Zach C. shares some great wisdom
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.
February 8, 2012
February 8, 2012
April 11, 2011
Very interesting post, sounds like a great life! I hope you continue to live an amazing life traveling Zach~
I do want to comment on the right age for travel. I don’t think there is a right or wrong age for travel. My kids have been tramping around Asia (although we have a home base) since they were babies. Obviously they don’t remember much of it, but they still think it is pretty cool that they have been to China, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Guam and so on. Now they are a bit older at 8&9 they are at the age where they do ‘get’ it more. In fact, looking back at my life, I think the trip that made the biggest impact was when I was about 10, we went to Mexico. 35 years later, it still is a part of who I am.
I have also traveled with teens who spent the entire trip holed up in a hotel room and then I know other kids, who at 8&9 could not handle the heat, the stress of travel, the inability to find something to eat that isn’t processed cheese….so, it is a tough call. But then in all defense to children, I also know 40 year olds that could not fathom traveling outside of the “US” or “Oz” or “England” because it is all so different and scary and well they don’t speak English in Timbuktu do they?
Anyway, I digress. I think travel is great for all people at all ages, if they are ready for it. If a person is closed minded, unable to see beyond his or her borders, regardless of age, travel will not do anything for you. If on the other hand regardless of age, you are willing to see, learn and experience the world, then get out and travel!
Thanks again for a great post!
April 11, 2011
Thanks for your comments, Kristy. I think Zach’s perspective came from doing his travels when he and his brothers were in their teens. I wonder if he would’ve felt differently had they gone when they were younger. Interestingly, the younger people I’ve interviewed felt any age really worked well. To quote the other Zac “Suitable for ages 8-70.”
I totally agree it really does depend on the person, as well. I know some 8-year-olds who can handle much more than most 40-year-olds.
April 11, 2011
i am loving his honesty – esp abt staying in australia! 😉 thanks for sharing this fun interview.
April 11, 2011
And thank you!