Humanitarian Hotel Booking

I just started writing for a hotel booking site called, which has an interesting charity sponsorship program. According to their website: ” For each reservation conducted on our homepage, we will donate 1% of the total booking value to OrphanAid Africa. This nonprofit association based in San Francisco supports vulnerable children in Ghana.”



Italy: An Emotional Force of Nature

Living, or even traveling in  Italy requires a dramatic departure from your accustomed physical and emotional geography. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” goes the cliche. Emotionalism is a national Italian trait, which is potentially contagious.

On a ski trip to Bormio, my frustrations about my inability to improve my skills lead to a tearful and inappropriately overemotional reaction. Ironically,  it was here that I first heard the song titled Stuck In the Moment.

After visiting Assisi, I came back to the US,  joined an Episcopalian Franciscan group in New York City, and spent a weekend at an Episcopalian Franciscan monastery in upstate New York.

Then, there was the summer I spent at the Universita Per Stranieri in Perugia. As we have seen from the Amanda Knox case,  Italy is an emotional force of nature, often equal to the devastating force of a tsunami.

I once pictured a life in Italy, living on the Amalfi Coast like the Donna character in Mama Mia, but since I am less of a Dancing Queen and, unfortunately, more of a Drama Queen, an emotionally calm country like Uruguay suits me just fine.

Sometimes the calm of the sea trumps the excitement of the city.

You Don’t Have to Be a Beef Eater to Love Uruguay

While meat eaters rave about Uruguayan beef, you can indeed survive in Uruguay without eating it. In fact, I recently discovered that my Spanish teacher does not eat red meat!  The vegetables here are outstanding. Even better, Uruguayans  are fond of one of my favorite foods: gnocchi! I prepared one of my favorite gnocchi recipes for a recent asado.   I barely had any leftovers!

Gnocchi Asado
Gnocchi Goes to the Asado

You’ve Got to Have Friends

Some of my best friends in the world are people I have never met in person. They are part of  group of expat writers  who write for the same content management company. When I was considering the expat life, they challenged the arguments of the nay-sayers with yay-saying retorts.

I learned something from the experience. If you are considering a radical change in your lifestyle,  the people whose opinion for which you ask  measures your commitment to the idea.  If you are hesitant, you will approach those  who live a more cautious lifestyle, but if the Life Less Ordinary    truly appeals to you, you will seek the opinions of those who do the same.

This is in no way a value judgement.  For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose, but remember, says Warren Miller:

If your don’t do it this year,  you’ll be one year older when you do!

Living the Life Less Ordinary

So We Decided to Stay

Within less than two weeks in Uruguay, Mark decided that Atlantida should be our new home. This took me by surprise, because it was Piriapolis that won our hearts, and on first impression, Mark was not really that fond of Atlantida. But this “lovely old resort town,” as Mark calls it, has a way of choosing you, and we soon decided that this was home.

A visit to the agencia inmobiliaria was the next order of business. Here are some things you should know about renting a place in Uruguay:

  • The websites, even those that are local and written in Spanish, are not the best source of information. The rental rates online are much higher, and many of the apartments featured are temporary vacation rental.
  • Uruguay does not have the American equivalent of an MLS. Each agent has his or her own listings, so shop around and make a comparison.
  • Agents are not at all pushy. This is not always a good thing, because we had a lovely apartment rented out from under us within a few hours.
  • Most landlords require five months or more in advanced rent. This is annoying, but it is in lieu of filling out a detailed credit report.
The bottom line: We found another place, and will be moving to Atlantida in late November.
Hail Atlantida!           

Countdown to Uruguay!

My husband just called from Houston Airport. His flight to Lima is about to leave.  My journey begins on August 31st, when I fly to Montevideo and spend two months in Atlantida, studying Spanish at Spanish Uruguay. While I’m there, I hope to revisit places I adore, such as Colonia!


A private residence in Colonia


And in the nick of time, my latest Uruguay article appeared on Bootsnall

Uruguay: 7 Big Ways to Experience this Small Country

Pre Season Ski Fitness

Writing opens many doors. After my ski fitness book was published, I received an offer to teach a ski conditioning week at Portillo Chile. Portillo is the summer training grounds for many professional ski teams, and Mark and I were there when the Austrian team was in training. I was pleased to see that Hermann Maier’s  personal trainer used a similar stability ball and balance training program similar to the ones that I taught my students.

As the middle of August approaches, serious skiers should get ready for the slopes with a pre-season training program. Here are a few suggestions:


Ski Endurance Training

Core: The Key to Balance                                              

Skiing Exercises at Home

Skiing Fitness Exercises

Feet of Accomplishment

Dynamic Fitness for Dynamic Skiers