A few years ago -- many moons before I had experienced the sights and sounds of the countries you'll soon see discussed on these pages -- I was introduced by my mother at a wedding reception. "This is my daughter with wanderlust," she said. "We sometimes wonder if we brought the wrong baby home from the hospital." This comment was made after several years of my living abroad, traveling in and out of countries which few could remember the names of -- countries which now often appear on the pages of the New York Times travel section or on the glossy pages of Travel and Leisure. Back in 1997, Montenegro and Slovenia were not tourist destinations, but rather countries overshadowed by their violent past. East Timor was just a tiny island way out in the middle of somewhere.
I have lots more to tell you about myself, my extreme wanderlust and where and how this has transformed my life. Stay tuned.