I’m Amanda. Or Mandy. Or Mimi. I’m a writer, a teacher, a traveler, a dancer, and probably some other things, too. I live in northern California, I’m from Chicago, and I like to go to places I’ve never been before. I’m sort of a gypsy: I’ve moved a dozen times in less than 10 years, to three different states in two different countries. That said, I adore California.

I’m also a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll.

And words. I’m big on words.

I am a Jill-of-all-trades: I work as a freelance writer focusing on travel and women’s lifestyle topics – especially health, dance, fitness, and inspirational writing. I also teach English as a second language. I’ve worked extensively in the non-profit sector.

I write creatively and I adore performing my writing in front of an audience. It’s pretty much all the therapy I need. I’ve performed at RUI: Reading Under the Influence, a monthly reading series in Chicago I co-created with several other raucously talented writers, as well as for 2nd Story, WBEZ Chicago Public Radio, Lit Gangs of Chicago at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Quiet Lightning, and more.

For five years, I was the Assistant Artistic Director of the phenomenal Story Week Festival of Writers, before I moved to California. I also did a glorious writer’s residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. I’ve written lots of articles about both Chicago and San Francisco nightlife, all for metromix.com. You can read more about my other writing on my Writing Samples page.

My blog posts
This isn’t a traditional travel blog. I define travel as any time you are doing something new, any time you do something that scares you, any time you discover or realize something you didn’t know before¬†– which encompasses a lot. So this blog is about traveling outside my comfort zone and doing things that scare me (but like the good kind of scared, not the scary kind of scared) and within that beautiful combination, finding the essence of life — being a witness to what is happening now. Which really, is all there ever is.

I hope you like it.

Other places you’ll find me:
Twitter: @travelmanda
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/amandaellensnyder

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