Friday, January 3, 2014

Travel Writer?

Who me? No, I'm just a would-be writer who travels............

This past year I've often been asked questions regarding my travels to many distant places over the past three plus years. Where was my favorite place? Where am I going next? Then there's the statement made by some family members and friends, including some dear blog friends........."why don't you write a travel book"?  A travel book which I guess they mean to be a book about my own travels to the seven continents. 

Zodiac cruising in snow - Elephant Island, Antarctica 
January 2013

Noted - Jan. 2, 2014:    Yesterday, the 52 passengers (scientists and tourists) on board the Russian ship trapped in the Antarctic ice were rescued by the helicopter based on the nearby Chinese ship which had been unable to break through the ice to get close enough for a rescue. Now aboard an Australian icebreaker, also unable to get through, they still have several weeks at sea ahead prior to arriving in Hobart, Tasmania. The 22 Russian crew members will remain on their ship until they are able to move out of the ice later.  Thankfully I did not experience such a hair-raising voyage last January! 

The past few years have been the awesome ones where, thanks to my friend Paula, I've had the chance to do exciting expedition travel, often in little rubber boats, as well as more sedate and glamorous cruising on beautiful large ships.

Crossing the Indian Ocean heading to Dubai - March 2012

My youthful dream - the one I vividly recall telling the guy who interviewed me for my first job when I arrived in Washington, D.C., a nervous, 19 year old, in a huge city, was "I would like to write a book and be published some day". Goodness only knows what that book was to be about, I don't recall, but I loved writing, so guess I thought I could write some kind of book, some day! 

In later years, when sitting down with spare time on my hands, those days before blogging and adventure travel took over, I would sometimes write a few pages about my leaving home to come and work in America, but I never got very far with the story.......always saying I can do it later. Now, after seeing so much of the world, perhaps I could pen a book and add my photos, however, there are so many people out there already doing that, and a lot of fabulous travel magazines inundating us monthly with exciting adventure stories from afar. 

I'm fortunate in that Paula always had an amazing photo book made of the places we visited together. For me they've provided many hours - along with a nice cup of tea - curled up in a favorite chair, reminiscing about our wonderful adventures together, reliving them through our photographs. I also love to scroll back through my blog, often amazing myself at the places I've been and fabulous things I've seen and been able to photograph.

The places I've been.............

Travel has transformative powers and changes your perspective on life. Alien landscapes are often quite unnerving, but definitely exhilarating. Taking that often quoted 'road less traveled', for me it has taken me through the African bush to watch leopards in Botswana, riding bareback on an elephant in Thailand, and seated on a camel at sunset on a Western Australian beach. Whether in a brightly painted purple bus with lace curtains in India, on a five star cruise ship sailing smoothly through the ancient Greek Isles, or being tossed about and hanging on for dear life in Antarctica in that little black rubber boat, with nothing to see but fabulous blue icebergs, make eye contact with breaching humpback whales, and walk with penguins....hundreds of thousands of penguins.........TRAVEL HAS NEVER BEEN DULL!

I'll leave writing books, whether travelogues, novels, biographies, to others. Sharing the adventures here on my blog is excitement enough for me. I found that many people who do not wish to travel, or cannot travel, for whatever reason, apparently enjoyed following along as I visited and photographed many very special places in the world. If you are one of them, thank you so much for taking time to visit here, for reading my travel stories, and often leaving your most welcomed comments. 

Life appears to be getting a little quieter now. I still hope to travel, but it will be to easier to reach places with my dear husband, perhaps somewhat less adventurous but still interesting, and always beautiful........that's what this amazing planet generously offers us when we take that less traveled road, and of course every trip is an adventure.

To see posts of my journeys around the world these past few years, click on the thumbnails on the right, or visit my archive. 


  1. I love to travel too. I know I was very fortunate to visit Italy and France. I also know I will never be able to see all of the wonderful places you visiting over the last few years, so I was thrilled to "travel" with you through your blog. There were many times I felt I was there with you Mary!

  2. well, you know I like to travel, I took my first trip as an infant and when I was 5 we moved to live in Hawaii... the moving and traveling never stopped.
    My New Years wish for both of us is that we keep on traveling .. wherever, however. besos, dear Mary, C

  3. Travel is a wonderful thing Isn't it? I haven't travelled as widely as you have but I've seen some wonderful places many of them, like you, on the road less travelled. I'm hoping to carry on visiting new and interesting places too. My eldest son is moving to the Czech Republic in the spring so with luck I'll be seeing more of Eastern Europe - they will be a couple of hours drive from Vienna and close to the Polish border too. Let's hope for many more years of interesting journeys for both of us:)

  4. Your travels have been so varied and interesting - inspiring, too. Travel does change perspective when one is open to experience culture. This world is so full of wonderful people and places. We hope more travels are in our future.
    Your Antarctic adventure is one that I think about a lot. And I don't even like being cold. But the beauty of the icebergs and the wildlife that you saw and shared here are astounding.

  5. Mary, you do have a beautiful way to talk about your travels. I always feel like I am right there with you. But should you decide to become a travel writer, I think you'll have lots of readers.


  6. I guess your blog is your book. I've so enjoyed reading about all your world travels, Mary. I thank you for sharing them here otherwise, I'd never get the book and see them. It's so nice that Paula has had photo books made of your various trips. Enjoy the weekend.

  7. I have been one to thoroughly enjoy your travel the past few years.
    I know many of these places I never will go, so living it through you has been a JOY.
    More travel will come your way and mine to places easier to visit, but just the same
    I know I will be following along with you in whatever adventures you choose to do.
    Happy travels! Oh and by the way the travel books Paula made are wonderful.
    I did that for one trip we took and just love looking through it. I need to do more,
    as they are such a treat. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. Mary, I've certainly enjoyed being an armchair traveler through your thoughtful posts of your amazing adventures. You've covered the globe like no one I know. I find it exciting to follow along. What's on the horizon?

  9. I am going to disagree with you about the writing thing. Why not ask your local newspaper about submitting some travel tales on an irregular basis. You could use what you have written on your blog and just change a bit here and there. Your adventures appeal to other older women, and they are probably quite relevant to many people in your community. Add to the basics with some of the day-to-day details you sometimes include on your blog, like choosing the clothes and managing the garden and dealing with health issues.
    One of the quirky things my family did when our children were at school was to send postcards to the school librarian in the name of Paddington Bear. The children could follow various adventures on a map and learn about countries. We cheated occasionally and used postcards supplied by our friends, but that hardly changed the learning experience.
    Write for someone who can not travel. There are children who need books to stretch their minds past Pixar characters. There are people in hospitals who need short stories. Write for Jasmine. Write for your nieces and nephews. Write so that after the internet is dead and gone there will still be a paper record of your personality.
    You have a friendly engaging style. Your vocabulary and paragraph structure are superior to that of many who are paid to write. Please do something more with your talents.

  10. Thank you so much for your travel blogs. I have enjoyed them so very much. I love to travel but my husband is not well and I cannot leave him for an extended time so for now I am unable to take exciting trips. Which means that I really enjoy your photos and your writings about your wonderful trips. I will revisit your posts from time to time depending on which country I would like to visit at the time!!! In the meantime I will enjoy whatever you care to write about..........How wonderful of Paula to have the photo books made. They must be a real joy.
    Farm Gal in VA

  11. I'm new to the blog and, yet, you have perfectly described who does not enjoy travel, but who enjoys a virtual trip. Looks as if I have found a great place for it!

  12. Love these! Elephant Island pic is just brilliant.Hope you have many great trips in 2014.Mila

  13. Dear Mary, When you say "expedition travel" does that mean that you go to places with a predetermined goal? You have been to so many fantastic and unusual and exciting places. I love reading about them and how wonderful it would be if I could read it in one format. Why not write a book. More than half of the work you have already accomplished...your blogs, so well written and illustrated with such beautiful photographs.would make a fine travel journal.
    I have been reading your first blog. You mentioned having problems uploading pictures and having to give up your blog because of it. I was going to have the same problem because, like you, I take many pictures. I wrote a blog "Lesson Learned" on July 6, 2011 which explains the reason and tells of a solution. It may not apply to your problem but it might be of help in the future because you might run into the same problem again. ox, Gina

    1. Yes Gina - the 'expedition' cruises are on small ships with international expedition teams on board including geologists, zoologists, ecologists, ornithologists, volcanologists etc. who, besides going ashore as leaders, give lectures, show videos, answer questions during days at sea, and give daily recaps each evening, always a fun time. These trips, though expensive, are fabulous and are the only way to travel to many remote places, e.g. Antarctica, Russian Far East, sub-Antarctic Islands of NZ and Australia, Kimberly region of Western Australia etc., if you want to actually make shore landings which are in Zodiac boats. Large cruise ships do not offer this and are not even permitted to sail in many of those areas. There is some controversy now about huge cruise ships sailing to Antarctica, and carrying large complements of tourists, and which are not ice reinforced. After what has just happened with the Russian icebreaker being trapped in ice, and the subsequent rescue by helicopter of the expedition team and tourists, I don't think anyone in their right mind would want to consider taking a cruise ship with several hundred others, to the ends of the earth, and then worrying about being stranded or worse! Anyway, who would not want to step on those amazing lands after sailing such a long way to see them? Expedition travel is the way to go!!!

      Yes, I too learned that hard way regarding photo storage for blogs! I now purchase additional storage from Google annually and so far I seem to be OK - don't lose any pics now thankfully - and still have a working blog!

      Thanks for the lovely comment - perhaps a book after all, who knows, life is full of surprises, LOL!
      - Mary

    2. Thank you for the explanation Mary. I have never liked large tourist ships and have stayed away from them. Your experiences must have been fabulous....hence a book, maybe in small installments, is in order.

      About purchasing picture storage I only bought it once and it should have run out by now. At least I know what to do if I end up in a similar situation. ox, Gina

  14. I enjoyed this post, Mary. Thank you for giving me a glimpse into your traveling history. What adventures you've had. My mind is whirling with writing possibilities. Rather than another travel book, I'm wondering about writing fiction based on your life. Now THAT would be fun. :)

  15. Mary, you are a writer! Your blog is wonderful and your travel tales always so descriptive, not to mention that your photography skills are amazing! You truly have been so blessed to journey to so many wonderful places in this world. It's funny, because I was just thinking along these lines earlier this evening, about travel, what I've seen, where I've been, how fortunate I am to have had these experiences. I love your last paragraph. Beautifully written! Best wishes, Tammy

  16. I have enjoyed traveling with you virtually. I also love to travel but cannot go to some of the more adventurous places you visit. Your blog always has such wonderful pictures and your accompanying text is first class. I need to have books of pictures from our trip like you have as most of my pictures are on my computer and not easily accessible. We do not have any plans now but the year is very young… with this cold weather, a visit somewhere warm might be nice. I hope your year 2014 will see some interesting travels, far or near, as I always like to read your impressions and look at your photos.

  17. You know that I am an adventurer at heart too! I love seeing the places that you go. I know that I will not get to see them in person, so I get a little taste of it via your posts. I know there are many armchair travelers who also read my blog, and it is fun to keep them entertained. I don't know if I will do any Blurb books or not. I'm still toying with the idea, LOL. Does your friend Paula have a blog too?

  18. You have always enthralled me with your travel writing Mary!
    You are a natural story teller - what are you waiting for?
    My son keeps telling me to "do" something instead of "wishing"!
    I'm one of those people who goes straight to the "armchair travel" section in a book shop.
    I think there's always a market - you probably just need to do a bit of research on that market. Intuitively I would go for the 50+ age group!
    You take such incredible photos - often with a different perspective - now you just need to add the story!
    I've got faith in you dear Mary!

  19. Aaah You have reached the age where the travel anywhere you please becomes a wee bit too much..I know that pain well..So glad I spent my younger days gadding about the entire world..With a husband that is 80 that kind of travel becomes too difficult now...I know that the travel and photos and writing you will do closer to home will still thrill your blog friends.. You have insprired my paintings for several years..And YES you are a writer

    1. Emm dear, you are just too kind with your comment. I so love the idea that my travels have inspired your paintings.......I SO WISH you would start a blog and we could know you better. Yes, travel far away is not easy as we age, in fact downright scary in a way! We will still go to Europe but probably not to the wild places of the world - too far, too difficult, and too expensive!

      Love it when you stop by - please visit often.
      Happy New Year to you and hubby, stay well and find joy in each day, even those spent at home.
      Hugs - Mary

  20. It is always fun to travel through your eyes! We will probably never have that opportunity to travel as far and wide as you have done, so I just enjoy through your photos!


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