Apart from the obvious bliss we share at certain moments with loved ones, there is a special kind of bliss that I feel when I am in paradise. For me paradise involves a voyage in a sailing boat to a deserted tropical island, where I can then snorkel in crystal clear waters with the rich marine life there. This has happened to me several times during my life. The first time was when I lived in a wooden house on stilts at the edge of the South China Sea. Opposite my house, a few miles offshore, was an idyllic desert island, called Pulau Kapas (Cotton Wool Island), which I could visit in a local fishing boat. This was my first time snorkeling in clear, warm, tropical waters, and the coral and marine life were stunningly beautiful. Island hopping in the Seychelles was another blissful experience, but, for me, Ilha Grande off the coast of Brazil is even more beautiful. There, you can be dropped off by a schooner and walk through the rainforest to what I consider to be the best beach in the world, Praia Lopes Mendes. I have had some wonderful times in the Caribbean, but the most idyllic desert island I have visited there is, without doubt, in Cayos Zapatillo off the coast of Panama. It is a picture perfect paradise. The most blissful experience I have ever had snorkeling, however, was on the reef near Caye Caulker in Belize, where after a beautiful trip in a schooner, I was able to swim with and touch sharks, stingrays and turtles, which was incredibly exciting and sheer bliss!
I have/had two big ambitions: the first to travel to 100 countries and live in 20 of them; the second to become a full-time writer.
Last year, I visited my 106th country: Rwanda. Countries I've lived in recently include South Korea, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Romania, Oman and, lastly, Egypt, which is the nineteenth country I've worked in.