Friday, December 17, 2010

Heartfelt Review of Lost Angel Walkabout from Defending the Pen

It is a very nice holiday gift to think my work helped someone through a very rough patch. Yolanda from Defending the Pen has posted a very nice review of Lost Angel Walkabout. Here’s a snippet of it;

Recent poor health had me looking for an escape. When I picked up Linda Ballou’s book LOST ANGEL WALKABOUT, I found my salvation. Linda combines her most favorite things to create a book of adventures like nothing I have ever read. She blends her love of travel, and writing, and in several stories her love of horses, and with unsurpassed skill she takes the reader with her to places like Raven’s River, Alaska, to windswept Donegal Bay, Ireland, to Waipio Valley in Hawaii, and North Island, New Zealand to name just a few. Linda not only takes you on a journey to exciting places and distant lands she shares herself along the way. Her stories are personal, enlightening, and captivating. . .

Read more at Defending the Pen

Friday, December 10, 2010

Great Outdoor Day in L.A. #7 – Sunset Sampler

Temescal Gateway Park tucked in a canyon off of Sunset Canyon in Pacific Palisades is a gem that can be enjoyed year round. An “Alice in Wonderland” tree-tunnel beckons the hiker to enter the well-worn trail that meanders beside a creek. While the rest of the trails are dust-laden and dry in summer this footpath remains a soothing oasis. A marine breeze wafts up the canyon, refreshing the hiker.
When you reach a seasonal waterfall, the trail makes a steep ascent to the ridge line. The good news is that the bun-burning portion of this track is in the shade.

Read more at Examiner

I walk in beauty on the good red road
Linda Ballou

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Review of Lost Angel Walkabout at Rolf Pott’s Vagabonding

I am absolutely over the top with what Rolf Pott’s review had to say about Lost Angel Walkabout.

Rolf is one of the finest young travel writers of our time. I especially enjoyed Marco Polo’s, “Didn’t Go There” which displays good writing and tells readers what goes into creating a professional piece.

This review makes me feel very proud and happy that I carried through with the effort to share my reflections with readers.

Read the review her at Vagablogging;


I walk in beauty on the good red road.

Linda Ballou

For all purchases made at my website there is free gift wrap and shipping during December.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Great Outdoor Day in L.A. #6 – Point Dume Bluff Trail

Hike up the well-traveled path that sashays though a meadow spiked with lupine and California poppies in the spring. In February you will walk through mounds of brilliant yellow coreopsis, a shaggy form of rare daisy endemic to the region. Once aloft, enjoy majestic views of Windward Beach. If it looks familiar it is because it was used as the backdrop for the Bay Watch series and countless commercials.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Jack London and Me

I didn't realize it when I was growing up in gold country, but I was walking in the footsteps of America's best-loved adventure writer. That's me standing in front of Jack London's Wolf House. Over the years our paths have crossed many times. I feel a special connection to a man I never met, but whose actions and deeds inspire me still.
Read the full story at YourLife is a Trip by clicking on the link.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Twelve Days Before Christmas

On the first day of Christmas
my true love sent to me a copy
of Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawaii.

On the second day of Christmas
My true love sent to me two copies of
Lost Angel Walkabout: One Traveler’s Tales,
And one copy of Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawaii.

As a thank you, any book ordered from
the website comes Gift-wrapped with
free shipping.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Book is a Gift That Keeps on Giving

Wai-nani - A New Voice From Old Hawaii

Through Wai-nani’s eyes experience the Hawaiian society as it existed when Captain James Cook arrived at Kealakekua Bay in 1779, ride the billowing seas with Eku the wild dolphin she befriends, join her in a celebration of the people of old.

Available at all major online distribution sites, Kindle Reader and my wesbite,

Signed copy with free shipping and gift wrap, if purchased on Linda’s site

Monday, November 29, 2010

Great Outdoor Day in L.A. #5 - Santa Cruz Island

About an hour north of Los Angeles a spectacular day trip to the Island of Santa Cruz awaits you. Turn up at the Island Packer dock in Ventura Harbor about 9 AM with a lunch in your backpack and leave your worries behind. After an hour-long cruise across the channel, passengers are dropped off at Scorpion Anchorage and admonished to be back by 4 PM or plan on spending the night on the island. Some choose to do exactly that, but most fan out on separate day hikes.

Read more here at L.A.Outdoor Travel Examiner

I walk in beauty on the good red road
Linda Ballou

Purchase a copy of Lost Angel Walkabout: One Travelers Tales or Wai-nani from my website during December, 2010 and I will send you a signed gift-wrapped copy with free shipping.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Giving Thanks!

It is time to count our blessings and say thanks to those who have supported us. You know who you are and I want you to know how much I appreciate you. May you enjoy the bounty of the season! November is a special time to get outdoors in Southern California.

I will be hiking my turkey off with friends. If you are in L.A. don’t forget to look at my L.A. Outdoor Travel column for the Great Outdoor roadmaps I have provided for you to enjoy.

Happy Thanksgiving!
I walk in beauty on the good red road.
Linda Ballou

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Great Outdoor Day in L.A. #4 - A Trail to Share

Trail mates come in all shapes, sizes, and attitudes. Get outside of your career coop and hike with someone that gives you fresh points of view. Learn while you burn unwanted calories on this easily accessed 2.5 mile loop.

The Sara Wan trailhead located on Pacific Coast Highway at the foot of Corral Canyon is one of the Santa Monica Conservancy’s newer acquisitions. The well-maintained path is wide enough for two and switches back and forth to heavenly vistas. Bear to the left on your way up canyon and enjoy the murmur of Corral Creek as you begin your hike. Fog chased by a cool breeze off the Pacific drifts through stands of eucalyptus, alder, . . . read more here

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lost Angel Walkabout – The Perfect Travel Companion Reviewed at One Writer’s Journey

“She embraces life and the adventures it holds. All this is evident in her writing and her presentation” says Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz of One Writer's Journey. She reviews Lost Angel Walkabout: One Traveler’s Tales at her blog

Lost Angel Review

I found Linda’s collection of thirty stories to be entertaining and informative. She has a knack for drawing the reader into her adventure, so I felt like I rode next to her as she attempted to jump her horse in Ireland and struggled with her up a mountainside in New Zealand. She has an affinity with nature and strives to leave no footprint as she travels. She doesn’t stay in five star hotels or fancy resorts. She sleeps in tents, bed and breakfasts, and small out of the way home situations. She enjoys the local food as well as the local scenery. She doesn’t shy away from trying to drive a car on the “wrong side of the street” or ride a horse into a snow storm. She embraces life and the adventures it holds. All this is evident in her writing and her presentation.

Read more at One Writer’s Journey

Buy the book directly from the author and receive a signed copy and free shipping.

Also, available at Amazon in both soft-cover and a Kindle Reader Edition.

Lost Angel Walkabout – author interviewed at One Writer’s Journey

Linda Ballou embraces life and the adventures it holds in her new book Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler's Tales. In this interview she explains why it was so important for her to take these journeys and why she wanted to get these reflections and impressions into the hearts and minds of readers. Read the interview here at One Writer’s Journey.

Order Lost Angel Walkabout: One Traveler’s Tales at

and get a signed copy with free shipping.

It is also available at Amazon in both soft-cover and a Kindle Reader Edition.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Great Outdoor Day in L.A. #3 Reagan Ranch

Walks let my mind relax as my eyes widen and soften and take in a larger field. Smelling the gray clouds lying wet on the land like a cool blanket reminds me of my Alaskan home. Home no longer really, but images forever stained upon an impressionable mind. I walked then, as I do now, for hours feeling the cool air on my skin, blood fired, synapses snapping, bones strengthening, muscles lengthening. Blood flowing to cheeks cool to the touch with heart warm and mind pondering all that I come across.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Your Life is a Trip - Book Giveaway Nov 11 -21, 2010

We invite you to celebrate Your Life Is A Trip authors by helping us get the word out about our first FREE book giveaway. Post the contest on your facebook page, shout out on twitter, link, blink, email your friends and family... anything to help us introduce new readers to Your Life Is A Trip and showcase your fellow contributors' books.

From November 11-21, 2010, we'll be GIVING AWAY one of our author's books each day. All readers have to do to win is sign up to receive the FREE Your Life is a Trip newsletter, and you're automatically in the random drawing. If you're already a subscriber, great! You could be a winner.

The books are as diverse as our contributors, and they'll whisk you away to the jungle tribes of Papua New Guinea, buying art in a Mexican prison, a journey of self-discovery and into the world of a falconer. Pack the book for holiday travel, sneak a peek and then pass it on to someone you care about, enjoy it in front of a crackling fire or place it on your nightstand before you drift off into dreamtime. We support books, bibliophiles and our Your Life is a Trip authors.

And remember, you can purchase great reads by our members anytime in the TRIP SHOP.
Mark your calendars and join us for the trip...


November 11, 2010: Morning Light by Nancy King

November 12, 2010: Life Is A Trip: The transformative magic of travel by Judith Fein.

November 13, 2010: Digital Storytelling (Second Edition): A Creator’s Guide To Interactive Entertainment by Carolyn Handler Miller

November 14, 2010: Riding the Hulahula to the Arctic Ocean: A Guide to 50 Extraordinary Adventures for the Seasoned Traveler by Don Mankin and Shannon Stowell

November 15, 2010: Powerful Places Guidebooks by Elyn Aviva and Gary White.

November 16, 2010: The Mystery of Journeys Crowne: An Adventure Drawing Game by K. Michael Crawford.

November 17, 2010: Lost Angel Walkabout: One Traveler's Tales by Linda Ballou

November 18, 2010: Falconer on the Edge: A man, his birds, and the vanishing landscape of the American West by Rachel Dickinson

November 19, 2010: Tony Hillerman Landscapes: On the Road with Chee and Leaphorn by Anne Hillerman and Don Strel.

November 20, 2010: Bruar's Rest by Jess Smith

November 21, 2010: Mr. Ding's Chickenfeet: On a Slow Boat from Shanghai to Texas by Gillian Kendall
Inspiring Your Travels and Your Life

Friday, November 5, 2010

Great Outdoor Day in L.A. #2 –Hondo Canyon

I am the L.A. Outdoor Travel Examiner for

The articles in this column provide insider tips for great outdoor days in L.A., or adventures that are easily done in a day trip. They will begin with the suggested adventure details and end in sweat-band friendly eateries. You will learn historical tidbits about a given region to enhance your experience as well ss points of interest nearby a trail head that can round off and great outdoor day. I hope you will join me.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Big Fun on the Way

I have been chosen to be the Examiner for Los Angeles Outdoor Travel Column on

These articles will provide insider tips for great outdoor days in L.A.and surrounding areas. They will begin with hike details and end in a sweat-band friendly eatery. You will learn historical tidbits about a given region that will enhance your experience, as well as points of interest nearby the trail head that can round off and great outdoor day. I hope you will join me.

You can find me here at Examiner.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Good of Going to the Mountains Part 3

Continues From Part 2
After a saunter through the woods on a path of soft moss, we crossed a wooden bridge spanning a ravine where deep pools carved by the charging water serve as swimming holes for the intrepid in the summer. Soon, we arrived at the back door of the Mt. Washington Hotel. The last of the grand hotels, built in the 1800s, is a bit fussy for the Teva-set, but we were graciously allowed to enjoy a drink on the veranda. From there we watched the cog-train chug its way up the flank of Mt. Washington.

Mt. Washington was called the Place of the Storm Spirit by the Native Americans, who viewed it as the sacred home of the Great Spirit. The moody monarch, generally crowned with dark swirling clouds with a white cape on the shoulder was plainly visible in the cloudless blue sky. From the top of the mountain one may see Maine dotted with lakes, The Green Mountains of Vermont, the settlements of Bartlett and Conway, the four-toothed summit of Mt. Chocorua, and the other main peaks of the Presidential Range.

While relaxing at the hotel, our guide, Graham, who calls the Mt. Washington Valley home, shared the story of the Willey family with us. The Willeys were warned that they had built their home at the base of avalanche- prone mountain. So, they built a small shelter away from the house. When they heard the inevitable rumbling of a slide, the family of five went into the shelter. Unfortunately, the shelter, not the house, was crushed with all the Willeys in it. The site of the Willey family’s demise in 1826 was painted by Thomas Cole and is recognized as the best and most famous work of the White Mountain landscape artists.

Reading Gods in Granite, by Robert L. McGrath, a comprehensive collection of the art of the White Mountains is loaded with color plates and will deeply enrich your visit.

During our visit we hiked to Arethusa Falls, which at 200 feet is the highest of falls in the Whites, Sabbaday Falls, a picturesque series of cascades into a narrow channel, as well as Avalanche Falls in the dramatic Flume Gorge. But of the over one hundred waterfalls in the mountains, Crystal Cascade was my favorite. This most alluring rush of white plunges into staggered pools formed by boulders the size of a Volkswagen Bug. Twisted birch cling to the sheer granite walls that survive winters with snow so deep the cross country skiers have only the tree tops to find their way home. Nichol is one of the stout-hearted young men who carry their skis up to Tuckerman’s ravine, a huge glacier bowl above the falls, for a death-defying run down the mountain in the spring.

The bottom leg of the Basin-Cascade trail is a 2-mile mama bear run that follows the Pemigewasset River. It was to be our last stroll through burgundy and bronze, spiked with happy chartreuse leaves over head. Light streaming through the cathedral that is the woods spotlighted our path. I felt fortunate to have this quiet time free of cell-phone bleeps calling me back to duty. My internal tape had run clean during my week in the mountains, leaving me free to absorb the beauty all around me. I just hoped this calm feeling inside would stick. When we reached the Basin, a bowl gouged into solid rock from 25,000 years of hydraulic pounding, Nichol pointed to a rock formation under the water.

“They say that is the foot of the Old Man of the Mountain.”
“He must have been the first hiker to come here,” I said. “I bet it did him some good.”

New England Hiking Holidays offers all inclusive five-day trips from late June to early October. Prices before Sept. 18th $1,495. After Sept. 18th $1,595. In July and August they offer a gentle New England exploration that covers much of the same terrain of the other five day trips but focuses more on the rich history of the region. They also have 2-3 day trips available from May through Oct. from $885-$995.1-800-869-0949
for reservations or more information about the other hikes they offer about the globe go to e-mail

If You Go
The fall is the favored time to visit the White Mountains. If you want these dates you must book early. Late spring, in between the bugs of summer and the mud of later winter, is also wonderful time to go when the meadow are carpeted with wildflowers.

If you are unable to reach higher elevations on your own steam you make catch the scenic rail trip out of North Conway to the depot in Crawford Notch.


The Cog Railway, founded in 1866 chugs visitors to the top of Mt. Washington in Victoria era coaches.

The Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway in Franconia Notch runs daily, weather permitting.

I walk in beauty on the good red road
Linda Ballou

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Good of Going to the Mountains Part 2

Continues from Part 1,

The Whites from a distance appear benign but are reputed to be intolerant and unpredictable. The weather at the top of Mt. Washington, the highest of the peaks in the Northeast (elevation 6290) has the worst weather in the world. Gusts of over one hundred miles per hour have been reported during all months of the year.

“Winds funnel into the canyons from several different directions creating churning whiteouts that blind hikers and stop rescue attempts,” our guide, Nichol, told us. Hikers get lost so often the good folks of New Hampshire now require them to pay for the cost of their rescue. With the aid of New England Hiking Holidays, I was able to explore with carefree abandon the fabled notches, intervales and peaks painted by over 400 landscape artists and listen to the stories the forests tell.

The median age of our group was fifty. Fitness levels ranged from recovering couch potato to personal-trainer buff. Many of the guests were seasoned, international travelers, and most had a few week-long hiking adventures under their belts. After hiking 5-7 miles each day, we enjoyed the luxury of the Thorn Hill Inn and Spa, where we could partake in a full massage, steam or hot tub under the stars. The sophistication of the group made for stimulating conversation over gourmet meals prepared by a chef with a flare for perfection. The Inn is located in Jackson, a village oozing with White Mountain charm; pumpkin men and ladies on the lawns, benches for strollers to enjoy, bright flower boxes and a red covered bridge spanning the Wildcat River that runs through the town. Two of our nights were spent in the Sugar Hill region at the lovingly restored Sunset House, built in 1882, overlooking a vast meadow dotted with wild turkey.

Amazingly, the group of eighteen settled naturally into two groups of nine with similar degrees of fitness and aspirations. Once my group caught up with me, we tramped together to Lonesome Lake, where we enjoyed a healthful repast at the friendly AMC hut maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Club, the oldest outdoor organization in the U.S. In our week we walked on several segments of the 2,125 mile Appalachian Trail that runs all the way from Maine to Georgia. In the sunny afternoon we circumnavigated the lake on boardwalks that kept us above the moose marsh surrounding the blue gem nestled in pines. I was struck by the fact that there were no mosquitoes swarming in what looked to be the perfect habitat.

“Fall is the best time to come here because there are no bugs.” Nichol explained. The pesky black flies of the summer months are at bay and ticks are out of season. The crisp nights bring out brilliant color in the foliage, but the days are in the seventies, perfect for the droves of leaf peepers who flock to the region this time of year.

On the way to the Basin hike, we passed by what remains of the Old Man in the Mountain. So loved was the jagged granite face carved by nature thousands of years ago he was put on state license plates. The “Old Man,” credited with being the guardian of the mountains, was held together for years with cables. Despite these efforts to save him, he came down in 2003. Now, he is affectionately referred to by locals as “Cliff.”

One day was spent exploring Crawford Notch, where Ethan Allan Crawford built the first hospitality house in the 1800s for the “rusticators” who came by train and stayed all summer. Tourists still pour off the train from Conway at the depot in the notch. Crawford also carved a trail to the top of Mt. Washington, which remains the oldest trail in continuous use in the United States.

Read more at Linda's website.

The Good of Going to the Mountains was originally published in Real Travel Adventures in 2006
Join us on Friday, for The Good of Going to the Mountains, Part 3


I walk in beauty on the good red road.

Linda Ballou

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Good of Going to the Mountains, Part I

by Linda Ballou

Like the poets, painters and millions of trampers before me, I’d come to the
White Mountains of New Hampshire to rid myself of commercial chatter, pollution and to
know Mother Nature’s healing heart.

I bound up the boulder steps of the Basin-Cascade trail tracing an energetic river graced with glistening waterfalls. While navigating the twisted roots of birch trees, I chanced a look to the heavens trembling with lemon leaves rustling in a flirtatious breeze. Relishing a moment of sacred solitude while waiting for the rest of my hiking group to join me at the base of Ellis Falls, I listened to the full throated roar of the powerful white curtain of water carving a path through sheer granite. The fragrance of balsam fir and the fecund odor of the gold and amber carpet of falling leaves filled the air. Like the poets, painters and millions of trampers before me, I’d come to the White Mountains of New Hampshire to rid myself of commercial chatter, pollution and to know Mother Nature’s healing heart.

Over 600 miles of well-marked paths lace our first National Forest. These trails seduce the hiker into shady glens through lacy fern forests and to alpine climbs pocked with turquoise glacier cirques …. Read more here

Find these articles and more on Linda’s website,

The Good of Going to the Mountains was originally published in Real Travel Adventures in 2006

Join us here on Wednesday, for Part II of The Good of Going to the Mountains.


I walk in beauty on the good red road.

Linda Ballou

Friday, October 22, 2010

Real Travel Adventures Reviews Lost Angel Walkabout

Real Travel Adventures, is the longest running e-zine on the net, that has spotlighted my work over the years. I want to recommend this fine magazine that gives first hand honest accounts from travelers without an agenda other than the desire to share. Editor, Bonnie Neely gave my book Lost Angel Walkabout a glowing review that makes me feel my desire to share essays of my most memorable adventure travels over the last decade was a worthwhile endeavor! Her review is below;

A Review of Lost Angel Walkabout by Bonnie Neely, Editor of Real Travel Adventures Magazine

Lost Angel Walkabout
by Linda Ballou is one of the most beautifully written travel books I have ever read. Linda tells her personal experiences of her many travels in different continents and environs. She is well-known as a top adventure travel writer, and her tales of her intrepid soul's search for beauty in the wilds and her ability to rouse physically to any demands of the setting will thrill the reader. She increased my desire to become more physically fit so that I could do some of the things she is daring and fit enough to do. She grew up in Alaska and has always loved horses. Her travel tales about returning to that wonderful environ and her experiences in many different places which involved riding horses are so beautifully inspiring. Linda also leads walkabouts in Los Angeles. I highly recommend her book as a treasure you will want to read, and then to re-read aloud to anyone who might want to listen. Her use of words is very commanding and her descriptions so vivid you will feel you have traveled alongside her and seen all the beauty of the surroundings which she so deeply appreciates. This is a MUST READ!

Visit Real Travel Adventures and sign up for their free newsletter;

Find more books about travel adventures;


I walk in beauty on the good red road

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Two Roads To Make Travel Writing Success

My other half says I lead a charmed life. I have to admit I am amazed at how great my life has become. I am hosted by wonderful people eager to share their brand of beauty with me. I only go where I want to go and take adventures that are exciting to me and then I write honestly about what I see and experience. I have a few favorite editors who love my work and make placement of my pieces easy. I’m happy to share my roadmap for this journey with you.

Blair Howard, a freelance journalist and photographer who has spent more than 30 years traveling the world. He is the authors of 34 books and more than 2500 magazine, newspaper and web articles. One of the differences between me and Blair Howard is that he has been making a living as a travel writer for over twenty years.

I, on the other hand, approached the field a decade ago with the idea that I wanted great trips that I could not have afforded on my own budget.

Mr. Howard capitalizes on his strong photographic skills and the text of his stories simply supplement his images. I have been a writer all my adult life in many different genres. I approach the task by journaling and look for the hook in my story while he is looking for the shot.

Mr. Howard and I both have tips to offer to you. I have a free download "How to Make Travel Writing Work for You."

You can read Mr. Howards tips below and sign up for his class for a fee if you like.


I walk in beauty on the good red road

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Taste of Lost Angel Walkabout - The High Sierras

The world has been spinning for about twenty minutes now. It is the top of the fourth day of my horse-pack trip into the High Sierras. After a long day of riding my legs were weak, I stepped over a rill meandering through the grass, sank into the moss and lost my balance. My fall was shortstopped by a jagged branch jutting upward from a slumbering log that lodged in my rib cage.

Will the Lost Angel survive?

Read more here;

I walk in beauty on the good red road.
Linda Ballou

Monday, October 11, 2010

Get Your Aloha Fix Here

Willy K is a full tilt Aloha Fix. With nothing but a guitar and incredible voice he blew everyone lucky enough to be sitting with him under the stars away with him on Oct. 8th at the Ford Theater in Hollywood. Willy K who is amazingly versatile does Hawaiian music of course, but then he does scat-singing with an operatic finale. Plus this man is laugh out loud funny. I came to the Aloha Fest for the hula which was divine, but an unexpected discovery is always the best kind.

I walk in beauty on the good red road
Linda Ballou

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Breathing Life Into History - Kern County Book Festival Oct 12-16

Breathing Life Into History

Please join Linda Ballou, and friends, at the Kern County Book Festival on Oct. 16th at 11:00 AM -1:00PM at the Beale Memorial Library, 701 Truxtun Ave , Bakersfield ,Ca 93301

Linda is pleased to part of a lively author’s panel at the Kern County Book Festival! She will talk about what brought her to Ka’ahumanu the proud chiefess that inspired her protagonist Wai-nani High Chiefess of Hawaii , Sarah Burns will be giving a women’s history presentation and some background for her book Matilda of Argylle. Mary Ruth Hughes will talk about her book Tisho-Mingo. Between the three authors you will learn about three separate cultural/matriarchal groups. This panel is the culminating event in the four day book fair from Oct. 12-16.

To find out more about The Kern County Book Festivals click on the link;


I walk in beauty on the good red road

Linda Ballou

Friday, October 8, 2010

Get Inspired to Travel by Ellen Barone Mentions Linda Ballou and Her Experiences with Whitewater Adventure

The Canadian Mountain Holidays website in their Power of Adventure section has posted an article by Ellen Barone, titled, “How Travel Adventure Changed My Life” and in this article she talks about me, Linda Ballou as one of four travelers that are living proof of the power of adventure.

Get Inspired to Travel by Ellen Barone

We know that adventure travel is great fun, but it can also act as a catalyst for live-changing decisions, new relationships or transformational experiences that open heart, soul and mind. From facing a fear of drowning and a perfectly timed random encounter to following love across Africa and learning to love solo travel, these four travelers are living proof of the power of adventure. Read on for serious inspiration.

"A whitewater adventure gave me the strength to face my fear of drowning."

Having nearly drowned in the Pacific Ocean twice, Linda Ballou had a nagging fear of oceans and rivers. "I envied those who surf the blue face of foaming waves or whitewater rafters who fight their way through the fury of a wild river," says Linda.

Mired in the traffic and chaos of her Los Angeles life and craving an opportunity to regain control of her life, she signed on for a guided rafting adventure on the Salmon River. "I fell in love with the idea of taking an uninterrupted journey through rugged, isolated country where I might enjoy solitude," Linda recalls. "And a rafting vacation gave me the chance to face my fears head on."

Easing into the 86-mile float, Linda gained confidence in stages, graduating over the week from the group raft to a guided two-man kayak to solo status on the final day of the trip.
"It took all my strength to navigate the waves," says Linda. "But I felt empowered, brave and heady with triumph. Confronting, not hiding from, my fears allowed me to break down the barriers to forward movement in my life. It was a tremendous experience and a real breakthrough."


I walk in beauty on the good red road

Linda Ballou

Thursday, September 30, 2010

One Writer's Journey interviews author Linda Ballou

As the celebration of Aloha Festival Month comes to a close for another year in Hawaii and on this blog, the book Wai-nani High Chiefess of Hawaii, Her Epic Journey remains to tell the story of an ancient people and the Hawaiian woman Wai-nani the forerunner to the modern woman. You can find out more about Wai-nani in this interview I did with One Writer’s Journey.

Q: Tell me a little about your book.

A: Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawai’i- Her Epic Journey is fabled history couched in magical realism set in primal Hawaii. Precocious Wai-nani’s character is inspired by the powerful personage of Ka’ahumanu, the favorite wife of Kamehameha the Great. This was no small accomplishment as he had thirty-one wives. Kamehameha fulfilled the prophecy at the time of his birth to unite the Islands and gave Hawaii a golden age. Upon his death, he bestowed rank upon Ka’ahumanu that made her the most powerful woman in old Hawaii. She used that power put an end to the 2000-year-old Polynesian “kapu system” that called for harsh penalties for law breakers and human sacrifice to the gods.

Wai-nani’s mythological journey that is woven throughout the actual historical events that led to Kamehameha’s rise to power is the bigger story.

Q: What gave you the idea for this particular story?

A: While I was living on the north shore of Kauai a special issue in the local paper about Captain James Cook caught my attention. The fact that Captain Cook was killed by the Hawaiians in 1779 intrigued me. I wanted to know why and became curious about what was happening in the Islands when Cook arrived. Most accounts depict the Hawaiians as blood- thirsty savages who ganged up on the world’s greatest explorer. I learned this was not an accurate picture. It looked like justifiable homicide to me and that the Hawaiians had gotten a bum rap. I wanted to tell the story from the Hawaiian point of view. In my research I ran into Ka’ahumanu, a childless royal, who faced down death-dealing priests and the common beliefs of her day. She struck me as a brave figure in history that had been over-looked.

Q: Are you a full-time writer, or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

A: I have been writing all my adult life, but have incorporated my writing life into the full time job of selling real estate. Real estate is demanding, but it does afford me more personal freedom than a nine-to-five job. When I am working on a project, be it a novel, travel essay or article, I read the night before writing on a given subject and enlist my subconscious to provide me with ideas and answers to writing questions. I rise early and re-read what I have written before and think about what I am attempting to do and allow the night time thoughts to filter through my mind. The results are often exciting and surprising. Then I go immediately to the keyboard. I work on the given project for the first two hours of the day before the phone starts ringing. This schedule has allowed me to write two novels a screenplay, numerous travel articles and essays and a few short stories.
You can read more here at One Writer’s Journey.


I walk in beauty on the good red road.

Linda Ballou

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lessons from the People of Old Hawaii

No matter what your relationship with the person who brought you into this world –be it good, bad or indifferent—it is always complicated. My Mother’s passing left me with my energies low, immune system weakened and spirits sagging. The Hawaiian Islands have always been a source of solace and sustenance for me. Memories of crescent white sand wrapping azure seas would not let me go. I had to go back to the Islands.

The Big Island of Hawai’i is known
to be a power place, a vortex where energy funnels up from the core of the earth. The Hawaiian Islands are still being born. New life flows down the flank of Kilaeau and pours into the sea with a hiss and steam rising for miles. Since the seventies there has been a resurgence of traditional Hawaiian healing techniques that went underground 200-hundred years ago when the missionaries arrived in the Islands to spread the “good news.” Today, the Big Island is the nexus of the plexus where new age and traditional Hawaiian healing and eastern and western methods converge.

Ho’oponopono, the Hawaiian way of talking things out is about forgiveness. You must come to the session with a clear heart actively throwing stones of anger, disappointment, jealousy, revenge, from your bowl so that they do not block the light, or pure energy that the Hawaiians call mana. You must also bring an attitude of forgiveness with you and a desire to achieve harmony with yourself and others.

In the end dealing with the death of a parent requires forgiveness. You must forgive yourself and them for not being perfect. Maybe they sent you in a wrong direction that took you many years to turn around. Perhaps, they were not demonstrative and you felt unloved. Forgiveness for their failings is required, but you must forgive yourself for not having been the perfect child that was always well-behaved. Ultimately, what you must achieve is acceptances for the frailties of the human condition. That, my friends, is what ho’oponopono is all about.

 Research for Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i became a beautiful obsession that called for numerous trips to the Islands. I visited sacred sites, interviewed elders, spent nights in Waipio Valley where the bones of ancient chiefs are hidden in caves in steep walls framing the canyon.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Breaking News: The Ugliest American I Ever Met: Wins Travel Writing Contest!!!!!

Here's a short excerpt of the writing piece that I wrote that garnerd first place at Exotic Visitors Writing conterst.

The Ugliest American I Ever Met
by Linda Ballou

Umbrellas strapped in tiny straight jackets stayed with the picnic tables that skidded across flooded St. Marks Square. We edged our way into Harry’s Bar and Grill, the only dry spot in Venice and bellied up to the bar. Grateful for seats, we sat down with a heavy sigh at the bar. The harried bartender scrambled to serve the shoulder to shoulder crowd. Patience brought us two bubbling Bellini’s—an apricot juice with champagne touted to bet Hemingway’s favorite libation. I toasted our good fortune with my friend.

We were on our second Bellini feeling “chumsy” and warm from the body heat in the room when the swinging front doors blew open. Gusts of cold air caused the group to rise in unison as though someone had pinched their collective bottoms. The door wouldn’t shut as more people huddled in the doorway trying to get out of the deluge. After unloading from the vaparetto with hair drenched and teeth clenched, Maury and Bernice elbowed their way into the bar. Bernice ruthlessly shoved customers out of her way.

“Get your fat ass off my foot”, she said, as she shoved a blond woman with her elbow.

Read more here;

I walk in beauty on the good red road.
Linda Ballou

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Baby Boomer Woman: Linda Ballou featured at The Voices of Baby Boomer Women

Baby Boomer Woman: Linda Ballou

by Anne Holmes on September 13, 2010

Welcome to NABBW member and adventure travel writer Linda Ballou, who calls Haines, Alaska her hometown. I find that intriguing, since Linda’s debut novel, Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawaii-Her Epic Journey grew out of her long-standing love affair with the Hawaiian Islands. Fire and ice, she’s seen it all!

These days she bases in Los Angeles, where she has just published her second book, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales. This collection of short travel stories will fill you with thrills, chills, giggles, squeaks — and the desire to get yourself in great physical shape so you can join her for the next trek…

What qualities do you have that speak of our generation of women?
We are the first generation to have the choice to have children, or not to have children. I think the birth control pill was single most liberating component of my generation. I made the conscious decision to strive for self-actualization—that is to live up to my fullest potential as an artist and human being.

Blessed with what is being called the “Golden Age of America”, in terms of the economic history of our country, I was able obtain a degree in English Literature and subsequently to take a year off to consider my future before entering the work force in earnest.

I chose the north shore of Kauai to be my thinking place. It was there that I experienced a spiritual awakening and met Ka’ahumanu, the inspiration of my historical novel, Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawaii. She was a childless chiefess who remained the confident and favorite wife of Kamehameha the Great for forty years.

She was also a “healing kumu” dubbed the “Loving Mother of the People.” She remained true to herself, including her sexual appetites, even upon the threat of death. She was a wonderful surfer and reputedly swam 18 miles a day in her youth.

When Kamehameha died he made her the most powerful woman in old Hawai’i. She used this power to put an end to the 2,000 year old Polynesian kapu system that called for human sacrifice.

WOW… as in “What a Woman “is all I can say! She was independent, brave, athletic, compassionate, and caring for those who were less fortunate. These are qualities I hope people see in me and others of my generation.

Read the rest of the article here;

I walk in beauty on the good red road
Linda Ballou