My Travelversary (10 Years A Traveler)

March 9, 2014



Ishama Lioness, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda

2014 and my 6 week trip to Myanmar (Burma) and Bali marked the 10th year that I have traveled during the winter months somewhere in the Southern hemisphere. I organize the flow of my year, knowing that I have the freedom and choice to venture to some far flung locale and then plan, organize and reflect on the trip and previous trips throughout the year. In moments of greatest stress, the release valve or the refuge of the road as my imagined escape from responsibilities keeps me whole. Writing a travelog is a way for me to reflect upon my experiences and bring closure to the trip.

Over the last 10 winters I’ve mainly visited East Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia. I sometimes meet up for part of the trip with friends, especially my travel buddy Mas from Singapore and I’ve gone on 3 safaris in Kenya and Tanzania with my friend and guide Joseph from Nairobi. But for most of the trips I still travel alone and enjoy the chance encounters that solitude can bring. I reflected on the adventure of solo travel in this KQED Perspective piece last year. I’m in the midst now of debating where I should go next winter. Should I return to Peru or Tanzania and South Africa? At a recent local concert, as the singer sang songs from Peru I thought I might should go there but then she sang one from Brazil and the Pantanal (the world’s largest wetland) flitted through my mind. Or maybe it was time to visit Chile, land of Victor Jara and nueva canción.

Some folks have the “travel bug” but my affliction is a full out travel addiction. And for me, the only cure is to keep exploring.

About Karen Hester

Karen Hester is a community activist and events coordinator who lives in North Oakland in Temescal Creek Cohousing. Her event productions website is She lives and breathes the fight to stop more billboards in Oakland and started

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