Tag Archives: goals

UNADULTERATED FREEDOM

Honestly, I’m not sure “Unadulterated Freedom” is the right title for this post. It was just something that popped into my head while I was thinking what to write. It seems to go with the theme. No limitations right I am not following some kind of guideline when it comes to naming this post. So perfect, “Unadulterated Freedom” it is.

I am reinventing the way I write this thing. Yes, I have been out for a while. I was having one of those moments that last for months. You see, I was following all of the advice of keeping a website/blog. Be consistent with the theme, find an audience, etc. etc. etc. All good advice, but also a bunch of nonsense.

I was way into my head about it trying to find a specific topic to write about each week. It froze me. I lost my interest. It felt forced.

This wasn’t meant to be forced. It was meant to be a release for me, fun to write, and hopefully fun and relatable for you to read.

Guys, I am back where all of this started for me. I started this website a couple of years ago when I moved from Boston to NYC. Right out of college, when I didn’t know what to do with my life. I started to write, I started taking acting classes, and I ended up moving to LA for a Master of Fine Arts in Acting.

I definitely didn’t see that coming when I started writing this thing.

Which taught me that sometimes life has a more exciting journey than you expect. But I was definitely resisting my creative/artistic path up until a few months ago believe it or not.

I just called it a hobby.

Not anymore. I’ve accepted that I am an actress, and a writer and all that comes along with it. It is exceptionally freeing to accept it. More than it is scary; and I’m definitely excited for what’s to come.

I will be writing here about whatever it is I want to share. Whatever I want, Encouragement, self-empowerment, self-discovery stories, life in New York, and maybe even some short stories.

Hope you are also finding your freedom.

Cheers, and stay tuned!

THANK YOU INTERNET – WE ARE LUCKY TO HAVE YOU

I have to admit, I watch a lot of Netflix. I love TV shows, I love stories. Most of the time, the series I watch spring out of the writer’s imagination, most of it being fiction inspired by real events. Sometimes however, I really love getting into a show that tells a true story. The Tudors, The Crown, even Vikings, are great examples of these shows. I am fascinated by what happened in years past; and truth is, history can be even more fascinating than fiction.

Most recently I watched “Kurt Seyit ve Sura,” a Turkish show set in the early 1900’s. The show was a love story adapted from a novel; which happened to narrate a real story between two people during the Russian Revolution and WWI. It is an incredibly emotional show, and there is no consolation in saying: “it’s just a show.” Because it isn’t. It happened, regardless of specific details, the story is true.

Kurt Seyit ve Sura

You might be wondering by now, where am I going with this?

Well, the show is set in times of war, were families were separated, and when going on a voyage from one country to another might mean you might not see the people you are leaving behind ever again. It made me reflect on how lucky we are as a generation.

I am also from a country that is having social and political unrest; but watching this show made me thankful about the opportunities I have, that people one hundred years ago did not even dream of. Communication and travel have never been so accessible in history.

Why not take advantage of the things we have now?

The internet has made it possible for us to stay connected with those whom we met briefly on a weekend in another city; with family members on a foreign land, and with childhood friends who went on a different direction.

 

It has never been easier to explore the world, and to enrich our lives with experiences. We can work from anywhere in the world from our laptop. Everyday there is less need to go to an office, and sit in a cubicle. The difficulty lies in our own patterns.

Because it’s the way it has been done for so long, it becomes hard to break away. Even if you consider it for a second, many of us dismiss the thought as something crazy. I invite you to consider the possibility. Allow yourself to dream. Because with that kind of exploring and adventure, comes interconnectedness and understanding. Understanding of different cultures and its people.

What would have been the fate of the people in the Russian Revolution if they had the tools we now have?

PS: If you want a real tear jerker, watch Kurt Seyit ve Sura on Netflix

WHY OFFICE WORK IS OUT AND TRAVEL WORK IS IN

A few days ago, out of sheer curiosity for my own past – prompted by my love/hate relationship for Facebook memories – I decided to scroll through my own profile. I went deep. Scrolled past photos of friends who I haven’t seen in a while, funny videos I had shared, political articles, and a post about remote living. I stopped short. Around two years ago I has shared an article from Fast Company about co-living spaces for digital nomads. I remember at that point the idea of living a location independent lifestyle by working on my computer and being able to move around freely was the stuff of dreams. I thought travel while working usually required a company sending you out on business trips. I hadn’t realized that in out internet age, traveling freely while working, was not only for a selected few, but millions were already on this path.

Here we are in 2018 and I feel reconnected with that idea. I have become increasingly aware of the digital nomad lifestyle; and with that, I have also become aware of the fact that I am most definitely not alone. Today, 82% of millennials have said that they are more loyal to their boss if they have flexible work options. We are just not all wired for the 9 to 5 work schedule!  For example, at the time I write these words, it is 3:05 am in Los Angeles (where I currently reside). Not to say I normally find myself writing at 3 in the morning; but many creatives types find themselves in the night owl category.

The 9 to 5 work day was created to maximize efficiency at the time of the industrial revolution. The idea was: 8 hours of work, 8 hours of recreation, and 8 hours of sleep. Makes sense. Thing is, the world in quite different today than it was at the peak of the industrial revolution, and we shouldn’t have to adhere to those norms. My internal clock most definitely does not want to adhere to those norms, and shouldn’t have to.

Fortunately for me, and for many entering the workforce today, the rules are changing, and they are changing fast. Companies are adopting the remote work philosophy, and there are many other companies that operate completely on a remote workforce. In fact, by around 2030, the Millennial majority will likely have done away with the 9-to-5 workday entirely.  Insert happy dance.

Photo by Nubia Navarro

This is exciting for many obvious reasons. To me, since travel and discovery are some of the things which most exhilarate me, I don’t want to just be able to control the hours I work, but to be free to choose my location. After all, many of us humans are still nomadic at heart, we have been nomads for 99% of our existence. Nomad lifestyle, count me in. It is not my desire however, to move locations every few weeks, but to be able to see the world without being limited to an office space; and by having to waste another hour on commute to the office where I would sit on my laptop and use the internet.

My generation wants to get to know the world outside of a two week allotted vacation time. We are making it happen. There are more and more companies each year that are born based off of that desire. Companies like Roam, WiFly, Remote Year, and Hacker Paradise cater to digital nomads. Some are designed to help people jump-start their digital nomad career, others are for more established remote workers.

As of now, the future seems promising, and I am excited for that seed that was planted in my head over two years ago. Even though it has taken me until now to start searching for real solutions and ways to accomplish it, I am certain it will happen for myself, or any of my fellow wannabe citizens of the world.

Cheers!

Would love to hear your thoughts! Anyone else a digital nomad?

U by Uniworld, Cruising for a Younger Crowd

I haven’t been on a cruise ship in years. I always enjoyed them but I have found to prefer local discovery, while enjoying great accommodations and locally-inspired food. I like to feel as if I am part of the city I’m visiting, instead of an outsider looking in. Even though cruising can be incredibly fun, the journey was more about the cruise than the spots we were visiting. Oh, and anyone my age was definitely in the minority.

A few days ago, I stumbled upon the name U by Uniworld. You guessed it, it’s a cruise. A river cruise to be exact. I have never taken a river cruise, nor have I even thought about it. Which is exactly why these two 120 passenger ships exist: to bring in an audience strictly from the ages of 21 to 45 (sorry mom!).*

I needed to know more, so I went on a binge of information; on which I found that the two ships are respectively named A and B. Beautiful and original right? I think it’s charming, in a way. The A travels through central Europe, visiting cities like Amsterdam, Budapest, and Cologne. The B, with a sleek black exterior, offers a Parisian experience, exploring the Seine – perfect for a foodie.

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What. A. View. 😍 #TravelforU 📷: @bystephwu

A post shared by U by Uniworld (@ubyuniworld) on

Other than the fact that only a certain age group can get onboard, the main difference I have found, one which appeals to me the most: the local experience. The ship takes you through major and trendy cities, and lets you explore like a local. Nights out clubbing in the city are included. What? Yes, that hasn’t happened in any ship I have boarded before.

Let’s not forget about the fact that apparently, if you are a foodie, you will be very happy with the food onboard. Given that each meal is uniquely inspired by the places the ships are sailing through. I am sold. I am sold. I am sold. Oh yeah, and there are rooftop yoga classes, and mixology classes on board. I am sold again.

U by Uniworld opens with its first public trip this April 2018. So there is still time to be one of the first passengers. I wish I could go this year! Maybe next, but it’s definitely on my bucket list. I am all for river cruising now.

Cheers!

Elizabeth

Would love to know what you think! Leave me a comment below or contact me!

*Since writing this article, the company has removed the age restriction

Traveling at 15, a better version of the Quinceañera?

Every place has a different rite of passage, whether its a simple thing like your first drink, your first date, prom, or a more elaborate moment like a debutante’s ball, or a Quinceañera party.  Many of us go through different rites of passage, and they all have different effects, different weights on our soul, mind, and heart; but for many of us, there is none quite as powerful as our first trip abroad.

“People don’t take trips, trips take people” – Anonymous

If we are open to it, even a short term trip can change our perspective. Change who we are; push our limits and drive us to discover new horizons. It’s no wonder many people feel the need to travel to “find themselves.”

It is tradition in many Latin American countries to have a Quinceañera or “Fiesta de Quince Años,” when a girl turns fifteen. Historically speaking, turning fifteen meant a girl became a young woman. She was not a child anymore, and she could be presented to society; which in many cases meant she was ready for marriage. Of course, even though the meaning has changed over time, the celebration remains. For over half a century, there is another form of celebration that takes place not in the shape of a party, but of an excursion.

The tradition (if we can call it that) has been embraced quickly enough that most girls in the position to take the trip, choose to travel with new and old friends and neglect the party altogether.

Many consider summer to be a time for freedom and discovery (myself included). There’s no better time to open your mind, and experience a different culture. The travel companies which organize these tours focus on having the girls (and most recently boys too) truly experience the countries visited. Not only through museums and monuments, but through history, food, and their ways of enjoying life.

In fact, this was a personal experience as well. Both my mom and I chose to not have the party when we turned fifteen; and instead, went on a trip for a month around different European cities, with other like minded girls.

There was a lot of time spent sitting on buses, hearing our tour guide explain the history of the place we were visiting. Some of the times we would even listen. Others we just dreamily looked out the window and hoped for an exciting adventure to come our way. We visited over 10 countries, most of which was traveled on the tour bus. Some of us had our first kiss with a Scottish guy in a club in Florence while dancing to Rihanna’s “Umbrella” song (some of us never even knew his name). Others experienced moments of solitude in a foreign land where no one spoke our language. We made friends. Got into fights. Lost weight as a result of walking around emblematic European cities (despite the fact of eating our weight in chocolate, bread, and pizza). And made unexpected connections with people of completely different cultures.

For most girls taking the trip, it’s the first experience traveling abroad without a family member to guide their actions. Even though the travel companies (like Protocolo) provide chaperones, it is a new found freedom which encourages a new outlook in life. Many of us came back with higher expectations for our lives. Desire for deeper meaning, and to one day go back and widen the experience even further.

For generations, this trips have been shaping the vision of many young women who, over the course of a summer, become more independent, open-minded, cultured, and excited for life. No longer do they see the world through the lens of their hometown or through their family’s protection. As Mark Twain said best, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness…”

Any interesting experiences you’d like to share? Would love to hear about it! Comment, contact me, or share!

Cheers!

Some travel resources:

HotwireKayakLast MinuteOrbitzPricelineTravelocitySeatGuru

Why Eating Pizza in Napoli Changed My Perspective on Food

After an hour on the “Frecciarossa” (Italy’s express train), I was already savoring what would come next. The world famous Neapolitan pizza. I stepped out of the train on a Saturday morning in the middle of October to find a sort of beautiful chaos ruling the southern city of Naples. There were pedestrians challenging the cars and walking among them. Vehicles taking the traffic signals (if there were any) for granted; resulting in a disarray of cars, vespas, and taxis going in all (and unclear) directions. This was a day trip. a discovery trip; I wanted to rediscover pizza.

A few days earlier I was in Rome and I had called my friend Tiziana to ask her if she would meet me in Naples for some pizza. Tiziana lives in Salerno (to the south of Naples), and there was no better friend to guide me through the not-so-orderly south of Italy. She very clearly told me to stay in “Napoli Centrale” (Napoli’s train station) and wait for her before exploring on my own. Titi (as I call her), was among the many voices to tell me that Naples would be too chaotic for me to venture out on my own. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the chaos, the anarchy. It was exhilarating and full of life. Who wants calm and order all the time? I mean, after all, this was an investigation in the name of pizza; which is basically the meaning of life. What better sort of food is worth getting lost over?

We zigzag the neapolitan streets, passing what seemed like an endless amount of leather shoe stores. We walk through small cobblestone alleyways that showcase other Naples delicacies, like the babá and the sfogliatella. I want to try it all; but I keep my eye on the prize – just as I keep an empty stomach to prepare it for a feast. As I mentioned, like any self-respecting pizza lover should know: Naples is the birthplace of pizza. Naturally I had to pay this place a visit and try it. Titi and I reach the Lungomare, the seafront promenade in the bay of Naples. A beautiful sight of Mount Vesuvius and the mediterranean sea. Along the Lungomare there is an alluring amount of restaurants and bars to enjoy an aperitivo, or a pizza, while enjoying the light sea breeze. We almost sit down for our meal, but we opt to go a bit deeper, a bit more local.

We find a small ristorante in the heart of Naples. A place called “Sorbillo,” very much known to the native Neapolitan. This is the kind of place filled with locals and bustling with provincial vibes. A restaurant which mostly serves pizza. We are lucky. On that particular day, we don’t have to wait long to be seated. We are lead upstairs while we ogle the other costumers’ cheesy pies. We can’t wait, so the story goes… we both order the original pizza Margherita. Originally made for Queen Margherita de Savoy after her visit to the city in the 19th century. Let us take in the fact that the emblematic pizza Margherita was made for royalty; and before it acquired its fame, it used to be a dish for the poor. This only goes to show the revolution of history and of food. How a dish can transform cultures and societies; and no, this is not an overstatement.

The pizza Margherita (my favorite btw), is topped with San Marzano tomatoes. – which naturally grow in the volcanic plains south of Mount Vesuvius, – and with Mozzarella di Bufala di Campania, which is made by the milk of water buffalos strictly raised in Lazio or Campania. The flour used in its purest form is what Italians refer to as “00.” Neapolitan pizza has to adhere to guidelines of authenticity! So you can imagine the purity and delight. The pizza is a success. Of course, the supposed “anarchy” of the city does not put a damper on my trip, nor should it. It gives a city character, life, oh and you will likely get a good story out of it. 

In short, food is partly about the taste, but to truly enjoy the marvels of food, make a real experience out of it. Cheers!

I would love to hear your thought! Comment, contact me, or share!

Un bacio!

What Is It We Are Supposed To Do?

On my last post I talked about working less. Working intelligently. About making sure that our life is not centered around the idea that we have to feel busy to be fulfilled. That we need time to create. Time to be. Time to connect with the people in our lives. That being busy should not be a badge of honor. That being busy is not synonym to success.

That is all true. Something that nags at all of us at some point in our lives is not necessarily that we are busy doing something; but when we are going to be busy, what shall we be doing?

I have friends that found their passion, their life’s purpose when they were young and they have been fortunate not to change their minds. That is not my case. That is not most people’s case. 

A lot of us constantly question our choices. Decide a career or major isn’t for us. Then we ask, but which one is it? Then comes some type of fear. We fear choosing the wrong one. So we create a quiet turmoil in our heads. We go through the motions every day but we wonder. Is this really for me? Is that for me? What if I don’t like that if I leave this?

The truth is we can’t think our way to our purpose. We have to try things. We have to do. Do our way into our purpose. And for many of us who have many interests, we also have to come to peace with the idea that perhaps there isn’t just ONE THING we are supposed to do. We need to let go of that.

Our 20s is a time for self-discovery and reflection; but also for action. I realized recently that no matter how many books I read, or how many people I talk to. I cannot reflect my way into what it is that I really will love doing. I have to do. Identify something that seems interesting and work at it. Perhaps some passion will develop and it will lead to something else. Perhaps I will just learn what it is I don’t want. 

Identify those things and go do them. Then you will slowly find your way.