World Traveler Shares her Wisdom and Whimsy of a World Travel
World traveler is one of the many hats Mildred Booth wears. Mildred is 89 years young. In addition to being a world traveler, she has worn many hats over the course of her rich and full life including: daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, Christian, secretary, accountant, receptionist, puzzle-solver, cake-lover, adventure-seeker and friend. Upon moving to North Carolina in 2006, I had the good fortune of moving in next door to Mildred. I’m blessed to have been ‘adopted’ by her and to have enjoyed her zest for life – especially travel, adventure and cake. I recently asked her to share a few highlights of her decades of world travels and below are just a few highlights:
How did you first get started traveling?
In 1974, the company I worked for in conjunction with the bank promoted a travel program called “Young Carolinians” at a low interest rate loan to us. A friend and I decided to go on the trip to Germany and surrounding areas. She took her mother and I took my daughter. There is nothing like travel, staying in the same room, sharing the same experiences to bond with a 16-year old daughter. The trip to Germany was exhilarating. So, I decided to join the travel group and try to go on a trip every year. Even after the program ended, I decided to keep on traveling. I was hooked!
What did you expect when you first started traveling? How did your experiences compare to these expectations?
Traveling will give you a new perspective on the whole world. One you can appreciate. It is quite an awakening (experience). Get to see how other people live, their customs, foods, the sights and sounds of different areas. When you get home and take in the news, it really helps you to put current events in to place. I often watch the news and think “I was there” giving it such a rich perspective. Seeing the Berlin Wall before AND after it came down. Other examples include visiting Tiananmen Square before the protests of 1989 and Christchurch, New Zealand prior to the 2011 earthquake.
Would you share a bit about your overseas volunteering trip to Albania?
Back in 1994, I went on a mission trip to Albania with a friend and her church group. We met at the church for about 2 weeks to learn more about the people, the customs, language, etc.…to prepare ourselves for the trip. We would go into small villages and show the Life of Jesus film which had been translated into the Albanian language. Going to Albania was quite the unique experience. They had been under communist rule and just recently opened up and most of the population was Muslim. The villages were so remove that we had to travel by Land Rover and helicopter furnished by a group from Switzerland. Our main headquarters was in an old abandoned castle not far from the Yugoslavian border. Goats roamed in and about. As primitive as our living conditions were…and I do mean primitive, we had a great time. We had some wonderful and challenging times going into the different villages meeting the people, staying in their homes, sharing their food and experiences. It was a very heart warming, uplifting trip – so rewarding.
Is there a trip or experience that stands out for you?
All of them! I have had so many wonderful trips it is hard to single one out…but I’ll go with England in 1982. My husband, Sterling, and I took the Queen Elizabeth Two to London. Sterling and I boarded the QE2 in New York and sailed to South Hampton, then proceeded on to London. We were in London about two weeks when my daughters, Joan and Gail, and Gail’s sister-in-law Karen, came to visit. From there the five of us booked a 12-day European Tour. While on the tour we met Steve (Australia), Mike (Israel), Terry (England), and Mr. Ahn (Asia). Such a nice group and we had so much fun together! After 35 years, I still get a Christmas card from Terry keeping me posted on the latest family news.
What words of wisdom would you share with other travelers or those considering an international volunteer/travel experience?
GO! Create memories. You’ll be so glad you did.
You are there to have a good time. Don’t sweat the small stuff.