Tag Archives: Jo’s Journey

Friday’s Thought – By the Sea

beautiful day at the beach

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”

(Jacques Yves Cousteau)




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This Thing We Call Life…

As the saying goes:

Life is what happens to us when we are busy making other plans.

Sometimes the “life” that happens is a wake-up call – some emergency or unforeseen event that makes us stop short and reassess our focus.  In some ways (though I don’t wish that kind of “life” on myself or anyone else) being forced to stop and be in the moment is a gift.  How much better, though, if we can learn to be in the moment as part of our daily routines.

Josephine meditates resized

Although I’ve been more mindful of late and have actually started trying to make meditation a daily part of my life, I still get caught up in living in “fast forward” mode – that is, feeling, thinking and hoping that something better is just around the corner.  The problem with this type of thinking is that when I do turn that corner, the enjoyment is short lived.  And to be honest, keeping up that kind of pace is exhausting and, ultimately, far from fulfilling.

I found that this article sums up my “condition” pretty aptly.  Perhaps some of you will also see yourselves in it and will benefit from the tips at the end, too.

Signing off now to contemplate my navel (and embrace its imperfections.)



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Getting Inked…

No, I’m not contemplating getting a tattoo; but judging from the ink stains on my fingers these days, it does appear that I’m getting inked!

The reason?  

I’ve been practicing my pen and ink drawing.  Though, to be honest, at this point I feel like I’m taking two steps forward and three back.  This YouTube video has provided the inspiration:


Amazing how easy Yelen makes it seem, right?  But in each of MY attempts, something has gone wrong…

Punk Girl drafts (Oh, except for the “practice” drawing I did on scratch paper – see figure at bottom left – which of course came out great.)  Grrr!  Such is life.  But if I haven’t learned anything else in my years of working as a musician and artist, it’s that you don’t get anywhere without a hell of a lot of practice!  So, if you don’t hear from me in a while, don’t worry.  I’m practicing.



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From My Sketchbook – Week 4

My sketch-a-day project could well be entitled “The Subway Diaries” because at this point – except for one sketch – all of the others have been done either on the subway or while waiting on the platform for a train to arrive.

This pair of legs caught my eye on the C Train…

torso sketch from subway

While the late night train schedule at Columbus Circle allowed me to capture this tall pixie in a more fleshed-out sketch.

woman waiting for the subway

With a slightly lighter work schedule this week, and maybe the opportunity to treat myself to a coffee in a cafe, I’m hoping to change up the focus of my sketches a bit.  Stay tuned…


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Friday’s Thought – On the Path

stones on Central Park West

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”

(Audrey Hepburn)

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5 Steps to Love and Happiness During The Holidays

Mistletoe for blog




1. Volunteer

2. Create something to share

3. Take the time to listen

4. Look for the beauty in everything and everyone around you

5.  Reach out to others

(Repeat daily *)

*These 5 steps have been found to be effective during non-holiday times, too.


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Jo’s Journey (A Somewhat Irreverent Guide to Doing Anything Better): Savvy Traveling

On our recent trip to Europe, I was almost robbed.

the pickpocket for blog

But, no, I wasn’t gabbing on my cell phone – I was lugging my suitcase up the metro steps.  Fortunately, I felt and heard something; and, when I turned to look, saw two men behind me and realized that they had already partially unzipped the outside pocket of my carry-on bag.  Being a 100 lb “heavyweight,” I of course felt no fear (amazing what adrenaline does); instead I looked at the men and let out a loud “HEY!!!”  This of course filled my would-be-pickpocketers with immense fear – or something like that  – and they walked away nonchalantly.  I was furious, and a few minutes later…

shaking with fright.

Although I didn’t lose anything in the pick-pocket attempt (there was nothing of value in that outside pocket), things could have been a lot worse. Stashed in a money belt under my clothes were my passport, credit cards, dollars, and Euros!  I’d never worn a money belt before, but decided to use one on this trip.  If you’re looking for a slim profile, yet strong money belt, I highly recommend this one from Eagle Creek. (Here I am earlier on the day of the attempted robbery.  As you can see, the money belt is virtually undetectable.)

Joana at the Torre de Belem

In addition to wearing my money belt when we were travelling (yes, I even wore it on the overseas plane rides!), I took some additional precautions on this trip.  Here’s my…


  • Learn from the pros…check out travel tips from seasoned travelers like Rick Steves
  • Take only the essential credit cards you’ll need on your trip.
  • Alert your credit card companies regarding your travel dates/destinations
  • Make a color scan copy of your passport and give a copy to a trusted friend/relative at home.  Email a scan of the passport to yourself so that you can access it easily if your passport gets stolen
  • Email yourself the Collect Call to USA numbers for the credit cards you’ll be carrying so that you can act quickly in the event that the cards are stolen
  • Redact all identifying information on the paper travel documents you carry (i.e. if you are travelling with printouts of your hotel accommodations, black out your credit card and address information)
  • Carry your cash, credit cards and passport in a money belt
  • Leave your valuable jewelry at home
  • Cover the keypad when you are withdrawing money from ATMs
  • Have a friend keep on “look out” when you withdraw money
  • Make as few ATM withdrawals as possible, but try to make most of your purchases in cash
  • Be wary of being approached by strangers – especially pairs of people
  • Be alert and vigilant in crowed trams, buses, trains, and subways
  • Take a cab or an airport shuttle if you are travelling with your luggage.  Be vigilant if you choose to travel with your luggage on public transportation.
  • For Women: Take a purse with a strap long enough to be carried cross-body in front (interior zippered compartments are essential!)
  • For Men: Carry your wallet in a front pocket, or use a money belt or hidden money wallet
  • Take twisties (or even small locks) to “lock” zipper tabs together
  • Read up-to-date guide books on your destination for safety tips
  • Once at your destination keep your passport and credit cards locked up in the hotel safe. (Take out only the amount of cash/credit you’ll need for that day)
  • When you need to make a phone call/check GPS, stand with your back against a wall and be aware of your surroundings (have a friend keep watch)

Be aware, be smart and be safe!



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