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Innerviews: Inveterate traveler embraces life of adventure

LAWRENCE PIERCE | Gazette
A basement corner shows just a small segment of travel related items that fill Warren Danzer’s home. He made the aquarium shaped like a Spanish galleon and uses it to display some of the souvenirs he collected on exotic beach and island vacations. On the sideboard at left, he carved continents tracing some of the places he’s visited.
LAWRENCE PIERCE | Gazette “‘I’ve fired travel agents who put me in five-star hotels. I didn’t want to see other Americans. I wanted a hotel where I could rub elbows with the natives.”
LAWRENCE PIERCE | Gazette Warren Danzer
LAWRENCE PIERCE | Gazette Warren Danzer
LAWRENCE PIERCE | Gazette On Easter Sunday in 1942, Warren Danzer shut his eyes and grinned broadly for the obligatory snapshot during a visit to his grandfather’s home in East St. Louis, Illinois.
LAWRENCE PIERCE | Gazette In high school, Warren Danzer had a job taking care of the school auditorium. Sometimes, he had to wait at the bus stop at midnight in a rough part of town,
LAWRENCE PIERCE | Gazette In 1975, Warren Danzer climbed 19,000 feet of Mount Everest in an eventful trip that included a monsoon delay.
LAWRENCE PIERCE | Gazette In September 34 years ago, Warren and Sheila Danzer were married in England after a whirlwind courtship that started on a camping trip in the Australian outback.
LAWRENCE PIERCE | Gazette As a student at the University of Illinois, Warren Danzer competed on the fencing team and won two NCAA championships.

A journal thicker than the unabridged Oxford dictionary chronicles his travels — 92 countries and counting.

His home overflows with an astonishing collection of trinkets, artifacts and other extraordinary oddities acquired in familiar cities and remote nooks and crannies around the globe. (Monk bells, a camel saddle and a Muslim prayer rug aren’t exactly ordinary souvenirs.)

“This house is a museum,” he said. No question about that.

 At 75, dauntless Warren Danzer — college fencing champion, former snake dancer, Mount Everest climber, survivor of elephant and rhino attacks and all sorts of other close calls — embraces a life of adventure. And artistry. Add jewelry making and woodworking to the diverse biography.

 An Illinois native, he spent 26 years moving around as a Boy Scout executive. He finally landed in Charleston and stayed put. So to speak.

When this modern-day Gulliver isn’t off on one of his jaunts, he’s busy brokering real estate deals with Old Colony. He also maintains a small lawn-cutting business for 13 clients. He pushes the mower himself to keep in shape.

Always nursing and nurturing that incurable case of wanderlust, he looks eagerly forward to the next opportunity for travel. So many places. So little time.

Follow all your rainbows until you find your dream, a dream that can take all the love you can give’...and so on. That matches us.

 “There are always places to go. We pick spots and suddenly something hits us, and we take off. I can take off anytime. If I died tomorrow, I’ve had a tremendous life. The biggest thing is to just enjoy life. I keep looking.”

Reach Sandy Wells at sandyw@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.


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