ways to document a trip is by blogging about it.  I also write a bi-weekly travel column called “Traveling With Kids” for a fantastic creative parenting blog called Classic Play.  And we also make a photo book of all of our trips.  It usually takes us up to 2 years to get it all together but it does eventually get done!

Vintage umbrellas on the beach in Belgium.

favorite souvenir/thing to bring back?
Fabrics.  I have a passion for sewing and buying fabrics in foreign countries is one of my favorite things.  I love sewing up special projects with materials bought on our trips.


BOARDING PASS is a regular column exploring the creatives ways people see the world and record their travels.




  • Awww, so nice to see Jillian here on PAV! I always love reading about how she and her family travel in such a thoughtful and easy-going way… always well prepared & full of surprises and things to learn. Following her on her recent trip to Morocco (through Instagram & Twitter) was really nice & colorful as well!

    • I know! These photos are giving me serious wanderlust! I need summer more than ever (especially because my heat doesn’t really work in my apartment these days).

  • So inspiring to see someone traveling so much with kids! They are definitely lucky to be having such an awesome childhood – and awesome mom too!!

  • Loved seeing more of Jill here! Her colorful aesthetic and personality shines beautifully here. The sea in Sardinia – missing it! See you soon Jill! very cool to see your Classic Play column as well. so perfectly apt :)

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