Maria Visconti


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The Karmic Traveller

As a travel writer and photographer, I owe my present ‘incarnation’ to two authors who –I have recently realised- influenced me greatly: Emilio Salgari and Lobsang Rampa.

They shaped my craving for adventure and far away places while growing up in Buenos Aires. Emilio Salgari, a native of Verona, Italy, wrote massively about pirates of the South China Sea, not common outlaws but noble princes taking arms against foreign colonisation.

One such was Sandokan, The Tiger of Malaysia who fought against the White Rajas of Borneo. Lobsang Rampa authored many books now classified as ‘esoteric’. He described himself as being a Tibetan Lama but turned out to be an Englishman. As a mere 13-year-old I read The Third Eye and became quite adept at astral travelling. Scarily adept…

These two prolific authors -who inspired great heroes and writers- never left their countries (they must have spent long years in libraries researching their locations -no Google then). Umberto Eco read Salgari avidly as a young adult and so did the Che Guevara both admitting to being influenced by him. Lobasang Rampa’s The Third Eye is considered to be responsible for sparking interest in Tibet and Buddhism in the West, which has grown steadily ever since.

I am lucky to have physically (not astrally) travelled to 80 different countries, lived in 8 of them scattered over 5 continents (4 if you consider North America and South America as one). I call Australia home and live in Sydney; believe in karma and random acts of kindness. I burn incense for inspiration -a sign that ‘mommy is not available’ to my ever-ready Border Collie who thrives on park adventures and discovering new trails.

It is the kindness of strangers that have helped me through my travels; the most recent example is when a few months ago on the first day of trekking towards Lomanthang in Mustang (Nepal) my boots became detached from their soles. The nearest shop was a day’s flight away to Pokhara.

A local lady in Kagbeni lent me her yet unworn pair of boots. This incident is central to a travel adventure book I am in the process of writing (any publishers out there?). I appreciate and cherish all those who helped me. I am in their debt.

My work appears in all major Australian travel pages such as The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sun Herald, The Age, The West Australian, The Sunday Telegraph, Vacations and Travel, Luxury Travel, Jetstar magazine, Australian Doctor and foreign travel magazines spanning 10 countries including a host of in-flight magazines.


AFTA AWARDS FINALIST Best Travel Writer 2009


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