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January Speaking Events

It’s a brand new year and I’m so thankful to have many more opportunities to talk about Gap Year Girl. At the DC and Philly events, I’ll be a panel member with other She Writes Press authors speaking about our books.

Here are the upcoming dates for January. I would be so happy to see you there!

 

January 16, 2016

Time: 1pm

Politics & Prose

5015 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

202.364.1919

politics-and-prose copy

 

January 28, 2016

Time: 7pm

One More Page

2200 N Westmoreland St, Arlington, VA 22213

703.300.9746

 

January 30, 2016

Time: 2pm

Penn Book Center

130 S. 34th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

215.222.7600

Penn Book Ctr

 

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2016 in Travel

 

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A Perfect Run Interrupted

This year’s Christmas travels have us in Aspen, Colorado. What a way to end the year. We’re at the summit of Ajax Mountain at over 11,000 feet — so high that we’re actually in the mist of a cloud. The sheer beauty of the mountains, the snow on the pines, the gentle schuss sounds. My family is dropping down the fall line across perfect corduroy snow well ahead of me. I stop to catch my breath and reflect on my blessings, especially at this time of year. I’m with my husband, daughter, son and his girlfriend on a sparkling, sunny day in the Rockies, looking up to a blue sky through the glitter of snowflakes floating above. The sun reflects off fresh powder weighing down the evergreens, the dried leaves of aspen papyrus whispering to my right. It’s the quiet beauty of winter. Perfection.

But it’s fleeting.

From out of nowhere, the startling scrape of a snowboarder bombing down the slope behind me destroys my winter daydream. He’s a wannabe shredder, behaving like he owns the place, oblivious to others on the mountain. An icy arc, as if from a colossal snow blower, shrouds me head to toe. The descent of my mountain nemesis at an insane speed has terminated abruptly — unsurprisingly — in a tail over teakettle wipe out inches from where I stand.

I breathe easily now that he’s down. I make sure he’s survived, brush myself off, return to my reverie and continue down the mountain.

Not all riders are reckless; I have family and friends who snowboard responsibly. I just wish that as a group they were less aggressive and more considerate, remained in control and showed more respect for sharing the terrain.

Catching sight of my family waiting for me ahead, I can’t get my son’s pronouncement of several years ago out of my head: “Snowboarding — it should have been a fad.”

 

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2016 in Travel

 

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Behaving Badly Abroad

In this season of generosity and  gratitude, I sometimes reflect upon people behaving badly.

When living in or even just briefly visiting a country not your own, bad behavior often involves words. Or sometimes, the lack of them.

Over the course of the adult gap year I took with my husband to explore Europe, we frequently witnessed what we considered people behaving badly. There’s no excuse for being in a country without learning the basics of its culture and at least a modicum of words for pleasantries. To do otherwise selfishly places you and your mother tongue at the center of the language universe and disrespects the country and the people you’ve chosen to visit.

Our 365 days of travel began with a month in Paris. In the space of two evenings, we observed very different, yet equally disappointing, back-to-back dining experiences. The food was terrific but our neighbors were not. Both incidents involved Americans in the City of Light for long stays. The first took place in a bright busy bistro where we were seated next to a retired married couple from Reno, Nevada. They had been coming to Paris for six weeks at the end of every summer for several years. The second was in a dim crêperie where we sat across from a middle-aged man and woman from U.S. parts unknown (although her accent gave her away as coming from the deep south). He taught something somewhere to students in Paris and she stated indignantly as we ordered our drinks that she, “could not take another year over here – twelve months was more than enough.” Everyone has a story.

Some of the two couples’ background they shared with us and other bits we overheard. What absolutely amazed me — in fact made me wince — was that none of these four Americans even attempted to speak French to the wait staff. I completely identify with not knowing a language; we traveled through multiple countries whose languages eluded me, yet we always learned to say hello, please, thank you and you’re welcome. But all four of these people had spent significant time in France. Would it have been so difficult to read off the menu and say, “la salade” and ”le poulet” instead of “the salad” and “the chicken?” Could the guy who’s been teaching here for a year at least have learned to say, “l’addition, s’il vous plaît” instead of “the check, please?” Might they all have been able replace, “Thank you — goodbye,” with “Merci — au revoir?” I’m sympathetic towards tourists who travel for brief visits, but after six weeks every year and a full twelve months in Paris, there’s simply no excuse. That’s behaving badly in my book.

***

Well into our sabbatical year having traveled through 20 additional countries, we were back in the pleasures of France. And yet again, we found ourselves observing a more blatant brand of bad behavior.

We had settled in the stylish university town of Aix-en-Provence at the height and in the heat of a south of France summer. One of our favorite pastimes was sitting for long mornings under the dense shade of sycamores — les platanes — their green canopies arching over appealing squares filled with tiny bistro tables. The unique mosaic of the sycamores’ peeling bark intrigued us — uneven patterns of pastel yellows, tawny russets, avocado greens and dull grays – and we never tired of studying the colors. But on one morning, our idyllic interlude under royal sycamores was marred by the manners of plebeians.

Enjoying cafés au lait, croissants, and the daily chatter of French summer school students in the outdoor shade, we were startled when an Eastern European quartet of two tanned Moms and their Mini-Me daughters, each one more rude than the other, unceremoniously marched onto the terrace. There were no “bonjours” and no smiles in response to the sweet greetings of the waitress. The women’s bravado more than upset the drowsy morning ambience. All were similarly clad in skinny jeans, patent leather stilettos and Jackie-O shades with “spoiled” plastered across heavily made-up faces. Distressed that the cafe served no food for breakfast and when politely urged, as we had been, to run up the street to the local boulangerie for croissants, the most vocal of the four retorted brusquely and loudly in accented English, “What, the French don’t eat breakfast? Ridiculous.” We so wanted to see her wobble up the cobblestoned hill in search of pastries in those heels.

Rather than rebuke the vocal twenty-something for bad behavior and creating a scene, however, her mother barked an order for orange juice – “freshly squeezed.” The OJ not forthcoming, they settled loudly for espressos, plopped down in their chairs and insolently picked up their Blackberries with identical pouts.

Bad mannered people come from all corners of the world and unfortunately, they sometimes chose to sit next to us.

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2015 in France, Travel

 

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A Thanksgiving Gift

A Newsday article about Gap Year Girl:  http://www.newsday.com/long-island/couple-s-gap-year-travels-in-their-50s-inspires-book-1.11156296

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2015 in France, Passion for French, Travel

 

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Book Passage Event

To all my Bay Area friends and colleagues:  please come see me on Sunday, November 15 at the incomparable Book Passage bookstore in Corte Madera, CA. Would love to see you there!  http://www.bookpassage.com/event/marianne-c-bohr-gap-year-girl

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Gap Year Girl: The Movie

Friends and family often ask whom I would cast as my family and others in Gap Year Girl, the movie. Crazy idea but fun to consider as a distraction from my new author jitters, now that my speaking events are about to begin.

Let’s start with Joe, my leading man. That one’s easy: Jeff Daniels, no discussion. Joe’s been mistaken for his Hollywood doppelgänger several times in public over the years, so we don’t need to spend any more time on his character.

Who would play me is a bit more difficult, but I’m going with Laura Linney. Not sure why, other than we’re both blonds and I just like her. A lot.

Chris has suggested Ryan Gosling play my first-born, but to my mind, he’s a little old. I’m going with Chace Crawford as my son.

Caroline? She’s frequently been told she looks like Emily van Camp, and I have to agree. Chris suggested Jennifer Lawrence, but I’ll stick with Emily.

It’s a movie, so we all have to be beautiful, right? Any other suggestions from those who know us?

As to a few of the wonderful people we met on the road, Ray Romano with an Italian accent would be a good Stefano, our quirky Roman landlord. Tonis, the young Greek man who opened his restaurant just for us on Santorini, could be played by Asher Monroe. The beautiful Bérénice Bejo would be perfect as Céline, my lovely French teacher in Aix, whose accent I’ll forever be trying to reproduce.

Joe and I would sign on as on consultants, of course, and insist that the film be shot on location. In Europe.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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My Book Baby

My book baby is heading out into the world and I’m terrified.

I’ve spent much of my creative energy for the past several years getting Gap Year Girl ready for her debut: writing, rewriting, polishing and then getting the word out. The build up to book delivery has been an impassioned climb with the publication date at the crest. My publisher just let me know that my book has come off the press and copies, fresh with their new book smell, are on their way to stores, warehouses, Amazon and my front door. The official September 1 pub date is still two weeks away but my nerves are already attacking. So many hours, so many months, so many years of writing and emotion in the making, my story is finally on her way. Next up are speaking events and book-signings and the great post-publication unknown. I’m feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Goodreads Book Giveaway #2

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/enter_choose_address/147112-gap-year-girl-a-baby-boomer-adventure-across-21-countries

For every reader with wanderlust, and Baby Boomers longing to hit the road, “Gap Year Girl: A Baby Boomer Adventure Across 21 Countries” is a pleasure to read.

Enter to win one of ten copies, signed by author, Marianne C. Bohr!

“Gap Year Girl” is Marianne Bohr’s travel journal and memoir telling how she and her husband, Joe, retraced their travels abroad in earlier years. Bohr describes what it’s like to kiss your job good-bye, sell your worldly possessions, pack your bags, and take off on a quest for adventure. Readers will be intrigued and inspired by this exciting account of a couple’s experiences on an unconventional, past the-blush-of-youth journey.

“Bohr shines…provid[ing] glimpses of herself as a whole person, not simply a traveler. Gap Year Girl is an excellent choice…a travelogue filled with historic places, but its personal stories provide its highlights.” —Kirkus Reviews

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Back to My Past

As expected, Book Expo 2015 was a unique experience for me. Once I got beyond the pre-show jitters (it’s hard to shake the ingrained response of 20-plus years) and hugged a few good buddies, I let it sink in that I actually had no agenda and there was nowhere specific I had to be. I was free to roam the cavernous hall and keep my eyes open for the literary glitterati (I got up close and personal with Mika Brzezinski and saw Gloria Steinem and Erin-from-the-Waltons signing books). Besides catching up with my besties who still live in the book world, I finally met my accomplished publisher, Brooke Warner, facBEA 2015e-to-face, hung out with a dozen smart, warm, welcoming She Writes Press authors and passed out a stack of business cards. Will any of those to whom I handed a card help sell my book? Who knows? But it felt good to see my pile dwindle and fantasize about possibilities. I also had a surprise visit with my editor, the lovely Annie Tucker, who flew in from LA at the last minute to make an appearance at the show. I had a happy, surreal moment on an empty stage when my friend and photographer, Davida, took this picture of me holding Gap Year Girl just before the show closed. I walked away from the show with the same feeling I used to have for so many years: There are so many books and so many authors but too few who read them. Readers where are you?

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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In Print

The advance copies of my book have landed. They’re sitting in a box on the kitchen table and I’m shaking as I slice through the packing tape. What will I feel when I see my “baby” for the very first time? I want to like it – love it — but what if I’m not smitten and I don’t?

I so wish Joe were here but he’s beyond the reach of a cell phone, stuck working hard on a ship somewhere on Lake Michigan. I’ll have to do this alone.

I can’t wait to open the box. But I’m anxious and I can’t. I want what’s inside yet I can’t bear to see it. I give myself a moment – in fact, I give myself a few. I pour a glass of wine and then finally have the courage to commit. I rip open the carton, dig through the packing material and there they are. Copies of my words bound between two covers: Gap Year Girl. It’s a simple yet extraordinary moment – one I want to savor and recall. I’m overwhelmed and again, I start to tremble. My book is here, it’s in my hands, it’s real. I choke back a sob as I stroke the jacket, afraid that if I put it down it will vanish into thin air. I run my finger along the spine and gently caress the back. I’m grinning maniacally and I can’t imagine stopping.

But then I open my pages to the middle and read a random passage. I panic and my smile dissolves. Is it good? Is it any good at all? Will people actually want to read what I’ve written? I close my handiwork, touch the cover again and immediately feel better.

As I ready myself for bed, I prop my book on my dresser and just as I’m drifting off, jolt up to see if it’s still there. Yes, it is. Indeed, it is. Gap Year Girl remains, leaning against a picture of my children, as it is in the morning when I awaken.

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2015 in Publishing Process

 

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