I love highlighting inspiring Jackalo families that live our ethos of play, adventure, and protecting the planet. When we did our first Brand Rep search, we met Myriam Banks and fell in love with her sweet kids and adventuring spirit. Myriam and her family have recently returned from traveling the world, so I decided now would be a perfect time to learn about their experience. Enjoy my interview with Myriam:
Who is in your family and where do you all live?
Hello ! We are the Banksies, an interracial and blended family based in Los Angeles, California. I am Myriam, originally from Madagascar, I was born and raised in France, I love to travel and discover new cultures. Music and dance keeps my soul happy and I have a new found love for photography.
Darryl, my husband is the spark of the family. He is the spontaneous adventurer. He is an avid rock climber and surfer. He is the epitome of what an amazing fun dad is! Some days I truly think he must have an extra battery somewhere, maybe the British blood?
Maya is our daughter, she came into my life at a young age and I can not get enough of her she is kind, funny, spunky and sassy. She is truly my little girl from the heart and I could not ask for a better sister for Kailo.
Kailo is our little boy. He is energetic (part of daddy battery) loves to dance, funny, affectionate and also a true toddler!
How did you and your partner Darryl meet?
We met online. I was on my way back to France (where most of my close family lives) and my mother forced me to try the online dating thing. Reluctantly, I tried. And to make a long story short, 7 months later Darryl and I were married.
Where did you grow up? What were some of your early experiences with travel?
I was born in Normandy and grew up mostly in France. We traveled quite a bit due to my dad’s work. My favorite memories as a child were when we visited family in Madagascar, sometimes for 6 months at a time. We also spend a couple of years in Tahiti. I remember the fun, the beach, running with other kids, summer camp in Bora Bora, the simple life. It really shaped who I was and my love for traveling.
As a "third culture kid" defining where I am "from" is a challenge and it is a melting pot of where I’ve lived and where my parents are from.
What has the transition to motherhood been like for you?
I became pregnant at 41 with my son and gave birth 2 months shy of 42. I was very lucky to have found an amazing doula that not only helped me with the physical transition but also the emotional and spiritual transition. Doulas are coaches for pregnancy and childbirth and focus both on spiritual and physical needs. I had a lot of fear about childbirth. I had so many questions about bodily changes, what I could or could not do, and about the birth process. My doula not only helped me with fear, but she helped me understand my rights as a patient, and what I can say no to as a lot of patient bullying happens in hospitals in America. For me, she was the key to my good pregnancy. Childbirth is not only the birth of a child but also the birth of a mother.
The emotional transition took a little time but I have an amazing husband that guided me through the changes and helped me explore avenues of unknown feelings.
The changes to my body have been the hardest as I always had an athletic body and all of the sudden I felt I was wearing a heavy coat and did not recognize my body. The road back is amazing as I am learning to love myself at any stage and embracing my new shape. I am learning that health starts on the inside first—respect your body and what goes inside of it and it will transfer to the way you feel. How I feel now at 45 is much more important than the way I look.
I love seeing Kailo in Jackalo. Why did you become a Jackalo brand ambassador?
I worked in the fashion industry for over a decade as a merchandiser and dealt with a lot of overseas production. I have seen and been part of the damage fashion has on the planet.
When I became a mother and saw the amount of clothes children go through as they grow so fast, I decided to make use of hand me down and second hand clothes and if I bought new I wanted to buy from ethical and eco friendly small brands that cared for the planet.
When I saw Jackalo, I not only loved the design I loved what the brand stood for. Durable fabric and cool design? I was hooked!!
You spent several months this year traveling with your family. How did you decide to hit the road? What was on your itinerary?
This year we took a 5 month-long family trip that was 2 years in the making. We have always loved to travel, so we worked and saved. The timing was just right to do it now before Kailo started school.
We started on the East Coast near New York to help with the jetlag, Paris, Nosy Be Madagascar, Calp and Gualdalest in Spain, then back to France and visited Nice and Menton in the French Riviera, The Verdon Gorge and Castellane which was stunning, Saint George de Didonne near Bordeaux, Fontainebleau and Deauville.
Why is it important to you to travel with your kids/family?
As a interracial couple with biracial children, we always believed that the only chance we have as humans is to embrace others, no matter what their cultures are, or what they believe in. Ignorance is one of the roots of a lot of social issues.
Traveling exposes children to other cultures, people, food, weather, enlightenment, and fun. We hope that through travel they will grow and become more accepting of others and help unify the world.
What does your typical weekday look like?
When traveling we tend to go with the flow and really focus on slowing down.
After this trip my typical weekday will change when we come home to Los Angeles. I would like to implement some of the things that have worked for us better while we travel.
For example: daily meditation and check any social media and emails after breakfast.
What does your ideal Saturday look like?
Play with our kids outside the home. Whatever we do, we prefer to be outside. Preferably in nature. Los Angeles and California has so much to offer: hikes, beaches, mountains, camping, desert, and surfing. We are truly lucky to live in a place where the outdoors is so diverse within a few hours drive.
Is there anything you are working on that you want to share with our community?
Darryl and I are a lot into charity and non profit. We were searching for a new project that we would both be passionate about.
I had a few incidents while traveling to Madagascar where sexism and racism was clearly the case. I was deeply hurt and shocked by the way women were viewed and treated in Nosy Be After our trip to Nosy Be Madagascar, we decided that in the near future, we help with the issues women are facing.
It is not clear yet as of how, but it will definitely be around education.