Reflection: Morgan’s Tale

[singlepic=1854,250,,,right]In August of 2008, the Cooney Family set off on their year-long travels. Together with their three teenage sons, Mike & Catrell wanted their children to have a unique experience. “Our theory was to give our three sons a way to see the world, experience other cultures and appreciate what all of us tend to take for granted before they go to college.  That experience, coupled with a good education, will almost assuredly put them on the road to success, regardless of the vocation they choose.”

Were they successful? Ask their son Morgan.

In the months leading up to the trip that would take our family across six continents and through 23 countries, we could not have imagined the things we would do, the people we would meet, or the places we would see. No book, TV show, movie, or story could have taught us what we would learn in the months of travel through Central and South America, Southern Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.

A textbook would never give you the experience of watching the sunrise a top a Mayan pyramid set deep in a jungle or teach you how to make coconut curry while overlooking the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. There is absolutely no substitute for travel and having those experiences firsthand.

“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.”  – John Hope Franklin

[singlepic=1853,250,,,right]When my brothers and I were younger, our dad would show us a map and would teach us about other countries. We would always ask if we would ever go to these exotic places in Africa or the Inca ruins in Peru and he would say, “Yes, one day we will go.” When my parents first told me about a trip around the world it was as if my dreams came true. The mysteries of other countries have always held my thoughts.

I have always dreamt of learning about other cultures and new places. Even at a young age, I realized that watching the Travel or Discovery Channels would never fulfill my need to explore. The burning desire to wander to new lands cannot be quenched by anything other than through travel itself.

[singlepic=1851,250,,,right]A day does not go by without me thinking about my family’s yearlong trek around the world. Smells, sights, and sounds bring my mind away from where I am, and back to where I have been; the billabongs of Australia, the bushland in Africa, the beaches of Brazil. The trip I took with my family was the best time of my life, we followed our dreams of travel and I encourage everyone to do the same! In fact, the dream is still alive and kicking inside of us. My twin brother and I are leaving in September for a three month expedition to Costa Rica and perhaps will visit a few adjacent countries as well.

As my mom and dad like to say, “Travel is the ultimate education.”, and my brothers and I are living proof that this statement is true.

Morgan, 19 years old, has now graduated from HS and is attending college in between traveling. His future plans are to work with animals and he has spent years volunteering at the Central Florida Zoo and Gatorland.

You can meet Morgan and the Cooney Family at Meet, Plan, Go! in Orlando on September 14, 2010. Be inspired by their world adventures and learn how you can follow your own dreams.

Meet, Plan, Go! Orlando

Other comments

8 Comments on "Reflection: Morgan’s Tale"

  1. Andi on Mon, 26th Jul 2010 5:31 pm 

    What a lucky guy you are!!! Not many teenagers are given this incredible gift by their parents. Best wishes with your future travels.

  2. Sherry Ott on Mon, 26th Jul 2010 6:25 pm 

    Morgan – I love that you shared your story. Sounds like your life has really been changed by it and travel will shape your years to come! Thanks for doing the post for us – we love it! Plus – you get the award for being our youngest guest poster ever!

  3. Tweets that mention Reflection: Morgan's Tale | Briefcase to Backpack - Travel Advice for Career Breaks or Sabbaticals -- on Mon, 26th Jul 2010 6:58 pm 

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sherry Ott, BriefcasetoBackpack and BriefcasetoBackpack, BriefcasetoBackpack. BriefcasetoBackpack said: Morgan, age 19, reflects on his year-long travels with his family – think you can't travel w/kids? Think again. […]

  4. jessiev on Mon, 26th Jul 2010 8:23 pm 

    THIS is learning at its best. what a great story!!

  5. Mark H on Mon, 26th Jul 2010 10:26 pm 

    What extraordinarily insightful parents and what a grand education – the education of the world. Inspiring story of positive parenting and teenagers with drive and passion.

  6. Sherry Ott on Fri, 6th Aug 2010 5:02 am 

    Thanks for your comment Mark. I agree – it is an amazing education. I think about how much I have learned in my travels and I didn’t start until I was 30! Imagine starting as a teenager…wow!

  7. Asia Market Girl on Wed, 4th Aug 2010 5:01 pm 

    Wonderful post. I only wish I had that kind of upbringing, although I don’t think mine is all too bad. Haha.

  8. Sherry Ott on Fri, 6th Aug 2010 4:59 am 

    Yes – I kind of feel like Morgan got a head start on his travels – what amazing adventures he will have for the rest of his life!

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