Read even more tales on Suzan's eons.com blog, GlobalGyspyGirl.

    • Views From A Broad

      Palm Beach Post51-year old Suzan Crane gave up a cushy life to travel gypsy-style wherever the wind blows her. Does she get lonely? Does she miss the U.S.? And how does she fit all her stuff in one bag?

      Originally published in Palm Beach Post, July 1 2007. DOWNLOAD

      Going Global – Notes from a Nomad

      In 2003, writer Suzan Crane packed her bags and hit the road, with only her diary for company. This is her story… (Originally Published in KLM Airline’s inflight Holland Herald , 2007.)

      Flight between LA and Sydney, March 31, 2003

      Well, I’ve done it! Sold all my stuff – which shockingly included 200 pairs of shoes, just the tip of the conspicuous consumption iceberg. Said goodbye to my friends and family. Abandoned apathy, complacency and a no longer fulfilling or fruitful career. Wielding only a backpack and a sense of adventure, I have no idea what lies ahead and ponder this prospect with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. I’m resolved to keep my eyes, ears, heart and options open. No, I’m not running away, as some suggest, but running towards. So, we shall see where this new self-granted freedom leads me…

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      How to Get Over Grief

      What do we do when someone close dies? Do we ‘manage’ the pain or ‘submit’ to it? How do we get over it? Suzan Crane finds the answers. (Originally published in FEMALE magazine.)

      Death is an inevitable part of life. Usually, the loss hits close to home, but sometimes we grieve for strangers, as the world did recently for victims of the Asian tsunami. Even when it’s not on such a scale, grief is the unavoidable result. FEMALE asked experts, and those who have grieved, to guide us through the process of mourning.

      Spiritual, religious and cultural beliefs differ for different people and methods of coping vary, but certain reactions to death – particularly of a loved one – are universal. Most ways of grieving are “a necessary, natural part of the healing process” according the best-selling book How To Survive The Loss of A Love. They are: shock, denial and numbness, followed by fear, anger and depression, and finally, understanding, acceptance and moving on. Symptoms of bereavement also often include feelings of guilt and helplessness, and the emotional impact of the loss can provoke physical maladies such as loss of sleep, appetite and sex drive, difficulty concentrating, and diminished energy. If you feel any one of these, know that it’s normal; don’t suppress them. Experts advise that those who grieve can fall ill and experience psychological problems if they don’t submit to these phases.

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      Destination Tibet

      (Originally published in VIVA: Jordan/UAE Leisure Magazine,  February 2007.)

      No leg room, but a partial view afforded me a glimpse of the scenic splendour which greeted me in Tibet. Mouth agape, I peered with awe out of the scratched window as snow-capped peaks succumbed to naked brown mountains, an imposing behemoth that swallowed the aircraft which the pilot deftly manoeuvred to a safe landing within the belly of the beast.

      Upon disembarking, I was instantly blinded by a glaring sun that ricocheted off the pervasive mountain range. It was unexpectedly hot and my body registered confusion, having just endured several months of rainy, bone-chilling climate that seemed to shadow me throughout my mainland China excursion. I gasped for air as the lofty elevation (at 3,650 metres, Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world) assaulted my respiratory system, a surprise despite forewarnings… Lighting a cigarette in rebellion, I drew a deep breath and promptly choked. Not so good, I realised. Altitude sickness symptoms persisted throughout the first night – insomnia, shortness of breath, headache and a dry, relentless cough – and I discovered upon awaking the next morning that my body had fully succumbed to the malady.

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      Dirty Dehli

      Suzan Crane gets sucked in to the vortex of sadness and destitution that is Delhi, only to realise that the capital does have its saving graces. (Originally published in Untamed Travel, May 2006)

      Entering Pahar Ganj, Delhi’s backpacker ghetto, there is an overwhelming stench that makes some put on surgical masks. And the smell is all the more pungent after having spent nearly six months breathing the perfume of tropical palm grove-laden Goa.

      This dirty bazaar is blemished by beggars, parapalegics and dirty children kicking cardboard boxes down dirty streets for fun, while other kids beg for rupees that will go into the pockets of their begging pimps, and still other street urchins (covered with Dickensian grime) steal cigarettes off the table at your favorite chai shop. Filthy beggars mime living hand-to-mouth, while filthy dogs sniff about filthy streets and filthy yet holy cows eat plastic and blow up like balloons.

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      Magical Mystery Tour

      Suzan Crane gets drenched with local colour during the festival of Holi in a sacred town where the Beatles once stayed. (Originally published in Untamed Travel, June 2006)

      It’s 6am and silver mist veils the village. The holy Ganges River flows serenely below our feet, the suspension bridge swaying slightly under the weight of our packs, while monkeys hang from the rafters. It is still and silent. Soon the chiming of bells and the chanting of devotees will float through the small town of Rishikesh in Uttaranchal. Ancient temples, well-used yoga halls and modern guesthouses melt into the landscape of one of India’s great pilgrimage centres. By 8am, sadhus, sanyasins, spiritual seekers and plain old tourists amble leisurely alongside the sandy banks of the mythic river where schools of huge fish are fed offerings of puffed rice.

      Shops and restaurants open for business and begging babas encamped at the foot of the Laxman Jhula Bridge intone “Hari Aum” with open palms inviting “donations” of baksheesh. Bearded Western men and women wearing kutas or salwaar kameez scurry to yoga and meditation classes. Hawkers in the entrance square to the bridge sell peacock feather fans, maps, cheap cameras. When the sun begins to thaw the early morning chill, tourists and Indians alike take a dip in the sacred water. At sunset, pujas will be performed on the ghats of Ram Jhula and a further calm will descend upon an already tranquil village.

      It’s a typical day in Rishikesh…

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      Turkey Eclipses India

      Suzan Crane and her rag-tag posse from Goa attended a solar eclipse, which was the high point of an entrancing festival. (Originally published in Untamed Travel, July 2006)

      March 20 – Oblivious to Delhi’s daily madness swirling around him, Michael is charging down the main bazaar of Pahar Ganj waving his hands like a lunatic. “I’ve got them,” he shouts, displaying airline tickets with the exuberance of someone holding a winning lottery number. Down the road a large crew is gathered, excitedly discussing the imminent event. Half of Goa, it seems, is in India’s capital preparing – not for the traditional post-winter journey north – but for a mass exodus west. In a few days we’ll all be in Turkey for the week-long SoulClipse Festival, where India-heads will join 8,000 other global partiers outside the Mediterranean city of Antalya to experience the mind-blowing phenomenon of a total solar eclipse.

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      Pyramid Scheme

      Suzan Crane  explores ancient wonders and recent terrorist attacks in Egypt. (Originally published in Untamed Travel, August 2006)

      The hospital was a simple concrete building with no signage. A camel was parked outside next to the steps on which five civilian garbed men – including the 26-year-old doctor and his even younger nurse – were smoking cigarettes. Inside, peeling paint hung like stalactites from a crumbling ceiling in an unmanned reception area that consisted of a lone rusty metal desk. The place was deserted. I cautiously limped into an examining room with these questionable medical practitioners, feeling at once foolish and grateful that my malady was nothing more serious than an infected foot wound.

      This was Egypt and I should be describing the fabled pyramids of Giza, the majestic Sahara desert, the antiquities of Luxor, but this pathetic hospital in tiny Nuweiba, Sinai where a rookie doctor advanced with a syringe while insulting America remains a vivid memory.

      But the negative reaction to my Americanism was, thankfully, an isolated incident. Truth be told, I had minor concerns about my reception in Egypt – especially in light of today’s inflammatory political climate and media-induced stigmatization of Muslims. But more ominously, my ill-timed arrival was closely preceded by a fatal bombing in Dahab, the third to hit Sinai’s beautiful Red Sea coast – two previous explosions having afflicted Sharm El Sheikh and Taba – in recent years. Though the attack had an adverse effect on Egypt’s usually fecund tourist trade, my trepidation was unfounded. In fact, the affability of the nationals verged on annoyance. Okay, most of the greeters were men, as women don’t generally interact here (except in Cairo – few are even visible). And yes, there was some lascivious intent, but this was not dissimilar to the unwanted attention one tolerates in India, so no problem.

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      Holy Hamlet

      Suzan Crane heads for one of the country’s holiest towns, which is shaped like a cow’s ear. (Originally published in Untamed Travel, March 2006)

      Bored by the palm trees and surf of our familiar paradise, we hopped on the bikes one morning for the scenic six-hour journey to Gokarna, a quaint village on the Karnataka coast and one of India’s holiest sites. Considered an important centre of Shiva, Gokarna is home to the Aatma Lingam, enshrined in the ancient Mahabaleshwara Temple, a major calling card for hordes of Hindu pilgrims and Sanskrit scholars. Literally meaning “Cow’s Ear,” the village is formed by the ear-shaped convergence of two rivers, although locals believe that the named derives from a legend in which Lord Shiva emerged from the ear of a cow.

      As soon as we cross the border between Goa and Karnataka it is clear that we’ve entered another state. “We’re back in India,” Guy intones as we pull up to a dhaba that serves authentic chai and a killer thali (a lunchtime staple consisting of a tin tray with different dishes) for 20 rupees. Off the main roads and past an enormous Indian naval base, we are soon swallowed by imposing mountains and the Western ghats on one side and the Arabian Sea on the other. Children wave and scream when we fly past on our loud two-wheelers, tropical air wafting over us like a sultry veil.

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      Goa Begins Peaking

      Suzan Crane writes about the awakening of her comatose village for the high and dry season. (Originally published in Untamed Travel, January 2006)

      Naked. The seaside community in northern Goa where I have planted tentative roots seems naked when I return from my Indian Summer up north. Like a tree stripped of its leaves, it resembles the simple fishing village it was before the hippies, spiritual seekers and party crowd discovered it.

      It’s mid-September, the prelude before the storm of tourists, and the rain is overstaying its welcome. The sea is inky, and the sand is grey. Driftwood litters the beach where fishermen tend to their rickety boats. The shacks that normally fringe the coconut groves are now just bundled palm fronds marking spots from where soon drinks will be slung and music will blare. A few foreigners – the hardy ones who remain through the monsoon – mingle with the locals who impatiently await a reprieve from The Big Drench. They need to rebuild, repair and prepare for the impending high season. Only a few local dhabas and places catering to Westerners are open and serve as meeting points for the shrunken community. There are no parties, few potential sex partners and the drugs are less visible. People interact in a way that is not possible during high season when the distractions are many.

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