A Small Good Thing is Proof that Dharma Matters!


A Small Good Thing Is Proof that Dharma Matters! Are you fulfilled, on the path to following your passions  and dharma? Or are you, like many, going through the motions to consume more and more?

I have been many things in my 36 years: an actress, a writer, a teacher, a yogi, an international aid worker, a healer, a nonprofit administrator.

I've existed blissfully outside the box and I've been caught in the cycle of go- go- go! achieve as much and as fast as possible.

Young, ambitious, and in my early twenties, I went directly from my undergraduate work to pursuing graduate work and full time employment. At 25, I had two masters degrees, a continuing education advanced certificate, was a master teacher who led workshops and trainings, wrote curriculum, taught classes after school while trying to write and act on the side and was working towards major burnout.

By my early 30's, I'd had enough. Teaching was practical and stable, it was rewarding and I was moving up the ranks quickly, but I was miserable. Though effective and talented as a teacher, I wasn't living my dharma. The things that nourished me, I had squeezed into vacations and weekends- it wasn't enough.

It wasn't until a brief stint on a commune in the Berkshires and several stints abroad where I had the benefit of solitude, nature and the ability to experience things that shook my foundation, that I had the courage to live the life I was intended to live, a life that thrills me and inspires me to no end. However shaky or unpractical, writing, having a holistic wellness private practice, teaching yoga and making handmade organic lotions may be, it is what suits me. I'm still as driven and ambitious as ever, only this time my work is on my terms. It fulfills me and I am able to provide an invaluable service to my community. The money comes and goes, but my happiness, my engagement, my sense of purpose, drive and fulfillment are satiated. I'm so happy! I'm aligned with my dharma.

I think that's why the documentary film A Small Good Thing resonated so deeply.


How can we as individuals, as a greater society, live in a better way? Everyone has a different path, a unique Dharma, but there are common threads amongst “happy people.” Winchester, MA resident and Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Pamela Tanner Boll explores these questions in her new documentary film, A Small Good Thing, screening at the Nextdoor Theater on September 11, 2015.

Following  six people in Western Massachusetts, as they commit themselves to a path of dharma and happiness instead of the practical or socially expected  path, A Small Good Thing encourages us to reflect on the purpose of our chosen work, on community and on what it means to be happy.

Does Dharma matter?

This feature-length film, which recently won Best Documentary at the Boston International Film Festival, centers on a more holistic concept of well-being − one based on a close connection to oneself, the natural world, and to the greater good.

Inspiring, beautifully spun, and thought provoking A Small Good Thing examines what it means to follow your true path on both a personal and societal level.

“A Small Good Thing does not pretend to have all the answers,” says Boll. “However, the film asks whether we can change our larger goals as a nation and learn from the rest of the world about the small truths that are the sources of human happiness. I’m so happy to be bringing the film to my hometown of Winchester for two screenings.”

Blogging is one of those things that doesn't always pay well, but the opportunities that it affords me are invaluable. One such opportunity was the ability to screen this phenomenal and inspiring film.

A Small Good Thing will screen at 6:30 PM & 8:30 PM at Fall For the Arts on Friday, September 11, at the Nextdoor Theater, 40 Cross Street Winchester, MA. Admission is free.

If you're not in MA, worry not, in the Fall of 2015 there will be several screenings in Boston, New York, and San Francisco!

Keep your eyes on your Dharma and keep your eyes open for this truly inspiring documentary!

Are you following your passion? If not, what do you wish you were doing and what can you do to get there?

2 Ingenious Ways to Maintain Optimal Health While Traveling!


Note: I received a shipment of ambronite in exchange for a review. I must tell you that I loved it. All opinions stated in this post are absolutely mine. My integrity as a holistic nutritionist is of utmost importance to me. I will never endorse a product on this blog that I have not used myself for a period of time and researched thoroughly. IMG_0479.JPG

2 Ingenious Ways to Maintain Optimal Health While Traveling!

I think most people would agree with the old adage that health is wealth.

Good health affords us the ability to live our best lives, to follow our passions and dreams. When longevity and quality of life are maintained an internal spring of immeasurable wealth is attained.

If you're a traveler, I don't need to tell you how important being healthy and feeling good on the road is.

With limited time to see, experience and do everything, you don't want to spend a single moment sick or feeling depleted.

Travel can be exhausting, anxiety inducing, difficult on our digestion. With the addition of introducing new foods and or climates to the body or grabbing greasy fried snacks on the go, many people don't feel their best on the road.

I could say, eat a balanced diet and wash your hands while you travel, but for those of us who have traveled along roads less traveled, especially in the developing world, you know that immune boosting balanced meals may not be available neither may running water.

Even if you are traveling along well trodden and highly developed roads, you may not be in a position to grab healthy nutritive food and maintain the good habits you have at home. We all know how easy it is to go to the drive through while on a road trip or to eat a bunch of starchy junk food while traveling. Or maybe the objective of your trip is to taste all the best barbeque south of South Carolina.

With the two products that I'm going to share with you. You can take back your nutrition and ensure that you've got at the very least, 30+ full servings of whole fruits and vegetables and enough protein to boost your energy and avoid feeling drained- even if you're jet-lagged.

2 Ingenious Ways to Maintain Optimal Health While Traveling!

1) Juice Plus+


If you ask me, Juice Plus+ is an ingenious staple that everyone should have on their kitchen counters or in their traveling bags.




IMG_0467.JPGHow is this possible? Well, to make Juice Plus+, chemical free, non-gmo fruits and vegetables are fully ripened (just like the garden), crushed (in their whole form, seeds, peels, etc.), dehydrated and cold dried (so nutrition stays alive). The concentrated powders are then put into a capsule or vegan chewable- ta da!

The result is a full serving of a variety of fruits, berries and vegetables for assured balanced nutrition.

This is not a replacement for the real thing but instead a simple and clinically proven way to bridge the gap between what we DO eat and what we SHOULD be eating.

For travelers, this means improved immune systems, sustained energy, optimal circulation (reduced chance of blood clots for those who have traveled long hours by plane, train or car), and many, many other benefits.

I wish I knew about Juice Plus+ when I was working and volunteering in Ghana, Thailand and Mozambique where I didn't have access to complete balanced nutrition and got sick a lot!

2) Ambronite


Ambronite, despite it's funny name is simply fantastic!

It's an organic, all-natural, non-gmo, and gluten free drinkable supermeal.


With one serving of ambronite, you literally get an entire days worth of nutrition- it's ingenious!

There is absolutely nothing artificial in ambronite. Unlike most traditional protein powders made from chemicals in a lab, ambronite literally has the following ingredients (all of which are organic): oats, almonds, brown rice, coconut, apple, lucuma, flax, stinging nettle leaf, nutritional yeast, bilberry, black currant, mineral salt, chlorella, spirulina, brazil nut, spinach and sea-buckthorn berry.


It comes in easy to pack, difficult to puncture pouches that need to be mixed with pure water, shaken and voila!




IMG_0473.JPGAmbronite has a nutty taste, it's like drinking an almond milk smoothie with oats. It's very pleasant, quite thick and extremely satisfying.


This is great for car trips or long flights when you know you'll have few good quality food options and want to feel full.

Ambronite is also great for adventure travel, if you know you're going to have a full day of kayaking or hiking or even museum visiting for that matter. It just makes so much sense.


Traveling with both Juice Plus+ and Ambronite is a way to ensure optimal health, nutrition and vitality while enjoying a new space and adventure.

These two products are quick and easy ways to ensure balanced nutrition and don't need to be limited exclusively to your travels.

Very rarely do I endorse nutritional supplements and products on this blog, but I love and use both of these products and it would be selfish of me to keep it to myself.

Summer is winding down, but it's not over yet. Be a go-getter and do something this week, you've been wanting to do!

Be adventurous.

Be curious.

And most importantly, BE WELL!



The Best New York Writer's Conference- Writers Work


It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.– Ernest Hemingway

Writing is a gift, it's a talent and a calling, but it is also, like so many artistic forms, a discipline one must learn and practice in order to master.

Luckily for writers there are many ways to hone the craft of storytelling. There is of course the MFA route, but if that's not for you, there are many other options. A writer can join writer's colonies, workshops, courses, writer's groups and attend writing conferences to develop and refine their craft.

Though I minored in Creative Writing in college, that is the extent of my "formal" writing education. I've opted, in lieu of an MFA, to attend workshops, seek mentors, join writing groups and attend conferences so that I may continue my education and develop my writing while maintaining ties to the community of writers around me.

It just so happens that it's almost time for my absolute favorite writing conference- Writer's Work.






I attended my first Writers Work conference in August and the experience was overwhelmingly positive.

Writers Work is created and organized by my good friend, writer and co-founder of the former Brenner Writer's Group, Tracy Sayre.

The Best New York Writer's Conference- Writers Work

At the Writers Work conference last fall, there were workshops on craft, opportunities for participants to network and give each other feedback, there was an agent pitch session, workshops pertaining to getting published, an inspiring presentation by Aryn Kyle (author of The God of Animals) and each participant received a swag bag with the sharpest leather bound moleskin writing journals around (just saying).

Writer's Wk

Writer's Work is a one day conference packed with the tools to not only develop yourself as a writer, but to help you find an enriching community and work as a writer.

Now in its third year, the Writers Work conference features an impressive line-up:

June 27, 2015 Writers Work Conference!

Registration and Social Breakfast Meet and greet 10am-10:45am Doors open at 10am. Enjoy a light breakfast while meeting your fellow writers. Don't miss the door prizes!

Registration and Social Breakfast Meet and greet 10am-10:45am

Doors open at 10am. Enjoy a light breakfast while meeting your fellow writers. Don't miss the door prizes!

How to Pay the Rent with Your Writing April Greene 11:45-12:15pm Have you dreamed of quitting your day job? April has all the tricks for finding freelance writing gigs and she's here to share them with you. Find out how to promote yourself, what to charge, and how to find the gigs. 

How to Pay the Rent with Your Writing April Greene 11:45-12:15pm

Have you dreamed of quitting your day job? April has all the tricks for finding freelance writing gigs and she's here to share them with you. Find out how to promote yourself, what to charge, and how to find the gigs.

One-on-One Time with an Agent/Lunch Jennifer Udden 1-2:15pm A personal connection with an agent is priceless. If you purchase the ticket for one-on-one time, you'll get five minutes to sit with Jennifer Udden and ask all of your questions. Get feedback on your pitch and make a  connection that might help with future submissions! Jennifer is an agent at Donald Maass Literary Agency. 

One-on-One Time with an Agent/Lunch Jennifer Udden 1-2:15pm

A personal connection with an agent is priceless. If you purchase the ticket for one-on-one time, you'll get five minutes to sit with Jennifer Udden and ask all of your questions. Get feedback on your pitch and make a  connection that might help with future submissions! Jennifer is an agent at Donald Maass Literary Agency.

What to Expect When You're Expecting to Publish 3-4pm Do you know what happens after you sign up with an agent? Laura does. Her debut novel,  The Summertime Girls (Penguin Random House), is coming out this August and she's here to tell you everything you need to know before you publish.

What to Expect When You're Expecting to Publish 3-4pm

Do you know what happens after you sign up with an agent? Laura does. Her debut novel,  The Summertime Girls (Penguin Random House), is coming out this August and she's here to tell you everything you need to know before you publish.

Get into the Creative Flow Susan Merson 10:45-11:45am Surprise yourself with your own writing!  This is a chance to try something new and share your work in a supportive environment.

Get into the Creative Flow Susan Merson 10:45-11:45am

Surprise yourself with your own writing!  This is a chance to try something new and share your work in a supportive environment.

Write the Perfect Query Letter Jennifer Udden 12:15-1pm Literary agents receive 100s of queries a day.  This one-page letter stands between you and representation. Find out the dos and don'ts for submissions as well as some  tricks for standing out. 

Write the Perfect Query Letter Jennifer Udden 12:15-1pm

Literary agents receive 100s of queries a day.  This one-page letter stands between you and representation. Find out the dos and don'ts for submissions as well as some  tricks for standing out.

Perfect Your Pitch Tracy Sayre 2:15-3pm Are you caught off guard when someone asks you what you're working on? By the end of this fun exercise you'll be able to describe your writing with ease and excitement. 

Perfect Your Pitch Tracy Sayre 2:15-3pm

Are you caught off guard when someone asks you what you're working on? By the end of this fun exercise you'll be able to describe your writing with ease and excitement.

Here's what to expect:
Meet literary agents, publishers, editors and authors at this one-day conference for emerging authors. Affordable and small-scale, the Writers Work conference is the best way to develop your writing career, community, and creativity. Here are just some of the topics that will be covered:
  • Perfecting your pitch
  • Social media for authors
  • Dos and donts for query letters
  • What to expect after you get an agent
  • How to get paid for your writing
Writers Work is educational and full of practical and applicable writing advice.
You, my readers, because you are so awesome, are being offered a discount to the June 27th conference!
Enter "Sojourner" for 10% off the general admission
Purchase your discounted tickets HERE!
Come learn the craft of writing. Network with agents, published and aspiring writers and learn what it takes to be a working writer.
You'll learn to write and leave with the tools to make your writing look effortlessly beautiful, but as Hemingway said, they don't need to know...
I hope to see you in a few weeks! If you're able to attend, don't be shy, introduce yourself and let's chat over lunch :)

A Space Of My Own: Reflections on Being a Write at Home Mommy

With all of the demands of being a write-at-home mom of a toddler and a newborn, I have been finding it difficult to find the space and quiet time to write.

Blogging, I can manage between burps and books, play dates and paint, bottles and naps, but my fiction requires a different focus. In order to really write, get inside my head and listen, I need meditative stillness and quiet. I need a room of my own.

But since I'm not Virginia Wolf, and I cant spend hour upon reclusive hour alone with my pen, because I share a Brooklyn apartment with a musician husband, a boisterous toddler, a crying baby and a ridiculously loquacious cat, the key isn't so much finding a room of my own (although that would be lovely), but finding time of my own.


The only quiet or down time I get is contingent upon two unreliable forces: a) My infant, who usually falls asleep first, must stay down after my toddler goes to bed and b) My toddler who usually goes to bed these days (thank heavens) without much of a fuss, must do just that and in a timely fashion. If the above has rolled out smoothly, and I've got no dishes left in the sink to wash and the floor has already been swept, all surfaces wiped down, then, around 9:00pm, I usually have a fifteen minute window, when all is silent.


Then the teething infant wakes or the dashing hubby returns home from a gig and wants to binge watch one of our favorite Netflix shows, or maybe the toddler wakes, startled and alone and decides to have a meltdown. When it's over, when it's all said and done, my brain is so fried, I'm doing well if I can recall my name. Sometimes I can't.

The morning is my only hope.

And so my experiment began. How to be a productive writer in the morning? Would it be possible. Would I be able to wake up? It's hard enough starting the day at seven am considering the infant is not sleeping through the night yet. Would I crash and burn? Would the kids sense that I'm awake and decide to get up and join me? Would it all just work out brilliantly?


Slowly I began at first, 6am rise, then 5:30 am, and finally 4:45 am rise. It seems to be working.

I am fortunate enough to have a desk of my own, a space of my own within a room that I share. But the magic happens when I can approach my space in my own time.

Apparition-like, my bare feet shuffle lithe across the hardwood, earl grey/lavender infusion in a teacup in my right hand, I've been known to pace the living room in those sacred pre dawn hours as I plan and concoct plots and settings, subtleties and flaws.

Sometimes the cat will join me. She's an hones and trusted editor.

I've been keen on spontaneously rolling out my yoga mat behind my chair, working through some sun salutations or gentle flow poses to focus or stimulate my mind and body, get them working as a team.

It seems to be working.

In perfect stillness my future starts, I'm free to write and re-write, edit and deconstruct. There are no limits or borders. I have the pleasure of showing up for myself. And bonus, I have a front seat to the spectacle of the rising sun.

When seven rolls around, away go my books, my yoga mat, my journals, pens and laptop.

With the pitter patter of little feet, the clamor of the garbage trucks, the white light of the sun, I transition again from writer to mommy. A role I can truly sink my teeth into, because I've made the time to do something creative with my life.

Now, I just need to figure out how to get more sleep!

Writing Gigs: Not a Bad Idea Really


If writers had gigs like musicians, oh what a wonderful world this would be! IMG_1517-0.JPGYesterday, I had the honor of participating in the Writers Work Fiction Reading in Midtown Manhattan.

It was a small and empowering event. I thrive off of the community that is built when people come together over a shared love for words.

Oh the power of a series of well placed words.

With writing being such a solitary art, it's a wonderful thing when a writer's words get a live audience.

It's powerful to hear the collective sighs, chuckles and silences. The faces in the audience reflecting the tone you've set with your series of carefully chosen words.

Words are so mighty.

Listening to your own as they escape your lips and travel around a crowded room. Taking in the words of others, carefully crafted expressions of their deepest selves.

Writers should be able to book gigs like musicians, they should have microphones and a corner chair at every bar, club or restaurant around the city.

Why not? A beer and a story.

Hear a tale, share a tale.

If writers booked gigs like musicians, imagine the walls that would come down, the hope and beauty that would thrive. Our darkest parts and our lightest parts connected in universal unity, over the age old condition of being human; a collection of people from here and there, bonded over the might of words.


Short Fiction : Advice for Writers!

Short Fiction Advice!-1  















As a writer of short fiction, I’m used to being overlooked. Most every bit of advice seems to be geared specifically towards writers of novels or those working on a non-fiction piece. This is also true when it comes to publication advice. Every query letter or synopsis sample is geared towards writers of a singular novel or work of non-fiction. The general attitude seeming to be, that if you write short stories, well….good luck!

When you’re a short story writer, it seems at times, that everyone wants you to write a novel. Something they can wrap their heads around. Agents and publishers often say- “No, short stories!”

When other writers ask me what I’m working on and I say a collection of short stories I usually get a puzzled look, as in, why?

My favorite writing spot in Inhambane, Mozambique was in the window of an abandoned Portuguese colonial hotel.

There’s nothing I can do. Short fiction is my calling. It’s my form. So I chug onwards. I read industry publications, attend workshops and do my best to format query letters and send synopsis. But I still had short story specific needs that weren’t being addressed until I was fortunate enough to attend the Writer’s Work conference in Manhattan last month.

The conference was small, which means I had the chance to ask questions and get feedback. I had the fortunate opportunity to pitch my manuscript to literary agent Shira Hoffman. Off the bat, she said, “I don’t represent short stories.” But what she did do, was give me some excellent advice on how to position a collection of short stories for higher success in the mainstream market. Thanks Shira!

Short story writer Aryn Kyle (author of The God of Animals) was the featured keynote. I had the opportunity to ask her to share some advice for writers of short fiction. Instead of rolling her eyes, or attempting to convince me to write a novel, she offered some very positive and affirming tips. Thanks Aryn!

Here’s what I learned:

  • It is possible for a short story collection to be published as a break-out work.
  • Short story collections do sell and do have an audience.
  • Not every story is supposed to be a novel!
  • Grounding a short story collection with a novella helps make the collection more marketable to mainstream agents and publishing houses.
  • Submit, submit, submit, short stories to relevant collections, magazines, journals and anthologies.

And if you're in New York and are curious about what I'm working on, you can find me at the Capital One 360 Cafe (968 3rd ave, second floor) on Tuesday, November 4th from 6:15 to 7:45, where I'll be participating in a reading.

Perfect Your 60 Second Agent Pitch!

writers-work-logo.png, I attended the Writers Work writing conference in Manhattan. It was here, at this intimate and unique conference in Times Square that I participated in  my first agent pitch.

I had 60 seconds to pitch my short story manuscript to literary agent Shira Hoffman.

Pitches were given in front of everyone at the conference so that we could all learn from each other. It was one of the longest minutes of my life. And while in the end, Shira thanked me and said that she didn't represent short story collections, I did walk away with a load of advice and wisdom.

Here's what I learned about 60 second agent pitches:

  • Try to think of your pitch as a conversation with a friend. Think about what language you'd use if you were talking about your manuscript to a good friend or to your mother. Harness that same calm enthusiasm when pitching to an agent.
  • Identify the specific genre of the piece you are pitching so the agent knows exactly what type of manuscript it is from the jump.
  • Think of the body of a pitch as a tease. Give just enough information to build interest without giving away the ending.
  • It's helpful to indicate the length of your project and whether or not you've completed it.
  • Dress comfortably. The pitch is scary enough, you want to feel confident and at ease.
  • When in doubt, think of your pitch as you would the back cover of a book.
  • Talk about juicy emotional details. What do your characters have to gain or loose?
  • If your manuscript is character driven, focus your pitch on your key main characters.
  • If your manuscript is plot driven, focus your pitch on the inciting event and share a few juicy details without answering any questions.
  • Remember, agents are people too. If you have the time, begin with a warm greeting. Eye contact is key.
  • Closing your pitch with an intriguing question is very effective.

Ultimately, writing is a labor of passion and love. Attending conferences where you have the chance to network with other writers and pitch to agents and get feedback from other industry professionals will only help push your craft to the next level and better ensure your chances of success.

Thanks to Shira Hoffman's advice and the advice of others, I was able to re-work my pitch so that it's strong and ready.

Agent pitches are scary, but I'm ready to do it again!



How do you Summarize An Entire Short Story Compilation in Sixty Seconds? Developing my 60 second agent pitch

IMG_0762.JPG I've spent a little over six years, writing, editing, work shopping and re-writing the sixteen travel inspired short stories that comprise my beloved manuscript.

I know my characters, their wants and obstacles inside out. I'm bewitched by my settings time and time again and know every nook and cranny of the world I've created. I've worked hard to weave a unifying theme to tie together the vast stretches of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years that I've been working on this project.

Tomorrow, I will have one minute, one impossibly ephemeral minute to pitch my manuscript to an agent.

I'm in a slight (or not so slight) panic. How am I supposed to condense my manuscript full of diverse characters, settings, conflicts, desires and story lines into one gasp of a sentence?

As writers, we know that every word counts. We're adept at cutting out the fat. How then do you summarize an entire short story compilation in sixty seconds-how?

When asked about my short fiction project, I tend to sputter and flail. I find it impossibly difficult to talk articulately about my writing. Around in a jumbled circle I go. I'll share a general overview, launch into the specifics of a few of my tales, talk about my travels and the different settings they've inspired and then, if I haven't completely lost my listener, I'll talk about my theme and perhaps dive into a few more story lines. A concise "so what are you writing?" elevator pitch I do not have.

As if working with a puzzle, I was up into the wee hours of the morning, piecing together (hopefully) the right words, hooks, and snippets for my one minute pitch. I'm down to seventy seconds and am feeling close to being able to give it a go.

How do you condense six years, sixteen stories and 41,000 words into a breathless minute? I've got no choice but to figure it out.

Usually the things that scare you the most lead to tremendous growth. I'm terrified, excited and intrigued by this pitch opportunity. Having never done this before, I have nothing but experience to gain.

When I write my follow up post, I'm sure I'll have nuggets of wisdom to share. Either way, this pitch is pushing me towards my goal of publication because the next time I'm asked about my manuscript, whether it be a curious stranger at a networking event or an agent or editor at a major publishing house, I'll be ready to deliver my impossibly possible sixty second short story manuscript pitch.

Now, back to shuffling my words around...

Have any of you ever pitched a manuscript to an agent? What was that experience like?



Writers Work! A Brand New Writer's Conference is Coming to New York

Tracy Photo My friend and fellow writer Tracy Sayre is on an inspiring mission. Her mission, if you choose to accept it, is to make sure that you as a writer are connected with the people and resources to help you become successful in this difficult and often times isolating profession of passion and love.

Tracy, is the creator of the Writers Work Conference, a brand new writer's conference set to take New York by storm this fall.

writers work logo

I had a virtual chat with Tracy to get some details about this conference as well as to secure a discount for all of you. Here's what she had to say:

1) Hi Tracy, can you give us a little background about yourself as a writer? (When did you start? What genre do you work with, etc.)

When I was five years old, I used to write stories about how I was born on Mars and raised by apes. I would make photocopies of these stories and sell them to my neighbors for a nickel. As I grew older, I became self-conscious of my writing because I had poor grammar and I couldn't spell. My teachers told me I was a terrible writer, and unfortunately I believed them. It wasn't until freshman year of college that I rekindled my love of creative writing. I awoke from a dream and I had to write down a very particular image that stuck with me. The next day I kept thinking about the character in that scene, and started writing about her. I worked on that story for over two years, never caring about the grammar, realizing that a misplaced comma couldn't hold back my passion and creativity.

2) What is the Writers Work Conference?
The Writers Work Conference is an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of writing. The next conference is Saturday, September 20 in Times Sq. Here's what the day will look like:  Learn about writers' residencies from the best-selling author Aryn Kyle. Eat lunch with literary agent Shira Hoffman and pitch your story to the group to get feedback. From a senior copywriter at Simon & Schuster, hear what happens once a publishing house receives your manuscript. Learn how to protect your work and your sanity from publisher Deborah Emin. This is all on top of an hour-long writing class, and a group discussion where you can share your questions, tips, fears, and frustrations. There's going to be a lot of information, but overall it will be fun and relaxed.
3) How did you come up with the idea for Writers Work?
When I first realized I wanted to be a professional writer I kept reading that I had to go to conferences to network. I researched a bunch and they were all way over my budget. I talked to other writers who had attended these conferences and they complained that it was impossible to really network because there were too many people, and they spend most of their time in line. I wanted to make a conference series that is affordable and intimate. I go out of my way to find speakers that are approachable and encouraging. My hope is that people leave these conferences not only meeting an agent or editor, but also meeting a new writing friend.
4) What makes the Writers Work conference unique?
Besides for the tickets being under $100 (including lunch and breakfast), and the size limited to 50 people, the most unique thing about this conference is the sense of community. As a writer, there is nothing quite like talking to another writer. They just get you better than anyone else. Because I keep these conferences small, and because there are lots of guided discussions, and group meals, there is really time for you to meet a kindred spirit. Writing can be so lonely, and I never want that to be the reason why a talented writer gives up. I'm helping to build writing communities so that we can share our work, get feedback, and cheer each other on!
5) What advice do you have for new writers who are actively pursuing publication?

First off, always introduce yourself as a writer. This seems simple, but if you're anything like I was you'll cringe the first time you do it, but you have to do it anyway. Nowadays, I go to a party, introduce myself as a writer, and inevitably someone says "oh my friend's an agent. You two should meet!" two years ago I didn't know anyone in the publishing industry. Now I have friends in almost all of the large publishing houses. I think deep down people love to connect their friends, so if you give them the information they need (and that's as simple as telling them you're a writer), they will help you out.
Secondly, there are no short cuts. You have to put in the time and the work. You can't just stay behind your computer screen - you have to get outside and network. Your first draft isn't going to cut it. Your second and third draft probably won't either. Put in the time and the work, make personal connections with people in the business, and eventually you will get published.
Tracy has been kind enough to gift you, my lovely readers, with a 10% off code. Simply use the code: SOJOURNER when prompted after registering to claim your discount.
If you're a writer and you're in or will be in and around the NYC vicinity, I hope to see you at Writers Work. If you're one of my readers, please tap me on the shoulder and say hello, I'd love to meet you and find out what you're working on!

Meditations on a Mid-Autumn Walk



















The air, sticky with dew, forms a white cobwebbed haze.




















Everywhere, there's evidence of the late afternoon rain shower. Beads of water form atop leaves giving the appearance of small translucent buttons which I fight the impulse to push.

The leaves make no crunch beneath my feet. My steps are silent, deliberate and metered. I have to concentrate in order not to slip from the slick surface of the leaves and onto the sticks and acorns that pepper the ditch near the road.




















A frog sings in the distance. Birds call and respond from tree tops, hidden from sight by the colorful leaves.

Webs, beaded with dew, take up space between branches and limbs.




















On a branch, a wooly caterpillar crawls, slowly, steadily, brown and black stripes, undulating along.

Devoid of chlorophyll, displaying their true colors, leaves, red, yellow, burnt orange rain down from tree tops. I catch a few in the palm of my hand for later.










Seamlessly Re-Kindling My Love for the Ocean

I wasn't always a beach person. For the first twenty years of my life, I liked the idea of the ocean, of the rolling waves, but had never had a moment of true connection.

Khao Lak, Thailand

Then I visited Thailand, Khao Lak, to be specific. It was as if I saw the water, the ocean, for the first time. The Adaman Sea was warm, the gentle waves, playful, inviting. From my waist to my feet, I could see the subtle layers of water and life.


Tofo Beach, Inhambane, Mozambique


















Then I went to Mozambique. In Inhambane, I fell in love. I would spend hours diving beneath the waves of the Indian Ocean. I'd watch the clouds, intent to note a change in formation, a change in hue as the twilight hours marked the end of a new day.

Back Camera











Then I went to Barbados. On Brandon's Beach I'd swim in the warm water wrapped in the cloak of midnight. Floating on my back, bobbing with the ebb and tide of the waves, I admired the stars, the moon.

Cahuita, Costa Rica









Then I went to Costa Rica. In Cahuita, I learned the art of the dead mans float and would spend the afternoons atop the water's surface staring at the sea urchin and barracuda fish below me.


Like old lovers seamlessly re-kindling their love, the ocean and I are always a few steps from each others.

Where do you like to connect with the ocean?

I'm Giving In and Planning My Next Few Weekend Getaways!

Back Camera  













It is amazing how many facts, thoughts and ideas we hold onto during the day. I am not by nature a trip planner, however, when I couldn’t remember the name of the boutique hotel in Santa Fe, where I’ve been plotting a stay for months, I decided perhaps, just maybe, it was time for me to take a moment and write some things down.

I think weekend trips are so much more difficult to plan than longer trips. On a long trip, you have time to feel out your environment, explore, get local recommendations without the pressure of a schedule. It takes a bit of planning to use your time effectively on a weekend or long weekend stay.

In these situations I try to focus on the intent of my trip (if any) and isolate one or two activities, restaurants and a place to stay in the heart of my chosen scene.

There are three weekend (or long weekend) trips I’m in the process of planning for this fall:

1) Santa Fe, New Mexico

I’ve never been to Santa Fe, but I’ve been wanting to go for a while. Perhaps it’s the writing of Barbara Kingsolover or my holistic, new age, proclivities. As an East Coaster, the American Southwest is an exotic unknown land. I look forward to photographing the desert and gazing at the stars. Hotel: The Inn of the Governors, a cozy boutique hotel that seems to both blend into the environment around it and stand out like a piece of art. Places I plan to visit: Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe Railyard Artisans Market at the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market where I want to try the local cuisine which is supposed to have it’s own unique flair. I love Mexican food and I hear they do it well in Santa Fe.

2) London, England

I’m only planning a weekend in London because I’ve already been- twice. On this trip I want to focus on the British preoccupation with tea and on Literary tours. Stay: The Hotel Ibis, a modern British hotel conveniently located in Central London. Places I plan to visit: I want to sit on the bank of the river Thames and write, Camden Lock Market, People watching at Piccadilly Circus, Postcard Tea, and the London Eye. Tours I plan to take: Literary London Walk Where I intend to sip tea: The Goring Afternoon Tea

3) Miami, Florida

I’ve only ever passed through Miami. Each time, I wished I could stop, slow down and take a moment to explore. The focus of my weekend in Miami will be on food, fun and Miami Beach, South Beach to be specific. Stay: The Raleigh Hotel SoBe a beautiful Art Deco style hotel right in the middle of all the action. This is a definite splurge, but every now and again- why not? I’ve stayed in my share of hostels. Places I plan to visit: South Beach and Lincoln Road Where I intend to eat: Versailles Restaurant, Naomi’s A Taste of Haiti, The Cypress Room, Restaurant Michael Schwartz (Yes, I plan on gorging myself.)

Do you prepare for weekend trips or is it simply c'est la vie?



Take A Leap Career Mentoring Program

Rhonda and Sharee Washington. Rhonda is on the left and Sharee is on the right.  
























Over the Labor Day weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting and sitting down with bloggers Rhonda and Sheree Washington. Twin filmmakers and Travelers based in South Carolina, we spent a majority of our time talking about their exciting and relatively new mentorship program- Take A Leap Career Mentoring Program, which gives support to professionals navigating the murky waters of transitioning careers.

I am fascinated by this program on many levels. For starters, I know too well what it's like to feel stuck in a job I loathed, yearning for the opportunity to break into another field, follow another path. I am also curious because I'm relatively new at running my own business. I've made lots of mistakes and am still trying to figure things out. 

While relaxing alfresco with green juice, Rhonda and Sharee, answered some of the burning questions I had about the Take A Leap Career Mentoring Program so  I can share them with you. I've heard from a hand full of you who are interested in switching to careers focused around travel, international non-profit management, diplomatic work and teaching abroad. This post is for you.

S: How did the mentorship program come about?

R&S: Take A Leap Career Mentoring Program came about after we realized that transitioning to a new career requires a mentor. Our mentor is a film producer and having her in our corner stepped up our professionalism in Film, webshow development, and blogging. This mentoring program provides a platform for mentors and mentees to meet, and with our love of travel, we have incorporated an optional international retreat. The first international retreat will be January 17-20, 2014 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. The program fee is $149 for mentees and mentors. The mentees experience in a foreign country relates to being outside of their comfort zone, which is needed in transitioning into a new career.

S: How does the program work?
R&S: The Mentees complete an application at the website at a  of cost of  $50 for 1st year of mentorship and a $30 renewal fee each year of additional participation. Mentees are adults seeking to find their purposeful career. We identify a seasoned professional mentor/career coaches that correlates  with the mentees new career aspiration. The mentees and mentors must communicate at least once a month via email, phone call, Skype, and/or in-person. mentees must also complete journal assignments, forum discussions, and financial/career planning tools. The optional international retreat is a weekend intensive seminar in which we facilitate with concentration on the career and financial planning aspects of transitioning to a new career. There are no fees to be a mentor.
S: How do you go about matching your mentors with the program participants?
R&S: We post the Take A Leap Career Mentoring Program link on our Take A Leap blog, twitter, Facebook, and email. Mentees contact us via social media, email, and/or phone call. Once they have submitted the application and  paid the $50 fee, we find mentors through our personal and social media contacts. The mentor and mentees are provided each others contact information.
S: What words of advice do you have for twenty and thirty something's looking to switch careers?
R&S: Don't let fear of failure keep them from pursing their passion and purpose. They may encounter naysayers, but keep being positive. Network with people and join an organization in the new career field. In regard to having a mentor, take heed of their advice in opportunities and avoiding pitfalls. Final advice would be is to have Spiritual Faith.
S: What is your most memorable success story from your program?
R&S: The Take A Leap Career Mentoring Program is fairly new. The most memorable success was receiving an application less than 24 hrs after launching the program on June 15, 2013.
S:  If someone is interested in being mentored  through your program, how should they contact you to sign-up?
R&S: They can email us with questions at and visit the Take A Leap Career Mentoring Program website at We have a Frequently Asked Questions document and Mentee application under the Program tab.
There you have it. If you're interested in mentoring or being a mentee, take a leap, know your happiness and self-fulfillment are vital to living a healthy and balanced life and contact Rhonda and Sharee.

On Back Floating in the Ocean

IMG_1555 Perhaps it's the feeling of suspension, weightlessness, a concrete surrender. The water's soothing sway, the gentle aquatic hug, an invitation to let go.

As summer slowly dissipates into autumn, I'd like to pay homage to one of my favorite summertime activities- back floating and doing the dead man's float in the ocean.

Ocean back floating and dead man's floating is my favorite form of meditation, the sound of my beating heart, the swirl of turquoise sea. I'm reminded of savasana, at the end of a yoga session, mindfulness in action, a gentle reminder to be present, to give in to new sensations- acknowledgement that it is just fine to be a very small human floating along the surface of an enormous ocean.

mermaid 3


Approach Life As A Traveler

While I understand that physical travel is not a reality for everyone, approaching life as a traveler is a mindset anyone can adopt. So.....

What do I mean by "approaching life as a traveler?"

This is what I mean-


Be present and experience each new moment

Back Camera

Allow the mysteries of the unknown to reveal themselves


Find joy and pleasure in the little things


Seek beauty in the everyday

In what ways do you approach life with the mindset of a traveler?

A Cyclone and an Intervention in Jamaica!

Watching the storm from our veranda at the Rhodes Hall Plantation on Green Island in Jamaica

*This piece was written on Monday, July 11th

We flew to Montego Bay, Jamaica with a hurricane on our trail. All I knew was that I wanted to get there. I didn’t think much about anything else. I was a woman with a plan and a new country to explore.


We landed beneath a dry sky; the late afternoon sun was brilliant.

Hurricane- what hurricane?

Nestled inside our secluded eco resort on Green Island, we grabbed a coconut curry dinner and enjoyed the saltwater infinity pool just feet from our cottage as the late afternoon gave way to evening and eventually night.


The next morning, the sound of roosters and peacocks called us to action. The sun illuminated the sky. Piercing white rays filtered through our window marking the beginning of a promising new day.


After a hearty breakfast of salt fish, callalou and dumplings, it happened. Sunny skies rolled out in place of gray ominous ones. The lapping of the ocean intensified.There was the unmistakable growl of thunder and the clanking of bamboo reeds as they slapped against each other in the wind.


Raindrops as thick as my fist burst like water balloons on the rocky road. The lightning joined in and we had ourselves a full-fledged and uninhibited cyclone, the result of the passing hurricane off the coast.


I came to Jamaica with a plan and a promise. I planned to finish Americanah, the novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that I’ve nursed slowly during subway trips. I planned to read Sahara Special (summer reading for work) by Esme Raji Codell. I planned to blog for several hours every morning. I planned to continue working on my social media campaigns.

I made a promise to myself when I joined the National Blogging Month challenge that I’d blog daily for the month of July. I had posts planned and prepped. The plan was to rise at 5:30 am, work until 9 on the blog and social media before Ohm and Mark began to stir in competition for my attention.

I made a promise to my readers, a readership that has been growing and expanding by the hundreds. I do not take lightly the fact that people have voluntarily signed up to explore the world with me. It is humbling and inspiring and I am so grateful. In turn I feel an enormous sense of duty to be present, to show up, to put forth my best.


I came to Jamaica with a plan and promises.


I came to Jamaica and got a reality check!


Beyond my control was the cyclone that knocked out the rickety rural Internet and later the power. Busy tracking entrants for my latest giveaway, I needed the Internet. I had writing to do. There were photos to label, size and organize, and social media campaigns to manage. In short, I was helplessly disconnected.

That’s the catch with travel blogging daily. Even though you’re away, you’re still connected to your creation, tied to the act of chronicling.  When you’re not writing, you’re editing, when you’re not editing you’re posting and sharing via social media, organizing photos, it’s the promise you’ve made to yourself, it’s the promise you’ve made to your followers.


I went into full panic mode. I questioned the hotel staff incessantly and stood in the open field near the internet hotspot with my laptop in the pouring rain praying for a signal. I attempted to arrange transport to Negril (the closest town with wireless internet) but crazily enough, no one was willing to drive to town during a cyclone and in typical Jamaican fashion I was told to “take it easy, it will come back, maybe this week sometime…”


That’s when my husband Mark stepped in with a mini-intervention, the one where he pointed out ever so calmly that it was I who was the “crazy” one, attempting to organize a ride into town during a cyclone- what?!?

A rum and coke was placed in my hand, a massage was given and I was ushered onto the veranda to the right of the wide umbrella like leaves of the banana tree, directly behind the sinewy mango tree, where I learned that sometimes you have to just let go and give in to the moment- after all, isn’t that the point of travel in the first place? It’s easy to do this when things are going well. It’s easy to do this while swaying in a hammock beneath two palm trees or back floating in the salty ocean, but when things become interesting and go awry as they often do while traveling, it isn’t always so easy to let go and just be.

Summoning my inner Buddha, I released my expectations (at least I really really tried to and succeeded at intervals in achieving a blank slate-ish existence).

I am now seated beneath the same veranda. I’ve been here all day. The rain falls in melodic sheets. Lightning colors the sky. Here I sit in a sturdy wicker chair sipping rum and coke, enjoying the cool air. Peacocks scurry around the large mango tree, their oddly human-like calls sounding a lot like “Nooooo!!!!Ouch!!!!!”

About an hour ago, I took Ohm for a barefoot walk in the rain until the lightning sent us scurrying back to our cottage for shelter. Our day, easy, has been spent snacking on bananas and almonds, watching movies on our laptops, and being entertained by the interesting and complicated relations between the chickens and peacocks who stare down at us from the mango tree as mongoose play tag at its base.

I’ve given up swatting the mosquitoes away. It simply is what is happening right now. I have no way to upload today’s blog post; my daily blogging attempt for the month of July is simply not going to happen. I may or may not be in the position to announce my contest winner tomorrow; I can’t give my contest a final homestretch push via social media. I simply have to let go and be-

Irie man, Irie. Everyting is Irie!

Rhodes Hall Plantation Peacock

Why We Travel


You're jolted out of your sleep. The rusty cargo van, which has been converted into a city bus is airborne. There's a collective gasp. You claw for the seat in front of you. The van lands hard and skids to a stop. Even though it's dark, even though there are no lights, you can make out the faint wisps of smoke rising from the rear of the van. There is a commotion. Dialects you can't decipher circle around you. Your two friends, who were seated in front of you, motion for you to get up. You grab for each other as people push and shove their way out of the burning cramped space. You notice your foot is bleeding as you step into the chilly night. Bags are being thrown from the smoking vehicle. You grab yours and blink disoriented at the sky above- Orion's belt, so close, it seems you could be lassoed away. Your friends are grabbing you, you're brought back. You watch as the other passengers scatter and disappear between blades of tall grass, off into the night. There will be no rescue van, panic sets in. You're a two hour drive from your destination. At least, you tell each other, at least you're together. Mosquitoes hover, the high pitched wine is driving you mad. You curse yourself for not taking your malaria medication. On the edge of the road, thumbs in the air, two Americans and a Canadian are stranded in rural Mozambique.

It is impossible to control our experiences on the road. Travel is a colossal enigma, perhaps that, in and of itself, is its major lure. We are forced to live in the moment, to bravely face the present with a fresh perspective. Romantic at times, often exciting, travel is rarely an immaculate and effortless path; it can be dangerous, downright frightening, yet off we go, pushing the boundaries of our comfort zones, the safety of the familiar, the ease of our loved ones and friends. Off we go into the great unknown, and why?

We travel to understand

Phuket, Thailand

Tokyo, Japan



















We travel to taste

Grenada, Nicaragua

Phuket, Thailand


We travel to be moved

Stone Town, Zanzibar

Phuket, Thailand


We travel to help

Inhambane, Mozambique

Cape Coast, Ghana





































We travel to connect

Inhambane, Mozambique

Stone Town, Zanzibar


We travel for the momentos

Cancun, Mexico

Khao Lak, Thailand





















We travel to get lost, if only for a little while

Cahuita, Costa Rica

Mbane, Swaziland










We travel to be found

Cahuita, Costa Rica

Arenal, Costa Rica











We travel to try new things

Stone Town, Zanzibar

Phuket, Thailand


We travel to turn the faces of strangers into the faces of friends

Stone Town, Zanzibar




Williamstown, Massachusetts


We travel so that we can arm ourselves with memories, recollections that grow more beautiful and layered with time.

Montreal, Canada




















You pace back and forth, breath escaping in white clouds. You have to go to the bathroom. Your friend Tamika is seated on her suitcase, she looks defeated, close to tears.  To your right, your friend Lynne speaks with the driver in fluent Portuguese. Bell frogs color the night with their chimes. You can do nothing but wait. Wait for daylight, wait for another bus, a passing car, wait to be eaten alive by mosquitoes or wild dogs- wait.

At last, a set of headlights approach, Tamika jumps up extending her thumb. You join her with Lynne close behind. A large black Escalade rolls to a cautious stop. The driver, a young South African man, offers heartily to drop you home, it's on the way after all. Jumping from the SUV, he places your bags in the trunk.

Two girls and a guy are inside. They make room for you, offer everyone a Hansa beer. You sink into the incredibly plush white leather seats. The windows are down, the air  sweet and crisp. Techno music pulses from the speakers.

The two hours with your new friends pass quickly. Before you know it, you're dragging your suitcase down the old familiar path home. Weary, but upbeat, you're ready for your next weekend trip, perhaps Swaziland, Johannesburg, Nelspruit, or Chimoio?

What unexpected surprises have you encountered on the road?


Five Inspiring Travel Memoirs Written By Women

Between my trips, adventures and sojourns, great inspiration is drawn through the exploration of  travel writing.

Travel memoir, where I have the honor to intimately experience a place, culture and space through the unique lens of another, is one of my favorite forms. Since it is not possible for me to be continuously on the road, travel memoirs allow my mind to travel freely while my legs are grounded.

When I approach the form, I look for pieces that shrink the world and provide inspiration for my dream journeys and voyages through sensory details.

Below are my recommendations for travel memoirs. All of the pieces are written by women. This was not intentional, it merely turned out this way. My suggestions are not meant to be book reviews, merely snapshots. For your convenience I've included links if you want to explore.

Five Inspiring Travel Memoirs Written By Women:

Kinky Gazpacho by: Lori L. Thorps

Tharps, determined and unyielding in her memoir, explores the boundaries (perceived and blatant) of race in America and in Spain as she details her experiences studying in Spain as a teenager. Humorous and at times heartbreaking, this coming of age piece is about exploring the limits of our comfort zones in order to see ourselves more clearly.

Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik: One Woman's Solo Misadventures Across Africa by: Marie Javins

This straightforward and honest portrait of Marie Javin's solo travels around southern and eastern Africa is brilliant. Javins is refreshingly honest as she chronicles her perceptions of a continent few are familiar with. Javin's descriptions of the landscape of Southern Africa made me yearn for Mozambique. The humorous situations she finds herself in made me laugh out loud often.

Tales of a Female Nomad by: Rita Golden Gelman

I'm infinitely inspired by this personal journey of Rita Gelman, a who sold her belongings, rented a storage unit and set off to travel the world. With an acute interest in culture, Gelman dives right in to the very core of the communities she visits. This piece is a window into the art of humility and self-reinvention. Gelman's writing is wonderfully reflective and lyric.

Agua Viva by: Clarice Lispector

Lispectors moving and strange piece reads at times like a guided meditation, at others like a meandering narrative poem,  and at others like a letter focusing on the importance of feeling, being, and experiencing life in the present moment. Stunningly descriptive and fluid, Lispector draws you into her world and experiences in a way that I've never been invited into the personal story of another. More of a journey into the self rather than a direct exploration of other places, Lispector is a lyric shaman.

The Chicken Chronicles: Sitting with the Angels Who Have Returned with My Memories: Glorious, Rufus, Gertrude Stein, Splendor, Hortensia, Agnes of God, the Gladyses, and Babe: A Memoir by: Alice Walker

I love Alice Walker. My first introduction to her non-fiction, I found myself possessed by Walker's keen insight, humor, activism and passion for cultural travel, writing and all things chicken. This piece is a love story; love of self, love of and respect for the earth and our connection to it and love, quite literally for a group of chickens. All over the place, yes, but trust me, it makes sense and you won't want to put this book down.


Spring break is approaching. If you find yourself in the comfort of your home, pick up a good travel memoir, find a quiet place, and allow yourself to roam.

Do you have a favorite travel memoir?

What is the most memorable thing you've gulped down on your travels? Giveaway Time!

Congrats - James, Krista, and Fred!!!! Tea is coming your way!!!

Dear Readers,

I've got a giveaway for you! This one is months overdue, as it was supposed to correlate with my Alaska posts in September, but I forgot. I put the goodies away, and as they say "out of sight, out of mind..." until now.

When I was in Alaska this Fall, I encountered a rich cranberry tea that is popular with locals. Cranberry's are abundant in Alaska during the warmer months and have been used for centuries to make aromatic teas that soothe the digestive system and cleanse the blood while providing tons of antioxidants and vitamin C. Most importantly, Alaskan Cranberry Tea is tasty and is a soothing way to begin or end your day (caffeine free).

I've got three packets to give away. All you have to do is answer the following question:

What is the most memorable thing you've gulped down on your travels?

Although it is tasty, the Alaskan Cranberry Tea isn't the most memorable thing I've ever gulped down during my travels. I think my favorite beverage was the warm mulled apple cider that I had while visiting my friend Lynne in Montreal. It was freezing cold outside and we entered the Jean-Talon market which smelled so amazing. Everywhere I went, my nostrils were met with the aroma of clove and cinnamon. Finally I asked Lynne what I was smelling and she told me it was a local cider. We popped into a shop, ordered a cup and it was unbelievably amazing. The apple cider was almost buttery, it was so rich and layered and mmmm.... I think about that cider often.

How about you?

Winners will be announced on Monday, March 11.

Stay Warm!


Best Healthy Snacks for Travel

Let's face it, travel can be exhausting. Between long dehydrating flights where you are served bland microwaved food, to lengthy road trips where the only places to pull over seem to have golden arches, travel can deplete your energy and vigor due to limited food choices. Eating a balanced diet on the road, takes much creativity and flexibility. Healthy eating on the road usually means a healthy satisfying trip, so get in there, sample local cuisine, do what you must on that long car ride, but fill in nutrition gaps with these healthy travel snacks. The Best Healthy Snacks for Travel:

1) Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans- Dark chocolate is full of anti-oxidants and flavonoids. A mood enhancer and mild stimulant (due to the caffeine), dark chocolate covered espresso beans will leave you feeling invigorated and upbeat. These are the perfect treats at the end of a very long plane ride. Dark chocolate covered espresso beans will also hold you quite well if you are spending considerable time in a country where you will not be able to find chocolate deserts.

2) Chia Seeds- One tablespoon a day will keep you energized and feeling balanced. Chia seeds are chock full of omega-3's, iron, and fiber and are an excellent anti-oxidant source. Easy to pack (zip-lock bag) and non-perishable, these seeds will keep you going when there's a lack of nutritious food options.

3) Goji Berries- These little red dried berries are full of anti-oxidants and vitamin A. Goji berries contain a compound that serves as an immune system booster, an essential asset to travelers everywhere. Goji berries are super easy to pack (once again zip-lock bag in your carry on) and are non-perishable.

4) Almonds- Sweet, crunchy almonds are a great snack while on the road. Filling and hearty, almonds contain a slew of essential nutrients and vitamins such as calcium, vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, and zinc. A handful of almonds are a great cure for a hunger headache. I keep a zip-lock bag full of almonds in my carry on at all times. Almonds taste great mixed with goji berries!

5) Seaweed Crackers- My son Ohm is addicted to these mineral rich treats. Rich in vitamins A, B and C, seaweed crackers are pleasantly savory and provide sustained energy and vitality. Seaweed crackers come in thin sheets that are non-perishable and can easily be placed inside a zip-lock bag and popped into a carry on.

6) Ginger Chews- Ginger is a wonderful digestive aid. Ginger treats annoying travel ailments like gas and nausea. Ginger chews (make sure you get real ginger root and not a ginger flavored candy) are small and easy to pack (as they typically come in a tin). Ginger also tastes great and is wonderfully satisfying for those with a sweet tooth.

7) Kale Chips- Can't find fresh vegetables on the road, no problem, kale chips to the rescue. Kale chips are marvelous! Each crispy dehydrated leaf is loaded with all of the vitamins and minerals you'd expect to find in the steamed version. Kale chips are rich in vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, potassium and copper. Easy to pack, Kale chips are a great way to eat your greens on the road!

8) Squeezable Fruit and Veggie Pouches- When you've got a little one, these pouches (there are many brands and varieties) are invaluable. My favorite brand is Ella's because of the many veggie combinations, the thick consistency  and because it's organic. Veggie pouches pack easily and are a wonderful way to ensure a balanced diet. Note, you must refrigerate after opening if your baby or tot doesn't finish the pouch in one sitting.

Exploring the world, doesn't have to mean compromising your health. Packing one or two (or heck- all) of these snacks can leave your mind, body, and spirit invigorated, healthy and vibrant the next time you travel.

What are your favorite travel snacks?