Book Review

Book Review Lifestyle

Dating Tales from the Bark Side

Dating Tales from the Bark Side I'm Not Single, I Have a Dog by Susan Hartzler

Author Susan Hartzler, “I’m Not Single, I Have a Dog,”

Hartzler’s Ups and Downs On the Road to Finding Unconditional Love

Dating Tales from the Bark Side I'm Not Single, I Have a Dog by Susan Hartzler
Susan Hartzler’s memoirs shed light on why there’s nothing wrong with staying single.

Susan Hartzler’s life revolved around finding the perfect companion, but after living through a string of disastrous relationships, she learned to accept and even love her single life. Susan’s memoir, “I’m Not Single, I Have a Dog: Dating Tales from the Bark Side,” explores the disappointments, fear, and humor in her life as she pursued the bad boys women often find so appealing.

For many people, men and women included, not having a significant other to celebrate holidays, like Valentine’s Day, for example, evokes a myriad of feelings from despair to intense loneliness. Sometimes, we write off our incompatible choices hoping we can alleviate our symptoms and mold another person into the perfect companion or the ideal husband. But as Susan explains,

“I thought that perhaps there were many of us out there with bad pickers and I wanted to let others know there’s nothing wrong with staying single. I think I was trying to convince myself too!

Susan Hartzler

Dating Tales from the Bark Side shows us there is indeed hope for finding unquestioning love elsewhere. On a trip to the pound, Susan not only came home with a pet to care for – she found the missing link in her complicated life that would make her situations more tolerable. She discovered living with dogs is much more fulfilling and interesting.

What would Susan say to someone who would argue a dog can never take the place of a human partner?

“I feel sorry for them because they have never experienced the unconditional love of a dog. Dogs don’t take the place of humans. They are much better than humans!”

While she doesn’t blame herself for the kind of men she finds attractive, Susan learned the hard way that the men she found exciting, unpredictable, and irrepressibly masculine, were not healthy for her in the long run.

Susan Hartzler's book focuses on why you don't need to be married to enjoy a fulfilling life.
Susan Hartzler with her dogs, Blondie and El-Vez, shown with the Mexican Elvis. Photo submitted.

“I don’t blame myself for the kind of men I find attractive. I mean, who wouldn’t like to be around a bad boy?”

That is, as she describes in her book, until the relationships become toxic, abusive, and emotionally damaging to the person on the receiving end.

Breaking Free from a Damaging Relationship

Which of our needs do the bad boys satisfy?

Susan sheds light on what she believes was missing in her own life.

“I think it has to do with my narcissistic mother. I am attracted to men who are a lot like her,” she said.

For Susan, the possibility of entering into another unhealthy relationship keeps her off the emotional rollercoaster and out of the dating pool completely. At 60, she has chosen to train her own dogs, who are actors and models, and she is an award-winning writer, blogger, and public relations professional. She and her dogs also volunteer for Therapy Dogs International, a New Jersey-based volunteer organization that trains, tests, and registers therapy dogs. The handlers and their dogs visit hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, schools, or anywhere they can provide love, comfort, and support to individuals in need.

Susan’s Tips for an Emotionally Healthier You in 2022

How to Steer Clear of the Bad Boys

  • Watch for the red flags;
  • Follow your gut and get out of the relationship if something doesn’t feel right;
  • Start by accepting it (your need for the bad boys);
  • Work on loving yourself;
  • Don’t allow your needs to define who you are;
  • Celebrate your bonds with your dog(s) and friends and continue to nurture those relationships; and
  • Consider saving a dog and rescuing yourself from unhealthy relationships.

Self-Love A Key to Happiness

Keep in mind…

“There’s nothing more attractive than a person who loves themselves. And as soon as you love yourself, you might decide you don’t need a plus 1 to be happy.”

Susan Hartzler,

Treat yourself to a copy of “I’m Not Single, I Have a Dog: Dating Tales from the Bark Side” by Susan Hartzler.

You can buy Susan’s book by using my Amazaon affiliate link at no additional cost to you.

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Book Review Lifestyle

Your Purpose-Oriented Adventure

By Rabbi Tuvia Teldon, author of Eight Paths of Purpose

How to Add Purpose to Your Next Trip

True or False? We all have the ability to make the world a better place each and every day.
By Rabbi Tuvia Teldon, author of Eight Paths of Purpose
“Whether we know it or not, we all have the ability to make the world a better place each and every day. As human beings that is simply how we are hard-wired,” Rabbi Tuvia Teldon.  

If your answer is “true,” you and Rabbi Tuvia Teldon share a common thread. He was born into a family that loved to travel. As a result, he caught the bug at a very young age. But traveling is more than the opportunity to have fun. In his guest post, “Your Purpose-Oriented Adventure,” Rabbi Teldon explains how even the most ordinary actions can make the world a better place by fulfilling our unique purpose in life. He is executive director of 34 Chabad centers on Long Island, NY where he is intent on improving the world by focusing on the most ordinary actions. Even our small or mundane intentions can collectively make a big difference over time.

Your Purpose-Oriented Adventure

By Rabbi Tuvia Teldon, author of Eight Paths of Purpose

By the time I was 20, I had traveled to 25 countries and 30 states. But when I reviewed what I got out of my journeys, all I could say was that it was fun and educational. I felt like it was great for my eyes and my brain, but didn’t feel like I had really accomplished anything for my heart or soul. 

Now, many years later, I feel that life’s many varied adventures, whether close to home or far away, should accomplish some purpose. But how does one combine travel and purpose? Most people take lots of photos and observe their surroundings, interact to some degree, but don’t really look at themselves as fulfilling any purpose when they travel.  

Your Purpose-Oriented Adventure
Rabbi Tuvia Teldon, author of Eight Paths of Purpose and executive director of 34 Chabad centers on Long Island, New York

Sure, there are many travel opportunities to visit distant villages in Africa to help them access water, or build a house for a homeless family in India. But that is a little too much ‘purpose’ for my taste. I still want to have fun when I travel. 

So, I thought, how about if we turn our adventure into a ‘purpose’ adventure. What would that look like? Let’s start by asking ourselves a question: How many times a week, in our ongoing activities, do we see situations that call our name? We are in the right place at the right time to help someone, reach out to a child, help an elderly person across the street or pay forward for someone to get a free toll. Unfortunately, many in our society feel very uncomfortable doing any of these kinds of gestures. It’s corny, politically incorrect, unappreciated, or any of a number of adjectives that we can use as excuses. 

What if we got rid of all of those inhibitions while we travel, and we just put our better side forward without the normal obstacles that stand in our way? What if we gave an American dollar to every beggar we passed, or started up a conversation with a local who is standing next to the fountain in Centro? What if we asked a small child what gift they would like and then bought it for them, or paid a restaurant bill for a young couple on the next table?

In other words, what if we really left our imprint, in some small or large way, on the places we go to tour. Instead of seeing their lives through the eyes of our cell phone, try interacting with the locals. And I don’t mean to just converse and exchange cultural niceties, but to really do something that will leave an impression on them, maybe even change their life. It may mean having to go out of our way to do something meaningful, but I have a feeling that will be the one activity you will best remember after the trip is long over.

Who knows, perhaps once you live a day, or a week, without those inhibitions, you will come home and realize that you like the person you were there more than the person you are at home. It could become contagious. That is because we all inherently want to connect to a sense of purpose. In my book, Eight Paths of Purpose, I explain how living a life of purpose, even in the small matters of life, gives us such a sense of inner happiness. Perhaps your travels could be the entry point for you to discover your purpose as well.

Do you find music calms your anxiety? Listen to a Mozart Aria performed by an international opera singer, Heather Schmid.

Use meditation as a means to get in touch with your purpose.

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Book Review

The Lodge at Woodloch: a decade of recipes

  • By
  • March 30, 2021

Are you looking for recipes that use organic and homegrown vegetables and herbs? From culinary to made-from-scratch beauty fixes, The Lodge at Woodloch cookbook offers pages of healthful meals and recipes you can prepare today, tomorrow, and in the coming weeks. Don’t waste your bountiful harvest!


follow nature’s lead with seasonal recipes

Do you have a passion for nature?

You can cultivate your own well-being in much the same way you would improve or refine your garden using ingredients harvested from nature.

“NURTURE with NATURE: Seasonal Recipes for Body, Beauty and Healing,” a cookbook brought to you by The Lodge at Woodloch, is more than a collection of recipes.  It’s a “guidebook” that provides directives for anyone who seeks to discover or restore that delicate balance between living and thriving. NURTURE with NATURE is a culmination of a decade of guests’ favorite recipes.

Guests arrive at The Lodge at Woodloch, an award-winning spa destination located in the Lake region of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, knowing they will leave rejuvenated with their souls enlivened. During your stay, you will immediately understand why the lodge draws customers from near and far. Each moment of your visit is a celebration of life and come mealtime; after hiking, fly fishing, a painting or yoga class, or a spa treatment, a diverse array of dishes await you in the Tree Restaurant and Bar.

This recipe book is a celebration of the miracles of Mother Earth and her ability to provide our earth with a wide spectrum of seasonal foods, herbs and nutrients that enhance our well-being.

NURTURE with NATURE is a collaborative effort of The Lodge at Woodloch executive chef Josh Tomson and his team; Amanda Clabaugh, treatments’ manager, beverage recipes from Leslie Britt and Cindy Wasilewski, and Nathaniel Whitmore, master herbalist. Readers will find Pantry Clean-Up, Choosing Foods for the Season, a Food Rainbow, as well as more than 100 recipes. Much credit is also due to Andrea Killam, the photographer, and creative director, whose photos depict the calming environment at the lodge.

If you’ve never visited The Lodge at Woodloch, you are missing an opportunity to experience a world-renowned, adults-only spa resort destination and a culinary wonderland. The recipe book only scratches the surface of the locally-sourced, garden-to-table cuisine you will find.

As I perused the pages of NURTURE with NATURE, I made my list of must-have ingredients so I could begin to sample several of the recipes. Most of the ingredients are readily available at your local farmers’ market or in the organic herbs, fruits and vegetables sections of many grocery “superstores” or online. A few of the offerings are “crispy trout with wild leeks,” “oyster mushroom & homemade ricotta flatbread,” and “brown rice veggie burger.” You should also reap the benefits of the renewal beauty and healing recipes, which are also arranged according to the season. Try the spring “Calming Banana Mask” to soothe and smooth your winter-weary complexion and the “softening hand and foot scrub” before sandal weather is in full swing.

I’ve been a guest at The Lodge at Woodloch and Woodloch Pines, two properties owned and managed by the Kiesendahl family. Rest assured, you will be pampered by your hosts.

NURTURE with NATURE was published in December 2016 and you can purchase a copy on Amazon by clicking on this link:

Post updated April 27, 2021

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Book Review Lifestyle

Love Affair with Rome

Love Affair with Rome Mark Tedesco author

“She Seduced Me”

Love Affair with Rome Mark Tedesco author

Author Smitten by Relationships, Events, Culture, and History

California writer and teacher, Mark Tedesco, weaves his personal stories and interviews into his longing for Roman travel.

Mark Tedesco’s Love Affair with Rome began when he was nineteen. He was on his first soul-searching trip and soon discovered, once Rome becomes a part of you, there’s no turning back.

Mark Tedesco Love Affair with Rome She Seduced Me Travel Guide
Author Mark Tedesco seated in front of Bernini’s Fountain of Four Rivers in Piazza Navona, Rome.

In fact, he used the word, “Magical” to describe the city of miraculous stories, monuments, and energy.

“As I stood in the piazza in front of Santa Maria in Trastevere, the book came to me like a lightning flash. Of course! What makes Rome unique are its stories! Every person, street corner, statue, and brick has its story. In this book, I wanted to tell some of these stories that make Rome…magical.”

Mark Tedesco, She Seduced Me (Interview with Joan Mead-Matsui)

You will also be enchanted as Mark projects his striking descriptions of the native Romans and tourists onto his readers in this glorious non-fiction collection of personal stories and interviews. “She Seduced Me” serves as both an essential travel guide and a personalized tour of Rome.

Sightseeing in Rome
Tourists flock to the famous Pantheon, a former Roman temple, now a Catholic church in Rome, Italy.

Join Mark as he takes you through the streets of Rome to the coveted historical sites, piazzas, and restaurants he discovered during his frequent trips. You’ll meander past all that makes Rome a cultural hub for the native Italians, Americans, and other foreigners who collectively, make this European city a treasure. Mark reveals the best places to eat, drink, and observe the culture at its finest.

His attention to detail and sense of curiosity have led him to uncover and define Rome not only from a tourist’s viewpoint but from a much deeper perspective. He said,

“Letting my feet guide me, rather than a book or a plan, through the streets of Rome has been one of the most rewarding experiences. Rome is full of surprises; from the street musician hidden in a small piazza, to a restaurant known only by locals, to a forgotten church filled with Renaissance art, to a broken column dating from the Roman Empire, all of these surprises await those who step out of their plans into the unexpected.”

Mark Tedesco

In Chapter 5, “Americans,” Mark comments on a question many tourists have pondered. Why are Americans so easily recognized in Italy?

“I speak Italian; some would even say I am fluent. Why is it that every time I address a shopkeeper or resident in Rome in Italian, they always respond in English? Other times, even before I open my mouth, they assume that I am American. What gives me away?”

Historical Sites in Rome
The Roman Forum was a hub of political and social activity among Roman citizens.

His answers and observations in each chapter, from “Stories, Saints, and Weirdos” to “Nocturnal Vatican,” will surprise you and yes, they will make you laugh. You can buy a copy of She Seduced Me: A Love Affair with Rome (published by dixi books) and prepare for your Italian adventure.


Mark Tedesco is a history teacher and a published author living in Los Angeles. He shares his love for mankind, history, and culture through his teaching and books. 

She Seduced Me: A Love Affair with Rome, is Mark’s most recent book; it is a travel guide of the best places to visit in Rome. Mark takes this book far beyond the typical travel guide with expat interviews and stories that will delight you. 

His first book “That Undeniable Longing – My Road to and from the Priesthood” is a memoir of his sojourn in Rome in a Vatican seminary leading to ordination. Readers have been taken aback by his honesty and integrity in recounting his journey. See the CNN program on Mark’s story.​

“I am John, I am Paul: A Story of Two Soldiers in Ancient Rome” is Mark’s second book; it is an historical novel, exploring the lives of two 4th century Roman soldiers.

“The Dog on the Acropolis” is another historical novel that Mark wrote, which brings the reader back to the era when the Acropolis in Athens was being built.

Learn more about Mark.

Read my “50 Places to Fly Fish Before You Die review here.

Looking for additional travel stories?

Don’t miss 50 Places to Fly Fish Before You Die.

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Book Review Product Review

50 Places to Fly Fish

  • By
  • March 2, 2021
Fly Fishing Destinations

(Before You Die)

Fly Fishing Destinations



If you’re yearning to fly fish, author Chris Santella has suggestions for you.

Fly Fishing Destinations You Won’t Want to Miss

Are you dreaming of landing that trout, bass, or other fish species?  

“Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die” is full of breathtaking photography and detailed information about 50 of the world’s most spectacular fly fishing destinations. Author Chris Santella is a skilled freelance writer and storyteller who offers his readers a collection of 50 essays created by master fly anglers.

I received a copy as a Christmas present and although I receive hundreds of book review requests (on a variety of topics) each month, I’d never seen this gem in my search for fly-fishing books. Santella’s guide covers all of the details and history fly anglers looking for premium places to fish need to know. The “IF YOU GO” that follows each essay: “Prime Time,” “Getting There,” “Accommodations,” and “Equipment, “is invaluable.

You can buy 50 Places to Fly Fish Before You Die at Use the link below to get a copy for yourself or buy one as a gift.











Santella is a regular contributor to The New York Times,, and other fly fishing publications.

50 Places to Fly Fish Before You Die ranks high on my list of must-read books. It’s packed with essential information and it’s entertaining.

Shop for polarized sunglasses at Sunglass Warehouse. You’ll need a pair to protect your eyes and see your next catch. 

Sunglass Warehouse

Catch up on your reading. Here’s another great choice if you’re getting ready for spring fly fishing. Read about my Salmon River fly-fishing adventures. 


Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.

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Book Review

New Guinea’s Natural History

New Guinea: Nature and Culture of Earth's Grandest Island by Bruce Beehler and Tim Laman

The Richest Island on Earth

An Interview with Bruce Beehler and Tim Laman

My interview, “New Guinea’s Natural History, “with Bruce Beehler and Tim Laman, is a delight for anyone who is intrigued with travel. Their masterpiece book, “New Guinea: Nature and Culture of Earth’s Grandest Island” leaves no stone unturned. It’s a photographic, historical, and cultural journey through the world’s largest island.

I agreed to read and review this book for several reasons. The spectacular photography immediately grabbed my attention and after reading the contents page, it’s obvious their trek through New Guinea was a labor-intensive project.

Scroll down to read this descriptive interview with world-renown author and New Guinea expert Bruce Beehler and award-winning National Geographic photographer Tim Laman. You’ll journey with them on an unforgettable tour of the natural and cultural wonders of the world’s most awe-inspiring island.

New Guinea’s Natural History highlights key moments of their trip with personal recollections. Bruce and Tim are storytellers.

In this interview, you’ll learn why the world’s largest, highest, and most environmentally complex tropical island is not the best choice for the faint-of-heart or first-time traveler. Scroll down for a wondrous account of the island’s rainforests, indigenous plants, and animals with travel tips, and suggestions. 

Bruce Beehler and Tim Laman join me for an interview in New Guinea's Natural History. New Guinea NGM Birds of Paradise Story by Tim Laman
Rain forest-covered mountains of the Sarawaget range, Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea. This is the region of the YUS Conservation Area. Photo by Tim Laman.


Joan: When and how did your love affair with New Guinea begin?

Bruce: In the early 1960s I encountered Tom Gilliard’s Living Birds of the World, which featured a black and white photograph of a displaying Magnificent Riflebird. I was entranced by this bird that was, in essence, an avian “transformer” — quickly converting from a songbird to a piece of ornamental sculpture. Gilliard, a New Guinea bird expert, attended elementary school with my father back in the 1920s. So I heard a lot about Gilliard and birds and New Guinea from my Dad. When I got a chance to apply for a travel fellowship as a senior in college, I applied to spend a year in New Guinea. I arrived in Papua New Guinea in April of 1975 and never looked back.

Male Blue Bird-of-Paradise in New Guinea. Photo by Tim Laman.
Male Blue Bird-of-Paradise (Paradisaea rudolphi) in a fruiting tree. Endangered Species (IUCN Red list: VU). Photo by Tim Laman

Tim: My first trip to Indonesia was in 1987 when I volunteered to be a research assistant in Borneo for a year.  In preparation for that trip, I read Alfred Russell Wallace’s classic “The Malay Archipelago: Land of the Orangutan and the Bird-of-Paradise”, and although I was to spend many years working in Borneo, doing my Ph.D. and a lot of photography there, I had the idea of wanting to travel to New Guinea to see Birds-of-Paradise.  I finally got my chance on a bird-watching trip in 1990.  Following that, I began scheming on ways to get back to New Guinea to seriously photograph this remarkable island and its birdlife.  My proposal to National Geographic magazine was accepted eventually, and in 1994 I began my serious photographic obsession with the Birds-of-Paradise and all the biodiversity of New Guinea.

Joan: How did you meet and what led to your collaboration?

Bruce: I knew Tim because of his work in collaboration with Conservation International, when he was shooting a piece for National Geographic featuring the Raja Ampat Islands of western New Guinea. Then Tim and Ed Scholes did this big field project on birds of paradise, and I  advised them on their work. We also traveled to the Foja Mountains together in 2007 and again in 2008, cementing our friendship.

Tim: I knew Bruce by name and reputation, because long before we met and long before I went to the island, I had a copy of his “Birds of New Guinea”.  It was thus a thrill to get to know Bruce during the course of my project on Birds-of-Paradise and even to do fieldwork together in the Foja Mountains as he said, in 2007 and 2008.

Joan: Compiling the information and photos for this book must have been a daunting task, considering the cultural diversity and vast resources available on New Guinea. How did you tackle this job and decide what to include in your book? Did you conduct interviews and/or what resources were available to you?

Bruce: Tim has shot so many images from New Guinea in so many locations, that his library is vast. In addition, I have a large collection of field images based on 35 years visiting New Guinea; these two collections constituted the bulk of the images we used… We also have many friends who have worked in New Guinea, and they supplied the rest. But by far the bulk of the images are from Tim’s trove.

Huon Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei) female and joey peer over branch. Photo by Tim Laman
Huon Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei) female and joey peer over a branch. Endangered species from the Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea. Photo by Tim Laman.

Joan: Did you publish “New Guinea: Nature and Culture of Earths Grandest Island” in conjunction with other agencies, organizations, or companies?

Bruce: The book was mainly a partnership between Tim and myself, but my wife Carol did the book design, and Porgera Joint Venture in Papua New Guinea was the main financial sponsor.

Joan: How do you describe New Guinea as a tourist destination? What type of traveler would typically want to visit the island? 

Bruce: New Guinea is not for the faint-of heart; I recommend it be reserved for later in a list of international travel destinations. Those interested in a cushy experience should visit by cruise ship; those interested in seeing the wilder parts should join a bird tour.

Joan: What were a few of the challenges you faced as you were in New Guinea doing your fieldwork? (From a photographic and writer’s standpoint)

Bruce: Over the years, the most memorable challenges include dealing with the relentless itching of chigger bites–some forests are chigger-rich and nearly unlivable because of it; chartering small aircraft and helicopters to fly into uncertain locations also generates all sorts of troubles and safety issues; working on the Indonesian side depends on all sorts of permits that are difficult to obtain; visiting forests in high-rainfall zones is a spirit-dampening experience….

Tim: From a photographic perspective, rain forests are very challenging places to shoot wildlife because animals are hard to find, hard to see, and there never seems to be enough light.  So lots of time and effort is needed to find the right locations and wait in blinds to get the shots.  Teaming up with scientists from various fields on expeditions who are searching for frogs, insects, plants etc., also was very productive in terms of getting help locating subjects to photograph.

Joan: Tell my readers about the crew you brought with you. Who accompanied you on your trips?

Bruce: We could not do our work in the wilds without a team of local village naturalists, who were expert at maintaining a comfortable field camp, keeping the fires burning, and helping us find the birds we were searching for–and their display sites. Stalwart and hard-working and dependable.

Tim:  As Bruce says, our local naturalist guides were the key to success.  Cornell ornithologist Edwin Scholes was also a collaborator for me on most of my 25+ expeditions, and his unparalleled skills at locating display sites of Birds-of-Paradise was a huge asset.

New Guinea Villagers at Payakona Village. Photo by Tim Laman.
Villagers at Payakona Village in a traditional singing ceremony put on as part of a “compensation”. Feathers of multiple species of Birds of Paradise adorn their headdresses, which are family heirlooms. Traditional use of feathers such as this continues in New Guinea. Photo by Tim Laman.

Joan: Overall, what were the reactions of the residents you encountered during your fieldwork?

Bruce: Most villages welcomed us with wonderful hospitality; occasionally, places that had had based experiences with mineral exploration parties were suspicious of us, but eventually came to see us as only eccentric and harmless.

Tim:  True.

Joan: What are two must-see off-the-beaten-track regions on the island you’d recommend to first-time visitors?

Bruce: #1 the Raja Ampat Islands–best reef diving in the world and also wonderful island experiences; #2 Tari Valley–wonderful diversity of birds of paradise and the luxury of Ambua Lodge.

Tim:  I second these recommendations.

A very low tide reveals a coral reef. Photo by Tim Laman. New Guinea's Natural History
A very low tide reveals a coral reef. New Guinea Photo by Tim Laman.

Joan: In terms of environmental disturbances and climate change, how would you describe New Guinea?

Bruce: New Guinea has faced threats from logging and oil palm plantation development, but still there are many undeveloped sectors on the island; climate change is impacting New Guinea just as it is impacting every place on earth, but the main issues relate to changing rainfall regimes that impact local agriculture; in general, New Guinea has suffered less than many tropical regions…

Tim: Yes, New Guinea is still more than 80 percent covered in forest and is the largest block of rainforest in the entire Asia-Pacific region, and third only in the world behind the Amazon and Congo forests.  So it is vitally important as a storehouse of carbon and to be maintained as a forest so as not to exacerbate climate change.

Joan: What were two of the pivotal experiences you encountered during your field trips, i.e. life-changing that caused you to look at life from a different perspective?

Bruce: Visiting the Foja Mountains and being part of a team that came upon dozens and dozens of novel species of plants and animals was life-altering. It showed us that there are still places on earth untouched by humankind. It gave us a special reference for these sorts of “lost worlds”–a sense of the possibility of future discoveries to await the next generation of naturalists.

Tim:  I agree.  Visiting extremely remote areas of New Guinea shows us that the age of exploration is not over, and is an awe-inspiring experience.  There is so much yet to discover about our planet’s biodiversity.

Joan: What travel tips do you have to share with my readers in light of your extensive knowledge or New Guinea’s Natural History and Culture?

Bruce: Here are a few: (1) pack light but be sure to have the essentials: sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, a camera, binoculars; (2) have the proper malarial meds; (3) Do your homework in advance and be well informed about the places you are to visit–that guarantees a better experience; (4) footwear in critical: good socks and 2 pair of sturdy boots or walking shoes; (5) for rainforest consider taking a pair of Wellington boots–the tall pull-on rubber boots; when worn with two pair of socks (in nylon liner socks and heavier outer pair), these can be the perfect antidote to foot problems in the rainforest.

Tim:  All good ones.  For the photographers, I’ll add:  take lots of batteries and memory cards, and purchase a desiccant like silica gel in large quantities.  At night, place your cameras and lenses in an an airtight case or bag, and dry them out with the silica gel.  This will prevent the mold that loves the humid environment from growing on your lenses and ruining them.

Joan: What are you working on now and do you have plans to work together again?

Bruce:: I am working on a handbook to the birds of North America; I would love to create another beautiful natural history book with Tim!.

Tim:  Yes, I’d love to collaborate with Bruce on another natural history book.  I continue to plan expeditions to New Guinea for photography, filming, and research on Birds-of-Paradise.  There is still so much to learn about them and amazing stories to tell that I hope will help inspire the whole world to learn about and care about the New Guinea region as one of the epicenters of Earth’s biodiversity that remains under-appreciated.  Our current book is I hope a good start toward this goal, but stay tuned for more articles, films, and books in the years to come!

Buy a copy of New Guinea: Nature and Culture of Earth’s Grandest Island directly through Princeton University Press’s website.

Love photography and world travel? Check out this article and photographs by Debashish Dutta.

Finding the perfect web host can be challenging but SiteGround goes above and beyond with its outstanding customer service, site speed, and overall performance. I switched to SiteGround less than a year ago and I couldn’t be happier. Take a look at the web hosting packages and I guarantee you’ll find one you’ll love.

Disclaimer: One or more of the posts are this page is an affiliate link. I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you if you buy a product.

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Arts and Entertainment Lifestyle Pocono Mountain history Pocono Mountain history Pocono Mountain lodging Pocono Mountain resorts Skytop Lodge

Review: Images of America

  • By
  • December 23, 2018
  • Sticky
Skytop Lodge

Skytop Lodge
Skytop Lodge is a legendary vacation destination located in the Pocono Mountains. Skytop opened its doors on June 16, 1928. Photo courtesy of Lucille May and Kendric Packer. This image appears on the cover of “Images of America: Skytop Lodge by Claire Gierwatowski.

You would recognize Skytop Lodge today if you were to compare the grand opening day photo in Claire Gierwatowski’s “Images of America: Skytop Lodge” with the lodge and grounds you see today. Additions and modifications since opening day on June 16, 1928, have only enhanced Skytop’s magnificent, stately appeal.

Images of America: Skytop Lodge covers more than 90 years of lodge history from the Roaring Twenties through The Great Depression, World War II, and other significant world events that could have led to its demise. The truth is Skytop has continued to grow and thrive through those ups and downs.

Whether you’ve visited Skytop Lodge, you’re planning a visit, or you want to learn more about Skytop’s history, Gierwatowski spent years researching and compiling the information and photographs contained in Images of America in order to preserve the memories and moments that have shaped the Skytop we know today.

The Dutch Colonial Revival lodge is surrounded by natural beauty with exceptional gardens, lakes, streams, and cascading waterfalls set on 5,500 pristine acres in the heart of the Poconos. Guests return to Skytop year after year to relax and play. Images of America: Skytop Lodge is a must-see historical overview available at Arcadia Publishing and The History Press. 

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A River Trilogy book review Adventures Authors book Book Review book reviews Fishing Fishing Destinations Fly Fishing Books Fly Fishing Stories and Tales Lifestyle Travel Product Links W.D. Wetherell Author

Outright Fishing Tales: A River Trilogy

  • By
  • May 3, 2018
New England Fishing

New England Fishing
A naturalist’s account of the Vermont River, One River More, and Upland Stream


“Vermont River,” “Upland Stream,” and “One River More” are all books by acclaimed author W.D. Wetherell. He combined those three classics into entertaining and descriptive reflections of his most endearing fly fishing moments. A “Word at the Start,” hooks you and then reels you in as you read one tale after another.

“I had fallen in love with fly fishing as a teenager, thanks to my parents buying a summer house on a bassy Connecticut lake,” Wetherell wrote. “This led me to fly-fishing, and then a passionate reader as a kid-to the literature fly-fishing boasts of, the ‘fishing in print.”

Wetherell is an award-winning novelist with more than 20 books to his credit. A few of his other titles are “The Writing on the Wall,” “North of Now,” “Soccer Dad,” and “Summer of the Bass.” Vermont River is the first book in his fishing collection and a requiem to his love for fly fishing in Vermont. Trout Magazine deemed this selection as one of the 30 finest works about fly fishing. You won’t be disappointed, even if you’re not an angler – each of these works are indicative of Wetherell’s love of nature and family.

A River Trilogy is a fluid, gentle, and entertaining literary work that will leave you yearning for more stories. It’s truly a work of literary art. I encourage you to travel along on his journeys through New England, Montana, and Scotland’s most treasured waterways.

You can purchase the book here by clicking on this link. .

Learn more about W.D. Wetherell at


Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.

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Book Review books about positive thinking in pursuit of slow

in pursuit of slow

  • By
  • February 6, 2018
in pursuit of slow

in pursuit of slow

Stress less. Be happier. Accomplish more.

These are the benefits of slowing down, according to “in pursuit of slow” author Jackie Jarvis.

Jarvis is a business owner and coach who has experienced the stressed, overwhelmed life that comes from owning a business. Whatever your role is in life, the demands placed on us or those we take on can be exhausting.

If slowing down long enough to experience the pleasures that come from your work, passions, and relationships is a challenge for you, or if you feel life is slipping away, you’ll want to read Jarvis’ book and get back on track or develop a new mindset that will transport you to a more peaceful life. “The Voice of Slow” is my favorite chapter because it sets the stage for the remainder of her book. Here’s why…

“Our Voice of Slow wants us to listen, to take heed. It wants us to stop running too fast and doing too much. It wants the best for us.”

Visit or buy on


Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and products and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.

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Appalachian Trail book Book Review books about camping books about hiking books about hiking to raise money for charity books about positive thinking Good Reads Safety while traveling travel author Travel Book Travel Book Review Travel Product Links Travel Tips

A Walk for Sunshine

  • By
  • September 28, 2017
A Walk for Sunshine book review by Joan Matsui Travel Writer

Jeff Alt’s Walk for Sunshine

Adventure on the Appalachian Trail


A book review


“A Walk for Sunshine” is a special anniversary edition and a celebration of the 20th annual Sunshine Walk, Run and Roll, a fundraiser born out of Jeff Alt’s 1998 2,160-mile trek along the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.

Beaufort Books recently released the commemorative edition to celebrate Alt’s 147-day time out from civilization and more than $500,000 he has raised since 1998.

Alt experienced long days and nights alone as he braved a variety of weather conditions that ran the gamut from excessive heat and wind, 10-foot snow drifts to bitter cold and agonizing blisters to raise money for Sunshine Communities, a small community in Maumee, Ohio. His brother, Aaron has cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability and has called Sunshine home for more than two decades.

A Walk for Sunshine is a fascinating account of his travels that’s so well-documented, heartfelt, and humorous you’ll want to read from beginning to end in one shot. In one of my favorite passages, Alt describes a typical day on the trail.

Of course, a simple guess of “walking, eating, or sleeping” would sum up my typical day. My life was very simple. As I breathed, a beautiful sunset in a valley or paused at a stream to drink in the tranquil sound of fast-moving water, I envisioned different people from home who would appreciate what I was seeing and experiencing. I wished that everyone could stop what they were doing and walk with me. I wished Aaron could experience this adventure firsthand.”

Whether you’re inclined to spend your days hiking or you have a family member with disabilities, you will find Alt’s endearing portrait refreshing and inspiring.


A Walk for Sunshine was published on Sept. 9, 2017, by Beaufort Books, New York, NY and is available in print and e-book editions. For more information, visit

Learn more about Jeff Alt’s continuing travels and expeditions at



A Walk for Sunshine book review by Joan Matsui Travel Writer
Jeff Alt’s 2,160-mile trek along the Appalachian Trail has raised more than $500,000 for individuals with disabilities.


Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.

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