Monthly Archives: January 2015

Writing is a key way to refine my thoughts and keep a clean record of my experiences. I love composing thoughtful post ideas and choose and work on the photos that best go with the topic. However, sometimes I just want to share my thoughts, goals and the little things that make me smile on a day to day basis.

At the end of each month, I will put together a behind the scenes post in which I’ll give you a peek of my weekends, business travels, goals and favourite links.

Click here to read my previous Behind the Scenes.


On Traveling

Skiing in Lech, Austria

Visiting snowy Austria has been, without any doubt, one of my favourite holidays from the past few years. I can’t believe it was only a month ago when I gearing up my adrenaline on the slopes. Where did January go?


Weekend Scenes

Milan, Italy

Well, I know where 3 days in January went – to Milan, Italy! I took a long weekend with my girlfriends to explore the architectural and artistic beauty this exuberant city has to offer.

I’m going to be very honest with you: I never thought I’d say this – but I truly loved Milan. It was my 3rd visit (I had visited once for business and once for fun before) and it was only now that I learned to appreciate the city beyond its tourist attractions and business centers. With our base in the lovely district of Navigli – one of the most romantic neighbourhoods named after the canals in the area – we went shopping for quality leather, explored the italian art and design scene and took full advantage of every aperitivo.

It really makes a difference to visit Milan with someone local!


December / January by the Numbers

Street Art in Milan, Italy

I missed last months’s Behind the Scenes – for a good reason though (I was skiing!). To make it up for you, below a summary of December & January.

  • 6 flights (5 of which were international)
  • 3 countries visited – Spain (Tenerife & overnight in Madrid), Austria (Lech & trip to Zug) and Milan (Italy)
  • over 9030 km travelled (8650 km of which were by plane) – that’s over 5600 miles!
  • 22 Instagram photos posted over the two months – the above being the one you’ve liked most! (are we friends?)
  • 1 Get Gutsy winning essay written – read it here!

Reads

Flying over the Swiss Alps

I finished reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed before the movie came out, and oh was I glad I did. The story is both, an incredible adventure and a deep meditation on the nature of grief and recovery. Her writing is so compelling that it was extremely hard to put the book down at night (highly recommended!).

And now on to my favourite online reads this month:

  • Bivvy Bags: Tickets To Certain Death? – I first came to the concept of divvy bags in my frequented outdoor shop in Tenerife. The store manager spoke enthusiastically about watching the stars before falling asleep in the outdoors, and all I could think of was: isn’t this really dangerous?  I’m certainly not the only one with this initial thought, but Mike is up for proving wrong this and many other misconceptions. I’m really curious about it!
  • Why are some croissants straight, and others curved? – Well yes, there’s an entirely rational explanation to this (and it includes funny doodles).
  • El Camino de Santiago: I’m walking “The Way” across Spain – You know I love hiking, right? So, how come I’ve never walked the Camino de Santiago? I’m not entirely sure. I guess I’ve always waited for someone else to join me on this adventure, but I’ve read so many stories about fellow bloggers walking the way by themselves that I feel really excited about it now.

Words

Lech, Austria

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

Robert Frost


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Looking out to my left, I felt equally excited and terrified – I was sitting on a  chair lift up to Kriegerhorn (2173m), Austria, watching the pros slide down a steep mountain. So graceful, so confident – so fearless.

Skiing in Lech, Austria

Weeks before, I had spent a day browsing through winter sports apparel in London – convincing myself that, to ski well, I required the perfect equipment. I watched videos, trying hard to remember what I had to do with my weight in order to make a turn. I wanted to hit the pistes skiing with confidence, like I’ve never done before.

Back on that chair lift, though, I began to have my doubts.

Hmmm… Visibility isn’t that good, I need to go extra slow. But wait, this is getting a bit too steep for me. Oh, look how fast they go! I can’t control my speed that well. Heck, I can’t even turn that well! What am I doing? What was I thinking?! Can you please take me back down again?

I have a secret: I’m afraid of falling (ok, so it’s not that much of a secret anymore…). The truth is, whenever I am faced with a steep slope or a narrow uneven path (whether I’m on skis or just on my own feet), I have the feeling that I may loose my balance. I recognise the pattern: my heart beat accelerates, my breathing quickens and overall I feel tense. In the worst cases, though – I am literally paralysed. It might only be a few seconds or it might be 10 minutes. All I know is that to me it feels like a lifetime.

Hiking Guajara, Tenerife (Spain)

I should limit my activities to snorkelling and sunbathing (both of which I love, too). But I can’t. I love the outdoors – particularly mountains. And volcanoes. Oh, and challenging hikes around mountains and volcanoes!

While it hasn’t always been easy, I constantly aim to challenge my irrational fear of loosing balance and falling. The thought of all the breathtaking views and unforgettable experiences that await at the top of those mountains give me enough courage to break through my limiting thoughts and reach higher. 

Skiing in Lech, Austria

So, back on the chair lift in Austria, I could have let my thoughts send me back down the same way I went up. But instead, I gracefully got off the chair lift with a heart that felt like it was going to jump out of my chest and fall down the mountains all by itself any second.

I moved slow – so slow that sometimes it felt I was actually skiing up the mountain, not down. But I kept on moving – and each time new scary thoughts came into my mind, I tried my best to imagine a mental door and let them go.

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that all went great on this trip.

I did fall (not as often as I expected) and it was embarrassing (specially that one time I lost both skis!). I twisted my wrist trying to get up again after falling into deep powder snow (which, otherwise, is more fun that Christmas itself!). And I froze of fear. Once. It wasn’t pretty.

But you know what? I got over it. 

Skiing in Lech, Austria

Note: see the goofy girl in blue over there? That’s me getting over it.

What I learned from this trip is that skiing might be a lot about technique – but a lot of it is trust, too. Trust in your equipment, your skills and your balance – but over everything else: trust in yourself – specially when the scary gets particularly tough.

Getting gutsy for me is precisely that – trusting myself when it gets challenging. Pushing myself to the limit, getting uncomfortable and constantly confront my fear of falling. It’s  beyond bravery. It’s daring to go ahead in spite of the doubtful part of my conscience. It’s doing something that scares me.


Getting gutsy is all about stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals and live a life that makes you truly happy. This post is my entry for Jessica Lawlor’s Get Gutsy Essay Contest. To get involved and share your own gutsy story, check out this post for contest details and download a free copy of the inspiring Get Gutsy ebook.


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Last year I quit making New Year’s resolutions. They were far too easy for me to break! Instead, I chose 3 words that frame what I wanted my year to be.

My 3 words of 2014: Grow. Simplicity. Radiant.

Picking 3 words instead of coming up with a wish list of (mostly unrealistic) resolutions may seem like an easy task at first, but trust me – framing an entire year in just 3 words is a tough job!

After reviewing my the past twelve months and carefully contemplating what I would like 2015 to look like, I chose the following 3 words to lead me through the year:

Rise. Dare. Unplug. 

Rise

Sunrise from the highest peak in Spain (Teide, Tenerife)

I have never been an early riser, but after devouring Laura Vanderkam’s What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast early May last year, I was ready to give it a go. Surprisingly, waking up early became one of my favourite things during the summer months! I loved the quiet mornings – when the world hadn’t yet properly began to pick up its usual hectic pace. I used this extra time to go for a run in the park, study for the GMAT or even write a few paragraphs for my next post.

The thing is, as the days became shorter, I began to hit the all too tempting snooze button for longer. I certainly admire those that can get up at 5:00 AM (or even earlier!) for pleasure all year round.

So here’s to the word rise. To get up with commitment and energy. To not hit snooze more than twice. To become comfortable getting up while its dark outside. To squeeze in a morning work out or two each week. To continue to make a full and healthy breakfast before leaving for work. To arrive earlier to the office. To appreciate the quiet in London.

Dare

Skiing in Lech, Austria

Do you know that little feeling you get, when you’re pondering whether to go ahead with a big decision? Like when you’re standing on an edge and could either turn around and run back to safer ground or just jump into deep water? While I feel like 2014 has been fairly stable (which was good – for a change!), this year, I want to dare to jump deep into new challenges.

Here’s the thing – I really love challenges that involve risk and adventure (you know, like moving to Barcelona on temporary contract and a month notice). I kind of miss the great stories and life lessons that come with these challenges – and quite honestly, I also enjoy proving myself I can win a challenging dare!

So I call 2015 the year I learn to let go of limiting thoughts and take more action. Learn to appreciate progress and let go of the idea of perfection. Take more risks, and be willing to fail (fast) and get up again. After all – nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

Unplug

Tarifa, Spain

I’m busy, you’re busy… hey, we are all busy people. We love having lots of things on our plate, right? And we constantly strive to become more productive. Do more and do it better! Ok, sure – but then, I don´t know about you, but I don’t feel happy running around at a frenetic pace, trying to juggle too much. Yet still I found myself in this situation more than once in 2014.

As much as I enjoy the thrill of my job, I’ve also learned to appreciate disconnecting from the constant buzzing. Over my last holidays, I even allowed my BlackBerry to run out of battery and didn’t charge it for 2 entire days (naughty, I know). In 2015, I intend to unplug more often by muting my phones before I go to sleep (if not on a live project) and not allowing laptops in bed after 10 PM.

That’s not all, though – I also aim to unplug from the feeling of constantly having to work on feeding my professional credentials and, instead, add a hobby that feeds my soul (does that sound cheesy?). I want to give myself some space for creativity – to do something just because I enjoy it (like, writing and taking photos for this blog!) and not feel guilty about having fun!

What are your 3 words of 2015?


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Following my travel-heavy 2014 review, I was ready to start writing about my three words for 2015 but felt there was something missing. You see, 2014 definitely took me to places (even if I didn’t get to immerse in almost ay of them) – but I also did lots of other pretty cool stuff last year that I didn’t want to leave out. So, without further ado – my kickass moments of 2014!

Kickass moment #1: watching the sun rise from the highest peak in Spain

Sunrise from the highest peak in Spain (Teide, Tenerife)

Probably my proudest moment of 2014 – this challenging hike up a dormant volcano including a 500 meter elevation completed at night / dusk to reach the peak on time for a spectacular sun rise.

Kickass moment #2: turning 30 without experiencing a mental breakdown 

I never thought that turning 30 would be a big deal, so I was surprised to hear the stories from friends and colleagues that met the textbook-kind of anxiety. Why should 30 be such a turning point? Sure, I don’t own a house, I don’t have a mortgage, I’m not married nor do I have kids. But hey, assuming that this is where my life should be at 30 is so passé anyway!

Kickass moment #3: winning a team award for a tremendously successful roadshow

St Paul's Cathedral, London

On my last day in the office before my winter holidays, the company awards were granted to those teams that delivered the most impressive projects. This year, we won a company award for making history: we delivered the largest financial roadshow in history – I’m damn proud of our team!

Kickass moment #4: forming a new habit 

Creating a habit takes a lot of time and perseverance.  I haven’t yet managed to create a habit of exercising in the morning (I am not sure I’ll ever be able to make a habit out of it), but I’ve formed a new habit, and it’s here to stay: I wake up early enough to prepare and have a nutritious breakfast at home before my commute from hell (granted – it feels a bit less hell when I’ve had a good breakfast and some strong coffee).

Kickass moment #5: saving more money than I had intended to without giving up fun

The Power of Summer - Outdoor Cinema, London

Do you know what’s the most difficult thing to do in London? It’s not finding a nice flat. It’s not commuting in rush hour. It’s not even trying to find a Christmas gift in Covent Garden the weekend before Christmas day. It’s saving money. The city is a money sucking machine – everything screams come in here and spend your cash! (Or does it only scream this at me?). Anyway, I’m proud of having been able to save money for the first time since 2011 – while still eating healthy and having fun!

Kickass moment #6: navigating through Gatwick and Heathrow airports in record times

At this time, I’m fairly certain that I can navigate through both airports as well as I do through my own neighbourhood. I’m close to becoming the female version of George Clooney in Up in the Air (I do avoid queues with kids or obvious holidayers!).

Kickass moment #7: still having what it takes to party like a Spaniard

sunsets in Formentera, Spain

England and Spain couldn’t be any more different when it comes to the social scene. In London, I pop down to the pub in the afternoon and will most likely be at home asleep by midnight. In Madrid (or anywhere else in Spain, really)? Not so much. In fact, the night is just getting started at midnight. Last summer I may have turned 30, but I was (and still am!) still fit to party all night like a Spaniard!

Which have been some of your kickass moments of 2014?


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