Going home after a long time…

going home after long trip

I am going home after a long time

As you are reading this, I’m finally boarding the plane that will take me home to Italy. If I planned everything really well and there haven’t been any delays, in this exact moment, I should be taking off from Bangkok and toward Myanmar, India, UAE, Germany and eventually, home. I am finally sitting on board that same plane that I’ve already cancelled and postponed 3 times. It’s bittersweet, I’m still shit at saying goodbyes to old friends, new road friends and places, despite the millions I’ve already said in the last few months. But it is time.

I’ve finally accomplished all the things I wanted to do during this long solo journey and this chapter of my life is now completed. In the best way possible in fact. I could not ask for more since the main goal has been achieved. That is becoming a calmer, wiser, slower, finest, better version of myself. The world and its beautiful people have shaped that little, scared, lonely “girl” that was desperately crying at the airport in Istanbul in September 2015. That  girl does not exist anymore and she has been replaced by a stronger, fulfilled, empowered woman who loves herself and the world around. I can travel alone. I can travel alone for twenty months (and counting). And not only I can, I LOVE travelling solo! In fact travelling solo is THE BEST and nothing compares to it.

I am ready to go home also because I’ve managed to achieve my second, accidental goal. After so much struggle and hustle, doubts and failures, today and for the past few months, I am standing tall on the tiny successes of my location independent lifestyle and since it’s been exactly 12 months that I’ve been able to travel only with the income made on the road, I can finally call myself a real digital nomad and for thsis I stick a little invisible DN badge on my chest. YAY!! I made it. I freaking made it.

The journey has been incredible and so powerful and so amazing and especially humbling. The places and people I’ve met made me the person I am today. And I gotta be honest with you, I’m having a massive crush on me right now 😍. Like my first real self love in 32 years, mate.

As I have learnt so much about myself, I realised that I was more scared of the known than the unknown. I realised that the fear that normally entangles people to stay in normal lives was what boosted and fuelled my trip. Where others remain stuck in the intricated world of doubts, fears, insecurities, I took advantage of them and decided to shape new opportunities just for myself.

And I forgave myself. I realised that all the things I did, I said, I wanted were necessary. Every single little thing. Finally, I looked up to the mirror, deep into my big brown eyes  and while hugging my naked self, I said the words: “you are forgiven”. Because in life, sometimes, you can prepare yourself, but you cannot predict what life throws at you and you can’t blame yourself for wanting more, for having bigger dreams, expectations, love for life, for loving the unexpected more than the expected, for loving freedom more than boredom. You can just be you. And I can just be me.

And I am finally ready to go home 

In the past 20 months, I have had some of the most incredible experiences of my life, I have slept in the middle of  deserts, I climbed on top of mountains, volcanos and rocks, I’ve swum with turtles, dolphins, sea lions and clown fish, I have seen countless sunrises and sunsets, I have slept in 543875426043 hostels, campgrounds, luxury hotels and in my tiny tent on the side of many Aussie roads. I have been blessed by incredible people, my time was wasted by a couple of assholes too (hello, f***ing German mechanic in Cairns!!).

I’m scared but also excited for everything that lies in front of me during this Italian summer that I’ve been dreaming for a while. I am mentally getting ready to be overwhelmed with emotions, smells and tastes. I am already physically ready to welcome all those familiar hugs, kisses and strokes I’ve been missing for so long.

649 days.

20 months.

13 countries.

4 continents.

25 flights.

15 trains.

43 buses.

6 cars.

35 scooters.

3 bicycles.

1 camel.

Everything is exactly as it is meant to be

During all this time, I have planned little, the few plans I had were normally cancelled, postponed or changed. My return couldn’t have been any different. During my journey around the world, I always tried to get off the beaten track, often missing the must-see, must-dos, must-bes. Some days I was plain lazy, others too busy with work, others too sad to leave my bed, some days I was filled with such an intense joy that I thought my heart would explode. On this trip, I learnt what pure happiness means. I was blessed by it when I was staring at the Taj Mahal while the sun rose on the horizon and my incredible friend, Prabu took the beautiful photo that symbolises my trip.

I was overwhelmed with true joy when surfing for the first time in Sydney, but also when I was lying naked and alone on a beach in Western Australia or when I hiked the Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand, danced the traditional dances in Fiji and Samoa, when I first tried Muay Thai in Chiang Mai, when I relaxed tubing in Laos, or while seeing my business blossom naturally and effortlessly after so many stops and failures. I was happy surfing again in Canggu, hugging a dear friend on top of the rice fields in Ubud, or while talking about love and commitment with a long-lasting stable couple or when I realised that perfect love does not exist and we are human with another favourite couple I am lucky to call my friends. And I was happy to discover that life is all this. It’s made of little, brief moments when everything is exactly as it’s meant to be and nothing, absolutely nothing, could be any better.

Because everything is already perfect. It is as it is meant to be.

SEO storyteller

Am I ready to go home?

Of course not. I thought I would by now, but the thing is that no one ever feels completely ready when the moment to board that last plane comes. Surely no one who has the bad habit of setting super high expectations for themselves. And I’m guilty of that, of course. Nobody feels as changed as they had planned to be when they firstly left home. Personally, I don’t know if I have truly changed or if my current conditions and mindset make me act as a different person to whom I was before. What I do know now, and I know it really well, is what freedom tastes like. And it tastes like sea water and honey, watermelon and chilli. And it tastes like Life.

During my journey, I also learnt the meaning of losing everything. Of feeling lost and really alone. Of not knowing who you are or what do you belong to. But the most important lesson of the entire trip was that Another Life is Possible. If you really lose everything, if you don’t have anything else to lose, then you gotta start all over and build something new, something amazing just for yourself. And believe that you can

I am scared. 

I know I’ve lived as much as I could. Not by ticking off things off of a list, I’ve only been to 13 countries in 20 months, but by embracing the people and the world around me. By letting it go under my skin, day by day, person by person.
I am not going home only after 20 months of travel around the world, I am going home exactly after 10 years of living abroad and away from my family and friends.

It’s freaking scary. It’s overwhelming and is frightening and exciting. As I walk down into the tunnel to the plane, there are thousands of emotion exploding inside me. While I was packing Frank (my big backpack), one more time, I had tears in my eyes. Today, I learnt to welcome all these emotions as I know they are all part of the journey, they are all part of life. And I also know that soon enough I will be going back to the other home I’ve created for myself. The one up there in the sky. Or on the road. Because I feel home everywhere. The world is my home. Because my home is everywhere and anywhere I have been. But also where I haven’t been yet.

They say home is where the heart is

But my heart is wild and free

So am I homeless or just heartless

Did I start this, did it start me

They say fear is for the brave

For cowards never stare it in the eye

So am I fearless to be fearful

Does it take courage to learn how to cry

So many winding roads

So many miles to go

(Passenger)

I am always gonna be fine

But as I went through security, as I got another exit stamp on my passport, as I am sitting on this plane, I feel stronger. Stronger than ever. Because the road taught me that I will be fine. I will be fine always and everywhere. Nothing can break me because nothing was fixed to start with. The truth is that not only I found myself. But I found that little, permanent home, just inside myself. The perfect place to rest after a long day, the cosy home I made for me only. In a world where nothing is permanent, constant, I learnt that I AM my own constant element in the equation of life.

Only me on both side of the equal sign. And it’s more than enough.

going home after a long time

Embrace Life as it comes

It’s impossible to know what might happen next. Or why. What this situation will bring to you. Or which way you will take when faced with a big decision. Why some things will be destroyed. What makes some other blossom, die or change. How people get sick, change or leave. How people can love you, make promises, break them, break your heart. Live without you. Forget you. It’s impossible to explain why children die while the sun still rises every morning. It is impossible to understand. But it is unavoidable.

It took me 5 years, 1 month and 2 days to become the person I dreamed to become. To fully transform the little girl I once was into the woman I imagined I could be. I aspired to be. I ought to be. It took so much out of me. It broke me into a million little pieces, but they say that sometimes you need to smash a crumbling house in order to build a stronger one. And so I did.

Set fire to your boats

I set fire to the boats of my safe life, I scratched my title and experiences, I chose freedom while fear, hustles and struggles were burning all around me. And I fell. Oh gosh, I fell so deep. I burnt myself too.

I felt more alone than ever. It was like I was the only person remained in the universe. But that was ok too. Because alone was what I needed. What I wanted and because by learning to be alone I became much stronger, so much wider, so much better.

I no longer beg for attention, for love. I no longer need love to fix me. The waves crashing on the beach, the birds singing, the clouds moving above my head, a familiar tune in the background, a smile of a stranger, my own smile. All of this are enough. They are more than enough, they are everything.

They are everything.

My life, my wonderful life, like all lives, so impermanent, so imperfect, so fragile, yet so powerful, so mesmerising, so scary. So remarkable. So mine.

going home after long time

Live life to the fullest.

Exit your comfort zone. Feel uncomfortable, feel scared. Do something on your own. Miss your friends. Feel lonely. Eat the food you’re not used to. Pack your backpack, sweat. Sleep on bunk beds. Sleep in the middle of the desert. Don’t sleep and party all night. Rise early. And feel strong, feel connected. Lose yourself. Lose everything. Just let it be. Breath. Look at a beautiful sunset on the other side of the world. And feel at home wherever you are. Feel that you are exactly where you need to be in this moment. Live in the present, forget the past, don’t stress about the future. They do not exist. Be. Here. Now.

Make it remarkable. 

So yes, after these last 20 months exploring the world, exploring myself, loving the world, loving myself, I am ready to go home. I am ready to go home after a long time.

 

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going home after a long time

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Digital Nomads Trail – Stay Connected at MAADS while in Cambodia

digital nomads cambodia

Are you another digital nomad thinking to skip Cambodia because you’ve heard that the wifi is s*%t?

Please rethink.

Like most of you know, since I’ve left my corporate job in London two years ago, I’ve been doing all sort of gigs and jobs to sustain my travels while slowly finding my little niche as a digital nomad and, more recently, entrepreneur. You can read more here where I answered the question that I get asked about 43925704375943 times a week.

Time has passed since I wrote that blog post and in the meantime, I’ve religiously decided to drop anything that wasn’t very profitable, long-term or aligned to my values. To cut the story short, I’ve slowly narrowed my scope to become a remote content creator, influencerSEO specialist and yes, start-up entreprenuer. Maybe a weird mix, but one that works extremely well for me, but especially for my clients.

Since I’ve achieved the official status of digital nomad I could no longer stay in remote places or hostels with crappy wi-fi. Being connected has become essential to me and that’s why in Cambodia, a country known to lack reliable wifi I decided to get in touch with MAADS. This is a little chain of stunning boutique hotels all around Cambodia. But the peculiar aspect of each and every hotel that belongs to MAADS is that they all offer impressive comfort for us, the vagabonding digital nomads.

Not only they are impressive structures that offer all sort of services you might need, you can also rely on FAST internet and comfortable working stations.

While I was in Cambodia, I had the unique opportunity to stay at two of their properties in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Guess what? Both times, I extended my stay and I was tempted to just lock myself in the room and move in. Forever.

ABOUT MAADS

All MAADS hotels have a distinctive identity and each remains true to its local architectural heritage, design and atmosphere. The founders, Marie and Alexis de Suremain, are the minds behind this string of hotels, restaurants and shops in Cambodia.

Nature has always been the inspiration behind all their projects starting from the opening of the first hotel in Phnom Penh, in 2006. To today, the founders and MAADS stand for responsible and sustainable tourism.

But MAADS is so much more than this. It’s also known for:

  • respecting and actively contributing to the destination by promoting local creativity and cultural activities
  • offering more than facilities, food and a bed. People choose MAADS to immerse themselves in a dream
  • being inspired and devoted to the natural environment.

 

TEMPLATION SIEM REAP – CAMBODIA – MAADS ASIA

The property

Minutes away from the spectacular Angkor Wat and located in a very quiet area of Siem Reap away from the tourists, Templation is a true oasis of calm, silence and beauty.

The hotel features Junior Suites, Pool Suites and Pool Villas as well as a RestaurantSpa & FitnessMain Pool and the shop Cambomania.

During our stay, Ale and I had the fantastic opportunity to be the first guests to attend a local cooking class lead by the Head Chef. Set in the gorgeous garden and filled with delicious spices and tastes it was one of the highlights of our stay.

Templation Gallery

 

DETAILS

Templation is north of the new Angkor Ticketing Center, closer to the entrance to the temples, and at 9 kms from Siem Reap International Airport, avoiding congested downtown Siem Reap. A 5mns drive will get you to Angkor Wat, the National Museum or the city centre. info@templation.asia  +855 (0)63 969 345  +855 (0)92 783 622  Rok Rak Street, Modul 3, Phum Sla Kram, Siem Reap, Cambodia

TEAHOUSE PHNOM PEHN – CAMBODIA – MAADS ASIA

The property

Inspired by Asia’s love and knowledge for tea, Tea House is one of Phnom Penh most peculiar hotels. The design combines classic Chinese details with the latest technology and facilities. Once you step inside, you will feel like entering a secret garden of quiet and peace right in the middle of Cambodia capital city. The perfect place to relax and get some work done.

The hotel features a Tea LoungePoolTea GardenRestaurantSpa and a Cambomania shop.

All the rooms are simple yet stylish and you can choose from two bedroom suite to our standard double for lone travellers or couples, all include free (fast) Wi-Fi and generous buffet breakfast.

Teahouse Gallery

DETAILS

TeaHouse: info@theteahouse.asia  +855 (0)23 212 789  #32, Street 242,  Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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If you also would like to stay at Teahouse MAADS in Phnom Penh while exploring Cambodia, make sure to use the DIGINOMAADS code when booking so that you can enjoy a 10% discount and a free 30-minutes massage. [Long/medium arrangements also available]

 

Massive thank you to MAADS, Bernard Cohen and my favourite model Alessandra.

James Ferrux – from Joke Writer to Professional Poker Player

remarkable

After the successful first 10 interviews of the series of “They made it remarkable” in Italian and because of a growing demand to translate them to English, I’ve decided to switch to this language from now on and move the future interviews here.

Welcome.

 

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JOB: Poker player and writer
LIFESTYLE: Digital nomad
SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook
AGE: 32
NATIONALITY: French

 

Where are you from?

I was born in France, raised in the Antilles, Cuba, Canada, Asia, and currently still growing in Morocco

Education?

I managed to stand it only until the end of high school. I started working when I was 18.

What did you do in your previous life?

I had many jobs but the last one was joke writer, comedian assistant and baby-sitter.

What do you do today?

I play poker, travel, still write for pleasure and baby-sit myself.

Why did you decide to take the jump?

I had reached a certain goal, an apartment in Paris, a fancy job for a famous TV network, I could buy all the sneakers I wanted each month, had finally that great DVD shelf I had always dreamt of, but I felt like Barbossa in Pirates of the Caribbean, I didn’t have taste for life anymore, an empty vessel… So I let myself hit rock bottom, I was like in a balloon that cannot stretch anymore, I felt I needed to get out, get some fresh air. When I realized I could get out I punctured my way out, I did it the quick and noisy way!

Did you need to study something new or go back to uni to change your life?

I felt I needed to change my perspective, to take some distance, flip the microscope the other way around. Let everything go, went to Asia for a while to figure out what I would miss, what would survive in me. I understood it was all shitty because of me so I needed to work on myself. I changed my energy, I was not resisting anymore so finally I was able to see and accept the opportunities to try something different. It all started with a “group therapy” kind of thing, where I learned to reposition my ego and then I went on reading, learning meditation, travelling, putting myself first and all that cool stuff…

make remarkable

Since you’ve changed direction, have you ever thought you made a mistake?

Yeah of course, mistakes are like drafts, experiences, tests, try-outs, warm-ups, it’s just a way to learn and improve… It’s what makes great bloopers in movies so they are indispensable. Trying not to beat myself too hard for each one I make is what changed. I repeat to myself the cheesy Zen line

“it’s okay not to be okay”

What were the hardest challenges and tough moments before and after the change?

The toughest if I can call it that is what is still going on today and what has always been, it’s feeling “forced” to explain and justify the way I live, the way I think to friends and relatives and all those who think they know me better than I do. “Why the heck did you leave the herd ??” I seem to read in their eyes. So it’s always the same 20 minutes small talk to finally hear them saying:

“oh you’re probably right, maybe I too should take control of my life and do what I want before I turn into compost…”

And then they go back to their predigested life and talk behind my back like I went completely rogue.

But who cares? I’m happy.

make remarkable

And the biggest satisfactions and achievements?

Becoming a profitable poker player like I planned 10 months ago, being able to leave France for good, living anywhere I want and pretty much doing whatever I want without owing shit to anybody. I am free.

Do you think your new lifestyle is sustainable in the long run?

I completely stopped projecting myself in hypothetical futures, I am right here, right now. Whether it’s poker or something else I’ve managed to make a living so far. You know the saying,

“The bird doesn’t fear the branch he’s lying on breaks, he trusts his wings”.

There’s always a way to make it.

Considering your new life: what is more important education or experience?

To me, education sounds with “educastration”. I wouldn’t trade my years travelling in different cultures, my adventures, my disappointments, my discoveries through experience for any certificate in the world. “Diploma is the deadly enemy of culture” said some famous French guy (Paul Valery).

How important was knowing other languages for your change?

Lucky for me I’ve always loved English and I learned Spanish in Cuba so that covers pretty much a lot. I understand it can be an issue if you can’t communicate, but don’t worry you’ll find a way.

remarkable

How has your life changed since you jumped off of that plane?

Actually, I’ve never taken so many planes since I left the old me. I love to play with my senses and change decor. Everything that happens now is the direct result of my actions, no one else to blame or to thank, that’s what changed.

What would you recommend to people who are hoping to pursue a similar career to yours?

Nothing, just listen to your heart, your guts or whichever organ you like to converse with and go for it.

“Listen to your heart, there’s nothing else you can do. I don’t know where you’re going and I don’t know why, but listen to your heart before you tell him goodbye” – Roxette

Have you read any books, listened to podcasts or watched movies/vlogs that have inspired you to exit the loop?

Yes, a few classics, Eat Pray Love, The Power of Now, The Four Agreements, Liberez votre cerveau by Idriss Aberkane, to learn thinking outside the box, and probably a list of 30 more mystic books that some fellow travellers keep adding titles to…

make remarkable

Would you say your life is remarkable* today?

YES. AND IT’S ONLY THE BEGINNING…

 

*remarkable: extraordinary, exceptional, amazing, astonishing, astounding, marvellous, wonderful, sensational, stunning, incredible, unbelievable, miraculous, phenomenal, prodigious. HAPPY. 

*


If you are also tired of your life and feel as there must be something more beyond what’s “normal”, join the 
Make It Remarkable revolution on Facebook where we share successes, failures, tips and practical info to leave the cage and CHANGE your life. Yes, Another Life is Possible.

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NOTE: Yes, the links above are affiliated to Amazon. If you chose to buy the books using them ca 0.00001% of the price goes to support this website.

Lost and Found in the South Pacific – Fiji: from honeymoon destination to singles’ paradise

Disclaimer


This is a personal, heavy and bittersweet post. I recommend you to stop here if you are not into failed relationships, cheating bastards and heartbreaking stories. I don’t often share my personal and most intimate stories here, but today I want to tell you one. Maybe because I still have some dust and detritus on my chest that I want to get rid of, or more likely because I want to tell you that it does get better. If you, like me, have been unlucky enough to fall in love with a selfish, dishonest, horrible person who broke your heart and torn your confidence apart, let me tell you, there is hope. There is always hope. I started writing this post almost two months ago when I was dancing with the devil who kidnapped my personality and self-confidence. I’m publishing this here now, from Chiang Mai, where my heart is healing, my mind is light and that person belongs to a past that I don’t ever want back. There is also loads of swearing and bad words below so readers should be older than…um… 15? Not sure, but if you mind offenses and bad words, then stop here 🙂 thank you and see you next week with my about Samoa! 

*

It’s precisely because of the pain, that we can get the feeling, through this process, of really being alive—or at least a partial sense of it.  ― Haruki Murakami

As you probably know, I got my heart broken (aka smashed, torn, ripped out and pierced) on November 4th (yes, today  exactly marks the 3rd anniversary, since that horrendous day when my insensitive ex decided to leave me over the phone at 15 thousands km of distance), while I was travelling around New Zealand as a guest of Pure New Zealand. The frick, after four and half years together, didn’t even had the balls to jump on a plane and tell me this in the face. No, the usual spineless human being let the message being carried on a freaking weird and long Whatsapp conversation that went on like this, while where I sobbed and begged, begged and sobbed:

 
I-still-love-you-SO-much.
I think about you every day.
When I have sex I think of you.
I imagine touching your skin and I can still recall exactly the smell of your skin. 
This new person is nothing compared to you. But.
But I wanna see what happen with this new fucking buddy because you are far and hard work for me.
And I am lazy. Fucking lazy.
 

WTF, right?

Redundant to say, that I spent my final weeks in New Zealand crying like a baby, barely eating and knocking myself to sleep with cheap bottles of horrible red wine and tons of sleeping pills passed on by a friend. I had awful thoughts. I had scary intentions. And I fell. Down, down, down that endless hole. Maybe you don’t know I also chopped my hair on a particularly drunken and freaking scary night in Franz Josef when I couldn’t stand my reflection in the mirror any longer.
Yes, my ex left me for someone else, which is the most humiliating and painful thing that can happen in life a relationship.

 

*Pro tip here: Ladies & Gentlemen, NEVER-EVER tell the person you are leaving behind that you fell in love with someone else.

 

NEVER.

 

Tell them you are confused, tell them you need time for yourself, tell them you might be gay, tell them you want to become a monk, tell a huge, fat, freaking lie. But. Do. Not. Ever. Say. There. Is. Someone. Else.

 

EVER.

 

As a last option, grab your balls and tell them you don’t love them anymore perhaps. Tell them your heart doesn’t beat the same way anymore. And yes, this is LESS painful and more bearable than been cheated on and being left behind like a bag of garbage or a used tissue.

Please. I beg you. Listen to me.

Do it for me and do it for the person you once loved/cared about.

Please.

So. I was saying that in New Zealand I was mentally and physically shattered and, at that point, dating other people was out of the question. The one and only goal was to stay afloat. AKA stay alive and nothing else. New Zealand is incredibly beautiful, but my eyes were constantly blurred with tears and the lush landscapes were filled with sad thoughts and intentions. New Zealand probably hosts the saddest memories of my life and it’s such a pity because it’s such a wonderful country. I make a promise here to you, to go back when I will be in love again, happy again to create new and remarkable memories. With someone better, someone stronger, someone worthy.

I had considered stopping my around-the-world-trip and book a very expensive flight to go home and beg my ex to love me.

One more time.

Just one more time.

But thankfully I have incredible friends and family and everyone said the prick should have run after me after all this time. And especially after ALL the chances I had already given the fucker to come back to me and the endless times I forgave already in the four and half years together.
The cheater was the one turning the back to me, not me. The lier should have run to the airport and book a very expensive flight to get me before I flew off.

But I did. I flew away.

Fiji – Expect the Unexpected

I’m not Beyonce or Angelina Jolie, but I did happen to have a few guys chasing me. For the entire time since we had been apart, in fact, I did have a few guys flying around me but I always waved them away as you would do with bees.

[I am allergic to bees BTW.]

But let’s be honest for once, I have no idea if the time on the road relaxed my London stressed and wrinkled forehead or if the tan made me more attractive because I never had so many guys running after me before. But I had a few in Fiji. More than a few actually, plenty in fact (I know my ex reads this blog so let the sucker suck a little.)

And yes, the pics below are a metaphor of the amount of human fish swimming around me in Fiji.

I have no idea why, but it was only in Fiji that, still inebriated by the incredible amount of alcohol and drugs my body had endured in the previous weeks, that I let go of all my principles, constraints and hopes.

I finally let go and life just started flowing back through my veins.

And in that moment, finally and for a while, I enjoyed being single. I have no idea how many flirts and salty kisses I had on those stunning, palm-fringed beaches, I don’t even know how many new flags I’ve added to my global collection (thanks Jon for the idea!)

What I can tell you is that Fiji is no longer a honeymoon destination, but a singles’ paradise.

Try to believe. If you are single, book your flight now and test it for yourself.

Fiji – Singles’ Paradise

Let me put this straight from start. Fiji is no longer a honeymoon destination, but quite the opposite, it’s Singles’ Paradise. Yeah, you read that right. And no, I did not know that before. And yes, I had so much fun indeed.

There, among the crystal blue waters and white, palm-fringed beaches is where I started healing my broken heart. Or maybe not, it’s just where I said F**K YOU and pressed the Pause button to my pain.

 “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” ― Haruki Murakami 

I didn’t know there was one, but it does exist and it’s like the fire exit when there is a building on fire.

I knew there was something strange right from the beginning. I knew that my time in Fiji was going to be extraordinary as I met my first friends right at the airport and ended up sleeping in a stranger’s room in the wrong hostel that first night. The next morning, I bumped into some New Zealand’s buddies on the ferry to my first destination and that’s it, as soon as I landed in Waya, my life was -positively- upside down. 

I don’t know how or why it happened, but suddenly I had more guys (and girls) swarming around me than in my entire lifetime. I have no clue of how that could be possible, again I am not Jessica Alba, I can only think it was a sign of the universe (or god if you believe), telling me that the world is full of hot, interesting, smart people and the one I had lost was just a tiny person unable to love. It was the universe talking to me and telling me:

Hey Sabs, look around. First, you are not alone; second: pick and choose who you like.

And so I did.


I picked and choose.

I picked and choose.

And had fun.

Loads of fun in fact.

I was a whole. Again.

No longer half of a broken One.

I was me.

And people loved me for who I was. They did no try to change me.

From day 1 to day 22 on the gorgeous Fiji islands, I had fun, fun, fun with the sexy travelers that like Robinson Crusoe were landing on my sunbed shore. And I don’t know why, but a female, married friend who’ve met on these stunning islands told me:

 

Sabri right now, you are like a magnet, it’s impossible to stay away from you.

 

At first, it didn’t make any sense to me at all. I didn’t think my self-chopped hairstyle was attractive, nor my mosquitos-bitten legs or my far from the perfect body. It was something else.

Not only in my sexy dates but, finally liberated by the weight of a failed relationship and moved away from the burden of a person who was flat, boring, old and dishonest, I blossomed in my social life too. I suddenly remembered who I was before changing and adapting to the bastard: my energy was back, my love for life too, my interest to meet new people and get to know them was finally part of me again. And I made many friends without feeling guilty or worrying about what the cheater would think.It was the energy of my internal fuck-you-process and the consequent sense of freedom that perspired from my persona.

I think.

I can only think of this, because man, I was as shocked as you are now.

And maybe this sounds like bragging, and maybe it is for once, but I had never had such a success ratio in my life. LOL! But this is life, ladies (and men) the moment you really are NOT ready to open your legs arms, men (and women) from all over the place start just falling right at your feet. And it’s like this, that night after night I was feeling better and stronger and wanted and desired than ever. No longer rejected. One empty person rejected me, the world still wanted me. I could stay. Just a bit longer.

Is there better cure than slutting around when your heart and ego are broken and the person you love dumps you FOR SOMEONE ELSE? 

Perhaps. I don’t know. But for me, for those three weeks, it was a god/universe-sent break from the lying-on-the-floor, face-buried-in-the-pillow crying healing process that I had been on for weeks in NZ. 

And of course, it wasn’t just the sex, the salty kisses or the summer romances. It was putting things into perspective.

It was stopping to admire the incredible beauty that was surrounding me, it was appreciating the lucky star that allowed me to be there (instead of being home begging a selfish-cheating-human-being to love me!!!).

It was just falling in love. With life again. In all its simplicity. And with some of the most extraordinary people I’ve met in my life. Friends, flirts and my old self, most of all. If one person in this world did not want me, it didn’t mean the world was rejecting me. It was just this, one, specific, extremely selfish and horrible human who rejected me and hurt me like no one else before in my life. 

People are sent to our lives to teach us things we need to learn about ourselves. – Mandy Hale.

My Fiji realization hit me there and then. I knew I was ready for all of the things I had feared up to that moment. I sobbed once more and I realised that I want to be happy. I acknowledged I deserved to be happy. I wanted all the things everyone wants. A stable, committed, strong, faithful person next to me. Nothing more, nothing else. And I was so shocked and also deeply relieved that I’d finally gotten there.

Life and Love were all around me.

Fiji – The little things that matter

And it was embracing the little things that soothed my broken soul, day after day. 

Running on the beach when the first lights of the day were peaking through the mountains. 

Breathing in and out with consciousness at my yoga classes looking into the endless ocean at dawn. 

The hysterical laughs with Theo, Jon, Charlie, Lou and Stuart. 

The amazement in front of the miracle of every single day starting in those gorgeous islands. 

Hiking up a mountain at sunrise under a torrential rain when I kept going anyway because it’s only when you reach the top that you can see the other side.



The hours spent meditating while chasing colorful fish in one of the best reefs I’ve seen in my life.  

The newly acquired (even if unwanted) freedom that being out of a relationship can bring to the mind. 

The infinite shades of blue and orange and red and yellow when the sun was sinking into the horizon.

The sand between the toes, the hair and everywhere else.

Getting lost in dark underwater caves with a bunch of strangers. 

Katie and Steve who told me that compromises are what make love last, and Sonia and Mike who revealed that “not sweating on the small things” was the secret sauce to their +40 years marriage.

Sam and Rosie, young, beautiful and in love.

It was admiring the beautiful and perfect bodies of the local rugby player on a hot Sunday afternoon surrounded by only locals. 

And the kids on top of tree supporting their favourite handball team.

It was the incredible connection with a Dutch guy over the span of 12 hrs.

It was Mina, from China, her beautiful tattoo and the selfie stick she gave me as a gift. 

It was the hugs with Kim and Laura.

It was kayaking with Irene and Joe.

It was learning to fish with a bunch of lovely girls and a cooler full of champagne and beer.

It was the flirts, the kisses, and the meaningless sex.

It was the drinking games and one wild night washed away by far too much gin &  tonic.

It was the lightness of no promises, no expectations and there was a taste of freedom and possibility.
Of what I could have. If I could only hold on to myself and no one else for a little bit longer. 

The local dances, songs and vibe. Their incredible culture and attitude to life. 

And, just like that, by the end of the third week, I was just free. Suddenly, emotionally and happily free.

And there I was on the last day, hoping to stay just a little bit longer. To allow me to add a few more memories to the load to take away with me.

Excited about the future and what it could hold for me. Excited about the countless options and possibilities. Excited about the people I had met and their stories. No longer thinking that that fraud was my One. It definitely wasn’t.

And Fiji taught me that I deserve someone who’s excited about me, who chooses me over everybody else. Every day. Someone who doesn’t need breaks from me, someone who isn’t scared of love, someone who doesn’t only take, but gives back too. Someone without commitment issues. Someone who isn’t damaged from the past and knows how to fight. Someone who believes in us.Not forever. But forever, for now

Vinaka Vaca Levu Fiji

There is where my new life began. These are the memories I will best remember from my months on the road. Where I blossomed again like a very late spring flower. Where, like a prisoner, I was finally freed after being caged for almost 5 years.

These are stories that take the highlight of this incredible journey.This is where I found my true self again. The person I want to be. The version of myself that belongs to me and suits me so well.

No more compromises, no more faking to be someone else. 

We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; 
and we travel next, to find ourselves.

 

Reading suggestion for your single holiday in Fiji:

Tiny Beautiful Things, Cheryl Strayed

The Power of Now, Eckart Tolle

 

All underwater pictures taken with my new baby Olympus

 

Note: there are affiliated links above. As usual, I only recommend products I have personally tried and loved. if you buy through the links above, a few pennies from your purchase come my way so that I can keep maintaining this blog <3

One more mistake

I’ve listened to my instinct this time , just in time to avoid the catastrophe, just in time before what I’ve put together in the last few months, was once again distroyed. I’ve listened to that silent screaming voice that was saying “don’t do it!” And I’ve stopped. Just in time.

Life is too short to waste time trying to force or convince people to love us.
Let’s take the love that is given to us, easily, smoothly, generously, without other expectations than to be loved back.
Let’s give it to people who are able to receive it.

There is no point in playing the best song to a deaf person.
There is no reason to show the sunset to a blind one.

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And then..

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And then there is me.

Me.

Myself.

And I.

It’s just over a week, since my ex left this house, this town, this country and me to start a “new life”, back home.

I spent the first few days, unable to drag myself out of bed, crying at every single memory of us within these walls, sobbing like a child in our sheets which still smelt of us, getting angry at life and the world while walking in the streets of this town which once I loved,  keeping my phone off for days to avoid distraction from my own desperation.

But now?

Now, I AM BACK.

I read aloud to myself all my notes of the last 18 months and I found out something so important and enlightening that gave me the strength to get hold of my life once again.

I wasn’t happy.
I was lonely.
I was alone when I most needed you, when my career was falling apart.
You destroyed my trust with revelatory emails. Once. No, at least twice.
“Two more minutes” with me on new year’s eve didn’t matter to you.
You didn’t even bother to wish me happy birthday after I took you to a royal suite in Marrakesh to celebrate.
You broke the promises you made about this house, which YOU choose and wanted so badly.

I decided that this is not what I want for myself.

I want and DESERVE so much more than YOU.

And I am finally

free

and I’m feeling

so good.

Emotional Rollercoaster

 

As you might have already noticed, this 2014 has started despite my strong desire to stay put in 2013, which was kind of a nice year for me, with its ups and downs, of course. But time goes by and despite what we want, it goes on and on.

And on.

There is no way to stop it, no pause button. No rewind either. This set of brand new, shining 365 days has kicked off and here we are, once again, to (hopefully) make something big out of it. Resolutions, to-do lists, wishes, dreams and desires, twelve (long) months to make it happen, one whole year to tick all those boxes and accomplish all those goals. However,  my 2014’s wish list is going to be a short one, it only includes one large, main, hard goal:

simplify

Yes, simplify my life. I actually only hope to be able to have a simpler life where I can get rid of all the things (and people) that purposeless complicate my existence and most of all hurt me or don’t bring anything to the table. Yeah, I know… I setting myself up for a complicated mission, but hey man! I’ve got a whole year to make it happen, right? I’ve started with the simplest stuff: clothes, shoes, random piece of s**t I’ve collected in the last few decades and then I’ve moved to the people business. Yeah, cos you can get rid of lots of things around you, but if you stick to unhealthy relationships, you will only keep feeling the same old s**t. That’s why, I’ve decided to move on from superficial and unbalanced friendships to focus on a few good old and new friends and of course my family. I have to admit, these first 39 days have been an emotional roller-coaster for me: up and down, right and left, stay and leave, love and hate. I was struggling to stay afloat. I was struggling to keep up with my new (old?) life: back in the office, back to a normal life. I struggled so hard to concentrate. It was hard to believe, to let go or to stay put. I was constantly fighting between my wishes and my duties.

And it is true that you only realise what you have, once you’ve lost it. I had all the time of the world a few weeks ago, I had everything at my doorstep, but I was too lazy to make it worth. I was too scared to make the most of it. I idled about for weeks, staring at the watch ticking (and playing candy crush). Now, I am back, back to my normal self. That self that I don’t know any more and I have to try and squeeze dreams in my spare time once again.

But 2014 has made a roaring entrance in my life. New job, new company, new people, new friends, new feelings. Now that both my relationship and my “American Dream” have completely fallen apart, it is time for me to stand still and plan my new year as well as my life again, from here, from London, from myself.

For myself.

Happy New Year.

Make a Good Story

I watched this video today and it was just the kind of reminder I needed to hear the clock ticking again. It was like a slap on my face which forced me to think that I should do something about my life. Something better and more meaningful.

Who’s not scared of dying without accomplishing his/her dreams? Who can face the idea of living this world without leaving behind some sort of legacy? Or better, who isn’t scared of death?

I am and I guess most of you are too. But how are we meant to write a good story, to use Stephen Cave‘s words, if we are constantly trying to cope with work, family, children, pressure and money? How are we meant to find the time to fill those pages in the book that is our life? How can we make this book a “best-seller” (again using his metaphor). I still have to find out. Someone told me that the solution isn’t trying to do something big, but to find happiness  in the little things of everyday’s life. I have tried, but it’s not for me. I need pace, I need excitment, I need stress too, probably. But most of all I need to feel my blood running through my veins first of all, in order to feel. To feel anything.

I have decided that my 2014 first resolution is that every single day, I will find time to do something that I REALLY like doing. It might be something little, like reading or something more demanding like writing. Or it could just be a swim or a ride.

But now I know that every day I should find a way to say:

“Thank you for another good day”.

This is the plan, let’s see if I can stick to it! 🙂

And then, all of a sudden, I am free.

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Some might call my decision reckless, but I don’t care. I don’t care anymore what people think. I’m tired of playing by the rules. I’m going to write my own rules from now on. I don’t care about what’s going to happen tomorrow, I learnt (or I am learning) to live in the present, without worrying too much about the future.  And I am in the lucky position to do so.

Yes, I did it. I finally left an awful job where I had been suffering for the last 6 months or so. The plan was to stick to it until next June or Christmas at least, but I couldn’t stay there one more day.

I had given my life to this business and I had been rewarded and recognised most of the times, up to when they realised I was too good for them. Yes, it might sound arrogant, but that’s exactly it. I was far too good in comparison to their average employee and too many people were getting frustrated and upset of my biannual punctual promotions and salary increase. At some point, they had to stop that and, despite I had met and overachieved all their  new targets, they refused to promote me again last April . Obviously that was a huge shock  for me, most of all because they couldn’t give me any real reasons except that it was “too early”.  But, in hindsight,  I know that for a business is better to lose one outstanding person, than many average. And this was it. After the last few unfair power games and subterfuges I decided to leave. Like that. Without a job to go to. So, here I am.

I am free.

I’m free to be free. Free to waste time. Free to make random decisions, free to get bored. Free to sleep until late or to go bed late. But I’m also free to interrupt what I am doing to start something else. I am free to do nothing. But most of all I’m free to do everything I want to do.

When I want to. How I want to. Where I want to. Why I want to.

No more alarms at dawns,
No more suits in the morning,
No more lunch boxes,
No more useless and endless meetings,
No more routine,
No more schedule,
No more deadlines,
No more pressure,
No more anxiety,
No more politics,
No more fake smiles,
No more living in a box,
No more long hours,
No more power games
No more pretending to be someone else.

And all of a sudden I realise that the scariest thing in life is exactly what everybody (pretends to) crave for: Freedom.
That’s why we cling to our job security, stick to failed relationships, hold to places that make us feel safe. Because being free is F*****K scary, man. You don’t have any safety net below you, if you fall, you are going to crash on the floor and there won’t be anything to hold you back.
It’s like being blindfolded in a car that is racing at very high speed, it’s like throwing yourself from an helicopter without parachute, it’s like diving in the oceans without enough oxygen, its like surfing huge waves with a broken board.

But it is also like waking in the morning and be able to read the news in more than 5 minutes, it’s like having time to reply to emails from friends, it’s the laziness to surf on Facebook, it’s the luxury to read a good book in the middle of the afternoon, it’s the  lavishness to spend two hours in a cute cafe writing this post.

And this is where I am now, on this big wave that is sweeping away my past while I get ready to surf the next one that’s coming up behind me. It’s a even bigger one, but I know that I will stand on my board for the length of it. I can do it now. Now that I’m free of chains. Now that I am free.

NOTE: And I wish to thank here all the people who have helped me to be brave, to take the courage to move on, to be free. First and foremost, Alekim who enlighten me over a year ago when we met at the Gili Islands, Antonia, who made me see that another way is possible after all, Sunday for all her wise and invaluable advice and Patrizia for instilling me dreams and pushing me out of my comfort zone. These are four great women who took the tough decision to take their lives back in their hands and drastically change it while looking for something better.

Let it be

Reflections

Here we are again. Two weeks ago I resigned. I took my boss to a meeting room for a “quick 2-minute chat” and without actually thinking about it or preparing for it, I said “I’m leaving“. Two painful weeks followed, they decided to keep me, they decided that I was worth another try and promised me the moon and the stars. And more money.

And …I? I decided to accept. I decided to turn my back to that half-opened door. I decided it wasn’t time for Freedom. Just yet. Just for a little bit longer. I decided I would stay.

Sometimes in life there are things that are completely out of your control. I like to think that we are the creators of our own lives and that we give clear directions to our paths, but now? Now, I feel I have no control.

I’ve been looking at my last six years with a different eye lately, I started looking at things from a new perspective and I realised that things weren’t exactly as I thought. I’ve always put my career first, I thought that achieving record salaries (for my age and experience) and smashing targets was what was going to make me happy. I thought that being promoted three then four years in a row would have turned me into a satisfied person, I naively believed that being “the youngest consultant ever” would have made me special.

I then realised that the truth was really different. The truth is that I wasted (the best) six years of my life. Basically I threw away my twenties pursuing (and  achieving) inconceivable goals.  You might be thinking that I should be happy, right? But happiness, you know, doesn’t come from money. They threw some more money and promises to make millions of pounds if I stay for another decade or so, but I know I won’t.

I’ve now realised that I’m going to make myself happy, that I already feel I’ve achieved what I wanted to achieve in my (first) career, and it’s now time to move on. I’m now studying my plan B. And C. And considering options to escape this life.

Now I know. I know that isn’t a title that gives me the authority to be the person I want to be, nor it’s a pay rise. I’m already the person I want to be.

And I am happy.

“A few times in my life I’ve had moments of absolute clarity when, for a few brief seconds, the silence drowns out the noise and I can feel rather than think and things seem so sharp and the world seems so fresh, it’s as though it had all just come into existence. I can never make these moments last. I cling to them, but like everything, they fade. I have lived my life on these moments. They pull me back to the present, and I realize that everything is exactly the way it was meant to be.” 

From ‘A Single Man’