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Most kids my age would probably be in school right now, but not me. I’m in Marbella, (pronounced Marbeya) Spain. My name is Maya. I’m 13 years old, and our family is traveling around Europe this year.

I love traveling. I think everyone should travel. Even if it’s not that big of a trip like we’re doing, I think everyone should go to at least 2 or 3 countries in their life – like maybe the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, or maybe even someplace on another continent, like Brazil or China.

It’s so fun to not know where you’re going to be next month, or even next week. For example, we didn’t know until a couple weeks before we left Germany if we were going to Italy or Spain first. We picked Spain, and we’ll probably go to Italy in a couple months. Sometimes I think for a second, where am I again? Austria? No Spain.

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That might sound weird, but it can be fun. Although it’s also fun to settle down for a couple weeks, which is what we’re doing in Spain. It’s so funny how one day you can be in cold Germany, with lots of forests and they speak German there. And then a couple days later, you can be in warm Spain, with its beaches and palm trees, and they speak Spanish. You can imagine what it’s like when you say “danke” (thank you) or “bitte” (you’re welcome) when you are supposed to be saying gracias and de nada. The Spanish people look at you like, what? Though I can imagine that happens a lot in Europe. Since you don’t need a visa or passport to go to other European countries, lots of people travel south for the winter. I love learning the languages of each new country. I’m especially focusing on German and French, but I’m also learning some Spanish.

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Lately, since our long drive from Germany to Spain, I’ve been looking at license plates to see which countries the people in the car are from. I’ve seen license plates from all over Europe, including Estonia, Romania, Austria, Norway, and Sweden.

One of the hardest things is not getting to spend time with my friends, but I also love spending time with my family. We get along great and have a lot of fun together. My sisters are so funny. Sometimes we even jump in the pool with all of our clothes on!

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I’m really looking forward to going to Gibraltar, which is the southern most part of Spain, even though it’s actually part of the UK. You can see Africa from there, and there are monkeys just roaming around!

When I get older I want to go to all the continents and paint in all of them. I love traveling, and I also love painting, so it’s perfect! I already know which countries I want to go to in each continent. In Asia, I want to go to Indonesia. In Australia/Oceania I want to go to Samoa. In Africa, I want to go to Mozambique. In South America, I want to go to Chile. I’ve already been to North America and Europe, and I’m not so sure yet about Antarctica.

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Even though traveling so much is different, some things stay the same. We still homeschool, but we learn about the geography of Spain rather than the 50 states. (Geography is my favorite subject besides art.) We learn about flamenco dancers instead of piano lessons, and we learn about the King of Spain instead of the president of the United States.

I think it’s always important to try new things, go to new places and meet new people. Because if you don’t, then you’ll only know what people tell you about the world, and sometimes that’s not enough.

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