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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.

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Life Lessons

4 Years of Travel

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China

A Last Look at China

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My Writer's Retreat

Creative Revolution Retreats Feb 2015!

Creative Revolution: What Can One Week of Writing Do?

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It was magical.

This phrase has been used and misused in a crapload of poorly written articles.

But my week in Costa Rica really was magical.

It seemed like I lost my mind — announcing that Leigh Shulman and I were launching a writer’s retreat for women only, to inspire them to get writing and believe in their damn selves.

What Are my Upcoming Plans for This Week?

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I’m taking a brief break from Panama and heading to a place that I recently discovered for a special purpose!

I’m still pinching myself that all our hard work paid off.

It was a risk for both Leigh and I to take — when previously our work involved solo efforts (with my occasional team project).

Washington, DC in the Cold

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Before I ever stepped foot in Washington, D.C. numerous warnings used to hit my Facebook feed.

Oh, don’t go there — there’s so much crime!”

“Washington has some scary neighborhoods.”

When I taught in China, there was a popular exercise I did with students when I assigned groups an American city and they presented which monuments they wanted to see and how much they planned to spend on this once in a lifetime vacation to the United States.

Nobody groaned about being assigned New York City or San Francisco — but when it came to Washington D.C., dissenting voices arose. “But teacher, Washington is dangerous, yes?”

I lacked an answer because at that point I’d never been to D.C., nor did I want to express a misguided opinion.

Does the Versalette Work?

Remember a while ago when I sung the praises of the Versalette?

But maybe you didn’t believe me, so I gave one away to Sarah Glashagel in hopes that she would also start a choral group over this travel garment? And sing hymns about it’s usefulness?

If you recall, the Versalette is a garment that can be worn 30 different ways. If you’re on safari and need a cover-up for your head,  this is your go-to solution. Or if you want to wear a dress one evening for the hell of it, welcome to va-va-voom.

It’s Okay to be Single

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Panama’s Bocas del Toro is the only province in the entire country composed of islands (nine, to be exact).

Located on the Caribbean side, it’s ingredients are simple: a bit of hedonism, pulsating music soaked in reggae or calypso beats, and water breaks worthy of world-class surfing. It’s been my temporary home for the past two months.

It’s also full of men. Roving, seeking, and unafraid to engage. This is a surprise to me after living at a yoga resort with women in Costa Rica. I’ve been offered more dates in the last two months than I did in my entire two years in China.

Discover Costa Rica Through Photos

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Costa Rica is an unusual animal in Central America, being one of the few countries in that part of the world to boast a relatively conflict free history.

Certainly they were annexed by Spain and went through a civil war, but the government was declared a democracy in 1869 — at an earlier stage than many countries that still haven’t been declared as such.

I found modern Costa Rica to be a milieu of intense nature and laid back locals. I woke up to howler monkeys, scarlet macaws, large insects scaling my walls and frogs chortling.

When a Costa Rican utters ‘Pura Vida” it’s not a flippant term tossed at your feet. Pura Vida means “pure life” — and Costa Ricans really believe in this — encompassing the good life. One of family, love and a deep connection to their environment.

There’s a high number of farmers selling Costa Rican products like coffee, bananas and cacao (chocolate).

This philosophy explains the government’s unwavering stance on eco-preservation, which makes Costa Rica one of the big players in eco-tourism.