Message From an 11 Year-Old World Traveler: “Go Out and See the World While You Can.”
Four years ago I had a really boring life. I’m the kid of a single Mum, so to pay the bills she worked nearly all day and into the night. I often had to go to a friend’s place before school and eat my breakfast there, and later I’d have to go to ‘After School Care’ at a different place. I went to school 5 days a week, and for outings we might go to the museum in our city or something that didn’t cost much money.
Life was BORING.
Now I travel the world — 65 countries in the past 4 years — and I’m only 11 years old. Here’s why parents should travel with their kids as much as they can.
1. You get to spend time together.
When I was back in Australia, I had very little time with my Mum. She was worn out because of work, and it was tough for her and for me too. But now that we are travelling, she spends less time working, and more time being a great Mum and having fun with me. This might mean we don’t own as many possessions, but having time with my Mum is more important.
I feel sorry for kids whose parents think buying them toys instead of spending time with them will make them happy. They might not remember the time they had with that toy, but they will remember the time they had with their parents.
2. You do lots of fun things.
When travelling, I get to do a lot of fun stuff like sliding in water parks. And feeling dizzy on an amusement park ride. And most of these parks in Asia and Central America, for example, are much cheaper than western countries like the USA and Australia. I remember there was a water park in Guatemala, Central America called Xocomil Water Park. It was maybe $13 per person and we got to ride unlimited water slides all day long. They had so many to choose from, and it is one of my most fun days ever. It sure was cheaper than theme parks like Disneyland in the USA. (Not that I don’t like going to Disneyland too.)
3. Us kids learn a LOT from travel.
Because we travel all the time, this means I’m rarely in school. But I’m not dumb. I went back to school for a while recently while we were back in Australia, and I got a lot of A’s and overall I had great grades. Considering I’ve hardly been in school, it just goes to show all those people who criticise us, that you can get an education outside of the four walls of a classroom. Why? Because the world is my classroom. Sometimes I learn from local people and fun tour guides who take me to ruins, but they make it interesting and I can feel, touch and see it for myself. You can’t do this on a computer or from a book.
4. We get to see lots of culture.
I get to learn all about culture because I am right there. I can taste and smell their foods. I can see how the people dress. I can even learn a bit of their language. I get to shop with their currency, so I learn a lot more than some of you think. And I like this way of learning and travelling.
5. Kids can make a lot of new friends.
Some people think I get lonely, and sure there are times when I do, but who doesn’t? Even when you’re at home you get lonely. But with travel, I make so many friends all over the world. I do miss them when we have to leave, but then we Skype or we might meet them somewhere else in the world. We’ve met up with some families several times.
6. You can experience LOTS of different types of sports.
I’ve learnt to play badminton and soccer in Uganda from the local kids. I learnt to snorkel in Fiji. I’ve jet skied and parasailed in Langkawi, Malaysia. I had a ski lesson in Bulgaria and I tobogganed in Liechtenstein. You get the idea! Whilst I’m not super sporty, I still get to give it a go and learn. And I get to experience new things I might not learn going to a traditional school.
7. And there’s still lots of technology time.
Because we travel I see so many cool things, and now I love to take photographs. I also know how to edit movies for our YouTube channel. These are skills I probably might not be so good at if I didn’t travel. I want to be a Youtuber or photographer when I grow up, and I get lots of experience with our travelling life.
8. We all learn how to be understanding and caring.
When we first decided to travel I decided I wanted to give my toys to the local kids, so we took them to a remote village in Fiji where I played with the kids who had no toys. I like to help the local communities. We also do things like visit kids in the hospital. Before I travelled and saw what some conditions are like, I don’t think I knew how lucky we are in the western world.
9. We get to experience lots of life.
Let’s face it. None of us are going to live forever, and we haven’t found the fountain of youth yet. I might be young, but I realise ‘your number can be up at any time’. I’ve also seen that the world is getting more dangerous with gun shootings and terrorist attacks, and none of us know how much longer we can travel for. But instead of being scared, I suggest you go and see the world now while you still can.