Greetings from Prague

I didn’t have a chance to post yesterday as I usually post at night and we had to prepare for our overnight train to Prague last night.

Here’s a lesson traveling on the Czech line from/to a different country: you must buy an international train ticket in addition to any supplemental upgrades like a sleeper. Perhaps I’m the fool but I was under the impression you couldn’t get a seat upgrade without an actual seat but that’s exactly what I did. We almost weren’t able to get on the train as we didn’t have ‘tickets’ and only a sleeper car reservation. Luckily, the steward took pity on us and said we could buy tickets from the conductor which we had to do 3 times in the three countries we were traversing before we could sleep undisturbed for 5 hours.

I’m writing in a cafe, drinking mead, across the street from the Blacklight Theatre where we’re waiting for an 8:30pm rendition of a non-verbal production of Faust.

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We just came from listening to classical czech music and other classical music from around the world in a small, cold church.

Ta ta for now. We’ll be in Vienna tomorrow, travelling on another overnight train.

Let go, be confident, and have fun

Let go of expectations, be confident & have fun. These are the words I have embodied consistently for the past few months and no more so than my trip to Eastern Europe with my friend Cristina. She makes it easy since she is very funny and charismatic and also very laid-back.

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We spent the day sightseeing on a Big Bus tour as well as on foot. Yes, more achy feet but we got thai massages, me for my feet and Cristina a full body.

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We walked a little more this evening on fashion street and it turns out it was fashion week here in Budapest but it ended today. We didn’t do any shopping but I did buy a chimney cake from a street vendor. You can watch the video on the making of it on FB. I have to say, the visual experience was much more rewarding than the tasting, as it’s just sugared dough.

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I’ll leave you with this:

Who are you when no one is looking?
How often do you show up as that person in your interpersonal relationships?
Why?
What prevents you from being the you you are in front of others?
Who taught you that you had to hide you from the world?
How has hiding your true self benefited you or your relationships?
What would you need from your relationships in order to show up more authentically?
How would it feel to let go of expectations & the need for approval, be confident & have fun?

I should have brought walking shoes

My feet hurt. I should have brought walking shoes. I thought about it. I even bought a new pair recently. I knew we’d be walking. I printed out 5 walking tours. Alas, I didn’t. Instead, I brought a pair of warm, rain-proof ankle boots with no heel support. My feet hurt but hey, I walked 10,000+ steps today which my Samsung smartphone congratulated me for.

Today was a good day, much better than yesterday. We decided to head to the grocery store and on the way, stopped by a cafe Cristina had found, Rumli Cafe. I had an egg salad sandwich, grilled on the panini press with a cappuccino and Cristina had a latte.

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We then walked to the grocery store which was across the street from West End mall which we visited after dropping off our groceries in our room.

Typical mall and very busy for a Friday morning and it only picked up more as time went on with the afternoon lunch crowd. We sat for a coffee and planned to go over to Buda and do the Castle Hill tour.

The walk was laborious as both our feet hurt but we crossed Margit hid (Margret bridge) and stopped halfway at Margitsziget (Margret island) where we encountered a water fountain dancing to music.

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We stopped to rest before continuing the rest of the way across Margit hid and looking for a hungarian restaurant to have dinner.

We found Földes Józsi vendéglője which wasn’t too far away. We both ordered soup and an entree. The soup was good but the entrees left a liitle to be desired. Dessert was a little better, crepes with a sweet orange filling.

 

We then decided to find a massage place and the closest one was a Thai massage place, a 15 min walk away further into Pest so off we went. It was actually located in a mall, another one. I was fantasizing about my feet getting some love only to be told by the receptionist that there was no availability until the next day. Well, that sucked.

Taking a taxi home was a great idea.

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All things considered, it wasn’t so bad.

We arrived to drizzle which was expected. Whisked through passport clearance and customs, thank goodness.

I had mapped out our route to our ‘hotel’ via public bus and our first bus was right at the entrance to the airport. Buying bus tickets was a challenge only because the 1st ticket machine wouldn’t accept payment.

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Took the bus to the Metro station where a lack of signage didn’t help but saying the word Metro with an inflection got us directions in hungarian made easy with hand gestures (who needs language when you’ve got hands) from a security person. The ‘station’ was separate from where the bus let us off. It was more like a mall, there was an H&M and a Claire’s. Cristina went to Vodaphone and I went to T-Mobile for SIM cards. Her for her phone and mine for my chromebook. Success and still not very many English speakers to be found, not that I expected to.

Next on the route was one stop to the next metro station where we would transfer to the bus that would take us within walking distance to our ‘hotel’.

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Ah, the 950 bus. After 2 trips up 25 flights of stairs, we were told the 950 bus is a night bus and the night bus only starts running at 11:30pm. It was 10am. So back down the stairs we went after being told we should take the Metro 3 to the last stop. Cristina wisely suggested we look at maps and I don’t remember what set me off but I proceeded to laugh hysterically including tears and I must have appeared to be having a fit because we were approached by a young man asking us with concern if we needed help. We explained our situation and he thought the night bus added a 9 and suggested that we might want the 50 tram. Hey, it was as good a suggestion as any so back up stairs we went after looking at the map for the 50 tram’s route but not finding it. At the end, after unsuccessfully trying for an Uber, we got in a taxi to our ‘hotel’.

The Metro/bus situation was funny even though we had to lug our suitcases up flights of stairs in the cold drizzle.

Now is where things really get interesting.

We arrive at our ‘hotel’ which actually looks like an office building. Downtown Apartments shows to be on the second floor and the list of occupants shows to dial 222 on the dial pad. As I’m about to do that, someone is exiting so in we go as I listen for a response from the office. No answer. Cristina calls the number from our reservation, wrong number. I get out my chromebook to call via Google hangouts, wrong number. The plaque outside shows 3 additional numbers, none of which work.

Cristina goes up to the second floor which is actually the 4th floor to knock and returns to the vestibule after receiving no response. We call expedia which due to Hurricane Matthew has longer than usual wait times. After 30 minutes, we get a representative who puts us on hold while she goes to call the ‘hotel’.

While we’re waiting, several people go in and out. It’s noon, so lunchtime. I say excuse me a couple of times to ask if anyone knows anything about Downtown Apartments and either get ignored or annoyingly waved off. Finally a young guy who thankfully speaks English stops on his way out and helps us by calling first the 1st number on the plaque. He gets a response only to say it was a wrong number after a 10 minute conversation.

p.s. when we stopped him to ask about the ‘hotel’ he says, oh yeah, there’s always a problem. WONDERFUL!!

This came after us reading more about our hotel confirmation on our expedia itinerary which said to please call the hotel before arrival to make arrangements which we had not done. Check in starts at 2pm but we figure someone should be at the office at least so we can drop off our bags.

Okay, expedia rep returns on the line and tells Cristina there is staff in the office and that lo and behold we have already been checked in. Oh Yeah? and that happened when and how and after seeing or speaking to whom? There is no one here we tell her. We have spoken to no one.

Cristina suggests I go upstairs to the office with my chromebook as we’re calling from my laptop to check which I do. After ringing and knocking several times to no avail, I say to the rep, no one is there. All I get is silence. It’s now 50 minutes since we’ve been on this call and now I get silence and then the call ends or not really because it dials back expedia so I can only think i’ve been transferred.

I return downstairs. English-speaking guy is gone and we’re on hold again but Cristina said he told her it’s the last number on the plaque that’s the right one. I can’t take anymore of this. I read on our itinerary that the ‘hotel’ has another location so in need of a both respite and to see about the possibility of getting a cab, I step outside.

I spot a taxi idling on the corner but he waves me off, guess he’s break. Another one pulls up behind him but there’s a passenger in the front seat and my attempts to make eye contact fail so I walk back to the office building. Forlornly, I look out the window, feet hurting, annoyed, and see the 2nd taxi drive by and then stop because of the car ahead of him. I rush out, he rolls down the window and I tell him, we need a taxi but have bags. I run back to the door and gesture to Cristina, Let’s Go! She scrambles out, chromebook still open and huge pink suitcase. Driver gets our bags in the car and takes us to this second location not very far away.

We wait for him to drive away so we can get our suitcases out of the street and with me still holding the laptop so as not to lose our turn in the hold queue, amble up to the open front door. We look at the list of occupants of what appears to be another office building but what is in actuality offices on the first floor and residences above and don’t see Downtown Apartments listed. Ah, but what is this, a plaque with their name off to the left detailing that they’re on the ground floor.

Cristina goes off to look and comes back, no success. I go, same deal. We carry our bags inside the hallway to wait for an expedia rep to answer our call while Cristina checks out the neighborhood on google maps. Her attempts to cheer me up with other suggestions are not working. I Hate This Place!!!

It’s now 1:45pm or so. I decide, Fuck Expedia! and hangup and ask Cristina for that third telephone number. I dial it as I would were I in the states and it rings, YES! A guy answers and I explain we need to check in but can find no one. He says he’s going to get an English speaker. I thought we were on hold by nope he’s hung up, so I call back and it’s busy. On a second attempt, I get a call. It’s Downtown Apartments. Yes, we emailed you 3 times yesterday to confirm he says. I respond, we’ve been travelling since the 4th so we haven’t seen emails.

Never mind then, we’re here and want to check in. He tells us the apartment is on the ground floor. Look for a white door with a white gate on the left with a plaque on the door that says Downtown Apartments and gives us the codes. Cristina goes to look but doesn’t find it. So I go. I find the door but the plaque is a damn hologram which you can’t read without special maneuvering. I enter the gate code and it unlocks, step inside, find the door to apartment 2 and enter that code and it unlocks. Hoo fucking ray!

I thank him and tell him see you soon as he’ll be here in a 1/2 hour. Cristina and I unpack and she heads into the shower asking if a nap is possibility to which I respond Yeah cuz I’m tired. Balasz knocks on our room door to welcome us, shows me how to use the electronic key card instead of the codes and collect the city tax of 5 euros for our 8 night stay.

My turn to shower, heaven. Off to bed we go at 4pm. I wake up every so often to noise in the hallway because this is not an apartment. It’s a bunch of rooms in an airbnb apartment.

We wake up around 2am. Cristina scopes out the area on her phone and I begin this post. I’ve been writing for an hour so I’ll end here.

All things considered, Day 1 hasn’t been so bad. Yes, I dwelt in my annoyance for a couple of hours but once we entered a warm room with hot water, the world was a better place again.

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Meet yourself

As I sit in JFK awaiting my connecting flight to Istanbul and thinking about what to write about today, I turn to Google Keep, my trusted thought-keeper. I saved a quote I saw on instagram several days ago and chose that as my inspiration.

The essence of this quote is at the center of my deeply held belief that self-awareness is key to a happy, emotionally-healthy life.

“Despite how open, peaceful, and loving you attempt to be, people can only meet you, as deeply as they’ve met themselves. This is the heart of clarity.” –Matt Kahn

How deeply have you met yourself? Do you like how you show up in your relationships? Do you leave your interactions feeling better or worse than when you began them and have you considered why that is? Do you surround yourself with a supportive and uplifting network of friends and family? How do you feel your upbringing has affected your beliefs about your potential to impact your world? What things set you off as you go about your daily life?

There are a million and one questions to begin to build your self-awareness practice. The level of your ability to know, love and accept yourself can serve as a clue to the quality and success of your relationships.

Eastern Europe, here I come

The last time I flew over the Atlantic, was on Air France and it was freezing. My poor fingers were blue and their blanket was doing nothing for me. I even felt bad for the flight attendants. Well, not tonight. I am bringing my own fleece blanket.

I spent a few hours yesterday saving maps and guides of the 4 countries my friend and I plan to visit; 140 pgs. Rather than tax my home printer, I sent the job to the professionals, Staples. I’m about to go pick up the job and a few last minute items before our flight tonight.

We arrive in Budapest on Thursday to a high of 49 degrees but it will be 8am so it’ll be more like 35 degrees and a 64% chance of rain. Luckily, the the 10-day forecast shows Thursday to be the coldest and wettest day of our trip with the rest of the day’s highs around 56 degrees. If you’re wondering why the weather forecast, it’s 74 degrees in Vegas.

I bought a new jacket which I thought would be too warm, thank goodness I kept it. It’s waterproof and fleece lined.

I’ll be bringing my chromebook to keep up with my daily posts but I couldn’t decide whether to rely just on my smartphone camera or bring my bulky digital camera. I bought it a long long time ago so it’s a little larger than the palm-sized cameras of today. I figure if I bring it, it’ll save my phone battery.

Okay, time to take out the trash for tomorrow and bring my plants over to my neighbors for watering, then a shower, wash my hair, run a few errands and head to the airport.

Talk to you in JFK during my 8 hour layover.

Healing comes in unexpected packages

How vulnerable do I give myself permission to be? That was the question that opened the floodgates. I was on my ½ hour scheduled call with my wealth coach and I was discussing my next steps around putting myself out there to deliver value to my future clients and the subject of perfectionism came up in the last 15 minutes of our call.

I’ll be 38 in January and never once have I allowed myself to be anything less than capable. I strive for excellence in everything I do. If at first you don’t succeed, try try again has been an unwritten rule I’ve lived by and it’s clearly seen in my work product. Anyone who’s worked with me expects no less than the best possible outcome on any product or project I work on.

So, for the past year, I’ve been confounded by why I haven’t been able to get my coaching business off the ground. I’ve gone through countless training programs and acquired an amazing amount of knowledge and have ample personal experience to support why I’m good enough to help people gain self-awareness, heal from trauma, and create healthy intimate relationships and yet, something was holding me back.

In speaking with my coach, it began to dawn on me that I’d assigned different meaning to my ability to succeed intellectually than emotionally. Success in connecting emotionally, aka, in being vulnerable was alien to me and so I protected myself by building sky high fortresses against attack. Questions like “How would I be seen if this didn’t work out?” and “How would I feel about myself?” and “What would I make that mean about me?” sprung to mind and that’s when through all my mind chatter, I heard my coach ask “How vulnerable do I give myself permission to be?”.

All the air suddenly left my body in a sign of relief and unburdening. I vibrated with the realization that no one had placed any expectations on me and that it was all me and all I needed to do was let go and allow, give myself permission to be vulnerable. I’m stronger than the seven year old little girl who couldn’t fight off her rapist and I’m stronger than the nine year old little girl who desperately needed love and couldn’t say no to her molester and I’m stronger than the fourteen year child who ran from her attacker believing that in order to survive she had to be closed off and watchful, untrusting and afraid.

I built my fortress to shield and protect me but it became my prison, disconnecting me from my essence, a loving, giving, compassionate being, distancing me from experiencing true connection with other loving beings. I believe I stepped outside my prison in that moment and in doing so, the floodgates of pent up sadness, isolation, and burden of unnecessary expectations was opened up and released.

I am a wise and strong woman. I gently and tenderly care for my wounded inner child. I am freedom expressed. In my vulnerability, I find my voice and my strength. I am love calling out to you who are wounded, living in the world in isolation, desperately seeking love and validation and security from others telling you that joy and peace can be had from within.

Wonderful things can happen when someone holds space for you to safely step outside your self-constructed emotional prison. I will hold space for you.

This is what it boils down to

My message, my purpose, this idea I sometimes fail to articulate, that emotional health is foundational to a happy, healthy, and meaningful life was revalidated just now after reading this article. Perhaps what I had failed to get across when speaking about the importance of emotional health was the tieing in of mental health. I think people understand mental health more than the words emotional health. I didn’t speak in terms of mental health because to me, mental health issues begin as emotional issues.

Let me be very clear about one thing. I am an not a mental health professional. I have never studied psychiatry or formal psychology. My training is in alternative healing modalities such as hypnotherapy, neurolinguistic programming, transformational life coaching and spiritual psychology all of which are flavored by traditional psychology and talk therapy.

I have personal experience with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks and addiction and in my opinion, speaking just for myself and what has worked for me, I have been able to move through these issues with the assistance of the modalities I mentioned before. This is why this subject matter is so dear to me. I am not ‘healed’. I am ‘healing’. My experiences have shaped who I am today. The knowledge I have today due to my experiences provide me a different perspective on the world and the people in it and I wholeheartedly believe that so many of the ills plaguing our world can be resolved with more focus on a person’s emotional health.

Too often, we focus just on physical health or what we can see that needs fixing. A holistic view of a person’s well-being takes into account their physical, mental, emotional AND spiritual well-being. While my main focus is on the emotional well-being of individuals, that one piece affects all other aspects of what it means to be a happy, healthy individual.

My healing journey began when I was in a low place, and I’ve been lower than that but it was a time when I was able to see more than just my suffering, meaning, I could imagine possibility if I just did something. That knowing is something I carry with me today when I talk with people who are stuck in their muck which is that I cannot pull them out until they are ready and they won’t be ready until they can see possibility. I believe it’s my duty to expose some of that possibility to them.

When I took the time to focus on my emotional health, I emerged a better person, a better employee, a better friend, a better daughter, a better sister and will be a better partner when I am ready to be in a relationship.

If you are interested in learning more about emotional freedom, I wrote a short ebook , A Beginner’s Guide to Emotional Freedom, on the subject and also designed a workbook to help you start your emotional freedom journey.

By the way, this post just poured out of me and I hope it reads well. Also, I’m celebrating 10 days of my personal challenge to blog daily for 30 days. Yay me!!

*INSERT BUSINESS NAME HERE*

I am an aspiring multi-business owner and I was reminded of that dream today. The Wandering Lesbian is an endeavor to claim my writership, something I never claimed to be any good at, despite having ideas about penning lesbian short stories and my autobiography. During my 10-day blog challenge, I was able to get clear on the intention of this new endeavor which is to share how to achieve emotional health and live a life free from self-constructed destructive beliefs and behaviors as well as to continue to grow as an individual and share my travel stories.

The Wandering Lesbian is new but my dream of owning multiple businesses is not and one of the things I like to do is imagine said businesses in my mind, come up with business names, think up design ideas, etc. I’ll share my ideas with anyone who will listen and anyone who knows me well knows that I engage in more talking than doing when it comes to this dream.

For instance, my longest running business idea is to run a tea shop. The spark hit me soon after starting my Master’s program in 2005 while living in NYC. I love tea, drink it every day and I imagine a quaint, hip gathering spot for book lovers and tea drinkers to relax and enjoy a nice cup of tea. This tea business idea has gone through a lot of different versions in my head but two things remain constant; it would serve tea, obviously, and have a book exchange. I thought of calling it The Library.

I don’t plan out what to write daily and prefer to let inspiration guide me but today, I had no idea what I was going to write about but since I did commit to blogging daily for 30 days, the universe sent me some help. This morning, I got an email from Satori Holistic Wellness & Beauty, a holistic spa I visited a couple of times when I lived in NYC. I found it on Spa Week. I’ve been on their email list for years and though I haven’t been a client in close to 10 years, I still get emails every now and then.

I bring this up because another business idea of mine is a holistic wellness center & spa. In today’s email from Satori, they mentioned their location move in addition to some new services they provide and I’m falling even deeper in love with this place. They embody everything I would want my holistic center & spa to be. If you’re ever in NYC, I highly recommend a visit.

What services would I offer you ask?

  • Hypnotherapy
  • Spiritual Psychology
  • Massage Therapy
  • Nutrition
  • Herbal Remedies
  • Aromatherapy
  • Yoga
  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • and a host of personal development workshops

I don’t have a name yet but I’m sure one will come to me in time.

Sunday morning scramble

I just woke up from a glorious nap. I went to bed around 12:30am and woke up at 6am for a 6:30am hike at Red Rock Canyon. The whole night before, I kept wanting to cancel the recurring meetup I had scheduled a few weeks ago. I only had one RSVP and facing the Grand Staircase again made me tired just thinking about it. I didn’t cancel though; I scheduled those meetups for a reason. I wanted to get back in shape and I wanted to get back into hiking again.

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In 2013, I started hiking consistently with my LEZ Vegas in Motion meetup group as one of the members was an avid hiker and hosted beginner to advanced hikes. At the time, I was in ok shape but had gained some weight, about 30lbs less than I weight today, and wanted to experience some of Southern Nevada’s beauty. That along with a semi-strict Paleo diet and weekly volleyball, the weight melted off. I got introduced to scrambling, a cross between walking and climbing, sometimes using hands for leverage and maneuvering over rocks, and fell in love with it.

Scrambling is a full body workout, and I like it because it requires you to pay attention to your body. Last week, I took 5 other women on this hike and they loved it and as we were talking about the benefits of scrambling, I remarked that it reconnects you to your body.

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I met Cathy on this hike. She’d just returned from a 2-wk trip in South Africa the day before and was surprised she wasn’t feeling any jet lag. We talked about our work and how much we enjoy working from home. She told me about her experience having lived abroad and I told her about my upcoming trip to Budapest and she said her parents were from Hungary, so, I took that as a positive sign.

We started our hike at the Grand Staircase but then decided to take a trail instead. We walked along the base of the staircase stepping over beautiful marbled rock formations and around cacti until we came to the Red Spring area and started climbing the ‘path’ there and made it up about 3/4 before coming back down. Below is a photo I took about 1/4 of the way up.

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It was a beautiful morning and was only 70 degrees. The sun was shining, highlighting the deep red color of the rock, the air was fresh and I felt great. I got my workout in, met a cool lady, did some exploring and enjoyed the freedom nature abundantly provides.