Susan C. Anthony

Boarding the PlaneWorld Trip, 1987-88

During the 1985-86 school year, I took a leave of absence from teaching in order to write Facts Plus. That same year, another teacher friend on leave traveled around the world. When he returned and I saw his wonderful photographs, my old dreams of wandering the world were reawakened. Although a lot of progress had been made on the book, everything was in neutral as I waited for publishers to respond. When Dennis began to express interest in world travel, the decision was made to go. Life is short. It was time to turn the dream into a reality.

I taught for another year and saved money. Dennis, retired by then, saved and got his affairs in order. We initially discussed just a summer trip to Europe, but the plans and dreams grew and grew. In the end, I got a student pilot license so I could be Dennis’ relief pilot and we flew his Cessna 172 around Alaska, then down the Alaska Highway and through the “trench” to Idaho. We worked our way across the U.S., visiting friends and relatives, then spent a month in Minnesota before flying to Amsterdam and buying a car. Two months and several countries later, we joined an organized expedition traveling from London to Nairobi. We stayed a full month in Kenya on our own before flying back to Europe for a week of skiing in the Alps. From Italy we traveled to Greece and Israel by ferry, then to Egypt by bus. Most stories listed below were written on the ferry as we returned to Greece en route back to Minnesota, where we spent 10 days canoeing in the Boundary Waters before flying the Cessna back to Alaska.

Upon our return, people asked whether I planned to write a book about the trip. Writing is hard work, but I wanted to share at least the high points with those who were interested. Much more could have been written, but hopefully this will give you a flavor of the adventure and perhaps inspire you to take a bold step and realize some of your own dreams of exploring our beautiful world. Travel need not be expensive. In our case, thanks to Dennis’ retirement and rental income (from renting the house), we had more money in the bank when we returned than when we left! All things included, the trip cost us about $20,000. Traveling is not as difficult or dangerous as it might seem at first. For nearly every Australian, it’s a rite of passage. Excellent books and resources enable you to explore on your own without a guide. We live during one of the best and safest times in history to explore the world, though that may be changing.

If you’d like to read the whole account, click the first link and navigate through using links at the end of each section.

Much more could have been written, and I originally wanted to include more fascinating facts and information I learned from reading and research.  I wanted to write about the high-speed matatus in Kenya—Peugeot pickups into which up to 28 passengers were crammed.  I wanted to tell you about the three days we spent on the beach near the Indian Ocean, and the trip to the Oshkosh Aviation Convention and Airshow.  I wanted to write about our safari to Nygorongoro Crater and the troops of army ants with giant jaws that attacked us in the jungle, but time marches on and I have other things to do.  I'm happy to get at least part of our experience down to share with you.

Source:, ©Susan C. Anthony