A Maverick Traveller is the first in a series of books of unconventional, yet true, travel stories, by the New Zealand author Mary Jane Walker.
A Maverick Traveller begins with an account of an epic ocean voyage, followed by Mary Jane's early life in New Zealand and her later adventures worldwide. Mary Jane has five books published and more are forthcoming.
At the beginning of A Maverick Traveller, Mary Jane describes how she first experienced serious travel in an unusual way: as part of the crew on a traditional Chinese junk with a mostly French crew, named La Dame de Canton. The junk had been hand-built in the old way, to help revive dying crafts. La Dame sailed from Canton, now Guangzhou, to Paris (where it is now a floating restaurant.)
Mary Jane joined the expedition at Phuket because she had met and fallen in love with junk’s captain, a young man named Niels. Just as in the old days of exploration by sail, the voyage took a couple of years to complete, with many stops along the way for fresh water and supplies, and, yes, for repairs as well.
At one point the junk had to make an emergency stop at Diego Garcia, a secret American military base in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The base was normally closed to outsiders, but the junk crew had nearly run out of food and fresh water. They had been eating rice and drinking salt-contaminated water for ten days. The sails were ripped.
Mary Jane remained with La Dame de Canton as far as Gabon, by which time she was thoroughly bitten by the adventure bug.
Mary Jane travels with no real plans and decides where to go and see next when she gets there. She likes to explore the culture and history of places that are off the beaten track as well as places that are well known, and to talk to the local people.
By the time he sat down to write her books Mary Jane had travelled the world, from the Arctic Circle to an uninhabited island managed by the New Zealand Department of Conservation, where she helped to save a rare flightless parrot. She had voyaged on La Dame de Canton; drunk hallucinogenic tea in the Amazon rainforest; and accidentally ended up in the hiding place of Robin Hood.
Among her other adventures, Mary Jane has also walked to Mount Everest Base Camp and seen the work and life of Sherpas; respectfully observed the life of many churches, temples and mosques; traversed various parts of the pilgrimage trails of the Camino de Europa; explored the stunning landscapes of New Zealand; visited remote parts of the Arctic while pulled by a team of dogs; travelled around Cuba the hard way; examined the downfall and renewal of the American inner city, and interviewed protestors at Standing Rock.
All the while, meeting amazing people along the way.
Whether it was eating dog unintentionally in Indonesia, meeting the rapper 50 Cent before he was famous at a back-packers, or kicking a US nuclear submarine in New Zealand, A Maverick Traveller is filled with the unique stories and experiences of Mary Jane Walker. Mary Jane has travelled to all corners of the globe: to large cities, rural villages and tiny unknown islands off the coast of continents.
A Maverick Traveller is Mary Jane’s most autobiographical book.
With 90 maps and photographs, A Maverick Traveller also introduces many stories that Mary Jane describes in more detail in her later books—which are even more heavily illustrated.
For more, see: a-maverick.com
About the Author
Table of Contents
Introduction —1; Not all Junk is Junk —3; Maverick Beginnings—23; Rest Homes aren’t Restful Places—31; Phone Taps and Lots of Scraps—33; Ciao New Zealand—39; Magic Vegetables in Indonesia —43; Mmm Malaysia—47; Naked Body to Local Body—51; Ahhh-Merica—59; LAS VEGAS—61; NEW ORLEANS—63; MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE—65; NEW YORK, NEW YORK—66; Hitchhiking and Irish Buddhism—69; Europe by Bus—75; GERMANY—76; ITALY—77; SPAIN—81; MOROCCO—82; Corsica. —87; Back on the Bus—89; Time to Settle Down in New Zealand, for aMinute —93; Vietnam—99; Oriental Lightning—103; The Not So New Caledonia—105; Rarotonga—113; Return to Europe—117; TURKEY—119; Teaching in London—123; Ohhhhh Canada—125; New Zealand for Another Minute.—131; It’s a-ok in the UK —135; WALES—138; IRELAND—141; All Roads Lead Around Rome—143; ITALY—144; CROATIA —147; BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA —147; SERBIA —149; Dictators and Dracula —153; EASTERN ROMANIA. —154; TRANSYLVANIA—155; Machu Picchu and a Famous Mummy—171; PERU —179; CUZCO—181; ECUADOR—184; GALAPAGOS — 186; ARGENTINA—187; ST MARTIN—189; The Arctic Circle—191; GREENLAND. —193; The Year I Decided to Run Away. Again—199; DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERING. —204; ARROWTOWN —204; WELCOME FLAT—210; TIRITIRI MATANGI—218; THE ISLAND OF BLUSHING SKIES—220; THE BEST SUNSET IN NEW ZEALAND. — 222; STEWART ISLAND AS IT IS— 223; KĀKĀPŌ ON CODFISH ISLAND / WHENUA HOU—230; HELP! —233; Peter the Great’s Home Town—241; MOSCOW—249; I Saw Warsaw—253; The Deadliest Mountain in Europe—255; ASCENT— 257; The Stone King—261; Switzerland—265; In the Footsteps of Sir Ed—269; Holidays Gone Wrong—271; STOPPED FROM TRAVELLING TO LHASA—271; HEAT AND DIRT IN INDIA—274; RIPPED OFF IN NEPAL—277; BOOKED (BUT NOT BOOKED) IN KANAZAWA, JAPAN—279; PAKISTAN TREK FAIL—283; The Worst. Just the Worst—285; An Active Xmas—289; Can't Get Enough of the Irish Charm—295; CARRAUNTOOHIL—296; LONDON (AGAIN...) —297; Scotland—.299; DUNDEE. —301; No Rain in Spain. —305; PAMPLONA—307; LOURDES, FRANCE—308; The Maverick Pilgrim —309; Epilogue—317; Thanks To —319. (Note: page numbers are for the paperback.)