June 21, 2024

Marline Travel Sea

Fly to a New World, Set Foot on Every Adventure

NI man pens new family-friendly travel guide with his Swedish wife after visiting 140 countries

4 min read

Patrick Hamilton Walsh, from Co Tyrone, and his Swedish wife Johanna co-wrote The World’s Most Travelled Family: A Guide to Easy, Affordable and Safe World Travels with a Child.

They became parents two years ago, but far from curtailing their wanderlust, it drove them to explore even more new places with daughter Elsie-Mae, who visited 39 countries before she turned two.

The family on a cruise ship

Patrick (45), who grew up in Clady but now lives in Stockholm, runs an international consultancy called Glotal but has also written more than 20 books.

He travels the world with his job, advising governments and the likes of Nokia and Microsoft on future trends.

Johanna is the chief financial officer of a tech company in Sweden that also has offices in Istanbul.

With both travelling extensively with their work, they set about making their business trips more of a family affair.

Now they are sharing the secrets of how they do it in their new book.

Patrick said: “This book is exciting because it is my wife’s first book. We wrote it together.

“All my books answer questions people ask me, and this one is the same.

“People keep asking how we manage to visit so many countries. The book answers that and more.

“Family holidays can be expensive, but they need not be. It’s about knowing when to go and how to book.

“There is lots of practical advice on budget-friendly family travel, as well as tips on travelling with a small child.

“We’ve included things like which credit card to use and how to make the most of travel rewards.

“We really want to inspire people to travel and show them that it’s possible to do it — we’re doing it quite easily.”

Patrick in the Arctic

When he was 16, Patrick wrote down three life goals: to become a Manchester United season ticket holder, to own a supercar before the age of 30 and to travel the world.

Having qualified as a chartered accountant and taxation lawyer with PwC in Belfast and Grant Thornton in Dublin, he achieved the first two goals by the age of 27, becoming an Old Trafford regular and the proud owner of a Porsche.

Realising he still needed to tick one more item off the list, he later sold everything he owned and went backpacking around the world for seven years.

Johanna and Elsie-Mae at a football match in Sweden

His adventures were recorded in his first autobiographical book, The Backpacker Who Sold His Supercar.

He explained: “Listing my goals changed my life. If you know what you want, you will get what you want. It is amazing how quickly things unfold when you put in a determined effort.

“When I was 26, just qualified as an accountant and working with PwC, I left the office every Friday night to fly to Manchester to go to Old Trafford.

“At 27, I was jumping in my Porsche to go to the airport to fly to Manchester at weekends.

“At 28, I sold everything and went off travelling for seven years.

“I have travelled from the Arctic to the equator and driven from London to Sydney, where I met my wife and settled in Stockholm.

“We are both Guinness World Record holders for the longest time on a fairground attraction.

“We spent 24 hours going round in circles on a theme park ride for leukaemia research, which was nothing after one of our other trips involved being on a train to Singapore for three and a half days.”

Patrick in front of a Genghis Khan statue in Mongolia

The family visited 26 countries last year, many of which they took in during a cruise from the Caribbean to Southampton.

They also travelled from Italy to South Africa on one of the last boats to sail along the Suez Canal before the recent Houthi attacks.

Of all the places he has visited, Patrick loved the Amazon the most. Still on his wishlist are the rugged Faroe Islands, which he plans to visit later this year.

Every penny made through the sales of his books, including the latest, is used to help homeless people.

“I have a lot of empathy for the homeless, and with all the money from book sales Johanna and I would go into Primark or Penneys and buy things like new underwear, socks, coats and blankets and take it to them ourselves,” Patrick said.

“If you go into Dublin at 8am on a Sunday, it is very quiet and a good time to find homeless people. We do it in Dublin and Belfast.

“It isn’t a lot, but it means a lot to those who are on the street.

“To everyone who has purchased a book, thank you.”

The couple’s new book

The World’s Most Travelled Family: A Guide to Easy, Affordable and Safe World Travels with a Child is available on Amazon

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