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.
My first published book was a finalist in the Travel/Travel Guide category of the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2013 International Book Awards, the 2013 National Indie Book Excellence Awards, a Honorable Mention award in the Multicultural Non-Fiction category for the 2013 Global ebook Awards and a 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 was awarded a Silver Medal in the 2018 NATJA Awards Competition in the online cruise competition and Gold and Silver medals as well as an Honorable Mention in the 2019 NATJA Awards Competition.
I currently reside in Colorado with my husband and our cat, Chloe.