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About Donna

I’m a traveling ESL teacher, and author living wherever life takes me.
I was born in Montana, and lived eighteen years on a ranch outside Two Dot in Central Montana. Later we moving to Alaska where we mined gold, spending free time fishing or hunting. Looking for a warmer life we moved to Ellensburg, Washington where once again I was a rancher/farmer.
I became a potter and glass artist later in life, and owned a couple of art galleries. I still miss getting my hands in the mud, or cutting a piece of glass to see what the kiln will return.
In 2000 I made a decision to travel and teach English as a second language, and it was the best choice I’ve ever made. I have a love for foreign countries, and the people I’ve met have made my life beautiful.
Teaching and traveling for twelve years brought about a desire to share these experiences with friends and family. I became more interested in writing and Big Backpack–Little World was one of the outcomes.
Presently I am writing about my life in Alaska.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. April 5, 2011 2:17 pm

    Loved this! I can’t wait to find out more about your time in Mexico.

  2. June 27, 2011 2:29 pm

    wow!!! I am delighted to make your acquaintance. You have now convinced me that EFL is the way to go. My family have been nagging me for ages to do a course and just go!!! my dream is to travel around the world in a campervan and blog and take photos (and get paid to do it).
    Thanks so much for the lovely comment you left on my blog 🙂 It’s a pleasure to meet a likeminded lady. I shall subscribe immediately so that I can continue to be inspired by your adventures.
    warm regards

  3. July 9, 2011 10:56 pm

    Good luck on your Kindle book. I’m preparing myself for teaching ESL overseas now 🙂

  4. Marylou permalink
    October 12, 2011 12:04 am

    Hi there it’s Marylou from the beach. I googles ESL blogs Puerto Vallarta hoping to find someone teaching her and blogging about the curriculum and you popped up first! And look, you’re an author! that’s great.
    We’re all hunkered down waiting for Jova, the slowest hurricane ever….
    Subscribing to your blog now

    • October 13, 2011 4:18 pm

      Hi Marylou,
      Thanks for subscribing to my blog. Sorry to say it has been awhile since I added to it. I’ve been on a long vacation, but you inspired me to get back in saddle and get to writing.
      If I can answer any questions about teaching in PV, I’ll be glad to help. Right now I’m in Zihuatanejo, not teaching but writing another book. In the past it was much easier to get a job teaching in Mexico, but with the economy being in the toilet, many ESL schools have closed for lack of student, who lack the pesos for school.
      I wish you luck and now I will get back to blogging, thanks to you.

      • Sally Hutta permalink
        November 7, 2011 4:35 pm

        I recentley seen that the 2 dot bar was for sale , article was fron 2009 , any background that you know of why the owners are selling , think its a good investment , My husband and I are factory workers and would love to quit and move to MOntana and pursue a new life and carreer , seen 2 dot and fell in love with the name .

      • November 7, 2011 5:26 pm

        Hi Sally,
        I’ll try to find out if it is still for sale, and any information I can get from my family there. Good investment? The economy there is extremely bad!!! It’s a 100 miles from any good sized city. Harlowton is the closest little town, and not much going on there. I don’t want to rain on your parade, but I’d be very careful, depending on the price.
        I’ll get back to you if I find out anything of interest.

  5. December 19, 2012 5:37 pm

    Dear Donna – thank you so much for your wonderful comment on my bio story on Lillie Marshall’s web site! Your own career sounds just as interesting! If you’re the same Donna M. on linkedin, you’re now in Mexico? Would you send me a linkedin invitation? I’m now on the Board of Directors of the IFWTWA and write primarily for (because they pay…) I’ve been fortunate in having a busy travel/writing schedule that takes me around the world. I’m returning to Argentina in April/May to totally rewrite my site and work on another project – the young chefs of Argentina.

    Have a nice Christmas in Mexico!

    • December 19, 2012 5:57 pm

      Hi Marc,
      I think I added you to LinkedIn, but I don’t use it so not sure if it worked. I think your Young Chefs of Argentina will be a huge success. Wishing you great success in wherever life takes you.

  6. March 12, 2013 10:55 am

    Wonderful career path and great blog.

  7. May 30, 2013 5:06 am

    I have nominated you for a Leibster Award:

    • May 30, 2013 2:40 pm

      Oh my that sounds lovely, and I thank you so very much. I always thought my blog was sort of a mess so this is a lovely surprise. Gracias!

      • May 30, 2013 7:08 pm

        I love your blog and your book! I can’t wait for the next. You write very well. I feel I am there with you. As for your blog–I see nothing wrong with it. Mine is a mess as I struggle to understand how to do all of this. But it is fun, isn’t it?!

      • May 30, 2013 9:02 pm

        Gracias amiga

  8. Mirna Barbosa permalink
    June 20, 2013 12:46 pm

    I just finished reading your book Big Backpack- Little world. I love your style, it is fun and so nice to read. I enjoyed it a lot! I’m from Brazil and live in Timor-Leste…have you ever thought of visiting this new nation? The way you like Mexico, Colombia and Vietnam, I think you would love here, it is hot with beautiful beaches! All of the best!

  9. February 9, 2014 10:06 pm

    I am looking into teaching ESL overseas for a year. I was just reading your blog! I would very much appreciate your feedback, if you have time.

    I have saved enough to cover cost of a ‘TEFL’ certificate program–I was looking at the CELTA and Via Lingua progams. A lot of the ESL demand seems to be in Asia–China, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. From reading, Vietnam sounds like a very beautiful place, with a warm welcoming culture. Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia also sound wonderful. I also wish I could go to a Spanish-speaking country as I already speak Spanish, Via Lingua has courses in Peru and Panama.

    Currently, I live on a commune, East Wind Community, where I have lived for several years. We are an income sharing, agricultural community. Before that, I had various jobs. I have never been a teacher, but have done related work. I studied Spanish for many years, and had two jobs where I was able to use it daily, at schools in Phoenix. I was a teacher’s aide with children, and worked in the office of a high school. I also volunteered at a community center that had adult-ed classes–I would go in once a week and work one on one with anybody who wanted help, they had GED and ESL classes. I also did a volunteer term in the Dominican Republic with a Catholic program, which involved teaching/tutoring. I love languages and other cultures.

    If you have any recommendations about teaching ESL in Vietnam or neighboring countries, or Latin America, or recommend particular TEFL programs, or have any other insights, I would be very grateful.

  10. Judith Augustine permalink
    January 19, 2016 8:51 pm

    Hi Donna – I’m hoping this finds you continuing to thrive! I found you while searching the web for info about TEFL programs and teaching ESL and starting on this journey at the advanced age of 66. I’m looking for wisdom from folks such as you, younger though you may be. (You’re still in my ballpark!) I have a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism. I have always loved to diagram sentences. I am part of the grammar police everywhere I go. I’d love to work with immigrants or refugees here in Georgia. Or elsewhere in this country. I can see myself going abroad somewhere too if the opportunity were to arise.

    I don’t know where to start. I’m coming to the end of a difficult 5-year period, dealing with family stuff, health stuff and am so ready to break loose. Sometimes I’m tempted to succumb to thinking it’s just too late, but that would be too sad. And dumb. Would you be so kind as to drop me a line with some thoughts on how to get started? What to look for? What to beware of? Or someone you know who might be able to help me sort through the issues? Thank you so much.

    You are an inspiration, living your life as you do. Good for you!


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