Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.

Tsunami and Me

Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....

Friday, November 7, 2014

More Than One Way to be Wild!

With Sonia Marsh at My Gutsy Story 2 launch at Zov's
What could be a gutsier venture than Cheryl Strayed's trek, described in Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail? How about packing up your entire family, including three sons, and moving from suburban Orange County to the cayes of Belize? That's what Sonia Marsh did. And then she wrote about it in From Freeways to Flipflops. Here's how Sonia describes her decision to go public with her tropical adventure:
Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family's Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island started as a journal, six months before we left for Belize. Once there, I sent e-mails to friends in Europe and the U.S., and they encouraged me to keep writing and said, "Wow, Sonia, your life is so much more exciting than my daily routine. Please keep writing."
The challenge was to turn my journal into a memoir. After numerous rewrites and professional edits, I finally finished a memoir which many say, "It reads like a movie."
My dream would be to see our modern-day "Swiss Family Robinson" adventure, turned into a movie. 

Since I've been a Peace Corps Volunteer in Belize, I sometimes browse Amazon for books on the country, so a little over a year ago I came across Sonia's book, read it, and then found that Sonia also had a website, and sponsored a My Gutsy Living Contest. I entered her contest in August 2013, and since I happened to be visiting in California at the time of the launch of her first anthology from that contest, attended and met Sonia in person.

Later she discovered my Peace Corps background included not only service in Belize, but in Dominican Republic and Seychelles, and four years at Peace Corps Headquarters as program and training specialist for community health for both InterAmerica/Pacific Region and Europe/Mediterranean/Asia Region.

In my submission for My Gutsy Story 2, "A Happy Heart," I discussed how I became free to join the Peace Corps at age 50 in 1987. Coincidentally shortly before I came to California a few months ago to look for an apartment, I received a message from Sonia that she intended to embark on yet another gutsy adventure...she, too, planned to join the Peace Corps.So I met her for lunch and talked about the challenges and joys of Peace Corps service for older female Volunteers.

Now I'm settling into an apartment in a senior retirement community in Orange County, so once again was here and able to attend Sonia's book launch last Saturday at Zov's in Tustin for My Gutsy Story Anthology: Inspirational Short Stories About Taking Chances and Changing Your Life (Volume 2)

So I had the opportunity to meet one of Sonia's panelists, Julia Capizzi, Peace Corps Regional Representative, Orange County. Julia had served as a PCV in El Salvador during the time I worked at Peace Corps HQ. Together we encouraged Sonia to continue to pursue her current application for service. Sonia is considering a possible placement in Timor-Leste.
With Regional Rep Julia Capizzi
While she awaits word from Peace Corps about her future, busy Sonia seeks contributions for the 2015 My Gutsy Story 3 collection. Submission guidelines for the contest and anthology are here:

For those interested in joining Peace Corps, the application is online here:

If you live in Southern California you can call Julia Toll Free at 855-855-1961 or Direct at 949-482-7804. You can also email her at

I'm hoping to help Julia in some of her upcoming recruitment events, to continue to assist and advise Sonia when she gets her PC assignment, and to join the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers group in Orange County.

There's nothing gutsier than giving Peace Corps a chance. Though I'll go see Wild, which opens on December 5 and stars Reese Witherspoon, and continue to follow Cheryl Strayed on Facebook, I'm also eagerly awaiting the movie version of From Freeways to Flipflops. Who would I cast as Sonia? Hey, I'd pick Laura Dern! She's a gutsy enough actress to take this on.
Could Laura play Sonia?

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