By Caitlin Kelly
I’ve been lucky enough, from infancy, to travel the world. My parents, then living in Vancouver, B.C. where I was born, removed a car’s back seat, put in my crib, and drove to Mexico. Raised as an only child, I was also lucky enough to be affordably portable in later years.
No wonder I’m at my happiest when traveling and/or in motion! One of my favorite smells is the distinct aroma of jet fuel. Takeoff!
I took my first solo airplane flight at seven, meeting my mother in Antigua.
Since then, I’ve visited 37 countries, some of them alone.
I’ve visited some with my mother, father, friends or boyfriends/husbands: England, France, Mexico, Sweden, Montserrat, Jamaica, Colombia, Peru, Fiji, Ireland, Thailand, Venezuela.
I’ve also traveled widely on assignment for magazine and newspaper stories and while researching my books. In those instances, I’m almost always alone, whether in a tiny hill town in Sicily, small Texas towns like Waco, San Angelo, Fredericksburg or Silver City (aka the middle of nowhere!) or navigating major cities from Bangkok to Rome to Istanbul.
I dearly love and miss Mexico, a place I lived for six months at 14, in Cuernavaca, with my mother. I love everything about the place and have been back many times, but not since May 2005, when we toured for three weeks to Mexico City, Queretaro, Patzcuaro, Oaxaca and Cuernavaca.
I cry with relief and excitement when I return each time to Paris, a city I lived in at 25 for eight months on life-changing journalism fellowship. I’ve seen a bit of the south — the Camargue, the Cote d-Azur — and Normandy. Corsica is one of the loveliest places on earth!
London, where we lived when I was little for a few years. I love Spitalfields, where silk weavers settled in the 17th century.
But there are still so many places I’m dying to see, including:
— Returning to Thailand, France, New Zealand, Ireland, Tunisia, Italy, England, Denmark, Austria and Sweden
— Exploring the fjords of Norway by boat
— Riding across the plains of Mongolia
— Gros Morne National Park, (A UNESCO site), in Newfoundland
— The Galapagos
— Bryce and Zion National Parks, Utah
— The Maldives, Seychelles, Madagascar and Zanzibar
— The Hebrides
— Exploring Brazil
— Croatia, especially the island of Hvar
— The Greek islands, especially Paros and Corfu
— South Africa
— Morocco, especially the Sahara
— Japan — all of it! I love classic Japanese art and design
— Jordan (Petra)
Here is a round-up of reviews of eight new travel books — seven (sigh) written by men — from The New York Times.
And seven more, from their 2011 round-up, also with only one book written by a woman.
And, if you’re hungry for serious adventure, here’s an essay naming some earlier writers who really traveled far and wide, often alone, like Freya Stark.
What are some of your best-loved places and fun/interesting things to do there?