INTRODUCTION BY THE GM, ORIENTAL HOTEL
Our guest speaker, author Harold Stephens, takes the road less traveled in exotic foreign lands. He has lived his dream of exploring the world’s most remote corners––in search of adventure, experiencing life on his own terms, and writing about it. He shares his exciting experiences with his readers in three-dozen travel and adventure books, novels, biographies and in other media as television and video scripts.
Stephens served as a machine gunner with the 29th Marine at the Battle of Okinawa, spent the next three years as a China Marine followed by another two years with the Naval Attaché in Paris. He graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in Foreign Service after three years with the top secret National Security Agency he gave up government work for adventure and writing. He has authored 35 books.
In the mid-sixties, Stephens motored around the world by Land Crusier for a record-breaking 42,252 miles. Along the way, he met some very remarkable people and found romance and love in the strangest places.
His great love for the sea inspired Stephens to build his own 70-foot schooner, Third Sea, which he sailed throughout the South Pacific and Asian waters, and up many wild rivers of Southeast Asia. More than once encountered raging typhoons and marauding pirates. Third Sea’s last voyage was disastrous and terrifying as she smashed against the rocks in a devastating hurricane that ravaged the Hawaiian Islands.
While deep-sea diving, Stephens found ancient Chinese wrecks in the South China Seas and continued his wild and revealing searches for World War II wrecks on lonely Pacific Islands. He located and dove on the Battleship HMS Repulse, sunk by Japanese dive-bombers.
Stephens searched for the pleasure of searching, whether it was for Bigfoot in Southeast Asia, lost cities, or for the elusive wild rhino in the Malay jungles with the Malaysian Wild Life Department. Stephens has lived with Negritos in the Malay jungles and with hill tribe people in northern Thailand. On the empty Australian Outback he encountered uncertain Aborigines still living in the Stone Age, and he survived by eating kangaroo. He explored the great rivers of Asia. Climbed the Matterhorn and trained with the Hillary Expedition in New Zealand;
Through Harold Stephens’ travel and adventure books, readers meet some extraordinary people: rubber planters, treasure divers, pirate chief, expat artists, belly dancer, gem smuggler, Asian royalty, trading boat skippers, Asian movie stars, and a host of others.
For the past forty years, Southeast Asia—mainly Bangkok where he was a feature writer for the Bangkok Post and is travel correspondent for Thai Airways International—has been home to Harold Stephens, that is when he is not exploring a remote island, a newly discovered ancient ruin, or scouting locations for a movie.