November 23, 2010

[MyWorld] Portrait of My Hero

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.

 Ulaanbaatar, 2007

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.

Inspecting textiles
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.

24 comments:

Dina said...

You are lucky to have a hero like Ruth and she is lucky to have a friend like you. Truly inspiring.

LadyFi said...

What an amazing woman!

jennyfreckles said...

What an inspiration. I'm sure it's true that the more interest you take in the world the younger you stay.

Sylvia K said...

An amazing woman indeed and I can see why she would be such an inspiration to you! Beautiful post and tribute to a wonderful person! Hope you have a lovely week, Francisca!

Sylvia

ewok1993 said...

that's one life lived well and it's far from ending. you are lucky to know her.

Ebie said...

She is an incredible woman and I do not see her stopping!

You both are very well traveled ladies, and she deserves to be a hero.

Pat Tillett said...

An amazing and inspirational woman. She's really something to behold! Great post also...

Kay L. Davies said...

What an amazing and wonderful woman you chose for your hero, Francisca. She should be an inspiration to everyone in Canada. I'm so impressed.
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

She is an amazing role model -- and defines the word TRAVELER (as opposed to tourist). A great tribute -- and Francisca, I think you ARE very very likely to become just like her when you grow up !

Denise said...

What an amazing lady. I have enjoyed reading about her. Thank you for introducing her to us.

Andrea said...

Yes, Ruth indeed is an inspiration. You are so lucky in finding her and having her as a friend and companion. So she is now 78? My mother is 80, also still active in her own world, but of course not for travels like Ruth and Francisca.

J Bar said...

Great post.

Arija said...

If everyone had such a 'Ruth' in their life, the world would be a much better place.

cieldequimper said...

We desperately need more people like this wonderful Ruth. Thanks for sharing.

Luna Miranda said...

what an inspiring woman! like you, i wanna be like her, too, when i grow up!:p this is a delightful post, Francisca. thank you for sharing.

Jenn said...

What an amazing and woman. Such an inspiration. I too know someone who has so much spirit and energy. she's turning 70 next year. She is likewise my travel buddy and I hope to one day do what they are doing when I reach my senior years. Great story.

sunflowerkat321 said...

Ruth is clearly a woman who knows how to make the most of life. I hope you do get to be her when you grow up. It sounds like you're on your way.

Kat
http://inmydreamssfk.blogspot.com/

Jacob said...

Good grief, she's Superwoman! And what a great friend to have. I can't imagine where she gets her strength. I played golf this morning and can hardly sit up straight in a chair! And she's got me by a couple of years!

This is a great post with super photos!

Evelyn said...

Yep, me too. I want to be just like her when I grow up :)

michael bird said...

My envy runneth over. Amazing globe trotting women - you and your hero.

VioletSky said...

Tnank you for this introduction to Ruth. I have checked out her blog and bookmarked it. It will definitely come in useful and I appreciate her critiques and views.

Lawstude said...

wow. truly an awesome lady worthy of adulation. :)

Oakland Daily Photo said...

We all continue to need role models at every age. Her Third Act seems busy and joyful. Something to emulate.

Teuvo Vehkalahti said...

This blog is through a nice to meet new people and their land, culture and nature. Come and look at you Teuvo Kuvat - Teuvo images, both at the same time will be my blog collection flag depicting your country's flag to rise higher. You should also tell all your friends to my blog by fermentation. Teuvo Vehkalahti Finland