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Meet Jordi Lippe-McGraw, Founder of PAK Reve, An Innovative Travel Backpack

Jordi and Wilder in Mexico City

Congrats on launching PAK Rêve! What inspired you to create a new travel backpack? What is your badass Mompreneur story.

Before designing a travel backpack, founding PAK Rêve, and stepping into the world of parenting, I was an award-winning travel writer for top-tier publications such as Travel + Leisure and Forbes, journeyed through every continent, including a daring trip to Antarctica at 21 weeks pregnant. Post-motherhood, my adventurous spirit remained undeterred. My 5-year-old son, Wilder, and I have shared dozens of adventures across five continents. Over that time, I noticed a need for functional yet fashion-forward family travel bags. So, I created PAK Rêve to fill this gap.

Where do you live and do you recommend your city as a family travel destination?

I live in New York City and it’s one of the greatest family travel destinations. There is so much to do for all ages and interests and any time of year. Museums? Playgrounds? Multiple cuisines? Shopping? We’ve got it all.

What’s your insider tip for families coming to your hometown? What are your favorite family-friendly hidden gems?

You don’t need to get a hotel in Midtown to be close to everything. The subway is incredible and can get you anywhere you need to go. A hotel or vacation rental in Battery Park City, for example, will have more space and easy access to the waterfront making it a nice escape after a long day of exploring.

Some of my favorite family-friendly hidden gems include Governor’s Island, the New York Public libraries (there’s always a free storytime), Old City Hall Subway Station (for train lovers).

Is family travel part of your life?

As a travel writer, I’m very lucky that I get to travel often with my husband and son. We’ve taken him to 5 continents before he turned 5, including trips to Zambia, Dubai, and the Galapagos. While not always easy (tantrums still happen abroad), the experiences have made us better parents.

What is the most memorable trip you took with your kids?

It was a long trek to get there, but going on safari in Zambia was incredible. Seeing these wild animals through the eyes of a 4-year-old made us appreciate the trip even more. Plus, it was one of the few times where my husband and I didn’t work at all while traveling. So, it allowed us to be very present as a family.

What’s your best advice for traveling parents?

Don’t over schedule. With young kids planning 1-2 activities a day is the max to avoid meltdowns. And let the little ones be part of the planning process. When they have the option to choose some of the activities it gets them excited and more engaged in the experience.

What is your favorite family travel product or service?

Besides my bags, I swore by the SlumberPod travel blackout tent for years. It’s perfect for controlling the environment in new places.

What item do you always pack in your carry-on?

For myself, I always have an extra large water bottle in my travel backpack to avoid getting dehydrated on planes and a sweater because it always seems to be cold. For my son, I always have a mini notebook from Melissa & Doug and crayons. And, of course, snacks.

Mother and child each with their own matching travel backpack

How do you tackle the work/life balance (e.g., day care, babysitting, schools, etc.)?

I never strive for balance because I don’t think it’s possible and you inevitably feel like you’re failing. I strive for flow. Some days or weeks, work will require more attention. Other times, my family needs more of my help. I try to pick just a couple of priorities to focus on and be ok with letting the rest go…for now.

Practically speaking, my son is in school full time now and we have an after-school sitter Monday through Wednesday to give us three full days of working time. Chores are divided up between my husband and I, and living in the city means groceries are delivered.

But, in all honesty, there are many days where I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water. That’s especially true since deciding to start my own business.

What are the advantages of being a Mompreneur while raising children vs. working for an outside entity? Disadvantages?

At such a young age, I like being able to see my son as much as possible even if we have a babysitter in the house. Working for myself means I can have that frequent interaction. Plus, I don’t have to ask to take off work if my son is sick. It relieves pressure that many families face when both parents work in an office. I also think it’s great that my son sees me creating something that I’m passionate about.

As far as disadvantages, it’s difficult to juggle it all and have a “normal” schedule. As an entrepreneur, every day is different. There are late nights or juggling school pick ups because I got a last-minute meeting. It would be easier in many ways if it was a normal 9-5 that you could schedule around.

Also, hustling with my own business means finances aren’t always stable. There are great months and not-so-great months. That creates a lot of anxiety when you have to worry about providing for a child.

What’s your shameless plug?

My new travel backpack line is truly perfect for all moms to take them from the playground to Paris. The veritable Swiss army knife of bags, is comprised of a full-sized backpack, mini backpack, waterproof wristlet and insulated lunchbox that all attach together into one miraculously easy-to-carry bag via the unique PAK system. Don’t need everything everywhere all at once? Just unsnap what you need—and get going.

PAK Reve: the complete travel backpack set

 

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