Around the world—family style

Globe-trotting daughter sends missive from Australia


After my parents informed me that our family was going on a six-month trip around the world, I realized I had better plan well.

For starters, we had to limit our luggage to 44 pounds per person. Not only am I known as Tricia, or my nickname of Tricia Bear, but in this instance I am known as the World’s Heaviest Packer. I can imagine the movie: “The World’s Heaviest Packer—Terrorizing the World One Airline at a Time.”

The golden rule for long-distance air travel is you lug your own carry-on baggage. Only pack what you need.

Somehow, I managed.

And in spite of the fact that I’ve never really liked flying, I made it through 30 hours of travel to get to our first stop in New Zealand. I’ve never seen so much water in my life—coastlines, bays, sounds, rivers, oceans, waterfalls, creeks and lots of water bottles. We even flew in a helicopter to a mountain top with glaciers—frozen water.

We’re in Australia now for three months where I’m going to school. The school is very cool because it combines academics with performing arts. Since acting is my passion, it’s great to do it during school. My friends want to hear my American accent and often ask me to say certain words to compare to their Australian accent. The kids are so much different and yet so much the same!

And yes, I had my apprehensions. I was not too excited about flying across an ocean, heading for deadly snakes’ territory and diving in deep water, among other things. But I’m having fun. And it is such a privilege to be on this trip.

I’ve also learned a few tips about traveling. The first is not to have a fight with your parents before getting on the plane. It could make for a miserable trip if you do. Besides, parents are more likely to buy you chocolate if you’ve been good.

Also, make sure you have a set of headphones. They work on CD players, computers that play DVDs and games, mp3 players and airplane arm rests.

If you are going away for a long time, get an e-mail address. It’s awesome to keep up to date on stuff at school and with friends. Instant messaging is another good idea.

If you don’t like flying, try to relax. If you want reassurance, ask your parents. You are safe. Make yourself busy, bury yourself in a book, listen to music or watch the airplane video. If you get fed up with your parents or annoying brother or sister, chill. You’re on vacation. Enjoy yourself. Tricia Pendergrast, 12

The Pendergrast family will return to suburban McHenry in June. Read the family’s journals and see their photos at

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