By Katey Garrett

Two of Lindsay's finest elementary students were motivated to save money for a trip to Australia when their mother shared stories with them about her experience as a Youth For Understanding student who traveled to Australia years ago.

After starting a vacation fund and saving for two years, 9-year-old William, 8-year-old Karrigan Wechselberger and their mother Danielle packed their suitcases and headed towards Australia.

&#8220When we were on the plane, it looked like we were almost out of the earth's atmosphere,” said William. &#8220When I looked up, I could see some darkness so it looked like we were in space.”

Although the trio's main destination was Australia, they were able to stop along the way to spend three days in Hawaii, where they tried new food, bought grass skirts and learned how to hula. &#8220We had a really fun time there,” said Karrigan, who showed her peers how to sway the grass skirt back and forth. &#8220Everybody was really nice and we got to see really cool things.”

From Hawaii, the family flew to Australia and immediately began visiting schools where they spoke to students about life in the U.S. From diagrams and pictures to examples of food and money, the Wechselbergers shared fun facts and historic stories about their homeland. As they traveled from school to school, the family enjoyed doing a little site seeing along the way.

&#8220My favorite thing about Australia was meeting new people,” said Karrigan. &#8220It was so hard for me to leave. I cried three different times. I wanted to live there but my mom said my dad would have a problem with that.”

With an opportunity to try several new and exotic foods, the family said that their favorite thing to eat was toast. &#8220It was so good,” said Karrigan. &#8220All I ate was toast and noodles.”

When the family returned to California, they brought stories, souvenirs and life changing experiences with them that they are sharing with their peers. &#8220We talked to kids in Australia about the United States,” said William. &#8220And now we talk to our friends about Australia.”

From after-school presentations to casual conversations, the siblings are doing everything they can to educate their family, friends and peers about the sports, food, games, animals in Australia.

&#8220I feel like a traveler now,” said Karrigan. &#8220I have experience because I have been out of the country.”

In the future, the siblings hope to continue traveling so that they can learn about the world and bring the information back home, to those who are not fortunate enough to travel. William said that he looks forward to the day he will be able to see New York and Karrigan has her heart set on France.

As the Wechselberger siblings spoke about their goals for the future, careers that require traveling seemed to be the theme of their dreams. &#8220I want to be a traveling scientist,” said Karrigan. &#8220I want to learn new languages and see different cultures.”

William, who has more than one career interest, shares a love for science with his sister but has a few more things he would like to accomplish in his adult life. &#8220When I grow up, I have three different things I want to be,” said William. &#8220A scientist, a fireman and another thing. I will probably be a scientist for a couple of years until I give up and quit and because I have three things to do and I can't do them all at the same time.” He continued, &#8220I should be a fireman by the time I am 40. That's a good age to start something new.”

With so many dreams and aspirations for the future, the Wechselbergers said that no matter where life leads them, they would always have a place in their hearts for Australia.

&#8220Australia will always be one of our favorite places,” William said.

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