Next we interview Zach Cooney (Morgan’s twin brother). He is currently a student in Florida. His hobbies are surfing, camping, sailing, photography,and anything outdoors. He loves animals and one day hopes to work with them in the wild.
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 have been traveling with my family all my life, at first just around the US and Caribbean before we started to go more global.
Whose idea was it to do long-term travel in your family?
It was both of my parents’ idea, so that my brothers and I would be able to see the world in depth before we started college.
Please do a brief explanation of the trip your family undertook.
We sold almost everything we owned and began a journey around the world to Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brasil, South Africa, Swaziland, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.
When your family began planning the long trip, what were you excited about?
I was most excited about seeing the animals that I had been dying to see all my life and also to travel to many countries that did not know much about.
What were your concerns or fears?
I was afraid that I would get to Australia and not want to come back to the US!
Did long-term travel change the way you see the world and/or your future life?
I used to think just like everyone else. The plan was to get older, work in the US, buy a house in the US, travel outside the US, then come back to the US. Now I want to live abroad, maybe Brasil, South Africa, or Australia, and travel even more.
When you’re on your own, do you plan to continue long-term international travel?
Yes, in fact, my twin brother and I just came back from a 3-month trip by ourselves in Costa Rica where we worked with crocodiles, snakes, and other animals to gain a better understanding of different species not native to the US. We also surfed, hiked, and camped. It was a great trip.
If you become a parent, do you see yourself doing this with your own family?
Yes, but I think the optimal age for kids to travel is around 16-17, I feel like a learned a lot at that age and I could truly appreciate what I was doing.
If you could go back in time, would you change anything about your family’s decision to do this?
Not at all, it seemed to turn out perfectly.
What was your favorite part of travel? What is your favorite memory?
There are too many to count. The ruins of Peru and Cambodia, animals of Africa, waves of Nicaragua, vastness of Australia, everywhere is good. I wish I were there right now.
What would you like parents to know who are considering doing a trip like this with their children?
Wait until the kids are older. Like I said, 16-17 is the best age. They are still young enough, but are also old enough to hold their own backpacks, formulate their own ideas, appreciate the gift of travel, and think for themselves.
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?
It is important to compromise so that everyone has a good time. Also, some of the most meaningful bonding time is in the middle of nowhere. I remember times in the Australian outback when our only neighbors were the kangaroos and the only light was our fire and the moon at night. Those were good times.
What would you say to younger kids who are about to go on a similar journey as your family?
Don’t hold back and make sure to have fun. Make as many friends your own age as possible from other countries and stay in contact for when you want to return.