The Teens Who Traveled the World

Lisboa and Sintra, Portgual
May 2003

On the short train ride from Lisboa to Sintra, I meet Jess and Jen, teenaged twins from Calgary. They are several months into an around-the-world trip that has taken them throughout Asia, Africa, and now Europe. For their high school graduation their father bought them One World tickets. “He wants us to see the world before we get too involved with college,” Jen says.

They miss home, of course, friends, modern conveniences sometimes.So far, it’s been an education, she says. They have visited remote villages and big cities, slept in hostels mostly to save money and a few times on the floor. “It’s not so bad,” her brother Jess says. “You just start missing things the longer you’re gone.”

They miss home, of course, friends, modern conveniences sometimes, chocolate bars … and for a few days in Africa they went without showers. They call home once a week.

“People have been friendly,” Jen says. “They’re surprised to see people our age traveling by ourselves. But really, it’s gone pretty well.”

“Well, mostly,” Jess says.

“Mostly.”

Last week, the two of them were in Morocco when terrorists set off suicide bombs at the Café Espaňa, Hotel Farah, and other locations in Casablanca, killing more than 30 people. The twins were in Fes at the time. “We had just come from Casablanca,” Jess says. “We headed for Spain as soon as we heard about it.”

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