My travel life: Mary Moody, author, gardener and tour guide

THE TRAVELLER

Author, gardener and tour guide Mary Moody has been writing about living and travelling overseas for 18 years. She also takes small groups on walking and culinary tours and has a new tour with Utracks, the Food Lover's French Way of St James, departing September 29.

NUMBER OF COUNTRIES VISITED

19

ANY PASSPORT MISHAPS?

Once, I left my passport at home but luckily was leaving from a small rural airport (Bathurst in NSW) 20 minutes from our farm. I made it back just in time to catch the flight.

I GOT MY FIRST PASSPORT WHEN I WAS

32 in 1982. I was a late starter.

MY PASSPORT PHOTO IS

pretty ordinary. I don't really enjoy comparing it to the one of 10 years ago or especially the one 10 years before that.

I CAN'T STOP GOING BACK TO

the oldest French route to Santiago de Compostela which is known as The Way of St James. The pathway meanders through some of the most glorious French countryside and the regional cuisine and wines we experience along the way are sublime. I'm heading back there again in September.

MY LAST TRAVEL DESTINATION WAS

Morocco last April. I was there for three weeks with two different groups, spending time exploring all the major northern cities as well as trekking for several days in the High Atlas Mountains, staying in a Berber village before heading down to the Sahara. I was leading small groups of Australians for a cultural adventure.

MY NEXT TRAVEL DESTINATION IS

Mongolia with a small group to attend the famous archery, wrestling and horse-riding Nadaam Festival, and then we are teaming up with a local botanist for a trek where we will discover and identify the regional flora of the alpine desert.

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I'M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO

visiting the remote regions of the country and meeting the families who move their herds across the steppes while living in moveable felt yurts. They are so welcoming and hospitable.

WHAT I REALLY WANT FROM MY NEXT TRIP IS

to become more informed. I am very concerned about the way climate change is having an impact on extreme regions such as Mongolia. I have read there is a threat to the nomadic way of life and I really want to see how things have changed over the last few years. We need to get the message out.

I LOVE TO TRAVEL BECAUSE

it opens our minds and hearts to the way other people live their lives. The highlight for me is meeting our local guides who are generous in sharing their knowledge and insights.

MY TRAVEL PHILOSOPHY IS

to see a country on foot because down on the ground you get a much clearer sense of the people and the country than from a comfortable seat in a bus.

THE ONE TRAVEL MISTAKE I ALWAYS MAKE IS

carrying too many changes of clothing. I still struggle with that. I need to remind myself that two pairs of pants and four tops is quite enough.

THE ONE THING I REALLY DO GET RIGHT WHEN I TRAVEL IS

going with the flow. I'm very relaxed and open to changing the itinerary if something interesting and different comes up.

IF I HAD TO SIT IN THE MIDDLE SEAT THE OTHER PASSENGERS I'D WANT ON EITHER SIDE OF ME WOULD BE

(actor, comedian and writer) Shaun Micallef and (comic and TV host) Tom Gleeson would make me laugh all the way. The time would fly.

THE ONE FAMOUS TRAVELLER I REALLY ADMIRE IS

Dr Jane Goodall for her work bringing the world's attention to the plight of gorillas, monkeys and chimpanzees.

THE ONE FAMOUS PERSON I'D LIKE TO TRAVEL WITH IS

[Home Affairs Minister] Peter Dutton. I'd love to take him to some of the remote regions I visit – in the hope it would open his mind and soften his heart.

AIRLINE FOOD IS

necessary but often disappointing. I hate all the throw-away plastics that go with meals these days. The volume of waste from every plane is overwhelming.

AIRPORT SECURITY IS

absolutely necessary. Some countries do it with great efficiency; others not so much.

HOTELS ARE

somewhere to shower and sleep. I never, ever turn on the TV.

I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GO TO

Cuba. It fascinates me because every person I've met who has been there raves about it. It's on my list.

I'VE NEVER WANTED TO GO TO

countries close to the equator. I'm not keen on very hot, humid weather therefore they don't appeal to me. Give me mountains any day.

AISLE OR WINDOW?

Aisle. I would rather be climbed over than climb over someone else.

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