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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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A Last Look at China

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My Writer's Retreat

Creative Revolution Retreats!

Creative Revolution: What Can One Week of Writing Do?

Leigh and I

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?


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


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


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


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.