Quartier Collective

Meet the Penner Family

Martin, Taryn, Matilda, Francis, and Viggo, of Quartier Collective have spent a whirlwind year traveling to places like Morocco, Sri Lanka, and Japan, to name a few. They're currently in Tinos, Greece for one of their “family gatherings”: a concept they created to encourage like-minded families to gather and enjoy a unique, enriching, and thoughtful way of traveling and experiencing a new place and culture, together.

Do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with this authentic, genuine, kind, sweet, loving, curious, and beautiful family. They will inspire you, no doubt, to live life to the fullest and encourage you to prioritize and invest in what matters most, family.

— Hello there!

How old were your kids the first time you travelled with them?

Matilda was born in Paris, in a clinic just off the Place de la République. Her first flight happened three months later, Paris to Seattle. We were terrified but she was amazing! We always tried to sneak a big trip in before each kid turned two in order to cash in on their last chance to fly free, so those were probably the first big trips for the boys.

What life lessons do you feel travel teaches your children?

Adaptability. The importance of looking people in the eye when you’re speaking with them. Self-sufficiency. That no matter where you are in the world and how different people may appear to be from you, everybody (for the most part) cares about the same things: family, food, safety and opportunity.

What is the biggest misconception about traveling with kids?

That you should wait until they’re a certain age. You should not wait. Every age has its joys and its frustrations. And at every age it is absolutely worth it.

Any rituals that your family practices when traveling?

Every packing day we play “Something Just Like This” by the Chainsmokers/Coldplay really loudly and have a dance party while we pack. We used to fight a lot on travel days but we don’t anymore.

— In the Bag

What’s in your carry-on for long-haul flights?

Our laptops, headphones and splitters, the newspapers we always buy but never read (wishful thinking), a sweater, memory cards for photo editing in flight and toothbrushes. Plus lots of snacks. We usually have a separate snack bag and we never get to the bottom of it.

What’s in your kiddos’ carry-on?

A roll of tape so we can make inflight magazine collages (blue tape or masking tape works best). This is our favorite inflight activity, and always entertains the neighbors. Colored pencils and notebooks for drawing and writing. A small, new lego set to assemble and play with. Their headphones and a stuffie or two. On long hauls they bring their doudous.

What’s your best trick for keeping kiddos occupied in the car?

We don’t spend a lot of time in cars, but whenever we do we WISH we had a trick.

What’s on your family road trip playlist?

Creature Comfort by Arcade Fire, darkly, became a theme song for a while, despite it being about suicide. It just has this perfect road trip energy. We love Francis and the Lights, Chance the Rapper, Big Red Machine and Viggo usually shouts until we cave in and play the Darth Vader anthem from Star Wars.

Top 5 Travel Snacks: Go!

Good chocolate, Croissants, nuts, rice crackers, a jar of good peanut butter, apples, lots of water.

— What in the World?

Any foreign lingo that your family has adopted along the way?

“J’ai dit NON” -from our crusty old friend Pierre shouting at his dogs.

We’re collecting words for little boys like Viggo wherever we go: Bandito, Terramoto, Polissant… we have a list going.

The kids always learn how to say hello, goodbye, thank you and excuse me wherever we are. Bare minimum. They love say “alhamdulillah” because what kid wouldn’t love saying that?

Of all your adventures, which destination most resonated with your family? What do you feel makes a destination family-friendly?

The place we are most excited to return to, where we just caught the feeling in a deep deep way, is Tinos Island in the Greek Cyclades. There’s a simplicity and focus there that just left us so in love with each other and so pleased to just sit still in our little family and in the warmth of the sun. We can’t wait to go back this summer with a group of families for one of our Family Gathering events.

Family-friendly is typically code for overstimulated kids and uninspired adults. This our version of travel hell. In our vision of family friendly children are celebrated as a part of the story, not the epicenter of it. We travel for the feeling of discovery, and sharing that with the kids just makes it richer for us and for them too. We believe kids will be excited when they see you excited. Of course, there’s the ability to nap when they need it, a pace that allows for different speeds, and a quiet place to sit with a glass of wine at the end of the day when the kids are played out and fast asleep.

— Bucket List

Budgets aside, what’s your family’s dream vacation?

Japan has been high on the list, though pretty daunting, and so we are so excited to be here and to be making traction. We are dying to go to sub Saharan Africa and explore the space between the “money’s no object” style of travel and the backpacking we both did around that continent in our solo twenties. There’s got to be a way to break that open for families and we would love to figure that out.

Where to next?

We’ll be in Japan for the next month, then Bali before heading back to Europe where we’ll host a QC Family Gathering in Greece in July. Then to France, Spain and Portugal for the rest of the summer, moving down to Morocco for another Gathering in the Autumn and then we’ll head to Latin America for the winter before returning to Asia in the Spring. What did we miss? Oh yeah… Africa!!! Argh!

Find out more about Quartier Collective on their site.
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