I’m Richard Humphries, a teacher, traveler and writer. After growing up in New Jersey and graduating from university, I set out to see the world. I traveled the old hippie trail from Europe to India, crossed the Sahara, traveled up the Nile on a rust-bucket barge, and hitchhiked to Alaska, to name but a few journeys.
The African experiences are described in detail in my latest book, Slow Boats and Petrified Goats: Africa Overland Travel Memories.
Dedicated travel, even when one is budget-conscious, requires funds, so I’ve often worked as I wandered. Those temporary positions included working on an automobile assembly line in Australia, at a medieval archaeological dig in England, at German and Swiss restaurants, on ships in Alaska’s Aleutian Island chain, and in New Zealand at orchards, construction sites and a sheep farm.
When it became time to embark on a career, I became a teacher. I’ve earned two master’s degrees: one in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) in Vermont, and the second in international conflict resolution at the University of Bradford in the UK. My thesis for the latter was about internal displacement in Myanmar.
For many years in Japan, I worked full-time at universities where I taught English-language and critical thinking/media-literacy skills. While there, I pursued a sideline as a freelance writer for Japanese English-language publications. Over 100 of my articles and more than 400 photographs appeared in print, with travel, culture, conflict and human rights being common themes. Continued travel aided the writing process. For example, I freelanced in East Timor during the 1999 independence vote, met with armed insurgents inside Myanmar multiple times, and visited the European Space Agency’s launch site in French Guiana. After leaving Japan, I helped develop, launch, and run Myanmar’s first English-language, weekly economic magazine for Mizzima, an independent media group.
I plan to write more books and am developing an idea that combines travel with fantasy. When not writing, I enjoy photography, travel and hiking. In 2015, I hiked the entire Appalachian trail from Georgia to Maine; in 2017, I walked Spain’s Camino de Santiago, and in January 2019, I made it to Everest Base Camp on a solo trek.