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My name is Jeannie Mark

I’m a mid-lifer who quit a growing corporate career to reawaken my passions — and forge a life set by my own rules.

The Reality of Volunteering at a Yoga Resort

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Travel can be perception.

We have an expectation how a place will feel, what will happen once we get there.

I’ve been quiet about my time at Blue Osa — only because I needed time to distill my experience.

People make assumptions about me, that my life is all fantasy  — full of fun, fun, fun!

I also harbour fantasies (other than the normal variety) and I had quite a few about volunteering at a yoga resort.

Before I discuss realities, let me cover a few points first.

One, the grounds of Blue Osa are truly magical, initially relaxing me. Because I was wound too tight from my lousy experiences in Europe; the setting was literally paradise.

Two, I do yoga everyday minus travel days, so the opportunity to delve deeper into yogic philosophy was the perfect union (me + a yoga resort).

Third, it was fascinating to use my writing skills in a volunteer-in-trade role, essentially writing for my bed and dinner.

Why I Love Seamly.co & Versalette Giveaway!!

Here’s a stark fact, I’ve been traveling for years and years waiting for the right garment for my travel wardrobe. I really wondered if it would ever come.

Oh, but it finally did. For several months now, I’ve been wearing the Versalette. A travel garment that you can utilize several ways (30 to be exact).

Murano and Burano: Twin Islands in Italy

Murano and Burano are really two bookends to a trip to northeastern Italy – especially when in Venice. It’s little more than a vaporetto trip to these islands, both heavily rooted with their own legends and traditions.

Murano holds all the certificates on glass making, but not just any kind. Many of the creations produced in glass workshops are exploded rainbows of color, shape and aesthetic. Several prominent glass sculptures are scattered around the island, which are large and ambitious, but what also draws visitors are those delicate glass beads used in a woman’s bracelet, a more subtle show of glass art. While water life is part of Murano’s fabric, it’s really the glass that dazzles.

Burano is all about it’s nautical roots, evidenced by “Essi” or “Bussola Buranello”, the S-shaped cookies found in nearly all the bakeries. Tourists assume the S-shape cookie is a Venetian sweet treat, but it’s shape actually means the compass of Burano. So for residents, there’s a double layer of meaning to a mere cookie. Like Murano, boats move slowly and methodically in the canal that splits the island in the middle, but what Burano is mainly heralded for are rows and rows of brightly painted homes and storefronts that pop with an exuberance, a playfulness that belies cynicism. Indeed, while walking around Burano, one doesn’t even want to walk at all, but skip to a swelling song sprinkled with sunshine and wide smiles. If you are into lace and not leather, Burano is also known for lace textiles, with several shops carrying anything devoted to lace, not just doilies.

By |November 10th, 2014|Burano, Italy, Murano|11 Comments|

Tour Colombia, The Cool Way

Iglesia de San Pedro Claver, Cartagena

When you think of Colombia, what comes to mind? Please don’t say cocaine and guns. You see, Colombia’s face has altered drastically in the last 10 years and travelers are flocking there in droves!

Now that I’m in this part of the world, I am so keen to see everything and go everywhere, hopefully it happens.

Ladies, Stop Reading Travel Warnings

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I break the rules all the time.

Being a woman seems to come with conditions by sheer gender. Whether we are pressured to be sweet, quiet girls as children or judged on our hot factor as grown women.

As a female traveler, I’ve discovered that there are rules for even that. On how to travel properly as a woman.

1. Don’t walk alone at night. I’ve done that in nearly every single city I’ve ever traveled. Who else is going to buy my food or walk to a restaurant? Surely not a trained monkey. (I wish.)

2. Wear a fake wedding ring. Oh, let’s not get deeply into this, but I refuse to. Lies are a hard thread to follow, don’t ya think?

3. Refrain from drinking too much alcohol, whilst someone takes advantage of you. Well, sometimes I want someone to take advantage of me and alcohol is the oil to that machine (wink wink).

4. Report to your embassy of your travel plans and read all warnings. Now that one I followed and it was a huge mistake.

How a GoPro and Traveler’s Diarrhea Go Together

India

Let’s talk about sh*t.

This was my exact thought as I sat in the dingy waiting room behind the local market — wafts of unrefrigerated meat assailing my nostrils. What I had planned to blurt out to the doctor once I got admittance.

The shores of Goa were just a scooter ride away but I had barely even made it to this clinic because of my frequent washroom trips.

When I went to India, this was not what I had in mind. My belly gurgling and my bowels on fire. I’d hop around while in town to avoid using a public washroom, but leave a trail of dust as I ran to find one. And I tell you, public washrooms in India ain’t pretty.

I saw things in Indian washrooms that scarred me for life.

But back to sh*t. What I meant to tell the doctor was let’s talk about this crap I am constantly dealing with in India, traveler’s diarrhea. An ugly, unspeakable subject for travelers, especially long term ones. We talked about that and cholera (ugh, another travel worry), he prescribed what I needed. I was on my way to recovery. A happy ending.