Lisa Alpine

Wild Life won Foreword Reviews' INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award

Gold Winner for Travel

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.

Oh là là! Stories with a French Twist 

Sunday October 4th at 4 P.M.

Book Passage  in Corte Madera, CA 94925

Savor a moveable feast of travel stories with the accent on all things French. Mill Valley author Lisa Alpine hosts this effervescent literary afternoon featuring a cadre of très magnifique authors including:

Kimberley Lovato is a freelance writer and Francophile.  Her book, Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves, about the food and people of the Dordogne region of France, received the Gold Lowell Thomas Award in 2012 from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation and her essays have been appeared in many anthologies including The Best Women’s Travel Writing

Camille Cusumano, a former editor a VIA magazine, is the author Tango, an Argentine Love Story. She has written for numerous publications, and is the editor of four Seal Press anthologies on France, Italy, Mexico, and Greece and author of the novel, The Last Cannoli

Erin Byrne is author of Wings From Victory (Travelers’ Tales, 2016), editor of Vignettes & Postcards From Paris and Vignettes & Postcards From Morocco (Reputation Books, 2016), and writer of The Storykeeper film.  Her screenplay, Siesta, is in pre-production in Spain. She is working on the novel, The Red Notebook. 

Maxine Rose Schur’s travel essays appear in numerous publications including the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor, National Geographic Explorer, Insight Guides and as well as travel literature anthologies.  She has twice won the Lowell Thomas Award given by the Society of American Travel Writers for excellence in travel journalism. 

Lisa Alpine author of  Wild Life: Travel Adventures of a Worldly Woman — Foreword Reviews' INDIEFAB Travel Book of the Year Award. Exotic Life: Travel Tales of an Adventurous Woman, won Best Memoir at the 2014 North American Book Awards. 

For more details

Tantalizing Travel Tales

Tuesdays on October 6, 20, & November 3rd from 7 - 8:30 P.M.

Mill Valley Public Library

Library Journal finalist for "Best Small Library in America 2015" award

Tantalizing Travel Tales is a three-part series in which renowned writers will present their tales of adventure. Curated by Mill Valley author Lisa Alpine, these events will crisscross the globe, transporting us from the Alps of Albania to the ashrams of India, from the sacred sites of Peru to the not-so-sacred sites of Las Vegas.

And how about joining in with your own far-flung tales? During our Lightning Round, randomly selected members of the audience — unsung Boswells and Chatwins — will have a chance to carry on in a tradition that began with Petrarch and has fascinated us ever since.


Kirsten Koza is a humorist, journalist, and author of Lost in Moscow: A Brat in the USSR. CBC Radio Canada declares Lost in Moscow "the ultimate what-I-did-last-summer essay ever." And CHRY radio (Toronto) says she’s "like Judy Blume on acid." Kirsten just edited Wake Up and Smell the Shit for Travelers’ Tales.

Roger Housden is the author of twenty-three books on poetry, art, and travel as pilgrimage. His work includes the best-selling Ten Poems to Change Your Life series; Saved By Beauty: A Journey Through Iran; Travels Through Sacred India; Chasing Rumi, and Keeping The Faith Without a Religion.

Christina Ammon has penned stories for The San Francisco Chronicle, Orion Magazine, Hemispheres, Conde Nast, and several travel anthologies. She is the recipient of an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship for nonfiction and organizes the Deep Travel writing tours in Morocco and Nepal. When not traveling, Christina Ammon lives in the small town of Ruch, Oregon.

Nicole Zimmerman holds an MFA in Writing from the University of San Francisco. Her essays and reportage appear or are forthcoming in several anthologies, newspapers and literary journals including the South Loop Review and Creative Nonfiction.

Lisa Alpine is the author of Wild Life: Travel Adventures of a Worldly Woman (Foreword Reviews' Gold Medal winner INDIEFAB Travel Book of the Year Award & Best Travel Book 2014 North American Book Awards) and Exotic Life: Travel Tales of an Adventurous Woman (1st place North American Book Awards).

Registration highly recommended. Click here to register.


Jeff Greenwald is the author of six best-selling travel books, including The Size of the World and Shopping for Buddhas. Jeff is the co-director of, an international alliance focused on human rights and the environment. He is also a photographer, and monologist. Jeff resides in Oakland, CA.

Tanya Shaffer is an award-winning playwright and author of the memoir Somebody’s Heart is Burning: A Woman Wanderer in Africa. Her plays have been produced at Berkeley Rep, TheatreWorks, San Diego Rep, and elsewhere. An album of songs from her musical The Fourth Messenger, (with composer Vienna Teng), will be released this month.

Maxine Rose Schur’s travel essays appear in numerous publications including the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco ChronicleChristian Science Monitor, National Geographic Explorer, Insight Guides and as well as travel literature anthologies.  She has twice won the Lowell Thomas Award given by the Society of American Travel Writers for excellence in travel journalism.

Molly Giles is the author of Iron Shoes and All The Wrong Places, which won the Spokane Prize for Fiction. She recently retired from teaching at the U of Arkansas in Fayetteville and before that taught for many years in the Creative Writing Dept. at San Francisco State University. She lives in Woodacre.

Lisa Alpine (see description on 10/6)

Registration highly recommended. Click here to register.


Don George is the author of The Way of Wanderlust and Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing. He has been travel editor at the San Francisco Examiner, and Lonely Planet.  He’s currently Editor at Large for National Geographic Traveler and Special Features Editor for BBC Travel.

Lone Mørch is an award-winning author, fine art photographer and creative catalyst. Her work explores the crossroads between veils, words, art, politics, body, and self. She's the founder of Lolo’s Boudoir and is currently completing a book about her photography explorations with women, Unveiled. Lone splits her time between USA and Europe.

Perry Garfinkel, a contributor to The New York Times since 1986, is the author of the national bestseller Buddha or Bust expanded from his 2005 feature for National Geographic Magazine. He also contributes to the LA Times mind/body section and the Off Duty section of the Wall Street Journal.

Bradley Charbonneau’s  Urban Travel Guide San Francisco is a hip guidebook full of insider tips. His travel writing appears in anthologies from Writer’s Digest to Travelers’ Tales, and also off-the-beaten path markets such as Going Places (the in-flight magazine for Malaysia Airlines).

Lisa Alpine (see 10/6)

Registration highly recommended. Click here to register.

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 Mohameds,” 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 toa 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!

* Teaching travel writing at The Writing Salon in San Francisco on October 17 from 10-4 P.M.
I'll be one of the presenters at the WNBA sponsored author panel celebrating National Reading Group Month at Bookshop West Portal in San Francisco on October 29 from 7 - 9 P.M.
Read my latest story "Heating Up at Wilbur Hotsprings" about my perennial love—hot springs! 
*  Where to get best view of Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco with champagne and brews on tap? Read my story "Presidio Yacht Club: Hidden Treasure Under the Shadow of the Golden Gate".
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 a 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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