A baby dubbed “the world’s most well-travelled” visited 23 countries in 11 months while his mum was on maternity leave.
Little Atlas Montgomery embarked on his European adventure when he was just six weeks old, travelling around the continent in a campervan with mum Becs Lewis, 29, originally from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, and dad Will Montgomery, 31.
The young family set off from their hometown in Queenstown, New Zealand, in October 2022, and since his travels began Atlas has teethed in Norway, learned to crawl in Switzerland and started solid food in France.
Becs said: “It will be exciting for him to look at all the cool stuff he has done when he is older.”
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After spending three days in Singapore ahead of their epic journey, the family flew to the UK where Becs’ side of the family met Atlas for the first time.
Becs, Will and Atlas recently left Sweden to travel back to the UK to sell their van before flying in September to their last stop – Greece.
When Becs’ maternity leave is over in early November, she will return to her job as a retail manager.
Against the odds, the family has proven it is possible to successfully travel with a baby, with people who were previously sceptical having taken back their words, according to the couple.
Becs explained: “I went travelling in New Zealand in 2016 and started to work towards my residency there. I said once I got it, I would come back to do a European road trip.
“A year before I got my residency, I met Will. We decided we would get a puppy, but I got pregnant and it spiralled from there.
“It never occurred to me that you could travel with a baby. It seemed so unrealistic, but it is not that hard.
“It has been amazing, you can see every bit of his growth. It’s great being able to travel just the three of us.”
She continued: “I do feel quite proud of us – to be able to get messages saying, ‘I’ll eat my words, you’ve pulled it off’ is great.”
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Becs gave birth to Atlas at 11.28pm on August 31, 2022, at the Invercargill Hospital, Invercargill, New Zealand. He weighed 5lb 5oz.
Both parents started saving up to keep themselves going on their travels when they discovered Becs was pregnant.
When Atlas was born, Will took a sabbatical from his job as a retail manager. The couple ended the tenancy at their rented home and sold all but five boxes of belongings, which are now in Will’s parents’ garage.
The first stop six weeks later was Singapore so Atlas could spend time with his uncle, Fraser Montgomery, 38, who lives in the city-state.
The pair then travelled to Chesterfield where they bought a Fiat Ducato van for £11,000 while staying with Becs’ dad in Rotherham.
As a condition of their visas they have to return to the UK every three months – before flying back out to pick up where they left off.
Countries visited on their adventure include Italy, San Marino, Switzerland, Litchenstein, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, Czechia, Denmark and Norway.
Will and Becs sleep in a bed above the cab of their motorhome while Atlas sleeps in a travel cot tent with a mattress which folds away during the day.
Becs said: “Travelling, in general, can be quite difficult. I have travelled individually and now as a family. It’s great but it has been a different experience. I consider safety a lot more now. The pace of travel is a lot slower than it would have been when I was 18.”
At each stop they spend about £3 a day on food apart from going out for one meal in each destination to sample local cuisines.
Becs added: “We’ve stuck to one meal out per destination – apart from in Italy, where we went a bit mad for all the amazing food!”
She admitted her family was sceptical about them travelling around Europe with a newborn. Becs said it made them second-guess themselves and wonder if they were being selfish, but they decided to take the plunge.
She said: “Mad was a word that came up a lot. We were pretty lucky that our families supported us, but they were sceptical. Nobody was outwardly rude but small comments like ‘you’re braver than me’ by many built to us almost cancelling the trip.
“Recently we have been receiving a lot of comments saying how lucky Atlas is to have this experience. It proves to me that you should always do what’s best for your family – despite people’s experiences.”
The family visited: Austria, Sweden, Norway, Croatia, Slovenia, San Marino, Italy, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Poland and the Netherlands.
They also stopped in Luxembourg, Germany, France, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England, Singapore and New Zealand.
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