Ann Schlott Hillers

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Changing of the Guard

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Hillers boys in Penang

On a hot night in Malaysia, Baltimore native Ann Hillers finds her sons are ready to be on their own. 

One July night in sweaty, humid Penang, an island off the coast of Malaysia, a seismic event occurs. Two actually. We’re dining on Kimberly Street at an open-air market surrounded by bowls of laksa noodles, a plate of grilled sparrows, and an omelet of oysters and egg. My eldest son Bo decides he wants “meat on a stick,” a throwback to our Thailand travel where every corner had a brazier of bamboo skewers threaded with grilled meat.

The Birth of Wanderlust

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Writer Ann Schlott Hillers shares the experience that led to a lifelong quest to seek adventure abroad.

My father grew up in Athens, Ohio with no indoor plumbing until he was six.  At 21 he hitchhiked east to Baltimore for a med school interview at Johns Hopkins University.  It was the first time he had ever left Trumball County, which was next door to Howland County, my mothers birthplace.  He was accepted into med school, and when he graduated, the hospital offered him a job.  He worked at Johns Hopkins for more than 50 years and has lived on the same Baltimore street just as long.

Dreams of Drowning

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Indonesian Sea. All photos by Ann Schlott Hillers.

Baltimore native Ann Schlott Hillers spends the summer in Bali with her three young sons and, despite fears, embraces the underwater world of the Indonesian Sea.

When I was in my twenties and childless, I dreamed a lot about drowning.  Not my own drowning, but that of my niece, Maggie, my older sisters eldest daughter.  First, she scaled a tall Victorian hotel whose roof was covered in ice.  As she reached the peak, I scrambled up the roof only to arrive as she was sliding down the other side, falling a mile into a lake of ice below. I tried to grab her dress, but she was slippery and fast. And gone.