My top 10: Paige Parker's fondest travel memory, secret hideout and travel essentials
More than just a travelogue
“Don’t Call Me Mrs Rogers: Love, Loathing & Our Epic Drive around the World” details philanthropist, prolific writer, GIA certified gemologist, keen patron of the arts and mother-of-two Paige Parker’s experiences of an epic trip of a lifetime.
Paige and her then-fiance and now husband, Jim Rogers spent three years driving across six continents and 116 countries in their custom-built Mercedes to set a Guinness World Record.
When asked about the book title, “Don’t Call Me Mrs Rogers,” Paige told us that “it resonated for a few reasons. It’s sassy and a bit controversial, which always helps with any book; female empowerment and independence are key themes in (her) story, and the title alludes to not being defined by a man.” She explained that she didn’t take her husband Jim’s name when they got married – she remained Paige Parker. She joked that if you call her Mrs Rogers, she won’t be insulted! She added, “It’s a title, not (her) mantra.”
Interestingly, this travelogue is not about destinations; it’s about travel and how it changes your perspective and helps you to grow as a person.
As she makes her way through the Western Sahara, French Polynesia and Gibraltar, she carries with her the will to give back to those societies.
In this candid account of the whirlwind adventure into the wider world that took her out from the life she knew in the all-American city of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, she wrote eloquently about the women she met and the inequality that persists.
From the women relegated to worshipping at the rear of the mosque in Istanbul to the women who turn to prostitution to support their families in Kazakhstan. Paige revealed that she wasn’t always as thoughtful. It was only through her travels that made her “abundantly clear just how far from the norm (her) cushy suburban life had been, how (her) most basic privileges were not a given, and that (her) daily concerns were light years apart from those of the rest of the world.”
Though Paige has for the most part left her swashbuckling globetrotting days behind her, Paige finds no lack of action in her life here in Singapore. She sits on the executive committee for the Singapore Committee for UN Women, where she continues to champion the cause for better the lives of women in Singapore and around the world.
Read on to find out more about the Paige Parker’s favourite things.
“They are not secret! I adore the Botanic Garden – if I can go without my phone, I am over-the-moon. Also, my office at home. It’s small and decorated in peaceful creams and blues – writing there is a joy.”
“I don’t know that I can recall the best dish, because I’m fortunate to have enjoyed some pretty delicious food in life. But here is a journal entry from our trip around the world. I’ve picked this one, because simple meals in simple places were often genuine highlights on our journey.”
“16 August 2001 – We enjoyed a fantastic, cheap meal (less than US$15) at Casa Italia. Our waiter Juan served garlic bread seeping in butter and extremely cold beers tiding us over until the arrival of our shared salad of hearts of palm, tomatoes and lettuce. Jim continued with tender, medium rare beef in garlic, and I devoured penne in a four-cheese sauce, so decadent I didn’t want the meal to end. Simple places in unknown towns can sometimes serve up meals better than, or certainly as good as, some of the anointed Michelin star joints.”
“I’m quite fickle. I love many local designers here in Singapore, yet also appreciate Net-a-Porter (delivery tomorrow, hello!). The high fashion brands appeal to me when they offer pieces I know I will wear for a long time. I don’t buy trends. No furry shoes for me.”
“My mother and father both had careers, so I often spent some of my summer holidays with my grandparents. Granddaddy Anderson would take me out on his little boat to fish on the Albemarle Sound, which feeds into the Atlantic Ocean. I recall when I caught an eel, a fish that looks and behaves more like a snake, I shrieked. He sweetly told me, ‘You catch it, you take it off,’ before going back to the tug on his fishing rod and leaving me to cope. At the time, I obviously didn’t like his retort, but after removing the eel from the hook and releasing it back into the sound (I didn’t want to take it home for dinner!), I was proud and gained confidence.”
“A walk in the Botanic Gardens with my daughters, Jim and Bella, our labradoodle, followed by an afternoon at home playing Monopoly, and then dinner at Ristorante de Valentino, my family’s favourite restaurant.”
“Yin Shui Si Yuan (Happy helped me with that!). I like this idiom since it teaches us to be grateful – and always to remember the people who have helped us along the way. So many have been instrumental in making me the person I am today – my parents, dear friends, husband and daughters – and I’ll always be grateful for their support and love. “