About PJ

Meandering Trail Media is a multimedia company focusing on world-wide travel photography and publishing. PJ Adams, Meandering Trail Media's primary author, is a psychotherapist and best selling author who splits her time between California and Europe. Follow her on Twitter @PJAdams10Facebook, and YouTube.

For more information on Meandering Trail Media OR to schedule an interview or book signing, contact: Info@pjadamsbooks.com OR John Birkhead, PR Director, john.birkhead@pjadamsbooks.com,  +1 (760) 707-2577, Fax +1 949-258-8693.

See our professional photographs on Shutterstock: 

See our France books trailer HERE.

See the Intoxicating Greater Paris: Loire book trailer HERE. 

 

See the Intoxicating Southern France book trailer HERE 

See the Intoxicating Paris book trailer HERE     

         

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    PJ Adams

    PJ Adams is a psychotherapist and author in California.

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    Tuesday
    Mar222016

    Traveling with Discernment

    In the wake of new terrorism in the Brussels Airport and the user-friendly metro (I’ve been in both), I felt it was time to comment. I will be in Paris and the Loire in June. I will be in London, Amsterdam, Switzerland, and Paris in October. And I may be in France for the holidays. Bottom line? I will not be deterred from showing up in the places I love. But I WILL travel smart. Here are some tips for discerning travel.

    1. Travel light and move rapidly to your destination. Mobility is your friend—and schlepping loads of luggage is no longer chic or prudent.

    2. Have backup copies of your passport, driver’s license, tickets, etc. in at least two places. I also keep a set “in the cloud” so I can access my details even if my phone, computer, or laptop are inoperable.

    3. Learn emergency phrases you might need. In France, these might include “Help me” (Aidez moi) or “Stop bothering me” (Arrête de m'ennuyer).

    4. Look for police or military in your immediate vicinity; they will assist you if you need help or direction.

    5. Stay savvy. Have your bag or valuables in front of you not behind you in some huge backpack. Don’t become so engrossed in conversation that you forget to be aware of your surroundings.

    6. Wear good shoes in case you have to move quickly. Don't panic, get yourself to safety.

    7. Avoid big crowds or stay on the outskirts of a huge gathering. Go early or go late to avoid throngs of people. Buy city or museum passes to allow you quick entry so you don't have to stand in line at various sights.

    8. Have fun and enjoy your right to travel no matter what. --PJ     

    Sunday
    Jan172016

    2016 in France: Paris, Loire Valley & Champagne Get Top Priority

    Eiffel Tower 2016 is a big year for Meandering Trail Media. PJ is hard at work updating Intoxicating Paris, 2nd Edition. Additions will include: safe travel in and around Paris; Paris as the bride capital of the world; day trips from Paris to Champagne, Loire Valley, Giverny; overnight options to Normandy Beaches, Lyon, Provence, the French Riviera, and the Christmas Markets in Alsace; new chefs and their award-winning restaurants like Hélène Darroze; and much more. PJ @ Chambord

    The Meandering Trail Media team will also be in the Loire Valley (just west of Paris) doing further research on the "Valley of the Kings." Here is where there are more than 35 world-famous castles including Chenonceau, Chambord, Cheverny, Amboise, Villandry, and Azay-le-Rideau just to name a few. The Loire is also known as the "Garden of France." It's a lush area bursting with fruits, vegetables, game, fish, and some of the most famous cheese & wine in France. (Of course we'll have to sample along the way to bring you the full picture!)

    Chenonceau (photo by Christy Destremau, France Off the Beaten Path TravelThis photo of sublime Chenonceau by English-speaking travel pro Christy Destremau of France Off the Beaten Path Travel (https://www.traveloffthebeatenpath.com) reveals some of the extraordinary beauty of this storied area. (Christy is our go-to travel pro for all of France; she and her teams are multilingual and offer exceptional sightseeing-cooking-wine tasting options throughout France.) PJ's next new location book with be Intoxicating Greater Paris: Loire Valley set for publication in 2016. It will feature the sites, tastes, adventures, and magic of the Loire Valley (only two hours by train from Paris).

    In the fall, we'll be back in Champagne country to further explore the bubbly capital of France. First on our agenda is seeing the newly reopened Moet & Chandon Winery and communing with Dom Pérignon over an apero. Second will be to tour in depth some of the great champagne cellars in Reims including Ruinart, Pommery, and Taittinger (again, since we enjoyed it so much last time). And we'll meander around Epernay and along the Champagne Trail to explore the delights of "liquid light."

    Taittinger Tasting RoomDid you know, by the way that Champagne, France is the only area in the world that can officially call its bubbly "champagne"? Everything else is technically "sparkling wine"! We especially love reconnecting with our Champagne friends in Reims (some of them even tour the cellars on their days off from college).

    Finally, we'll revisit some of our favorite locales including Giverny, home of Monet's Gardens; the Rodin Museum (where Rodin's noted lover Camille Claudel has her own marvelous exhibition of sculture); and the newly reopened Ritz Hotel which is now more splendid than ever (but where Coco Chanel's ghost lingers still).

    GivernyFor the news on France, follow us here at www.meanderingtrailmedia.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter @PJAdams10 or @MeandTrailMedia.

    Have a sparkling 2016. Cheers!

    Thursday
    Dec172015

    France & England Christmas Markets Dazzle for the Holidays

    France and England are captivating locales for enjoying the holidays. Both countries mount fabulous Christmas extravaganzas perfect for family-friendly fun.

    You'll find skating rinks, sleigh rides, curb-side holiday stalls overflowing with toys, gifts, warm wine, and seasonal edibles while carolers harmonize to the melodies of the season. Along the way you'll meet friendly people more than happy to share the joys of Christmas with you. 

    On London's Regent Street for example, glittering holiday displays and bedazzling Christmas lights span the avenue for blocks. The result? A sparkling fantasyland of holiday eye candy.

    In London's famous Harrods department store, the food halls are festooned with decorations while the smell of roasting chestnuts fills the air. Here you'll find Christmas mince pies, sumptuous chocolates, buttery Christmas cookies, puddings for Christmas dinner, a plethora of holiday ornaments, PLUS an entire room devoted to royal paraphernalia you can purchase as the Queen, in her elegant white fur, looks on! 

    Over in Hyde Park, a multi-acre fun park called Winter Wonderland beckons. There are bright holiday rides galore plus Christmas stalls selling favorites like candy floss, duck fat chips, and plenty of British brew. One of my favs is this Pub Carousel where you can spin and sip a pint at the same time!

    Over in France, Paris notches up the glamour wattage even further for the holidays. Along the Champs-Elysées the Christmas stalls are filled with santons (Christmas figurines) for the family crèche, crêpes sizzle on the griddle, and all the Grands Magasins department store front windows draw crowds with their fetching holiday displays. Inside, magnificent Christmas trees like the one pictured in Galeries Lafayette greet all who enter.  

    But the finest holiday venue of all in my opinion is Strasbourg France, the Capital of Christmas. Only two hours or so by train from Paris, Strasbourg is probably where Santa gets HIS goodies since this is the biggest and oldest Christmas Market in Europe.

    Begun in 1570, Strasbourg, located in the Alsace region of France near Germany, is the center of all things Christmas. It has 11 separate holiday markets brimming with treasures and edibles. I recently had the opportunity to spend a week in this Christmasland of all Christmaslands.

    The entire town becomes a Holiday Wonderland this time of year. Individual markets fan out in multiple directions for miles. As I wandered through this extraordinary spectacle in the crisp winter air, I stuffed my shopping bags with handmade Alsatian ornaments, French candle holders, and handknit scarves (to name a few)--all the while sipping a yummy concotion called gluhwein (mulled wine with spices). And of course I couldn't resist the French food favorites: bredele (mouth-watering butter cookies), kougelhopf (iced bunt cakes of all sizes), gigantic pretzels, roasted nuts, nougat the size of bowling balls, succulent gingerbread, and of course plenty of sauerkraut, sausages, and Alsatian beer. 

    I dined at some wonderful Alsatian-style restaurants, took a fantastic ride on a segway through Strasbourg, sailed down the Lille River on a barge, and got to attend the opening of the Strasbourg Christmas Markets--one of the most memorable nights of my life. AND I think I spied a certain jolly gentleman dressed all in red with a ginormous pack over his shoulder disappearing around the Cathedral! (Or perhaps I only dreamed it; in this fairyland of Christmas, anything is possible!)

    I highly recommend spending the holidays in either England or France at least once in a lifetime. You'll meet joyful people and discover magical ways to share the holiday spirit.

    One final note: ship your goodies home or bring an extra suitcase! (I confess I shipped home 12 pounds of gingerbread! And we are still munching this heavenly stuff as I write this post.)

    Joyeux Noël and Happy Holidays to you and yours. And have an equally sugarplum-filled New Year! Cheers!

     

    Monday
    Dec072015

    France On Your Own Loves PJ Adams' France Books: A Review

    "If you are looking for two perfect cultural guides to Paris and Southern France, look no further.  PJ Adams, a licensed family therapist, best-selling author, and a former publishing executive living in Southern California has written them both.  Intoxicating Paris is the first of two books that gives great insight into French life from her perspective.  The author gets 'personal', as she duly notes, delving into femininity of Parisian women, virility of Parisian men, the passion of both, verve (especially how to dress and how not to dress), the secrets of  parenting those well-behaved French children, fraternity (she points out the differences and the similarities between the French and Americans), style, creativity and much more.  Each assessment is relegated to its own chapter in the book, which turns out to be a lovely way to focus on each topic ~ certainly a pleasure for this reader.

    I can see taking this book along on that long flight from California to Paris, and not putting it down until it is finished.  P J Adams is a fluid writer with a sense of humor that definitely comes naturally.  In her chapter entitled Panache, for example, she answers the question all non-French women traveling to Paris have had:  what to wear so you look like you fit in ~ at least somewhat!  From earrings and scarves to the right shoes and jeans, she has sensible tips; she also suggests taking along a little black dress, a white blouse, a long rope of pearls and even a beret!  Not everyone will take her advice, but reading her reasons behind these choices is great fun. This is really a delightful little (229 pages) book written with a great deal of love for Paris and the French.  We recommend it!

    Intoxicating Southern France is P J Adams' second of this series and one we will take with us on our upcoming  visit to south central and southwest France.  Although we've been there many times before, she brings so many of the attractions and villages alive with pages of interesting history, a sufficient amount of information about shopping (there's a lot of opportunity to shop everywhere in France), and insight into the people and lifestyles found in the south.  There are her quirky little tidbits such as tips on opening a wine bottle without an opener. . . all you need is a man's shoe and a tree!

    This book represents ten years of travel through France's southern provinces and her encounters with interesting people along the way.  And, P J Adams will appeal to those who also struggle with speaking French.  Not only is there ample exploration of the Côte d'Azur from Monaco to the border of Provence, but the author provides long looks into Bordeaux wine country and a little peek into a cooking class after a lovely time at the local outdoor market with the lady who would teach the class.  They shopped for and prepared nine dishes ~ "and Madame Lucie did it all in her teeny French kitchen wearing high heels and a dress!"

    Some interesting pages are devoted to the French ease with weight control:  how they approach food, how they consume their meals and, of course, how this all makes a difference.  In agreement with something I have long believed after losing weight in France although consuming great quantities of food, P J Adams thinks that may have to do with eating better quality food.  I couldn't agree more!  There is a lot to be said for the French lifestyle, not only related to food but to walking more, savoring leisure time, and generally slowing the pace of life ~ like those two-hour lunches!

    Despite the abundance of historic details provided about each region of southern France, the author writes this book like a sweet memoir of her travels.  Intoxicating Southern France is easy reading, filled with invaluable information, and definitely fun."--France on Your Own, Diane Ohanian, http://www.franceonyourown.com 

     

    Thursday
    Aug132015

    Avoid These Top 10 Travel Mistakes to Ensure a Hassle-free Trip to France

    France Magazine's Complete France is featuring one of PJ's articles on the ten top mistakes travelers make when going to France. See our complete article at Complete France.

    PJ in Cannes

    1. Neglecting to Read Hotel, Restaurant, and Sightseeing Reviews. Travel Smart. Trip Advisor, Zagat, Virtual Tourist, and various travel guides will clue you in on tourist traps to avoid (like Paris’s overcrowded Les Deux Magot) and tips for making your travel experiences easy and fun. Example: the Paris Museum Pass saves money and lets you skip the long lines.

    2. Not Selecting a Gîte or Apartment. Paris apartments are typically fantastic ways to experience real life there; gîtes (furnished home or apartment) offer self-catering options and more freedom. You can get by without a concierge by heading to the town’s tourism office for advice and information.

    3. Wasting Time on Far-afield Accommodations. If you plan to see more Paris Right Bank sights, stay near there to limit your time spent on buses or the metro. If you visit Provence, pick a central locale like Avignon but avoid rush hour when you travel to and from the town. To escape French Riviera traffic, stay on one end and walk or take the trolley to nearby offerings (for example Nice and Monaco); relocate to another accommodation (like St. Tropez) to visit the opposite end of the area.

    4. Failing to Plan for Commute Time and Sunday Meals. Small towns in France get bogged down in farm traffic or local rush hour congestion while high-profile sights like the Eiffel Tour are a nightmare during peak hours. Go early or try late afternoon to avoid tourist hordes. In Bordeaux, take the wine bus, hire a wine guide, or secure a chauffeured town car to maximize your enjoyment. Remember that Sundays are cherished French family days and some dining venues close; book reservations or you may end up eating snack food.

    5. Being Unprepared for Emergencies. Take copies of your credit cards, medical data, passport, and back up prescriptions. Also take adapters, cords, and batteries for any contingency. More important, get travel insurance. (They often provide an emergency number if you need assistance.)

    6. Neglecting to Alert Your Local Banks and Credit Card Companies About Your Travel. Call the appropriate companies about your travel dates and be sure to have a copy of their non-800 numbers, as well as the toll free numbers, since toll-free doesn’t always work in foreign locales.

    7. Forgetting the French Niceties. The French are pleased when you honor their customs and recognize they feel their workplaces are extensions of their homes. When you come and go, use some token French at least to make connections. Phrases like “Bonjour, parlez-vous Anglais?” (“Hello, do you speak English?”), “Au Revoir” (“Goodbye), and “Merci” (“Thanks”) make a huge difference in bridging the culture gap. I often add “Mon français est très mauvais mais je essayer de pratiquer.“ (“My French is very bad but I try to practice”) and I make a French friend (and language coach) for life.

    8. Mispacking. You’ve heard the phrase “Layer, Layer, Layer.” I’d add “Ship it Home” and “Pack Light” as well. You can always find a La Poste post office in France that will give you one of their big orange boxes to toss in your bulky jackets (if the weather changes), your prized purchases, and even your dirty laundry to ship home. For around $50 or £33 the box will beat you home AND your luggage will be lighter. Also, avoid packing bulky sweaters and jeans; they take forever to dry.

    9. Obtaining Currency from On-the-Curb ATMs. Go inside the bank to get your euros; thieves sometimesPJ & Paris Gendarmes put credit-card readers in curb-side ATMs and steal your credit card number.

    10. Falling Prey to Pickpockets. Get some literature on how to avoid pickpockets and purse-snatchers like the American Embassy’s “Pickpockets in Paris: How to Avoid Becoming a Victim” (many of whom are adolescents who work in groups). Also learn to forcefully say “Vous arrêtez!” (“You stop!”) to people who are crowding or bothering you. You can always make friends with the gendarmes who are typically charming--after all, they are French!

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