In 2005, 14-year-old Savannah Grace Watkins’ world is shattered when her mother unexpectedly announces that she and her family (mother 45, brother 25 and sister 17) would soon embark on an incredible, open-ended journey. Savannah is forced to leave her normal life in Vancouver, Canada behind and everything from her pets to the house she lived in is either sold, given away or put in storage. The unwanted journey she becomes part of brings her to over 80 countries around the world and as a naïve teenage girl she runs headlong into the reality and hardships of a life on the road.


The Watkins family world trip starts in China on a shoestring budget of as low as $4 a day, using public transportation and meeting locals along the way. Only 4 years later Savannah returns home to graduate from high school. Now 22, she’s traveled to 98 countries and completed her first book about the trip.

WorldMap complete flights 2

In ‘Sihpromatum – I Grew my Boobs in China’ Savannah relates the family’s adventures in China and Mongolia. Not the easiest book title in the travel book segment but Savannah explains:

“Sihpromatum, means ‘A blessing that initially appears to be a curse’. It is the heart of my entire journey and the lessons I learned. The subtitle “I Grew My Boobs in China” subtitle perfectly sums up the story in one line. China represents the travel while “Grew My Boobs” is a representation of my youth and growth abroad and altogether it sounds catchy, quirky, mysterious and funny. The perfect title I thought”

It is a tale of feminine maturation – of Savannah’s metamorphosis from innocent teenager to a real woman-of-the-world: intensely fascinating, sobering, and emotional memoir of Savannah’s introspective and innovative family adventure.

Sihpromatum the book

Nibbling roasted duck tongues in China and being stranded in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert are just two experiences that contribute to Savannah’s exploration of new cultures and to the process of adapting to the world around her. Or in her own words: “How an unwanted journey forced me to see the world with open eyes”.


“I Grew My Boobs in China” is only a tiny portion of what is left to come as Savannah plans to have a series of at least four books. We can’t wait and  will definitely be keeping an eye on this Kickass traveler and all her upcoming adventure stories!

Sources: Backpackingdiplomacy,, Dave’s travelcorner, Watkins travel blog

  • Andy

    A very inspiring tale! She has definitely got some experiences to share.