I am a sixth-grade student at Minnesauke Elementary School in the Three Village school district. I am currently on a half-year journey around the world with my mom, dad and 10-year-old brother, Sawyer, which we started in November.

My parents wanted to share their love of travel with us. Three years ago, we all planned on taking a world trip together by marking countries on a world map and researching them from books and videos. Our goal was to explore, learn and volunteer our way around the world.

Together we have visited 12 countries so far. French Polynesia, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, France, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Italy and Hungary. Next we will visit Ireland. I have seen some amazing things including natural wonders, man-made structures, amazing museums, castles, temples, churches and palaces.

Traveling is not always exciting. There are 13-hour flights and five-hour train rides. We had a flat tire in the desert in Australia. Mom’s glasses got run over in New Zealand and Sawyer got bit by a monkey in Indonesia and a dog in Hungary. We were “eaten alive” by mosquitoes in French Polynesia. I fell off my bike in Belgium, and got stung twice by a jellyfish in the Coral Sea.

The positive experiences far outweigh the negative, though. Some of my highlights include meeting kids and going to local schools in Cambodia, Thailand and Holland. Riding a camel in the Outback, attending Mass given by the pope in St. Peter’s Square, exploring the great museums and cities in Europe, giving an elephant a sponge bath in Thailand, swimming in the clearest water on Earth in Bora Bora and attending professional soccer games in Barcelona, Spain and Rome, Italy.

Our parents are home-schooling us for the time that we are away. My brother and I complete work on planes, trains, cars, buses, airports and in hotel rooms. I know from personal experience that when you are traveling, there are learning opportunities every day.

I started a learning website for family and friends: travelwithriley.com. I write about my thoughts and experiences as we travel. It includes descriptions and photos of the places we visit and “fun facts” about each country so the reader can learn along with me. I have followers in many countries, and I even got to present it to a class in Holland.

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Sawyer and I miss our grandmothers, friends, soccer teams and family, but our travels will be ending sometime this month. We are constantly learning about the world and ourselves on our journey. When you are with each other 24/7, you learn to rely on each other and get along. My brother and I play lots of games together and we like being with each other traveling, more than we would at home.

I am very happy I am on this trip with my family. I will always remember it.