Traveller’s Tales: Wendy

Although Wendy’s favourite subject was Geography it was when she was working as an 18-year-old stenographer in Canberra in the Secretariat of a United Nations Conference when she caught the travel bug. Wendy developed an insatiable curiosity to experience and learn about different cultures through travelling and working abroad.

Three decades later, during her post-graduate studies in Social Science, her interest in anthropology, archaeology, Indigenous culture and art continued to develop.  Since her retirement three years ago Wendy continues to enjoy travelling to exotic and remote places as she feels truly alive surrounded by wilderness and wildlife.  She continues to travel off the grid to experience fascinating cultures and customs first hand, sharing amazing experiences with new friends, learning from expedition team members and experts who bring destinations to life by sharing their knowledge and experiences.

Number of countries visited:  Out of the 195 recognised by the UN I have had the privilege of visiting 110, as well as the seven continents. These are only numbers and the adventures I have had over the years are too many to measure.  Although this may sound impressive it is over several decades and includes three extensive overland journeys through Africa, Asia and South America, each spanning several months during the 1970s.

After three years living overseas, my sister and I left our home in London to join a Sundowners Overland trip travelling back to Australia through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan over the Khyber Pass into Pakistan, India finishing in Kathmandu.  Feeling adventurous three of us continued on through Asia into Burma. It was unusual for Western women to be travelling independently at that time and were amongst the first travellers to take advantage of the new 7 day visas into Communist Burma.

What style of travel do you prefer:  It depends on the destination.  Travelling with a friends or family is always fun, especially when exploring the great cities of the world.  However, I have also found small group adventure travel provides a great authentic experiences and encourages cultural exchange, as well as providing employment for local guides.  Also the logistics are looked after which is especially important for me as I often travel solo.

Over the past 11 years I have chosen companies that practice responsible travel and believe in social and environmental welfare, contributing to communities as well as supporting local small businesses. During this time I have had some amazing adventures on 23 expedition voyages (with several different companies) on small ships visiting, wild places and remote communities, including Spitsbergen, Wrangle Island in Siberia, the North West Passage, Papua New Guinea, the Galapagos and Seychelles and 14 countries on the West Coast of Africa.

My last travel destination was: West Papua on the maiden voyage of the new ship the “Coral Adventurer” which is designed to operate in remote areas with minimal environmental impact. Although I had visited West Papua previously with Coral Expeditions this was a new exciting itinerary celebrating the anniversary of the second of Abel Tasman’s great voyages and visiting remote forgotten villages in the south west coastal region renowned for spectacular snorkelling and wildlife.  Meeting Asmat warriors, who welcomed us to the Syuru village in an armada of 40 war canoes was an yet another unforgettable experience.   

I met my cabin mate for the first time just before boarding the ship in Darwin and although we had not met before we had been getting to know each other via email and telephone chats over many months.  We hit it off straight away as we already talked about our sleeping habits and other personal information that we considered necessary for a smooth relationship.  Although we have quite different personalities we have become firm friends and have booked a trip to Sulawesi sharing a cabin once again.

My next travel destination is: exploring Dublin before joining Adventure Canada’s expedition ship the “Ocean Endeavour” travelling soloon back to back voyages – Circumnavigation of Ireland and Scotland Slowly including a visit to the Orkney and Shetland Islands. After disembarking in Aberdeen I will take the train to London where I have arranged to catch up with three groups of friends from previous expedition voyages to swap stories and plan more travel.