I’ve come by my love for travel honestly. When I was a child, my dad used to love to take the family on road trips. One year, we drove from North Texas back to my dad’s childhood home in North Carolina. Then he pointed the car back west to Texas, where my mom did, oh, nineteen thousand loads of laundry in one day, and we re-loaded the car, and headed further west to Disneyland. This immense road trip, winding through New Orléans, out to Georgia and the Outer Banks of North Carolina, through the Shenandoah Valley, and then all the way out to California and Disneyland sparked my hunger to experience different cultures. Even Walt’s place with its Swiss Family Robinson Tree house, the Matterhorn, Pirates of the Caribbean…. enticed me to dream of places beyond Main Street USA. I wanted to see the WORLD!
My passion for travel only grew as I got older. I made my first trip to Europe when I was invited to play with my stage band at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Since then, I’ve traveled to over 40 countries. I’ve actually been stranded on a Greek island, learned elephant husbandry in Arkansas and India. Heck, I’ve even helped found twelve free pharmacies in Cuba, including smuggling in the pharmaceuticals to stock the shelves.
Interestingly, it was travel, then, that sparked my love for photography and writing—how best to keep those memories than through capturing them in word and image? I suppose that’s why all my stories take place in exotic lands like Greece, Barbados, Africa, and the English countryside, or in worlds entirely made up in my mind. All of this from having picked up a camera and journal, and pausing to take in the moment, made the world an even bigger place. So while this blog is a collection of stories from my travels, they are also glimpses into life lived large.
So, who am I?
To Start: Me, the short list.
1. I love dogs. My husband and I have always had at least three. Currently, we have two Gordon Setters that I’ve shown in the conformation ring. Our third is an angel from heaven, my golden retriever. My husband gave her to me when my mother and my dog died the same week.
2. We’ve had hamsters, a bunny, and guinea pigs. We’ve had goldfish in our pond that came to us when we called them, and saltwater fish and sea horses. In birds, we’ve had Lady Gouldian, Zebra, and Cordon Bleu finches; a Green Cheek conure who loved to sit on the top of our heads while we showered so that she could have a shower too; a Hahn’s macaw that would call the dogs by name and then bite their tails when they came; a Blue Front Amazon parrot who bit clean through my husband’s lower lip and tongue; and an umbrella cockatoo who was a fiend for French fries.
Oh, right, and chickens.
3. My mornings are blissful because my fantastic husband makes me a cappuccino, better known in our household as the Glendaccino. We sit together for a bit, catch up on world news and then, I retreat up to my writing turret for the day.
4. I have a secret wish of having my very own dragon who will take me on rides, a miniature elephant that I could keep in the backyard, and who tap dances to Dave Brubeck’s “Take Another Five,” and miniature goats.
5. I’m a licensed charter sailboat captain, though I wouldn’t get in a boat with me at the helm.
6. My very favorite meal is North Carolina pork BBQ with hush puppies, cole slaw, and potato salad. You can take the girl out of North Carolina but you can’t take North Carolina out of the girl. I’m a true GRITS. Girl Raised in the South.
7. I wish there was a way to have snow without the brutal cold of winter. I live in the mountains and never grow tired of seeing them each day, but consider myself a cocktail sipping beach bunny who loves to snorkel.
8. My favorite games growing up were Chutes and Ladders, Life, and Candy Land.
9. I don’t like sauerkraut, but I love cabbage made any other way. I love escargot, but I have to sit there and pick out the little fatty globules from salami before I can eat it.
10. I enjoy just about every kind of music, even Rockabilly, but I don’t like country, and I can’t figure out why a singer with a foreign accent suddenly goes all twangy when he sings it. And truth is, I’ve been colder than a polar bear’s butt in winter, about as graceful as a pig on skates, hotter than a lizard on a hot rock, fuller than a tick ready to pop, and crazier than a June Bug. I’ve shopped at Piggly Wiggly, rode my bike to Toot n’Totem, and I know how to use “Bless her heart, Lord ha’ mercy, and hankerin’ in a sentence. I don’t pretend Southern; it courses through my veins.