In 2019 I sold everything I owned and began a journey to visit places I’d read and written about. I started in the city known around the world as the place they assassinated John F. Kennedy. Who could forget the book on the Warren Commission? I traveled across the ocean to the home of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. And relaxing on the beaches of Goa, India I read Paulo Coehlo’s Hippie. I celebrated my birthday in a country that’s home to a master spy the great art restorerGabriel Allon, the covert operative who came in from the cold to run the Office, Israeli Intelligence. I thought I might live and write in Bali, so after Thailand, I had no return ticket! But nothing had prepared me for a quick layover in the mysterious historical city of Istanbul exactly one year ago. Instead of Bali, I returned to Istanbul and wrote my own my own mystery, Code Raven 7,THE ISTANBUL CONSPIRACY.
Did you know that part of Istanbul is in Europe but the majority of the city is in Asia? I thought I was living in Europe, and technically geographically, I am. But to make it even more confusing, Turkey is actually in the Middle East! My friends and readers should no longer be surprised by my lifestyle. Somehow I knew that I might find one of the most vibrant cities of the world too intriguing to pass up. So here I am. Coronavirus has hit Iran with a bang, and the border between Turkey and Iran is closed indefinately. Refugees are surging along the highways to get to Europe via the border entry for Greece. And an additional one million frightened and displaced men, women, and children are desperate to escape the violence of war in Syria. The foreign aid can’t begin to cover the poor souls living in appalling conditions along the Syrian/Turkish border. And two days ago Turkey raided and arrested 105 Feto Terrorists in a secretive co-ordinated sweep through the country. How did I find out? Social Media was blocked for several hours. I had a strange feeling about it–I remember reading that Turkey blocked social media during the Coup attempt of 2016. At first, there was no announcement or anything. We all thought our networks were down. But then I found a notice on some obscure news service. I thought blackout might have to do with Turkey’s military action in Syria. But now I’m certain the block was done so communications could not transpire between terrorist groups while Turkey swooped in and grabbed them. So what’s it like living in Istanbul with the COVID-19 border closure on the Iranian side, an angry tear-gas-shooting Border Patrol on the Greek side, and Syria slaughtering its own people in the worst humanitarian crisis since WWII? It’s surreal. To top things off, I live one block from the Bosphorus Strait and I witnessed this two days ago: Russian Warships coming through the strait!! Wait a minute, didn’t the Russian backed Syrian Regime just kill 33 Turkish soldiers in Syria? Just another day in the life of an author when the truth is stranger than fiction.
Russian Warships passing through the Bosphorus Strait Feb. 28 2020
Like right now! I should be working on a newMemoir. But, I’m checking out Quora, eating breakfast, trying to make sense out of World Politics and man’s determination to kill. Sometimes I wonder if as a society we’ve progressed at all.
I retired from a full-time career a year ago. And traveled for months to all parts of the world. So I haven’t quite fallen into a routine workday. I love this newfound freedom and the 10 extra pounds that go with it. And the decision to live in Istanbul for the foreseeable future.
I’ve given myself permission to LOVE my current lack of schedule. However, I have a new release The Istanbul Conspiracy, that came online at Amazon Christmas Day. I purposely gave myself a deadline and the pressure of making sure I was ready.
Now I have fallen into a schedule that looks like this. I have 3 distinct projects every day.
Yoga for 30 minutes the moment I wake up.
Coffee, Breakfast, World news, Q, FB and I limit that fun to 1 hour
Write. I have 2 Code Ravens to publish this year. And another memoir. I’ve already published 16 books on Amazon. I’m doing the memoir first. But if I need a break, I will work on the two plots for the CRaven series books 8 and 9.
I take breaks for WordWars—I admit I’m addicted to the game even with the new site full of advertisements that drive me crazy!
I allow myself the indulgence of Prime Video or Netflix but more than likely this pastime is saved for late evening.
I have a boyfriend who is low maintenance so every couple of days he shows up in my world which is great. I get a break. Plus he loves food and takes me to all his favorite Turkish restaurants.
My body refuses to adjust to Istanbul time or a work schedule like I might have maintained when I lived in Mexico. That means my body believes bedtime is around 2–3 am and wakeup somewhere between 10:45-11:30 am.
It’s not unusual for me to write or do marketing in the evening and I will work sometimes up until midnight. (I’m self-published and marketing is a large part of my job.)
I LOVE my life! I’m living the dream.
My New Years’ resolution is to have more DISCIPLINE! Hah!
I knew I liked to shake up my life, but this year has been amazing!
It’s almost 2020, so I’m taking a moment to look back and do the proverbial: how did Lynda do in 2019? But today I’m going one step further, I’m going ALL the way back. How many times can I re-invent myself?
I was a good girl, a Canadian army brat. We moved every three years. You packed up your things, said goodbye to your friends, and moved on with your life. Didn’t everyone live like that?
In my teens, I thought I’d be a Catholic nun. I entered a convent of missionary sisters straight from high school. I was religious. I wanted to save the world, look after orphans, feed the poor. Instead, I recall days of washing floors and stealing cookies from the kitchen after lights out! Less than a year later, I left the convent, returned to Ottawa, and married my high school sweetheart. A year later, I was divorced.
I look back on my life and see the characteristics and events that define the woman I’ve become. At the time, I couldn’t see it, but as Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “I can see clearly now.”
First, I’m a loner. It turns out that’s a good thing because change is easy, maybe too easy for me. I don’t form the kind of attachments others form. As a result of my upbringing, I don’t have childhood friends. When people ask me where I come from, I never know what to say. I lived in Petawawa, Toronto, Lindsay, Edmonton, Montreal, Whistler—all in Canada. Then Puerto Vallarta Mexico for the last 17 years. What do I say Canada or Mexico? And now I’m in Istanbul, Turkey!
I could live anywhere in the world because “wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”
I did the same thing with my various careers and in my own businesses.
I started in sales part-time over the summer in Ottawa when I was 18. Then I taught myself how to type and assisted the GM of a stock brokerage firm. I moved to Toronto and began a short-lived modeling career that led me into fashion. I opened a store and sold ladies’ clothing. I built that into a chain of stores. Unfortunately, husband number 2 was a gambler, and he stole money from the business. And “the rest is history!”
The next stop was Montreal, where I began a career as a women’s clothing buyer for retail businesses, importing, designing, and creating. I woke up one morning and said to myself, “If you can make money for someone else, why not do it for yourself.” I opened a manufacturing plant.
Several years later, I now had two young boys. Quebec was in a recession. So I moved from Montreal to western Canada and began a career in resort sales that lasted 25 years! “Why invest money for inventory, rent, retail, and wholesale, when you can make just as much money using your sales skills without the financial risk?”
Witness the evolution of a woman:
“I can see clearly now.”
“Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”
“The rest is history!”
“If you can make money for someone else, why not do it for yourself.”
“Why invest the money for inventory, rent, retail, and wholesale, when you can make just as much money using your sales skills without the financial risk?”
And this brings us to the year 2019. After 54 years of working, 9-5, 8-midnight, and 3, or 4-hour days, I retired! Well, my version of retirement. I sold everything and bought an airline ticket with multiple destinations—precisely the way I’ve lived my life! I celebrated my 72nd birthday in Tel Aviv to the sound of air raid sirens. And from there, I traveled to Europe, India, Thailand. And along the way, I found Istanbul.
The one constant in my life is my love of books. I think my first memory of a book is Little Women. I will reread it someday. In my teens, I started to write poetry and journal. And in my 20’s I wrote my first novel. I never published it and lost the manuscript in one of my moves. But that’s fine with me. It was never meant to be published. I never even tried. But in 2008, I was diagnosed with incurable heart disease and told I had “6 months to live.”
This time I not only had to re-invent myself but re-create myself. “And that has made all the difference.”
Now the promises to self kicked in, and I began to write in earnest. I published three books of poetry and wrote several books of fiction. I waited for years to write and publish my journey to healing because I wanted to be sure that I actually survived what I call my miracle. And now I’m almost on the eve of publishing my 16th book on Amazon, The Istanbul Conspiracy! The 7th in my Code Raven Series.
So far, it’s been and wild and wondrous journey. I’ve managed to stay retired all of 2019 and finally returned to writing to gather my plots for this new release. Yes, I call this retirement even though I am super busy with writing novels, blogs, Quora, FB, IG, Twitter, yoga, traveling, and living my beautiful creative life. I love Istanbul and I think I will stay for a while. It’s been 8 months so far. I’m researching for my books, learning to cook Turkish food, wandering the streets, doing photography, and now I’m back to full-time writing. I finally have time to keep in touch with friends I’ve made along the way in Mexico and in Turkey and all over the world.
So, tell me something. How many times can you reinvent yourself? I say, as many times as it takes!