I was intrigued when I learned about the experiences of such a woman from her daughter, Jane Stein, who found her mother's travel logs and turned those adventures into a children's book on travel.
Today I'm running a guest post that Jane wrote. I enjoyed reading the tidbits she listed on her website to get people interested in the book. Details and fun facts, such as:
- Every year the world’s largest tomato fight takes place in Spain.
- Sesame Street puppets speak Hebrew, Arabic and Russian, and a cousin of Oscar the Grouch is named Moishe Oofnik. (That one cracks me up.)
- There are special laughing clubs in India where people go for their health. (I feel healthier already, laughing about Moishe Oofnik.)
A Look Back: Solo Traveling 50 Years Ago
My globetrotting mother was ahead of the curve—way ahead—when she traveled around the world for six months by herself in 1963. She started in England and ended up in Japan. A dozen countries came in between, including Burma.
Who visited Burma in those days? Very few people, apparently. Only one other person was on her plane from Calcutta to Rangoon.
Why She Traveled Alone
What possessed a single, 54-year-old school teacher to something so unusual? Several things: A long, unfulfilled desire for adventure and travel. A recent divorce. An empty nest.
Her youngest child—me—was out of college.
Why I Wrote About Her Trip
After my mother died, I found travel logs and transformed them into letters. The result is Dear Class: Traveling Around the World with Mrs. J, a book for kids ages 8-12. Travel-loving adults like it, too, enjoying reading about some of the things my mother did. She:
- Rode on a mule in Greece, on an elephant in India and in a pedicab in Thailand
- Stayed on houseboat in Srinagar and in a roykan in Japan
- Got in a car in Istanbul with guys coming home from soccer practice--she thought it was a shared taxi
- Learned that if she could take trains and buses in parts of the world where most people didn’t speak English, then she could do almost anything she wanted to do
Fun facts and extras
Dear Class has sidebars that bring the book up-to-date, such as the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in Westminster Abbey, and lists of fun facts, such as:
- So many Harry Potter fans go to Kings Cross Station to look for Platform 9-3/4 that there actually is a sign for one.
- Mrs. J saw snake charmers in many places in India. It’s not as dangerous as it looks since the snakes usually are defanged. Snake charming was outlawed in 1972 but you can still see people doing it on the street.
Are you ready to travel for six months by yourself? Check out the letter from England to see how Mrs. J did it back then.
--Jane Stein, a second-generation worldwide traveler
Thanks, Jane, for sharing the adventurous spirit of your mother. I hope lots of children read the book and are inspired to set out to see the world some day.