My travel life: Di Morrissey, best-selling author

Di Morrissey, best-selling author of 25 novels. Her most recent, The Last Paradise, was published by Macmillan Australia in November last year.

NUMBER OF COUNTRIES VISITED

Does that mean 48 hours or several weeks or years? I don't count hanging out by a pool with grandkids sipping cocktails as a "visit". Researching an article, a novel, or on a philanthropic mission helps a "visit" be more meaningful. I have lived and spent time in 33 countries outside vacation visits.

MY WORST PASSPORT MISHAP WAS...

having to relinquish my diplomatic passport. I was married to a US diplomat and we moved country every two years with our children. When we subsequently (amicably) divorced, it was hard relinquishing a diplomatic passport and its attendant privileges.

I GOT MY FIRST PASSPORT WHEN I WAS

about 10, after my father and baby brother tragically died and my mother took me to her sister in California. When I was 21, heading to London, my mother avoided giving me my birth certificate. When she finally gave it to me, I discovered the man I knew as my father, wasn't.

MY PASSPORT PHOTO IS

OK. I liked it better when you could smile for the camera.

I CAN'T STOP GOING BACK TO

Hawaii. I lived there as a bride for several years and my daughter Gabrielle was born there. I go back for vacations to a special place with my grandkids.

MY LAST TRAVEL DESTINATION WAS

Tasmania for three weeks to research my novel, Arcadia.

MY NEXT TRAVEL DESTINATION IS

Heron Island. My partner Boris has been there 18 times and took me to Heron on our first holiday together. I set my book The Reef there.

I'M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO

sitting in, and with, nature. Heron Island is a naturalist's paradise and the research station does incredible work monitoring the reef and working to preserve our most precious tourist jewel.

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WHAT I REALLY WANT FROM MY NEXT TRIP

is to find some affirmation that nature and the environment is surviving against terrible odds.

I LOVE TO TRAVEL BECAUSE

Fascinating, intriguing and stunning as some places are, there is nothing like coming home and realising I live in the best the place in the world.

MY TRAVEL PHILOSOPHY IS

to go with an open mind and an open heart.

THE ONE TRAVEL MISTAKE I ALWAYS MAKE IS

packing more than I need, and coming back with even more … like books.

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

making friends and hearing their stories.

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

[Australian writer] Benjamin Law and [comedian and writer] Magda Szubanski would help pass the hours admirably and with a lot of laughs.

THE ONE FAMOUS TRAVELLER I REALLY ADMIRE IS

those wonderful Victorian women travellers like Gwen Richardson who journeyed up the Essequibo River on the diamond trail in Guyana in the 1880s. I followed in her wake in the 1980s and wrote my book, When the Singing Stops.

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

[British comedian, writer and presenter] Michael Palin. I spent a morning interviewing him and he's just as funny, warm, charming and erudite as he is on TV.

AIRLINE FOOD IS

super if you're up the front and it's Neil Perry. Otherwise chew and think of the meal you'll have when you arrive wherever it may be.

AIRPORT SECURITY IS

intimidating, frustrating and necessary.

HOTELS ARE

much of a muchness even if you're four-star-plus. I prefer boutique and intimate, and I abhor groups and crowds. I'm happy in a thatched hut in a jungle or sleeping with the dogs (who keep you warm) around a campfire in the Kimberley.

I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GO TO

everywhere. I don't have a bucket list. I've ended up in places I never believed I'd get to and discovered they were gold.

I'VE NEVER WANTED TO GO TO

nowhere. I've learned to never judge or anticipate, and to go with few expectations and an open mind. The most unlikely places can turn out to be amazing gifts.

AISLE OR WINDOW AND WHY?

Window. So much more comfortable to sleep and those glimpses of the unknown in the interim of leaving and landing take you away to a future where, perhaps, adventure awaits.

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