Growing up in the northern suburbs of Chicago, I never imagined a day when I would stand face-to-face with monkeys while teaching 5th grade at a notable international boarding school in Bangalore, India nor did I envision living in a developing country when I was in my 50s. Circumstances beyond my control opened up the opportunity to leave behind my Colorado version of the American dream and to relocate to Asia. From a 6,000 square foot metro Denver home, I slowly adjusted to a 300 square foot dorm room on the outskirts of Bangalore.
Leaping way outside my comfort zone, I focused on three passions – a desire to travel, a zeal for writing, and a love of teaching. During my first trip to India, I experimented with blogging. Sandy’s Travel Blog was launched. As a primary teacher, I didn’t feel comfortable writing about my classroom in real-time. Instead, I kept notes on my laptop.
These written observations came in handy when I shared the lessons I learned about perseverance, travel, education, faith, and family in my memoir, May This Be the Best Year of Your Life
Prior to living in India, I taught K-12 students in the United States in both Jewish private schools and public schools as well as college-level courses at the University of Colorado and Front Range Community College.
While raising four sons, I obtained two master’s degrees— one in Instruction and Curriculum from the University of Colorado—Boulder with an emphasis in English as a second language and educating culturally and linguistically diverse students, and another degree in Jewish Studies from Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago.
In conjunction with my first graduate degree, I wrote Rose Haas Alschuler: A Chicago Woman’s Life of Service 1887-1979 and five biographical essays on American Jewish women. The essays were published in encyclopedias and later added to the Jewish Women’s Archives website.
May This Be the Best Year of Your Life received numerous awards:
- Finalist–Travel/Travel Guide category–2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
- Finalist–Travel Essay category–2013 International Book Awards,
- Finalist 2013– Travel category– National Indie Book Excellence Awards
- Honorable Mention award in the Multicultural Non-Fiction category for the 2013 Global ebook Awards
- 4-star rating from Indie Reader Discovery Awards.
I am a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) and the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). I have received professional travel writing awards:
- Silver Medal (cruise category)—2018 NATJA Travel Writing Competition
- Gold (culinary) and Silver Medals (culture) and an honorable mention (tips)—2019 NATJA Travel Writing Competition
As a Colorado-based travel and lifestyle writer, I am always open to connecting with my online friends. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or connect on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.