Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Celebrating Nature's Bouquet on Earth Day

What better way to celebrate Earth Day then to go for hike with my new found friend
Empowered Woman, Tori Eldridge-of Empowered Living Radio fame.
 On the way to her home in Malibu, I noticed that the Coreopsis - a bright yellow daisy like flower atop a shaggy green stem were blooming in profusion. So, we decided to hike La Jolla Canyon where they cluster in profusion. This is where a horrific fire blackened the Santa Monica Mountains a year, or so ago. It was heartenting to see Mother Nature in her recovery phase.

The hills were covered with twisted black limbs of Sumac that reminded me of a perm gone bad, but the trail was lined with Mariposa Lilies and the meadows carpeted with wildflowers. Blankets of royal purple Lupine, spiked with splotches of bright yellow Poppies with dollops of Red Indian Paint brush made up nature's bouquet. 

We talked of many things both somber and light as we marched along enjoying the cool breath off the Pacific fringed in white far below. The day spoke to me about the resilience of Mother Nature, the need for cleansing and making way for new growth and reminded me that throughout the millennium fire has always played a big part in the spectacle of life.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Shady Glades and Sparkling Cascades are Calling

Several years I ago I hiked in the White Mountains with New England Hiking Holidays. In my article “Peak Experience” I detail what an exquisite experience it was to hike in the buttery glow of the autumn sun beneath a canopy of tangelo leaves. Graham, our lead trip guide, told me that the Columbia River Gorge hike was his favorite offering of NEHH because of the dramatic cluster of waterfalls, scent of pine-sheathed mountains, and meadows choked with wildflowers. This image never left me, so I am thrilled to be joining NEHH once
again for their outing in Oregon. Clare Grabher and her husband Kurt, owners and operators of NEHH, make it possible for the average outdoor enthusiastic to experience the wonders of nature by day and the comforts of posh inns offering fine cuisine by night. They run hiking tours in North America, Hawai’i, Italy, the Swiss Alps, and England, as well as historic walks in Spain. I wanted to know more about what goes into creating these top-tier trips around the globe, so I asked Clare a few questions.

There are a few spaces left in the June Columbia River Gorge/Mt Hood Hiking Holiday for more go to

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Real Talk about Transformative Travel

Real talk about the transforming effects travel can have upon you. Join Tori Eldridge, hostess of Empowered Living Radio, and adventure travel writer Linda Ballou in a lively conversation that takes you to Alaska, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Hawaii and parts of the Wild West of North America. Find out where these two diverse personalities meet in the middle and discover that they are Soul Sisters.
Hiker Babe meets Empowered Woman 

New Travel Podcasts with AuthorsontheAirbookstoo on BlogTalkRadio

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Saddle Up in Ecuador

Linda leading riders in the Andes

Making tracks on the Inca Trail in the highlands of the Northern Andes fulfilled all my riding fantasies.
This adventure gets you up close and personal with the stunning  landscape and the sweet people who call  it  home. To learn more please enjoy my feature article in ........

Real Travel Adventures Linda Discovers Ecuador on Horseback
End of the day at Hacienda Cusen

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Best Stress Busters on the Big Island

Linda after these treatments

Could you use a lomi-lomi massage, therapy in a warm pool, or perhaps sea- water cleansing to get rid of toxins in your body? How about a little ho’oponopono that comes from the heart to clear you psyche? Two hundred yeas ago when disapproving missionaries arrived, Hawaiians took their beliefs underground. But in the 1970s, native Hawaiian healers dared to bring their ancestral knowledge back into the light of day. The intensity of the elements of earth, fire, water and wind has made Big Island a magnet for healers of all persuasions. Their special knowledge is easily accessed if you know where to look.  
You won't be sorry you did!      

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hiker Babe meets Empowered Woman

Hiker Baby and Empowered Woman
Big fun leading Tori Eldridge author of Empowered Living on a hike in her own back yard.
It always tickles me when I can introduce a trail to someone who loves to hike, has hiked many trails in the Santa Monica Mountains and is as excited as I am to find a new one. I took Tori to theMalibu Springs Trail/NicholasPond that overlooks the Pacific and back canyons beneath Boney Ridge. As we switch-backed up the mountain, I huffed and puffed, stopping with the excuse to point out the views, while Tori barely broke a sweat. In top form, Tori, a black belt Ninja, makes Wonder Woman look like a wimp. Raised in Hawai’i, she is in tune with nature and loves the outdoors. Her eclectic acting/dancing/singer career has taken her to Broadway and back to L.A. where she resides in Malibu.
Tori  Eldridge author of Empowered Living

In her book Empowered Living, Tori suggests you make a list of all the things that are great about yourself to amp of your self-esteem.  Her martial arts training has given her an awareness that anyone, but especially  females, can benefit from. I travel a great deal on my own, so the message she is offering is very valuable to me. Being more aware of your surroundings and knowing how to respond in an emergency can easily save your life.

We talked about many things. Books. Writing. How nature heals and how it is big enough to absorb our pain. I hope you will tune into our conversation on April 14th  on Empowered Living Radio 

focused on how  travel can transform us. The best part of the interview for me is that I have made a new friend that I can share with, learn from, and hopefully hike with again.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Exploring Ecuador

I am very pleased with the presentation of my article Exploring Ecuador in the spring issue of

  Travel World Magazine.

 In this issue of the publishing arm of North American Travel Journalist Association you will find stories about Diving in Micronesia, Tracking Tigers in Nepal, Hiking with Llama and much more. My article is on page 15-21.

Sacha Eco- Lodge-Amazon Basin

Ecuador is a pint-sized country chock full of outdoor adventures, a deep cultural heritage and sweet extending people. It boasts the largest bio-diversity per square mile on the planet. In this piece I share my experience at Sacha Lodge in the heart of the Amazon basin.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Whet Your Wanderlust

The Sages of Topanga Canyon arrived at the beautiful Topanga Library on a dark and stormy night hoping to Whet their Wanderlust. I took them on a visual journey to destinations in my book Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales.  As I shared highlights of a particular outdoor adventure, I touched lightly on environmental threats to a given region. Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness.” I expand that thought to include innocence. Even the most jaded individual will become aware of the threats of human intervention to pristine eco-systems through adventure travel.
Upon request, I shared Solutions for Solo Travelers and gave pointers on what to look for in an outfitter detailed in my article Not All Outfittersare Created Equal.
By all accounts everyone left with a new journey brewing.

       Mission accomplished!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wai-nani Audio Book Coming Soon!!!!!!!!

Christine Padovan

I am thrilled to announce that my novel Wai-nani, A Voice from old Hawai’i, will soon be available in audio format.

 Christine Padovan a popular narrator with a warm, distinctive voice, who makes non-fiction works sound compelling and interesting, with range and versatility in bringing characters to life in the world of fiction has agreed to narrate my book. That this bright and beautiful young woman identifies with the athleticism, as well as the spiritualty of my heroine, makes my heart sing. I’m certain she will do a superlative job on this work in progress. 
Work in Progress
Christine was awarded 'Best Audiobook' for 2013 by Efestivalofwords.com for her narration of Toni Dwiggins' acclaimed thriller, 'Badwater: The Forensic Geology Series'.  Christine is an Audible Approved Producer and member of the Audio Publishers Association.

She specializes in Romance/Erotica, Mystery/Thriller, Bios/Memoirs and Sci-fi/Fantasy genres. You can learn more about her at

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Jammin' Hawaiian Style at the Slack-Key Fest

Kalyn Aolani and Sonny Lim
A haunting chant set the scene at the Redondo Beach Performing Center for a host of brilliant musicians, singers and dancers brought in from Hawaii and parts of the mainland for your pleasure. Each of the six slack-key guitarists on stage were exceptional in their own right, but together they put on a brilliant, high energy performance. 

Reading Wai-nani at Meet and Greet

I was honored to be a guest speaker at the meet and greet kick off the night before. At this casual gathering the artist are up close and personal.  It was intimidating to be sharing the microphone with greats that ranged from Cyril  Pahuinui, son of the legendary Gabby Puhuinui the father of modern slack-key guitar, to Jeff Peterson a young artist with classical training who brings a fresh cool breeze to the traditional slack-key riffs. Still, I stood tall and did a brief reading from Wai-nani-A Voice fromOld Hawai’i and prayed this audience of authentic Hawaiian performers would fine my rendering of the “People of Old” pleasing. From all accounts it was!
The doors open at 11:00 AM on the day of the festival so that visitors can enjoy the Aloha market place where artisans share their wares. Prized hand painted gourds of artist Aunty Kanoe
Aunty Kanoe of Punahele Arts
to Hawaiian kitch are there for the taking along with CD’s from all the players. Dancers on the lawn are a warm up for what takes place in the main performance.

Jerry Santos sang old Hawaiian favorites while Kamuela Kimokeo accompanied him with some amazing slack-key solos. Kimo West and Jeff Peterson did a soulful duet in the classical style. Kayln Aolani, a bright little bird whose voice is like liquid sunshine brought tears to my eyes. My heart was full to the brimming by the end of this day of warm aloha. If you can only make one Polynesian event this is the one you don’t want to miss!
Many thanks to Mitchell Chang, producer, musical & creative director for inviting me to be a part of this wonderful event presented by Kala Koa Entertainment.