Best Friends Around The World - Traveling With School-Age Kids

April 29, 2012

best friends around the world

"A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles" Tim Cahill

Our 11 year old daughter showed me this list that she had doodled in her notebook and it made me smile. She has been traveling the world non-stop since she was five and has seen much more of the world than most will ever see in a lifetime ( 44 countries on 5 continents..much of it slow travel with time to immerse and reflect).

I adore how she used her three languages in the description..using the Mandarin word for friends and Spanish word for world. Most of the friends on this list, she has been close to for many years.Just this weekend she had a long conversation with her best friends in Spain while in Asia via Skype..keeping current while we are at a distance. Then she was off with international friends here to sing Karoke in several languages.

"Traveling in the company of those we  love is home in motion" Hunt

Our tween is a very social child and her long term friendships as well as her education are very important to us and we didn't want to just have the "bubble" of International schools, but local friends from around the world from every aspect and class who don't move around.  Eclectic homeschooling and dipping into local schools in three countries has been enriching for her languages, cultural immersion and social life..returning regularly has made all the difference.

drawing of friends international friends at Mandarin school in Asia


Can traveling kids have deep, consistent friendships? We prove it can be done! Here is how we handle long term friendships as we travel:

Kids, Friends, Travel

Can Globe Trotting Location Independent Kids have Friends?

I've read recently that studies show that we form our prejudices from three to twelve and I pray her many experiences have opened her mind to all the wonderful people in this world and the so many different ways to do life.

I will be curious to see how these friendships and experiences affect her adult life! Is this cute or what? Sometimes a child's doodling or drawing can tell us a lot about their inner world. What do you think?

"Not all those who wander are lost" Tolkien

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Margaret Sch.

"Returning regularly has made all the difference," you say, and I have no doubt at ALL that this is true. What is wonderful is that ALL HER LIFE she will know that "goodbye" need not be heart-wrenching, as connections can continue in other ways . . . and reunions can and will happen in due season, all the more fun for all the adventures in between to share and catch up on.


Just beautiful!!

Jeanne @soultravelers3

I hadn't really thought about that aspect Margaret..about goodbyes..and is a good point! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Before we left, we didn't know for sure how this was going to work's been a bit of a play by ear trip.;) Although I did always know that I wanted to help her with the consistency with friends.

Moving can be painful if you never return and kids growing up with that can feel the loss their whole lives.

Having several "homes" around the world that we return to regularly gives us all more stability I think as we travel.

Some RTW families never make solid friendships as they travel and I think that might be a disaster for a single child who is very social if it went on for a year or several years like some.

I think one of the challenges with the International school bubble is that it tends to be an always-moving, affluent crowd...which is quite different I think than bonding with some kids who have been in the same place for generations.

It's been an interesting we moved from my theories and hopes to actually doing it and seeing how it supports and impacts her.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks so much Sonja! Happy you enjoyed it!!


my best 朋友 from around el mundo?? i LOVE it!

and good point about the int'l school bubble. i think attending local schools is brilliant not only for language immersion but for forming friendships with local children.


I love your daughter's list! We also have an only daughter who is 11! We've homeschooled her and traveled as much as possible - lately that has been 3 'big' trips a year plus many smaller trips to see family.

So, she hasn't made friends in other countries. But, this year we tried an international private school. She has made new friends from many different countries. And, next year, many of them will be moving - to Canada, Dubai, several countries in South America, and probably more! These children usually spend 1-3 years in a country before moving on to another place. I hope she keeps in touch with some of these friends and we can visit them in their new homes!

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