Welcome to SKJ Travel, a narrative travel blog. From here I share with you, in a conversational way, my most passionate pursuit: travel. Traveling is what shapes pretty much my whole life. I want to see as much of the planet as I can manage during my time living on it, and I enjoy sharing with others what I've seen and experienced. My literary essays have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and listed in Best American Essays (see SharaSinor.com). My photography has been exhibited along the Front Range in Colorado and featured in online journals (see SKJphotography.net though I must confess this site hasn't been updated in awhile). I've also written plenty of guest posts for other travel blogs (see a partial listing Here).
My capacity for dreaming, scheming, and plotting adventures is quite stupendous, if I do say so myself. (Not always matched by my financial capacity to fund them.) If a person defines their profession or "what they do" as the activity which they spend the most time involved with, then I suppose I'm a professional dreamer.
Where have I been? Well I've been extremely fortunate and blessed to have achieved my single life goal recently in reaching all seven continents! Countries visited to date (in no particular kind of order): Kenya, Tanzania, Costa Rica, Andorra, Iran, Namibia, Botswana, Iceland, Uganda, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Tunisia, China, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Ireland, England, France, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Guatemala, Belize, Canada, Mexico, and the continent which is not a country -- Antarctica.
Why did I start a travel blog? Well, I started entertaining folks I know with my travel tales when I went to China by myself in 2005. My husband was very anxious about my safety. Not necessarily that I might be kidnapped or mugged, but that I might inadvertently get sold as a cheap bride, or die of starvation since I can't read Chinese characters and could maybe only order fried scorpions which I wouldn't eat, or get hopelessly lost and die huddled in the corner of a hutong. He insisted I email as often as possible. My mom, in the throes of similar anxiety, then said, "Make sure you send copies to me." Then other family and friends said, "Hey, throw me on the list, too." Sending the emails turned out to be a great way to keep a sort of default journal.
The following year, Erik came with me to China (for part of my trip), but by then everyone else who had received the emails was hooked to the vicarious travel, so I continued sending dispatches from our subsequent trips abroad (well, not all trips, but the most adventurous ones). Then eventually people said I should put my travels on a website instead of sending out a bunch of emails. And so, voila. Here it is. As my interest in photography grew and continues to grow, I began to focus more and more on photo-laden posts.
This is a very casual affair, this blog, I write posts sporadically upon inspiration and I don't publish guest posts from other travelers, nor lists of things to do or recommendations and reviews. It's just me sharing my experiences.
Now middle-aged, I'm beginning to panic at how little of the world I've seen. At first it sounds maybe a little satisfying: 30-some countries and all 7 continents. But I get depressed every time I'm filling out a form online in which I have to select my country. Scrolling down through the list all the way to the letter "U" for United States, is always a reminder of the girth of this planet. Nonetheless, I count myself a fortunate soul to have seen the things I've seen and done the things I've done ... the things I've heard, tasted and smelled. Even the painful moments that were hellish at the time eventually become good stories, and I'm grateful to be able to tell them.
People tend to ask me two things about my travels: (1) what is my favorite country? Answer: I don't have a favorite. Each place has its own wonders to offer in nature, culture, architecture or whatever. No favorite. (2) what have I learned from all my travels? I just have to stutter at this question because the genuine answer would be an entire dissertation, but I hate when other people don't answer my well-meaning questions; so here it is ... the primary epiphany: ... It's a grand world. Go see it.
I also enjoy having travelers come to me! I'm the owner, maid and concierge of a self-catering B&B at my house. If you're passing through the Boulder/Nederland, Colorado, area, you can stay with me at Cozy and Quiet in Nederland. Or message me to meet up for a beer..
Below, this is my dad, Jerry Sinor. The things that are most important to me in my life -- love of travel, love of nature, interest in photography and desire to be a writer -- are things I shared with my dad, and I think I can assume I inherited the nature of my interests from him. (Kitty cats are mighty important to me, too, and here is where we differ, along with the fact that I need a calculator to add 2 and 2, while he was a chemical engineer.) He has passed away, but you should know that when you follow my adventures, look at my photos, read my essays, you're looking through a window of sorts, where my dad stands on the other side, his eyes fixed on the horizon, saying, "There's so much more to see." He captioned this photo himself with that phrase.
Want to read more than you ever wanted to know about me, how I came to be the traveling fool that I am now? You can read about my heritage and memories of my time spent on my grandparents' farm in Nebraska in this little memoir. It was one thing to have the interests and curiosity inherited from my dad, but then I had to go out and become the person capable of following them.