Travels with Gannon and Wyatt: Botswana (Travels With Gannon & Wyatt)

Travels with Gannon and Wyatt: Botswana (Travels With Gannon & Wyatt)

by Patti Wheeler

ISBN: 9781608325856

Publisher Greenleaf Book Group Press

Published in Children's Books/Action & Adventure, Children & Teens (Young Adult), Travel, Travel/Africa

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Book Description

Wherever Gannon & Wyatt go, adventure is sure to follow in this action-packed middle-grade series! Only $0.99 for a limited time!

When Gannon and Wyatt arrive in Botswana for an African safari, they find themselves tangled up in much more than a family vacation. After receiving word that a poacher has shot and wounded a lioness, they set off into the wild in the hopes of saving the mother and her cubs before the poacher finishes the job. While on this amazing journey, they encounter Africa’s Big Five⎯elephants, rhinos, cape buffalos, leopards, and lions⎯only to discover that the most dangerous predator in the African bush is not the king of beasts, but man himself.

In the tradition of the historic journals kept by explorers such as Lewis and Clark, Dr. David Livingstone, and Captain James Cook comes the adventure series Travels with Gannon and Wyatt. From Africa to the South Pacific, these twin brothers have traveled the world. You never know what they will encounter as they venture into the wild, but one thing is certain⎯wherever Gannon and Wyatt go, adventure is their constant companion.

Sample Chapter


August 19, 10:49 PM

Colorado, USA

By mid-morning tomorrow, we’ll be aboard a plane, flying in an easterly direction, probably somewhere over Colorado still, but en route to a far-off land . . .Africa!

Just say the word “Africa” and all sorts of wild images are brought to mind—elephants stampeding across the savannah, yipping baboons swinging from the limbs of trees, hippos and crocodiles lurking just under the water’s surface, an elusive leopard silently stalking a herd of antelope, a pride of hungry lions devouring a fresh kill, tribesmen stepping cautiously through the bush on the hunt for their next meal.

Africa is one of a kind. Untamed. Exotic. Mysterious. Bigger than big. When you think about it, Africa is not so much a continent as it is a world of its own.

In the field of scientific exploration, one of the last remaining places on earth to be studied was the African interior. For centuries, the outside world knew little about it, except that it was full of dangers that could bring an expedition to an abrupt and tragic end. Africa was such a mystery,in fact, that the great explorers of the 1800s labeled it the “dark continent.” For this reason, they were determined to shed some light on Africa, to march into the bush and see with their own eyes what this mysterious world was really like. Over the next century, many explorers became famous for leading scientific expeditions into this uncharted territory. Some lived to tell about it. Many did not.

Reading the journals of these brave explorers gave me the idea of keeping my own journal during our upcoming adventure. When I mentioned it to my mom, she thought it was such a good idea that she incorporated it into our home-school curriculum. Gannon and I went to the bookstore and each bought a leather-bound journal, just like the famous explorers used on their expeditions.These books will be dedicated specifically to our daily record, or “field notes,” as I like to call them. Our field notes will also serve another important purpose. When we return from Africa, we’re going to submit them to the Youth Exploration Society (Y.E.S.), an organization of explorers whose mission is to inform young people of ways to help cultures, species, and environments at risk. If they are worthy, and we’re going to do our best to make sure they are, they will be housed in the Y.E.S. library right alongside some of the most famous books of exploration ever published.

Visiting Africa has been a dream of mine for as long as Ican remember, and tomorrow we’ll be on our way! I still havea lot of packing to do, but before closing my first journal entryI want to make a note on how this adventure came about. It had been a while since our last trip and we were itching tobegin another journey. One night over dinner, we talked aboutour options. Given my mom’s job at World Airlines, our family can fly almost anywhere for free, so long as there are seatsavailable. So, she made a few calls, jotted down a list of thedestinations available and told us all to write our choice on a small piece of paper. She gathered our votes and read themaloud. Amazingly, we’d all chosen the same place: Botswana!


August 21

Flight 712, Seat 42A

Somewhere over the ocean


Oh, man, it really turns my stomach. We must be passing through a huge thunderstorm because right now it feels like this plane is driving over a never-ending dirt road full of potholes. Out the window all I see is darkness and the flashing red light on the tip of the wing and all these clouds streaking past like some kind of crazy ghosts flying at Mach speed in the opposite direction.

This is probably the worst time to start my journal because my handwriting is all over the place and my mom won’t be too happy about that when she grades my penmanship and I’ll have to explain to her that it was because the plane was bouncing all over the sky, but right now I have to do something to try to take my mind off this bumpy ride and journaling seems to be the best option.

According to Wyatt, it’s about seventeen hours from the time you take off in Washington, D.C., to the time you land in Johannesburg, South Africa. That’s where we will switch planes and fly to Botswana, which will take another couple hours, I think. We’re about fourteen hours into the flight and still somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean.

Okay, now this is more like it. I think we’ve made it through the storm. At least the plane isn’t getting knocked around anymore, and thank goodness for that, because I was about to put the old barf bag to good use, if you know what I mean.

The sun is just now coming up and painting the sky in all these amazing colors. It looks like some kind of abstract artwork where the artist takes out a brush and paints patterns or shapes in all kinds of bright shades. My dad has done some paintings like that—the abstract kind—and I really like them, but he focuses mostly on wildlife and landscape paintings. Can’t wait to see what sort of paintings he makes in Botswana.

Since leaving D.C., I don’t think I’ve slept more than three, maybe four hours tops, but I feel really alert. It might have something to do with all the soda I’ve had on this flight or that awful turbulence, but I think it’s mostly due to our destination. In all of our travels, I don’t know that I’ve ever been so amped about a trip.

I think Wyatt’s even more excited than I am, if that’s possible. The kid can’t keep his mouth shut. He’s been babbling on through the night about all sorts of things that—to be completely honest—I could care less about, like the digestive system of a giraffe and the monsoons that flood the Okavango Delta every year and all this other stuff I totally tuned out. I mean, the kid thinks he’s Charles Darwin reincarnated or something. How twins could be so different is totally baffling to me. I guess some people get into all of that stuff, but not me. Science bores me to tears. I’m not saying it isn’t important or anything. Of course it’s important. It’s justthat learning how many hours a day an elephant spends eating grass or how to navigate through the bush using the stars doesn’t bring me to the edge of my seat with excitement.

So that’s not the kind of stuff I’m going to write about in my journal. I’d rather write about the things I experience while traveling—the things that leave a lasting impression on me. Now, I’m not trying to be all profound or philosophical or anything, but if you get all wrapped up in the details of things, like my obsessive-compulsive brother, well, sometimes you miss what’s really important. A welcoming smile from a child in a foreign city, for example. Or the affectionate nudge a mama bear gives her cub. I like to spend some time thinking about these things, and not just take them for what they appear to be on the surface—a child smiling or a bear nudging its cub—but really wonder to myself what these things mean. Like, what thoughts are running through their mind at that very moment? Maybe I’ll write about that stuff. To me, that is what’s really fascinating. That’s life!

Of course, this is just my opinion. Everyone sees things differently. I bet if you sent ten people on the same trip, you’d probably hear ten different stories when they got back.Everyone has different interests and different opinions about things. My brother and I are no different.

It’s funny, or sad (depends how you look at it, I guess),but when I told my friends back in Colorado that we were going to Africa, almost everyone asked, “Why?” It made me wonder if my friends would ever venture beyond their own backyards. I mean, who asks “why” about the chance to travel? I say, “Why not?” Why not expand your horizons? Why not learn about new cultures? Why not see what there is beyond your home turf?

I guess we’re lucky. I mean, with a flight attendant for amom and an artist for a dad, we’re pretty much a bunch ofnomads, always hopping around the globe from one amazing place to the next, and I have to say, I absolutely lovebeing a nomad!

Looking out my window, I notice that we’re over land. Wyatt tells me that the country of Namibia is directlybelow us. The early morning sun lights the barren desertlandscape. Other than long dirt roads that disappear intothe haze, there are no signs of anything man-made. No cities, no towns. No trees or water either. Just parched land, asfar as the eye can see.

Wow, it’s almost hard to believe.



Excerpted from "Travels with Gannon and Wyatt: Botswana (Travels With Gannon & Wyatt)" by Patti Wheeler. Copyright © 2013 by Patti Wheeler. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Patti Wheeler

Patti Wheeler

Patti Wheeler, producer of the web series Travels with Gannon & Wyatt: Off the Beaten Path, began traveling at a young age and has nurtured the spirit of adventure in her family ever since. For years it has been her goal to create children's books that instill the spirit of adventure in young people. The Youth Exploration Society and Travels with Gannon & Wyatt are the realization of her dream.

View full Profile of Patti Wheeler

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