Okay, everyone, I’m back – And very happy to announce three wonderful opportunities to share some of my stories with me — and/or to write some of your own!

March 2018  – Himalayan Writers Workshop: This one-of-a-kind boudhanathworkshop will bring a dozen intrepid writers to the Kathmandu Valley, where we’ll dive into the culture and experiment with “story slices”: short, pithy, image-driven vignettes ideal for magazine or blog publication. I’ll be teaching with the gifted and effervescent Lavinia Spalding, along with Buddhist poet and impresario James Hopkins.  More information here!

October 13th-23rd, 2017 – Arts & Culture of Eastern Cuba: After taking a break in 2016, I’m back on the Cuba circuit, leading a small Ethical Traveler delegation trip to the eastern side of this unforgettable island nation—which is, as you know, deeply in the throes of transition.  We will bypass Havana entirely and explore Santiago, Camaguey, Baracoa, and some of the beautiful and still uncrowded town far from the packs of sightseers. Contact me via this website for more information, or visit this link for more trip info.

That’s it for now! Enjoy this strange (but beautiful) December … and the last few weeks-in-office of the best, funniest, coolest, most compassionate Presidential First Family we are ever likely to see.

November 21st, December 2nd & December 8th, 2013 – In my last couple of posts I chortled about upcoming storytelling nights at The Vent and Busting Out. Since I wasn’t pelted with organic tomatoes or carried out of town, dripping with tar, on a creosote bush, both series have invited me back for their November/December events.

Busting Out Storytelling returns to the fabulous Den at the Fox, Thursday November 21st. The theme is “Family Jewels,” and I’ll tell a story about my brother Jordan, who died in 1990 but lives on in the annals of “that story has got to be bullshit!!” oratory. It’s not bullshit; he was really one of a kind. If you think you’d like to be there, get your tickets early, as the last one was packed. Follow this link for the Busting Out Storytelling site.

Then comes Thanksgivakkuh, the eight nights of Hanukkah, and our collective slide into this great nation’s annual holiday madness. Don’t fight it; come party with me, as below.

On December 2nd, my non-profit Ethical Traveler celebrates its 10th anniversary with the 2014 World’s Best Ethical Destinations Awards at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco. It will be a terrific evening with wine, food, fun and the opportunity to (a) meet ambassadors from the 10 winning countries, and (b) discover where you’ll be taking your next vacation. Use the code TRAVEL to get 50% off on your tickets. Here is the link to the event.

And finally, on Sunday December 8th, impresario Bruce Pachtman’s Vent storytelling series blows  the doors off of Stage Werx, at 446 Valencia near 16th Street, San Francisco. I’ll be joined on stage by gifted storytellers Chirstian Cagigal, Leslie Beam, Gina Gold and Sandy Stec. Use the code ventdec on this Brown Paper Tickets link to get tix for only $10!

September 16th, 2013 – Monday seems a little early in the week to be baring one’s soul, but how could I turn down an invitation from The Vent? Bruce Pachtman’s fantastic storytelling series continues three days before the Harvest Moon at Stagewerx, 446 Valencia near 16th Street, San Francisco. Showtime is 8 pm. I’ll be telling one story (it may be the Iran eclipse tale), and will be joined by stellar raconteurs Micia Mosely, Joe Cole, Doug Cordell and Leslie Beam. Get your tickets here.   They’re only $15. But  if you’re a friend of mine (you are), use the code “Septvent” to  get in for 12 bucks.






August 15th, 2013 – The fabulous Kay DeMartini, impresario extraordinaire, has moved her electric storytelling series to a new venue: The Den at the Fox Theater, at 19th and Telegraph in Oakland’s Uptown. The theme for this Thursday night is “Travel Trippin’ – Pushing Boundaries.” and though I have a few stories on this subject I promise to tell only one. If you think you’d like to be there get your tickets  early, as all Kay’s past events have sold out and the Fire Marshall will not allow her to pack 583 people into a fox den. Follow this link for the Busting Out Storytelling site.

Saturday, July 27th, at 4 p.m. I’m thrilled that Strange Travel Suggestions will be a part of the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco’s Oneg Shabbat celebrations! Every Saturday throughout the Summer, the venerable JCC — where I had my first job on the West Coast (as a camp counselor) in the Summer of 1974 (!!!) — hosts this casual and FREE opportunity to enjoy the “delightful pleasures of a leisurely Shabbat.” Come on down, the celebrations run from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m., with a slightly shortened version of my show (45 minutes) at 4 o’clock. Come and spin the Wheel of Fortune! Did I mention it is FREE?

Three terrific events are coming right up! Hope to see you at every single one of them…

Saturday, July 6th, 2013 @ 7 pm: The BustingOut Storytelling series continues as the heat wave lifts, at Oakland’s Layover Music Bar & Lounge, starting at 6:30pm. It’s a part of the Beast Crawl. (Why “Beast?” Say it in Pig Latin!)  As effervescent impresario Kay DeMartini asserts: “[The Layover] will not fit all of Oakland, so get there EARLY.” The evening will feature true stories of “Shit Creek.”  Joining me will be the scintillating Jake Arky, Doug Cordell, Josh Cereghino and the cowgirl herself, Kay “De” Martini

Saturday, July 13th, 2013 @ 7 pm: Join me at Book Passage in Corte Madera on Saturday, July 13th, where I’ll help the travel world’s most inspirational editor — the wonderful Don George — celebrate his first full astrological cycle! (No, he’s not turning twelve…) Come by 7 pm, as there will be a very cool (visual) surprise before the event.

Thursday August 8th > Sunday August 11th, 2013: Yes, it’s time for that punch bowl of amoebic delights: the 22nd Annual Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference. A stellar line-up this year includes Tim Cahill, Phil Cousineau, David Farley, Amy Tan, and our ever-perky mascot, Linda Watanabe-McFerrin. Hosted by the inimitable Don George, it’s going to be another 108-hour literary salon from which you will emerge besotted, bedazzled and utterly inspired.

May 21st, 2013, 7 pm: For the past six months Megan McNealy, a finance guru with an artistic streak, has been hosting (in her words) “a monthly gathering of phenonemal men and women, much like the writer, Gertrude Stein, did in the 1920s at her home on the Left Bank of Paris.”  Except that (1) this is not on the Left Bank but in Moraga, about 20 minutes east of Oakland; (2) Megan is far less intimidating than Gertrude Stein; and (3) I am hardly phenomenal. Nonetheless, I will be the Featured Speaker at her upcoming Spiritual Salon on Tuesday, May 21st. More from Megan:

“Wine, beer and mojitos will be served, along with a hearty selection of hors d’oeuvres….  In the Buddhist tradition of dana or generosity, the attendees will offer a donation to the speaker.  There will be a sliding scale of between $20-80 minimum, whatever works best for your financial situation.”

So there you have it. I will talk on the theme of Spiritual Travel (once I figure out what it is), tell stories, answer questions, etc. The event is in Megan’s home and limited to 25 people. RSVPs are on a first come, first served basis..  Please email Megan directly (not me!) if you are interested: shimmerymegan (at)

Untitled by Ang Tsherin Sherpa, 2010

An embarrassment of opportunities to see me embarrass myself!!

1) The final 2012 performance of Strange Travel Suggestions — It’s been a short run, it’s been a great run, and after only four (out of five)  packed-house performances it is coming to an end. The last show of this wonderful run will be at The Marsh San Francisco on Saturday October 13th, up in the Studio Theater at 5 pm. Last Saturday, my Mother was in the audience…. Who knows who will show up this time? Hope it’s you. Click here for details and tickets.

2) Meet, Plan, Go — Billed as an opportunity to liberate lost souls who really, Really, REALLY want to travel but continually find excuses not to, this will be an evening of quasi-inspirational sermons by quasi-famous travelers; in this case myself and legendary editor/living buddha Donald W. George.  I promise to liven up the evening by conducting a group meditation in which we visualize ourselves as William Shatner. It happens on Tuesday, October 16th, at 5:30 pm. in San Francisco.  Click here for location, details and tix. Beam yourself up.

3) Weekday Wanderlust — I really can’t get enough of this Don George guy. A day after the “Meet, Plan, Go” event above, Don and I will be taking the “stage” again (this time at San Francisco’s Rex Hotel) — along with the brilliant Chris Colin. The Wednesday 10/17 event is called “Weekday Wanderlust,” and it’s billed as a place for vagabonding spirits to meet, converse, swap travel tales, and listen to “established and up-and-coming Bay Area travel writers share their work with an appreciative audience.” It’s at The Rex from 6-8 pm. Free. Drinks. Just show up.

… it’s official. Really truly. Have just confirmed a September 2012 run of the show at The Marsh in San Francisco!

Strange Travel Suggestions will soon return to San Francisco for the first time since 2008! Note: There will be only four shows. The dates are all Saturdays: September 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th, at 8:30 pm, on the fabulous main stage. We sold out almost the entire run at The Marsh Berkeley in 2011. Please get your tickets early — here is a link to the information and ordering page at The Marsh.

Jeff at the Marsh  (video)

And check out the video link! It’s short (less than four minutes) but sweet. Fundamentalist Christian advisory: This video contains agnostic material.

(July, 2012) I’m not sure how long it’s been since I’ve posted an event here. Maybe a year? I’ve gotten lazy. My back hurts. I’ve been more enamored of Cowbird than my own site.

This has to stop.

Okay. Stuff is coming up. Great stuff. The most important and urgent is probably my class, Writing the Travel Memoir, which will begin on July 10th at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. You can get to the class schedule etc by clicking on the link above. This will be a one-day-a-week class  running for four weeks, 2.5 hours each class. It comes to $26.00 an hour. Not too bad, and by God we’re going to have fun — at least as much fun as we had in my last Grotto class, From Page to Stage.

And there’s something else. Recently I  discovered a great new story-telling series in San Francisco, held the first Wednesday of every month at the Jellyfish Gallery at 1286 Folsom. On Wednesday, June 6th (which would have been my brother Jordan’s 55th birthday) I’ll be performing a story on the theme of — wait for the link — OH SHIT!

I’m telling a story that, sadly, has nothing to do with my brother. But he’ll be there in spirit, as critical of my posturing as ever.


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