Lisa Alpine

A poem from a dancer friend 

You were last seen walking between the musical notes, in those spots of rhythm quivering with high tension.

When you let fly the arrows, they created their own wind.

Let the sailing begin, past the crescent moon and beyond the dot of Venus, into the open free space of unknown steps.

— Tom Zizzo

 I dance everywhere 

Even at the San Francisco Modern Art Museum. 
Try it! A marvelous way to interact with 
art and they let you do it if you don't touch the paintings. 
I'm currently scribing the stories for my next book 
Dance Life.  Albanian salsa stories will grace its pages as 
will the dance and travel experiences in Cuba where I 
vagabonded for one month last winter. 
Dance usually plays an important or whimsical role in 
my travels—hence the title.



Cuba: my "Infinite Whatever” and a reading list:


I collected an excellent reading list on all things Cuban before I departed on my trip to the island of dance and dreams. Here are some great books—gotta reads—if you are going or are curious:
Cuba Diaries: An American: Housewife in Havana * Telex From Cuba * Chasing Che: A Motorcycle Journey in Search of the Guevara Legend * Dreaming in Cuba * Welcome to Havana, Señor Hemingway * Havana: Autobiography of a City * Cuba Moon Guide by Christopher P. Baker * Mi Moto Fidel also by the esteemed Christopher P. Baker * Without Fidel * The Other Side of Paradise: Life in the New Cuba

A Story of Survival

A manila envelope perched inside my mailbox. From Travelers' Tales. An embossed award announced I'd won the Bronze Solas for my story Surviving the Salt. Haha! An award I didn't even know I had won.

At a recent literary event I was asked, "What's the biggest lesson you've learned from traveling?" 

The answers came as songs in my heart:

* That we are very fortunate to travel freely as women in this day and age. This is my first lifetime as a free woman.

* That the world is an inherently good place filled with kind and generous people who open their hearts, minds, and lives to wandering strangers.

* That the poorest people may be the most generous.

* To cook for people on the road and share food. I always traveled in South America with a wicker basket. In it were a stove, beans, popcorn, tuna, rice, oil. I served up meals to starving explorers and Chilean fisherfolk. Heard great stories and drank a lot of wine sitting on the ground or on porches listening to their stories. For they had experiences I will never have but I can live them through the teller’s tale. I danced in strangers homes and in carnival frenzies in wicked streets. Fabulous way to meet people!                                                     

* To keep my eyes open so I do not miss the green flash at sunset. 

Where to get best view of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco with champagne and brews on tap? 
Read my story "Presidio Yacht Club: Hidden Treasure Under the Golden Gate Bridge" in Bay Area Travel Writers full-color magazine-style publication celebrating the National Park Service's 100th anniversary. California’s National Parks, Monuments, Trails, Seashores, and Historic Sites. showcases the work of 38 travel professionals with 46 articles and nearly 200 photos. Sure to inspire many visits in 2016 and beyond, the magazine is available as a free download at


Teaching, teaching, teaching... and leaping!
I'm taking a sabbatical from three decades of teaching dance and writing to work on my next book. Traveling, dancing, family-time, appreciating and savoring everything I have created in these many years on the planet will also fill my days. 


Georgia on my mind

 My next travel ventures will be to Georgia and Armenia for a six-week walkabout with my love interest. If you have any travel tips or connections in that part of the planet, please share them with me.  

Enchanted by stories

"In many shamanic societies, if you come to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask you one of three questions: When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? ..." Gabrielle Roth

I studied with Gabrielle in the 1980s and then taught ecstatic dance for 20 years. I dance daily—it is my church. My connection to the divine. Dance fuels my creativity. Try it!

Did you know having a baby can turn you into a writer? 

Read my interview in NFAA"How did you come to do what you’re doing today?"

Lisa: Thirty-two years ago, I started a community newspaper in Fairfax, CA. I was craving a rag that focused on what I found interesting in our region: artists, characters, hikes, gardening, history, politics.

I had a baby when I was 29 and realized I had to stay home occasionally, so what work could I do when I finally put my backpack/suitcase down? I had just sold my import company, Dreamweaver Imports, in San Francisco. It was time to write about my travel adventures—not just live them—so I’d nurse Galen in front of the keyboard and work on my stories. It was a great challenge to discipline myself to construct well-written sentences that would weave into a story worthy of the printed page. As you know from Wild Life, I didn’t stop traveling when I had a baby; I just didn’t go for one-to-two-year vagabonding journeys. And I would take him with me. Galen’s first big adventure was when he was 8 months old and I hauled him off to a Berber betrothal faire in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. That story, "Two Muhammads” is in Wild Life.".

There is a lot more to the interview regarding inspiration and a writer's behavior but I wanted to share a photo of my "baby" now. Galen is 32-years-old, an avid vagabonder, and director/boss of a sustainable farming community on the Big Island. The plate of food is from his cafe at the local farmers' market. All the recipes are made with wild or organically grown produce from his land against Green Mountain. Tumeric/ginger fried coconut anyone?


Wild Life: Travel Adventures of a Worldly Woman
"Best Travel Book" and "Best Book Cover"—North American Book Awards 
Foreword Reviews' Gold Medal winner INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards 
Honorable Mention from the San Francisco Book Festival Awards. I would have preferred a Dishonorable Mention—much spicier!

From licking a Monet in Paris, to pushing an abusive macho honeymooner off his sailboat in the shark-infested Galápagos, to saving her toddler son from a charging bull elephant in Africa, these 14 delightful, award-winning true tales will inspire readers to follow the call of a wild life and leave home with their doors unlocked.

"Lisa’s love of travel and her fierce determination to push all boundaries, takes the reader with her on a thoughtful, fun and fearless journey." — Maureen Wheeler, founder Lonely Planet

"When you’re hitchhiking about in foreign lands, whether in France, Morocco, or perhaps New Zealand, it helps—as California-girl Lisa Alpine discovered—to be "young, blond, persistent, and female.” And to get along, once you’ve reached an approximate destination in hardscrabble exotica, you should be friendly, fearless, and sometimes counter intuitively trusting.

     There is daring, humor, and even a bit of Eros in the fourteen stories that span her life from the innocence of eighteen, when she was struck with wanderlust, into middle age. "I am a woman who wanders and wonders and writes,” she explains." — Foreword Reviews

"Lisa Alpine is a wild woman, whose stories really are not only funny and heartfelt, but encouraging: go farther, travel deeper, and know yourself better." — Amy Gigi Alexander, writer 

"Lisa Alpine’s winning title tells much about her personal timeline, and the bestiary of good, bad, ugly or rare characters encountered in these sometimes breathless pages.David Downie, author of Paris to the Pyrenees and A Passion for Paris


"Lisa’s stories are not only packed with the humor and adventure that comes from being a solo woman traveler, but also filled with compassion that cuts to the core of what travel is all abouta deep connection to a people and place found when we shed our protective armor and remember we are all human." Kimberley Lovato, author of Walnut Wine and Truffle Groves

Signed print books are available at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA. If you live in Albania, France, India or anywhere not near Northern California, you can order Wild Life from Book Passage, Amazon $14.95, Kindle $7.99, Audible & iTunes.

More news flashes!

* Don your djellabas and berets! I'll be reading my story "Two Mohammads" at Erin Byrne's book launch party for                                                                 Vignettes & Postcards From Morocco at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA on 8/19/6 at 7 P.M.

* I'll be a featured reader at LitQuake 2016 along with Don George and other travel writing literati 10/8/16 in                                                                 in San San Rafael, CA.

* Watch the video of my literary travel tales series "Titillating Adventure Tales" at Book Passage featuring
Lavinia Spaulding, Marcia DeSanctis, Candace Rose Rardon, and myself.

* Read another story hot-off-the-press "Heating Up at Wilbur Hotsprings" about my perennial love—hot springs!

Thrilled to be included in the launch of Travelers' Tales Best Travel Writing Vol 10 at Book Passage. Other readers included were Don George, Lavinia Spalding, and other literati.
I discovered who the model is on my "Wild Life" book cover. The sexy, beautiful fine arts model Katie Johnson. She wrote a story about that photo shoot titled "How to Ride a Unicycle on A Tightrope".
* "Fish Trader Ray" (included in Wild Life) is winner of the silver Solas Awards for Best Travel Story of the Year 2014 and is included in Travelers' Tales "Best Travel Writing Vol. 10". 
* Fabulous interview and Wild Life book review in Vagablogging. 
* Bay Area Travel Writers has another full color travel magazine available free for download and featuring many of our members. My story "Polka Dot Bikini" leads in the front and should capture your interest when a horny dolphin in Honduras tries to de-suit me.
* My Travel Style interview with travel guru Johnny Jet is live. I'm thrilled that it incorporates my very honest travel preferences, from favorite nude beaches to an allergic reaction to cruises.
I never tire of talking to Lisa Alpine about her exploits, adventures, and fascinating life. She has carved a path that is an inspiration to any free-spirited, or secretly free-spirited woman. - Constance Hale, author of "Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch" and "Sin and Syntax"
Like the wild poppies in Lisa Alpine's moving story "Rada's Bloom", may these tales take root in your garden, blossom and thrive. - Don George, Editor-at-Large at National Geographic Traveler

Sandwiched between great (and good-lookin') minds at Weekday Wanderlust including the illustrious host Don George. It was an honor to be asked to read a story from my upcoming book Wild Life to a packed house of travel and literary aficionados.

Wonderful launch of Travelers' Tales Best Travel Writing Vol. 10. I read "Fish Trader Ray" about traveling through the backwaters of the Amazon basin and the entertainment of monkeys wearing my silky underwear as a beret and tapping sleeping caiman on their bony heads for nightly entertainment. Shared the stage with uber talents: Michael Shapiro, Don George, Lavinia Spalding, Jill Robinson, Amy Gigi Alexander, Jeff Greenwald, and publisher Larry Habegger.

Just Released 2nd Edition:
Exotic Life: Travel Tales of an Adventurous Woman
Best Memoir winner at the 2014 North American Book Awards
Review by Colleen Wilde from Rolf Pott's Vagabonding:
 "Lisa Alpine’s book Exotic Life is a sprawling anthology of 19 travel tales. Alpine is an inspiration to women travelers everywhere. She fearlessly wanders through one obscure destination after the other, leaving her complete trust in the experience. She answers that timeless question – Can solo women travelers really go there? – by doing just that and carrying away some wildly unique stories.

Hers are the type of spontaneous and quirky tales that vagabonders dream of when they muse on the possibilities of the open road. In true vagabonding spirit, her tales portray a woman with a no-frills approach to travel and a heavy investment in experience. You’ll find impassioned stories about far-flung destinations that can only come from an extended time on the road.

Alpine’s stories might not be to everyone’s tastes. She recounts her experiences with passion, shameless candor, and a huge amount of heart. There is no subject off-limits in her book. If you prefer the safety of clean careful narrative, with strict mindfulness to all Ps and Qs, this collection might be a bit much for you.

In addition to being a collection of travel stories, Exotic Life also explores the many trials and joys of Alpine’s personal life. Readers will not just come away with a host of tales from around the world, but with a vivid sense of the type of woman Alpine is. Her personality leaps from the pages."

I adored "Little Chicken Bone" for it's pure bearing of the heart and "spiritual grace under a blue-black sky'" because you deftly returned me to a very same experience I had in Chandi Dasa. ~But you know, the entire collection of short stories held me for 3 hours non stop. I wanted to be you!— and because you are an amazing storyteller, I WAS you. and I thank you for that Lisa. — Davis Dalbock 10/2015

20th Annual Writer’s Digest Annual Self-Published Book Awards review:

"Lisa's adventures have one flaw: they quit. I would love to see a thousand more episodes in exotic countries or places within those exotic countries. I think my favorite chapter was "Amazon Mom" because of its children and its Green Mansions atmosphere. When Lisa says, "So much water, so much growth . . . I wonder where they live of they can live there no longer" I feel myself transported to a time and place where children need someone for a time, and the Amazon is king.

Lisa's travels are more than exotic. They are wonderful reading. Her dance for her grandmother, naked except for a couple of scarves and a diamond necklace, was enchanting. She can come dance for me anytime.

I have to say this book stayed with me for a long time, and I loved the last three lines about Guadeloupe."

Purchase signed print books for $12.95 from Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA.

Available by order from Book Passage (the queen of indie bookstores) and on Amazon. Ebook edition available on Kindle for $6.99. Audiobook available on Audible & iTunes.

Find out why Lisa wanted to push that boyfriend out of the plane...

I want to tell you how much I enjoyed the class. Not only are you a font of information and goodwill, your generosity of spirit is overwhelming. I'm sure it comes back to you in droves.  Lisa Digiorgiohaag October 2015
Lisa Alpine’s wonderful collection of stories, Exotic Life, is a delicious assortment of sensuous tales much like a box of different chocolates, each distinct and each equally rich and satisfying. There is a kind of erotic, in the grandest sense of the word, tension that fills each story. They aren’t all necessarily sexy or lusty, they are intimate visions into the soul of someone willing to live life fully and who is ready to savor each morsel of existence.

Her stories may make some yearn for a similar life of exotic people and places, but to me, she invites each one of us to explore, in great honesty, the desires and pleasures buried in our own hearts. Lisa models a view of life that is more open to our soul’s promptings than to the constraints of a timid society.

Hats off to Lisa for sharing her life and inspiring me to say, "Yes!” to whatever is presented to me. I heartily recommend these delightful stories to anyone who wants to touch the adventurer in their own soul. 
Stewart Blackburn (author The Skills of Pleasure)

I've read it while here in Spain! It was great! I loved it! Jocelyn Crockett
Really enjoyed reading your collection of stories, Lisa. Exotic life, indeed! Inspiration and frolic in well-written pieces. Good format for today's reader - short and to the point for our schedule-packed lifestyles (smile). Anything longer these days seems to require we go on vacation to get through an actual book - but your stories made me want to "up-and-go" more often. Sandra Dean-Marlow

SUCH a fun read! There is so much in there I am going to read it again before I consider which was my favorite story etc., but it sure gave me the travel itch!
Megan McKearney-Inciardi

Great book! Highly recommended - especially if you enjoy stories about travel around the world. Lion Goodman

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