I’m Dr. J (I actually have a PhD in adult education) — as I’m known to my advice-seeking friends — and I grew up to be one insufferable travel junkie. To date I’ve visited 102 countries, lived in eight — Canada, Nigeria, China, New Zealand, Australia, Morocco, Chile and Argentina — and hold passports in three.
My usual formula is to hunker down in a spot, use it as a base and get to know the locals. This embracing let’s-see-what-happens-next approach led to my becoming a princess in Nigeria, a godmother in China and a full-time writer/editor in Chile.
As I get older, however, my attention span for any one place is atrophying. It could be that I am becoming increasingly eccentric and want to see as many places as possible. Then again, it could be some sort of neurotic disorder. Either way, I really don’t care as the only things I collect is passport stamp after passport stamp. Space is a major consideration for me and I make sure everything I own fits into one suitcase, a carry-on and a diaper bag (more on that in another post). Nothing in storage for this bag-lady.
Returning to the topic of age, I turned 30 in Nigeria, 40 in Ethiopia and 50 in Mali. Although I invited over 500 people to my 50th in Timbuktu, only one showed up. What does that say about my social network? Wimps!
I’m about to celebrate my 60th birthday at Victoria Falls, Zambia on January 24th, 2013. And, of course, you are all invited. After the sparse attendance at my 50th, the list of attendees has already sky-rocketed to five at this natural-wonder-of-the-world, so you will be in good company.
When I head out to southern Africa at the end of December, my plan is not to spend more than 90 days in a single country. That way, I don’t have to renew my tourist visa. And let’s face it, since I don’t need a trolley when I arrive at the airport, to move on is not a major undertaking. In fact, I require less luggage to live than the average person takes to go on holiday for two weeks.
So stay tuned to this regular blog spot. I promise to regale M.L.T.S. readers with stories of my travels, accounts of interesting people and tips on how to be a traveler, as opposed to a tourist.