A Woman's Passion for Travel

A Woman's Passion for Travel

True Stories of World Wanderlust $17.95
Edited by Marybeth Bond & Pamela Michael
November 2004
ISBN 1-932361-14-6   328 pages
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Description
Introduction
Table of Contents
Sample Chapter
About the Author

Description


“Reading this book is dangerous. You’ll quit your job. You’ll cash in your savings—or take out a loan. At the very least, you’ll ache to follow in the footsteps of these fine writers on their exciting travels.”
—Lucy Jan Bledsoe, author of Working Parts

Everything feels different on the road. It’s a time to test limits, contemplate life from new angles, or create changes big and small. The women in A Woman’s Passion for Travel do this and more, exploring every corner of the globe and every facet of their characters, accepting challenges and delving beneath the surface of cultures. They find inspiration from other women as they discover themselves and turn old stories into daring new adventures. In this remarkable collection, women of all ages take risks, learn, and embrace the joys of the world. Lighthearted or serious, funny or sad, each story will move you—perhaps even to the road itself.

  • Find peace in a Spanish church on the Road to Santiago
  • Collect scorpions for science in the Tunisian Sahara
  • Learn how to see the world from a boatman in Laos
  • Deliver a postcard to strangers in Italy and become part of the family
  • Drive a dog team with your daughter in Alaska
  • Understand the meaning of hospitality in Morocco
  • Discover your true identity in Hong Kong
  • Track gorillas in the mountains of Rwanda
  • Travel unpaved roads through Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala
  • Walk many miles, all over the world, in your mother’s boots…and much more
Notable authors include: Frances Mayes, Anne Lamott, Mary Morris, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Ann Jones, Jennifer L. Leo, Kathleen Dean Moore, and Pam Houston.

Introduction


Only a few generations ago, women travelers were rare. Those who did venture out into the world almost always did so under the protection of a male relative, a father, husband, or son. Not a few solo women travelers—Alexandra David-Neel being perhaps the most famous—resorted to dressing as men in order to move about freely and with relative safety. Journeys were usually arduous and if they involved passion, an attitude toward travel celebrated in this volume, it was most likely in the archaic sense of the word: suffering.

For today’s woman, though, travel evokes quite another kind of passion, defined as strength of feeling, boundless enthusiasm, eager desire, intensity, excitement, ardent love, lust. Perhaps the fervor with which women travel today is a response to our history of confinement and tethering, a joyous casting off of constraints. Whatever the reason—and who needs one?—more women are traveling than ever before. And quite a few of them are writing about their experiences.

As the growing body of women’s travel literature suggests, women tend to make connections and build relationships on the road, seek contact with local people and cultures, and linger in one place. It has been said that women climb mountains not so much "because they are there," but for the journey itself—to see what’s along the way as well as the reward of reaching the top.

Marybeth’s first book of travel stories, A Woman’s World, chronicled and celebrated the diverse and bold new ways women are exploring the planet. A Woman’s World won the prestigious Lowell Thomas Award for Best Travel Book of the Year and elicited not only critical praise but thousands of letters from readers. Reactions were enthusiastic and—to invoke our current title—passionate.

"Sometimes in the frenetic pace of my everyday world, I lose that part of me that is so uniquely female. A Woman’s World reawakened that wonderful place inside of me—and reminded me that I share it with every other woman out there. A Woman’s World made me feel good about being a woman," wrote one reader.

Another letter read, "This was more than a book about travel for me—it was a book about living, about feeling, about learning, about loving. There are times in our lives when we all feel alone. I was at one of those places in my life when I read your book. What wonderful therapy! I came away still feeling alone, but feeling my strength in being a woman alone—and loving it."

A school librarian in Dyersburg, Tennessee lent the book to a friend who read one story a day to her dying mother. She wrote that her friend had found that the stories in A Woman’s World were both healing and life-affirming. A high school English teacher used the book with her students to contrast with Lord of the Flies, in which there are no female characters. Ms. Halsey says "thank you for providing young women with confident, capable, adventurous role models as they move through such a period of upheaval in their lives, the teenage years."

Such heartfelt words inspired—almost compelled—us to begin work on a sequel to A Woman’s World, which we’ve named A Woman’s Passion for Travel to emphasize the zest, commitment, and tenacity of women travelers and travel writers alike. Once we began the search for stories, we were even more spoiled for choice than Marybeth had been the first time around. In considering stories for this collection, we were privileged to read a plethora of inspiring and remarkable tales. As women, our voices, our words, our stories are helping us understand and celebrate our collective experience and our individual strengths.

Through our travel we are able to act boldly and courageously, to see ourselves as the heroines of our own life stories. As the tales in A Woman’s Passion for Travel attest, the richest vein of many women’s life experience is mined on the road.

The stories we’ve collected come from women of all ages and all walks of life—college students, doctors, athletes, grandmothers, career women, and stay-at-home moms. Some, like Mary Morris, Frances Mayes, Anne Lamott, and Pam Houston, are well-known writers; a few will be familiar to Travelers’ Tales readers; some are being published here for the first time.

The traveling women in these pages write about traveling alone, with a partner, a daughter, a lover, an entire reading group. They travel by train, plane, raft, dog sled, on horseback, on foot, on hope, and on adrenaline. They hail from diverse continents and cultures and bring a rich tapestry of insight and observations. In one story, Sekai Nzenza-Shand’s "Following the Tracks Back," a woman’s cultural background leads to self-discovery when she returns home to Zimbabwe with her new Australian husband to meet her family. In "An English Girl in Suez," Ann Mackintosh describes a tense visit to Egypt and her difficulty in adjusting to her daughter’s adopted Islamic lifestyle.

As story after story here reveals, what makes a journey rich and memorable for most women is not so much the places we visit, but the people we meet. Indeed, developing or deepening a relationship can be the most important aspect of a journey; that relationship may be with ourselves, a travel companion, or someone met along the way.

Friendship is a common theme. In "A Russian Handshake," Barbara L. Baer recounts—and laments—a friendship with a mysterious Russian woman that began in India but could not survive decades of distance and Cold War. An impromptu outing in Barcelona with an older woman relieves exchange student Aleta Brown’s loneliness in "Jump."

Another issue we as women face is our concern for our personal safety. Our very vulnerability can sometimes be an asset, however, for it often connects us with other women. We move more slowly through the world, perhaps because we are tuned in to the footsteps behind us.

Marybeth’s story about a Mexican homestay with her two young daughters, "Guardians of the Dark," illustrates how women watch out for each other and how even when our backgrounds differ, we can nonetheless understand each other’s fears and concerns. The night of terror in Paris described by Claire Tristram in "Why I Have Never Seen the Mona Lisa Smile" is a chilling reminder to all women about the special risks we face as women on the road.

As demonstrated throughout this collection, sometimes women use travel to discover themselves and to move forward in life, to make changes that would be harder to make at home. Pamela confronts Western consumption patterns and her own shortcomings on the banks of the Mekong in "The Boatman’s Gift." Zoologist Rosiland Aveling is transformed by an encounter with a mountain gorilla in "Ndume." Laura Fraser seeks to heal the wounds of divorce in "Italian Affair."

Healing, adventure, romance, risk-taking, self-discovery, public service, scholarly explorations, escape, and pilgrimage—the variety of woman’s travel pursuits provides a wealth of material and perspectives from which lives, literature, and legends are built. The stories women tell are an intimate record of culture and history. We invite you to walk with the women in these pages, to share their passion—not only for travel—but for life itself.

—Marybeth Bond and Pamela Michael

Table of Contents


Introduction

Part One: Passion for Travel

Looking for Abdelati--Tanya Shaffer
Morocco

The Spanish Church--Catherine Watson
Spain

Special Delivery--Lindsy Van Gelder
Ecuador & Italy

The Boatman's Gift--Pamela Michael
Laos

Mysteries of Life--Anne Lamott
Mexico

L'Air du Temps--Marilyn McFarlane
France

Light on a Moonless Night--Laurie Gough
Fiji

On Italian Time--Mary Morris
Italy

Unpaved Roads--Virginia Barton Brownback
Mexico

Following the Tracks Back--Sekai Nzenza-Shand
Zimbabwe

Guardians of the Dark--Marybeth Bond
Mexico

And Miles to Go--Letty Cottin Pogrebin
The World

Part Two: Some Things to Do

Kenya on Horseback--Ann Jones
Kenya

Sex, Yams, and the Kula Ring--Lynn Ferrin
Papua New Guinea

River of Life--Leila Philip
Grand Canyon

Venice--Frances Mayes
Italy

Winter Walk--Deborah Johansen
Massachusetts

Extended Family--Alison DaRosa
India

The Center of Nowhere--Barbara Ras
Alaska

Ndume--Rosalind Aveling
Rwanda

Girl Kayak Guides of Juneau--Candace Dempsey
Alaska

Scorpion Hunting--Diane Rigda
Tunisia

Bathing Suit Anxiety--Marilyn Lutzker
Iceland

The Stowaway--Celia Wakefield
Mexico

Part Three: Going Your Own Way

The Lushes--Pier Roberts
Italy

Outside the Flame--Anees Jung
India

On the Rocks--Pam Houston
Grand Canyon

A Russian Handshake--Barbara L. Baer
Russia

Italian Affair--Laura Fraser
Italy

Three's a Crowd--Kathleen Dean Moore
Washington

Toiletopia--Kathleen Meyer
Japan

The Moment of Truth--Dianne Partie Lange
Thailand

An English Girl in Suez--Ann Mackintosh
Egypt

Chinese Like Me--Jennifer L. Leo
Hong Kong

Jump--Aleta Brown
Spain

My Lai, Thirty Years After--Rachel Louise Snyder
Vietnam

Part Four: In the Shadows

Why I Have Never Seen the Mona Lisa Smile--Claire Tristram
France

Souvenirs from Belize--Pamela Conley
Belize

Where Is the Girl Who Speaks English?--Joan Zimmerman
Tibet & Nepal

Out There--Jo Ann Beard
Alabama

Fever--Jennifer Duffy
India

Part Five: The Last Word

My Mother's Boots--Susan Spano
Colorado

Sample chapter


Sample Chapter

Looking for Abdelati
by Tanya Shaffer

An unexpected journey into the heart of a family in Casablanca.

Here's what I love about travel: Strangers get a chance to amaze you. Sometimes a single day can bring a blooming surprise, a simple kindness that opens a chink in the brittle shell of your heart and makes you a different person when you go to sleep -- more tender, less jaded -- than you were when you woke up.

This particular day began when Miguel and I descended from a cramped, cold bus at 7 a.m. and walked the stinking, gray streets of Casablanca with our backpacks looking for food. Six days earlier I had finished a stint on a volunteer project, creating a public park in Kenitra, an ugly industrial city on the Moroccan coast. This was my final day of travel before hopping a plane to sub-Saharan Africa and more volunteer work.

Miguel was one of five non-Moroccans on the work project, a twenty-one-year-old vision of flowing brown curls and buffed golden physique. Although having him as a traveling companion took care of any problems I might have encountered with Moroccan men, he was inordinately devoted to his girlfriend Eva, a wonderfully brassy, wiry, chain-smoking Older Woman of twenty-five with a husky Scotch-drinker's voice, whom he couldn't go more than half an hour without mentioning. Unfortunately, Eva had to head back to Barcelona immediately after the three-week work camp ended, and Miguel wanted to explore Morocco. Since I was the only other person on the project who spoke Spanish, and Miguel spoke no French or Arabic, his tight orbit shifted onto me, and we became traveling companions. This involved posing as a married couple at hotels, which made Miguel so uncomfortable that the frequency of his references to Eva went from half-hour to fifteen-minute intervals, and then five as we got closer to bedtime. Finally one night, as we set up in our room in Fès, I took him by the shoulders and said, "Miguel, it's OK. You're a handsome man, but I'm over twenty-one. I can handle myself, I swear."

This morning we were going to visit Abdelati, a sweet, gentle young man we'd worked with on the project in Kenitra. He'd been expecting us to arrive in Casablanca for a few days, and since he had no telephone, he'd written down his address and told us to just show up -- his mother and sisters were always at home. Since my plane was leaving from Casablanca the following morning, we wanted to get an early start, so we could spend the whole day with him. Eventually we scored some croissants and overly sugared panaches (a mix of banana, apple, and orange juice) at a roadside café, where the friendly proprietor advised us to take a taxi rather than a bus out to Abdelati's neighborhood. He said the taxi should cost twenty to twenty-five dirham -- under three dollars -- and the buses would take all day.

We hopped into a taxi, which took off with a screech of rubber before we'd agreed on a price.

"Forty or forty-five dirham!" the driver shouted over the roar of his engine. He was already careening around corners at top speed.

"Why isn't the counter on?" I asked.

"Broken!" he said.

Miguel rolled his eyes. "Eva would hate this," he whispered.

"If I had the counter, it would cost you fifty," the driver said.

Since the man in the café had told us twenty-five or thirty, I asked the driver to pull over and let us out. At first I put it politely: "We'd like to look at other options," but he simply said, "OK," and kept driving. After four such attempts, I said sharply, "Nous voulons descendre" -- we want to get out. Reluctantly he pulled over, saying we owed him ten dirham. "Fine," I said. "Let me just get our bags down first -- the money's in there." We yanked our backpacks off the overhead rack and took off, while the taxi driver shouted after us.

Miguel shook his head. "Eva would've killed that guy," he said. It was an hour before we caught another taxi. Finally one pulled over, and a poker-faced man quoted us an estimate of eighteen to twenty dirham. "Très bien," I said with relief, and we jumped in. Apparently the address Abdelati had written down for us was somehow suspect, and when we got into the neighborhood, our driver started asking directions.

First he asked a cop, who scratched his head and asked our nationalities, looking at our grimy faces and scraggly attire with a kind of bemused fondness. After more small talk, he pointed vaguely to a park a few blocks away. There a group of barefoot seven- or eight-year-old boys were kicking a soccer ball. Our driver asked where Abdelati's house was, and one of the boys said Abdelati had moved, but he could take us to the new house. This seemed a bit odd to me, since Abdelati had just given me the address a week ago, but since a similar thing had happened in Fès, I chalked it up as another Moroccan mystery and didn't worry about it too much. The little boy came with us in the cab, full of his own importance, squirming and twisting to wave at other children as we inched down the narrow, winding roads. Finally the little boy pointed to a house, and our driver went to the door and inquired. He came back to the cab saying Abdelati's sister was in this house visiting friends and would come along to show us where they lived.

Soon a beautiful girl of about sixteen emerged from the house. She was dressed in a Western skirt and blouse, which surprised me, since Abdelati's strong religious beliefs and upright demeanor had made me think he came from a more traditional family. Another thing that surprised me was her skin color. Whereas Abdelati looked very African, this young woman was an olive-skinned Arab. Still, I'd seen other unusual familial combinations in Morocco's complex racial mosaic, so I didn't give it too much thought.

We waited in the yard while the sister went in and returned accompanied by her mother, sisters, and brother-in-law, all of whom greeted us with cautious warmth. Unlike the younger girl, the older sisters were wearing traditional robes, though their faces were not veiled. You see a range of orthodoxy in Moroccan cities, caught as they are between Europe and the Arab world. From the younger sister's skirt and blouse to the completely veiled women gliding through the streets with only their eyes in view, the women's outfits seem to embody the entire spectrum.

We paid our taxi driver, and I tipped and thanked him profusely, until he grew embarrassed and drove away.

We were ushered into a pristine, middle-class Moroccan home, with an intricately carved doorway and swirling multicolored tiles lining the walls. The mother told us in broken French that Abdelati was out, but would be home soon. We sat on low cushioned seats in the living room, drinking sweet, pungent mint tea poured at a suitable height from a tiny silver teapot and eating sugar cookies, while the family members took turns sitting with us and making shy, polite conversation that frequently lapsed into uncomfortable silence. Every time anything was said, Miguel would say "What?" with extreme eagerness, and I would translate the mundane fragment into Spanish for him: "Nice weather today. Tomorrow perhaps rain." At this he'd sink back into fidgety frustration, undoubtedly wishing Eva were there.

An hour passed, and as the guard kept changing, more family members emerged from inner rooms. I was again struck by the fact that they were all light-skinned Arabs. How did Abdelati fit into this picture? Was he adopted? I was very curious to find out.

After two hours had passed with no sign of Abdelati, the family insisted on serving us a meal of couscous and chicken.

"Soon," was the only response I got when I inquired as to what time he might arrive. "You come to the hammam, the bath," the young sister said after we'd finished lunch. "When we finish, he is back."

"The bath?" I asked, looking around the apartment.

The sister laughed. "The women's bath!" she said. "Haven't you been yet?" She pointed at Miguel. "He can go to the men's; it's right next door."

"What?" said Miguel anxiously, sitting up.

"She wants to take us to the baths," I said.

A look of abject horror crossed his face. "The -- the bath?" he stammered. "You and me?"

"Yes," I said, smiling widely. "Is there some problem?"

"Well...well...." I watched his agitation build for a moment, then sighed and put my hand over his.

"Separate baths, Miguel. You with the men, me with the women."

"Oh." He almost giggled with relief. "Of course."

The women's bath consisted of three large connecting rooms, each one hotter and steamier than the last, until you could barely see two feet in front of you. The floors were filled with naked women of all ages and body types, sitting directly on the slippery tiles, washing each other with mitts made of rough washcloths. Tiny girls and babies sat in plastic buckets filled with soapy water -- their own pint-sized tubs. The women carried empty buckets, swinging like elephants' trunks, to and from the innermost room, where they filled them at a stone basin from a spigot of boiling water, mixing in a little cold from a neighboring spigot to temper it.

In a culture where the body is usually covered, I was surprised by the women's absolute lack of inhibition. They sat, mostly in pairs, pouring the water over their heads with small plastic pitchers, then scrubbing each other's backs -- and I mean scrubbing. Over and over they attacked the same spot, as though they were trying to get out a particularly stubborn stain, leaving reddened flesh in their wake. They sprawled across each other's laps. They washed each other's fronts, backs, arms, legs. Some women washed themselves as though they were masturbating, hypnotically circling the same spot. Two tiny girls, about four-years-old, scrubbed their grandmother, who lay sprawled across the floor face down. A prepubescent girl lay in her mother's lap, belly up, eyes closed, as relaxed as a cat, while her mother applied a forceful up and down stroke across the entire length of her daughter's torso. I was struck by one young woman in particular, who reclined alone like a beauty queen in a tanning salon, back arched, head thrown back, right at the steamy heart of the baths, where the air was almost suffocating. When she began to wash, she soaped her breasts in sensual circles, proudly, her stomach held in, long chestnut hair rippling down her back, a goddess in her domain.

Abdelati's sister, whose name was Samara, went at my back with her mitt, which felt like steel wool.

"Ow!" I cried out. "Careful!"

This sent her into gales of laughter that drew the attention of the surrounding women, who saw what was happening and joined her in appreciative giggles as she continued to sandblast my skin.

"You must wash more often," she said, pointing to the refuse of her work -- little gray scrolls of dead skin that clung to my arms like lint on a sweater.

When it came time to switch roles, I tried to return the favor, but after a few moments Samara became impatient with my wimpiness and grabbed the washcloth herself, still laughing. After washing the front of her body she called over a friend to wash her back, while she giggled and sang.

"What was it like in there?" asked Miguel when we met again outside. He looked pink and damp as a newborn after his visit to the men's baths, and I wondered whether his experience was anything like mine.

"I'd like to tell you all about it," I said eagerly, "but..." I paused for emphasis, then leaned in and whispered, "I don't think Eva would approve."

When we got back to the house, the mother, older sister, and uncle greeted us at the door.

"Please," said the mother. "Abdelati is here."

"Oh, good," I said, and for a moment, before I walked into the living room, his face danced in my mind -- the warm brown eyes, the smile so shy and gentle and filled with radiant life.

We entered the lovely tiled room we'd sat in before, and a handsome young Arab man in nicely pressed Western pants and shirt came forward to shake our hands with an uncertain expression on his face.

"Bonjour, mes amis," he said cautiously.

"Bonjour," I smiled, slightly confused. "Abdelati -- est-ce qu´il est ici?" Is Abdelati here?

"Je suis Abdelati."

"But...but..." I looked from him to the family and then began to giggle tremulously. "I -- I'm sorry. I'm afraid we've made a bit of a mistake. I -- I'm so embarrassed."

"What? What?" Miguel asked urgently. "I don't understand. Where is he?"

"We've got the wrong Abdelati," I told him, then looked around at the assembled family who'd spent the better part of a day entertaining us. "I'm afraid we don't actually know your son."

For a split second no one said anything, and I wondered whether I might implode right then and there and blow away like a pile of ash. Then the uncle exclaimed heartily, "Ce n´est pas grave!"

"Yes," the mother joined in. "It doesn't matter at all. Won't you stay for dinner, please?"

I was so overwhelmed by their kindness that tears rushed to my eyes. For all they knew we were con artists, thieves, anything. Would such a thing ever happen in the U.S.?

Still, with my plane leaving the next morning, I felt the moments I could share with the first Abdelati and his family slipping farther and farther away.

"Thank you so much," I said fervently. "It's been a beautiful, beautiful day, but please -- could you help me find this address?"

I took out the piece of paper Abdelati had given me back in Kenitra, and the new Abdelati, his uncle, and his brother-in-law came forward to decipher it. "This is Baalal Abdelati!" said the second Abdelati with surprise. "We went to school together! He lives less than a kilometer from here. I will bring you to his house."

And that is how it happened, after taking photos and exchanging addresses and hugs and promises to write, Miguel and I left our newfound family and arrived at the home of our friend Abdelati as the last orange streak of the sunset was fading into the indigo night. There I threw myself into the arms of that dear and lovely young man, exclaiming, "I thought we'd never find you!" After greetings had been offered all around, and the two Abdelatis had shared stories and laughter, we waved good-bye to our new friend Abdelati and entered a low, narrow hallway, lit by kerosene lamps.

"This is my mother," said Abdelati. And suddenly I found myself caught up in a crush of fabric and spice, gripped in the tight embrace of a completely veiled woman, who held me and cried over me and wouldn't let me go, just as though I were her own daughter, and not a stranger she'd never before laid eyes on in her life.


Tanya Shaffer is an actress and writer based in San Francisco. She is currently touring her newest solo show, Let My Enemy Live Long! based on her travels in West Africa. Previous national tours of her work include her solo show Miss America's Daughters and her play Brigadista. She has also written for the Tony Award -- winning San Francisco Mime Troupe. Many of her travel stories have appeared on Salon.com.

About the Author


Marybeth Bond has not always been a Gutsy Woman. During summer camp, at the age of ten, she was nicknamed “Misty” because she had a bad case of homesickness. Not one of her counselors would have predicted the bright travel career that lay ahead.

Now a nationally recognized travel expert, speaker, and media personality known as the “Gutsy Traveler,” she is the award-winning author/editor of seven women’s travel books including the national bestseller, A Woman’s World, winner of the prestigious Lowell Thomas Gold Medal for Best Travel Book from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation.

Marybeth has walked, hiked, climbed, cycled, and kayaked her way through six continents and more than seventy countries. Her travels have taken her from the depths of the Flores Sea to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, across the Himalayas and the Sahara Desert. She made her first gutsy decision when she left a successful corporate career, put her worldly possessions in storage, and bought a one-way ticket to Bangkok. While some thought (and told her) she was nuts, she traveled “single and solo” for two years around the world. It was during her travels that she discovered the “gutsy woman” within herself and had the time of her life.

Marybeth continues to criss-cross the globe educating, enlightening, and empowering others to explore it through travel. Whether your idea of a “gutsy traveler” is taking your first plane ride across the Atlantic, navigating the promenades of Paris, or rafting in the Rockies, Marybeth’s travel tips, know-how, and practical advice will guide you along the way.

A highly sought after speaker, Marybeth has addressed numerous consumer groups, corporations, and industry insiders about the amazing benefits of travel. She’s also appeared on more than 250 network and cable media outlets including CBS, ABC, FOX, NBC, CNN, NPR to name a few. She was a featured guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where she discussed with Oprah how it is through travel that women can refresh, renew, and recharge themselves and be ready to take on the world.

Currently Marybeth is Adventure Editor for TravelGirl Magazine and a travel correspondent for iVillage.com and USAToday.com. Her articles have been published in magazines and newspapers around the country.

Marybeth is a member of National Association of Journal-ists and Authors and the Society of American Travel Writers and was an advisor for Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

She now lives in Northern California with her husband (whom she met while trekking in Nepal!), two daughters and the family dog. Please visit her web site at www.gutsy-traveler.com for more news, updates, and travel advice from Marybeth.


Pamela Michael has been a freelance writer for over twenty years. In the 1980's she wrote for technical audio journals and later began doing curriculum development for the Discovery Channel. While director of the United Nations'-sponsored International Task Force on Media and Education, she edited a groundbreaking book on media's role in education called The Whole World is Watching (UNESCO 1992).

In her youth, Pam crossed the U.S. several times, by thumb, rail, bu,s and car, sometimes with her infant son in tow (and often her Irish wolfhound as well). She didn't leave the continent until she was over forty, but has made up for lost time, visiting over thirty countries in the last decade. In 1997, she won the British Airways/Book Passage Travel Writing Grand Prize for her story, The Khan Men of Agra. In 2003, the anthology she edited with her writing group, Wild Writing Women: Stories of World Travel won the National Association of Travel Journalists Award for Best Travel Book of 2002. Her most recent book, River of Words: Images and Poetry in Praise of Water, won the 2004 Skipping Stones Award for “best book on ecology or nature.”

Pam has written numerous articles on education, community, media, and travel for a variety of magazines and newspapers, including the San Francisco Examiner, Resurgence, Odyssey, Salon.com, Shape, Orion Afield, Maiden Voyages, and others. Her Travelers’ Tales books include, in addition to A Woman’s Passion for Travel, A Mother's World: Journeys of the Heart (also with Marybeth Bond), and The Gift of Rivers.

Michael is the co-founder (with former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass) of River of Words, an international non-profit organization that fosters environmental and art education in affiliation with The Library of Congress. River of Words operates one of the first art galleries in the country devoted to children’s art, Young at Art, in Berkeley, California.

Also a longtime radio journalist, Pamela is the travel editor of KPFA-fm in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her earlier radio work includes writing and producing a four-part series on Buddhism in the United States, narrated by Richard Gere. Pamela lives on the “morning side” of Mt. Diablo in Northern California.

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