Nepal, Portugal and Israel are just three of the 41 countries Bonita Vista High School freshman Dante Whitney and sophomore Vincent Whitney have visited with their family since 2002. In 2013, their mother Magdalena Whitney started a blog (www.fourwhitneysoneworld.com), Instagram (@fourwhitneysoneworld) and Twitter (@4Whitneys1World), to share the family’s travel adventures. According to M. Whitney, the reason for their travel abroad was to provide an educational experience.
“One of the by-products of traveling is learning how to be street-smart. Learning how to navigate a new city using public transportation, communicating in languages different from ours, using different currencies and exchange rates and learning the immigration procedures of each country. No school teaches you these things and these are tools that are always good to have,” M. Whitney said.
The family takes one international trip each year, one trip to Mexico and one within the United States. The Whitneys utilize the internet to research airfares, accommodations and tourist attractions, ultimately choosing the destination that offers the best value. The family has backpacked, rented apartments, stayed in tiny hotels and even hostels. Along with their international trips, the foursome has also explored 24 states on road trips to historic places as well as national parks and landmarks across the U.S.
“I really enjoy visiting the big monuments, the main attractions, but I also like seeing the foods they eat and getting to know the culture of the people that live there, [so] when people bring up questions about a place, I have my own experience to share,” D. Whitney said.
The family has created memories at many famous sites, such as The Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower, the Roman Coliseum and the Burj Khalifa. They have also experienced many cultures and created lasting friendships with citizens from around the globe, including Samir their trusted taxi driver while visiting Egypt.
Whitney was raised in Mexico City but spent a summer in Canada at the age of 12 and another summer in England and Scotland at 15. Her passion for travel inspired the family’s intentional and committed journey across the globe not only for enjoyment but also to educate their two sons.
“When the boys were born, I knew I wanted the best education for them. Instead of paying for a private school, they would attend public school and for a fraction of the money saved, I would take them around the world at least one time per year and teach them the history, culture, religion and customs of each country we visited. It’s not exactly homeschooling, I call it world schooling,” M. Whitney said.
These travel experiences have been fun and educational but have also drawn the family closer according to the father of D. Whitney and V. Whitney, Wayne Whitney.
“Our bond is enhanced with shared memories, like when Dante puked on the Giza Pyramid in Egypt or when Vincent was a snake charmer in India. While on a trip, our ability to work together, problem solve, and compromise further reinforces our family bond,” W. Whitney said.
Whitney’s blog has led to opportunities as a freelance travel writer. She is also working on a book that would encourage others to incorporate travel into their lives. The Whitney family believes that if you make travel a priority, anyone can do it. For this family, traveling and learning about different cultures and people is an invaluable part of life.
“The world is an incredibly diverse place. We’ve come to conclude that everyone in the world is after the same goal, to be healthy and happy. Travel opens your mind and your heart. It changes you in your core. You become more tolerant, respectful, grateful, and conscious. A true global citizen,“ M. Whitney said.