Travels With My Hat: A Lifetime on the Road
Travels with My Hat is the story of how an Australian nurse switched careers to become an award-winning international travel writer and photographer. It is a colourful record of her experiences defined by travel and frequently against all odds. "We don't know who you are," she was told on arrival in London in 1974. "To get a name here, you need to write a book," which is precisely what she did, choosing as subject, the developing Arab oil states of the western Gulf. Publication of The Gulf States & Oman in 1977 brought commissions on the Middle East. Books followed on Jordan and Pakistan. In 1979 she was accredited to the Buckingham Palace press corps to cover Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's historic tour of Arabia. The title refers to a famous piece of millinery which was on the road for decade. Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II, disoriented in the great souq in Nizwa in the Sultanate of Oman, said: "I was looking everywhere for your blue hat."
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Christine Osborne has a way with words to take you with her in the 1960s across North Africa, innocently wearing her little sundress to the fascinating market places in many towns and cities of the Middle East, some of which she has re-visited more recently. And what changes have taken place in those years. The author writes of a time when tourism had yet to become the huge industry of today. The letters home to her mother have a special poignancy.
Christine Osborne’s “Travels with my Hat” is remarkable, covering the world of Islam from the Atlantic Coast of Morocco to the borderlands of Asia. It is a multi-layered work, encompassing the history, traditions and people of each nation plus, of course, the sheer joy of experiencing the different and unexpected through the author?s discerning eyes.
Repeated visits to these many countries have revealed the subtle (and not so subtle) impacts of the West on Islam and have constituted the work of a lifetime. Fascinating!