Darlene Foster's Blog

In Charge of Her Own Life

Posted on: November 18, 2013

I would like to introduce Joei Carlton, an amazing woman I met through the BC Association of Travel Writers. I know you will find what she has to say fascinating.


1.This blog is about following your dreams. Can you tell us about a dream or two you had as a young girl? Has this dream(s) come true for you?

 I have never been a believer in “The Bucket List.”  As soon as I wanted something I would work towards that goal.  As a child, I dreamed of running away to exotic lands. When I finished high school and worked to earn money I left home. At 18 the only two places my parents allowed me to move to were either Florida (where I had an aunt and uncle) or California (where my sister Mona – five years older than I lived).  I moved to California. Can you imagine living in Hollywood during the 60s? What fun.

Another dream was working in law enforcement.  I spent 3 years working as a private investigator in various jobs from undercover work, store detective, divorce or child custody cases, and then Wackenhut where I was put on the airlines as an undercover agent. From 1968 to 1970 I was on the LA Police Department.

When I returned to Canada I went from office worker to sales (my favorite) to owning my own very successful Wool and Needlecraft shop.  I definitely lived my own dream. I loved being in charge of my own life.

 2. What were some of your favourite books as a child?

I came by my love of adventure in the all the books I read as a child. I read every Nancy Drew Mystery and Hardy Boys book I could get my hands on.  My love of horror books came from reading every horror comic book even if they gave me the most horrible nightmares.

 3. When did you start writing and what motivated you to write.

My writing career was born out of the saddest part of my life. It had been my husband dream to go traveling. Willing to follow the love of my life anywhere he chose, we sold our home, sold my business while Paul quit his job and embarked on a life of adventure. We spent 2-1/2 years in a motorhome traveling through Great Britain, most of Europe, parts of northern Africa and continuing our adventure in the U.S and Canada.  On the 26th of June, 1992 Paul had a heart attack in a German campground and died before ever leaving the campground. I was devastated but decided almost immediately to visit all the places we had planned together.

The year after he died I spent my summer working on 3 archaeological digs in England and a year later I spent 5 months overseas – a month in England selling my motorhome, 3 months in turkey traveling from Side in the south to Istanbul in the north and inland as far as Cappadoccia…..loving every minute of it.

When I returned home it was to a pile of mail – and on top was a magazine called Modern Maturity – from AARP. The back of the magazine asked, “Have you been someplace where the sun is always shining and the phone never rings.”  I set up my Smith Corona typewriter and pounded out a 3-page story that I sent off to the magazine.  Needless to say, I heard nothing back and eventually showed the story to my neighbor.  She gushed over it – told me that the local newspaper called The Pelican Press would love it – so I repacked it and sent it.  The rest is history. My first story became a 2-page spread with 3 pictures in an award-winning newspaper published 2 days before my 51st birthday on February 9, 1995. They even spelled my name right.

 4. Your books are hilarious, have you always had such a great sense of humour?

 I have to say “yes.”  I have learned that “sense of humor” runs in families and almost everyone in my family cracks me up.  I have also maintained that you can’t live the way I do – 22 years as a solo RVer and 13 years as a full-time RVer – without seeing the funny side of life.

With titles like  Morocco – Without a Pit to Hiss In and Stuck in Greece, your books will cheer anyone up.

 5. You are a woman of many talents, besides keeping everyone amused with your books, you make exquisite bookmarks, spiders and tree of life pendants. What prompted you to start creating these items?

 I feel that my beading is a “guilty” pleasure.  My mother spent many hard years of her life working in a factory in Montreal beading hats for pennies. I do it mostly for pleasure and it occupies a different part of my creative brain. I love the feel and the shapes and the various sizes and especially the colors –  it satisfies every part of my creative mind. Not a day goes by that I don’t feel grateful that my eyes are in good shape and my hands are very steady.

6. What would you say has been a defining moment in your life?

 Interesting question:  What is my defining moment? I never thought of any part of my life in defining moments. I try anything that looks interesting and fun.  I’m not a daredevil at all so I would immediately dismiss anything where I might get hurt physically or mentally but, as I approach my 70th birthday I’m starting to make different decisions about my travels and my writing and my career…….I’ll announce more when I know more…..but changes are acomin’.

7. You are a woman who travels solo, what advice would you give a woman who is contemplating travelling on her own?

What advice would I give a woman just starting out – your instincts will tell you when things are not right – leave when you don’t feel safe and never drive after dark. Find other travelers like yourself and don’t take yourself too seriously. A lot of fun to be found out here.

 8. What are you reading right now?

 For reading pleasure purposes I still love mysteries or family sagas or real-life adventure but what I’m reading now involves marketing my new e-books.  I spent all summer long converting all but one of my adventure-travel books to e-books. Everyone’s Dream Everyone’s Nightmare is being updated and re-edited and will become a memoir rather than a travel-adventure and will be converted to an e-book in 2014 or 2015. It’s my favorite and I want to keep it going.

 9. What advice would you give a young person with their entire life before them?

 Don’t concentrate so hard on what’s going on around you that you miss something coming at you out of the corner of your eye.  Passions change and always do something that you’re passionate about.

10. Any parting words?

I think I’ve said it all. Thanks for listening.

Joei Carlton

Thanks for beiing a guest on my blog! Check out Joei´s website and books.





14 Responses to "In Charge of Her Own Life"

What a lot of interesting experiences she must have to inspire her writing. Thanks for the interview, Darlene, I’m going to check out Joei’s site.

She is one of those people who makes her experiences interesting.

What an adventurous spirit! I enjoyed reading your interview with Joei! I found myself smiling. Her books sound like a lot of fun!

Her books are enjoyable reads. Glad you enjoyed the interview.

Great interview! Ms. Carlton sounds like a nice lady! 😀

She is very nice and fun too. You would like her and I knwo she would like you. Have a great week.

A great Interview, Darlene! You asked terrific questions. I enjoyed learning about Joei, and her books!

I’m glad you enjoyed learning about Joei, Laura

Goodness from Nancy Drew to law enforcement to a needlecraft shop! She is living the seasons of her life. Interesting that not only is her creative writing active, but her hands, too.

No grass grows under Joei’s feet. She is a very busy woman.

Hello Darleen, what an interesting interview and I agree about Joei being an amazing woman. Terry and I used to own a motor home and had many adventures in places such as Denmark and Holland plus lots of trips around England. We often talked about selling up and taking off for a few years – I wish we had done it back then as I feel at 65, we are probably too old.

I’ve been away for a few weeks so have a lot to catch up on but will be back to read more of your posts just as soon as I can. Barbara x

Hi Barbara. Nice to see you back. Glad you enjoyed the interview. I think you never really lose that sense of adventure. Joei is 72. Sounds like you and your hubby have done some fun stuff and I’m sure you will do more interesting things.

Reblogged this on Forget the Viagra, Pass Me a Carrot and commented:
Many of us talk the talk – from an armchair. Joei Carlton walks the talk – travelling and regaling with her stories. That is how our history used to be passed on by the storytellers. An art and a tradition that should never be lost. Thanks Darlene Foster for sharing.

So true. She is a fabulous story teller. Thanks for stopping by and sharing Joei’s story.

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