Hearing Another’s Voice
There is a really awesome, wonderful, and amazing travel community on Twitter. They are always willing to share, give you tips, research things, joke, etc. An equally fabulous but smaller group of that community are the families who travel together. We get to hear from them a lot, but one viewpoint is often missing, that of the kids. And so with that in mind begins a special series of interviews on 1Dad1Kid.com. I have done interviews with kids currently doing long-term world travel as well as some who did it when they were teens and are now young adults. I hope you enjoy them. Some of their answers are incredibly insightful, and some show something else: These kids doing amazing adventures are still very much “typical” kids. We begin our first interview with Morgan who did an around-the-world trip with his family and recently traveled with his twin brother to Costa Rica to work at a wildlife refuge, to surf, and to chase vipers & crocs.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself:
I like surfing, running, martial arts, hiking, looking for animals, especially alligators and snakes, and doing thinks with my family; I am a Lifeguard for Brevard County Ocean Rescue now and I really love working on the beach; For the future I want to work with crocs and snakes either with field work, in a zoological park, or with educating people why they are important.
How old were you when you began traveling with your family? Was your first experience of international travel before you began doing it long-term?
I first began the around-the-world trip with my family when I was 17. Before this I only went to islands in the Caribbean and on a cruise to Guatemala and Mexico. This trip was completely different.
Whose idea was it to do long-term travel in your family?
The idea to travel around the world came from both of my parents. They wanted my brothers and I to see the world and experience new people and cultures before we started college.
Please do a brief explanation of the trip your family undertook.
My family started the trip in Mexico and from there went south through Central America all the way to Costa Rica. We rode in local transportation the whole way which was interesting and really, really crowded to say the least. We then flew to Peru and traveled by bus all the way to Brazil. From Brazil, we came back home for the holidays and set out for Africa. In Africa we surfed, dove with white sharks, helped transport lions for veterinary work and much more. After Africa, we went to Southeast Asia where we saw the islands of Thailand and Angkor Wat in Cambodia. From there, we went to Australia, which was by far my favorite. We saw huge snakes, crocs, kangaroos, and koalas and camped for the two months we were there. Finally, we went to New Zealand, Fiji, then home.
When your family began planning the long trip, what were you excited about?
I was most excited about Australia; I have wanted to go there my whole life and it lived up to everything I had dreamed of. Also, while there, I wanted to see the north with its crocs and snakes as well as volunteer at Australia Zoo. We got to do both and it was amazing!
What were your concerns or fears?
I can’t really remember having any fears or concerns leading up to the traveling.
Did long-term travel change the way you see the world and/or your future life?
After the trip, I realized if you want something you have to go get it; take proactive steps towards your dream. It is the people that always say, “You’re sooo lucky” that will never do anything. Doing something such as an around-the-world trip is not based on luck or how rich you are. It is based on how much you want it.
When you’re on your own, do you plan to continue long-term international travel?
Yes, my brother and I have since traveled to Costa Rica for 3 months where we surfed some of the best waves of our lives, helped our friend open his wildlife refuge, caught huge crocs for a university, and worked with the most venomous snakes of the Americas. It was so awesome! On our next trip, we want to go to Africa to go to the Counter Poaching Academy to help stop the killing of animals. This is something we are very passionate about.
If you become a parent, do you see yourself doing this with your own family?
I believe that learning by traveling is the best way and if I ever become a parent I would want to give my kids the same opportunity as my parents gave for me.
If you could go back in time, would you change anything about your family’s decision to do this?
Absolutely not, it was the best part of my life!
What was your favorite part of travel? What is your favorite memory?
There are too many to count. I loved working with lions, meeting our friends in Brazil, volunteering at Australia Zoo, Catching crocs in Costa Rica, diving with white sharks in South Africa, exploring Macchu Pichu, surfing in Nicaragua, camping by billabongs in Australia and a lot more.
What would you like parents to know who are considering doing a trip like this with their children?
This is a lot of fun and will be the best time of your lives, but it takes a lot of work. We realized how much work it takes to plan a trip when my brother and I traveled by ourselves for 3 months in Costa Rica. Don’t try to start a long term travel on a whim, but if this is something you really want, then you should go after it full force!
Would you recommend this type of travel to other families? What would your advice be to parents so that they can make travel more enjoyable and meaningful for their kids?
I would recommend taking kids who are at least 15 or older on a really long-term trip because I think that this is the time you enjoy it the most and can get the most out of it. Maybe try shorter-term travel for children younger.
What would you say to younger kids who are about to go on a similar journey as your family?
If you are traveling long term you will not always be comfortable, you won’t always have enough sleep, sometimes you will have to miss a meal or two, there will be delays on plane flights, buses, etc, and plans will not always go according to plan; however, the good things that come from travel will make you forget about anything else. Travel is truly, truly amazing and once you start, you never want to stop!
March 9, 2011
Brilliant idea (a series on travel from the kids veiwpoint)! I first dragged my 2 daughters backpacking for a summer in Mexico (when the youngest was but 5 yrs. old but STILL carried her own wee pack!), and then when they were 8 and 11 – I opted for back-to-back study abroads (thru the U. of Oregon) in France and Italy (the girls went to school in France and daily TRIPLED their French, I was sooo jealous!) and we again backpacked around Greece, Switzerland, Amsterdam, etc. for a stay of 8 months. Bar-none BEST education I could ever hope to give my daughters!
March 10, 2011
So very true! How wonderful for them to have experienced so much at such a young age.