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Trekking the Planet

CommunityJames Hipkiss

Trekking the Planet is the name we gave to our 14-month around-the-world journey. We are visiting some of the most remote places on the planet with the goal of using travel to get kids excited about the subject of geography.

With three months to go, Sandy and I have visited 40 countries over the past eleven months. By the time we return home, our plan calls for us to visit another thirteen countries, bringing the total to 53 countries on six continents. We spent more than 50 percent of the time in the developing world. Some examples of places on our itinerary include: Phongsali province of Laos Mustang region of Nepal Western Uzbekistan near its border with Turkmenistan Above the Arctic Circle in Northern Sweden Tigray region of Ethiopia Because we avoided flying when it was safe and practical to do so, we have often ended up in places that receive very few visitors. We spoke to locals when we had the chance sometimes using a guide to translate. To date, we have visited a total 18 schools en route answering the students questions and, in return, asking a few of our own.

A live tracker page shows our current location.. Teachers have access to a growing library of four-page education modules available as supplements to existing classroom materials. In addition, Trekking the Planet provides articles, weekly quizzes and videos all free of charge to educators. Students continue to formulate and post questions on Twitter and Facebook or by email and are answered by the travellers in near real-time, making this an unprecedented interactive venture.

Educators can enrol on the Educators page. Armchair travellers can also receive the couples updates by subscribing on the Friends page. Studies show that American knowledge of geography is one of the worst in the world. In one study, US young adults finished eighth out of nine countries, and, in another study, 29% could not locate the Pacific Ocean on a map. Trekking the Planet hopes to help educators change these statistics for future generations.