I’m a writer, teacher, digital photographer, and speaker. I have lived in different parts of the United States, and in different parts of the world.
I have a Master’s degree in Creative Nonfiction, a Bachelor’s in English, and am a certified teacher in English as a Foreign Language. I’m a lifelong student of anything that strikes my interest, so I’ve also wound my way through certifications as an Adapted Aquatics Instructor, ISO Auditor, International Logistics, and Advanced Venomous Snake Handling (yup, that’s a real thing.)
WHY I USE “TRAVELING MARLA” FOR MY WEBSITE
Aside 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: Ida Lee* of Los Angeles. I like to pretend my other friends use it as well. They do not.
WHY I’M SO “STRANGE”
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.
WHERE I TRAVEL & WHAT I WRITE
My own wanderlust began in summers with my dad in Utah and Nevada, and the southwest will always be one of my favorite regions of the United States. Whether in America or abroad, I love to capture slice-of-life moments in writing and photography, and share them with others.
I’ve been asked about my favorite places and experiences. I don’t know about favorites, but certainly I have some indelible memories.
Wild camping in Botswana led to a few close encounters with elephants, and a leopard. Indelible trips: dune bashing in the UAE’s Arabian Desert; sleeping under the stars at Furnace Creek in Mojave’s Death Valley, drifting off to the sound of barking geckos in the Kalahari; racing pigeons in Indonesia; and standing by the great dune wall of the Namib Desert as it cascades into the Atlantic.
This website is a way to connect with my readers, to give you a glimpse into the life around me as I see it, both at home and wherever I go in the world. I hope you’ll join me.
*Update, 2017: I was heartbroken to learn that Ida Lee passed away. She lived to the beautiful age of 96, and how I wish her years could have been double that. Even after her physicality started challenging her she had such a fierceness in her soul, never-ending wanderlust, and a mind eager and willing to share so much of her knowledge, experience, and wisdom. Thank you, Ida Lee, for the powerful woman you were, and the legacy you leave behind.