When my younger son was a teenager, he said something to me that has stayed in my mind: We’re here for a good time, not a long time. I think none of us know how many years or days we have to wander this planet, so we should live each day as if it’s our last.
I recently liquidated my life in order to travel. I’ve lived in Mexico for many years and since I started writing professionally, I’ve met people from all over the world. It opened my mind to opportunities to see a world that I’ve only ever read about or observed in film. Nothing prepares you for the real culture of another country, nor the kindness of a countries’ people. You must experience this.
I have a mantra that’s been running through my mind for the last couple of years: We are all one. If the Universe is to survive, it’s not about climate change but about a definite shift in how we see each other and the tolerance we have for each nation and culture around the world.
The birth of the www. gave us an opportunity that no prior generation ever had. It opened the door to the possibility of friendships from all over the world. These friendships forge the way for us to understand that regardless of the color of our skin, the languages we speak, we have a common thread running through our lives: love. We all wake up in the morning, study, grow, form family, have children—or not—worry about our families, careers, putting food on the table, our health and our love. We are all one.
At the end of my life, I know that all that will matter is how much I loved.
We look for the bad, the shock value of another mass murder, or political crisis, war, character assassination, anything that captures our emotions. But what about Good News?Why do we not feel the same about the good things that are happening in the world, and the good things that happen daily in our own lives?
I’m a huge believer in spreading positive vibes, giving off good energy, looking for the best in life and in people. This morning’s message from Jay Shetty talks about GRATITUDE. We need to remember to be grateful. Jay shared this quote from an Oscar speech by Mathew McConaughey.
“It’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates.” – Matthew McConaughey
Several years ago I was reading a book by Elizabeth Gilbert and she mentioned a daily habit of gratitude that I decided to add into my life: it begins with a Gratitude Jar.
I took a coffee tin and a black marker and wrote GRATITUDE on it. At any point in my day, I take a small piece of paper and write down something specific in my life that makes me smile. For example, when I decided to streamline my life, and live from my suitcase, I had a gazillion details that required constant lists, check-off, cross out, and add-in of more items. I’ve lived in Mexico since 2002. I have ties to the community, friendships, and two major careers. There were incredible amounts of details to take care of before I took the first plane out of Puerto Vallarta and headed towards Dallas, and continued on to Paris. I had to keep reminding myself that what I was doing was something I’d dreamed about for many, many years. But no matter how positive I was, I still had my insecurities.
It’s so easy to complain. It’s also inevitable that details will get missed. The only difference, on this particular journey, there was no room for error.
I was leaving North America–possibly for good–and journeying to places I’d never imagined visiting. My intention was to begin the next stage of my life in foreign locations. I could panic when things went wrong–and they did–or I could merely add another project to my list and take it all in stride.
Up until the last day before I left, I kept adding notes to my Gratitude Jar. I insisted on reminding myself that no matter how daunting I found this new direction in my life, I would be grateful to my heart and my mind for opening up the world to me and allowing this opportunity to emerge.
So every day I start the day with an attitude of gratitude. Every time something negative happens, I find a positive in my life and my world. Something that makes me smile and remember how very lucky I am!
Have a beautiful weekend, and my lovely grandson and I say Bonjour from Paris!
What you do have control over is how you re-act to whatever happens in your life.
What we all become is exactly what we believe we can.
My confidence comes from knowing there is something greater than myself that I am a part of and also is a part of me.
How I think one masters one’s life is understanding that you are co-creating that life with the ultimate Creator. You cannot survive in this world just believing in yourself. You are not big enough to do it.
The fact that you are here, matters.
This is no accident. None of us are…
Every single thing that has happened in your life is preparing you for the moment that is to come.
We are all searching for something. And maybe this message is it.
I want to give you something of who I am and how I see the world. I hope this video will make you smile.
I’m counting down the days to my voyage of discovery. I visualized this journey for years. And now that I’ve made the decision to travel for a few months, I admit it, I’m nervous yet so very, very excited.
Still, let me not forget that no matter where I go and what I do,I take myself with me. “I am the one I’ve been looking for, and I am already enough.”
I’ve spent an hour listening to this video over and over again. This is my gift to you. I hope you love the message and that it’s exactly what you need to hear today.
I’m embarking on a journey-of-a-lifetime. In the next 48 hours, I will book my destinations! So many people have asked me why I’m going. Why now?
I’ve sold all my possessions, and yes, I’m taking my photos, and small family heirlooms. So my blogs/vlogging/books/photography will take a different spin over the next six months. Get ready. I promise you it’s going to be amazing and I’m taking you with me!!
We believe that traveling around the world shouldn’t be hard: it’s actually something everyone should be able to do at least once in their lives. Whether you choose to spend a few years or just a couple months traveling this beautiful planet, it’s important to see what’s out there. It’s up to you to make the dream come true and take the first step. Launch TripPlanner to piece together and price your ideal route. Not sure where to start? You can always call one of our travel consultants and get some complimentary advice!
2. Travel opens your eyes.
If you’re open and willing, travel will make you an incredibly more well-rounded human being. And that’s really the goal, isn’t it? If you don’t know where to start, check out our Around the World planning guide.
3. Traveling helps you learn who you are.
All the challenges and opportunities travel lays at your feet help you discover who you are in a way that’s only possible on the road.
4. Travel creates meaningful relationships
People you meet while on the road become some of the most valued names on your contact list. They become places on the map to visit later on. These folks give you a glimpse outside your hometown circle of friends, and force you to take in new and refreshing perspectives, and ultimately realize that everyone is the same.
5. Traveling develops skills you didn’t know you had
Sometimes it’s only far from home that you realize you you’ve got skills you’ve never used. It’s travel that brings them to the surface and makes you smile, satisfied to have reached the mountain top, or crossed a gorge or helped a villager clean up after a storm, or even to have successfully ordered a meal at a rural Chinese restaurant.
6. Travel helps you learn new languages
There’s something satisfying about being able to throw around a few words of Greek, knowing how to say thanks in Thai, pulling out that long dormant Spanish to book a room in Santiago, or simply hearing a language you didn’t know existed just a few weeks before.
7. Travel means adventure
Zip-lining over the jungle canopy in Peru, successfully navigating the maze-like streets of Venice, bartering for the best price in the traditional markets of Marrakech, taking a speedboat ride in New Zealand, or hopping in a Land Rover and heading out to watch animals grazing in Tanzania: these are adventures worth having. People are hardwired for the excitement of adventure and travel may just be the best way to tap into it.
8. Traveling gives you perspective
Meeting people from other cultures will teach you that the way you’ve been looking at the world isn’t the way everybody else does. In fact, your point-of-view might have some major blind spots. Seeing the world for yourself will improve your vision and your grip on reality.
9. Travel helps you move forward
If you’re between jobs, schools, kids, or relationships, around the world travel can be a perfect way to move from one of these life stages into your next great adventure. A big trip won’t just ease your transition into the next stage of your life, it’ll give you a chance to reflect on where you’ve been, where you’re going, and where you want to end up.
10. Travel is education
Seeing the world provides an education that’s absolutely impossible get in school. Travel teaches you economy, politics, history, geography, and sociology in an intense, hands-on way no class will. Fortunately, the school of travel is always taking applications, no entrance exam required.
11. Travel challenges you
Getting your daily latte at the same place and staring at your screen at your nine-to-five every day not nearly interesting enough? Even if you choose to work on the road (and keep staring at the screen), you’ll have to find a new place to drink your latte, and depending on your destination, finding coffee, and foamy milk or a good place to sip them could prove to be a sizeable challenge. Travel is full of moments of joy and challenges. Overcoming the challenges gives you some of the greatest joys of all.
12. Travel shakes things up
It sucks to be stuck in a rut. Everyone knows what that’s like. A big trip can be your perfect solution. Fly around the world, stopping over in all of the places you’ve always wanted to visit. Go ahead and plan your ideal route around the world (it’s easier than you think!)
13. Traveling proves that dreams do come true
You imagined it, daydreamed about it, envisioned it. Guess what? It can be done. Around the world travel is possible, you just have to decide you’re willing to take the first step and start planning your itinerary. What are you waiting for? We’ve put together some specials to inspire you to live your dream.
14. Travel gives you cool stories
Let’s face it. Even for folks who can’t tell a story, just the words “last year in Mongolia” get you instant party points. Even when events seem trivial, nostalgia and distance create an irresistible spin that makes mundane things like getting your laundry done in Zanzibar, entertaining. Just don’t be that person and overdo it!
15. Travel is literally food for thought.
You’ll be constantly surprised at the flavors the world has to offer. The way people in other cultures and countries prepare food, and break bread together (not that all cultures even eat bread) will astound you.
16. Travel gives you a sense of accomplishment
If you’re the kind of person that dreams big, you’re probably one to reach for new challenges. Finishing a trip gives you the satisfaction that you were able make a goal to travel and accomplish what you set out to do–see the world.
17. Traveling for the hell of it
Why travel? Because you can. Because you want to. Because it beats the alternative (staying home). Why not pick up your tickets and get the ball rolling!
“My work is to figure out how to share emotions and stories with people to turn lights on for them. And the part of it that scares me is wasting the privilege, wasting the leverage, wasting the opportunity. So that’s why I keep pioneering and pushing new ways to do it encouraging people to copy me.”
“After you innovate, you have to keep pushing forward, coming up with new ways to move things forward.”
“Writer’s block is a myth. Being a professional is showing up everyday and making something despite how you feel. The world needs more artists, who love what they do, and do it despite uncertain outcomes.”
“Whoever fails the most, wins. Now if you fail too big, you don’t get to play anymore. So we have to learn how to fail, just the right amount to keep on going. Make small calculated risks so you can be in the game long enough to succeed.”
“If I come to your barbershop for a haircut. I don’t care if you had a fight with your girlfriend and don’t feel like cutting my hair. I came to you for a haircut. Cut. My. Hair. That’s what it means to be a professional.”
I think I’ve given you a few key notes to think about. Sometimes I’m asked questions on Quora about writing. Often times it centers around story ideas or writers’ block, or ‘what should I write?’ The reality is if it’s your job to write, don’t talk about it, write something! And don’t waste your readers time. If my reader expects to learn something or be entertained on my page, then it’s my job to deliver that to you/him/her each and every time. No excuses. The same when I write a novel or a non-fiction book. You are trusting me to deliver what you are paying for…entertainment or ideas and knowledge.
It’s become a habit that even when I am working on the marketing and sales of my books, I will not go to bed without writing something. It might be a blog like this or a few fun things on FaceBook, but if time is limited, I go on Quora and answer questions. A writer writes. No excuses.
I hope you’ve enjoyed a few ideas I picked up on You Tube today. I love to share with my readers and will answer anything and everything you throw my way. If you have any questions about any of my areas of expertise, feel free to send me an email or drop a note in the comments. And remember, I spend far too much time on Facebook so feel free to connect with me there and get my latest news.
And speaking of news: I have a free prequel for you.
Drop by Amazon and download a free copy of Luke Raven and Code Raven, how this exciting and fun series began.
I cannot begin to explain my excitement in discovering this book.
Meet Alex Banayan with Larry King.
He dropped out of Med School when he was 19. He decided that he was dying in Biology classes following a pre-ordained path set by his Iranian Immigrant parents who expected him to be a doctor. He woke up one morning and knew he didn’t want to be a doctor. The disappointment and consequent heartbreak due to his parent’s sacrifice for his education will sound familiar to many. And he had no idea what he wanted to do with his life, but he was passionate about finding out how the great ones started–not what made them successful, there’s a lot written about that. But how did super successful get that first break?
My enthusiasm for this book and the interviews I’ve listened to have brought both tears and tons of inspiration, into my life. It doesn’t matter what stage of life you’re in, what age, or what career choice you’ve made, this story is for you. And if you have children or partners struggling with life decisions, buy this book for them too.
I can’t wait to hear what you think.
There’s the First Door: the main entrance, where 99 percent of people wait in line, hoping to get in. The Second Door: the VIP entrance, where the billionaires and celebrities slip through. But what no one tells you is that there is always, always . . . the Third Door. It’s the entrance where you have to jump out of line, run down the alley, bang on the door a hundred times, crack open the window, sneak through the kitchen–there’s always a way.
Yikes, this weekend saw so many authors with books that dropped out of the Amazon system. I experienced half of my novels directly “not available for sale,” or they disappeared altogether. I don’t know what happened, but apparently, it was a technical issue. If I lost sales for 3 days, can you imagine what this international glitch cost the company in lost revenue?
But, after all that, I finally got SHOOT ME up and running, linked with the paperback and the ebook on pre-order. But the question remains, should an author put all her book eggs in one online basket? I don’t know. The top authors are not too upfront about this specific issue. Are the other online retailers responsible for a large percentage of sales? Or do they represent single digit percentages?
Readers’ Favorite Best in Contemporary Fiction 2018
In Lie to Me, an exposé on sex for money I introduced you to Layla an American writer who has an insatiable curiosity about the men in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico who sell their bodies to vacationing women. Yes, it is as interesting as it sounds. Who wouldn’t want to know how a male prostitute feels about his life and the clients he services.
Tomorrow I head for Miami, Florida to receive the 2018 Bronze Award for Contemporary Fiction Social Issues for Lie to Me. I will be posting from the Miami Book Fair, and the Readers’ Favorite Awards show. It should be so much fun. A wonderful side benefit will be the interaction with fellow authors that I only know online.
Layla wakes up one morning to an empty bed in steamy Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She drowns herself in wine, espresso, and pot but nothing seems to dull the ache of losing Mateo. A change of scenery in the trendy city of Guadalajara might be the answer.
Insert Pablo, a hot young fashion photographer. Add forty-something writer Layla, her pink stilettos and her insatiable appetite for hot young men. Complicate things with Omar, a musician, and a one-night-stand. Enter Mish a University student who is relegated to the friend zone in Layla’s life. But will he stay there? Then invite the cartel boss’ son to a private opening of the fashion photographer Pablo’s latest erotic exhibit. A bomb goes off, and the action goes into overdrive.
If you love sexual-tension, and a complex series of titillating and exciting twists and turns, you will want to read Shoot Me. Layla is a woman with a heart who keeps searching for love in all the wrong places. Will she finally find it?