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TRAVELS WITH MY HAT is the personal memoir of an Australian nurse who through skill and determination, switched careers to become an award-winning travel writer and photographer. It is a colourful record of her experiences defined by travel, undertaken on her own initiative, often without official help and frequently against all odds. “We don’t know who you are,” she was told by the travel editor of the Daily Telegraph on arriving in London in 1974. “To get a name here, you need to write a book.” Which is exactly what she did. Publication of The Gulf States and Oman in 1977 brought a deluge of commissions on the Middle East. Books followed on Jordan and Pakistan. Christine was invited to visit Iraq by the Ba’athist regime of Saddam Hussein. Since visas were not issued to British journalists, she returned home and obtained clearance from the Iraqi Vice-Consul in – of all places –Bondi! Her journeys to Iraq, Ethiopia, Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan and Morocco are rounded off with letters to her mother who had never left Australia. We join Christine foiling bandits in Yemen, diving in the Red Sea, and dining with Arab sheikhs in a racy account of 40 years of travels when only one of a thousand and one problems, was being a young, western woman working in a man’s world.

 

Christine 41st Birthday

 

It was at an American Independence Day party in 1976 that I first met the author and significantly, the word “independence” is one of the major clues to the nature of this ex-pat Australian.

Fiercely independent and single-minded, she has photographed and written books about countries as diverse as Tahiti and Oman. I occasionally met up with her and witnessed the mix of guts and perseverance, interspersed with the odd tear of frustration, and a hint of the “memsahib” that seemed to overcome all obstacles. Once, on point of arrest for some minor infringement over photography with an authoritarian Pakistani army officer, she suggested they have tea first which they both drank, exchanged pleasantries, and Osborne was allowed to go on her way.

Her fondness of small creatures – birds and fish – often manifested itself. A sock was used as a nest to nurture chickens found in a rubbish-heap in Beirut. Tiny fish caught in a mountain stream in the Yemen, were carried home in a jam jar to survive for seven years in her fish tank, along with other exotics in her London flat.

Travels with My Hat is a girl’s own adventure story likely to put a spring in the step of anyone seeking excitement. It is Christine Osborne’s unique life, from scrubbing bedpans as a young nurse in Sydney, to becoming not only a successful travel writer, but a top flight photographer who would accompany the Queen on her riches-laden tour of Arabia.

Aileen Aitken: Cabin Crew Selection Officer, British Airways (ret 1983)

Ethipian Tribesmen
Tribesmen from all over Ethiopia had been trucked into Addis Ababa to mark the anniversary of the overthrow of the Emperor Haile Selassie, September 1975

Yemen - chewing qat
Poor men were slumped in shop doorways with their bundles of leaves. Only the juice is swallowed and stored in the cheek, a wad of masticated qat is an ugly sight, almost like a facial tumour.

Aren't you afraid of snakes?"Aren't you afraid of snakes?" said the Nawab of Tajpur. "No," I replied. "I'm Australian. I grew up with snakes."

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Welcome
Introduction
Inside
The Book
Gallery
About
The Author

Book available at
www.travelswithmyhat.com