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North Texas 2-Year-Old Traveling the World

Lifestyle

Max Carter and his mother, Lesley Carter | Image by Lesley Carter

Max Carter, a 2-year-old from Frisco, is about to be the youngest American to visit every continent. Crazier still, Max’s bags were packed and ready to go before his first words were spoken.

His mother, Lesley Carter, began planning trips while she was pregnant. She told The Dallas Express that her goal was to travel around the U.S. with him and make him the youngest child to travel to every state before he turned 2 months old.

After making all of the arrangements, Lesley was close to giving birth when COVID-19 suddenly shut the world down and canceled her plans. Max was born on April 13, 2020.

But Lesley didn’t let this stop them for long.

“When he was first born, we really didn’t travel as much as I was used to because we couldn’t really leave the country,” she explained. “So, I decided to look into other possibilities for Max and I. Maybe set a world record.”

Today, an 8-year-old holds the record for the youngest North American to travel to all seven continents. But after a cruise scheduled for February, Lesley plans for Max to break that record before he turns 3 years old.

She also encourages other parents to follow suit.

“I feel like it’s so important to not see kids as a burden, like you can’t travel now because you have children, but an opportunity for you to grow just as much as they are during the process,” said Lesley.

Max’s first trip out of the country was to Mexico for his first birthday.

Max and Lesley continued their adventure by going to Asia, where they visited Dubai, and Europe, where they visited Ireland.

From Ireland, they flew to Africa and visited Ghana and Rwanda.

The toddler has also been to Fiji, striking Oceania/Australia off the list.

This leaves one continent left: Antarctica. As Lesley explained, this one was no small feat to figure out.

“Antarctica is very hard to get to,” Carter said. “I started to do research about that and I found a cruise line that goes to Antarctica that allows kids, so once I found that I knew the whole world was possible.”

As you could imagine, traveling with a toddler isn’t always easy. Lesley tells The Dallas Express that sometimes you just have to accept it for what it is.

One of her biggest obstacles is getting Max accustomed to a time change.

“Sometimes you just have to accept the fact that at some point you’re going to be that mother with the screaming child,” she said.

Max will be headed out on his final trip before becoming America’s youngest world traveler in February, when he and his mother will take a cruise that sails down the coast from Argentina to Antarctica.

On March 1, Max will officially be the youngest from North America to visit all seven continents. So far, he’s been to 15 countries, all before the age of 3.

Over the last 10 years, Lesley has documented her travels on Bucket List Publications, a website created for those interested in following the Carters along on their adventures. On the website, you can also find travel ideas for your own bucket list.

Lesley imparted a piece of advice for all parents itching to travel: “A lot of parents say they want to wait until their kids can remember, but the most important thing to me is you can do those things now. Your child doesn’t have to be a certain age. You have to just be in the right mindset to do it.”

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E.M. Riegel
E.M. Riegel
1 month ago

How does she pay for all this?

Lesley Carter
Lesley Carter
Reply to  E.M. Riegel
1 month ago

Paying for it can be challenging! Thankfully, I’ve grown my website and Instagram accounts to such a large audience that I’ve been able to get sponsors for a lot of the trips. Hotels, tourism boards, and travel-related companies often pay to have their destination or product shared on my social media accounts.

Reima is an excellent example. They sponsored a recent ski trip to Colorado in exchange for sharing their ski gear on my social media. It was the perfect partnership. Max loves their clothes and a lot of my followers have children Max’s age so they are introduced to Reima.

You can see other examples on my Instagram account https://instagram.com/bucketlistpublications

Do you travel often?

Grandma B
Grandma B
1 month ago

This generation has to have it all. Why can’t you wait till he is older when HE can actually appreciate all those places. A one to two year old needs warm milk,a cozy bed and a few toys. Their world is mommy and daddy not the Mayan Ruins.

Lesley Carter
Lesley Carter
Reply to  Grandma B
1 month ago

I appreciate your comment and that you’ve taken the time to read the article.

Max has an older sister, Athena, who is ten years old. She traveled with me as much as Max when she was his age. Although she doesn’t remember a lot of our trips, it has shaped her into an accepting, kind, social girl who is capable of great things. I know that Max will have similar traits because of his experiences.

We will continue traveling and exploring when Max can remember, but school commitments and extra-curricular activities will limit the amount of time that he can travel so we live each day now to the absolute fullest.

I assure you, Max has a warm bed, good food, toys, and his mom and dad. He also has the opportunity to try new things and meet new people on a regular basis.

I encourage you to head over to our Instagram account, https://instagram.com/bucketlistpublications , and see the endless joy that Max experiences during our travels. It might help you to see it from our perspective.

R Pino
R Pino
1 month ago

Love this story and the aplomb with which she accepts the challenge of time zone changes. Nice gift for Max to be in the record books.

Lesley Carter
Lesley Carter
Reply to  R Pino
1 month ago

Thank you! Hopefully we meet again on the road. 🙂

Anna
Anna
1 month ago

I highly doubt this adventure is for Max. Sounds like it is 100% for his mommy. The child won’t remember any of it. He’ll have to look at pictures to even prove he was on those continents, IF anyone even cares!! Safe travels Max maybe someday when it would actually mean something to you, you’ll be able to visit the places you will never remember!! Good grief!!

Lesley Carter
Lesley Carter
Reply to  Anna
1 month ago

Here are a few great articles that support traveling with children before they can even remember:
https://www.annieandre.com/why-travel-with-kids-wont-remember/
https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/family-vacations/why-travel-is-important-for-kids
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/travel/do-small-kids-gain-anything-from-travel/article34915332/

I’ve seen the benefits first-hand with my ten year old daughter.

And of course the travel is for me as well. I’ve been able to see the world from an entirely new perspective when traveling with my children.

I would love if you checked out those articles and we continued the conversation. I think they are helpful in seeing things through my perspective.

Regardless, thanks for taking the time to read the article.

Lesley Carter
Lesley Carter
Reply to  Anna
1 month ago

I encourage you to educate yourself on the benefits of traveling as a child.

This article will be helpful –
https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/family-vacations/why-travel-is-important-for-kids

Ashley Sabrier
Ashley Sabrier
1 month ago

Hey there!
I still remember meeting you in St. Lucia at the Windjamer and Jolie and Athena played in the pool together and I was able to witness, first hand, how you were able to manage running a successful travel blog and travel the world with your kid. To all those saying negative things…..What mother on earth, who needed to work, would rather put their kid in daycare and go sit at a 9-5 job away from their baby all day, rather than be present with their child and incorporate working doing something you LOVE, being a full time parent, and traveling together with your child as your job ? Lesley literally carved her own destiny and was able to figure out a way to be able to be a full time mom, and very successful owner of a travel blog/website simultaneously, and the benefits of her job is that she gets to experience these amazing countries all around the world with her babies. Literally….
living the dream. I met her on my families vacation and was in complete awe at her success and I assure you Athena was having the time of her life as well, regardless if she can remember where she was at 8 years later or not.

Happy travels to you Lesley and hope our paths cross one day again!

Ashley Sabrier

Lesley Carter
Lesley Carter
Reply to  Ashley Sabrier
28 days ago

You are proof of how wonderful, and beneficial, it is to travel with children. Athena meets children from all over the world. She spends quality time with kids from so many different backgrounds and sees each encounter as a learning opportunity.

You are a wonderful family and we both remember our time at Windjammer fondly.

connie
connie
26 days ago

And the point is? Disruptive sleep, no schedule, no remembrance, and dragged from country to country.This is every mother’s dream to travel the world with a baby. then a toddler. Where is Athena while you are traveling the world with your toddler?

Last edited 26 days ago by connie