Jim chats with accomplished producer and happiness expert, Maria Baltazzi!
JB: It’s the Jim Brickman Show and today we are going on an adventure to happiness with my friend author and producer of the hit show Survivor Maria Baltazzi! She was one of the original producers of Survivor and so her adventures have taken her all over the world, and now to a place we call happiness…with the creation of the Sojoun Experience, and something really special, the blog called Eight Good Things. So Maria, it’s good to have you with me! Tell me how Eight Good Things got started.
MB: Actually, Eight Good Things started out just as a holiday greeting about a year ago. I just sent a catch-up letter to all my people, all my friends and I just caught them up on where I travelled and my godson and, you know…and so I sent out a Christmas letter with eight things I had done throughout the year, and I received so many nice messages about my email, and I thought, okay, well that was Christmas, so I thought I could do something for the New Year. And again, the same thing happened. And then I thought, why not send it on a Friday…make it a nice thing for people to read, and just call it “Happy Friday Eight Good Things,” and then it became too long…so it ended up just being “Eight Good Things.”
JB: I love it. It just makes you feel good when you see it. I just love it, I love getting it.
MB: Yeah, Eight Good Things is meant to be just that. Eight Good Things. It’s meant to be inspirational, aspirational, informational…so everything is meant to be positive. I stay away from getting political, from ranting, it’s really mant to be that little, short positive ingestion that you get twice a month from me.
JB: We’re talking with Maria Baltazzi, who is one of my favorite people, and if you’ve ever wondered what it wold be like to be on the TV show Survivor, imagine what it would be like to be behind-the-scenes, producing the show and watching it all go down.
Listen to Part Two of Jim & Maria’s interview above!
JB: Do you have a favorite moment or episode from Survivor?
MB: Well, one of my very favorite episodes happened in season two. It was later in the game, the tribes had merged and they were at the point…they were tired, they were lethargic, they didn’t want to fish, they didn’t want to do anything. They were just over it. So we went to the challenge, serious weather came in. The skies opened up and it was just torrential rain.
JB: Which one was this?
MB: This was in Australia, and we had crossed several dry riverbeds. And now going back with the contestants, they were just raging with water. Suddenly I heard my name being called on the radio, crackle, crackle, crackle, the camp has been washed away.
JB: Oh my gosh.
MB: It was…they were really shocked! It registering that the few fishing hooks, the can of rice, what little they had was gone. And that night there was no fire, they made a little circle and put their backs against each other, and they put a sandy, wet blanket on their heads to try and create some kind of warmth. And at one point, one of the contestants said “it’s Thanksgiving.”
MB: In that moment, the game stopped. And they each went around and said what they were thankful for.
JB: That’s incredible.
More about Maria Baltazzi
Maria Baltazzi is the Founder of The Sojourn Experience, where she devotes her time to creating inner and outer journeys for a greater good.
The Sojourn Experience consists of three entities. Sojourn Explorers is where Maria takes people on transformational trips to extraordinary places around the globe. Part of the money from each trip goes to the nonprofit organization 1% for the Planet. Through Picture Happiness: Take a Shot, she works with professionals to help them uplevel the quality of their thoughts and lives by way of mentoring as well as leading retreats throughout the world Sojourn partners with writers, producers, and directors to get their projects to A-list production companies and TV networks.
Everything Maria does is a reflection of her as an Emmy-winning television producer, international traveler, and happiness expert. Since the late-90s, she has produced shows on all seven continents for A&E, CBS, Discovery, ESPN, History, Lifetime, National Geographic, TNT, and Travel. She was one of the original show producers on CBS’ long-running hit series, Survivor.
Maria did another lap around the globe, walking over 2,000 miles training and doing marathons to raise money for worthy causes. Has also spent a decade-plus obsessed with what makes people happy, along with how to cultivate and sustain it. As part of her company’s mission to make a positive impact, every two weeks she sends out a newsletter, called 8 Good Things. It is as its name implies, eight curated articles, videos, and quotes that are meant to inspire. The content is aspirational, informational, and quick to read.
When not traveling, Maria lives in Los Angeles. Currently, a Ph.D. Candidate, specializing in Conscious-centered Living.