Shortly after meeting Roberta Stone, she lets you know that she likes to be called Bobbi. That says a lot about her. Bobbi is a warm, open person who approaches life in a relaxed, open fashion. She’s ready for anything and endlessly curious. And she treats everyone she meets equally. In over 3 decades as a schoolteacher in Brooklyn, Bobbi worked with children and families from a myriad of backgrounds and cultures. She saw the world coming together, and tried to prepare her students to fulfill their dreams in that world. So when she retired, she was ready to go see the world for herself. She began to travel to far-flung countries and have fascinating experiences. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at her photo album, which is surprisingly spare. “When I first started travelling I really didn’t take very many pictures at all…and friends used to say, ‘How come you don’t take more pictures?’ And I said ‘I just bring it home in my heart.’ “ Bobbi’s heart is, in fact, set on seeing every part of the world she can get to. But her back suddenly threatened to bring her travels to an end. Years of pain started to become more and more severe. She had to give up an increasing number of things that she loved to do. And she was worried she would have to stop travelling. She sought a number of medical opinions, and was repeatedly told that she had herniated discs and there wasn’t a lot they could do for her. It wasn’t until Bobbi saw Dr. Alexander Hughes at Hospital for Special Surgery, who did additional testing, that Bobbi found her problems could be addressed. “He said, ‘I have an appointment next week that you could come for surgery,’ and…I was just ready to go…but I said to him, ‘I have a ticket to go to Africa on safari…do you think I’m going to be on that plane?’ And he said, ‘You’ll be on it.’ And I said, ‘Okay, let’s go for it.’ “
Bobbi carefully followed her rehab instructions, and just over 2 months after her surgery she was in Africa. She bounced around in safari vehicles on rutted dirt trails and off road as she saw elephants, lions, giraffes, hippos, and more. “I had absolutely no pain.” She met the Maasai people, played with the children and was welcomed in their homes (which meant a lot of bending down). She even danced with the Maasai. And as always, she took it all home in her heart. For most people, it would have been the trip of a lifetime. For Bobbi, it was one more step in an ever-richer lifetime. One that will continue now that she’s pain-free.
After Africa, Bobbi wasted no time planning a trip to China and Tibet. After that, who knows?