Book Reveals How a U.S. Foreign Service Career Enabled a Fiercely Independent Woman to Fulfill Her Dream of Seeing the World

Dot 3D front 2I Did It My Way: The Travel Adventures of Dorothea Bonavito, 1948 – 2000 is compiled from travel letters begun when the author joined the U.S. Foreign Service in post-World War II Occupation Germany. This new book offers an enchanting glimpse into how a career in the U.S. Foreign Service enabled a woman traveler to fulfill her dream of seeing the world — her way.

Petite, blonde Dot Bonavito was fiercely independent, fascinated by world affairs, and hopelessly bitten by the travel bug. Dot used her Foreign Service posts as a base to explore. Over a span of fifty years, Dot visited over 100 countries. Dot wrote, “I am hopelessly spoiled with all this travel. It would take a miracle (or a Clark Gable) to make me end this set-up.”

Retired Foreign Service Officer Patricia R. Clark shared a 50-year friendship with Dot, including posts in Rome and Paris. According to Patricia, “This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the Foreign Service and women travelers. Dot was a true adventurer.”

Why was Dot different from many Foreign Service women and travelers of her generation? Dot wrote it down. She shared her travel adventures with family and friends in detailed trip letters — and she saved copies of letters, photos, travel stickers, and other travel mementos. Dot’s travel archive was the basis of this book. It gives an insight into Dot’s Foreign Service experience, her travel adventures and her commentary on people, cultures, and world events — written by Dot herself. Dot elephant India 1955

Dot’s adventures included taking a 36-hour bus ride from Jerusalem to Teheran, alone. In post-Partition Pakistan and India, Dot bought a burkha in Kabul and taught a Maharajah’s son to play blackjack. She met Albert Schweitzer during the 1960s movement to African independence. She reached her goal of being secretary to the U.S. Ambassadors to the UN in Geneva, Italy, Thailand, and France. Tibet, Timbuktu, Yemen — it is difficult to name a country that Dot didn’t visit.

I Did It My Way: The Travel Adventures of Dorothea Bonavito, 1948 – 2000 was compiled by Sallie Crenshaw, a friend of Dot’s for over 30 years. The two met through Sallie’s uncle, Thad Crenshaw, a former Foreign Service Officer. At the request of Dot’s friends and family, Sallie sorted through over 800 fragile, faded pages and countless photos to compile this book — to celebrate Dot’s travel adventures and honor a remarkable woman. Sallie spent her career in the corporate world, traveled to over sixty countries, and lives in Paris.

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