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12-year-old becomes a Globetrotter

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Imagine waking up one morning, and your parents ask you if you would like to hop from country to country, experiencing the world. Skip school, learn about different cultures, and we’ll leave next year. This is the life of freshman Phoebe Offenburg.

Her dad had been planning something special for a while.

“When I was a kid, my dad always said in 2016 he was going to take a sabbatical from work and we’d do something fun,” Offenburg said. “I was twelve.”

However, her parents decided to include the kids in the decision.

“My parents officially decided a year before we went and they kind of asked us what we wanted to do,” Offenburg said. “They gave us several different options, but I don’t remember what they were, I just remember we could go travel the world and we were like, ‘Travel!'”

Unable to just take off, Offenburg’s family took suggestions from family friends and dove into research on where to travel.

“We did a lot of research and there are some places that are not safe to go to, so we obviously didn’t go to those places,” Offenburg said. “We asked a lot of our friends too because they had been to different countries and they just said like, ‘Oh this place is cool you should go there.'”

The family was able to go to many places and experience many different cultures.

“We went a lot of places,” Offenburg said. “We went to Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, Germany, I think that was it.”

Of those, Offenburg’s favorite was in the southeastern corner of the world, where you can hike with elephants.

“I liked Borneo a lot, in Malaysia,” Offenburg said. “We went to this really cool place called Bako in Borneo and you can hike and it was really, really fun, and people were really nice there too.”

One problem the kids faced was schooling, so instead they were taught by their dad.

“It was my 7th grade year, and I left after Christmas break,” Offenburg said. “I finished the rest of the year and social studies before we left so I was just home-schooled, and my dad taught me math and science.”

Her friends were also upset that she had to leave, but happy that she was able to experience something so exciting.

“They were kind of sad that I was going to be gone for so long but,” Offenburg said. “They thought it was cool.”

Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, all social media helps with these situations and aided Offenburg in keeping her friendships.

“We had good service, so I could talk to my friends.” Offenburg said.

Her parents’ influence has left a mark on her view on the world and she would like to continue traveling as well as go back to previous destinations.

“I really want to go Thailand because we didn’t go to Thailand,” Offenburg said. “I would go back to Borneo probably.”

Offenburg would even consider leaving the U.S., in addition to studying abroad and travelling for leisure.

“I would want to keep travelling or live in a different country for a while,” Offenburg said. “And then live in a different country [again].”

She gets her love of travelling from her parents and the initial trip the family took together.

“I think it was both of my parents, and they kind of decided after my brother was born. He was nine, I think, when we all went on the trip.”

One of her favorite aspects of the trip was the many different cultures and lifestyles she was able to observe.

“You get to meet different people and hear their stories.” Offenburg said. “We were gone for six months and it was really, really fun and a good experience to see all the different cultures.”

Phoebe Offenberg poses with a pygmy elephant in one of Borneo’s few treasured sanctuaries. Given the chance, she’d gladly travel back and study abroad in many countries, including Borneo, Malaysia.

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