travel best hotel view Eiffel TowerI’m a multi-genre writer who lives and travels in different parts of the world.

I’ve been poisoning the poetry landscape since I was a teenager, adding essay and fiction throughout my undergraduate years at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where I obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English. During my time there, I was fortunate to be influenced by a couple incredible professors and writers, and received a couple writing awards.

I obtained my MFA in Creative Writing at Chatham University, majoring in Nonfiction with a concentration in Travel Writing.


South Africa map rainbowAside from it being easy to remember, and aside from writing about this life of travel, I use the moniker because it was given to me by a woman I adore, my 95-year-old friend, Ida Lee, of Los Angeles. She just decided that was me, and kept using it. I like to pretend my other L.A. friends use it as well. They do not.

In other words, I’m MarLa. I travel. I do things, live places, meet people, ruminate and write about it.

Currently I live in South Africa.

And write about it.

guest post blog Traveling Marla South Africa move

I’m the little one on the far end of the piano.


I like to say I’m the punchline of a joke…

What do you get when you cross a banjo-picking, coal-mining Appalachian family with an ancestry of ruminative, classically trained educators?

In other words, I’m just another product of rural western Pennsylvania.


My own wanderlust began in summers with my dad in the southwest, still one of my favorite regions of the States.  I have lived in various parts of America, and now abroad. I find something to love and something to write about every place I’ve been.

Of course I have favorites: dune bashing in the UAE; lunching with monks on Marble Mountain in Việt Nam; climbing St. Paul’s Cathedral in London; sleeping under the stars at Furnace Creek in Death Valley; chasing twilight and donkeys into the hills of Addis Ababa; 2a.m. searches for glowing plankton in the Maldives; and seeing my first honey badger in the wild in South Africa (honey badger really, really “don’t care.”)

Traveling Marla and Baxter stopping at Chamizal NM in 2010.

Traveling MarLa and Baxter at Chamizal Nat’l Memorial in 2010.

This website is a way to connect with my readers, to give you a glimpse into the daily life around me, both at home and wherever I go in the world.

If you would like to follow along with my adventures, or receive updates about my latest published work, please enter your email address in the box near the top right of this page. I never spam, and I never send more than one email per day.

Love, MarLa

17 Comments on “About

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  2. Hi Marla, just wanted to say that you have a beautiful blog. I especially enjoyed your posts from the Maldives as I have been there 5 times myself. It is truly paradise! All the best, Irene 🙂

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  4. Good morning.
    I logged on a few minutes ago, and there waiting for me was a notification that you liked my “I have nothing to say about pancakes” post. That’s very gratifying, so many thanks for that.
    And now that I have looked around your blog I feel even more gratified, and perhaps a little surprised and flattered. I’ll be following from now on.
    Do feel free to come again.

  5. Pingback: Chautauqua Swag: More Madison Favorites. Win an Endless Scarf! | Traveling MarLa

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  7. Merhaba! As am admirer or your work, I have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog award – pop on over to my page http://crazytraintotinkytown.com for details. Appreciate these awards involve some work, so please take your time or if you have received them before, my apologies but it’s still nice to know someone appreciates your blog. May your day be filled with sunshine

    • Hello and thanks so much! I appreciate how much you’ve been reading and commenting on my blog. I also love following yours and will look at the rules related to the award – I think I saw how it gets posted.

  8. Hi Marla,

    Thanks for liking the “Worst Job in America” post on our “The Two Bruces” blog and becoming a follower. You might be interested in the companion entry written by the other Bruce called “And it ain’t just the pigs that are weird.” Bruce wrote the “Worst Job” entry and I, the other Bruce, wrote “Pigs.” You’ll see we have different yet similar takes on the same event. Oh well, it makes life interesting and drives our friends up a wall.

    Life is good.

    Bruce and Bruce

  9. Hi Marla, (not sure if you received this)

    My name is Rick Backstrom and I could use your help. My wife and I are in the planning stage of a 10,000+ mile road trip. We will begin our Great American Dream Road Trip in Carlisle and head west. Along the way we will be spending nights in Dayton, OH, Springfield, IL, Ft Madison, IA, DesMoines, IA, Omaha, NE, Lincoln, NE, Sioux City, IA, Sioux Falls, SD, De Smet (Little House on the Prairie), SD, Pickerel Lake Recreation Area, SD, Fargo, ND, Jamestown, ND, Bismarck, ND, New Town, ND, Williston, ND, Glendive, MT, Little Big Horn, MT, Billings, MT, Bozeman, MT, Butte, MT, Helena, MT, Great Falls, MT, Browning, MT, Columbia Falls, MT, Sandpointe, ID, Spokane, WA, Wenatchee, WA, Seattle, WA, Olympia, WA, Port Townsend, WA, Mora Campgrounds, Olympic National Park, WA, Grays Harbor, WA, Portland, OR, Salem, OR, Lincoln City, OR, Coos Bay, OR, Crescent City, CA, Eureka, CA, Lasse County, CA, Reno, NV, Carson City, NV, Sacramento, CA, San Francisco, CA, Monterey, CA, San Luis Obispo, CA, Santa Monica, CA, Pasedena, CA, Barstow, CA, Sunrise RV Park, AZ, Grand Canyon, AZ, Sedona, AZ, Phoenix, AZ, Walnut Canyon, AZ, Page, AZ, Moab, UT, Sanders, AZ, St. Johns, AZ, Albuquerque, NM, Santa Fe, NM, Tucumcari, NM, Amarillo, TX, Lubbock, TX, Oklahoma City, OK, Tulsa, OK, Bentonville, AR, Branson, MO, Cairo, KY, Lexington, KY, Frankfurt, KY, Charleston, WV, and home… You may have lived in or travelled to one or more of these areas. We would appreciate any input on things such as places to go, eat, or sleep. Please feel free to drop us an email at rick@CarTripsUSA.com with any of your suggestions. Thanks for all your help.

    Thank you,

    Rick Backstrom

    P.S. You may want to travel along (via internet) you can follow us on our blog at http://cartripsusa.com by subscribing to the blog for updates. You will also find many of the photos we will be taking posted on http://facebook.com/TravelAlong or you can follow us at http://twitter.com/theUSAbyCAR