Travel entrepreneur RJ Samson and his 12-year-old daughter Lizzie’s travel story is a unique one. The US-based Lizzie, who lives with her mom, began traveling alone at the tender age of eight to the Philippines, and has already been to six continents by the age of 12.
Before Lizzie turns 13, the father and daughter tandem will make a trip to Australia to complete the seven continents, followed by a cruise to the Antarctic. “Lizzie and I are definitely excited about this trip. We’ve had such a wonderful time traveling around the world, just the two of us, and we can’t wait for our next adventure,” says RJ, who runs a travel company called iTraveler Asia. While RJ and Lizzie’s father-daughter bonding is far from ordinary, they have a routine for each trip. “Since Lizzie is based in the United States, we’d meet up at the airport of our destination and take it from there,” explains RJ. The pair doesn’t believe in setting itineraries without getting a feel of the place first, so they do the planning when they get to their destination.
RJ shares that Lizzie likes to explore new places and if it’s the first time they’re visiting, they first check out the landmarks and find new experiences along the way.“Most of the time, we try to find kid-friendly spots,” he says. Having been to Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America, South America and Africa, Lizzie has her favorites. “I like Singapore because there are a lot of places to go and do there while South Africa is another favorite because of the wildlife.” RJ adds, “Lizzie has also taken a liking to Michelin star restaurants which we make sure that we visit on each trip.”
To travel the world is but a fantasy for many, but RJ and his daughter are living the dream. Yet for RJ, while traveling to exotic destinations is certainly a thrill, it’s the moments spent with Lizzie that make the trips worthwhile. “I always tell her that she’s lucky because I wasn’t able to travel as a child,” says RJ, who is proud that his daughter’s first travel experience was to the Philippines. “Traveling alone has made her independent and it has built a special relationship for us even if we don’t see each other on a regular basis. Traveling brings us together, and that is priceless.”