Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Drum Circles

Ever heard of drum circles? They're loads of fun and very therapuetic as a stress release. Don't ask me to name all of the drums that are used in these loud, rhythemic group sessions. People collect drums from all over the world, then come to the circles to try their hands (literally) at pounding out infectious beats.

This is how it usually works. Somebody, usually the best drummer, leads the session. The lead drummer will introduce a beat, and the group will then follow. People get very creative in their interpretations, and all sort of percussive instruments are used.

So, after reading about the health benefits of drum circles, my husband and I decided to go to a group near our home in So. Calif. It was a great experience! And those who have studied the health benefits of these noisy get togethers are absolutely right! In spite of the loud pounding, it does lower blood pressure. Is it the act of banging on something to relieve pent up anger? Well, maybe that's part of it, but there's more. Studies show that after a while, our hearts will actually beat in cinque with the drum beats. Besides that, you find yourself closing your eyes in a sort of mindless meditative state. You certainly don't think about other things when you're drumming, so those worries you have about that job interview tomorrow, or that big test you have to take at school, or whatever is on your mind...things just melt away in the moment, and you're very carefree.

Will we go again. Absolutely! Once you've enjoyed the benefits of a drum circle, you'll find yourself shopping online for your own drum. World Market often carries them. One of the girls in last night's circle just returned from a trip to Seattle, where there are numerous music stores downtown with all sorts of imported drums.

Google for drum circles in your area. They're often held outdoors in parks or on beaches. There's a group that meets monthly on the sand in Laguna Beach, CA, for instance. Find one near you and give it a try!

Health and good wishes,


Monday, May 3, 2010


To motorhome or not to motorhome. That seems to be the question!

For anyone who has a severe case of wanderlust, the appeal of living on the road for much of the year is very appealing. What better way to see America's backroad towns; to meet the people whose lives are so different from mine?

As a travel writer, I have been blessed to participate in numerous press trips that have taken me to places I would have never seen. But press trips are high speed treks zipping past places you want to stop. No chance to browse through neat shops, sip a cup of coffee and people watch, or simply relax.

With a motorhome, we will go at our own pace. And for a writer, having the ability to spend time in the places you are researching, well, it's a dream come true.

The downside of motorhomes, of course, is the close quarters; constantly rubbing elbows (or rears) with one's significant other. For now, the pros far outweigh the cons, and we're actively searching for the perfect vehicle that is within our price range.

I welcome your comments and suggestions about makes and models.

There are places to explore and books to be written! Life can be so darned exciting! Can't wait to get on the road....

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Travel Guidebook

Just finished a 64,000+ travel guidebook, "Quick Escapes From Orange County" for Globe Pequot Press and await the proofs. Hopefully, there will be a little break, after so many months of intense research, travel, and writing.

Travel writing is an interesting business. I can't tell you how many people tell me they would love my job, stating that they "love to travel." But first and foremost, the emphasis is on the writing part of the phrase, "travel writing." The hours are long, and the work is tough. Yes, I'm on the road a lot, and I do meet really interesting people.

The most fun is when you happen across what I call "a surprise," while you're on the road. And I did find a bunch of surprises for the book. My favorite was "discovering" a ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley (not far from Solvang) where miniature donkeys are raised.

Here's the deal. They stand about 3 feet at the shoulder, and they're really affectionate. They love to snuggle visitors, and the owner allows children to ride them on a tiny saddle. And gentle...are they ever! And one of the really amazing things is that they love to play "tag" and "keep away" with rubber balls.

I don't even have time to get a dog right now, so heaven knows how I would take care of a miniature donkey. But if I had a chunk of land....!!

If you're interested, visit their web site at

Come along with me on my travels, and I'll guide you to some really great places.

And visit my web site at to read articles I've written about some of my adventures.