Travelling the world is a dream that is nurtured by a lot of us, but there are a very few of us who are actually able to live to see it come true. However, one should never feel that it’s too late to start. And we are about to tell you a story that might inspire you to bring about a big change in your life, and do the best possible things to start travelling. Before you start making wild guesses, it is Meher Moos who we are talking about.
You might not have heard this name, but you would want to remember it for a lifetime after knowing what she did. Meher Moos is a 70-year-old Indian traveller from Mumbai who has travelled the world for the last 50 years. If that’s not enough to raise your eyebrows, here’s more: she has been to as many as 180 countries till date, and is a proud holder of a stack of 18 passports. Now, that’s one hell of a collection of travel memories.
Meher’s journey as a globetrotter started in 1965, when she was just 20 years old and was hired by Air India as a flight attendant. While that position helped her fly to several places of the world already, she was made a senior tourism official after the first seven years. But it was not her job that only helped; it was her unrelenting wanderlust and insatiable passion to see the world that encouraged her to travel instead of getting married and having children.
Talking about where all she has been to, well, one has to try and name a place where she actually hasn’t been. And she was travelling offbeat way before the trend caught up with the other globetrotters of the world. From New York to Bobo, and from Dioulasso to New Caledonia, she has been to every place. When keen Indian travellers were still busy exploring places in the US and Europe, this Parsi woman was way ahead; among the memories she was making include living with pygmies in Congo, and camping at Easter Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
The job with Air India does not owe all the credit for all of Meher’s trips around the world. There were years that Meher did not take a single leave, and instead saved them all up for vacations that lasted for months. Some of her most prominent vacations included a six-month journey through Africa, and the exploration of Marco Polo’s route through Central Asia.
Being the kind of globetrotter she was, Meher has managed to gather experiences that most travellers and explorers dream of. There was one time when she had a chance meeting with Lars-Eric Lindblad, a renowned Swedish-American explorer, who extended her an invitation on board his ship to Antarctica. Now, that’s something to pin on the travel goals board, isn’t it? Some of the most exotic places she has been to include Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Iceland, Myanmar and Tajikistan. But then, you would be amazed to know that she is yet to complete her bucket list, which includes names like Micronesia, Malawi, North Korea, Jordan, Brunei, Tunisia and Mozambique among other places. Meher’s urge to explore defines what a traveller should really be like. She was quoted by a leading travel website saying, “I want to go somewhere where no one else has before, where there is danger but still interest.” She was further quoted saying, “The more remote, the more inaccessible, the better.” That’s just the kind of life any passionate traveller would want to live.
Meher’s life as a traveller does sound like a fairytale, but they were not as easy to pull off as they seem to be at the moment. They were both expensive and also filled with enough challenges that she had to face along the way. Wondering how she managed all of that money? Well, it was a combination of savings, sponsorships, and some complimentary tickets that she had been entitled to. Such was her urge to travel that she had even taken a loan once to fund her trip.
As far as the challenges as a traveller are concerned, Meher has faced situations wherein her passport got stolen and even instances where there was no space left for a stamp. Such incidents have led her to get passports issued overseas, one in Zambia and the other in London.
Meher started travelling at a time when there was no Internet to provide travel related information and tips at the fingertips. She did all her research from the Asiatic Library and by reading The ABC World Airways Guide, which was an airline-equivalent of the railway timetable. Although she uses the Internet now to do her research, she hasn’t been able to come to terms with online bookings and transactions, as they make her nervous. In such cases, Meher’s friends help her with the online bookings in exchange of cash from her side.
Although aged 70, Meher suffers from weak eyesight, spinal problems, and weak hearing, even though the globetrotter’s spirit to explore the world lives on. Presently, she is on a three-month vacation across North America.