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Joyce Major

Major is the author of “Smiling at the World: a Woman’s Passionate Yearlong Quest for Adventure and Love.” The book received a Best Books Award in Travel from USA Book News.
Major’s odyssey of volunteerism became her road to self-discovery. Seeking change and revitalization in her life, she spent a year on a series of volunteer vacations staying a month on each project. She traveled to all but one continent, took the Trans-Siberian Express, lived in different cultures and found the change she had been seeking.
She worked in an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, bottle-fed lion cubs and monitored baboons in South Africa, cared for rescued kangaroos and joeys in Australia and tended to rescued primate monkeys in England. She taught English to high school students in China, studied Portuguese on a conservation project in Brazil, and planted trees at a sustainability sanctuary in New Zealand.
Major’s passion for helping the planet, her zany sense of humor and gift of storytelling provide escape and inspire readers to live with passion and explore their place on the earth. Smiling at the World is a celebration - a story about love in its many forms – for wildlife, for the earth, for humanity and how a smile connects them all.
Writers Digest has said her book “is like taking a year-long journey around the globe and making a new best friend in the process. Major unfolds her extraordinary adventures with vivid descriptions of colors and smells. She does a wonderful job of creating a sense of time and place. . . . Major also makes a good case for voluntourism. The idea of giving back while traveling seems possible, practical and responsible when described and lived by the author.”
She teaches this class in the hopes that she can encourage others to travel as a volunteer.