I was born to be three things - a writer, a traveller and a mother, not necessarily in that order.
I have travelled all over the world, 80 countries by my last count, and I have written about almost every country I have visited.
My heroine growing up was the adventurer, writer, diplomat and Arabist, Gertrude Bell. I wanted to be her - or an incarnation of her. My preference of S.E.Asia over Arabia made my wish not so easily fulfilled. But, like her, I have been as "comfortable sitting in a Palace with kings as I have been squatting with nomads in a tent in the desert." Or, in my case, squatting with indigenous tribes from as far afield as the mountain ranges of S.E. Asia to those of the Costa Rican reservations.
From 1992-1995 I worked in Bosnia and Croatia during the war. My mother was from Dubrovnik and, when I saw bombs being dropped on that beautiful city, I decided I must do something to help. With a couple of friends we started a small charity bringing medical and surgical supplies to hospitals, refugee camps and orphanages along the Dalmatian coast. We set up a "Children's Village" for families from all sides of the conflict to live together in peace at Makarska, between Rijeka and Split.
After the Balkan War was over I worked for the Leonard Cheshire Foundation and the Leonard Cheshire Chair for Conflict Recovery helping set up medical and surgical programmes for refugees and IDPs in the refugee camps of southern Azerbaijan.
Some of my stories about this work can be found on my blogsite: http://www.anywhereiwander.wordpress.com
My three children, Elisar, Mayumi and Jasmine are my greatest achievements in my life. They have put up with my single motherhood, my research and writing schedules and my itinerant life. They have joined me in many of my travels and it has been wonderful to see the world through their young eyes.
Now I have two grandchildren who are the most precious little things and my life, family-wise, is complete.
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