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Living Bolder Than Boulder: Celebrating One of Boulder’s Original World Travels

As Boulder’s own remarkable matron, Chris Bray, LP, MA, PhD, approaches her 75th birthday, we take a moment to step back into the pages of her past, which read like an adventure novel.

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In 1973, Bray and her newlywed husband, Tim, embarked on a year-long odyssey that would see them traverse the globe on a shoestring budget, a testament to their adventurous spirits and setting the standard for living bolder before it became Boulder’s way of life.

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Go On, Take the Money and Run

In April, 1973, the newlywed couple Chris and Tim Bray made a bold decision to trade their wedding gifts for cash, step off the conventional path, and explore the world at large.

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The couple’s first stop was Australia, where they worked for a year before attempting to earn free passage back to the U.S. by signing up as crew on a ship helmed by a novice Captain Percey, whose nautical experience ended at his title.

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Jaws, In Real Life

In passage, the couple and their Australian friend, Trish, took a “dingy” out to explore a small reef on the Arafura Sea. As the tide came in, the reef became overpopulated with baby sharks, cueing the friends to leave. Novices at sea, they had not accounted for the rip tide they met. A near-death encounter with a shark ensued and they were saved only by another crew member who caught their towline and wrapped it around his bare chest, enabling the trio to climb about the ship and narrowly escape a shark attack.

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This near-death experience led the couple to abandon the ship in Darwin, AU, and purchase around-the-world tickets, igniting their small adventure ablaze.

Eat, Love, Pray … that you Don’t Die

The odyssey began blissfully enough. In Bali, they experienced the local culture, including a beachside sunset enhanced by local plant medicines they were gifted.

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From Bali Bliss to Bayonets

They traversed through Thailand and Laos, enjoying the local culture and cuisine, before reaching Myanmar (Burma). An attempt to reach a picturesque Burmese mountain town led to a harrowing night in an abandoned train car, where a potentially life-threatening encounter with intoxicated bayonet-jabbing Burmese guards prompted them to move on.

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Himalayan Heights: From Kathmandu to Annapurna 

Their next stop was Kathmandu, trekking through the Annapurna range of the Himalayas and finding shelter with a local village family during a rainstorm.

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Middle Eastern Hospitality

Their path led them through Northern India and Pakistan, where unfriendly sentiment towards Americans hastened their departure. They found respite in Dubai, where they were befriended by two wealthy Arabs who welcomed them into their home(s) and to the local “hash houses.” An unfortunate response to some “hash” resulted in a hospital visit under the pretense of a malarial infection and prompted them to continue on.

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A Near Miss in Beirut

Their journey took them next to Beirut, narrowly avoiding a bombing thanks to a timely tip from a friendly hotel doorman. Their American status enabled them to receive frontline service out of the country, escaping the bombing by just one day.

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Starry Encounters: Rooftop Revelations

The final leg of their journey took them through Syria, Jordan, Israel, and Egypt, often sleeping on rooftops alongside fellow travelers “just like us.” They marveled at the Great Pyramids before moving on to Greece, Italy, Paris, and finally, back to the U.S.

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The Odyssey’s End: A Legacy of Wanderlust

This remarkable tale of a couple traveling the world on a dollar a day in the 1970s is a testament to the spirit of adventure, resilience, the kindness of strangers encountered along the way, and a true love story stronger than time.

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Happy Birthday Chris! Cheers to another trip around the sun; may it bless you with warmth beyond your wildest dreams, yet again.!

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Dr. Brenna Bray, a local health and wellness coach, stress researcher, associate professor, and avid ultra-marathon mountain runner, holds PhDs in Biomedical Science, Neuroscience, and Complementary and Integrative Health. Her journey through an eating disorder fuels her dedication to coaching, merging personal experiences with scientific expertise. Through her practice, Bray empowers clients to access and harness their innate healing abilities and achieve remarkable health and wellness transformations. Committed to community engagement and holistic well-being, Dr. Bray shapes a brighter, healthier future for all. Learn more about Dr. Bray at www.brennabray.com.

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