People fascinate me. Perhaps that is why I love working as a GP. When I travel, I always want to ask questions and know what life is really like for everyone I meet. Sadly, I am not much of a linguist but I smile and gesticulate a great deal and make the effort to communicate. Given enough time, it is remarkable how connections can be made
I explore, try to understand and write about difficult issues including corruption, prejudice, exploitation, caste and poverty. I know that for some this makes uncomfortable reading and even risks demystifying and undermining the image some travellers have of the simple natural existence of the rural poor in emerging nations. Nevertheless I fervently believe these issues should be understood by all who travel so my aim is to present the facts as sympathetic engaging stories about real people. I am frustrated by the look-and-point approach to travel, but I hope I don't preach. I write of my adventures and enthusiasms and of colour and beauty so that my readers can enjoy my travel experiences as much as I do.
Travel Health Guides
Within minutes of arriving in the sleepy town of Khairpur in Sindh, I was faced with a medical crisis. I'd been qualified as a doctor for a few years but was new to expatriate life, and I was travelling with my firstborn, three-month-old son. A guy who was expecting to work with my husband announced that he needed to be evacuated because he was desperately ill. I introduced myself as a GP and offered help. Quickly I realised that my new friend was not suffering from some horrendous tropical pox but that he just had a nasty attack of sinusitis. It made him feel awful with frontal headache that recalled having a screwdriver rammed into his eyeball. Labelling it with a diagnosis made it less scary, though, and we found that the correct antibiotics were readily available over the counter in the local bazaar. By the next day my patient was well on the way to recovery.
That was the first time I really had to think about travel health. What this, my first real travel medicine ‘case’, made me realise is that even the calmest and most sensible of travellers will nearly always become disproportionately worried about themselves when taken ill. In my friend’s case, he didn’t know much about the local health service and didn’t know where he could find a doctor he could trust. He just wanted to get home to his friendly British GP. That experience showed me how liberating and empowering information can be and motivated me to start writing accessible straightforward travel health advice. I began work on a manual that was distributed amongst expatriate engineers, and soon after wrote my first travel health feature for Wanderlust magazine. It was - of course - on diarrhoea.
A Glimpse of Eternal Snows
I'm another Murdoch's author (Holding up the Sky). Diana, my editor, often slips me books to read in the Pier 9 line and I've just finished yours. I thoroughly enjoyed it and loved getting to know David. What a gift! It saddens me to hear that people in England wouldn't even acknowledge his existence. I'm so glad you changed the focus of the book and put him in the centre of it. I've enjoyed my daily bus rides into Sydney from the Northern Beaches, having you, David, Simon, Alexander and Sebastian for company.
Sandy Blackburn-Wright www.wrightings.com.au
50 Camels and She's Yours
An utterly fascinating compilation of stories from five women about their trials and challenges faced while travelling. Through laughter and tears and a couple of 'dog rocks' follow their journeys.
Hester of Heffers Books, Cambridge
How to Shit Around the World
Featured in the Bookseller alternative review of the year (Dec 2000) as the June highlight.
The Essential Guide to Travel Health
“coverage is excellent…sensible…accurate and well researched…single authorship makes it an easy read”
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene