Back from Africa | 28 July 17

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Here is this week’s 8 Good Things. This newsletter is my year-long weekly gift containing everything from articles to books to quotes to videos that are meant to be helpful, inspirational, aspirational, informational, and just fun to read! Please make sure to scroll all the way down to see our Upcoming Sojourn Events! Two trips: Sailing and Hiking the Greek Islands and Walking the Camino de Santiago. Also, this August, I am launching a 90-day program, Happiness and the Art of Life Balance. For details, contact me. Very excited to share!


1) I am recently back from taking a family of five on a horseback riding safari in the Maasai Mara. I have been traveling to Africa for many years now, and this was truly one of the best wildlife adventures I have ever experienced. We saw lions mating on five different occasions. Leopards two different times. Cheetah hunting down prey. Newborn giraffes. Those are just the headliners. We saw all of the big five except for the rhino. It was fantastic! I always tell people if Africa is on your “hit list,” go! And go big. You will forever cherish the experience. It is the only place in the world where I feel the age of the Earth in the most stirring and sensual of ways. There is so much joy in producing and sharing an experience like this with people who are seeing the bush for the first time. Magical…

2) For the book: Into Africa, The Epic Adventure of Stanley and Livingstone by New York Times Bestselling Author and friend, Martin Dugard. It is the historical tale of Henry Morton Stanley’s 1000-mile journey from Zanzibar to Lake Tanganyika to find David Livingstone. Doctor Livingstone, I presume? I have shared this book before. It was the inspiration for a series I developed and produced for the History Channel and Mark Burnett several years ago; Expedition Africa: Stanley & Livingstone. In light of my return from Africa, thought it was worth sharing again. Enjoy the read. And thank goodness that travel through Africa has come such a long way since 1871!

3) 36 Interesting Facts That Will Make You Want To Travel. Btw, according to this article, the U.S. is the only developing country in the world without a single legally required paid vacation or holiday.


4) Last night at the Director’s Guild, I saw a screening of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. Worth seeing. Afterward, there was a discussion with Al Gore and award-winning filmmakers Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk. I was impressed by Al Gore’s humility. He spoke least of all. (Sorry, I don’t have a better photo.) Limited U.S. release starts today, July 28th. NT Times Review | Trailer

I haven’t been everywhere,
but it’s on my list.

~ Susan Sontag, American writer,
Filmmaker, Activist

Picture Happiness: Take a Shot

5) The Foundation of Mindfulness. On the heels of returning from Africa, I went into the desert outside of LA, around Joshua Tree, to attend a 10-day silent retreat. I was there to learn Vipassana Meditation, which is one of India’s oldest meditation techniques and the basis of Mindfulness. It was what the Buddha was doing when he attained enlightenment. So, in principle, if you practice this technique, you too can do the same. Though I promise you, it is no easy task to sit for 10-days. I was okay with being silent. I was okay with meditating from 4:30 am to 9 pm. It was the physical sitting that was the challenging part. However, worth the effort of learning to purify your mind through self-reflection, and understanding the wisdom of detachment, impermanence, in all things. This specific course is taught throughout the world. Cost is completely donation based. Also to know, this is not a religious technique. More here.

6) Eight Steps to a Happier Vacation. One is to “choose immersion and connection in your travel.” That means talk to strangers, go where the locals hangout. Find out the other seven.


7) 3 Secrets to Having a Better Morning. Think: purpose, control, and optimism. Read more.

8) Looks like your morning “cup of joe” could be helping you live longer. Two new studies.

Upcoming Sojourn Events

Los Angeles, July 29th. I am leading a Prayer of the Heart Retreat: How to Meditate. 10:00 am – 2:30 pm at the Huffington Center. Admission is my gift; donations are your gift. Details: Picture Happiness Facebook Page. Please RSVP to


Program Launch, Happiness and the Art of Life Balance,
Tuesday, August 15th.

I am committed to helping those who sit in the overwhelm, constantly feeling out of time, and always stressed. As a longtime TV producer, I have been there many times over. And have spent the last eleven years studying what to do about it. My promise is to get you out of the crazy and into the happy. To do that, I have put together a 90-day program. It is designed to be an on-going curriculum that can fit into anyone’s schedule and can be joined online anytime. You will learn to manage your day-to-day world in a way that is sustainable while experiencing both group and individual support. For a complimentary consultation, please contact me.


Greek Islands, September 15th – 23rd, 2017.
If you romanticize sailing and hiking the islands in the Aegean, then come along with me. Explore, meditate, do restorative yoga, energizing breathwork, eat great food, dance. Find your inner Zorba. Opa! Learn more. *the trip cost includes my Happiness and the Art of Life Balance program.

“Happy is the man, I thought, who, before dying
has the good fortune to sail the Aegean Sea.”

~ Nikos Kazantzakis, author of Zorba the Greek


Camino de Santiago, Spain, September 26th – October 3rd, 2017.
This pilgrimage has long been on my travel ‘hit’ list. For years, I have heard inspiring stories about it. We’ll stay in quaint farm houses, 17th-century stone-made mansions. Eat well, drink well. Pray, meditate, breathe. Of course, walk. Go home happy. Learn more. *the trip cost includes my Happiness and the Art of Life Balance program.

Happy Weekend! Love,
Maria and Team Sojourn
Learn More About Us | +800-869-0538


Maria Baltazzi, Purveyor of Happiness and Conscious Living

Founder of Sojourn Explorers and Picture Happiness: Take a Shot, Emmy-winning Producer, Seven-continent Distance Walker, Fundraiser

Certified Studies (partial list): Science of Happiness, Science of Thinking, Spiritual Psychology, Metaphysics, Primordial Sound Meditation, Restorative Yoga

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