Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sonja Yoerg's favorite ways to fly...plus a book giveaway

It works out well that "Favorite Things" is the theme for today's guest, Sonja Yoerg, as she financed her college education by waitressing at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont, where she grew up. Maria herself even gave Sonja a cuckoo clock for her 16th birthday! Since then, she earned her Ph.D. in Biological Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and published a nonfiction book about animal intelligence, Clever as a Fox (Bloomsbury USA, 2001). She lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband and has published her debut fiction novel, House Broken.

You can find Sonja at her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Thanks to Penguin Random House, we have a copy of House Broken for a lucky US reader!

Synopsis of House Broken:
For veterinarian Geneva Novak, animals can be easier to understand than people. They’re also easier to forgive. But when her mother, Helen, is injured in a vodka-fueled accident, it’s up to Geneva to give her the care she needs.

Since her teens, Geneva has kept her self-destructive mother at arm’s length. Now, with two slippery teenagers of her own at home, the last thing she wants is to add Helen to the mix. But Geneva’s husband convinces her that letting Helen live with them could be her golden chance to repair their relationship.


Geneva isn’t expecting her mother to change anytime soon, but she may finally get answers to the questions she’s been asking for so long. As the truth about her family unfolds, however, Geneva may find secrets too painful to bear and too terrible to forgive.



Oprah used to give away her "favorite things" on her show. If you were to do a show where you could give people FIVE of your "favorite things," what would you include and how would you present it?

Oprah hid her gifts under the seats of her audience. My first favorite thing, which holds all the others, fits under a seat, too, but the one in front of you—on an airplane. What I’d really like to share is my favorite activity, travelling, but we’ll have to settle for the goods that make travel better.

The perfect travel bag. I’ve used a Sherpani Priya laptop tote for a couple years now. It holds everything I need and does it without looking like an overloaded diaper bag. It has enough pockets but not so many I risk forgetting where I stashed things, and it zips closed so I can lay it on its side and prop my feet on it.
Okay, so what’s inside?

A ticket, of course! My husband and I are adventurous, and have a long list of far-flung places we’re eager to visit. We don’t favor resorts or tours, preferring instead to muddle through a new country on our own, meeting locals and learning about the place firsthand. In the last few years we’ve been to Morocco, Chile and Venezuela, where we backpacked in the Andes. On Molokai, we rented a tiny house on the beach, ate mostly baked potatoes and pineapple, and rode bikes into the mountains. Yeah, we can’t even go to Hawaii the way normal people do.
I know not everyone is so adventurous, but I’d encourage the recipient to choose a destination a little out of their comfort zone. Something new that might challenge their expectations. One of my favorite things about traveling is seeing how similar people are, fundamentally, the world over. I find it reassuring and hopeful.
In case you’re wondering, the ticket would be first-class, because I’m channeling Oprah, right? The adventure starts after the plane lands. Until then, pass the champagne.

An e-reader. I love the feel of a real book in my hands as much as the next person, but thank goodness we don’t have to lug a dozen books when we travel. More room for shoes! I’d load up the reader with a variety of books, including ones set in the destination, plus a travel guide and phrase book.

Noise-cancelling headphones. A travel essential right up there with black leggings. Not only does the in-flight movie sound better, but you can block out your fellow travelers and concentrate on your book, or your music. And not just on the plane, but any time you’d like a little peace and quiet.

A Pashmina shawl. Planes are always too hot, except when they’re too cold. I’d constantly take my sweater off, only to pull it on again, trying not to bash my neighbor on the head or appear to be engaging in seated yoga. Now I pack a large Pashmina shawl. So much cozier than a sweater and packs smaller, too. In a pinch it can double as a beach cover-up. The best use of the wrap, however, is when you wake in a place you’ve never been. You get out of bed, wrap the shawl around you, and go to the window. A beach, a mountain, a cathedral tower, a field of lavender. A child retrieving a ball from a cobblestone street. It could be anything.

A new day. A new place. And, always, at the end, the promise of home.

Thanks to Sonja for sharing her favorite travel items with us and Penguin Random House for sharing her book with our readers!

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


US only. Giveaway ends January 13th at midnight EST.

24 comments:

Janine said...

I haven't traveled in so long, it's hard to really remember what I used to take. I believe I used to take magazines because I never could read books very well around other people.

Bonnie Franks said...

I no longer travel due to health issues and I've never been on a plane (claustrophobia) but I always carried some sort of mindless electronic game so that I would have something to distract me if someone else was driving.

OnDBookshelf said...

My iPod :)

Melanie Backus said...

I would have to have my iPad when I travel.

mauback55 at gmail dot com

Lisa Mandina said...

That's hard, because it is books for sure. Probably a camera, so I can take pictures to have memories of wherever I'm going.

Sharon said...

I have to have music and games so my iPad... which also doubles as a book if I need it too. :)

traveler said...

My travel journal which records my impressions. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Holly said...

I've found that earplugs are really useful!

Rosemary Huelsebusch said...

My husband and a shawl or blanket.

Jessica Meddick said...

My ipod

Linda Kish said...

I take my netbook or laptop (now that I have that) and a pair of ear plugs.

Carl Scott said...

My netbook and a bunch of snacks, Thanks

Anita Yancey said...

My favorite thing to travel with besides books is my laptop computer. Thanks for having the giveaway.

rubynreba said...

snacks and crossword puzzles

Anonymous said...

My iPod.

Suzy

susieqlaw said...

I love to travel with a friend! I recently traveled by airplane (after not flying for over 13 years). My friend is the savviest traveler ever!

Hailey Fish said...

Whether I be traveling by plane, train or car, I always always take snacks and trashy magazines. It's always been a tradition with my mom and older sister. Once you're done reading, you can throw them away! It's fun buying National Enquirer. Music is a must too because I can't stand absolute silence!

bn100 said...

a friend

rhonda said...

My pillow makes the hotel feel like home.

JJT said...

I love to travel with my wife!

Maureen said...

My iphone since it has music and I can look up anything I need to know.

bookwormerz said...

Snacks!

TinaB said...

I love travel with my ipad and my own pillow.

Bonnie K. said...

It's not necessarily a favorite thing to travel with but a necessity--snacks.

bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com