A lifetime of travel

This item appears on page 37 of the July 2011 issue.
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I was born in 1924 and have traveled all over the world. A couple of years ago, I sat down and wrote about some of my feelings and thoughts about the places I’ve been to and the people I’ve encountered. Here is some of what I wrote:

“In fall 2001, when I was 77, I found Rome a city of excellent food and smokers galore. Wine, wine, wine! Cathedrals were everywhere, each trying to outdo the others.

“I pinched a good-looking Italian man, who turned with a frown, then saw me and said, with a big smile, ‘Signora, grazie! Grazie!’ Evidently, I made his day. He made mine!

“We were traveling with wonderful Perillo Tours (Woodcliff Lake, NJ; 800/431-1515) and also visited Malta, a giant rock of an island with Stone Age ruins. In Valletta, the streets were so narrow, traffic just inched along, but no one blew their car horns. Handsome men. Good-looking women with shiny black hair, tight pants and high heels. (The older ladies didn’t wear those fashions, however.) Small white houses gleaming in the sun.

Gozo, another Maltese island, has old caves and farm plots. Good food in the trattorias. Sweet cannolis. Cobalt-blue water in the grotto near Zurrieq. On Easter Sunday, men run up the hill carrying a heavy statue of Jesus.

“In July 1990 we went to Brazil. The wet Amazon jungle is 200 shades of green. Toucans in flight and the brightly colored macaws were like a rainbow in the sky. After the jungle in Mato Grosso, we had R&R in Rio, where ‘the girl from Ipanema’ goes a-walking down the beach.

“Also in 1990, Greece. So many old stones. Singing and dancing and food that is so tasty, especially the street vendors’ fare. The scenery is so beautiful. You can’t be sad there.

“On an Elderhostel trip to India we met Betty and Jettane King from Savannah, Georgia, who became travel companions to my husband, Ralph, and me. In August 1995 we found ourselves in New Guinea. Dani tribesmen came into town for a celebration, each wearing only a gourd to cover what’s up front. They seemed serious and unsmiling.

“I suggested that Jett light up his pipe. He did, and suddenly he had a crowd of 25 interested men and boys watching him. When he blew smoke rings, the Dani went crazy, oohing and ahhing and pointing. They smoke cigarettes, but to see rings of smoke floating upward was amazing to them.”

Now Jett, Betty and my Ralph are gone, but I am still traveling. I was lucky to be married to a man who was planning two or three trips at all times. I will travel now with a friend or alone. I’ve never been afraid, anywhere in the world. (Of course, I don’t ask for trouble…)

Here it is, May 2011, and I’ve got a stack of brochures and am looking to go to Tanzania. My friends all think I’m crazy. I say, “You’re missing out on so much.” They say, “There could be riots,” but I say, “Something could happen anywhere. You might as well go.”

And — something I read once — remember, life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body but, rather, to skid in sideways, Chardonnay in one hand, chocolate in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, “Woo hoo! What a ride!”

PEARL JARDINE
Holiday Island, AR

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

I was born in 1924 and have traveled all over the world. A couple of years ago, I sat down and wrote about some of my feelings and thoughts about the places I’ve been to and the people I’ve encountered. Here is some of what I wrote:

“In fall 2001, when I was 77, I found Rome a city of excellent food and smokers galore. Wine, wine, wine! Cathedrals were everywhere, each trying to outdo the others.

“I pinched a good-looking Italian man, who turned with a frown, then saw me and said, with a big smile, ‘Signora, grazie! Grazie!’ Evidently, I made his day. He made mine!

“We were traveling with wonderful Perillo Tours (Woodcliff Lake, NJ; 800/431-1515) and also visited Malta, a giant rock of an island with Stone Age ruins. In Valletta, the streets were so narrow, traffic just inched along, but no one blew their car horns. Handsome men. Good-looking women with shiny black hair, tight pants and high heels. (The older ladies didn’t wear those fashions, however.) Small white houses gleaming in the sun.

Gozo, another Maltese island, has old caves and farm plots. Good food in the trattorias. Sweet cannolis. Cobalt-blue water in the grotto near Zurrieq. On Easter Sunday, men run up the hill carrying a heavy statue of Jesus.

“In July 1990 we went to Brazil. The wet Amazon jungle is 200 shades of green. Toucans in flight and the brightly colored macaws were like a rainbow in the sky. After the jungle in Mato Grosso, we had R&R in Rio, where ‘the girl from Ipanema’ goes a-walking down the beach.

“Also in 1990, Greece. So many old stones. Singing and dancing and food that is so tasty, especially the street vendors’ fare. The scenery is so beautiful. You can’t be sad there.

“On an Elderhostel trip to India we met Betty and Jettane King from Savannah, Georgia, who became travel companions to my husband, Ralph, and me. In August 1995 we found ourselves in New Guinea. Dani tribesmen came into town for a celebration, each wearing only a gourd to cover what’s up front. They seemed serious and unsmiling.

“I suggested that Jett light up his pipe. He did, and suddenly he had a crowd of 25 interested men and boys watching him. When he blew smoke rings, the Dani went crazy, oohing and ahhing and pointing. They smoke cigarettes, but to see rings of smoke floating upward was amazing to them.”

Now Jett, Betty and my Ralph are gone, but I am still traveling. I was lucky to be married to a man who was planning two or three trips at all times. I will travel now with a friend or alone. I’ve never been afraid, anywhere in the world. (Of course, I don’t ask for trouble…)

Here it is, May 2011, and I’ve got a stack of brochures and am looking to go to Tanzania. My friends all think I’m crazy. I say, “You’re missing out on so much.” They say, “There could be riots,” but I say, “Something could happen anywhere. You might as well go.”

And — something I read once — remember, life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body but, rather, to skid in sideways, Chardonnay in one hand, chocolate in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, “Woo hoo! What a ride!”

PEARL JARDINE
Holiday Island, AR