Belize. I picture soft, turquoise seas and tall, swaying palm trees. Sounds like a dream, right? Belize was the setting of an expat journey complicated with twists and turns – a journey full of lessons for American writer, Sonia Marsh, and her family. It was a pleasure to meet this “gutsy” author who is an inspiration in the indie publishing world.
I learned about Sonia through a fellow Athens-based expat and travel writer friend of mine, Rebecca Hall. Their social media friendship led to arranging a real life meeting when Sonia planned her first visit to Greece recently. I was already familiar with her book Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island. I also knew she is founder and editor of the My Gusty Story Anthology: True Stories of Love, Courage and Adventure from Around the World. So when Rebecca approached me to help her show Sonia around town along with her – I was thrilled.
Elena Sergeeva, my partner-in-crime in creating Travel Bloggers Greece, and I decided to show her a bit of the city. Discover Greek Culture took us on a fantastic tour about Neoclassical Athens, an experience I’ll be writing up on my travel blog. A highlight was the private “royal tea” we had in a posh room of the King of Greece’s former residence.
After the tour, Rebecca joined us and we sat outside enjoying the spring weather with plates of traditional Greek food at Manas Kouzina-Kouzina that is located in one of the latest hotspot of Athens called St. Irene Square.
Finally, we sipped Greek frappes at Athens 360, a rooftop bar that has one of the best views of the Acropolis.
The more I learned about Sonia on our mini-tour of Athens, the more her “gutsy” story sang to me. As a third culture kid, Sonia grew up in Africa and in Europe speaking Danish and French. She had ties to the U.S., eventually ended up marrying an American and permanently settled in California. She has lived in the Statesexcept for her family’s decision to relocate to Belize that one year. It was an experience that led to her memoir and more doors opening for her as a successful indie author.
My first novel will turn one year old in a few days. Where did the year go? Looking back on my life I can say that meeting “gutsy” people inspired me to take the leap and follow my dream of being an author and writer and perhaps even sticking to an expat life an ocean away from my comfort zone in the States. I’ll end with this quote:
“Be grateful for all of the obstacles in your life. They have strengthened you as you continue your journey.”
Sonia certainly knows that. She has an exciting full itinerary ahead of her that includes stops in London, France and Spain. She’ll spend time with family, volunteer and embark on a new career in teaching. I look forward to reading her book and about her “gutsy” journey on her blog. You can also check out her books on Amazon.