Behind the Scenes

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.


Travels and Adventures

Ever since I left Spain in 2009, I longed for hot sunny summers spent lounging at the beach. So when I finally decided to take a career break earlier this year, I figured this was my chance to make up for the past 6 years!

May: Tenerife – Madrid – Basque Country 

Hiking in Tenerife, Spain

I spent my first month back home soaking up the sunshine, eating fresh fish and on occasional hikes. One of my favorite moments was watching an incredible sunset from a small mirador only a 30-minute walk away from my home.

Sunset in Tenerife, Spain

At the end of the month, I flew to Bilbao for a Mom – Daughter trip in the Basque Country to celebrate my 31st birthday! I spent my birthday surrounded by things I love: family, nature and wine. I couldn’t have asked for anything better than that!

Marqués de Riscal, Basque Country (Spain)

June: Tenerife – Madrid – Basque Country – Cantabria 

Playa del Ancón, Tenerife (Canary Islands)

When I returned to Tenerife from rather rainy Basque Country, I made it a mission to soak up as much sunshine at home and some of my favourite beaches (like the ones above) as possible. I didn’t miss a single day on my duty. I think I did a pretty decent job. 

After a very brief visit to Madrid to attend the Open Day of my preferred MBA Program late May, I returned a couple of weeks later for an interview (which, later on, became an offer that I happily accepted) – now, I’m officially a 2016 MBA Candidate!

San Sebastián, Basque Country (Spain)

On the following day, I took an early train to Irún – where I started my 3-week hike along the northern coast of Spain. I loved discovering tiny villages, lush mountains and beautiful  sandy beaches in the Basque Country and Cantabria – all while challenging myself more than I ever had before.

Cantabria (Spain)

July: – Cantabria – Asturias – Tenerife – Miami – New York

Oviedo, Asturias (Spain)

Early July I continued my Camino de Santiago along the Northern route from Cantabria into Asturias – which has now become my latest obsession – I mean, look at this place. And this one. Oh, and the one above (Oviedo)!

Arriving in Oviedo (my end point) felt equally wrong and right. I was sad to leave – but also excited for the adventures ahead. I returned back to Tenerife for a few days to rest (and go kayaking!) before flying out to Miami to meet my best friend for 6 days of sunshine, art and cocktails (not necessarily in that order). I absolutely loved exploring the Wynwood Art Walls – and am still talking about it to anyone who cares to listen!

Cocktails in Miami

Following Miami came New York. A lot of plans began to change at this point: my 1-week  photography course had been cancelled** and so had my following trip to Iceland. This reminded me that things don’t always go as planned and you have to learn to make the best out of it.

Sunset from New York City Highline

And so I did. I took my NY trip as an opportunity to explore an entire different aspect of the city. I spent most of my time in Brooklyn, for instance. Every day I woke up without a set plan. Instead, I just walked: along the Hudson river, across bridges, through parks and even along a beach. I saw many incredible sunsets and had some of the best coffees. I even met up with some of my ex-work colleagues – it was so nice to see them again after these months!

**I ended up taking a short weekend photography course which now allows me to feel a bit more comfortable out of auto-mode (just don’t ask me to take backlit photos or indoor portraits!). 

August: New York – Tenerife – Cologne – Madrid 

New York skyline

I left New York for Tenerife once again – but this time for only just enough time to slightly recover from jet lag, squeeze goodbye my little ball of fur and pack my life into one and a half suitcases (oh, and also go on a quick boat trip to some of my favourite corners of the island – Los Gigantes and Teno).

Boat trip in Tenerife, Canary Islands

After dropping off my bags in my little flat, I headed straight back to the airport to fly out to Cologne, Germany, to spend some time with close family. I hadn’t been to Cologne in 20 years – what a beautiful city! I really enjoyed the lifestyle there: the large parks, river walks, beautiful old town, many breweries… I’ve already made it a mission to return some time over the next 2 months!

Cologne, Germany

I’ve been back in Madrid for the past 5 days, slowly easing myself into this new place, new neighbourhood and new life as an MBA student – can’t wait for the program to begin!


Summer Reads

Blue Sea in Tenerife, Spain

Early June I published my summer reading list. I have a problem with reading lists, though: I hardly ever stick to them. Once I find something I like, I tend to stick to it (as happens with terrifying psychological thrillers led by extremely twisted female characters – anti-heroes, as they call them).

So, yeah, I guess you won’t be surprised that two out of my three strongest recommendations are thrillers. Oops. 

Anyway, I have read some great (and some not so great) books this summer. If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next purchase, I definitely recommend adding these 3 to your reading list:

Luckiest girl alive – by Jessica Knoll ★★★★★

I have read mixed reviews about this book before even picking it up in June as my next read. Lets put it this way: I really wouldn’t sell it as a light beach read. But. BUT. I personally loved it. If you enjoy dynamic reads that switch between past and present, cold and calculating anti-heroes and don’t mind rather graphic descriptions and swear words – give it a go (and let me know what you think!).

Disclaimer – by Renée Knight ★★★★

I devoured Disclaimer in 1.5 days! Catherine begins to read a book she finds by her bedside until she realises it’s all about her. It threatens to expose her darkest secret, one she thought she was safe from. The book is written in past and present form from the perspective of two characters. It was dynamic, gripping, fast-paced and twisted – highly recommend it!

The wrong knickers: A decade of chaos – by Bryony Gordon ★★★★

I simply loved this book for 3 reasons: it’s honest, real and hilarious! I believe there’s a little bit of Bryony in every one of us – and it’s so refreshing to find someone who (graphically) depicts the ups and downs of this awkward, f*cked up decade. I’d say a must-read for any woman who has successfully survived (or is still surviving) her 20s!


Instagram

New York skyline

I wanted this photo to say…

Look at me, I’m sophisticated. I spend my summer evening sipping rosé from rooftops overlooking Manhattan.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes…

I queued to get to this rooftop (which is stunning, by the way). It was still broad daylight when I negotiated my way through the crowds to the ‘perfect place to take photos of the skyline‘. I forced my friends to follow me and feed me drinks so I didn’t have to leave my rather privileged spot.

I took a grand total of 27 photos of this sunset (12 with my iPhone and 15 with my Canon EOS). This wasn’t the best one of all – but I couldn’t really wait to get home and download my DSLR photos, so I picked my best iPhone shot instead. It’s grainy. But hey, it became my most liked shot so far!

Hate is heavy, so let it go

I wanted this photo to say…

I am a street art hunter with an exceptional eye for detail. Also, this quote is so inspiring!

Meanwhile, behind the scenes…

We only came across Wynwood because our Uber driver had mentioned it. I don’t really know any artists’ names and don’t recognise styles (though I wish I could).

All through the cool streets of Wynwood, I was dragging behind – we had actually come here on a mission to find good mexican food. It was getting dark – which wasn’t great in  neighbourhood filled with warehouses we didn’t know almost anything about. Most of my shots (well, those taken outside the Wynwood Art Walls) were taken with my iPhone because I was on a rush!

Asturias, Spain

I wanted this photo to say…

Asturias is beautiful and wild. It is full of contrasts and manages to be stunning even on gloomy days.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes…

I was a tiny step away from missing this bit. My feet were still aching from the 38km hike  the day before and the thought of even walking 5km today was killing me. Thankfully, the train wasn’t leaving until 2 hours later and I chose to give walking a chance instead.

At this point, I was completely on my own. While I usually didn’t mind this during my Camino, this day was different: I was desperate to share this landscape with friends and family. I sat down on a wooden bench and sent this photo to my girlfriends. This day, I really wished they were there.

PS: Are we friends on Instagram?


By the numbers

Brooklyn Bridge

Since May (which symbolized the start of my extended summer holidays), I…

  • Took 13 flights: Tenerife – Madrid – Bilbao – Tenerife // Tenerife – Madrid // Oviedo – Tenerife // Tenerife – Madrid – Miami – New York – Madrid – Tenerife // Tenerife – Madrid – Cologne – Madrid
  • Rode 1 long distance train: from Madrid to Irún – the starting point of my Camino del Norte!
  • Hiked +450 km from Irún to Oviedo in 21 days
  • Booked a ridiculous amount of Ubers (my new source of local gems)
  • Slept 1 night at a Twelve Tribes location
  • Shot over 1000 photos with my new Canon EOS 7D (although only about 700 have made it into Aperture)

Inspiration

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
― Thomas A. Edison


 

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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

Chicago, USA

WOW. February was one crazy, busy and cold month (see above the ice covering the Chicago River!). On Wednesday 11th, I was asked to cover a colleague on a US Roadshow. That evening, I went home and packed my carry on – I was leaving to New York the next day! I spent over 15 days on and off the city that never sleeps – hopping to Boston and Chicago in between. I only returned to London yesterday evening (over 3 weeks on a carry on!).

As much as I loved my work in the States, I’m actually quite relieved to be back home now. Would you be surprised if I confessed that I forgot the access code to my building? Sigh.


Weekend Scenes

New York, USA

While I spent most of February working (yes, that also included weekends), I did get one beautiful weekend off in New York. On that Saturday morning, I bought myself a Canada Goose (best investment ever) and spent the rest of the time wandering around West Village, shopping in SoHo and TriBeCa and stopping for fancy lattes each time my feet felt cold.


February by the Numbers

New York, USA

  • 4 flights taken (2 of those on a private jet, eek!)
  • 17 days working in the US (and counting)
  • 3 cities visited in the States: New York, Boston and Chicago
  • -18 degrees Celsius is the coldest I’ve been (yes, New York, I’m looking at you). Did I mention that this was the coldest February in NY in 81 years?
  • over 14600 km travelled (that’s over 9000 miles!)
  • 15 Instagram photos (the above view from my room at The New York Palace was your favourite one)

Words

New York, USA

“Learn the rules like a Pro so you can break them like an Artist”

Pablo Picasso

One has to learn the rules to understand the boundaries that have been set before pushing past them into the innovative and creative. This, in my opinion, applies to everything in life – from blogging and entrepreneurship, to business strategy and law.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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 the road

Weekend in Paris

One of the great perks from working in a travel-intensive industry is, well, travel. Two or three times a year, a team members gets invited to a fam trip – a marketing program designed to acquaint travel agents or event planners with a specific city or region. This November, I had my first fan trip – but instead of exploring a city, we were invited to explore two of the most luxurious hotels in Paris – Plaza Athénée and Le Maurice.

Our fully packed Saturday in Paris included lunch at Le Relais Plaza (at the Plaza Athénée), a behind the scenes tour of the Eiffel Tower, champagne at a private roof top and dinner at Le Dalí (at Le Maurice). Needless to say, we spent most a lot of time swooning over Alain Ducasse‘s food creations.

I only arrived to my room at Le Maurice in the evening. Imagine my surprise when, on the next morning, I stepped outside the balcony and realised I was watching the sun rise over Paris!

Believe me – I never wanted to leave.


 Weekend Scenes

Blood swept lands and seas of red

On the 11th of November, Armistice Day, the last of 888,246 poppies was planted at The Tower of London, transforming the attraction into an incredible art installation that commemorates the start of World War One.

Early november, I grabbed my camera and left home to immerse in British History. Unfortunately I wasn’t the only one with this idea – that Saturday was the busiest one since the beginning of the installation. Even though I’m not usually a crowds person, the experience was absolutely worth it.


Reads

Coffee at Milk, London

I’ve had an ebook filled month – but my favourite read has been by far the psychological thriller by Sibel Hodge, Look Behind You. Anyone who enjoys dark, mysterious thrillers with twists and turns should definitely grab this one for the next flight!

And now onto my favourite online reads this month:

  • Nobody hikes like the Germans. If you ever wondered why, you should schedule in a visit to the Black Forrest. What makes this place so special is, among others, is its timeless presence – perfectly captured by Becki on her fall hiking trip. With landscapes like these, you would hike like no other, too!
  • Torre DeRoche is one of my favourite writers on the web. I might not be living in Australia, be an admired writer or sail across the Pacific (yet?), but a lot of what Torre puts down on words resonates strongly with how I feel. We even share an irrational fear of falling – which we’ve both faced during a tough hike. I love how vividly she writes about confronting this fear while climbing Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia.
  • The first time I came across the word sonder was on Christine’s article. It’s incredible how your life perspective can change with the simple realisation that each person you cross paths with is living their own life, has their own world fitted with personal worries, routines, ambitions, etc. It makes all of your worries loose importance in the grand scheme of things.

 Mantra

 “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

– Thomas A. Edison


November Goals Review

Modern architecture in London

  • Blog more often. What high achieving bar did I set this time… 5 blog posts in November? I certainly fell a bit short (3 in total) – but hey, this one could almost count as two, right? 
  • Take more photos. Mission accomplished. In November, I carried my camera  around London and took it for an amazing trip to Paris (more on that to come!).
  • Run twice a week. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this, but… I’ve been more like a once-a-week runner. It’s cold. It’s rainy. On a related note, though, I’ve started Bikram (Hot) Yoga. It might have something to do with the fact that the studio is heated to 40ºC and it kind of feels like you’re in Bali instead of London.

December Goals

Weekend in Paris

  • Let go of perfectionism. 80% of the time I’m incredibly excited about going skiing in Austria this month. It was my idea – I wanted winter, snow and a challenge. The other 20%, though, I worry about having forgotten how to turn, falling and making a fool of myself. This month I need to learn to focus on progress, not on perfection (specially when it comes to skiing!).
  • Review my mid- and long-term plan and readjust if necessary. One year later, it’s time to put aside a few days to reflect on where I am, where I want to be and how I will get there. I have lots of plans for 2015!
  • Unplug and immerse in family time. I have a confession to make – whenever I’m away from my desk, I’m usually glued to my blackberry and iPhone. I’ve found that it has been increasingly difficult to unplug from my obligations. I don’t like people who constantly excuse their absence with conference calls and stop listening the second their Blackberry starts to light up. But to a certain level – I’ve slowly become one of them. I’m going to take my Christmas holidays as a chance to forget I have a Blackberry and, instead, focus on family time.

What are you planning this month?


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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 the road

IMG_2279

There are 3 things I’ve learned over the past month: a) the more stuff you travel with, the more you’re risking to loose something on the road, b) It’s impossible to keep everyone happy all the time and c) long-haul business tickets are totally worth their price (trust me).

October has taken me to Paris, Zurich, New York, Boston, Frankfurt and Tenerife (this last one was mainly to nap under a palm tree). 7 flights, 1 (delayed) Eurostar and countless cabs and cars later – I’m back to my more conventional self!


 Weekend Scenes

London, UK

Recovering from such a crazy start of the month has meant spending my weekends locally – after all, the last thing I wanted to travel somewhere else. I wandered around my neighbourhood – discovering amazing cafes, food markets and spotting beautiful doors along my way (ah, yes – doors have become an obsession!).


Reads

Over the clouds

A few days ago, I finished reading #Girlboss (I know, I’m a bit late to the party!). While I can’t say that this book has made it to my Top 10 favourites, it’s no doubt an exceptional story in which Sophia Amoruso recalls how she went from being an anarchist to becoming a CEO. My favourite word of advice is:

“When your goal is to gain experience and knowledge, failure is no longer your possibility, failure is your invention.”

And now to my favourite online reads.

  • After 10 years filled with amazing travel stories, Kaleena writes a goodbye letter to her first passport. I still remember retiring my last passport back in 2010!
  • I don’t like being told that I’m lucky to be where I am, and so does Liz. It undermines all the hard work we have poured into our lives! Admitting we’ve been lucky would mean that we don’t own our own achievements – Stop giving luck so much credit!
  • While I have a serious obsession with doors lately, Anna’s got a thing for floors. I love exploring new perspectives – and this post prompts me to look down more often!

Mantra

“Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.”

– Winston Churchill


October Goals Review

New York

  • Slow down. After returning from the roadshow earlier this month, I took this goal quite seriously and enjoyed doing nothing. I’ve spent weekends strolling around cafes, reading books and magazines and sleeping an average of 9 hours a day. I know, 9! That’s a luxury!
  • Walk without a destination in mind. Early October, I spent a weekend in New York. Even though I worked most of the weekend, I did squeeze in a long walk down to Madison Square (where I met the cutie in the picture above!). Back in London, I explored Balham, Wandsworth and Clapham Common – there’s always something new popping up in this area.
  • Move – no matter what! Ok so this one has been a bit trickier than I had thought. I went for a run through Central Park in New York and a few gym classes (hey, I even gave yoga another try and I liked it!) – but the truth is, when the weather isn’t playing along, I actually like to stay indoors. Maybe a new coat would help me break this habit?

 November Goals

Boston

  • Blog more often. I admit I’ve been a bad blogger over the past few months – only posting once or twice a month! While I’m aware that some bloggers are joining NaBloPoMo in November, I… am not ready to commit to a post per day. However, I do commit to 4 to 5 blog posts this month (you’ve got to start with something, right?).
  • Take more photos. This shouldn’t be a problem! This month, I have a visit to London, a trip to Paris and an Awards Ceremony. I can’t wait!
  • Run twice a week. I enjoy running, I really do. But ever since we’ve moved on from summer to fall, I’m finding it incredibly difficult to go out for a run in the park. The mornings are chilly and the evenings are dark. Don’t laugh – I’m a girl from the south!

 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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 the road

New York

September – what a month. Exhausting, chaotic and extremely challenging would still be an understatement. Early September, my team was appointed to project manage a global roadshow for what has now officially been titled the largest Initial Public Offering in history. While I partly assisted with managing logistics for this project, I also project managed a smaller (but incredibly high-profile) roadshow in London and New York, and pitched another project – which we’ve ultimately won as well (if all things stay the same – I should be flying to Paris at the time of publishing this post!).


Reads

New York

I’m currently reading the Confidence Code and am loving every little bit of it – I can’t wait to get hold of some free time on the planes to dive back into the book!

With my crazy schedule, I haven’t had time to read through many of my favourite blogs this month. But from those few times I did read online, the following two stood out to me:

  • On hiking along the Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland. So, yes – I love hiking, Specially when I’m surrounded by breath-taking landscape. And even more when this landscape includes volcanoes or glaciers. My hike along the Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland a few years ago still remains one of my favourite hikes of all times (you can read about my experience here: Part I and Part II). When I saw Simon’s dramatic photographs – I wandered back to that time. It has been too long since I last went to Switzerland. It’s time to plan a return!
  • On life-lessons learned from yoga.  The truth is, I haven’t yet been hooked by yoga. Maybe I haven’t been to the right places or maybe I just wasn’t in the right mind-frame up to now. One year ago, Jessica started out like me – joining a class reluctantly (because, you know, yoga is not a real workout). She fell in love with the exercise and has ever since managed to take over 100 classes! In her article, she lists 100 lessons she has learned from yoga . Her article has inspired me to give yoga another chance!

Mantra

“Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith”

– Margaret Shepard

September goals

London Stock Exchange

  • More GMAT. The past month has seen me struggle with keeping up with my GMAT schedule. When you work 70+ hours a week in an extremely fast-paced industry, it’s difficult to still have enough energy left to drill on tricky maths problems and power read scientific text in record times. Therefore, after experiencing increasing pressure and anxiety, I’ve deliberately decided to put the test aside for a couple of months. While I had been hoping to apply in Round 2 (January 2015), I also realised that it wasn’t right to apply in a rush – I want to be able to present the best of me after all!
  • School selection. Funnily, I do have a pretty good idea of the top 6 schools I like most (some in Europe, some in the US). I am planning to visit at least 3 of them when I get the chance, as I think that a decision that big can’t be based on a brochure.
  • Getting back to the habit of running. Does going for 2 runs in a month count at all?

October goals

St Paul's Cathedral, London

  • Slow down. At the end of this month, I felt like I was juggling one too many balls at the same time. I was close to entirely loosing balance and having all balls hit me on my head. It’s time to slow down and find time to just enjoy doing nothing productive.
  • Walk without a destination in mind. Do you know what I missed the most during this busy month? Walking. It’s like therapy to me! Some days I just walked around the block once before returning back to a never-ending inbox. I miss 1-2 hour walks without a destination in mind – I’m really looking forward to doing this in New York this weekend!
  • Move – no matter what! With all this newly acquired free time (you know, those 8-15 hrs per week I had been preparing for the GMAT), there’s really no excuse to just sit in front of a screen. In October, I want to move – no matter what! It’s sunny outside? Go for a run. It’s too cold? Go to Zumba. It’s fully booked? go climbing at the gym. On a roadshow? walk in between meetings or hit the hotel gym in the evening.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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 the road

Tenerife from above, Spain

August was shorter than May, June and July all combined. How is that even possible? The past month still feels like one big blur. So much beauty. So much sunshine. So much food. So much wine. Each time I return home for a few days, it becomes harder to leave. As I arrived at the airport to check in for my return and couldn’t find my passport, I felt a guilty relief. I thought that it was just meant to be.

Fortunately or not, life has other plans. We found my passport and I left Tenerife once again – but not without plenty of great memories and adventures, such as watching the sun rise from the highest peak in Spain.


Weekend scenes

The Power of Summer - Outdoor Cinema, London

Whenever I feel grumpy about London, I remind myself of the amazing things you can do on a sunny weekend in the city.

One of my summer favourites has been The Power of Summer – a pop-up food & film festival set at one of London’s coolest landmarks – Battersea Power Station (an old power station south of the Thames). After working our way through the food market, we grabbed a mojito and entered the silent cinema area, filled with colourful bean bags and set with the power station as a trendy industrial back drop.


Mantra

“I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”

– Thomas Jefferson

July goals

View from Guajara, Tenerife (Spain)

  • GMAT. August has definitely seen me struggle. While some days I thought I could totally beat it, others I felt like giving up. It just felt disheartening to spend so many hours devoted to something, only to see you fail. But there’s one valuable thing I’ve learned from this: making  mistakes is not a bad thing – it’s actually a good thing, it forces me to learn something new! I’m repeating this over and over until I breathe this new mantra.
  • Hiking. My two weeks in Tenerife were adorned with great escapes to the outdoors. Aside from watching the sun rise from the top of an active volcano, I also peaked over lava fields (picture above) and watched the sun set in between lunar landscapes. I just love volcanic landscapes!
  • Photography. I have a confession to make. I forgot to pack my camera! I think I’ve gotten so used to not carrying one that I don’t miss it. And that’s not a good thing. Instagram may do miracles, but I really want to get back to the time in which I had photo memories of my travels that I could print in large size if I wanted to.

September goals

Sunset in Tenerife, Spain

  • More GMAT. I can’t believe I’m half way through my GMAT course already! There’s still plenty of new material and revisions to do before the exam though. I aim to take my first test end of October-Mid November, so I really need to speed up during the next two months!
  • School selection. and am starting to get a better sense of what exactly I’m looking for, so it’s time to dig deeper into my top programs and develop an application strategy to describe my story. This month, I aim to narrow down my selection to 4 programs I truly love and reaching out to at least one current student or alumni.
  • Getting back to the habit of running. Can you imagine what I enjoyed even more than hiking? The lunches and dinners afterwards. Spain, I love you to bits – but these 3-course late lunches that last the entire afternoon have serious side-effects! So I want to make use of the (still) late sunsets and (occasional) rain-free evenings in London to head to the park before it’s too cold. P.S.: No. I don’t run outside in winter. I hibernate.

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.


Where to begin… I guess it’s been a while is a bit of an understatement. The whole reason I redesigned and rebranded this blog was to start over. It hasn’t been easy to keep up to my expectations: when I haven’t been working, I’ve spent most of my time preparing to take the GMAT. Whenever I sat down to write a new post – I felt guilty for not using this time to do something related to the test. I guess it’s become my priority!

While I’m still working through endless books about Quant and Verbal reasoning, I’ve decided to set aside a little time to indulge in blogging to share what has been going on for the past month.


On the road

Tarifa, Spain

By far my favourite experience in July was my short escape to Tarifa (Cádiz), via Madrid. The heat, the sunshine, the fresh fish and sea breeze, the 4€ mojitos and sharing all this with some of my closest friends was exactly what I needed. I would have extended it for a bit longer (maybe 6 months instead of 6 days!) – Why does always time fly when you’re having fun?

Since returning to responsible life in London, I’ve been adding some holiday flair to my daily routines – like having a Coronita after work in the sun!


Weekend scenes

Coronita Extra

Who said England doesn’t do summer? Ok, maybe it was me.

Well, England proved me wrong: this past month turned out to be one of the warmest and sunniest months in the UK since – wait for it – 1910. Ok, it hasn’t been ridiculously hot (at least not above ground). But still – it has been the sunniest and warmest month since I’ve moved to London already 3 years ago.

Weekends have been spent reading in the park or on the balcony with a cold Coronita next to me. Heaven. 


Reads

Sunset

Even though the GMAT is taking most of my reading time, I occasionally indulged in some fun and lighter reading – my latest addiction was Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet by Helen Poole. Confession: for a brief time in my teens, I dreamt of becoming a flight attendant (who didn’t?). One of my closest friends’ mom was one herself and, as soon as I told her about my dreams, she made it clear that I was no flight attendant material. I now thank her for her honesty.

Not only is Cruising Attitude witty and fun to read, but it provides a real insight into the life of a flight attendant. You’ll gain a whole new level of respect towards them on your next flight!

And now to my favourite online reads.

  • On feeling out of sync. Incredibly well put, Candace explores what caused a series of hapless travel blunders: “We find our rhythms in life, and we fall out of them.” I’ve felt this way many times before, and while it feels like you’ve completely lost your mojo – it soon enough returns, once you’ve adapted to the new rhythm.
  • On airport security checks. Every now and then, new airport security is introduced to our already stressful travel concerns – now, you won’t be able to fly to the US unless all of your bazillion electronic devices switch on. Nice one. Ché (aka. IndieBerries) has a charming way of showing the World the new security check routine – an absolute must for any traveler!
  • On acts of kindness. We’re all always wanting to be better people – but most of the time, we don’t have the time (or, well, at least that’s what we tell ourselves). Sarah explores 19 super easy ways to make the World a better place. No more excuses!

Mantra

Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.

– Anonymous

July goals

Sand dunes, Tarifa (Spain)

  • Stay active. My goal was to run 2/3 times per week and try to reach 5K in 30min. Maybe that was a bit optimistic. I’ve gone for an average of 1/2 runs per week and am still a good 7-10min away from the 5K in 30min goal – which is still better than my June average!
  • GMAT. I’m very proud of the efforts I’m doing to spend my 15 to 20 weekly hours working on the test. I took my very first CAT test without keeping track of time (I know that’s not the way I’m supposed to do it… but I wanted to check my skills, not my speed). I scored a 590 (Q35 / V35). Nothing to be particularly proud of – but it was a start!
  • Health. During July, I slept like a Queen and ate like one, too. I haven’t fully regained my energy yet so I’m wondering what else could be causing this drowsiness. Any ideas to regain more energy?

August goals

Sunset in Tenerife, Spain

  • More GMAT. Throughout the month of August, I’ll still have the GMAT as a top priority, which may or may not mean that this space over here will be quiet for another few weeks.
  • Hiking. The great thing about August is that I’m spending all of the month on holidays. I don’t have anything very exciting going on (I didn’t have the time to plan it!), so I’ll be heading home to the Canary Islands for 2 entire weeks! I’m hoping to go on a day hiking trip at least once a week (or maybe even a 3 day journey on a different island!).
  • PhotographyI’ve realised that, since I got an iPhone, I’ve been drifting away from my DSLR. Most of the time, the reason I don’t take it with me is because it’s heavy and bulky. But I miss it. I’ll be taking it with me this time and hopefully will return with hundreds of beautiful landscapes of one of my favourite places on Earth.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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 the road

Lisbon, Portugal
Early June I worked on a Roadshow that took me through London, Copenhagen, Paris and Lisbon. Unfortunately in this business we hardly ever get to see much of any of the cities we go to – after all, we’re working around the clock and cramming in as many investor meetings as physically possible.

However, I always find some small travel joys along my way – like this fabulous view from my room in Lisbon!


Weekend scenes

Wedding in Spain

One of the difficult things about being an expat is to accept that you won’t be able to be home for every birthday, promotion, wedding or baby shower. It’s heartbreaking.

Mid-June, a friend from University was getting married in his hometown. For months I knew that it was going to be the biggest (and most legendary) get together since graduation in 2008 but my business agenda wasn’t looking great for that weekend at all… until things suddenly freed up that same week. I didn’t hesitate – I booked a flight, bought a dress, shoes and a beautiful necklace and flew to Spain for a long weekend of delicious food, hilarious toasts, incredibly successful congas, a few broken plates and non-stop dancing.

The weekend reminded me that true friendship isn’t about being inseparable, it’s being separated and nothing changes. 


Reads

Over the past months, I’ve become increasingly interested in the psychology of businesses and management. I recently stumbled across Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, and even though I am an extravert I can see many characteristics of introversion in my character (in fact, Cain’s  Quiet test shows I’m actually ambivert – falling smack in the middle of the introvert-extrovert spectrum).

And now to my favourite online reads this month.

  • On extraversion and introversion. A few years ago, I took the Myers-Briggs test and learned that I’m an ENFP (as in Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling, and Perception). I’m still an ENFP today, but, just as Jessica, I have some of the characteristics  that describe an Introvert, too.
  • On treating your body like a temple. I can completely relate to Sarah, as she tries to re-educate herself on eating, drinking and using those products that she really likes – not just because otherwise they would go to waste.
  • On traveling. I loved Christine’s travel article questions whether we were really all born to travel and what our experience would be like without the locals.

Mantra

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

– Jim Rohn


June Goals – Review

Morning run in Wandsworth Park, London

  • Stay Active. My specific goal was to create a habit of running twice a week. I’ve kept my word and have reached my first 5 km mark!
  • Unplug. Except for the time I was on the road for work, I’ve been able to keep a fairly good technology break every evening. My sleep is much deeper – and there’s no temptation to rush to a flashing red light in the middle of the night.
  • Plan. During June, I also had a mission set to plan my summer holidays. Well, this hasn’t happened. I have been dreaming and planning it up in my head, but haven’t gotten an approval for my leave request. I’m afraid I’ve given up on planning and will just go with the flow…

July Goals

  • Stay active.  In July, I want to concentrate on my speed and run 2/3 morning runs per week, hoping to reach 5 km in 30 minutes by the end of the month.
  • GMAT. It’s getting serious, guys – I’ve signed up for a complete online course which includes 16 books with hundreds of drill sets and access to millions of online test questions. The course recommend 15 hours of individual work per week – so I better get started!
  • Health. With my full-time work schedule, the GMAT and a mini side project I’m working on at the moment, I’m risking overload, so during July I aim to take special care of myself with regular green smoothies, easy home cooked meals and 7-8 hours of sleep. I’m currently a bit low on energy, so my mission is to be fully back on track by the end of the month.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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 the road

Train ride from Boston to NYC

May has been quite a month.

I worked on a project that took me to Boston and New York City. It was my first roadshow outside Europe – image how nervous (and excited) I was! While I spent most of the time walking and driving from one meeting to another, I was glad I got to see some american landscape during my train ride from Boston to New York and spend the weekend in the heart of Manhattan’s concrete jungle!


Weekend scenes

Sendero Las Breñas, El Sauzal (Tenerife - Canary Islands)

Right after the end of the roadshow, I travelled back to Tenerife for what initially was going to be a long weekend, but ended up being an entire week. Until that moment, I hadn’t really realised how important it was for me to be home when I most needed to be taken care of.

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona (Spain)

One of the many reasons I LOVE May is because, in the UK, the month starts and ends with a long weekend – And this year the latter one converged with my 30th birthday! I hopped on a flight with one of my closest friends and headed to Barcelona to shop for shoes and jewellery, eat tapas, pinchos and arroz caldoso and drink cava, patxarán and real gin tonics. Oh, and were stunned by the Sagrada Familia (but this deserves a post of its own).


Reads

If there is one thing that my recent trip to Tenerife (and multiple trips to the doctor) has taught me is that you should never be too busy to take care of yourself. Shortly after my time at the hospital, I came across Arianna Huffington’s fantastic new book Thrive. I could perfectly see myself in her words – never-ending to do lists, sleep deprivation, constantly checking for new e-mails. Honestly, this book has been eye-opening and life-changing for me, and I strongly recommend it to everyone (whether you walk around claiming you’re busy and stressed, or not!).

And now to my favourite online reads this month.

  • On travelling. I absolutely love Outmeal’s comics, and with all the travelling I’ve been doing lately, I couldn’t stop smiling when I read the crap we put up with getting on and off an airplane.
  • On adventure. I’m all for extraordinary adventures, and living in a yurt is one I still want to experience. Candace spent weeks sleeping beneath the starts. The way she writes about her time in Salt Spring and her incredible sketches have awaken some serious wanderlust!
  • On learning to say no. Saying no sounds fairly easy if it’s something you don’t want to do. But these words only truly become meaningful when you turn down opportunities you actually want.

Mantra

Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.

Mahatma Gandhi


June Goals

Morning run in Wandsworth Park, London

  • Stay Active. Continue to go out on at least 2 mornings runs per week. I never thought I could be an early morning person, but since I’ve started to integrate running into my morning schedule, I begin my days with much brighter energy and enthusiasm!
  • Unplug. Mid-May, I picked one Saturday as my technology detox day. Instead of obsessing over my e-mails and my blog stats, I went for a long run, bought myself a picnic and an iced-coffee and read a book in the park. I want to turn this into a monthly habit, to remind myself that the World doesn’t end if I’m not available 24-hrs.
  • Plan. Although June is probably going to be the busiest month at work so far, I’m determined this to be the month I set a date, destination and budget for my summer holidays. I know, I’m starting a bit late – I might as well improvise it!

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