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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

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!

Blogstock: The World’s First Blogging Festival

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“Welcome, do you want a black wristband?”

I stumbled on that question, because isn’t this a blogging conference?? Not a music festival fuelled by alcohol and screaming music indie fans?

Yes and no. In front of me was a large field in Elstree, UK littered with teepees, tents and barefooted bloggers tugging at the grass with their toes.

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Directly behind me were rows of erected tents, fresh from the box, ready to be invaded by threadbare sleeping bags and world weary backpacks.

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Where the hell was I?

Silly woman, the world’s first blogging festival.

Costa Rica is Next & Why I Need It

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My time in Europe has wound down and part of me is sad, but relieved.

I know, a strange feeling to court, but this past summer was filled with back room dramas that I’m too exhausted to get into here.

Two consistent things occur to me when ever I’m in Europe — how beautiful it is and how much bad karma it brings me.

The other consistent thing is that no matter how foul my mood is, I always return to the beauty. I promise to provide some evidence of this beauty at a later date.

I just finished a weekend at Blogstock. You might have read I was going and speaking about how to market a creative brand (oh, and make money on it). These things are always a whirlwind, but overall it was a great experience. I enjoyed the mix of bloggers from different sectors, whether fashion or food, and the overall community atmosphere. I’d much rather work with people, instead of against them.

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Speaking at Blogstock

I also promise to publish my slides and the talk on Slideshare at a later date.

Tonight is about preparation. I’m packing my bags once more, sweeping away the metaphorical cobwebs and tomorrow I will be flying across bodies of water again, this time my destination is Costa Rica.

Book of the Month: Women on the Road

Do it while you’re young. Not IT. But it. Travel.

I’ve come across a plethora of travel sites or news feeds devoted to this mantra. This really angers me. If I had believed that, I would of given up before I started.

That’s why I was a happy chick when I got my hands on Women on the Road.

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Written by Leyla Giray Alyanak, this book speaks directly to women who don’t want to be quiet and demure after age 40.

Via Rail Best Photos: Jasper

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Alberta is called the Land of the Endless Horizon and it’s supremely true.

I grew up in Alberta and often caught myself staring at the sky as it melted into the earth, so long and so hard that my eyes watered. My thoughts at the time were of staring into a void — at essentially nothing.

Living there made me restless, because seeing nothing disturbed me. I wanted to see something, or at least experience whatever my greedy hands could grab.

I never appreciated what I saw everyday and when my Via Rail trek across Canada finally made it over the Alberta border, it became clear those endless skies were a summation of everything. Love, loss, joy, the sureness that we are tiny dots in a whirling universe.

It was there — in front of me — for the entire span of my childhood. I just had to stop staring and actually see.