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Reflections on 35 Years of Travel Writing

Sheep graze on little-known Stewart Island off the coast of South New Zealand. (Photo courtesy of Daniela Constantinescu, Dreamstime.com) Travel When my 15-year-old granddaughter, Talya, asked me what my favorite destination was, I had to take a minute. After 35 years as a travel writer, my usual answer to that question is wherever I've been last, but I felt she deserved more than my usual flippant reply. Of course, so many different places come up for different reasons. For sheer beauty, there's New Zealand . Everyone raves, setting up high expectations — always a worry. But New Zealand doesn't disappoint. For me, however, the country held a different magical appeal: little Stewart Island to the south of South Island that even many Kiwis don't know . With a population of 401, a mere 18 miles of roads and more water taxis than land ones, Stewart is 80% national park with an insulated community that still remains a little wary of visitors. I was glad they let me in. A trip to Namibia , just north of South Africa, introduced me to an even more isolated lifestyle. Not often, ensconced as we are in our usually comfortable Western mindset, do we take the time to reflect upon how so much of the world lives very differently. Eighty-five percent of the world's population lives in poverty. And there are some civilizations that have very little knowledge of the world outside small communities. And no, Talya, you can't text them […]

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