PERTH great-grandmother Faye Day has been mugged five times, escorted through Pakistan by armed police, caught up in “tribal warfare” in Papua New Guinea and lost everything in Guatemala.
However, the sprightly 80-year-old did not let these experiences defeat her during solo treks around the globe and this year celebrates five decades of travel.
“I got bitten by the travel bug after visiting Singapore in 1969 and it became an obsession,” she said.
“I’ve always been interested in the history, culture and scenic value of countries.
“It’s now a matter of trying to find where I haven’t been rather than where I have.”
Mrs Day has visited most parts of the world except Iraq and Afghanistan, favouring Canada, Norway and New Zealand for their scenery.
She has penned her adventures in Every Nook and Cranny: A World Travel Guide, a nine-book series also describing great travel highs including seeing Irian Jaya’s “stone age” people, joining a gorilla tour in Rwanda, exploring her favourite city Prague on foot, and camping in the Sahara during unprecedented rains.
“We spent the night cramped like sardines under a tent that was full of holes and some people had put on survival gear, which made this diabolical noise whenever they turned over,” Mrs Day laughed.
She said the adage “there’s no place like home” rung true, with the Kimberley’s beauty and Kalgoorlie’s history – as well as a miner-sized meal at The Star & Garter Hotel – among her WA favourites.
Middle Island, off the coast near Esperance, was one of the state’s best-kept secrets.
“It’s got the most spectacular pink salt lake and unless you’ve seen it, you wouldn’t believe it,” she said.
Mrs Day recommended travelling solo to cover more territory and for greater interaction with locals, as well as visiting the local tourist bureau on arrival.
It was also important to dress conservatively, wear comfortable sneakers, carry valuables under clothing, remain aware of surroundings and be pleasant.
She said living frugally had allowed her extensive travels, which she hoped would inspire others to wander the world and broaden their horizon.
“I feel very privileged to have been able to do it,” she said.
Mrs Day’s books are available by phoning 9341 5652 or visiting fayeday.com