Julia Hammond lives in Rayleigh, but does not spend a great deal of time there.

She is a tireless traveller abroad who has visited more than 100 countries in the past few years. In terms of seeing the world, however, she feels that she has barely started.

Julia has been blogging about her travels for some time, but one of her tales now appears between covers in book form for the first time. It is included in a compilation volume of travellers’ tales, along with the recollections of 40 other roaming writers.

One other thing about Julia that everyone should know – she is not in the prime of youth. She has no objections to this description, because it is what qualifies her to appear in the book. It is titled, in a pun that can probably be forgiven under the circumstances, To Oldly Go.

Julia’s story, entitled Charlie’s Party Trick, appears alongside accounts by some famous professional writers, including Colin Thubron and MatthewParris.

One of them is the book’s publisher Hilary Bradt, of Bradt Guides fame.

She made her name as a young traveller with the book Backpacking Along Ancient Ways in Peru and Bolivia, is still hitch-hiking in remote places at the age of 74. The linking factor, as the publisher’s blurb puts it, is that all 41 of these authors are “people who refuse to retire quietly”.

As a traveller, Julia seeks out beautiful and curious places, but she is also drawn to some less comfortable locations, both physically and spiritually. Her blogs include coverage of visits to NewOrleans, soon after the devastating floods, and to New Zealand, post earthquake.

Her story in To Oldly Go, about a trip upcountry in the Panama jungle, sounds so extreme you almost wonder whether is intended as a parody of the intrepid traveller’s tale. The first paragraph sets the scene with the line: “Seeing the river running high and fast, hammered home the point that there were better seasons to be taking a trip upriver in a dugout canoe that had seen better days.”

As if that this was not enough in the way of hazardous challenges, Julia saddled herself with an extra impediment, one that would make even the most rugged explorer quake in his jungle boots. This took the formof her travelling companion, an octogenarian confined to a wheelchair since he had broken his hip four years previously. But then, after a few pages of this book, you start to wonder whether there is any other type of traveller.

Just how Julia and her wheelchair-bound companion fared, as logs came hurtling down the river, and the drums of an Indian tribe beat out a tattoo through the wilderness, readers will have to find out for themselves.

Under the circumstances, it is hardly surprising that Julia looks forward to her return home, almost as much as she does to the next trip.

Julia has explored so many places around the world that many readers will have one question on their mind. Does she have a favourite?

Julia, who says she is never happier than when walking her two dogs at home, is unhesitating.

“Actually,” she says, “it’s Rayleigh.”

  • To Oldly Go is published by Bradt @ £10.99 ISBN 978 1 78477 027 3 ý Julia Hammond’s further reminiscences about her travel adventures will be the subject of a future article in the Echo’s Memories supplement, out every Monday.