Carol Reichert, Best Women's Travel Writing, Lavinia Spaulding

Meet Best Women’s Travel Writing Contributor Carol Reichert

Carol Reichert, Best Women's Travel Writing, Lavinia Spaulding

Carol Reichert writes in the sensory deprivation chamber that is the Newton, Massachusetts public library. She has served as a midwife to a cow giving birth in New Zealand, danced flamenco in the mountain caves outside of Granada, and learned lomi lomi massage in Hawaii. In addition to writing, she dances flamenco in Boston and Spain and wherever the rhythm moves her. She is currently working on a memoir about her family’s life in a village in southern Spain.

When did you first know you were a traveler?

When I was nine years old, my family – two parents and five children – traveled to Canada. One day we went to a bank to cash some travelers’ checks and while my parents were busy with the teller, I watched the electronic marquee advertise the latest mortgage rates. The numbers zipped around and around in flashy colors, and I was mesmerized. When I looked away to locate my family, they were gone. They had left me behind in this bank in downtown Toronto. I didn’t run to a bank authority to help me find them. Instead, I started to plan how I would live without them in a foreign land.

What’s one place that has moved you or changed you in a significant way?
My family and I moved to a tiny mountain village outside of Granada, Spain for 14 months. The simplicity of our lives there – no afterschool activities, no carpools, no night spots, really, nothing to do – forced us to redefine entertainment. My kids played with feral cats, and for several weeks we climbed a mountain to observe the decomposition process of a dead badger. Time seemed to stand still.

What’s one memorable travel experience you’ve had?
On my honeymoon, I helped a cow give birth on a roadside in New Zealand. After the calf was born, it wouldn’t stand up. So we put it in the trunk of our rental car and brought it to the farmer’s house. He carried it to the living room and laid it on a sheet of plastic. We fed it milk and whiskey until the calf stood up. The farmer named the calf after me. I often wonder what she’s doing now?

Is there something you always do (or search out, buy, learn, pack, drink), whenever you’re on a trip?
I try to eat foreign food in a foreign country. I’ve eaten sushi in Spain, lasagna in Guatemala, Thai food in Lichtenstein. I love experiencing the local spin countries put on food that’s foreign to them. Serrano ham in a tekka maki roll is very tasty.

How do you balance your home and travel life?
Now that we have children, we take them with us everywhere. They began traveling as infants. I’ve nursed in the Paris subways, treated the flu in a Marrakesh riad, and told bedtime stories in Seville. My kids know that traveling is part of our family ritual. They’ll probably rebel when they’re teenagers by never leaving the neighborhood.

What’s on your list of future destinations? 
Iceland, Madagascar, and Argentina.

In your opinion, what is the greatest reward of traveling?
I love how traveling changes my life back home. This year I planted seeds in my vegetable garden for pimientos de padron, an heirloom pepper I ate in Granada. I was introduced to a chef in Morocco, and I make her tagines at home. I studied flamenco in Spain, which inspired me to uncover the subterranean flamenco community in Boston. These are the souvenirs I’ve brought home, and they’ve changed the way I live.
Carol Reichert, Best Womens Travel Writing,

Thank you to Lavinia Spalding, editor of The Best Women’s Travel Writing, for letting me use her post. Her wonderful blog is here.

The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2011: True Stories from Around the World (Travelers’ Tales) edited by Lavinia Spalding

Click on book to view more closely at Amazon.

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