Seeing the world, one country at the time

I’m Anna Maria, our in-house writer, but a lot more came before this latest role. I was born in Spain of an American father and Swedish mother, and grew up discovering the world through living in nine countries on five continents. I speak six languages - four fluently - and hope to add a couple more before too long. I graduated with honors from Whitman College with a major in Spanish literature and a minor in French literature. That was followed by a Masters program in international management at Thunderbird, the Garvin School of International Management, with a specialty in marketing. My career took me to Washington DC, where I worked seven years for Global One/Equant, (now France Telecom’s Orange), in Finance, Sales and IT, with extensive travel. Four of those years were spent in IT doing design, development and delivery of systems training in three languages.

I also worked shorter stints in Nigeria and Belgium with the US State Department and as an English and Spanish teacher in the US and Spain. For kicks, I do editing, translation and medical interpretation on the side. I am also interested in women’s issues and plan to volunteer in that capacity in Asia during the trip. I am an avid letter writer, almost a lost art in today’s world. Computers are fast and practical, but there’s nothing like pen and paper, which these bios are composed on. My love of writing landed me the official authorship of our travels.

Besides that, I enjoy reading, photography, dance, outdoor sports like hiking, climbing and biking, as well as any sport done in mid-air. Most recently I got a taste for hang gliding in Brazil. I’ve been a Hash House Harrier for 15 years, even though I hate running, and plan to add more hashes to my list as I circumnavigate the globe. I love to travel, a habit gleaned from my globetrotting parents, and have been nurturing this desire to travel the world since it took seed in my mind. I watched with envy as many of my friends like Lucy Mathew, Arnaud and Jaimi, Emily and Brian, and Vivian and Joe took a year to travel (thanks for the inspiration, everyone!) and feel lucky to have found Lars with whom to share the journey.

Having traveled so much already, I want to do more than just that, and have plans for volunteer work as well as articles or a book. When it’s all said and done, I’d like to work in a cross-cultural milieu in order to use my languages and continue traveling, perhaps focusing on writing a book or starting a hostel with Lars on the side. I have a quiet house on the water in Sweden where I plan to spend peaceful summers and entertain friends who make it that far north. I hope you enjoy my long stories of life on the road. Leaving work and a salary, packing up a home and leaving your country is scary, but it is worth it. I have no regrets.

Update August 3rd, 2007: Anna is about to kick off her job search in Oslo where she hopes to find a good match between her international background, training experience and MBA.