Category Archives: Travel Stories

Writers Boon – The Only Discount Marketplace for Writers


Writers Boon is shaking things up with a discount marketplace, roadmap, deals and reviews site where authors can find guidance and reviewed resources at great discounts. Its goal: simplify your publishing and book marketing life.

There are two main things that set Writers Boon apart from other sites offering “author services:”

1. The platform is designed using world’s #1 database solution provider — Oracle. It has a highly usable interface and a powerful search engine.

2. Everything and everyone a writer would possibly need to publish and market his or her book is right here, in one place.

So, what exactly does Writers Boon do for authors?

Let’s go through some features that make this tool useful for both aspiring or experienced writers of books, magazines or web content:

1. Expert Guidance on the entire publishing and marketing process.

Writers Boon is organized in five main topics: Get Started, Write, Publish, Promote and Sell your Book. The topics represent the stages every single writer goes through.
These topics are subdivided into relevant subtopics. Each of the subtopics is then further subdivided into Experts, Tools and How-To Guides.

E.g. the Publishing topic has subtopics such as: Editing, Translation, Graphic Design, Interior Book Design, Indexing, Printing, ISBN, Audio Books. For each subtopic there are resources: Experts, Tools, Courses and Books.

The beauty of it? Well,  it’s obvious.
All information is organized. The well-structured hierarchy shows you the way through the maze of book publishing like never before.
Or, if you already know what you are after, you can use our powerful search engine to find whatever you are looking for.

Let’s say you want to know everything that you could possibly do to promote your book. Simply search for Promoting, drill down into related subtopics such as Content Marketing, Email Marketing or Social Media Marketing and from there you have 3 options. You can either find and hire an expert, search for How-To Guides and learn how to DIY or you can find Tools & Apps to help you with the task.

No need to hire a book expert or try figuring out on your own. It’s all in here.
Writers Boon saves you time and money.

2. Curated Directory of DIY Tools, Experts for hire, Books, Articles and Courses at discount prices.

You need an editor, translator, copywriter, email expert that you can trust.
You need a useful writing software, a transcription tool, a quote generator tools, an infographic makers.
You need a good book about interior book design.
You’d like to attend a course about social media marketing.
In other words, you need resources. But, you don’t want to spend too much money.

Browse Writers Boon Curated Directory and you’ll find reviewed resources for every publishing and marketing topic and subtopic. Everything and everyone in one place, well-organized and at discount prices. The professionals on Writers Boon offer up to 50% on their regular fees. You will find the same editor you find on Fiverr or any other platform only that this time he or she will offer you a big discount.

To make your selection process easier, you can add notes or tag favorites. You can even message businesses and request a quote or more info. All, without leaving the platform.

3. Hot Deals on the best Experts, Guides and Tools.

We all like deals. We all want to save money.
But, in the publishing business, how do you know when a tool like Scrivener goes on sale?
One answer: Writers Boon.
Writers Boon offers you the latest hot deals on top-notch Experts, How-To Guides, and DIY Tools.
Think of it as Groupon for the publishing industry.

4. When in Doubt, Ask a Question. This is what Writers Boon Q&A section is for.

As writers and business owners we never stop asking questions. That’s how we keep learning. At Writers Boon, we make it easy to ask as many questions as you’d like. Simply, select the topic the question belongs to and ask away. The experts will answer.
Think of it as a free hotline you have with the best publishing and marketing professionals.

5. Free Book Discoverability Tools

Writers Boon offers 3 free book promo tools any writer can use: Quozimus, InBookish and Pinnisbook.

6. All the info writers need to know to sell their books to libraries. 

With thousands of worldwide libraries there is really no reason why an author should not consider selling their books to libraries. Libraries also pay you for being part of library events and they are great venues for book marketing.

So,  why not check this incredible, unique and easily navigable platform?

Read more on Writers Boon and what the platform can do for your writing career.

Writers Boon

International Traveller magazine

When Dreams are Calling Featured In The International Traveller Magazine

Great news !

The chapter on Peru in my book When Dreams are Calling has been featured in the Nov-Dec 2015 issue of International Traveller magazine – the highest selling travel magazine in Australia. You can buy the magazine at any newsstand in Australia or buy the book here or on Amazon and read more on Dora’s travels.

International Traveller magazineSerenity LakeSerenity Lake 

WIN a Chocolate Indulgence Spa Package and an Amazing Book!

Woobox sweepstakes

Do you love chocolate? Do you love to read?

Win a $150 Gift package: a signed copy of my book, When Dreams are Calling, and 5 Australian home made Yarra Valley Chocolaterie products.
In addition to the grand prize, for every 100 “Likes” one person will win a copy of the book.

All you have to do is Click on the picture, Like my page and enter the contest here.

Give your body a chocolate treat and unleash the power of your dreams!




The Virtue of Silence – Quotes to Remember

Silence is a true friend who never betrays.
― Confucius

We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out…
― Winston Churchill

There are times when silence is the best way to yell at the top of your voice.
― O. A. Battista

Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.
― Abraham Lincoln

Don’t waste words on people who deserve your silence
― Mandy Hale

There is so much you can hear in the silence
― Carol Vorvain, When Dreams are Calling

When Friendship Marries Lust

There, at the edge of an ancient forest, surrounded by bushes of wild blueberries, in the smell of pine trees, with me dressed in a simple white dress hand-embroidered with red cotton threads, wearing traditional leather sandals tied around my feet with a long, narrow strip and a wildflower crown on my head, we said our vows:

“I cannot promise you I will love you forever and ever. Eternity is not ours to promise. But I do promise to love you each day I will tell you that.”
“Honesty! Let’s see if I can match that. I cannot promise I will make you happy. Happiness is a game of two. But I do promise I will try harder each day and if won’t succeed I will set you free.”
“Freedom! Hard one to beat! I promise to stand by you in joy and sorrow, because next to you, my nest is not a prison and I am not an inmate, but a happy traveler through life and marriage.”
“Commitment! The most difficult part for some, easy when one has you. If in heaven He is our God, on Earth you are my Goddess.”

Carol Vorvain
When Dreams are Calling

When Dreams are Calling – Goodreads Giveaway


Are you on Goodreads?

If yes, click here to enter Goodreads Giveaway for a chance to win one FREE copy of When Dreams are Calling – a deeply touching story about the power of our dreams.
Open for entries from Jul 26 to Aug 03, 2014.


“This is a book that realizes the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Dora is on a journey, hoping that she realizes her dream, but having a great deal of fun as she goes many places, sees many things and lives life to the fullest. Even when Dora is experiencing a failure the reader can remain a bit jealous because she is doing so in a grand and glorious manner, not as a passive object accepting of the world.” – C Ashbacher

“Carol Vorvain’s wisdom seeped a little into my life as well, precisely when I needed it most! When I was feeling pretty lousy, When Dreams are Calling injected me with a much-awaited dose of optimism and faith in who I am, what I’m hoping for and what I’m dreaming of!” – Loredana Malic

“It’s a story that applies to most of us… unsettling and willing to accomplish our dreams, the book will give us the great advantage of being able to respond to the opportunities that arise in our life.” – EmilM

Goodreads Book Giveaway

When Dreams are Calling by Carol Vorvain

When Dreams are Calling

by Carol Vorvain

Giveaway ends August 03, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


Let me show you Melbourne, the world’s most liveable city. Just watch the video!

Dear Ones,

We all love traveling and we all love holidays. But what can we do when we’re stuck at home? Simple: pretend to be a tourist in our own city.

There are so many hidden gems waiting for us to be discovered, so many artists we still don’t know anything about, so many little restaurants where besides enjoying great food we can also make a great friend. It’s easy, it’s affordable and it can be more fun than one would expect. So, let’s get a fresh perspective. Let’s turn that old, same thing into a new, exciting adventure. Let’s walk around and marvel at the city we live in.

I will take you on a tour around Melbourne, my home. Just watch the video.

And then, please tell me: what do you love about your city?

Till next time, stay happy!


Time to Clean Up!

Clean Up Australia Day!

Dear Ones,

I was biking the other day along YarraRiver trail, when I saw a bunch of people carrying huge garbage bags, picking up whatever others decided to dump into nature. I remembered: it was Clean Up Australia Day, a day when thousands of volunteers clean up, fix up and conserve the environment.

I joined them and helped along. The grass became greener, the beach became whiter and everyone was happy.

I went home, washed myself, cleaned up my house and my car. I threw away some oldies and kept my treasured goodies. I made room so that I could embark on a shopping spree to keep up with the delights of my present days.

And then, I wondered: why could we not have a Clean Up Memory Day? Click to Tweet
A day when we delete whatever memories drag us down and we only keep the ones that  put a smile on our faces; a day when we leave in the past what belongs to the past, and we make room in our hearts for joy, laughter and hope; a day when we keep in our lives only what is worth keeping.

Shall we make that day, today?

Till next time, stay happy!


A “How to” guide?




What better birthday gift than a book?

For me, not much.

This year one of my presents was “The complete worst-case scenario Survival book” by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht.

The title was definitely intriguing. Wouldn’t be great if, whenever something less desirable happens, instead of saying a prayer or driving ourselves mad looking for a way out, we could all turn to a book and the right answer will reveal itself?

Those authors seemed to know it all. So, I opened the book and read the titles of the first few chapters. Here are my ideas before reading the content. Useless to say I was wrong 100%. Nevertheless, have fun:

How to survive an elephant stampede.”

     Roll over, maybe? If too late, then, don’t worry…It’s too late.

How to jump from a building into a dumpster.”

     This sounded terribly useful .Too bad it did not mention how high the building must be or even better, must not be…

How to survive if your parachute fails to open.”

     Learn how to fly?

How to survive an airplane crash.”

     Take the car. Or the boat. Or even better, stay home.

How to treat a tongue stuck to a pole.”

     With the same imagination you got it there in the first place.

How to survive if you wake up next to someone whose name you don’t remember.”

     Go back to sleep, let the body do the talking, sneak out…

How to survive awkward elevator silence.”

     Start talking, if you are a woman, this should not be an issue. But how do we survive when stuck on a Monday morning in an elevator packed with overly loud talkative people? This is the question.

Till next time, stay happy!


One Week In Cuba

Travel far and travel wide, 
Leave your worries far behind, 
Royal Palms, a strong Mojito, 
A cigar or a burrito,
Hemingway and Bienvenido. 

When I write I feel happy and lucky. Happy to have met so many wonderful people and lucky to have seen so many wonderful places.

I went to Cuba on a seven day holiday like most Canadians do when winter hits again. Cuba – a cozy place only for Canadians.No Americans.J

I decided to travel Cuban style, meaning cheap: 800$ for flights and a week in the all inclusive resort,The Brisas del Caribe. However, I had a great time.

The resort was old, but clean; the simplicity of the furniture was combined with the smiles of everyone around; the Mojito was terrible, but the guy who was playing piano was great; the food was scarce, but the live Cuban music on the beach was amazing.

The Cuban men were very open and generous with their services (the main reason for which women go to Cuba alone), but somehow their humour and natural way amused me instead of bothering me. One morning while I was walking along the beach the guy at the bar offered me a flower and a CD with Cuban music.

As ironic and hard to believe as it seems Cuban people are happy. Could the American people say the same?

The perfect example came one morning when I decided to go and see Havana. Easier said than done. I did not want to drive alone in Havana. After meeting a curious Canadian guy about 50 years of age who had to ask his father’s permission to leave the resort, I thought it was all in vain and Havana was not in the cards. That’s when I have met my new Cuban friend. She was working at the rental office. Without thinking twice she simply said:

“You want to go to Havana? No problems. I close the office and we go together. We will have a great time and don’t worry, it won’t cost you anything.”

Right…For a second my mind could not process the information: she had a job to do and she was the one and only person in the rental office. She must be joking…

But, she was not. And here we were, both of us driving to see the beauty of Havana. If that’s not freedom, I don’t know what it is. Being irresponsible? Well, perhaps that too…

She had two tapes with American songs and, in no time, she was singing out loud, trying desperately to dance as much as the limited space in the car allowed her.

She talked to me about everything that was going on in her life. And when I say everything, I mean everything. She left nothing out. So, here I was listening how good is to make love with your husband not less than three times a day in a tiny room on a tiny bed made out of wood with no mattress on top. She was so proud of her house, so happy with her loving husband, so grateful for her job. Her world was perfect. Her only biggest fear was that one day one her kids, fool enough, will want to leave Cuba and go to America.

We had a great time together walking around the old part of Havana. Her genuine excitement and good vibes were intoxicating. 

On the way back, she invited me into her home and for a few hours, she made me feel so warm and welcomed as if I was visiting my parents’ home. 

I wish I could see once, in a western society, a stranger who will do that for anyone. Her open heart, warmth, generosity, sense of humour and kindness will always be with me reminding me that it is not the place where we live but the people we share our life with.

Her daily prayer was quite simple:

God I ask you to give me wisdom to understand my man, enough love to forgive him, patience with his anger and frustrations, because God if you don’t give me those I will kill him.

You can read more on my adventures and life lessons in Cuba in my book, When Dreams are Calling. The book has been featured in numerous travel magazines in Australia and around the world. 

Grocery Store in Havana

Grocery Store in Havana


The words are more powerful than any punishment

The words are more powerful than any punishment

Me and my happy friend

Me and my happy friend


Brunei – A Place Like No Other?

 It is considered the 5th richest country in the world. And, by looking at the beautifully decorated Government buildings I can see some truth in it. 

However, as I soon discovered,  the daily life of the people of Brunei, is a completely different story. 

First, their houses…Well, to me they looked more like slumps. 



Fear and to some extent, indoctrination stops the people of Brunei from criticizing the mighty Sultan. Its power and grip on the country can be felt everywhere you go. There are pictures of the royal family at the airport, on the streets, in the mosques. There is even a picture of his Majesty private jet on the ceiling of the one and only mall. Well, the sky is no longer the limit. All the time while I was there, I couldn’t stop thinking of the communism regime.

So, long live the King but I won’t have any pictures with his Majesty. 

And, as for many other rich people, enough is not a word part of the vocabulary, to keep the riches within the family, the Sultan even married someone within the royal family. Why share if you can keep it all to yourself, he must have thought. 

You can learn more about the Sultan’s life and see a collection of royal regalia at the Royal regalia building. The sheer opulence of the place will surely impress. Or, if nothing else, will provide some respite from the oppressive heat. 



A word of caution: you cannot buy any alcohol or cigars in Brunei. So, leave your sins at the airport and consider yourself in a detox clinic.

The question was could I take back to Australia some petrol? At 50 cents per liter it was a question worth considering.

Tip for foodies:

The best food I have tried in Brunei is at the Gadong night market. For $1 and $1 only you buy small bags of delicious food cooked on the spot. Suffice to say, that desperate to try everything I left the market with about ten bags with ten different Malaysian dishes. And ten proved to be my lucky number. The food was scrumptious!







There are two famous mosques in Brunei: The Omar ali saifuddien mosque and the Jame asr hassanul boskia mosque which is famous for its golden doms.

The last one has two entrances: one for the regular people of Brunei and one for the sultan. Trust me you will know which one is which. The one for us, the regular people of the world, looks more like a back door, while the one for the royal family is imposing and beautiful. Apparently even in front of God, Allah or whatever we might decide to call the All Mighty, the Sultan does not believe we are all equal.

Inside, the opulence of the mosque made me feel uneasy, crushed, sad. I did not perceive the mosque as a gathering place for prayer, but more as a sign of the Sultan’s powers. If I had to draw a parallel it was like entering into a big beautifully built house where despite all the riches you do not find happiness or peace and you do not feel at ease. You miss a warm hug, a genuine laughter and true love.

Maybe from the Sultan’s entrance things would have looked a little bit different…But, I doubt. 










The Kampong ayer in Brunei is the worlds largest water village and is home to more than 30000 people all living on unique wooden houses on stilts over the Brunei river. 




Everything is very close in Brunei so two days will be more than enough if you want to see everything. The transport system is almost non-existent and you are lucky if you find a taxi.

At one point I was considering spending 10 days in Brunei. What a mistake that would have been! 

This was my Brunei: a sad place, full of restrictions, with not too many things to do or see, except a Sultan whose image is absolutely everywhere.