Announcing my next big leap: Becoming a Moon travel guidebook author!

Those of you on my Facebook page know that I’ve been hinting and going on about some “big news”… but my lips were to remain sealed until signatures were exchanged and it was official… It was hard! My inbox was flooded with messages headlined “Spill the beans!!”

For the past three weeks I’ve been walking on clouds, even though I’ve had really, really long days all summer long, working hard to get to where I want to be.

I know you’re thinking, spill it already.


I’m super stoked, grateful and overjoyed to share that, after a near three-month process that started in June…

I’ve been selected as the new author of the travel guidebook, Moon Belize (10th Edition).


The ink is dry on my first book-publishing contract ever. Six months from now, you’ll read about the colorful Belize that I know and love — my writing and photos filling the book, stacked on bookshelves across Barnes and Noble and other outlets in Spring of 2013.

It’s been my dream since I was a teenager, to write a book and get published. Little did I know it would be a travel guidebook to start.

Moon Handbooks are in my opinion – and way before this came about – one of the best in the market for independent travel. No info overload, nice and compact and yet filled with the best spots – with fun cultural and country tidbits throughout.

I’m already in full swing working on my first chapter… and between that and packing up my apartment and preparing to fly out, I’m at a whole new level of busy.

I’m thankful to Moon Belize‘s previous author, Joshua Berman, who crafted the past three editions and whose big shoes I now have to fill. But the beauty of this assignment is that beyond filling and updating the book, I’ll be revising it and making it mine — a process that began with the submission process back in July.

Believe it or not, I learned of this opportunity when a fellow blogger friend, editor and journalist Monica Williams — currently on >> her first career break and hopping around Latin America — saw the Craigslist ad (don’t sleep on Craigslist!) and forwarded it to me, knowing how much time I had spent in Belize and from reading my blog and being in touch. I am forever thankful for her generosity — not least for taking time out of her trip but sharing an amazing opportunity with a fellow writer she felt was a good fit. Monica, I know I’ve said it a dozen or more times – bless you!

After a two and a half month process of sheer anticipation and prayer and hard work (including being asked to submit a proposal of 50 pages in just about 12 days) then releasing it to let destiny take its course, confirmation came… my proposal made it to the top of the pile.

No, I haven’t hit the proverbial jackpot yet (ha!), and it’s a ton of work ahead but I’m not afraid of the long hours or the 24/7 work that awaits me (it’s already started) — nor of the soon to come body aches from carrying my gear daily, checking out restaurants/hotels/bars you name it or the hours sitting at the computer cranking out the perfect words. I’ve done that the past three years, to be honest. In fact it hit me the other day, I’ve worked every day almost every year since 2010 and especially in 2011. Pursuing your dreams is hard work! But the rewards flow as a result.

It’s an honor to become a part of a long line of distinguished, hard working and award-winning travel writers that make up the Moon guide authors. And to join a travel guidebook series that believes in the kind of travel I myself believe in – informed yet independent, on and off the beaten path and fun, cultural, satisfying and leaving you wanting for more.

So please join me in celebrating my great news and the next monumental phase in my life and journey as a professional travel writer, author and photographer.

If I drop off a bit the next couple of weeks or am delayed in answering non-urgent emails, it’s because I’m swamped clearing out my place, getting ready to fly out to Belize and writing! But rest assured that I’ll be right here blogging from Belize and take you along my journey as a new guidebook author so if you’ve always wanted to know what it’s like, or want to see more of the country — stick around for the adventure!

You can also join my Facebook page where I’ll be posting from the road.

And if there’s anything cool, new or worthy of attention that you’d like me to know about or check out in Belize — countrywide — feel free to drop me an email at Lily_Girma AT

I will be reading every piece of correspondence in the order that I travel the country the next few months.

Lastly, without sounding like I’m preaching, I have to finish by saying: never give up on your dreams. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

See you from The Jewel!

And wishing all Belizeans a Happy St. George’s Caye Day when it comes tomorrow!



  1. That is fantastic news. Best of luck on your new venture! :)

  2. Congratulations! Wow! wow! wow! All your hard work is paying off. Belize is still on my bucket list, so I will certainly have to pick up a copy of your book!

  3. Congratulations, Lily!

  4. Thank you very much Mario!

    Cathy thanks so much!! That means a lot to me. And I can’t wait for you to go, you’d love it (photographer and all… ;) ).

    Julie, thank you!

  5. Lily – I am thrilled for you. Shine on sister and thank you for taking along your journey. Bless!

  6. Lily, as you might already know, I am over the moon! Thank YOU for inspiring me with your work ethic and accomplishments and for always being encouraging. May God continue to bless you. You deserve all the success in the world.

  7. I’m so proud of you Lily!
    We need to plan a trip to Peru.

    Miss you.

  8. Lily, I have always admired your perfection and detail in all your endeavors and most importantly your success with photography! Congratulations on landing such a milestone in your career!! You truly deserve this opportunity!! Keep doing what you do best and may the lord bless you with many more opportunities.

    P.S. When can I come for you for an autograph ;-)

  9. Lilly, this is awesome news indeed. I can’t wait to snap one of the first editions. Wishing you all the best and let me know if I can be of any help with info in rural Belize.

  10. Awesome news! Congratuations!!! You have earned this :-)

  11. What GREAT news. Congratulations. Can’t wait to hear of your stories from the road…and since I’ve yet to get to Belize, I will have to buy your book as soon as its published and start planning! And let me know if you need an assistant! :-)

  12. Thank you all so much!

    Tarra – thank you for always following and sharing, much love to you sistren!

    Ceci – I miss you too!! And thank you so much! YES let’s plan it next year – Peru isn’t that far off, after I’m done with the book and take a vacation? Haha!

    Azo – thank you so much!! Amen… Thanks for the kind words and wishes, you are a wonderful soul. Ah the autograph haha… I’ll set one aside for you to pick up next year!

    Linda, thank you very much, that means a lot to me. I will absolutely be in touch, this week in fact. Can’t wait to speak to you!

    Jacquie, thanks for the wishes!! Hope the move is going well for you!

    Nailah! Thanks so much, fellow explorer! You inspire me as well. And I would be so completely excited when that time comes and you head to Belize. Thanks for your support! And gosh the assistant offers are pouring in… ha!

  13. so proud of you! Congrats! Welcome back home!!!

  14. Oh my goodness – Monica I missed you in there – of all people! Thank you SO much – doesn’t seem enough for you sending me that initial Craigslist link! You are just as much of an inspiration – I can’t wait to hear about your own exciting news, as I know it will come without a doubt!

    Kim, thank you dear!! So excited to head back!! I hope you will be too soon!

  15. :) Can’t wait to see you in a month-ish. Congrats.

  16. JOJO! Thanks, I can’t wait to see you too and the rest of my Caye Caulker family!

  17. Lily, congratulations to you!! Great news. I wish you all the best!

  18. Am jealous :) Congratulations! Good Luck to you, Lily

  19. Lily! AWESOME news! Looking forward to celebrating soon!!!! — Don

  20. You so deserve this. I will miss you around Jamaica but look forward following on your next life journey…maybe a Jamaican travel book next?

  21. Dear Sistren,

    You deserve nothing but the best. Congrats, so I will have to visit this place Belize! I will have to cheat on my lover because of you. Always wishing you the best. xoxoxo

  22. Andrea – thank you, for your continuous support and for so long! Gratitude!

    Fekadu, thanks!

    Don!! Thank you so much!! I can’t wait to catch up and celebrate with you. I will be taking your Book Passage magic with me on this new ride!

    Deb – thank you my friend!! I will miss seeing you too and my Jamrock family. And funny you say that – I received a message last week from a reader who said he and his wife were off to Jamaica and he thinks my guide would be most useful to them, and where could they buy a copy?? LOL…It sucked telling him I didn’t have one! Much love to you Deb and thank you for the constant encouragement…

    Chyrisse – thank you so much my dear friend… you know I appreciate your never ending support!! And yes, start thinking about it, I know change takes time…LOL! Hugs and love to you!

  23. Congratulations Lily! Fantastic news and such a fantastic fit too. Looking forward to following along on your journey! :)

  24. Lola, thank you so much for your support, advice and friendship over the past three years! And you know I can’t wait for your news as well.

  25. Huge congrats Lily.

  26. Thanks very much, Bob! Hope all is well.

  27. Congrats! I was voting for Ethiopia, as you know, but you can always visit. We’re actually planning our dream trip to Habesha soon! I have a dream of writing or contributing to a family travel guide, so if you see any opportunties arise, do share! Blessings on your journey! :)

  28. So happy for you Lily, congrats, very inspiring for the rest of us pursuing our dreams! Take care!

  29. Excellent Lily … I can’t wait to see you back in Placencia !!! :))

  30. Thank you ES – have a great time in Ethiopia!

    Robyn thanks so much, I appreciate your kind words! Hope all is going well in Indonesia for you.

    Stephen – thanks!! :) Hope you’re enjoying DC!

    Patty, muchas gracias!! I can’t wait to see you soon in Placencia too!!! :))

  31. Congrats Lily….I just read about your great news :) How wonderful…and I look forward to tagging along!

    Following your dreams …the sky is the limit!

  32. That is great news Lily, congratulations, and continue to enjoy your adventures.
    ciao Wendy Bertucci

  33. Jackie, thank you!! I appreciate you!

    Wendy, thanks very much, great to hear from you! Hope all is well in Grenada, my best to Bernardo!

  34. Congrats about the guidebook, Lily.

    Belize is a lovely place. I’d love to return!

  35. You are such a rock star, Lily! I knew when we first started talking about this gig that you’d seal the deal. It’s going to be a tough assignment, but I’m sure you’ll do an awesome job!

  36. Thanks Doreen, I appreciate it! You should come back for sure, after I finish this book, ha! :)

    Joanna, thanks much!! Can’t say on the rock star part ha….but “tough” to me is sitting inside a cubicle all day doing work you hate year after year…. I’ve never had anything come to me easy, it was always the result of tough work…:)

  37. Congratulations Lily! I had been wondering what your announcement would be. It’s great to follow you and be a part of your success. You’re a tremendous writer, photographer and influence.

  38. That is fantastic News! Congrats on your success. We are looking forward to your Moon Guide Books.

  39. Fidel, thank you for following, sharing and supporting. And for your kind words! I’m looking forward to seeing where you go as well with your photography and with the Navy!

    Thanks very much, Janet!

  40. Congratulations!!! A new adventure begins! How thrilling! Since stumbling onto this blog months ago looking for inspiration to fuel my leap into the nomadic lifestyle, I have continued to be inspired by your journey…continue to shine your brilliant light lady! :-)

  41. Great news! How fun! I’m so excited for you. Have a blast and lots of adventures!

  42. Lovenia, thank you so much and I’m so happy to hear that! I’ve loved following along your new path as well and so happy for you also. Cheers to new journeys and adventures!!

    Cynthia!! Thanks, I’m super excited and you’ve remained one of my inspirations!! Will be sure to have fun and tons of stories to tell, fellow author!! :)

  43. Congratulations, Lily! I’m so happy we met at Book Passage so that I can now share in this excitement with you. I am so thrilled for you and this next step, and know that you’re going to absolutely nail it! Best of luck packing up in DC, can’t wait for all the new updates from Belize :)

  44. Candace! Thanks so much for the vote of confidence, and I’m very happy we met as well – great things ahead for us both! :) And thanks on the packing part.. it-is-getting-there…LOL!

  45. SO happy for you Lily. It was great to share in some of the process at the Travel Writers Conference in Corte Madera last month when all this was shaping up. I look forward to hearing your process on your blogs. Go Woman. Blessings and Joy! Janet

  46. Thanks, Janet! It was great having you as a roommate at Book Passage! Blessings to you too!

  47. It’s been a while since Book Passage and I’m just catching up on the blog. What fantastic news! You must be over the moon and so far, your photos from the trip look great! Hopefully, you can harness some of your serendipity moments into articles. Can’t wait to see the finished product. Congrats Lily!


  48. Thanks, Natalie! Much appreciated:). Definitely was and still am over the moon. :)

  49. enkuwan dess alesh!

  50. Hey Lily! Wanted to say hi and see how you’re doing! Is the guidebook out now? Love to hear how the experience was for you! Congrats again on such an accomplishment!!! Christina

  51. Hi Christina! Sorry for the late reply, I somehow missed your comment. Thanks very much for your wishes! My guidebook comes out in the early Fall 2013, I will definitely announce the exact date here when the time comes.

    It was an absolutely fantastic experience – from so many perspectives. Very, very long hours and hard work – and interestingly, besides my love for Belize and travel already, my legal background helped me stay organized and on deadline. I am happy to chat about it with you and will likely share more in the future!