The Most Well-Traveled Child in the Whole World

September 30, 2013

world's Most Well-Traveled Child - sipping tropical drink in Bora Bora sunset

Who is the most well-traveled child in the whole world?  Our trilingual 12 year old has explored Bhutan, Montenegro, Australia, Jordan, China, Tahiti, Africa, USA, Spain, Thailand, Norway, Morocco, New Zealand, UK, Malaysia, Germany, Singapore, Greek Islands, France, Turkey etc etc....including 45 countries on 5 continents on just $23/day.

World's Most Well-Traveled Child with costumed friends from many nations in SE Asia


Mostly countries that were traveled very deeply, mostly by foot and in 3 fluent languages ( Chinese, Spanish, English), which is an extremely rare feat for a young American girl (daughter of monolingual parents) just finishing her primary school years.

Just her experience of knowing her way around subways/mass transit in NYC, Beijing, Paris, Sydney, London, San Francisco, Shanghai, Budapest, Singapore, Stockholm, Istanbul  etc  as well as cargo ships, sailboats, trains, planes, buses, ferries, biking vineyards, RVing, canoeing, camel riding on 3 continents etc has been a valuable education.

Everything is impossible until someone does it! - Bruce Wayne

Cute young girl who is world's most traveled kid with the world in her hands

As Tim Ferriss said long ago about us, "You don't have to be rich to live a rich life".


Mozart probably has the record for the most UNESCO World Heritage sites on 5 continents, world-class museums or ancient ruins seen by a kid. She's gone completely around the world more than once, visited many national parks across the USA to earn Junior Ranger Badges, worked with archeologists and marine biologists on several continents and I gave up adding up our travel miles once it passed 200,000 many, many years ago.

World's Most Well-Traveled Child exploring Wadi Rum on foot with Bedouin friend and guide



In our discussions about her travel show (producers, directors, entertainment lawyers, publicists, managers etc. have recently come to us about this), we have suddenly realized that she is probably the most traveled child in the world her age! We'd never thought about it before.

Since we retired early to travel the world and educate her (via homeschool or worldschool) she has had more time and freedom to become a global citizen than anyone I have ever met or read about.

World's most traveled child helping other children explore the world with baby in China


Mozart made this video a month after she turned 10 when we were couchsurfing in Bora Bora..just taping herself on the ipod spontaneously and we've added our photos. It gives a great peek into a kids view of our ordinary and extraordinary lifestyle with the world as our classroom.


We are pioneers in the around-the-world digital nomad, permanent-vacation blogging realm...started that trend before most single and couple travelers, let alone families (when we sold our home and all belongings in 2005, plus were asked to be case studies in Mega hit books 4Hour Workweek and Art of Noncomformity). Most families that travel around the world, do it for a year on a huge budget, but the world is big and a year can only take you so far (and why we advise longer and cheaper RTW).

World's most traveled child in traditional dress at Tigers Nest in Bhutan


Yes, diplomat kids, army brats, travel writers, missionaries, expats, a handful of sailors etc. all travel a lot with kids, but most work (so travel is limited to vacation time) and they don't make their primary goal educating their child via travel, nor have they traveled non-stop for 8 years. We didn't set out to make her the world's most traveled is just something that happened along the way and continues because we love it.

Around the world travel kid on her second passport


"I am always so inspired by your blog and the life you have set up
for Mozart. It's mind blowing. I am a publicist in NY and although I
have no idea what kind of TV you are working on, my gut feeling is
that she is perfect for a Discovery Kids Travel Show. She could teach
the world so much - even adults! Her knack for singing and acting
would flourish naturally and the build up of her profile will open
doors. Same way Selena Gomez started. That show just gave her a reason
for people to listen to her sing. Do you guys have an agent? I'll see
if I can help in anyway. I think she is a natural fit for TV and could
help change the game for kids TV."

This is the kind of reaction we have been getting lately, which has been deeply touching and is affecting our perspective, opening our eyes to greater possibilities, as we are just an ordinary family following our hearts and doing what we can to support our child. It reminds us of when the New York Times featured us ( when I had my paralyzed arm) or BBC TV. We always pray and meditate daily and try to discern where our Inner Guidance is leading us.

The world's most traveled child knows the journey always begins within


We are not sure where it is leading, but will take it a step at a time, as we discover, along with you. How ever it unfolds, we know it will be more lifelong learning for us and a path full of love and adventure as that is how we do life, no matter what comes our way. We are humbled that we have been able to inspire so many people in many ways just by sharing our story and travels, so it is exciting to have the possibility of reaching even more people...especially children and the next generation.

Carry a vision of heaven in your hearts, and you shall make your home, your school, your world correspond to that vision. ~ Helen Keller



Mozart's passions are the environment, world peace, music, art, math, science and travel, so it will be rewarding to share that more with the world. She is excited to be  scheduled to be a speaker/presenter in November at the world-wide Global Education Conference and plans to do more public speaking sharing her views and experiences to help and inspire others.

World's most traveled child watching a sunset from her plane window after leaving Beijing


Mozart has been traveling since she was two weeks old and stayed in her first hotel then, but until we went location independent and sold our home and all our belongings in 2005, we just traveled on vacation like most folks. Our purpose has not been to add countries, but explore deeply for educational purposes and slow travel for language learning.

I know a well known travel blogger who spent a week in Italy to add 3 countries to his "country list" by quick stops in San Marino and Vatican City. Which is great, but just not our purpose. Because we traveled Europe 7 months out of the year for many years while on the continent, we've been to Italy many times over the years, often months at a time, but still haven't added those extra "countries" there because spending time in Verona, Cinque Terra, Pompeii, Tuscany, seeing Pinocchio,  Stradavarius, Uffizi or DaVinci museums etc., were just more important than adding countries for us.

worlds most traveled kid in Verona for the Opera at the Arena with Placido Domingo and Franco Zeffirelli


With a child, we are most interested in depth and breath for education and time together, so we put down roots in our ultimate family travel adventure, by making many places home where we return often. Having deep friendships around the world and knowing every day things like how to shop at the markets in local currencies or dipping into local schools (in 4 countries) for language learning, gives Mozart the real reason for her most well-traveled status, not just the countries or continents visited. The gift of TIME.

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

World's mpst traveled kid in our ancient village in Andalusia Spain where she went to school for 5 months for 4 winters


Many of these countries have been deeply and thoroughly explored repeatedly over many years because seeing Paris at 5 is a very different experience than also seeing it at 10 and 13. We've not only traveled more than most Americans, but also have seen more of Europe than most Europeans and more of Asia than most Asians. There is hardly a book Mozart reads or film she sees that she doesn't have first hand experience with the places mentioned.

World's most traveled kid is a trilingual book worm

I was amazed that even in Mozart's 4th grade class in Spain (which is an easy trip to Venice), she was the only one who knew what a gondola was, had been on one and been to Venice. We realize how very blessed we are to have seen so much of the world together and truly wish every family and child could too. As much as we've seen, there is always more to explore.


Her 3 languages have also helped her become an entrepreneur at 12, teaching people languages ( from 4 to 30 years old, including a geophysicist) in person and on Sype over 3 continents with rave reviews due to her enthusiasm and experience.

World's most traveled kid packs light RTW


Our ultra mobile, flexible and minimalist lifestyle means we can change almost instantly to what ever works, as the world is our home and we can live any where. Mozart is now at a 5th grade level of reading and writing Mandarin, so has almost completed her goal of Mandarin fluency and finishing the entire Primary school curriculum, so that means we will be more on the move soon.

World's most traveled kid was youngest, littlest, only Caucasion at a 1000-kid Chinese High School in Asia


At the moment, we have tentative short trips planned to Oz, Bali. Maldives diving, elephant riding in Thailand etc.  as well as India,Vietnam, Cambodia, Taiwan, Mongolia. Then, in late spring,  the Trans-Siberian railway trip from Beijing to Paris ( with stops in St Petes and Moscow).Followed by settling back in Provence with our RV,  ( after time with friends in Spain) so Mozart can study French next.

BUT  these  are all just ideas at this point and easily changeable. Our dreams and possibilities never end, but we stay open and flexible, listening to the inner call and direction. This week we book our flights to Oz, so stay tuned!

world's most traveled child is ready for more travel


We've just discovered that the youngest American to visit every country ( list of 193 United Nations member states) is almost 35 and was 32 in 2011 when he set that record. That seems like a pretty easy record to break for Mozart, but we don't really know if that is something we will choose to do or not. Never really thought about this stuff before and not sure if it is aligned with our purpose.

What do you think about all of this?

"One day you will wake up and there won't be any more time to do the things you always wanted. Do it now." Paulo Coelho

« previous | | next »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Alex | Partial Parallax

Very interesting, it's true that you can learn a lot from exploring the world and I think this has been a great experience for your daughter who seems to of learnt a great deal academically and through life experience. It's an inspiring story showing there is no reason not to explore the world.

Carol Greenhouse

I'm the single mom of a 10-year-old daughter, Zoe, and we're worldschooling as well. I telecommute for a magazine called The Intelligent Optimist, have for almost 10 years, so we can live anywhere. We've spent a good bit of time in Asia. We're currently in Kyiv and will be returning to our rental home on the shores of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala in a month or two. Zoe is approaching Spanish fluency and we'd both like her to learn French next too. I wonder if we could find a way for the girls to meet. Zoe hasn't ever met anyone else living this way. It seems possible that they'd really connect...

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Welcome to our blog, Carol! I am sure our daughters would have a ball together! We travel in such a way that we actually run into quite a few RTW and well-traveled kids as we roam - but Mozart is super social, so seems to make friends just as well with local kids who have never traveled outside their town or village.

Sometimes I read about travel RTW kids that only have friends online, which seems a shame and sad, but we nurture Mozart's friendships around the world.She has a well traveled Spanish friend in Barcelona her age and they are already planning their own RTW trip after college. ;)

Being fluent as a native in Spanish and Chinese has helped a lot I think for Mozart, so we are looking forward to adding the French.( Perhaps Italian and Portuguese too at some point).

If there is an International school nearby, you could check that out for well-traveled expat friends ( and libraries!).

My hats off to you and other single parents who do it must be a lot harder to do it while working and all alone. I know a single mom who did it with five young kids for almost a year which amazed me.

That magazine looks great and I loved my time in Kyiv where I have dear friends from my visit in 1988 when it was still part of it has changed a lot.

Let me know if you guys are ever in the same area that we are...and we will meet up!

Shauna Armitage

What an inspiration you all are! I truly want the same for my children and I hope that we get the opportunity not just to travel widely, but really indulge and experience places and people. Very impressive that Mozart speaks so many languages. Please let me know if you have any tips for helping children learn new languages when the parents are monolingual and don't travel so much! I'd love to hear your thoughts.

jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks so much Shauna for your kind words! I do think learning the languages well and spending lots of time in various countries has been sooo beneficial for encourage that for all kids, as much as one can.

I wrote a 3 part series about raising a multilingual child ( from a monolingual parents perspective) and it has LOTS of tips on how to do this. Mozart was actually fluent from birth with Spanish and we started both Chinese and Spanish in the womb.

So, YES, monolingual parents CAN raise multilingual children...even without travel -but that helps...but it does take many years of effort and commitment.

Here is one of the 3 posts on this topic and perhaps I will write more on this topic in the future as I have time:

Good luck!

jeanne @soultravelers3

I just want to make that clear that Mozart was already fluent in Spanish when we arrived in Spain when she was 5....BUT those 4 winters there ( plus other time) in a local school helped immensely in her learning to read and write Spanish ( 1st through 4th grade) just like Spaniards learn it. She was already a fluent reader and writer in English before we added the Spanish reading and writing and she was fluent reader/writer/speaker in both before we added reading and writing in Mandarin.


She will certainly be educated well beyond her years. Traveling the world is better education than anyone can expect to receive while sitting in a classroom.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks Andy and so true! So much can be learned through travel without even trying and then if one purposely uses travel to become fluent in languages and to use it as a tool to learn...the possibilities are endless.

Some cutting edge, exclusive schools for the rich are adding travel as part of the curriculum, but they cost 80K a year and don't give the kids as much as we can....because we can tweak to her personally and also get to be with her more than most parents.

Lucky kid indeed..but I see more and more people finding ways to use travel to support their kids in our fast shrinking global world!


Getting to every country in the world would be expensive and time-consuming. The easiest ones to hit are the ones in SE Asia, Europe and I guess Latin America if you do it by a car. The random islands and closed countries are not so easy. I still think it would be rewarding to get to every country. I hope to some day. But also as you said, at the same time I'd rather spend a month or two in Italy than two days in every country but not see much. But if your daughter decides to get to every country, she will have a huge push with over 50 countries already.


Wow! Very lucky young lady! She is learning so much at her young age. It sure will help her as she is growing!

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks so much Brandon! She is indeed a very lucky girl and she loves giving back to as we go with various service projects.

We are also so proud of how well she is doing as a language teacher and entrepreneur at just 12. She is teaching 3 languages to people on 3 continents ( 4 to 30 years old and even a geophysicist!) via skype and in person. Amazing to watch her and see how much her students love her enthusiasm!!

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks Marlana! We are still thinking about it all, not sure if we will go after that goal or not. Right now, we are just excited by our negotiations with the TV show and will see where things go from there...suddenly opened a whole new paradigm to our thinking and goals!

Buks Botes

Lovely blog and I think you guys are doing a fabulous job of raising Mozart. Very special family indeed and you all rock. Just some well meant criticism: don't teach Mozart that Africa is a country, it is a continent - so many Americans have this idea. We live in South Africa and my wife and I will start our journey on 1 January 2017 and we just love the planning and preparation that has recently started.

Safe travels.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks Buks for your kind words and we are happy to be an inspiration and help for your travel planning!

Not sure where you got the idea that Mozart doesn't know that Africa is a continent and not a country, but we are well aware of that and enjoyed our time in Africa and plan to see more. An amazing continent indeed!

Having spent her childhood deeply exploring 5 continents, she is a natural at geography. ;)

Good luck with your travel planning and trip in 2017!


Just now saw your comment. If you want to keep up the "most-well traveled" theme (not sure this is a competition, though), you will have to add a bunch more countries. Wow, there's some preschoolers out there who've been to 35 countries already. Traveling families are what homeschool families were when I was a kid - the newest thing. I think it will only increase in the next 20 years as we become more digital.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Sure Marlana, we could have added MANY more countries and still can quickly if we desire. That is really pretty easy to do with fast travel that many do, but that has never been our purpose and not what I call "well-traveled".

One can easily add many countries on one cruise, but the time on shore is extremely limited and we prefer to spend more time whenever possible and immerse in languages and culture.

There are lots of babies and toddlers traveling, but how much do they remember from their travels? We started traveling with Mozart when she was 2 weeks old, but purposely waited for international travel until she was 5 and reading she would get much more out of the travel.

Different strokes for different folks. No competition and no right or wrong way...and certainly various interpretations on what exactly is "most well traveled child".

Traveling international nomad families are still very,very rare...much.much rarer than homeschool families even 30 years ago.

By being early retired and with only one child, we certainly have advantages that many families don't have to do a thorough educational focused travel life including deep cultural and language immersion.

That is why there is no one else who has done it as long as we have or like we have based totally on our child's needs.

Most travel families miss the deep language acquisition entirely ( reading, writing, speaking like a native)..but you can't know a culture if you don't know the language. Thus, I think an important element in "well traveled" and connecting deeply to a place and people.

Right now travel families are a tiny, tiny group and most do it for a fairly short time internationally because it is not that easy for families to do full time forever for many reasons.

I do think it will increase, but I doubt if it will grow that much....especially full time for years as we have done just based on educational needs.

I think perhaps there will be an increase in 6 month travel or a year travel...but full time nomad family travel is just not for everyone and takes a unique, strong minded, flexible type willing to risk it all.

Most nomad families struggle financially and that is not comfortable for most.


Yea . . . I can understand most people will always have a home base at least. I know I would although I would be okay with rotating where I did longer stays. I just could not keep up 12 months of a travel for years and years. I still think there is some very well-traveled kids out there, though. They aren't all island hoping.

I would not say the numbers compare to homeschoolers, but travel blogging with children is the "cool" thing to do these days . . . almost like you started a trend.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Yes, I think we certainly did start a trend for sure and in fact MANY blogging and traveling families have told us we were their original inspiration to do this nomadic life.

Timing is everything and no one was doing this when we decided to and now one can find all kind of info and help about such a life on the internet. So that makes it easier and more popular.

For some people, just knowing someone else is doing this,gives them the impulse to find a way to do it themselves.

Tech certainly makes it more doable today...a LOT easier than when we began. Moving internet in our first few years was a nightmare.

Being a perpetual traveler as a couple or single is just much easier than as a family and that is why there will always be many more of the former type.

We didn't really set out to do it this long, but it just seems to work for us.

I think in the long term, this type of thinking will be more popular for sure.

I think the Australians probably have a culture that supports it more than any where else. A family can take off for travel regularly and do long RTW trips and the employers seem to understand that.

There are and always will be well traveled kids ( I was one and I grew up in the 50's!) but I doubt if there will be too many who travel their entire childhoods around the world.

I think that is a very different experience than an expat kid, missionary kid, diplomat kid, military kid, a family that travels on vacations, a year trip around the world etc etc.

The CHILD's needs leads the trip this way, not a job the parents must do and everyone has an equal voice.

Not many people have the luxury to or WANT to design their lifestyle around traveling the world to educate their child/children.

Many people have no interest in language learning at a deep level and combining that with travel is more complicated. Combining music and travel is complicated and perhaps even preparing for retirement or college is more complicated while living on the move around the world. ;)


I absolutely love your blog - you are living what I dream to do! I believe in raising children to become global citizens and aware of the world around them. Even though we aren't able to world school our children at the present I take every opportunity to educate them through travel. Our daughters are the same age and sound similar in so many ways. Thanks for allowing a glimpse into your life on the road (or air, or sea...!)

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Aw, thanks so much Michele, so sweet to hear that you enjoy our blog!

Good for you for taking every opportunity to educate your kids through travel! That is something that will last them their whole lives.

I am still so grateful for the travel my parents gave to me when I was a child in the fifties.

I am sure our daughters would have fun together if they met!

Happy travels!

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner