What was your biggest culture shock going to Turkey?

I LOVE this question! But I can’t answer with only one thing!

I’ve been on a long journey that started the beginning of February 2019 and spanned many countries and cities: Dallas, Tx. Paris, Fr. New Delhi, Agra, & Goa, India, (Istanbul, Turkey for 2 nights) Jerusalem and Tel Avi, Israel, and finally Bangkok, Krabi, Thailand.

But let me go back to last year when I said jokingly: “I could live out a suitcase!” And that’s a big thing to say when you are 72!

I decided to take myself seriously and after decades of working full time, I liquidated my life, put my photos and important papers into one suitcase, grabbed my knapsack with my computer and my iPhone X and took off! Turkey was not on my list when I planned this amazing voyage. But, I planned all this through a company that specialized in long trips (mine was over 4 months) and Chris said, “Lynda, layovers are free. Stop in Istanbul.” He and Istanbul changed my life.

Why do I LOVE Turkey and what shocked and surprised me? First. two days were not enough. So I came back to Istanbul after Thailand loved it so much I recently applied for a long term visa!

YES, I was shocked in an amazing way, with Turkey. Let me share the reasons why:

  1. The #1 Country for the Sexiest Men in the World is Turkey Yes, it’s true. Just walk through Sultanahmet Square where the Blue Mosque is and you will see what I mean!
  2. I LOVE the call to prayer. Do you know that there are over 81K mosques in Turkey? Over 3100 are in Istanbul. I was brought up Catholic and spent a year in the convent. But I don’t truly identify with any organized religion. The call to prayer happens through loudspeakers at every mosque, 5 times a day. I find it soothing and very special.
  3. Islam. Turkey is a Muslim European country. Of the 17 million people of this thoroughly modern and gorgeous city, 96.4% practice Islam. And from what I’ve learned since I arrived here, the religion is not anything like what we learn and hear about in the West.
  4. The people are genuinely kind. I’ve never experienced any violence whatsoever—not that it doesn’t happen, I’m sure—but I walk the streets at night, take the trams, wander endlessly, come home from dining through the city, walking down the hills from Taksim, and never once have I ‘felt’ unsafe. Btw, it helps to have a built-in-danger alarm.
  5. And if all of these things alone didn’t surprise me, I must say the language drives me nuts!! Hah, I walk around with google translate, although most people involved in tourism speak English. I feel so stupid. I can’t wrap my tongue around the words. I can’t relate them to anything—I have some French, Spanish, and of course English. I can even understand some Italian! But Turkish, even though I watch Netflix Turkish cop shows, I still don’t get it!
  6. Food! Don’t get me started! If you haven’t tried Turkish Ice Cream—it’s so creamy—you have not lived!The food is so good and so plentiful. And do try the varieties of baklava, and chocolate, and Turkish Delights!
  7. The night. Istanbul never sleeps. You can find restaurants open at 2 a.m all over the city!

My “shocks” have all been positive—except the damn language!! haha.

Answered in Quora!

Lynda Filler is the author of 15 published books on Amazon. Award-winning Target in the Sun is .99c today.

Do you agree, there are all kinds of love?

Every day since the original posting of this answer on Quora someone finds it and responds. I hope this reminds you of something warm and fuzzy, and makes your heart feel full. If you’re curious read the comments on the link below.

My daughter is 14 and still sleeps with and buys stuffed animals. How do I get her to stop?

Lynda Filler, Global Social Media Communicator, Freelance Writer at Lynda Filler Author (2009-present)Updated Aug 6

This question gave me goose-bumps. You will see why when I post a photo at the end.

My older son was given a lovely plush “Teddy” from my mother when he was born. He also had a yellow “Blanky”—these became their proper names. Of course, Zack couldn’t live or fall asleep without these two things. Well, in the interest of full disclosure, he has always been kind of different. When he was two and couldn’t yet speak, he slept with a container filled with colored markers—yes, he’s a super creative Ad Guy! He knows exactly what he wants and at the age of 35, he still goes after what he wants and usually gets it.

Poor Teddy became less fluffy and more distressed as the years wore on. He ended up in the washing machine one time too many, and well, he managed to survive but definitely had a few bald spots! Blanky, on the other hand, shrunk—like older things and people tend to do. So from a nice baby-sized blanket, after cutting it down a few times, and redoing the ribbon on the side, Blanky was no longer at her best. Blanky became more like a napkin size but she was still perfect for Zack.

Now along comes University. Zack is leaving British Columbia and traveling to Montreal, Quebec to go to school. Now I asked my son, what do we do? He responded: “Mom. You know Teddy doesn’t travel.” And that was that. We found a special spot for him up on a shelf and Zack went off to college.

Fast-forward through the years. We sold the house. My husband and I split up. I moved to Mexico. Zack graduated and moved to Toronto, then Vancouver, and finally settled in Paris.

I now have a lovely grandbaby who just turned 3. Of course, I tried to find a teddy just like TEDDY, but it wasn’t meant to be. So Felix has a rabbit. Several of the same model. Because just like his daddy, there is no sleeping without Rabbit!

I can’t tell you how many panic attacks we’ve had when we can’t find our Lapin! But we always manage!

And then one day, a couple of months ago, my son sent me this photo through Messenger from Paris:

I responded with the ‘aaahhhs’ and lovely words of a Grandmother who misses her adult son and only grandson.

“That’s so sweet. It’s nice to see he has another toy beside his rabbit!”

“MOM, take a closer look!”

“What?”

“Mom, Dad was visiting Judy in Montreal, and he brought this back from Canada for Felix!! It’s my Teddy!”

One day you will look back on your life. You will wish your daughter’s challenges in life were as simple as giving up plush toys.

Whether you are 14 or 35 or 72, there are some memories in life that are priceless.

36.7k views  

“Powerful and unforgettable” JackMagnus, 5 Star Readers’ Favorite
“This is a book every human alive should read and take away the lessons given. If I could give it ten stars, I would. It’s that good.”J. Sikes

Kick Start Creativity

Do you lead a creative life?

It’s 12:30 noon on Sunday the 6th of October in Istanbul, Turkey where I’m currently living. It’s almost 3 pm in New Delhi, 4:30 in Puerto Vallarta, and 11:30 am in Paris where my son lives! I refer to the world clock often on my phone. It’s a way for me to keep track of friends, family, and readers that I connect with online.

The world clock also connects me to my travels, my imagination, the events I encountered and the work that I do when I write. I mention all this because many simple things can Kick Start your Creativity.

Here’s something that will inspire you today. Can you imagine life 5000 years ago? Do you believe we are born again, that our souls pass on to another form, another body and continue through generations and centuries?

Have you ever been somewhere and had the feeling of déjà vu? I felt it when I visited Jerusalem in March 2019.

I don’t have the answers but as far back as I can remember I’ve always been fascinated by these things:

5,000-year-old Canaanite megalopolis found in Israel could rewrite history

Archaeology

Don’t you love her wisdom?

We (Cree and Elizabeth Gilbert) are walking through France right now—wandering at our own footpace, following the whims of the day.

I want to tell you a story about Cree. Sixteen years ago, right before I took off for my EAT PRAY LOVE journey, I went to say my goodbyes to Cree. She had seen me through the ugliest days of my divorce. At that time, she was a stay-at-home mom, with two preschool children.

When she hugged me goodbye, she folded me into her arms and said: “Take us with you in spirit—all of us women who made different choices than you, and who are now staying home with our families. Don’t forget about us!” It was such a touching thing to say. I replied: “I’ll do one better than that, Cree. Someday we’ll go traveling together.”

Now here we are, a decade-and-a-half later. Cree’s wonderful kids are in college, and she and I are meandering up the Brittany Coast—two free women, doing just as we wish.

The other day, Cree posted this very photo of us on Instagram, and someone commented: “Flâneurs!” God, that made me happy. Flâneur is a 19th Century term for a “stroller” or a “loafer”—a man who saunters up the boulevard in aimless enjoyment, going wherever he pleases for the sheer delight of it. Traditionally, there is no such thing as a female flâneur—because allegedly the world is not safe for lady wanderers. In fact, I recently read a novel where two characters discuss the fact that the closest thing to a female flâneur is a “shopper”. (Excuse me?)

Well, hell…you wanna see some female flâneurs? HERE WE ARE.

Women, I want to tell you something: Your life will have SEASONS. Your tomorrows will not look like your today. You will not always be so tired. There will be seasons when you are taking care of others (babies, old people, the sick and the dying) but those seasons will pass, and then you can be a flâneur.

The world is safer than you think, and the time of your freedom is sooner than you know. Tag a friend who is feeling stuck or homebound, and make a promise to someday wander and stroll this world together. Remind each other of your wild nature. Make a plan to be free. Where will you go? Who will you bring? Onward❤️ LG

This woman influenced the lives of so many. I hope she does the same for you! I don’t know about you, but this made me cry.

What you may not know about Paulo Coelho

If you’re having a hard time with your sense of direction, metaphorically, these Paulo Coelho Quotes can help you understand that perseverance, diligence, and faith in yourself are keys to getting what you want.

I love this piece from Paulo Coelho’s website: Link is on the bottom for the full posting.

Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho was born on August 24, 1947. He first expressed his interest in writing during his teens. Due to his introversion and his resolution to reject the traditional path, his parents committed him to a mental institution. He escaped three times before being released at age 20.

He briefly attended law school before dropping out and lived as a hippie during the 1960s where he mostly traveled. When he returned to Brazil, he worked as a songwriter; most notably collaborating with Brazilian icon Raul Seixas. This led to his arrest over allegations that his lyrics were rebellious.

His first book, Hell Archives, was published in 1982 though it failed to gain significant success. In the late ’80s, The Pilgrimage and The Alchemist were published. However, it was in 1994 that the latter became an international bestseller after being re-published. Since The Alchemist, he has been a hugely prolific writer. His works are a combination of autobiographies, fictions, and essay collections.

Often cited as one of the most influential contemporary authors, Coelho’s books combined have sold in hundreds of millions. His journey, as arduous and diverse as it was, is an excellent example of persistence in the name of passion.  http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2019/09/07/30-paulo-coelho-quotes-on-lifes-greatest-wonders/

Here’s a few of my favorites:

Everything tells me that I am about to make a wrong decision, but making mistakes is just part of life. What does the world want of me? Does it want me to take no risks, to go back to where I came from because I didn’t have the courage to say “yes” to life? – Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes

When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way. – Paulo Coelho, Brida

And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Sikh Politician Goes Viral For Calm And Powerful Response To Anti-Muslim Attack

A Canadian politician is winning praise on social media this week for his surprising response to a racist attack at Sunday’s MuslimFest in Mississauga. Gurratan Singh, who represents the Ontario district of Brampton East, went viral for declining to correct a man’s ignorant string of Islamophobic comments directed at him ― despite the fact he is not Muslim.

“I will never respond to an Islamophobe by stating, ‘I am not a Muslim,’” the Sikh politician tweeted.

“Instead, I will always stand with my Muslim brothers and sisters and say hate is wrong.”

In the video of the incident, which has been viewed more than 1.2 million times since it was posted on Sunday, Singh condemns the man’s Islamophobic comments and tells him it has “no place in Canada.”

“It’s not hate, it’s the truth buddy,” the man says at one point, denying repeatedly that he’s a racist. “What about sharia? Political Islam? You’re hiding bud. I’ll debate you anytime.”

The man in the video is Stephen Garvey, the leader of a minor federal political party called the National Citizens Alliance (NCA) which is known for its anti-immigration policies.

NCA streamed the same incident live to Facebook, stating “National Citizens Alliance’s agenda is Canadian First, and opposition to political correctness and third world migrant populism.”

Singh’s brother, leader of the federal New Democratic Party Jagmeet Singh, famously told a heckler he loved and supported her in response to racist remarks in 2017.

Check out the video. Wow!!

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/sikh-canadian-politician-viral-anti-muslim-attack_n_5d6dbf26e4b09bbc9ef36baf

My comments:

In my trip to India this year, I was overwhelmed with emotion when I visited a Sikh temple in New Delhi. I was so totally unprepared for the love and the kindness of the people that I started to cry. It was one of the most profound moments of my life. There is no room for racism in this world. We are all one.

Sikh Temple New Delhi
Thousands of free meals are made and distributed daily to anyone who is hungry.

Reasons why Istanbul should be #1 on your Bucket List

How I ended up in this city is pure serendipity. But here I am and I LOVE it.

  • Everyday I learn more and more. 17M people live here, but it feels like any other city in the world, only more historical and beautiful. Let me tell you why I love it.You walk amongst historical sites like it’s part of everyday life. Take a look at this view. The Blue Mosque is in the foreground and the Hagia Sophia in the background. If you make an arrow straight from the left of this photo over the Bosphorus Strait, that’s where I live. It’s a 15 minute tram ride to the Blue Mosque.
The Blue Mosque at night
  • The Old City Walls are intact and can be seen in various forms all around the city. Imagine driving on ultra modern bridges and highways, with a view of the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople that saved the city many a time during its wars against the Avars, the Tartars, the Russians, and the Bulgarians.

Photo Bob Phillips thank you! Fine Art America

  • The food is fun, delicious, nutritious, and colorful! And I LOVE the chocolates!!
Fish Sandwiches under the Galata Bridge
  • The mix of old and new is felt in both the architecture, the culture, and the Islam religion. The unique ability for a 96.4% Muslim country to live side by side with all religions and cultures is felt in the welcoming nature of the people. As a secular woman I dress in my comfortable secular attire, and walk side by side with fully robed and casually attired Muslim women. There is no criticism, nor evil eyes, only nods of recognition that we are all one.
  • I LOVE the Call to Prayer, the Muslim tradition of the Quran prayer that reminds the devout five times a day, to stop what he/she is doing and say a prayer. Most of us have a belief in a Higher Power. It’s expressed by a variety of religions and ideologies, but the tenets are the same: We are all one and God is Love.

I was given a second chance at life in 2008 and I am determined to make the most of it! LOVE the Beat Goes On

Thank you for following my blog and I hope I gave you a small taste of life in Istanbul, Turkey.

6 Tips that will change the way you write

What is your Best Unconventional Writing Advice?

It has nothing to do with grammar, or the English language, or what sells or doesn’t sell. I follow a few simple rules.

  1. I think I read this in Bird by Bird (Anne Lamott) “You have to stop writing as if your mother is reading over your shoulder!” I paraphrased, but you get the idea. Tell it like you see it and feel it. Be true to your thoughts, heart, and feelings.
  2. Develop a thick skin—armor. You’re going to need it. Bite your tongue at the critics. Remember if everyone loved the same things, there’d be no fashion industry or book genres, or millions of songs on the market. We are all different. Your readers will be from different walks of life and you will get reviews that hurt. Forget about them. Focus on the ones that think your work is great.
  3. Don’t beat yourself up about your writing. Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a writer, but after agonizing over a novel you can’t seem to get it finished. It’s three years and still, it’s incomplete. It’s not from lack of time, writing might not be for you. If it’s not, let it go. When I was younger I took ballet. I loved it, but I couldn’t follow the line. I’m a good actress, I love to perform. But I can’t memorize a sentence! Hah, I could never make a career of acting! Let the dream go and enjoy reading instead.
  4. Editors and first readers will want you to write a certain way. One of my best friends enjoys giving me plot ideas. Recently I went crazy for about 6 weeks, trying to work with a plot idea that wasn’t right for me. You have to let that stuff go. It’s your story, book, novel, blog, whatever. It’s yours to write any way you want. I struggled to read my first Bukowski book last summer—Women. It was horrendous. Yes, he’s brilliant. But the plot was about an alcoholic loser writer and all the women he used and threw away. Really? And yet he’s considered a great author. I finished the book… I don’t know if I bothered to review it.
  5. Sometimes you have to turn off Grammerly or whatever editing program you are using. You will have a style. Not everyone will like it. Get over yourself. Think about it this way: Some will, some won’t. Next reader coming right up.
  6. Last, as an author if you are looking for someone to motivate you, forget it. Writing is a solitary career. You literally turn off the outside world and go into the one you have created in your mind. You’re the only one who sees the pictures you have created. And you are the only one who can pull those ideas away from the invisible muse and get them down on paper. You are unique. And you have to find that voice inside of you and believe that you can do this. You have to become your very own cheerleader.

Now stop hanging out on Quora (Lynda) and get working on book 7 in the Code Raven Series!

Reprinted from Author Lynda Filler on Quora

BY THE WAY, I almost forgot!! Book 2 in the Code Raven Series, ABDUCTED IS FREE TODAY AND TOMORROW!

Why did it hurt so much?

What was the most difficult thing you had to deal with after writing and publishing your personal story or memoir?

To understand what I’m about to reveal, let me explain that in 2008 I was given 6 months to live! I was diagnosed with a heart condition that I didn’t know I had but the symptoms had been with me for at least a year. After months of treatment and absolutely no improvement, the doctors told me to “get my affairs in order”—and they weren’t referring to my love life!

Writing LOVE The Beat Goes On was the most amazing experience for me, and yet, so highly personal and revealing. I cried a lot and laughed too. There’s a great quote I read after I published it: When you write a memoir, there’s no place to hide. I also read a comment about memoirs that said there is rarely truth in a memoir. Two very differing points of view and both equally correct.

The book won medals, and was chosen as a Book of the Month club selection, and read by groups, and sits at 4.5 Stars in the top 25 of Amazon Health, Fitness books. BUT, I got one super hurtful nasty review. The writer compared me to Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat Pray Love which I loved, but the review said basically that I (and Liz) was a woman of passion and privilege. I can’t argue the passion, but what hurt so much was the “privilege.”

My immediate thoughts went to my upbringing. My Dad was a military guy with all the challenges of returning from war. He drank, he smoked and I only recall bad times that ended in arguments between my mom and him. I also remember bearing the brunt of his anger and leaving the supper table daily in tears. But those times helped me become independent and self-sufficient.

We moved every three years—I still have difficulty staying in one place and forming attachments—including marriages. I found out I divorce very well. I had my first job at the age of 11, washing hair in a beauty salon on the weekends. And I worked my butt off my entire life—built businesses, lost them, and kept on going. Hardly a privileged life.

I don’t say these things for pity. I don’t believe in self-pity or blame. I mention them as facts. The same way I might smile when I buy a new pair of shoes. When I was a kid, I got a new pair of shoes when there was a hole in the sole and the cardboard that blocked the hole didn’t work anymore.

This was the only life I knew. And I learned from it. I came away strong and independent and determined to make a place for myself in the world. I brought up my boys, I supported my family, and when fate gave me 6 months to live, I never ever gave up my belief that I could and would heal myself.

It’s okay to dislike my personal story or not feel hope and inspiration for the way I fought through those challenges and defied the doctors’ diagnoses. But the personal attack, that was so painful. It brought back a ton of memories, you know, those deeply buried bad things that you never tell anyone!

When you write about your life, you will always be scrutinized. And let me tell you, it’s really hard not to take it personally. But the good news is, I get emails almost daily from people that have been inspired or are suffering from the same condition as I was, and I know I’ve made a difference in their lives. And for that, I would tell my story over and over again.

Thanks for asking.

Answered in Quora


Warning: This will blow your mind.

You know I love to write for Quora. Yes, it could very well be my guilty pleasure. But seriously speaking, today is a very sad day for America. In the last 24 hours there have been two mass shootings reported. My heart hurts for those whose lives were cut short, and the loved ones whose hearts are breaking in this very moment.

But the sad part is, it will all be simply a news bite, a politician’s rant, and a forgotten by the end of the week.

The following is the piece I posted in Quora. I’ve been living in Istanbul for almost five months now, and this question comes up all the time. I won’t say enjoy this piece, rather it’s time to wake up to the reality of the way the world is changing.

Is it safe to travel in Istanbul?

Lynda Filler, lives in Istanbul (2019-present)Answered 4m ago

The El Paso Shooting Is The 249th Mass Shooting Of 2019

There’s a tweet that will trend on Twitter today about Mass Shootings around the world.

I googled mass shootings and the above is what showed up. Imagine if the USA reported every single mass shooting that occurs throughout the USA? What are the chances that you will be close to/a victim of/know someone who/or are friends with a friend who is a victim of Domestic Terrorism?

I lived in Mexico, in a lovely town called Puerto Vallarta. From 2002 until 2019 when I decided to sell everything and travel the world. I used to get asked this question all the time about Mexico. I never had nor witnessed any violence all my time living in Mexico. Not that it didn’t happen. I would answer people in this way: If you’re doing something illegal, or looking for drugs, then you are opening yourself up to unsavory individuals in any country. But shootings? In Mexico, the killing is between rival cartels. And even that I’ve not witnessed.

I’ve been living in Istanbul, a city of 17 million people, for five months now. I’ve never even seen a fight or argument on the streets. I walk the hills and come home from late-night dinner through the city neighborhoods and feel safe.

I will tell you what the biggest danger in Istanbul is for a woman: falling in love with a Turkish man!!

My Istanbul and my life today