Colly's World http://www.collyworld.com a 6th-grade girl's travels Mon, 10 May 2010 09:35:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.11 My Favorite Place So Far… http://www.collyworld.com/2010/05/my-favorite-place-so-far/ http://www.collyworld.com/2010/05/my-favorite-place-so-far/#comments Mon, 10 May 2010 09:35:42 +0000 http://www.collyworld.com/?p=763 My favorite place on this trip has been Vernazza, Italy, in the region called Cinque Terre. Why? Maybe because it was warm and sunny every day, or maybe it’s because there was an amazing beach right next to us, or maybe it’s because half the people there spoke English. Vernazza is so beautiful. The Mediterranean’s water is so clear, and there are grape vines growing up the hill with green vegetation surrounding them. The old original buildings are really well kept and are really fun to stay in. Most of the people there speak English, so it was really fun to be able to talk to people and know where they’re from.

A little while ago, my dad’s camera broke, and he bought a new one. Well, it turned out his camera wasn’t really broken, so he had an extra camera that he gave to me since I loved taking pictures in Rome. My mom asked me to write about why Vernazza is my favorite place, so I did. When I was done, my dad helped me put it in a slide show with all my photos that I took in Vernazza. Thank you, David Glass (my old piano teacher), for letting me put your music in the slide show. My brother wrote about Vernazza, too, and his story is also in the slide show. (If you play the video full screen, you can read the words better.)

Click here to view the embedded video.

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Roaming in Rome http://www.collyworld.com/2010/04/roaming-in-rome/ http://www.collyworld.com/2010/04/roaming-in-rome/#comments Tue, 13 Apr 2010 08:47:55 +0000 http://www.collyworld.com/?p=744 One day we were going on a day trip to somewhere in Spain, so my dad gave me his digital camera and told me to take a couple of pictures of whatever I liked. I took 234 photos.

From then on, wherever I went I would have the camera with me. In Rome, I probably took over 300 photos. My dad let me set up a Flickr account and told me that I’d have to choose about 25 pictures to put up, because if I put 300 photos up, people would get bored, really fast. Here are my photos! Click play, then click the bottom right icon to make the slide show go to full screen, then click SHOW INFO in the top right corner for a caption.

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When I Think of the Buddha–I Think of Shopping! http://www.collyworld.com/2010/03/when-i-think-of-the-buddha/ http://www.collyworld.com/2010/03/when-i-think-of-the-buddha/#comments Tue, 30 Mar 2010 09:38:50 +0000 http://www.collyworld.com/?p=699 In my history book I am learning about Ancient India’s religions, so when we were in Hong Kong, we decided to visit the giant bronze Buddha. We didn’t actually mean to see the Buddha the day we did. We were going to see a museum, so we took a thirty-minute taxi ride all way to the museum only to find that it was closed. So, we jumped on the subway and went to the Buddha instead.

Hong Kong is really fun but the city is really busy.

Hong Kong was really fun but the city is really busy. I liked seeing all the shops, but I didn't like all the people on the sidewalks.

We were really exicited to see this musem so, we went to another island of Hong Kong only to find that it's closed on Tuesdays.

We were really exicited to see this museum, but we found that it's closed on Tuesdays.

Buddhism is India’s second major religion (the first is Hinduism). There was a prince named Siddhartha Gautama and one day he went into a village and saw poor people who were sick and dying. He realized that he didn’t want to be a prince anymore so he became an ascetic. An ascetic is someone who gives up worldly pleasures, like eating, drinking, anything! Anyway, Siddhartha realized two things: that he was really skinny, and that he didn’t really like being an ascetic. So, he tried to find a middle path. He meditated under a tree for a very long time and finally he reached enlightment, becoming the Buddha.

We had to walk up 250 steps to see th Buddha.

We had to walk up 250 steps to get to the Buddha.

When we got off the subway there wasn’t a Buddha in sight. We asked somebody and they pointed us to a giant gondola building. It turned out that we had to take a thirty-minute gondola to the Buddha. We paid extra so that we got a glass bottom.

I'm glad we got the glass bottem because it pretty cool.

I'm glad we got the glass bottom because it was pretty cool to see below us.

When we got out of the gondola there was huge shopping development. We walked up to it and there were the most ridiculous stores, like the chopstick gallery, or a whole store devoted to paper fans. It was a maze to find the Buddha, but we finally found it.

When we got off the gondola there wasn't a Buddha in sight.

The Buddha didn't shop, did he? Then why does his statue have a giant shopping development at the base of it?

When we got the top it was really impressive. The Buddha had small symbols that represented stuff. One of the symbols looked like a Nazi sign but the lines were backwards so it meant peace. In a way the Buddha reminded me a lot of the pictures of Santa Claus, a big, jolly, relaxed man.

All the time, my family and I were thinking that the Buddha was built a super long time ago by ancient people. Later we found out that the Buddha was only built in 1993, which was kind of a disappointment.

Since there wasn’t a single sign about the Buddha, we decided to see a movie at the shopping mall about Siddhartha becoming the Buddha.

It was the most disturbing thing ever.

It started out with this twenty-something macho guy racing elephants, then having this really sappy epiphany about two paths in his life. The scariest part was the end, when Siddhartha melted into this 21-century businessman shopping in Hong Kong. Basically, it was like Disney took over the Buddha story and turned it into a fairy tale.

Even though our day trip was a disappointment it was still really interesting seeing the Buddha.

Disneyland was awesome even if it was kind of small.

Disneyland was awesome even if it was kind of small.

Right now I am actually in Barcelona, and before that I had my 12th birthday in Hong Kong Disneyland. Disneyland was pretty fun, but it was a lot smaller than the Disneyland in California. Even though it was smaller it still had Space Mountain that I went on about 50 times! Hong Kong was great and so is Barcelona. I can’t believe that my trip is almost over, 10 weeks left!

This is a really fun rope course that we found in Barclona.

This is a really fun rope course that we found in Barcelona.

Barcolona Is really cool. Here I am standing in one of Gaudi's famous buildings.

Barcelona is really interesting. Here I am standing in one of Gaudi's famous buildings.

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Down Under With an Old Friend in a New Place http://www.collyworld.com/2010/03/down-under-with-an-old-friend-in-a-new-place/ http://www.collyworld.com/2010/03/down-under-with-an-old-friend-in-a-new-place/#comments Sun, 14 Mar 2010 01:25:40 +0000 http://www.collyworld.com/?p=665 I haven’t been the only one traveling and trying new things. My friend Abby’s dad is the new United States Ambassador for Australia. Her whole family moved to the embassy about two months ago, so we decided to visit them in Canberra.

When we first got there, we took a tour of Canberra with the Bleiches.

When we first got there, we took a tour of Canberra with the Bleiches.

It was awesome! For four days straight we ate candy, had a Glee marathon, and talked. We also stayed up late making videos and taking photos on photo booth. It was so nice being around people other than my family. :-) Here is a video we made:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Her house is not only huge but amazing; each room is a different color with antique furniture and intricate designs.

On Wednesday I went to school in Australia. I know this sounds weird, but I did. I got to shadow Abby at her school, Canberra Girls’ Grammar School, for half a day.

Some people might think that school sucks and they would rather die than go, but, when you’ve been homeschooling by yourself for seven months now, you love to see anybody. Anyway, Wednesday morning Abby loaned me her other uniform, and her mom gave us a ride to school. Her uniform is a blue and white striped dress that goes a little bit above the knees, you also have to wear black leather shoes and a blue sun hat. Wearing a uniform is okay with me, but I didn’t really like wearing a dress. I was thinking more about which way my dress was going than what was going on. Her school is an all-girls school from third grade and above. I was so scared because I was going to a school that I had never heard of, with tons of people I don’t know, so I was terrified but excited.

When we got out of the car and went in the building I was amazed. Abby’s school is beautiful.

The Canberra Girls' Grammar School had amazing vegetation that I wish my school had.

The Canberra Girls' Grammar School had amazing vegetation that I wish my school had.

It’s kind of like a box; classrooms make up the two-story walls and in the middle is a huge garden with really pretty vegetation and an open roof. Abby showed me to her classroom and people started swarming us, asking and telling us stuff. One girl said that we both look like twin American Girl dolls, which I thought was funny.

We're a long way from Piedmont Middle School!

We're a long way from Piedmont Middle School!

Finally Abby’s teacher, Mrs. McGregger, opened the door and we all went in. The classroom looked like any other classroom with lots of colors, work pinned up on the walls, and a white board.

First Mrs. McGregger made us all sit on the rug while she read us a story. It took me a while to sit down with a dress on. The story was called Peaceful Heroes; it was about people who did good in their life during hard times.

After the story we did spelling groups to learn spelling and vocabulary. I learned that in Australia, you have to write in blue pen and in cursive, which is hard since I’m a pencil person.

I would just like to tell you that I don’t know a single word of French. I know a little Spanish and Italian but not French. So, when I heard that I was going to a French class, you can probably guess how I felt. When I came in to the French classroom, there were posters of France pinned up everywhere. I was really sad that my family and I aren’t going to France because it’s so pretty! We all sat down and the teacher gave us work sheets. Surprisingly I didn’t fail! Most of the words are a lot like Spanish words so it wasn’t too hard.

The blue dresses are are their class uniform, and the red and white uniform is their PE uniform.

The blue dresses are are their class uniform, and the red and white uniform is their PE uniform.

Recess was really cool. It was kind of odd because everybody was wearing the same thing. I got to meet lots of Abby’s friends. My mom picked me up and I was really sad to go.

Abby, thank you so much for letting us stay with you. It was a great experience to go to a different school. I really hope I can see you again.

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LUV2SURF http://www.collyworld.com/2010/03/luv2surf/ http://www.collyworld.com/2010/03/luv2surf/#comments Sun, 07 Mar 2010 02:40:29 +0000 http://www.collyworld.com/?p=648

On Wednesday my family and I took a surf lesson at Broulee Beach near Batemans Bay, on the East Coast of Australia. Our teacher’s name was Meg. We went on a super hot day, and the freezing water felt really good against my tight wet suit. The beach was great! You can hear the waves roaring, then dragging on the bottom and dying. The waves are great and the sand is super soft. We had so much fun! In fact, we liked it so much, we surfed again on Friday!

Here are our surfing photos:

Meg was a great teacher, and she taught us this starting pose.

Meg was a great teacher, and she taught us this starting pose.

We finally started to get the hang of it! (This is Kyle.)

We finally started to get the hang of it! (This is Kyle.)

It was so great! I did it again and again.

It was so great! I did it again and again.

My mom and dad loved it too!

My mom and dad loved it too!

Kyle and I went double, but we ended up capsizing :-)

Kyle and I went double, but we ended up capsizing :-)

I really hope I can surf again!

I really hope I can surf again!

Thanks, Broulee Surf School, for the lesson and rentals.

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On The Road In Southern Australia http://www.collyworld.com/2010/02/on-the-road-in-southern-australia/ http://www.collyworld.com/2010/02/on-the-road-in-southern-australia/#comments Sun, 28 Feb 2010 03:21:04 +0000 http://www.collyworld.com/?p=618 12 noon: driving

We got to feed parrots at the Blue Mountain eco-lodge.

We got to feed parrots at the Blue Mountain eco-lodge.

12:30: still driving

1:00: Guess what? I’m still driving. This pattern goes on for the whole day.

My family and I are driving from the Blue Mountains to Albury, Australia. Yesterday we were in the Blue Mountains at an eco lodge, and now we are in Albury, one out of two stopovers to Phillip Island.

We drove for 7 hours, 17 minutes in a car we call “The Wup” because its license plate says WUP on it.

Halfway through we stopped for lunch in a small town in the middle of nowhere. My lunch was a very dry fried thing. I wanted ketchup but it was $1 for two tiny ketchup packets. After lunch we got “cudge.” Cudge is a name we made up for an odd mix of caramel and fudge. We stuffed ourselves with cudge and then left.

Cudge is an odd mix of caramel and fudge. yummy :)

Cudge is an odd mix of caramel and fudge. yummy :)

While we were driving we played a game of trivia that soon turned into a competitive shout-off between my mom and dad. They sounded like they were at an auction, screaming out answers before the question even finished.

We also did home schooling: math, writing, and reading.

During the car ride I had an epiphany: this trip has turned me into a gumaholic. I constantly have a piece of gum in my mouth. I can go through five packs of gum in a day and I have. The weird thing is that I always chew the same kind of mint gum: 5 Electro (aka Rain in the USA).

All in all the drive was okay. Guess what? We liked it so much we get to do it again tomorrow! (Not kidding, we really have to do it again tomorrow to go to our second stopover).

ONE DAY LATER…

The next day of the drive wasn’t too bad. It was just like yesterday’s but shorter. This time we only drove for four hours. All the time, it was exactly the same landscape: very barren with eucalyptus trees and wide open plains of sand and dirt.

We were super happy when we got to Daylesford. We were stopping in Daylesford for three days for the Dirt Fest. The Dirt Fest is this giant two-day event with off-road running,  biking and triathlon. We were staying in a cabin at the trailer park where the games were held.

This is the small box cabin that we stayed in for three days.

This is the small box cabin that we stayed in for three days.

When we first saw the trailer park, we were sort of underwhelmed. It’s a eucalyptus tree forest with box cabins randomly placed. There’s a huge green field in the middle the size of a football field where the games were held.

On the first day of the weekend, there was a kids’ biking race, then an adult biking race (which my dad did), then a kids’ running race (which my brother and I did), then an adult running race (which my mom and dad did). On the second day, my brother, mom and dad formed a team for the triathlon. I participated as their pit crew (ha ha LOL — I just didn’t want to run). My mom would swim 350 meters first, then my dad would bike a 10K, then my brother would run a 3K, and I would be cheering them on and taking pictures. Our team name was “Got to Try New Things” because we had never done a triathlon before.

The trailer park was a whole lot cooler all set up. The field had all these tents and cones arranged. Also, there were all these huge, macho athletes warming up.

The first day of the games, I woke up to Lady Gaga blasting outside my window. I got dressed and went outside. The race directors had set up speakers and it was all Lady Gaga all the time :).

I said good luck to my dad as he was at the starting line. After he set off, I started talking to this girl named Nafie. She lives in Australia and was here for the Dirt Fest too. She is super nice. We went swimming together in the lake. She had this giant inflatable frog that we got to play on; it was so fun!

Nafi, Kyle and I watched my mom swim in the lake practicing for the triathlon.

Nafi, Kyle and I watched my mom swim in the lake practicing for the triathlon.

After my dad crossed the bike race finish line, we all sat on the grass around a podium. It turned out my dad won a third-place medal for his group.

We saw my dad bike in the 20K (12.4 miles).

We saw my dad bike in the 20K (12.4 miles).

After the bike race, my parents ran a 10K. My brother and I were alone, so we used the money they gave us and got ice cream at the camp store. When my parents came back, we sat around the podium for the second time that day. My mom got first in her age group, and my dad also got second place in his age group.

My dad finshed 2 in his age group in the 10K run.

My dad finished 2nd in his age group in the 10K run.

My mom finshed first in her age group in the 10K run.

My mom finished first in her age group in the 10K run.

Day One of the Dirt Fest was a success. The Smiths took home one bronze, one silver and one gold!

ONE DAY LATER…

To see how the triathlon went, check out my mom’s blog. (I was just too lazy to write about it.)

IN THE END…

About a week has gone by and I’m still driving. In the car we made a list of all the places we have slept in since we started this trip on August 15. That list added up to 52 places! I am really glad I am keeping this blog, because I am already forgetting so many of the places I have been!

After the dirt fest we went to a weird Austrlia-themed mini golfing place with odd manequins.

After the dirt fest we went to a weird Australia-themed mini golfing place with odd manequins.

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Three Wicked Stories from Sydney http://www.collyworld.com/2010/02/three-wicked-stories-from-sydney/ http://www.collyworld.com/2010/02/three-wicked-stories-from-sydney/#comments Tue, 16 Feb 2010 06:47:24 +0000 http://www.collyworld.com/?p=600 I have for you three completely different stories all set in Sydney, Australia, where we spent two weeks. They are about a jellyfish, a bat, and a play. They are all really weird and wicked, but I just thought I’d share.

Here I am at the Sydney Harbour waiting for the ferry to Manly.

Here I am at the Sydney Harbour waiting for the ferry to Manly.

A jellyfish

A little while ago, I went swimming in Manly, a beach near Sydney that we took a ferry to. Manly is infested with Portuguese Man O’ Wars, also called blue bottle jellyfish in Australia. A Portuguese Man O’ War is called that because its top looks like a Portuguese battle ship.

We got to Manly and there were signs all over saying to watch out for Portuguese Man O’ Wars. I thought they were just being paranoid because there were crowds of people in the water not getting stung. So, I jumped in and went boogie boarding, ignoring the signs. The waves were huge but the water was shallow for about a quarter-mile out.

About an hour later I came back from boogie boarding and my brother was on the shore. He was crying and on his leg was a giant welt that circled his calf just below his knee. We think he was stung by a dead jellyfish floating on its side, which made it wrap all the way around.

Of course, I stupidly went back out in the water before we had to go.

Of course, a jellyfish stung me.

I couldn’t talk; it felt sort of like a bee sting times a thousand. A giant welt appeared on my knee, so whenever I bent my knee it hurt like crazy. I slowly limped to the showers. For some reason the pain was now moving up in my thigh. After I came out and met my dad, the pain was now in my hip. He took me to first aid station. The lifeguards told me that the poison was moving up my leg and that I should just rest it.

This is the kind of jellyfish at Manly Beach.

This is the kind of jellyfish at Manly Beach.

My day was okay after that. My dad bought my brother and me ice cream, and then we went home. Now I can say that I got stung by a jellyfish in Australia.

A bat

A couple of days ago, we went to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney to see the fruit bats. We walked around for a while but we didn’t see any fruit bats. As we got farther into the park, we kept hearing all these weird bird noises, but there weren’t many birds around. I had to go to the bathroom so we found one, and after I came out my dad said, “Colly, look at those coconuts up in the tree.”

“What about them?” I said, looking where he was pointing.

One of the coconuts flew away.

“Oh my god!” I screamed. “They’re fruit bats!”

These are a couple of the fruit bats. In Australia, they're also called "flying foxes."

These are a couple of the fruit bats. In Australia, they're also called "flying foxes."

I looked all around and every single tree was covered with “coconuts.” They were everywhere! (Later we found out that there were an estimated 12,000!)

“How did I not notice this?” I asked, really freaked out.

“We didn’t either!” my mom said.

We kept walking through the botanical gardens pointing out all the “coconuts”. The fruit bats are fury creatures the size of Chihuahuas with leathery, translucent wings. They curl up in the day so they really do look like coconuts.

We also saw giant spiders hanging on giant webs (poisonous of course).

Spiders like this were all over the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Spiders like this were all over the Royal Botanic Gardens.

A play

When I was 9 I saw Wicked in New York, and I’ve wanted to see it again ever since. In case you don’t know what Wicked is, it’s the BEST play ever. How did the Wicked Witch of the West become wicked? How did Glinda become the good witch? How did the Scarecrow become a scarecrow? This story took place all before Dorothy dropped in. Did you know Elphaba (who turns into the infamous Wicked Witch of the West) and Galinda (who turns into Glinda the Good Witch) were once best friends? Amazing costumes, amazing voices, an amazing show.

When we first got to Sydney I saw a huge marquee that read “WICKED”.  I got really excited that it was here and showed my parents, and they got really excited too.

On Monday my parents did Twenty Questions with my brother and me. I know it sounds weird, but it was for a really cool prize.

“Twenty Questions,” my mom said, “ What are we doing on Wednesday?”

“A ten mile death hike?” I guessed. (With my parents, that’s not a bad guess.)

“No,” my mom said.

I love Wicked!

I love Wicked!

“A water park?” my brother guessed.

“Nope,” my mom said.

The “game” went on forever (or so it seemed).

“Wicked?” I guessed.

“Yes!!!” my mom said.

“Oh my god!!!!!!” I yelled.

On Wednesday we went to Wicked. It was amazing! I forgot so much from the last time I saw it, and it was amazing seeing it again. If you ever have the chance to go, do it.

Here is the Sydney Opera House, one of the weirdest buildings on Earth.

Here is the Sydney Opera House, one of the weirdest buildings on Earth.

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Q & A About My Travels http://www.collyworld.com/2010/01/q-a-about-my-travels/ http://www.collyworld.com/2010/01/q-a-about-my-travels/#comments Wed, 20 Jan 2010 03:38:27 +0000 http://www.collyworld.com/?p=561 I just passed the halfway point of my trip, and I realized some of you still might not know what I’m doing. I emailed some friends and asked if they had any questions about my trip. Here’s what they asked. Thanks to everyone who asked these questions! You can ask me more questions if you want in the comment field.

Q: What is your favorite part about traveling the world?

A: Definitely seeing new places, because every place is different. For example, our first stop in New Zealand was Auckland (Auckland is a big city). After Auckland we went to Harris Hill in Nelson, which is in a small town with big fields, a huge bay, and lots of hills all around it. Both places were completely different but I still liked being in both of them.

Q: What is your least favorite part about traveling the world?

Here is my family and my dog with all of our luggage.

Here is my family and my dog with all of our luggage.

A: Besides getting homesick, the luggage. It’s either we have too much and it’s impossible to carry it around, or we don’t have what we need and we’re freezing or too hot.

Q: How much luggage do you travel with?

A: Well, we have 6 small carry-ons: 3 back packs, 1 computer bag, 1 shoulder bag, and 1 camera bag. We also have 5 main suitcases: 1 bag for each of us, and 1 huge black suitcase with all of our home schooling supplies. The suitcase with all of our supplies we call “the black tick.” Everyday we talk about needing to clean it out, but instead it keeps growing and growing. It has stuff we never use but we don’t want to throw away either. Right now the black tick is overflowing.

Q: What’s your favorite place and why?

A: I have no idea; every place I go to I love. But, if I had to choose, I’d say Abel Tasman National Park. That’s where I sea kayaked for three days, and if you want to read more about it you can at http://away-together.com/2010/01/07/kayak-adventure-around-abel-tasman-park/

Here’s a movie that my mom made about our family and friends kayaking there:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Q: How old do you have to be to go sea kayaking at Abel Tasman?

A: Truthfully, you have to be 14 years old to go sea kayaking for three days. I really have no clue how we convinced them to let us go.

Q: Where have you been so far on your trip?

A: This list is only the first five months!

  1. Fallon, NV
  2. Telluride, CO
  3. Mesa Verde National Park and Durango, CO
  4. Boulder CO
  5. Grand Canyon South Rim
  6. Sedona, AZ
  7. Barstow, CA
  8. Pacific Palisades, CA
  9. Ojai, CA
  10. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  11. Colonia, Uruguay
  12. Bariloche, Argentina
  13. Villa La Angostura, Argentina
  14. Mendoza, Argentina
  15. Santiago, Chile
  16. Auckland, NZ
  17. Waitangi and Bay of Islands, NZ
  18. Kerikeri, NZ
  19. Rotorua and Bay of Plenty, NZ
  20. Wellington, NZ
  21. Nelson, NZ
  22. Karamea and West Coast, NZ
  23. Flock Hill on Arthur’s Pass, NZ
  24. Queenstown, NZ

I hope I’m not forgetting any!

Q: What do you miss from a regular school and from Piedmont?

A: I think the thing I miss most is the people, my friends, my teachers, my neighbors, anyone I know — my whole social life. I also really miss my house; it’s really fun to travel, but it’s also really hard to always be moving from house to house, hotel room to hotel room, or motel to motel. I also miss after school activities like drama, trapeze or gymnastics. But we do try to find things we can do wherever we are.

Here's Kyle and me doing a bungee jump trampoline in Queenstown.

Here's Kyle and me doing a bungee jump trampoline in Queenstown.

For example, in Boulder I did gymnastics, and you can read more about it at http://www.collyworld.com/2009/09/flipping-for-cats/

Q: Do you get homesick often?

A: Yes I do; I’ve been away from Piedmont for about five months now and I still get homesick.

Q: How did you feel when you heard you were going on this trip?

A: Well, I was really scared at first. This is what happened: At first my parents just thought of the idea of going away for a year. They didn’t tell us at first, but every day it made more and more sense to them. When they did tell us I thought they were kidding — going away for a year? Why? I got really freaked out because I didn’t want to. I was about to start 6th grade! But every time we talked about traveling for a year, we got used to the idea and even excited! So finally after all of the planning, our year-round trip happened.

Q: Do you feel like it’s going to be hard to readjust from such a flexible schedule?

A: Yes, definitely.

Q: Are you having fun?

A: All the time. Like I said, I do get homesick, but I’m still having fun. I get to do so many fun and amazing things that I would never get to try if I didn’t go on this trip. For example, zorbing or petting eels or going to WOW, and you can read more about it at http://www.collyworld.com/2010/01/new-adventures-in-new-zealand/

Q: Where are you?

A: Right now I’m staying with some family friends in Queenstown, New Zealand.

My parents looking dopey in Queenstown after a "terrifying" ride on the luge. (It was only terrifying to my mom.)

My parents looking dopey in Queenstown after a "terrifying" ride on the luge. (It was only terrifying to my mom.)

Q: How is Queenstown different from the city of Piedmont?

A: It’s really different because it has a giant glacier lake with mountains and glaciers all around it. There are sheep everywhere!

Q: How has your travel been so far?

A: Well we just celebrated our half waypoint on our trip and so far everything has gone great. No real problems have happened like losing luggage, getting really sick, or anything like that.

Q: What foreign languages have you heard people speak?

A: I have heard Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, German, and Maori.

Q: Is it hard getting used to sleeping in a different place frequently?

A: Not for me, I can sleep at any time, anywhere, forever.

Q: Now much do you home school (hours per day)?

A: We don’t really keep track of the hours because we are learning all the time. We’re going to visitor centers, seeing and learning about monuments, going to national parks, and reading nonstop. But, when we are doing “schooling schooling” (math, writing, science), we try to do an average of three hours a day. I know it might sound short, but we home school on weekends and vacations too.

Q: Have you gotten carsick yet?

A: Definitely. We have to do really long drives sometimes, so I like to read in the car, but I end up getting really carsick and having to pull over. I haven’t thrown up yet though.

Q: Is it annoying to have to be with your brother the whole time?

A: I thought I would be really sick of him by now, but instead I am really glad I have him to talk to or else I would be soooooo lonely and bored!

Kyle and I crossed a swinging rope bridge fifty feet up in the air above a river. I'm glad I have him to talk to and do stuff with.

Kyle and I crossed a swinging rope bridge fifty feet up in the air above a river. I'm glad I have him to talk to and do stuff with.

Q: Is it weird talking to people in other languages or accents?

A: It’s okay in English-speaking countries, but it’s a little harder in others. All you really have to know is please, thank you, etc. I know a little bit of Spanish and I am learning Italian too. Good bye! Adios! Arrivederci!

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New Adventures In New Zealand http://www.collyworld.com/2010/01/new-adventures-in-new-zealand/ http://www.collyworld.com/2010/01/new-adventures-in-new-zealand/#comments Fri, 08 Jan 2010 05:03:50 +0000 http://www.collyworld.com/?p=516 Kayaking and camping in Abel Tasman National Park for three days was so fun and amazing.

Kayaking and camping in Abel Tasman National Park for three days was so fun and amazing.

First of all, I would like to apologize for not writing a blog post in so long. So much has happened and I can’t keep track of all of it! Plus, we were on the road a lot. We recently left Nelson, New Zealand, where we lived for two weeks, and went on a three-day kayaking trip in the ocean next to Abel Tasman National Park! If you want to read more about our kayaking and camping, you can on our family blog. Here are some of the cool things that finished off my 2009:

ZORBING

What is Zorbing? What even is a Zorb? My mom calls it overpriced and overrated, but I call it fun.

zorbing |ˈzôrbi ng |
noun
a sport in which a participant is secured inside an inner capsule in a large, transparent ball that is then rolled along the ground or down hills.
ORIGIN 1990s: from zorb, the invented name for the ball, + -ing.

-New Oxford American Dictionary

Or, in other words, a big inflatable hamster ball that is rolling down a hill super fast. My brother and I went on the Zorb in Rotorua, on the North Island of New Zealand. But really we weren’t tall enough for the Zorb so instead we did the Zorb-dro. The only difference is that you are not strapped in to the Zorb-dro — you’re just bouncing around loose — and there’s water in it too, so you are flopping around while getting soaked in freezing water. It was incredibly fun! My mom made a movie about it that you can watch.

Click here to view the embedded video.

HARRIS HILL

The view from our cottage on Harris Hill near Nelson. There were lots of animals such as cows, goats, pigs, sheep, llamas and ponies.

The view from our cottage on Harris Hill near Nelson. There were lots of animals such as cows, goats, pigs, sheep, llamas and ponies.

My family and I stayed in a cottage on Harris Hill, an amazing farm on top of a hill on the South Island of New Zealand. You look outside and see the blue bay surrounded by green mountains and a clear blue sky. Kyle wrote a really good description of it and helped make a movie that you can check out on our family blog.

THE JESTER HOUSE CAFE

The Jester House Cafe is THE coolest and weirdest cafe I have ever been at in my life. We had heard numerous recommendations about The Jester House Cafe so we decided to drive there.

The Jester House Cafe's "tame" eels were actually kind of aggressive.

The Jester House Cafe's "tame" eels were actually kind of aggressive.

The hour drive wasn’t that nice but IT WAS SO WORTH IT!!! When you first go in you see flowers and flowers, and then you walk across a bridge and under the bridge is a river. That is no ordinary river because IT’S FILLED WITH EELS! And, you can feed them too! After you cross the bridge you see a giant chess set and all around it is a beautiful garden with a forest on one side and a playground on the other and tables scattered all around.

My brother, Kyle, and I immediately ran to the eels. The eels are black and feel like a wet bar of soap, and they are really fun to pet. You can buy a little container filled with brain (that’s what they eat — but I don’t know what kind of brain it was; maybe it was pig brain) and two Popsicle sticks. How it works is you put your bait (the brain) on the end of the Popsicle stick and put it near an eel’s mouth. My first time didn’t go so well. The eels have really strong jaws so when they get hold of the stick they don’t want to let go. So, I put my stick near a giant eel’s mouth and without missing a beat, it clamped its jaw on the Popsicle stick. It soon turned into a game of tug-of-war. I didn’t want to lose my stick so I pulled really hard, pulling the eel out of the water! I was still holding my stick, which now had a dangling eel at the end! I got really freaked out so I threw the Popsicle stick on the ground. The eel (still hanging on to the stick) slithered back into the water. I never got my stick back.

WOW: THE WORLD OF WEARABLE ART MUSEUM

At the World of Wearable Art and classic car museum, one of my favorite dresses was this car outfit.

At the World of Wearable Art and classic car museum, one of my favorite dresses was this car outfit.

The World Of Wearable Art Museum has the weirdest, most unusual, wackiest fashions I have ever seen. Some of the different categories the designers designed for are glow-in-the-dark, wooden, bizarre bras, tropical paradise, recyclable, and way more. I saw dresses with wooden skirts and tops, outfits with ear plugs all over them (the earplugs made the outfit look like an alien cactus), a dress made of tea bags and coffee filters, a glow-in-the-dark hat shaped into a UFO with aliens coming out of it, and soooooooooo much more! My favorite outfit was a dress made 100% out of wood. It looked old fashioned because the wooden skirt looked like a hoop skirt. It was beautifully crafted.

Along with all the amazing fashions, the museum also has classic cars. We saw all different kinds of cars from the 1910s horseless carriages to a sports car with doors that opened upward that was in Back to the Future. It was amazing!

The dress in the middle is made fully out of wood and is definitely my favorite! The dress to the right is made of metal, and the one on the left is made of tea bags and coffee filters.

The dress in the middle is made fully out of wood and is definitely my favorite! The dress to the right is made of metal, and the one on the left is made of tea bags and coffee filters.

NEW ADVENTURES IN NEW ZEALAND

I have been having so many adventures, not only in New Zealand but everywhere else I have been to. I am coming up on the halfway point on my trip. This school year is flying by and soon it will be over. I love Piedmont, but I also love traveling. If I never did this trip then I never would’ve been able to do any of this stuff, and that is definitely why I love traveling.

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R & R in Our NZ RV http://www.collyworld.com/2009/12/new-zealand/ http://www.collyworld.com/2009/12/new-zealand/#comments Mon, 14 Dec 2009 01:13:53 +0000 http://www.collyworld.com/?p=460 I’ve traveled by plane, I’ve traveled by bus, I’ve traveled by train, and now I am proud to say I’ve traveled by RV.

Our RV is so cool. I love it!

Our RV is so cool. I love it!

About a week ago, we got our rental RV. Basically, there is a kitchen, a couch, table and benches, a loft, a bathroom, and all these closets and drawers that we keep our stuff in. We are touring the whole North Island of New Zealand. The RV is really bumpy and rattles a lot because of everything in it. My dad is stuck with driving it, so it’s the hardest for him because he has to drive the biggest car he has ever driven while driving on the wrong side of the road!

Sometimes Kyle and I like to play cards in the loft where I also sleep.

Sometimes Kyle and I like to play cards in the loft where I also sleep.

It is like a rain forest here; there are lots and lots of trees and it rains all the time, but we are really lucky because we have had sunny weather. It’s almost Christmas here and it is really warm. I’m wearing flip flops, t-shirts, and shorts every day, but back in California where I live it’s snowing near sea level!

The RV is so cool, but there is only one thing cooler than the RV: the RV parks.

All RV parks that I've been to are awesome.

All RV parks that I've been to are awesome.

Park #1: The first RV park we ever stayed at was just outside of Auckland (pronounced “Oakland”). It had a beach and a lot of grass. What’s the cool thing? Right next to the RV park was a water park! It had 12 pools and 10 huge water slides. After I was done schooling for the day we got to go to it! One pool was really warm because of geothermal heat. It was dark in that pool because it was a movie room too!

The first RV park that we went to had a big rock in the ocean that looked like a turtle so we called it turtle rock.

The first RV park that we went to had a big rock in the ocean that looked like a turtle so we called it turtle rock.

Park #2: The second park wasn’t that special; it was just a normal RV park with hook-ups, grass, parking spaces, and picnic tables.

Park # 3: The third park was really fun. It was almost at the top of the North Island. There was a really deep river and above it a rope swing that you can swing off of and into the river. It was so fun, I kept trying to jump off but ending up not. The RV park also had a huge play structure with a climbing wall, a rope course, a tight wire, and bars that Kyle loved to play on.

Park #4: The fourth park was definitely my favorite. It had 4 trampolines, a zip line, a river, a play structure, and a soccer field. I probably went on the zip line 50 times; it’s not that high, it just goes super fast.

This park was my favorite it had a really fun zip line.

This park was my favorite. It had a really fun zip line...

... and tramoline that i loved to go on.

... and trampoline that I loved to go on.

Park #5: The last park was a little closer to Auckland because we had to return the RV the next day. There was a nice view of the beach, so we cooked nachos and ate outside.

Another interesting thing about all the RV parks I’ve been to is the people. I’ve been with people from the UK, Germany, Holland, Japan, Australia, USA (like me), and guess what? Every single person I’ve met has been super nice! For example, I babysat a 19-month-old girl from Holland who was learning to speak English.

Besides the RV parks, we have been taking field trips too. For example, we took a trip to learn about the Maori, the original people in New Zealand. We had a super nice private tour guide at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the Maori and British agreed to let the British rule and bring law and order to the land.

Our tour guid showed us the original flag of New Zealand.

Our tour guide showed us the original flag of New Zealand. The four stars represent the Southern Cross, which is the constellation the Maori used to get to New Zealand.

I am so sad we had to return the RV because this has been so fun and I really recommend it. My mom made a movie about it that you can watch:

Click here to view the embedded video.

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