My Favorites: World Traveler


Photo­graphy by
Mark Odell

David Pattison with a camera hanging around his neck

David Pattison isn't a vacationer—he's a traveler. A former lawyer and lobbyist for the insurance industry, Pattison, SIS/BA '59, WCL/JD '61, SPA/MA '65, has visited roughly 100 countries, many since his wanderlust turned into a post-retirement career as a travel writer and photographer.

For the past seven years, his stories and pictures have run in his hometown newspaper, the Marco Island Sun Times. Last year, the Florida Press Association awarded him a first-place prize for his photo series on Morocco.

Pattison, 77, began his travels when he lived and worked in Washington. When Congress recessed each August, he and his late wife, Jackie, would fly to Frankfurt or Luxembourg, then fan out around Europe. Jackie passed away three years ago, but Pattison continues to travel. Next on his list is a return to Italy and the Swiss Alps.

"Traveling is part of my blood," he says. "It's ingrained in me. I'm just fascinated—almost addicted—to seeing the world and every aspect of it."

Pattison's favorite destinations:

Mongolia: Genghis Khan's descendants live in isolated, remote tents alongside yaks and camels in the cold, forbidding Gobi Desert and high plains. Their lives have remained unchanged for centuries.

Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand): Anyone who lived through the Vietnam War will marvel at the changes here. Visitors will observe Buddhist culture, motorbike mayhem, the rice paddy economy, and progressive development.

Amazon River Basin: A journey to the Amazonian backwaters, where dugout canoes are still the mode of transportation, reveals a culture unchanged for centuries.

Galapagos Islands: Darwin formed his evolutionary theory, in part, after a visit to these islands. Even today one can see the amazing animals and birds that helped him form his opinion.

China: China edges out Russia as one of our adversaries most deserving of an extended visit. China has the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the most unusual underground city of terra-cotta warriors at Xian. It's a land of mystery and intrigue.

Morocco: No country I have visited exceeded my expectations more than Morocco. Its local markets are more elaborate and colorful than any I have seen in the world. Its sunsets and sunrises on the Sahara Desert are beyond imagination.

African Safari (South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana): The living zoo of Africa and the legacy of Nelson Mandela combine to create a remarkable experience. Victoria Falls adds to this drama.

Sicily: No country in Europe is more beautiful (forgive me, France), and no part of Italy is more unique and interesting than Sicily. It has more ancient temples and theaters than one finds in Greece or Rome.

Antarctica: Traveling in the realm of the South Pole with its extreme cold and huge icebergs is a unique challenge. Looking at the glaciers causes one to imagine observing the Rocky Mountains emerge from the ocean.

Easter Island: The most remote place on earth is a magical, marvelous island made famous by the Kon-Tiki expedition. Its mysterious Moai statues have fascinated historians and explorers for years. It's the most awesome place I've ever seen.