Wendy's profile

Wendy

About me

I am a third grade teacher at Cumberland Elementary School in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. I grew up in the smallest town in the smallest county in the smallest state in the United States-Warren, Rhode Island. It was nice to live in a small community where it seemed as though everyone knew each other. In my case, I actually think they did! Not only had I spent my entire pre-college life there, my mother and her five siblings had grown up there too. In fact, seventy years later my mother still lives on the same street where she was born.

Although small town life certainly has its merit, I had a desire to travel to other places and took advantage of my first opportunity to visit Europe on a school trip with my English teacher, Pat Smith, during my freshman year of high school. We went to Spain and I was hooked!  I took two other trips to Europe with Mrs. Smith while in high school but that first trip to Spain was the catalyst for a semester abroad at the University of Salamanca my junior year of college.  While studying in Spain, I was able to visit Portugal, Italy, and France.  My mother is Portuguese and there are many Italian and French immigrants in the northeast, so I felt like these travel experiences provided me with a greater appreciation of some of the cultures who emigrated to my geographic region of the United States. Foreign travel also gave me a deeper gratitude for the life I enjoy as an American.

After college I decided not to return to my hometown, but to move to Boston.  I enjoyed living in "the big city" while still being just an hour's drive from my family.  I shocked everyone when five years later I announced that I was moving to California.  One of my best friends, Barbara, and I experienced parts of the United States that I had never seen before while driving from Boston to California. While living and working as a teacher in California for eight years,  I met some fabulous travel companions.  I explored the southwest and took advantage of trips to Hawaii, Australia,  Indonesia, Jumby Island (a private island off the coast of Antigua), Greece, and Italy.  I also had the chance to visit the Grand Canyon and Yosemite while in California and I fell in love with these National Parks.

After eight years in California, I moved once again to Chicago, Illinois. That road trip took me through Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin--all states that I had never seen-- and allowed me to visit Yellowstone National Park and Mount Rushmore.  My friend Lauren gave me a scrap book called From Sea to Shining Sea before that trip. I placed a sticker on the map on the front cover as I traveled through each state and filled out a page describing my visit. That inspired my "50 by 50" travel goal. I have 10 more states to visit in the next 9 years.

After 1 1/2 years in Chicago, I relocated to Wisconsin where I met my husband, Mark. Mark and I have shared some travel adventures to several U.S. locations: Arizona (including the Grand Canyon and Sedona), Boston, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York, Las Vegas; and more exotic trips to Thailand and Fiji where we honeymooned. Mark is Australian. While I have visited Sydney, I've never been to Melbourne where Mark is from. I am looking forward to seeing it through his eyes this summer. We will include a trip to Vietnam where we'll meet my dad who served as a Marine in the Vietnam War.

I give you all this background to help you understand my wanderlust. I love to travel and learn about people, places, food, language, and cultures. I feel fortunate to have traveled to the countries listed on this blog and to take the amazing trip to Australia and Vietnam that will be detailed in on this site.

About my trip

Through the generosity of the Stephens Family Foundation, I obtained a travelship grant that will allow me to travel to Australia and Vietnam during the summer of 2010. This travel will enrich my social studies curriculum as we learn about cultures around the world. The countries highlighted in our curriculum include: Canada, Germany, Paraguay, Japan, Nigeria, and Australia. Admittedly, I do not possess a first-hand perspective about life in any of those countries. However, I have been to Canada and I happen to be married to an Australian, and I recognized that some of the information in our text book is biased in that it presents a very narrow view of the country by illustrating one child's situation. Specifically, our text tells the story  of "Paul from Australia."  Paul lives in the Outback and receives his education via radio or "school of the air." While this lifestyle does certainly exist in Australia even in 2010, it is not typical.  My travel will allow me to demonstrate life in a more cosmopolitan area of the country as I bring a first-hand account of my trip to Melbourne. Additionally, I will take a trip to the Great Barrier, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World in Queensland, the northern region of Australia.

The journey will continue in Vietnam where I will visit this beautiful country for the first while revisiting some of the sites and memories of my dad, David McCarthy, who served as a Marine in the Vietnam War.

Visited countries

Australia, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Fiji, France, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Panama, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, Vatican City. (20 countries, 9%)

World map with visited countries
Map generated by World66.
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