birthday

Usually, I would publish an end-of-month Behind the Scenes recap but given the circumstances (not having published one, like, since February) I figured – maybe this is the perfect time to post a big picture update! While it’s fun to come up with random stats (like minutes spent on a plane in a given month), this info becomes kind of meaningless when there have been so many other weird and wonderful things happening over the past 3 months.

I quit my job

Blue Sea in Tenerife, Spain

This was a tough one. I had a great team of extremely talented and fun people. We did some amazing things that clients and banks thought were almost impossible. Worked in a beautiful office in one of my favourite parts of London (Fitzrovia). Got invited to extravagant drinks and dinners. Flew across the Globe, ramping up frequent flyer miles like there’s no tomorrow and staying at hotels I could otherwise only dream of.

So, I had a project-based job that combined the creative and financial industries, paid the bills and allowed me to travel around the World – which I thought was all I wanted. But it turns out – it wasn’t. What happened?

To be honest, my decision wasn’t as much about enjoying my job but, instead, about a shift in my definition of ambition.

Over the past few years, I had grown to the idea that ambition was putting your career in front of everything else. But now I believe that my definition of ambition and success have evolved: they no longer means pulling all-nighters and constantly sacrificing personal stuff to deliver flawless projects or win over new accounts.

Don’t get me wrong: I still believe I’m ambitious – Maybe even more than I had ever been before. Now, I’m not willing to settle down for a life that doesn’t make me happy in more than just one aspect of my life!

I moved back to Spain

Hiking in Tenerife, Spain

Have you ever felt the need to simply reset

I had been pushing away this feeling for a while – after all, to me, London was for a long time the land of advancement and opportunities. But it was also a land of expensive flats, long commutes and cold rainy days. So, following my resignation, I gave myself a fresh start altogether.

Now I’m back in the Canary Islands as a resident (first time in over 12 years!). I wake up early, eat healthy and spend a lot of time with my family. I signed up for my local gym, go for regular walks / hikes and explore new beaches. After only 6 weeks, I’m already feeling more rested and energised. It’s like being in a retreat – but instead of being in India, I’m on a tiny island in the Atlantic Ocean off the African coast.

I read all the books

Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife (Canary Islands)

If there’s one thing I’ve done consistently every single day it has been this: reading. From crime to comedy and from business to psychology research (though mainly psychological thrillers!) – Here’s a list of some of my latest reads:

The girl on the train by Paula Hawkins – ♦♦♦♦♦

I’m a sucker for psychological thrillers but must admit that this one is among the best I’ve read over the past year – I literally couldn’t put it down!

Elizabeth is missing by Emma Healey – ♦♦♦♦♦

What first attracted me to this thriller was the unconventional narrator: an 82-year old woman with dementia. I was immediately hooked with this brilliant mix of mystery and dark comedy – highly recommended.

Snow white must die by Nele Neuhaus – ♦♦♦♦

I admit that, at first, I was put off by the title. However, this book (the #4 in a mystery series) quickly caught my attention due to its suspenseful setting in a small German town that deals with gossip, power and appearances.

The good girl by Mary Kubica – ♦♦♦

Another psychological triller – this one, however, centres around the abduction of a young school teacher. Although it’s not as twisted as others mentioned above, it does contain some brilliant surprises.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – ♦♦♦

I’m not sure what just got into me. I must have bought this book after binge-reading thrillers until I could no longer sleep at night. Granted, I’m not strong on romantic chick-lit – although I admit that this one had its charm.

I’m currently reading Boo by Neil Smith and am loving how the characters and storyline so far (very imaginative!). After Boo, I’m short on books – any good recommendations?

I applied to Business School

Sunset in Tenerife, Spain

If money was no problem, I would be a student for life – not because of the parties and student discounts (ehem), but because there’s so much out there to dive into, that the thought of sticking to only one topic/career path to specialise in and work on for the rest of my life is a wee bit overwhelming.

I had been toying with the idea of business school for about a year now – and after months of thinking, researching, deciding (then not-deciding) and finally committing to apply: I’m done. Unlike many other MBA Applicants out in the blog world, I have only applied to one school: one I believe is a perfect fit. 

There are a million +1 reasons that led me to decide for business school, but probably the main one (together with the whole learning something new part) was the realisation that an MBA would open the door to plenty of amazing opportunities and provide me with a strong network of like-minded innovative and ambitious people from all over the Globe.

Maybe it was a risky move – there’s no guarantee that this will actually materialise, but I’m staying positive. *fingers crossed*

I celebrated my birthday (with lots of wine)

Wine in La Rioja, Spain

Two weeks ago, I flew off to Bilbao to spend my birthday weekend exploring the Basque Country – a place that, despite being so close, was completely foreign to me. It made me realise how much of my own country I still need to explore (and also wonder: why is it that we always tend to favour international travel when we’ve got so much beauty right here?).

Needless to say, the Basque Country was absolutely stunning. We went on wine tastings, visited some of the region’s most notorious vineyards, took a leisure hike to a waterfall, bought lots of wine and cheese (and by now, already ate about half of it!), explored industrial and historical Bilbao and took a day trip to Portugalete and Playa la Arena. The 3.5 days felt far too short and now I’m already planning my next  trip to Northern Spain later this summer!

PS: a post about my long weekend is soon to come, but if you’re curious about this place on Earth I highly recommend you visit Christine in Spain, who avidly blogs about her life in el País Vasco. 

So, what have you been up to the last few months?

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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 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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