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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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The Philippines

Figures and Landscapes

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China

Moving Forward

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China

Before You Teach in China, Read This

Lovely, lovely Italy

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You’re going to hurl shards of glass and bitchy looks at me. For the longest time, I had an aversion to visiting Italy. There, I admitted it.

I’d find myself at the Milano train station, with the full intention to see Florence or Venice but then I’d freeze.

A faint voice originated from the arched ceilings of glass and light, carrying down, and then sonically landing in my ear. “Don’t go.”

It just never felt right at the time, so I’d book a train ticket anywhere else instead. Munich. Paris. Madrid.

It was unfair to Italy wasn’t it?  It’s not Italy’s fault.

Once I finally got there a friend sternly reminded me of something important: 80% of the world’s art is in Italy.

I think Italy has forgiven me, so it’s my mission to do it justice. Thus, I’ll give you a teaser of my time there, with more to come!

By |September 15th, 2014|Italy|20 Comments|

Baby Steps at Blue Osa

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“Costa Ricans know what they have,” declared my seat mate on our Nature Air flight.

Corcovado National Park trailed behind us as the small 15 seat plane dipped suddenly and levelled off. Golfo Dulce lay beneath us, a crystalline body of water that could hypnotize any creature who dared stare in its depths.

The tiny plane was trying to maneuver a tight airstrip and avoid the trees that cut close if a calculation was slightly off.

I prayed a little; the first time I had ever done such a thing on a flight. During the 50 minute plane journey, my seat mate introduced himself as John Lewis, one of the eco-resort founders of the Osa Peninsula, some 25 years ago.

My House Sitting Nightmare: Learn From My Mistakes

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This was a new discovery. I had no idea that fleas could live between sheets of plastic. Don’t they thrive on animal hosts, chew on the flesh of humans, but this?

Oh, how life throws in surprises.

Before we address fleas, let’s return to the beginning.

I’m a single female traveler. I had two beautiful cats, one passed away, the other one I tearfully let go to live on an urban farm in exchange for this rich, exciting thing called travel. I’ve also cared for numerous dogs in my time.

I rented apartments for years (also co-owned a condo with my sister and brother, though they lived here, I didn’t). I can clean, moderately cook and maintain a household. This is beginning to sound like my dating profile, but anyway…

Now that I live this unusual, but sexy existence (have to keep up that illusion) I am always hunting for ways to travel creatively.

Asian Women’s Empowerment: Why You Should Go

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Everybody needs to start somewhere. I was no different than you. You are no different than me.

Over a year ago Juno Kim of Runaway Juno asked me a question. Would you like to be a speaker at the first Asian Women’s Empowerment conference?

Gulp. My teachers had mercy on me during school presentations and ended them early after I sputtered and stuttered my way into another teasing session at recess.

But I accepted Juno, because I realized that my insecurities didn’t matter, what counted was being part of a movement to help others like me.

Who is that me? An Asian woman. Through will, a miracle and faith I broke through the pressures that were put upon me and forged a life, though not perfect, is the one I want.

And so I was ecstatic to give back to other Asian women in transition.

Switzerland’s Most Beautiful Train Ride

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A trip to Europe can be punctuated by a few things — deeply rooted culture, rich and tasty food, and architecture only found in a builder’s dreams.

The other consistent aspect that stands out to me are the trains. They are enduring as they are romantic. Sometimes a tad frustrating (Bulgaria), yet often times a smooth (France’s SNCF) experience.

The Glacier Express in Switzerland is marketed as a luxury train line through the Swiss Alps that connects the two mountain resorts of Zermatt and St. Moritz  The cars are wide, with broad windows on the roofs and along the sides to give the train rider a sensory experience. This stretch of train track was ceremoniously crowned a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.

Since the Rhaetian Railway sells the Glacier Express trip and several other tailored train journeys, the two rail sections you want to pay attention to is the Bernina Railway and the Albula Railway. Both these tracks are composed of some of the most stunning scenes of the Swiss Alps and make up the majority of the UNESCO designation. These tracks combined traverse through tunnels, viaducts, bridges and galleries, doing so in unity with the surrounding landscape. Unbelievable.

Welcome Video & Special Offer: Creative Revolution Retreats!

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Things are heating up at Creative Revolution Retreats!

If you recall I just launched my upcoming writer’s retreat two months ago, which happens to be set in Costa Rica. Leigh and I are generating a lot of interest and a few cool things are developing.

Yeehaw, we’ve shot a welcome video to let people know what we are about and why our retreat is more than just a week’s vacation. Watch it till the end for the outtakes, my favorite part of the video actually!