It Was 50 years Ago Today...

Photo taken in New Guinea in January 1968, the closest I could find to my actual departure date.

Photo taken in New Guinea in January 1968, the closest I could find to my actual departure date.

It was 50 years ago today, Susan Mary Jewitt Simpkins Colby began to play (this sung to the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band) 

Fifty years ago to today, October 24, 1967, I was standing on the tarmac at the now defunct Durban airport, waiting for the flight to take me away from South Africa for the first time. I can even remember my traveling outfit - a grey, wool pantsuit! My mother was there and I think my sister. And my first serious boyfriend, Peter, the reason I left!

I couldn't get a flight directly to England because of apartheid so had to take a small puddle jumper to Mozambique where I was able to get on a charter flight. I don't remember how many stops we had to make to get to England, but I know it took forever! It was probably a DC-8 or similar plane.

So young, so naive and innocent heading into a world about which I had absolutely no clue. I don't remember feeling any fear or trepidation. I had been so protected that I had no concept of any kind of danger I might encounter! 

It was late 60s, the apartheid era. I had been raised in a closed society where we had almost no contact with the rest of the world. Newspapers were censored, there was no television to broaden our world view (it wasn't allowed into the country until around 1972). I didn't even know the Vietnam War was happening! My education was very colonial British with strict segregation. 

My modeling days before I left

My modeling days before I left

We heard English music - the Beatles, Cliff Richard, but American music was frowned on. My only experience with Americans was seeing them being loud and obnoxious on the beaches, so I had no inclination, at the time, to come to the US.

My, how times change! No longer young, naive or innocent, my travels continue to take me to far-flung places where I know sometimes the old upbringing comes through, making me too trusting of people and circumstances. But it is now (mostly) tempered with a lot more caution and skepticism, which in a way is sad. I still don't feel fear as I step off on a new adventure; I've learned to prepare for and understand more about the places I go before I get there, instead of just stepping out, believing in the best.

Now I step out, prepared, still trusting, a little bit wary, but always believing in the best!

After 50 years, here's to a lot more years of adventuring because my bucket list is very long!