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FAMILY TRAVEL: Global Travel by the Book

By Jackie Burrell
Sunday, December 23rd, 2007 at 6:00 am in Books, Family Travel.

Jordan and Katrina Higham readingIt’s one thing to pack up yourself for a yearlong round-the-world trek, but when you take the kids along, you have to think about schoolwork too.  Today’s Times travel section features the Higham family’s grand, 52-week global adventure, but the nitty gritty of how to homeschool when your itinerary spans Iceland to Thailand? You’ll find that right here.

THE TRAVELERS: Aerospace engineer John and September Higham and their two children, Jordan, then 8, and Katrina, 11, of Mt. View, CA.

THE TREK IN A SEC: From Iceland to Thailand, Panama and Bolivia, the Highams hit 28 countries in 52 weeks, traveling by plane, train, cargo ship and two tandem bicycles … while carting boxes of books.

TRAVEL TIPS: Don’t cram too many activities into each day, the Highams say in their Web site guide to family travel. Pick one significant outing – a museum, an adventuresome hike or sightseeing excursion – and leave the rest of the day for unstructured activities.

GLOBAL EDUCATION: The family held daily math and journal-writing sessions, and read stacks of books, culled from a mammoth, pre-trip shopping run. September picked books that corresponded to the areas the family planned to visit, divided them into 12 piles and left them with her mother. Once a month, her mother shipped them oversees via DHL. Expensive? Yep. Would they have done it any other way? Nope. “Shipping books around the world isn’t cheap,” John says, “but reading ‘The Red Scarf Girl’ about the Chinese Cultural Revolution had a much greater influence on them when read in Beijing, compared to if it were read at home.”

Katrina read 111 books during her global sojourn. And the family ended up buying Harry Potter‘s sixth volume several times – they’d buy it, read it and leave the weighty tome behind … only to decide, a few months later, that they needed to revisit Hogwarts.

Looking for evocative, wonderful children’s books for your travels? Here’s an excerpt from Katrina Highams’ reading list:

Beware, Princess Elizabeth” by Carolyn Meyer England
“Mary, Bloody Mary” by Carolyn Meyer England
Horrible Histories – England” by Terry Deary England
Quest for a Maid” by Frances May Hendry Scotland
Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles” by Kathryn Lasky
Joan of Arc and Her Marching Orders” by Phil Robins
Maroo of the Winter Caves” by Ann Turnbull
Leyla: The Black Tulip” by Alev Lytle Croutier
Red Scarf Girl : A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution” by Ji-li Jiang
The Diary of Ma Yan: the Story of a Chinese Schoolgirl” by Ma Yan
Explorers Wanted In the Jungle” by Simon Chapman
A Gift for Ampato” by Susa Vande Griek
Secret of the Andes” by Ann Clark

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No Responses to “FAMILY TRAVEL: Global Travel by the Book”

  1. Nancy Brown Says:

    This was a great article. Great to see young families traveling with kids.

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