You know when you’re with a group of friends, maybe sitting around a campfire, or on a patio on a warm evening, and someone starts talking about travel? And there’s invariably someone who has a crazy story, maybe about traveling in West Africa during a coup attempt, and getting mistaken for a mercenary? Or about visiting a Soviet collective winery in an old double decker bus, with a group of Swiss marxist students? Or maybe about appearing in court in Sudan to convince the judge that, ‘no, my scared out of his mind friend here wasn’t really trying to change money on the black market, it was just a terrible misunderstanding’?

Well, more often than not, I’ve been that person. Over the years, people have told me, ‘you need to write this stuff down!’ So here goes…

My desire to explore emerged early. At age two, my mother left me to nap on the porch of our house (as all good Irish mothers did, since, come snow, rain or shine, kids needed ‘fresh air’!). At some point, I unbuckled myself from my stroller, climbed the 6 foot gate, and dropped carefully to the street below. I was free to explore! Several hours later, my distraught mother and grandmother found me half a mile away, happily holding a big mug of sweet, strong tea made on an open coal brazier, listening to the ‘roadmen’ as they entertained me, between filling in potholes with asphalt heated over that same coal brazier. “We knew someone would come looking for him eventually Missus”, they said.

That was how it all started – my desire to explore and travel! Check back for further installments…

Driving from Ngorongoro Crater floor back up to the rim
Driving from Ngorongoro Crater floor back up to the crater rim, Tanzania

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