Do you have a living hero in your world?
I do and her name is Ruth.
I met Ruth sometime in the '80s after I had started working in China as a trade consultant. At that time she was the author of the first comprehensive travel guide to China. A Chinese-Canadian, she had been traveling in China long before the doors were even really opened to foreigners.
Let me first share with you her public profile and you'll see why I admire her:
Ruth Lor Malloy is an obsessive freelance travel writer and photographer who also collects artifacts and stories for museums. She specializes in Asia but is eager to travel the whole world as she is interested in peace through tourism, volunteerism, and ways to reduce carbon footprints. She has published articles in North American and Asian periodicals like The Globe and Mail, the South China Morning Post, and Hotelier and until 2002, she wrote a regularly updated guide book on the whole of China.
We have a lot of interests in common, not least our globe trotting and global view, and yet what makes Ruth my hero is her amazing stamina, ceaseless curiosity and indefatigable sense of adventure at an age when many much younger have slowed down and stopped learning. Not my friend Ruth.
On her 70th birthday she was riding a yak around the base of the sacred Mount Kailash in Tibet. That was a trip of 27 days and over 3600 km (2400 mi) on which she and her sister slept sometimes in tents, sometimes in primitive hostels. They traveled with their own cook and two jeeps. Their highest point was Mt Everest Base Camp at over 5000 meters with an overnight at Rongbuk Monastery, the highest monastery in the world.
On her 75th birthday I was with her in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, after we had roamed the far far west, ger hopping in search of museum-worthy ethnic footwear and clothing.
I've already posted a number of images taken in places we've more recently traveled together - Guizhou, Gansu and Mongolia - as I tag along on her missions to find these cultural treasures. Here are just a handful of portraits I've taken of Ruth as she's doing what she does best.
|Checking lama boots|
|Sharing her photo with pilgrim|
|Interviewing our guide|
Ruth has no notions of slowing down. She has just embarked on a brand new project that I think is wonderful. She has built a website with a multicultural calendar that informs the residents and visitors of Toronto of all the free or near free festivals and events to be enjoyed in the city. Then in her blog she describes her experiences and offers tips on how to best enjoy the scene. If you are in Ontario or plan to visit, these are must visit sites. Or just go take a look and say hello to Ruth on her blog. And do share with your friends.
I want to end this portrait with my all-time favorite photo of Ruth as she merrily walks in the middle of Hovd province of Mongolia with the bounce of a 25-year-old.
And that is exactly what I want to be doing when I grow up.
I'm just so glad she's in my world.
And that is my link for MyWorld Tuesday.