Travels with My Hat: A Lifetime on the Road is the story of how an Australian nurse switched careers to become an award-winning international travel writer and photographer.
It is a colourful record of her experiences defined by travel and frequently against all odds. “We don’t know who you are,” she was told on arrival in London in 1974. “To get a name here, you need to write a book,” which is precisely what she did, choosing as subject, the developing Arab oil states of the western Gulf. Publication of The Gulf States & Oman in 1977 brought commissions on the Middle East. Books followed on Jordan and Pakistan. In 1979 she was accredited to the Buckingham Palace press corps to cover Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s historic tour of Arabia. The title refers to a famous piece of millinery which was on the road for decade. Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II, disoriented in the great souq in Nizwa in the Sultanate of Oman, said: “I was looking everywhere for your blue hat.
The culmination of a life’s work, Travels begins in the 1950s in the tiny Australian gold mining town of Temora. Osborne’s classmates laughed at her when she declared she wanted to see the world. But in the decades to follow that’s exactly what she did, becoming an accomplished international travel writer and photographer whose many adventures include encounters with the Queens of England and Jordan, and Sheikha Fatima, the desert queen of Abu Dhabi.
Christine Osborne has visited 35 different Muslim countries, usually treated with great respect and kindness. But of her experiences in the secretive mountain republic of Yemen near the Red Sea she says, “I’ve occasionally wished I were a boy. Not for the penis per se but for the freedom it allows a man.” In 1981 Christine Osborne travelled to Iraq, invited to Baghdad by the Ba’athist regime of Saddam Hussein. Christine’s adventures in Iraq, Ethiopia, Egypt, Pakistan, Morocco and other exotic places, are rounded off with letters to her mother, who never left Australia.
“At the time I never considered myself an adventurer, but I suppose when I look back at my life and put it in to context, that is what I was,” says Osborne from her “current home” in the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney. “I never felt like what I was doing was risky. I remember one English travel journalist remarking that he couldn’t believe that I just get up and go to these places by myself, but once I set my mind to something I get it done. I just did what I had to do until maybe I got arrested.”
Christine Osborne is the founder of several major photo stock libraries, including The World Religions Photo Library.
Daisy S, who held the coveted position of a Top 10 Amazon Vine reviewer, says of Travels with My Hat said: “For me, I love history and also geography etc. When I read this outstanding book, I found so much more. In fact, from the very beginning of this book, that Christine and I were sharing journeys together. If you love to read about travel and especially history, look no more, I believe that you will love this book! Highly recommend this book!”
Travels With My Hat was originally published by A Sense of Place Publishing.