In Charge of Her Own Life
Posted November 18, 2013on:
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 60’s. 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.
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.
Sorry, WordPress won’t let me add pictures for some reason. Check out Joei’s website to see what she looks like.