Iraq: The Ultimate Travel Adventure

October 29, 2007

Jane StillwaterNo matter how far off the beaten path you’ve been, the crazy modes of transportation you’ve taken, or the number of locals you’ve hung with, you haven’t done anything like the trip Jane Stillwater is on now.

After months of paperwork and planning, Jane left for Iraq a few weeks ago. She moved into a cot in the Green Zone alongside journalists, Marines, and politicians, and after a bit of waiting, hopped into a helicopter where she was sent to Ambar.

Is Jane an adrenaline junkie? Has she spent her life seeking thrills and travel experiences no one else has? Nope. Jane is a 64-year-old grandma and blogger. She’s one of those peace-loving Berkeley types you read about who joins protests and attends city council meetings and who you’d think would be completely anti-Iraq.

And that’s where Jane would have you fooled. She’s not particularly pro or anti anything, other than being all for meeting her fellow human beings, finding out how they’re doing, what they like and what they want, and doing her best to let the rest of us know what’s going on, traveler to traveler.

Have a look at some of her blog entries from Iraq. They may not read like Lonely Planet, but you get a good feel for what she’s doing there, the sights she’s seeing, and the very real people she’s meeting. It turns out that Jane loves the Marines. She thinks most of them are doing a fabulous job. She also loves the Iraqis and their hospitality, and she really loves the food.

This is why Jane is my travel idol right now. She may not be a 20-something with time on her hands and enthusiasm for weeks of bus travel and hostel living, but her passion and persistence got her to a pretty unreachable part of the world, and she arrived with a wide open mind about what she was going to find there.

Aside from the details about life in Iraq, Jane is also sending back the message that you’re never too old to go somewhere new, and your travel goals are never unattainable.

Travel safe, Jane!

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