Twins travel the world

Freshmen+Stu+and+Tess+Mair+surfing+in+Australia+over+Winter+Break+2012.+

Courtesy photo

Freshmen Stu and Tess Mair surfing in Australia over Winter Break 2012.

Julia Vastano, Staff Reporter

Twins Stu and Tess Mair have been traveling all over the world since they can remember. Seeing the world has played a major role in the life of the sophomores as they have been to more than 100 places, circling the globe.

“Our family travels a lot because mom grew up wanting to see the world and not being able too, and my dad is from Scotland,” freshman Tess Mair said. “So it was kind of like a perfect match because they like to travel so much and we get to kind of tag along a lot.”

This family even lived in India at one time for about a year and a half. That was when the Mairs were in second and third grade.

 “It was smelly, hot and rainy in India,” Stu said. “I prefer the States. We only had to move there due to my dad’s job.”

Though they may call the States home, they are often traveling around the globe, visiting nearly every continent.

“We have been to so many places it would be hard to count,” Tess said. “And we have been to every continent except for Africa and Antarctica.”

Even though they haven’t been to either of those land masses, it does not mean they don’t have plans to do so.

“We plan on traveling to Africa the summer after graduation,” Tess said. “There we are going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with our uncle, and have like a safari and explore.”

Though climbing one of the world’s tallest mountains may sound like an adrenaline pumping experience to most students, it is not even one of the craziest adventures this family has embarked on.

“A lot of our trips are high-adventure,” Tess said. “We kind of are adrenaline junkies.  The craziest thing what we have ever done on a trip is climb a rock on the island of Skye in  Scotland called the Inaccessible Pinnacle. It is a rock that is on top a mountain,” Tess said.

While that may not sound as thrilling as walking on top of a wind-blown bridge in Australia, (which they did last winter), the Mairs describe the climb in chilling detail.

“It is basically a huge blade of rock on top of a huge mountain in Scotland,” Tess said. “When we reached the top of the mountain, we realized we had to climb the rock to reach the summit. But, it was in a cloud up there so it was very cold, slippery and wet.”

Despite everything they have done, there is one downfall to all the travel: coming back to school after a long trip.

“When we came back Tess had volleyball boot camp, and we both had to go to summer band camp,” Stud aid.  “All I wanted to do the whole time is sleep. The jet lag is impactful and awful.”

Perhaps the worst of it came over winter break last year.

“When we got back from Australia after Winter Break there was a 17 hour time difference between there and here,” Tess said.

Even though their passport is well used, the Mair family has also made it a point to see the United States.

“Our first experience with domestic travel was probably when we were very young and took a road trip along the west coast to see all the state parks,” Stu said. “We do travel domestic as well as international.”

This summer is no different as they both Stu and Tess will be heading on different trips.  For him, it’s a 12 day backpacking trip in New Mexico.  For her it’s a church conference in Orange, CA.    Then it’s off to Honduras for some scuba diving.

“We dive a lot, because our parents always have,” Tess said. “We kind of grew up on the back of the dive boat, and so it was natural for us.  We would always jump off the back of the boat and snorkel around above the scuba divers. My mom wanted us to have the experience of going all the way under, so when we were 10 year old we got certified when we were on a trip in Turks and Caicos.”

However, this is not all of their summer travels. Each of them has a full agenda.

“Me and my mom are going to Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Bangkok for like 10 days just for fun,” Tess said. “Even though I have been to all of these countries before, I want to see that part of the world again.”

While Tess and her mom are on the other side of the world, Stu will be traveling some in prominent cities of the United States.

“While they are away I will be in New York, Washington D.C., and West Virginia,” Stu said.

“When I get to go to West Virginia who knows what I will do there! I will probably do a bunch of high-adventure stuff like rafting, hiking and climbing.”

Then, they will return home to Texas for the start of school related activities.  But as soon as they can, they’re jetting off somewhere.

“During breaks and stuff though we have to tell our coaches, teachers and directors about our situation,” Tess said “We say, hey we travel, it stinks but we are going to be gone. So we just leave.”

However, extracurriculars are not the only things that they miss over breaks. Being away from home can be difficult. Because they travel so much, they both agree that is is hard to hang out with friends when off from school.

“Traveling so much, we don’t really get to see our friends over breaks,” Tess said. “That would be nice to see them.”

Fortunately for them, sometimes their friends can tag along.

“But, we are getting to the age where sometimes friends can come with us,” Tess said. “However, not too many of our friends are high-adventure people, which a lot of our trips are.”

The pro’s outweigh the con’s in the Mair’s eyes as they love their traveling lifestyle. They also enjoy the unique and exciting opportunities it can give them in their lives.

“What sets us apart from kids that don’t travel is that we get to see a whole lot of different cultures than they do,” Tess said.

This family doesn’t just travel, they experience.

“It helps us put things in perspective, whereas I feel like people here are more ignorant to the world,” Tess said.

However, not everything that they get to experience traveling is picturesque and happy. There is a whole other world Stu and Tess get to see due to their adventures.

“Some people are like ‘Oh the world is so amazing and everyone is happy and dandy’, but we get to go and we get to see the kids that are begging on the streets for food,” Tess said.

Tess recognizes that many people here don’t get to see much outside the Lovejoy stereotype, and she is glad that she has the opportunities.

“That really puts everything into a whole new perspective as to how rough the rest of the world can be for people,”  Tess said.  “We really do live in a ‘Lovejoy Bubble’.”