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Let’s do it.” Two-and-a-half years later, we set off around the world. I’m wiser all around, as a mother, wife, daughter, friend, citizen. If I am forced to pinpoint one country, then I’d say China, because I witnessed that it was on the way up; yet, for sheer tourism and sites, I’d say India or Egypt. I still recall the four-hour crossing into Nigeria, where a border official, with nothing else to do, enjoyed watching the sweat roll of my nose as I awaited another officer to review my documents.
I’d like for you to join me.” Without hesitating, and not believing for a minute that this would ever happen, I replied, “Sign me up. Certainly though I had favorite spots, where I can’t wait to take my daughters – Punte del Este in Uruguay, Positano on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, Timbuktu and Djenne in Mali, safari in Tanzania, the mountain drive between Turkey and Georgia, the drive through Alaska in the winter; the list could go on and on. However, an experience that I barely learned to tolerate, without losing my cool, was endless, prolonged border crossings that could and did take hours!
Paige Parker – and then fiance Jim Rogers – started an epic three year journey around the world – later to earn a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records. About a month later, on our first date, after seeing the ballet at Lincoln Center and then riding a bicycle built-for-two into Central Park, where we dined at Boathouse Café, he shared with me, in an almost whisper: “I’m thinking of driving around the world again. How could one ever pick a favorite, since the diversity between, say, Iceland, with a population of less than 300,000, and China, with over 1.3 billion people, is significant. Someone, some deed or someplace always served as my gold.
, which chronicled his shorter motorcycle circumnavigation (about 20 months), I met him – and already I knew that he was a mad man, a thrill seeker, a person intrigued with learning. I honestly didn’t dislike any country – one of the mantras that led me around the world was awaiting the pot of gold at the end of every rainbow, which I found to be true even in the poorest countries and during the most difficult times.
You can read about Paige’s journey including running marathons, driving through war zones and planning a wedding in Adventure Capitalist, or hear it from the World Record Holder herself in this exclusive interview…
Yet, offensive things still occurred: in a little village in India, a man pinched my bottom – and this had happened before in other places, but I’d not known the offender – so this guy received the brunt of my frustration, when I slapped him aggressively, trying to right the wrong of every woman on the planet.
Jim said I’d probably humiliated him for a lifetime, at least.
In Saudi Arabia, I couldn’t drive, nor could I visit the gym to exercise.
I found an underground gym in a plastic surgery clinic, where the young women were dressed (pretty skimpily) for aerobics just like ladies on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
In Sudan’s desert, in Wadi Halfa, for three weeks, awaiting a boat to carry our car up the Nile (the border was closed to cars so this was our only option), I visited a girls’ school and showed them our route around the world, marked on our enormous world map. And the biggest culture shock on returning to the US? Yet, if I could change Singapore’s weather to include a little less humidity and cooler temperatures – Singapore is nearly on the equator – then this really would be utopia. If I’d known how difficult it would be, then I’d probably have just foregone the big to-do; yet, I grew up with a Cinderella-dream wedding fantasy, so I made it happen.
I, perhaps naively, hoped that I might inspire some girl there to get out of Wadi Halfa. The World Trade Center came down a few months before our return, so New York was an entirely different city upon our arrival home. My mother, for sure: she was a working woman with a significant career in a little tiny Southern town where women didn’t work, and if they did, the job would have been supporting a man’s role. What three things do you love/hate about living there? Singapore is a nearly utopian spot to rear bilingual Mandarin- and English-speaking daughters. You planned your wedding via e-mail while driving through Siberia and Uzbekistan. My mother, in the US, worked as messenger for me with the bridal dress company in the UK and she handled the invitations.
I made countless calls in China and Russia, when we had working phone lines; I sent faxes and more faxes; and then I spent three weeks on the ground, before the wedding, in Henley-on-Thames aiming to cross all the Ts, since attention to detail makes or breaks a fabulous wedding/party/event.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating