How To Find Your Footing After a Life Changing Trip

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Something happened to me after Paris. After having been set loose in a new place, free to dream and wonder, organically absorbing every inch of space, every square of sky, eager to create a whole new Parisian version of myself…I got back to the same-old life (I loved), same-old me (of whom I’ve been so proud of)…same-old reality hit me in the face, looking pretty colorless.

After a life-changing trip is over, you are here but there. You want to get your life going again, but cannot close your eyes without seeing the places you feel in love stuck underneath your eyelids. So, yes, I’ve been feeling pretty soulless lately. I’ve had no time for inspiration, when I’m hoping I might find a ticket back to that feeling of new and excitement waiting for me just around the next corner…

Lost

Somewhere along the way back from Paris, in between the first departure and the last arrival, I lost a bit of soul. I lost  a bit of interest. I lost track. The truth is, the City of Light left me in an existential trance. How could any of the usual spots, the routines,  the conversations, could ever compare to what it had been?

We are rushed out of a plane. We expect to flip a switch. We are told welcome home, and we are happy to be back, but somehow, we get the eerie feeling we left something behind. The longer the trip, the more time we need to adjust to the jet-light of our normal, everyday life. It’s OK to feel a little lost.

What we have lost is what we wanted to lose in the first place, our old frame of reference, our minds and our world has been completely altered, they expanded, away from us. Now we have this knowledge, we’ve been there, and we have to make it all fit in the same old suitcase.

Found

I’m back. I found my way back after a month of being back. And these are a couple of insights for you. Because I believe, whether we are experienced travelers or about to take off to our first adventure, the nostalgia quick-sand that follows a life changing trip has the power to take us all down. I hope these ideas ease your way back.

  1. Unload down on paper. Memories fluttering around in your head, images that haunt you in your sleep (or keep you from sleeping) write them down, pin them on a board, plaster them on a canvas, use those emotions as creative fuel.
  2. Find new magic in an old place. The city where you currently live has its own quite charm. Get out and revisit your local region with new eyes. There’s inspiration to be found there.
  3. Reconnect with home. Learn something new about the history and culture of your neck of the woods, your corner of the world. Embrace its traditions, food and music, experience them as if for the first time. How does it feel?
  4. Meet and greet the new you. Yes, this trip has changed you, in more ways than one. Go get a coffee with this new self, ask her/him about her perspective on life.
  5. Plan that next adventure. Maybe the best place to set our mind to is on that next dream, maybe the best place to put our foot down is on that next city, trail, ship, plane, mountain range 🙂 Give your soul a new limit to overcome a new goal to set its sight toward.

A life changing trip pulls you apart, but there comes a moment when you realize that your soul is like a spring, it comes back again, with force.

 

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Paris For The Summer

Paris For The Summer

This summer I had the opportunity to visit Paris, and stay there for a month. Every day brought new learning experiences and discoveries. The smells, sounds and flavors of a living city, the people, the Metro and the sights, and sure, the pain au chocolat

It was an adventure like no other, and for the artist’s soul in me, the chance to be part of the living master piece that is La Ville Lumiere… leaving my footsteps in the Passages Couverts, peeking inside the shops, too early to be opened on a Saturday morning. Becoming just another Flaneur, walking to the doors of Notre Dame, or stepping all the way up to Sacre Coeur, down Saint Michel to Luxembourg, and through the streets of Saint Germain-Des-Pres to the Seine, and all the way to the tour of my dreams.

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My feet tired bientot, but refused to stop, rest would come later, after La Place de la Concorde, after the magnificence of L’Arc de Triomphe, the price at the end of Les Champs Elysees, oh! glorious avenue, of perfectly cut trees, and its flags waving for the 14th Juillet.

Crossing Le Pont Alexandre III, thinking about the majesty of old, hypnotized by the gilded dome atop Les Invilides, glistening, commanding, proud, like the lingering spirit of Napoleon himself, lying underneath, le Chef.  Surrounded by the city landscape that Haussman made real. That wonderful architecture, that wonderful light, open spaces, highlighting the iconic buildings, the movement of people, the Parisian way of life.

I was there, for a little while, being Parisienne among them. It was delightful, cigarettes and all, angry bikers and all, crowded Metro and all. Paris showed me her bare face, her effortless joy de vivre, unconventional savoir-faire, and the magic was not broken, but enhanced. Now I go back to be Parisienne from afar, from within. Now I get to hold on to the dream that was real. And now I get to dream to go back, again.

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*More pics from my Paris Summer on Instagram @GabrielaGotay

 

3 Things That Got Me Closer To Paris

3 Things That Got Me Closer To Paris

Yes, my dream of going to Paris is finally coming true. I know it’s a dream shared with millions, all throughout that city’s history and maybe forever.

Among all other essential things, there were 3 factors that made all the difference, and got me closer to Paris, before anything else could (e.g the plane).

  1. The Right Mindset
  2. Seizing The Opportunity
  3. Thinking About The Alternative

Embrace The Right Mindset

You have to put your dreams and goals out there, actively pursuing opportunities. You have to tune in to the right internal frequency and listen to your inner voice. Mine was telling me, craving, a chance to challenge myself, through a cultural trip, maybe a university summer class… I was calling on to something that would enrich my life, expand my mind.

Act Quick To Seize The Opportunity

Once that opportunity knocks on your door or taps at your window, you must grab it. One Sunday morning I was checking my FB feed and there it was, the opportunity I had been waiting for: a summer intensive course at the University of Paris, at la Sorbonne! I could not believe my eyes, and before fear could pop its yellowish face, I reached out, made the call, signed up.

What’s The Alternative?

Staying were you are? do nothing and regret it? keep filling your head with dreams and your heart with disappointment?  Not being were you want to be, who you want to be, having to stay, stuck, knee deep in your puddle of fear?

None of those options and visions for my future seemed right. Not after I had been handed out the opportunity.

Sure, to travel you need money, time, health. But most importantly, you need to want to do it! Your true commitment to act on your dreams is what gets you where you want to go; a physical or spiritual destination, a tangible goal or a lifestyle.

I’m going to Paris, to meet that version of myself that has been calling, and when we get back home, together, we’d had faced another hurdle of fear and change. We’ll be something brand new.

Are you on your way to the place you dream to go? What actions are you taking?

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How are those goals and dreams?

How are those goals and dreams?

Standing smack in the middle of 2017, it’s time to assess. How are your goals and dreams for this year coming along? Have you been focusing on progress? Have you been gathering small personal and professional victories?

It’s important for us creatives to constantly check on our goals and be inspired by our dreams. We might get overwhelmed by all we wish to accomplish, or simply lose track of our many projects and ideas, while feeling frustrated or stuck.

Goals and dreams should be looked over everyday. However, just like the creative entrepreneurs that we are, implementing a “mid-term performance assessment” will give us a measure of control, a boost to our self-confidence and another opportunity to generate self-accountability.

This year, unintentionally at first, I decided to commit to (at least) one milestone per month. It’s been rewarding to fill my year with a variety of experiences, finding ways to connect them with my overarching goal of living a creative life and pursuing my journey as a writer.

Actively looking for these experiences/opportunities has generated a lot of positive emotions. Sometimes, progress needs to be scratched under the surface. Sometimes, the things we do need a new perspective to find the connection we were missing. Sometimes, the smallest accomplishments make us remember we are indeed, moving forward.

Jan: Publication of one of my poems in Hound Magazine Winter-Spring Edition.

Feb: Interview with Hound Mag for Spring-Summer Edition.

Mar: Photoshoot for interview.

Expo Mujer: Entrevista con Ella.

Apr: Publication of Interview Hound Mag: El Camino y La Ventana.

Feria del Libro/Dia de la Lectura: Promoting bilingual reading with Simona.

May: Publication of Forever Maybe.

Jun: Donation of books to Equestrian School (Sebastian, bilingual edition)

Upcoming: The dream of a lifetime!

Tell me about your creative year so far. What are some of your small victories?

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The Forever Maybe Playlist (Part I)

The Forever Maybe Playlist (Part I)

When I sat to write Forever Maybe, there was a playlist that inspired me along the way. These songs echoed the emotional core of the novel. They unstuck the flow of emotions and words within me. They became the backdrop behind certain moments; the songs my characters were singing in their heads, the words they could not say.

As I needed reassurance and motivation, the songs listed below popped on the radio, by the force of serendipity. Then, I began to actively look for them, keeping them close, not letting their magic flutter away.

I created a personal playlist. It became the soundtrack of the movie that was playing in my mind, as characters came into their own, and the story was no longer mine, but yours, and free.

It all began, innocently enough, on an…

1. Ordinary Day

2. Perfect Strangers

3. Call Me Maybe

4. I’ll Never Forget You

5. Who Knew

To be continued…

Hope you enjoy reading with this playlist in the background, as I enjoyed writing!

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Click to read the book for FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

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Another Self-Publishing Milestone

Another Self-Publishing Milestone

Forever Maybe, my second self-published novel, is finally up on the virtual shelves of Amazon and  the CreateSpace Store.

It took me two years from the publication of my first novel, Sweet Abigail, to complete and publish this one. Retrieving and reliving old memories was the fuel that kept the fire of Forever Maybe glowing, the ideas flowing. But memories can take their toll. By the end, I was exhausted.

No, this novel is not a memoire by any means. 80% of the things that take place within its pages is pure fiction. The remaining 20% happened in a completely different way. Of course, its emotional core was inspired by snippets from my own adolescence, my own bitter-sweet memories of life and love. I juiced every drop of nostalgia out of me; it was worth it if my readers get to glimpse at something that feels real.

In its original form the story was titled “That Boy I knew.” But after my first novel, I knew titles evolve, a story evolves, and can even transform into something totally new. It had already happened to the seed of this story once, in what became Sweet Abigail. As I began writing, again, I sensed a trend in one of its characters; an unwillingness to make a decision, a tendency to drag her feet, to stay inside a comfort zone, a “middle way”, not because of conviction, but because of fear. That developed into its final (fitting) title.

(Keep reading for  little teaser!)

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The story of Jordan Ventura and Elia Young is a collection of things unsaid. It’s a platonic romance, that in the span of a decade, battered by distance and silence, refused to go away. Its internal dialogue takes place within memories and diary pages. It moves its main characters beyond second chances, and asks a simple question:

How long would you wait for a third chance at true love?

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