Travel is our religion. We love it, it’s a precious and luxurious gift. Every journey enriches the soul, filling us with collections of beautiful stories, providing us with sense fulfilling inspiration, and enables us to become aware and appreciative of what makes us all unique and wonderfully diverse. That is why when we travel to places that have people who need help we like to give back. We try to provide others with a little something to aid in leaving a small positive footprint wherever we go, a gift of thanks in return for the gifts we are given in visiting a country. We were delighted to discover on our recent trip to Jamaica the organization Pack for a Purpose. Their mission is simple “…to positively impact communities around the world by assisting travelers who want to bring meaningful contributions to the destinations they visit”. And the action is even easier to support them, all you have to do is “use available space in your luggage to provide supplies to communities you visit”.
We packed a bunch of school supplies that we purchased at Amazon.com [pencils, wall charts, flashcards & games]. We then delivered them to the staff at Goldeneye Hotel & Resort upon our arrival. The goods were later collected by Jonathan Gosse – the Executive Director for - Oracabessa Foundation. Jonathan was so kind as to email us some pictures with where our supplies ended up, along with this note:
“Thanks for your generous donation through GoldenEye’s Pack for a Purpose programme. Just a quick note to let you know that I picked up the items and delivered them to Race Course Basic School which is about 1 mile east of GoldenEye. I’ve attached a couple photos to give you some idea where the items went. Thanks again!”
On your next trip I encourage you to do the same it is as simple as:
1. Check with Pack for a Purpose for the country you are visiting.
2. Purchase goodies that are required.
3. Pack them into your luggage.
4. Deliver them to your hotel / tour operator at your destination for delivery.
Some places you can actually go to the schools or organizations to deliver them in person. It feels good ‘giving back’.
I am currently obsessed with finding the perfect travel bag. During our trip to Hong Kong my favorite bag had a nasty run-in with a subway turnstile. That bag and I have traveled some miles together, but it is time to move on and get a new day bag, one to go with my recent issue of an American Passport after becoming a Naturalized American [Jan 28th 2014]. So here are my fave’s so far? I know some of my picks are pricey, but my last bag was with me for 10 years and served me well. I want it to be day-to-night and look ready to take me anywhere from street-food to fine dining. It needs to be able to fit: a water bottle; a camera; an emergency raincoat; a wallet; a few cosmetics & a map or compact guidebook / journal. Do you have any recommendations or suggestions?
An Aussie friend has put himself out there and written & published his first book. I always admire people who brave giving up their paying day-jobs to pursue their passions. So it is with both pride & admiration that I introduce you to Jeremy Godwin & his first published book titled Real Life – buy a copy today here!.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve always had a somewhat-unhealthy obsession with pop culture and so I decided to write a book that brought together some of the most scandalous rumors and outrageous-yet-true stories of what really goes on behind the scenes of a hit television show.
Where did you write your book?
Well, I started writing ‘Real Life’ one night 10 years ago. My partner was away as my mother-in-law was in hospital, and as I sat down at the computer suddenly an idea for a novel came to me. In the next hour, the first 18 pages practically wrote themselves. I wrote most of the book in the next year then put it on the back-burner while I focused on my corporate career. Then, in 2013, I decided it was time for a life change and part of that involved launching my career as an author.
What books have most influenced your life?
There are too many to mention, as I love reading. However I will admit that one of the first novels that I fell in love with was ‘Lucky’ by Jackie Collins. I bought it when I was in my early teens and instantly fell in love with her character portrayals and insights into the hidden heart of Hollywood. Since then I’ve read every one of her books – I know it’s hardly Tolstoy, but Jackie Collins’ novels are my guilty pleasure!
If you had to choose, who would you consider a mentor for your writing?
I would choose three – J.K. Rowling, Jackie Collins and Belle de Jour (aka Brooke Magnanti). J.K. Rowling because her imagination is so vivid and she managed to create an entire world that has enchanted millions. Jackie Collins because she has built an amazing career, selling over 500 million books and counting. And Brooke Magnanti, who wrote ‘The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl’ under her pen/working name of Belle de Jour and shocked the literary world with the tales of her time as an escort whilst delivering an amazingly well written series of works. I find all of these authors inspirational for their works and their ability to be true to their own vision.
What book[s] are you reading now?
I’m reading two books, as I usually run with something serious and something frothy so I can switch based on my moods. Currently it’s ‘Mary Ann in Autumn’ by Armistead Maupin, author of the acclaimed ‘Tales of the City’ novels, as well as ‘Drinking and Tweeting’ by Brandi Glanville, one of the ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ (I am utterly obsessed with that show!).
Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely! I’ve been slaving away in corporate management for more years than I care to admit, and now it’s time to do something for me. It’s actually more of a challenge to market and sell a book than it is to write it, but it’s a challenge that I’m absolutely loving.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I started writing when I was six – I loved creative writing classes and I think my first short story was called something like ‘The Time I Went Forward in Time’. I’ve loved it ever since and I write for relaxation and enjoyment; it’s only now that I have finally started to do something with all of the things I’ve written over the years.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Without question it would be the editing process. Doing multiple edits can be exhausting and, since I’m such a perfectionist, it takes ages. Although I must say that the whole editing process teaches you patience and acceptance – even after four edits for this book I still found two minor errors after publishing. I almost had a meltdown when I noticed them, until I accepted the fact that I couldn’t do anything about it once it was published!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just believe in yourself and write what you believe in!
What adventure comes next ???
I’m currently editing my second novel – it’s called ‘Wilberforce’. It’s set in the 1990’s and is based on a crazy group of people I lived with in my late teens as well as being inspired by my love of the original series of ‘Melrose Place’. I’m also working on storyboards for upcoming novels – one called ‘Unreality’, about reality television, and one called ‘The Day I Died’, about someone who leaves their family to start a new life. And, of course, I’m busy promoting ‘Real Life’
About the book.
In a society obsessed with celebrity culture, we all want to know what really happens behind closed doors, even if we won’t admit it. Discover the inner workings of a hit television show in the exhilarating new novel ‘Real Life’, based on scandalous behind-the-scenes stories from the entertainment industry!
‘Real Life’ tells the story of Alison Peters, who is in charge of Public Relations for the global hit series called Real Life. The owner of the show, powerful media mogul Richard Harrison, wants Alison to generate more headlines by spilling the secrets of the cast and crew to the world. Will she succumb to his demands or will she take control and expose Richard for the evil dictator that he really is?
‘Real Life’ is available now exclusively at amazon.com in Paperback and eBook formats – visit to find out more and order the book by clicking here.
I am not sure how I convinced my husband after all these years, but finally he said we can get a dog! Not wanting to lose momentum on that ‘yes’ our house quickly filled with dog products in preparation for a rescue mutt. Holy load of stuff! This dog is going to be one spoilt 4 legged furry family member. Here is a run down on the loot:
Now off to search the pages of Paws Chicago and to make some visits to seek out the perfect family addition.
A new catalogue for Land of Nod is in the mail-box. You don’t currently get the catalogue? No worries they are available online by clicking here. These are a few location shots by Coscarelli that are featured in the latest edition.