A little bit of fun today ….
I have always adored the cheeky saying ”when the cat’s away, the mice will play,” as it conjures up stealing naughty pockets of time when the person in charge left.
Playful amusement rooted in freedom and rebelliousness.
Do you ever look at life and somehow find the silliness, the fun, the amusement and just laugh? I do hope you find that outlet in life, no matter how tough things get.
The perspective of fun.
The lightness of being.
Laughing at life for the sheer hell of it.
Creating stories to amuse yourself and others.
I recently spent a night howling with laughter as I watched this story unfold between England and Scotland…
My Nan called me Kitty as a young child, and I still love that nickname, used by some close friends to this day. In this scenario, it was a case of “kitty-kate” in charge going away and leaving the teddies at home to play.
Mmm – it was more like a teddy-bear party version in full throttle.
It was my own toy story, with my dear “bear-child” at the crux of the party, in an otherwise calm neighbourhood.
My teddy – the delightful Francesca – has been in my life since I was 14 years old. She’s lost her striped cap and scarf along the way, is a bit grubby around the edges, but oh so well travelled. Sadly, she has also spent some years of her fluffy life tucked up in boxes when I travelled to places she couldn’t go to and she has to be left behind.
Let me hear a collective moan of “how could you Kate.”
I guess I had the following act of rebelliousness coming!
Just a few weeks ago Francesca had recently swapped Kleftiko for Haggis. She had made the anticipated trip from Greece to Scotland and was finally unpacked with a bed of her own in Edinburgh. Taking pride of place on my pillow again and both of us enjoying a wee cuddle every night. Kitty Kate and Francesca happily reunited again at last.
I think she was understandably a tad sad (and cross) I’d spent lockdown cuddling Frances, my mum’s teddy bear. I couldn’t get back to Greece in 2020 due to travel restrictions and had left her stuck in a box, learning Greek on her own in Lesvos. Simply awful of me!
She was learning to trust me again as we created a base together in Scotland.
A couple of weeks after landing in Scotland, I wanted to visit my mum in England. Francesca said she was happy to stay in her Scottish home – fearful of getting in a suitcase again. To be expected really.
So off I trotted to England, waving adios and shouting, “see you in a week, Francesca. Be good.”
Nothing to it, right?
Except for that night, my housemate had to pop something in my room and was distressed to find a lonesome bear looking more than a tad forlorn. I suspect there was even a wee bear whimper for added effect.
I got sent a photograph of Francesca all alone with an underlying “How could you, Kate?”
“Oh dear,” I replied (only feeling half-heartedly guilty from afar while quaffing bubbles with my mum) …. “why don’t you see if she wants to play with your bears on the stairs then?”
Being a bit sarcastic and silly …“They can keep each other company.”
Meanwhile, a few steps away on the landing was a group of eager furry friends dying to chat to Francesa about her wild adventures across the globe. Little did I know there had been a twittering on the stairs when Francesca came into the house in a suitcase that smelled of lamb, tzatziki, and ouzo.
“Such a well-travelled bear!”
“How did she ever survive being stuck in a box for two years?”
“Did she ever met a lion in Africa when she was younger?”
“Did she learn to Greek dance while throwing back ouzo?”
“Will she ever wear a kilt here?”
“Did she meet any Greek Gods”
“Do you think she’ll ever talk to us?” they wondered.
They were just dying to meet her and hear about her adventures in the world outside…
It seems like the suggestion was taken to heart, and a short while later I was so proud to see Francesca taking up her leadership role-playing big, worldly sister to all her new furry friends. Paving the way with a good ol’ Friday night story. It warmed my heart to she was reading the most delightful Scottish author to the younger friends – teaching them about kindness, resilience, hope, and love. And Friendship. She was reading Charlie Mackesy’s best-selling book, aloud to her new friends.
“Aaaaw, that’s my girl, “I thought from afar. Mum and I laughing out loud at the updated pics.
WELL…. it went quickly south from there.
It seems like Francesca has learned a thing or two from our worldly travels over the years. I’m not sure this Portobello crescent in Edinburgh will EVER be the same again to be sure.
She decided to introduce alcohol to the Friday night party to toast the new friendship! No harm having a wee dram, right? The wine flowed.
From there it was a collective sozzle of drunk bears, a dog, and an Italian doll falling all over for good measure. Doll’s heads flew, bears fell to the floor and the whole party collapsed in a drunken brawl.
Well and truly drunk!
To say I was shocked is an understatement. What the heck was going on in Scotland? Francesca has naturally been blamed as the newcomer – but it seems like they were all just waiting for an excuse to let their fur down.
The pharmacy was called in to deliver drugs all around.
Hair of the bear is a real thing – and in this instance, it was Paracetamol, Fanta, and some hard work!
I shared my utter dismay at the drunken revelry, and sent a stern message to them all, saying “you better tidy up and get everything back in order FAST.”
I think my big stick shocked them into action. Guess who was in charge again? Yes, dear Francesa and her well-honed, well-travelled leadership skills.
The house was cleaned, swept, wine stains removed and order restored.
I have heard the furry friends are missing Francesca and the Friday night parties since we moved into our own apartment in the West End of the city. Francesca is making new friends now! These are her own ‘familia’ I collected along the way from a little girl where my mum lives, who befriended me and started sharing her toys. How sweet is that! Katy-doll came about because the little one thought she looked my me….then more followed. The gang is a real mixed bunch – a wacky collaboration of a Katy-doll, a cheeky monkey, Francesca bear, and a celebrity from USA who’s trying to be in control! Francesca is not allowing anyone to usurp her privileged position as my “first born- first love.”
Things seem calm for now….and they have fallen in love with this delightful historical novel set in Edinburgh – “The Fair Botanists” by Sara Sheridan.
I guess until my next adventure when I leave them all alone on a Friday night. I’ll keep you posted on the bear-scapades and the furry tales.
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Reach out to me on firstname.lastname@example.org or check out my website www.kate-emmerson.com
P.S. ….the day after the above party, Francesa was in trouble for leaving a lonely coffee cup that needed washing. Or maybe it was um, her mother aka Kitty, before she went gallivanting……we will never know! Time to learn from the book it seems!!!
– How to build community FAST when starting out in a new location–
Connecting into a community fast is vital for life on the move. I’m not a tourist – I honestly need to feel connected in and to be part of a community, even if only for a few months. When I move into a new phase/ base or land in a new city for the next segment of life – I am always finding ways to build community FAST. I often move to places where I don’t know a single soul. The flip side of that is also building community with the right people – so that folk become part of my bigger, ongoing global community of clients AND friendship circle. Just this week I chatted to a great friend I’d met in California over 7 years ago! From my years of connecting in this way, I have friends and connections in Spain, Greece, Romania, Dubai, South Africa, Australia, New York, San Fransisco, Amsterdam, and more. A truly global village.
So it’s not just about immediacy, but also about sustainability and longer-term community.
Here is how I do it…
One of the things I do is join the local FB group of the location in which I’m going to be based. The smallest geographical one possible. So when basing myself in Edinburgh, it was about finding the local WEST END group. A smaller community to connect into. I do this about a month before I move in, or as soon as I know where I’m going to be based. You have to find ways to connect, get known, and be recognised as a “Local.” I start commenting, asking genuine questions, and also try to be helpful and supportive where I authentically can. Just yesterday I saw someone missing a kitty – so I keep my eyes open and check back in to see if they have come home. It’s not rocket science, right – it just takes heart and a bit of time /energy to give a damn.
I’m always looking for ways to connect and contribute.
Just a week ago, the very week I moved into my city pad, there was a community meetup. Of course, I made it a priority to go along to finally meet some of the faces I’d connected with online. Simple – yet most people don’t bother and exist in their own little silos.
I’ve booked more coffee meet-ups, recommended newly-released books about Edinburgh to a fellow reader (and heard back how much they are enjoying the said book), offered to dog walk for someone who needed a hand and posted in the group about meeting the local cat adored by everyone. Dear Hugo, the vocal Arabic Mau (see pics below).
I wanted to log onto the local NHS system and within ten minutes of posting a question, I had five answers to help me find my way. Bingo.
I was even offered a bicycle, been invited to see a new yoga studio and the local coffee shop already has my loyalty card on the till (and I shared some fresh Origanum I brought back from Greece this year when running my writing retreat when I learned they LOVE Greece too).
Can you connect in just a little better where you live?
That’s ONE WEEK – connecting in gets a big TICK!
2. EXERCISE BONUS
I regularly walk, practice yoga, and started salsa dancing again (after a couple of years hiatus – a whole different story) as my way of staying healthy, fit, fun and it’s social. When I go walking I’m always on the lookout for friendly faces I’ve seen before, and am quick to strike up conversations. Yep, I’m that weird neighbour that smiles, waves and chats! Since the community meet-up, I’ve spotted a couple of familiar faces while walking. Oh, and my hair is often a talking point – go figure!
People matter – I just keep on being my usual friendly/connector self – and while walking will stop for a cuddle with a dog or cat wherever possible. I walk with my eyes open, and will always be on the lookout for someone who needs potential help. Be kind where possible, is my motto.
Mmmm – more about the salsa next time!
3. PASSION and EXPERTISE
My quickest advice to build a work-related community is to simply START something in your area of expertise. Offer your time, heart, and energy. One winter I stayed in Malaga, Spain for 4 months, without knowing a single soul, or the language. I joined a few of the groups and started a WRITING group as I was busy penning my 5th Book – the one about living #LocationFree. Every week I would be writing anyway, as my winter goal was to complete the book, and I invited others to come and write with me. In just 11 such sessions I finished the outline and first draft of that book! It is now changing lives for folk over 45 who also want to think about living life in a larger, simpler, more passionate way.
“10 Lessons for Living #LocationFree – an Insider’s Guide to Living and Working Anywhere and Everywhere” is available here
I have done exactly the same here in Edinburgh – the week I arrived from Greece I started up a free writing community,. It’s not in competition with anyone as it’s all community-based, and we have already had 5 meetups in the last month. You do NOT have to wait for someone else to start it up – just leap and BE the leader. Think of it as being the flame, not the moth.
Stand up, show up. You can course-correct as you go along. Nothing is set in stone! The way I do that is to connect into the bigger catchment area of Edinburgh on FB, Linked In etc., by searching for names like Edinburgh Ladies, Edinburgh Ladies over 40, Writers in Edinburgh, South African in Edinburgh. I joined the groups that seemed a good fit for me and just posted that I was starting a free community writing group.
Voila – People connect, find me and I add them to a Whatsapp group. YES – it does take effort and energy – but it’s my version of volunteering and giving back to a community.
4. BIG AND BOLD!
Within a week of getting to Edinburgh returning from Greece, I had found a lovely venue to host an upcoming Writing Retreat. I got ‘oot and aboot’ (out and about) checking out all sorts of interesting venues, historic buildings and coffee shops to gather my clan of writers. Even folk who have been living here were introduced to new areas in the city! I’ve put together 3 days of focussed workshops in THE most glorious castle-like setting, under the watchful eye of Arthur’s Seat. If you are interested you can check it out here. Yes, it feels like a huge leap to try and pull it off – but it’s forcing me to think differently, act strategically and get creative about meeting people who may just need this writing support from me.
It also forced me to do some LIVE postings on social media, and get out my comfort zone making some videos again to bring the city to life. By mentioning it to a contact, I am now also connected to a wonderful collective of creatives that run workshops in the city…..an exciting way forward to be revealed in a future post.
What might be calling you right now – can you get it set up and just give it a bash? There’s never TOO much to lose by going at it!
If you are a writer or know someone in Edinburgh, then just drop me a line on email@example.com to connect into this community.
NEED SOME INSPIRATION?
You can read more lessons and insights about the practical in’s and out’s of this #LocationFree lifestyle in my book. It’s got GREAT reviews – I know this from the feedback I get when people dare to take the leap! Along with sharing my 6 years of living and working around the world, I also interviewed 16 other awesome global nomads – all over 45 years old – to help you see how many ways there are to live this awesome life! Grab that #LocationFree book here
See you in the West End or a local coffee shop writing …
Till next time – stay safe out there
P.S: I recently wrote a newsletter sharing how I approach life using The 3m Principle. Edinburgh coincides with one such 3m and is my latest base. I am personally putting all of these #LocationFree tips I share above, into practice RIGHT NOW.
I was taken aback by all the responses to sharing the 3m, to be honest. It’s so natural for me to think in this way for my lifestyle – but I realised that what comes naturally to one doesn’t not for another. Duh!
If you missed that (was for subscribers only) you can still get it and see how it resonates for YOU.
Kate’s 3m Principle – grab it here confirm your mail and hey presto, you get to read about 3m.
How do you honestly live day to day – Do you live within a basic framework of trust …..or fear as you go about life?
Perhaps it’s a little mix of the two – like most of us, I’m sure? Perhaps it’s more about which way it’s weighted for us, edging towards trust or more towards the fear?
I have strived to live with the former in my life. I attempt to see the positive or funny side of things if I can – but I am not a comedienne by any stretch of the imagination. Make no mistake though – I have also had both short and long bouts of falling into the dark well, staring at the black dog and flailing around like a rabid soul. That sense of feeling like I am drowning in that deep well water of anxiety, sadness, bulimia as a teenager, asking questions around ‘wtf’ is it all about. I have known depression, very dark patches in life, been bedridden twice in my life, and even wanted to give up at times. Really give up. I think many people have been in that spot at some point – have you too?
In the last 18 months, we have all witnessed or experienced the pain of grief, exhaustion, loss, financial ruin, and lack of hope around the world. No-one has escaped unscathed.
Yet at the same time, we can also hold the opposite energy of love, trust, possibility and an enthusiastic positive life force. So even while the proverbial sh#t hits the global fan, we have also seen the very best of people come to the fore. In my experience.
Sacred kindness, compassion and caring beyond duty for family, community and country. It doesn’t have to be one or the other- but perhaps it’s about us living with the whole messy lot showing up all at once.
I do my best to try and stay in the 80 /20 realm of trust versus fear. In my #LocationFree lifestyle for the past 5.5 years I have been forced to lean into trust more and more. It’s inevitable. Travelling and working around the world with no fixed home base requires you to dig deep and leap. Im my book I do share what I feel are all the lessons to embrace – and one of them is around trusting yourself and trusting other people. Connecting into communities and allowing the magic of life to show up en route. It’s about not needing to know ALL the bits before you decide to go. Leap and develop wings along the way.
So I somehow managed to “pull off” getting to my favorite Greek island this summer – while still not sure if my business partner could get here from South Africa (we co-host retreats around the world). We also had a smattering of interested and dedicated writers who were willing to take the risk to travel in these oddest of times- safely, tested and masked to within an inch of our lives. But here I am, on Lesvos with a small group of 4 writers and I have been constantly reminded of how sweet life is when you relax and trust!
The power of Trust Part 1
My respect for the Greeks and this very special island got a double dose of #LocationFree love this week. It’s important to “plug into“ your local community when living nomadically to help create a sense of “home and belonging.” So there’s nothing quite like walking out of a restaurant for 2 days in a row and not paying. Tomorrow, tomorrow, she says. I was keeping a handwritten bill of what’s owed by me 🇬🇷.
I was about to pay my ‘account’ two days after the fact. I had started racking up my bill while sitting in my “office by the sea” watching Tsitsipo in the final at Roland Garros. How exciting to watch the first Greek in history make it to one of the Grand Slam Finals. I had just forgotten to take my purse with me in the rush to get to the platea! The next day I went up to the top winter village to work, and only returned to my “seaside office” again on Tuesday – and added another 2 coffees to my bill. I had plenty of money in my purse this time when I suddenly remember to pop to the Pharmacia to collect a treat for our writers and pick up some much-needed electrolytes. I was thinking I had my debit card to pay the pharmacy but alas, suddenly had to use the cash in my purse and… the dear “office by the sea” @_gialos_eresos only got half paid. Oh well – next day a couple more cafes were added to my piece of paper and I’m finally all square again. Until today when we all went to eat breakfast there to soak up the Sunday morning Platea buzz ……. and now my bill starts again. I love it.
#trust is alive and well in the world of #greece #eresos_lesvos
The power of Trust Part 2
I believe that approaching life in general, and especially Living #LocationFree is an easier ride when you trust in both self and others … unless you want a miserable experience! Earlier this week (the same day I finally paid my account) I heard the loudspeaker bark its Greek voice into the warm air, announcing loudly to the entire village what it was selling. I ran outside to see the gorgeous fruit truck ladened with yummy edibles. As per part one of the “trust” story – I had just used all my cash at the pharmacia and to pay half my “account” at my office by the sea …. So as I dash out to see all this lovely produce, I remember I literally have 50 euro cents or some Scottish pounds in my purse.
Ochi ochi – No problem he says, I come back 17th. I skip back to my room with my stash – yes literally – as I have never met this particular vendor and he leaves me with two bags of goodies (see pic) and a promise to pay when he returns in two days! I leave some cash plus an extra 2 euros for MORE cherries on the day he is meant to come back – yet have not seen him now in 5 days. I know he will appear and come and find me. What a delightful reminder of the currency of trust and that it still exists.
***** UPDATE – He arrived back a week later, all Greek smiles and collected his money 🙂
Power of Trust Part 3
This morning was proof of trusting that inner voice again – the trusting of self. I often write about how you have to learn to trust the quiet voice that whispers “go right” when you usually go left. Here in Skala Eressos, every morning I turn left out of my “hotel by the sea” to go to my gorgeous “office by the sea.” When I was sitting on the verandah soon after waking up, I was struck by just how calm the sea was – even more than usual. The dawn was super pink and soft grey with silky water and I had thought …. this would be a good day to see the elusive dolphins. A couple of days ago, a friend who lives here had told me how she OFTEN sees dolphins!
Yes, Kate all the time!
Ochi ochi (no NO!) I say in disbelief
All the time!!!
I have been coming here for six years and not once seen a dolphin on this side of the island. One year, I saw one lonely dolphin at 5 am from the deck of the ferry, but that was on the Mytilene side of the island. So of course now dolphins are in my “space after she has mentioned this little morsel of info. When the voice whispered go right, I turned my handlebars and trundled off towards the little port. I saw a fishing boat coming home, and stopped to video it, delaying my cycle a few minutes. Then, you know what’s coming right ………. lo and behold……….. three minutes later I was rewarded with the well-known shape of the curved body and dorsal fin, and a leap. A little squeal from me, and then suddenly and even bigger leap – clear out of the water. I tried to keep focused on the area and had my video on, but that was it, two leaps for me
I took that as a perfect sign from the world of nature as it was the start day of my writing retreat…. #stayhopeful #trust #signsfromnature
I wish you some element of living with trust as you go about your day
Are you trusting yourself and your decisions as you go about your life?
Click the links below to grab my book if you too want to live #LocationFree and find a new way of showing up.
I hear so many excuses of how and why it is NOT possible to emulate my lifestyle – that of being a global gallivanting nomad. But your reality has probably radically changed a whole whack this past year right? Now you are re-thinking and re-jigging life, work, and ideas and what just might be possible for you and your family! There is something exciting being offered by Airbnb – keep reading if you want an exiting adventure!
I have been working online for the better part of 15 years in some form. It was skype long before Zoom, offering online courses since 2004 long before it was ‘de rigeur’ and travelling to deliver keynote talks and retreats across the globe).
I have officially been living #LocationFree for over 5 years now – meaning no permanent home base.
The world has forced new thinking
So as the world starts to release, expand and open up at last – are YOU starting to activate your long-held or recently realized idea about living a more location-free lifestyle? My latest book details the lessons learned from both myself AND 16 other courageous digital nomads that I interviewed for the book. We are all over 40 (most of us over 50) from different countries and in various lines of work – from coaches to accountants, web designers, psychotherapists, LD on cruises and more. We show the highs and the lows, how to connect to communities and basically how to make this lifestyle ‘work’ for you.
Yes, of course, most of us were in some version of lock-up together as the health crisis ravaged our worlds ……but the way so many millions of people suddenly HAD to work from home and experience freedom from the office culture, finally removed that particular excuse from the list of many….
I CAN’T TRAVEL AND WORK LIKE YOU KATE – I HAVE A JOB!
I HAVE TO BE IN XYZ CITY AS MY OFFICE IS THERE
I DON’T HAVE THE MONEY TO TRAVEL
I DON’T KNOW HOW TO GET STARTED
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY THINK IF I DON”T HAVE A “HOME”
But for me, the biggest reality/obstacle (Um excuse) is usually about earning a living and needing to be in an “office” in one specific place. Not any more right? Thanks for that big global blessing Covid! Not to detract from the harsh reality of the crisis, the loss, the devastation, the global grief, and economic realities… I do believe in looking for that silver living too.
Costs are not higher – just different
Actually when you do the maths and look at living location-free versus a “stable home base” we simply have DIFFERENT costs. I swap owning a car for my travel budget. Swap my mortgage for Air B’nB costs. Just different costs, but definitely not more. I simply choose to channel and spend my money differently. If you are craving connection, new experiences, and a way to satisfy your wanderlust spirit – then there is something you can do today, to take action on that dream. Take a look at what a friend I met when living in Malaga for the winter in 2019 just sent me ……
APPLY TO LIVE ANYWHERE FOR A YEAR!
SPONSORED BY AIR BnB – eeeck!!!!
Airbnb is offering 12 people the chance to live #LocationFree for a year. Now, how is that for squashing ANY excuse you might have? I am not applying as I am already living this way – so will gladly leave a space for the next person.
IS THAT YOU?
Please know that I am not in any way affiliated to, or reimbursed by AirBnB – I just happen to use them on my global travels as awesome places to stay.
Imagine more experiences, global connections, lifelong friends, hearing and learning new languages and most of all FREEDOM! They are offering to sponsor your year-long lifestyle. After that, you might be hooked, like me 5 years later, or choose to find a new way to live going forward.
Imagine one year …
Not ready to take that leap yet? Start small
If you are not quite ready yet to take the year-long leap and apply for this awesome experience, then get started with my 5th book recently published, titled “10 Lessons for Living #LocationFree”. Available in paperback or digital here – click the link below or search for the ISBN in your country 978-0-620-90868-9.
Get the juices flowing, ideas brewing, and start crafting a new lifestyle for yourself. 1,2,3 GO!
With love from Greece – where I am currently and starting a writing retreat today!
When you’re out of the house, you might be looking forward to seeing some sights or simply unwinding. However, whether you’re traveling for work or going on a retreat in Europe, you shouldn’t forget to practice self-care while you’re away from home. Travel may also be a form of self-care to get away from your typical routines, but there are some additional things you can do to make your travel more relaxing:
Squeeze in some exercise
Exercising might be the last thing you want to do when you’re on a getaway, but you don’t have to go to the gym for it. You can simply do some quick squats and stretching when you wake up. If you’re used to having equipment at home, lightweight and easily packable pieces like the Fit Simplify Resistance Bands can help you. Another option is to take a tour or do some exploring on foot. This way, you get some walking done with fresh air, while at the same time get to see some sights.
Don’t forget your skincare routine
It’s easy to get lazy with skin care — especially when you’re coming from a long day of touring or exploring a new location. However, the new environment can actually take a toll on your skin, particularly if the climate is new to you. As such, it’s important to give your skin some extra care. Pretty Me’s article on Snail White Whipp Soap notes how natural plant extracts are great at giving you younger-looking skin, reducing fine lines and hydrating cells. These work even on sensitive skin. Sunscreen is another thing you shouldn’t forget. Traveling entails a lot of sun, so you’ll want to protect your skin from UV rays. Allure’s review of Aveeno Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Stick mentions how zinc oxide and soothing oats make for good sweat- and water-resistant sunscreen, while also being lightweight and non-greasy. Just do your research on your destination to see what you’ll need to add to your routine.
Unplug when you can
Now you might be thinking: what about all your travel posts you want to share with friends on Instagram? Of course, there’s nothing wrong with sharing your journey on social media — but make sure you aren’t glued to your phone 24/7. Remember that the purpose of traveling is to experience a place in real life, not through a screen. So whenever possible, relish every moment, put those gadgets away, and just take in the environment.
Get enough sleep
It’s definitely tempting to turn in late and wake up early to make the most of your stay. However, if you have a pretty packed itinerary, then that’s all the more reason to have at least eight hours of sleep. This way, you’ll have enough energy to enjoy your day more fully. After all, you don’t want to feel sluggish and sleepy as you go through your activities. And you definitely don’t want to end up completely exhausted by the end of your trip.
Enjoy the moment
Last, but not least, just be in the moment. You may be undergoing a digital detox, but if you’re thinking of how many emails you’ll need to respond to later, then you’re still not really relaxing. Whatever destination you’re visiting, don’t rush it. In this regard, Calm Moment lists some tips on how to truly enjoy your trip — and one of them is essentially taking it slow. From your outdoor breakfast to your walks through historical sites, spare some time to be grateful for the opportunity to see the world.
Let me know how you get on with your travels, Kate
The most fun an author can have is with your book cover! It’s one of my favorite parts to bring all the hard work of the inner content to life, at last. I was going to go a new route for this book! The art of commissioning a bespoke illustration required hiring someone that could appropriately capture my personal author brand alongside global anonymity so that others could simply see an illustration depicting a specific lifestyle. It was such fun to produce my latest cover and I found it fascinating how illustrators work from start to finish. I thought you might enjoy that too, along with the images to show the process I went through.
For my 5th book titled “10 Lessons for Living Location Free,” I knew I needed something totally different to mt previous 4 books. My own mug shot, as Kate, the ‘author brand’, had appeared in some form on all my book covers to date. But for this book, I had also interviewed 16 other amazing global nomads to include their perspective and lessons of life on the “road.” It was important for me to depict other voices, opinions, experiences of both men and women around the world, in different work and from a variety of countries, with all of us commonly being over 40. I didn’t just want another brand picture of me on the cover this time. I wanted a way to depict me in a more unique and universal way to allude to all digital nomads, wander-lust travellers and #LocationFree mavericks.
Last year I had worked with one of our authors to publish her inspirational memoir. My business partner Sarah Bullen and I work with writers all over the world and handpick one or two authors to publish. This author wanted to create a bespoke illustration for her book cover, and I had so much fun walking her through it, from researching and finding the designer, talking through conception to execution and finally seeing her book on sale in the Amazon store and holding it in my hands.
It felt right to try it for myself now.
Commissioning the right one:
The first trick when commissioning a bespoke illustration is to find the right designer, of course. They also have to be able to work within your budget, as it is usually more expensive than getting a regular designer to create a cover. Bear in mind the final illustration will still have to be incorporated into the actual book cover design, so there are in reality two fees to factor in now! You want to get the most bang for your buck and get the most experience for your available budget, right? My tip is to do some research on other books that you love out there, (be it covers or content illustrations), look at illustrators/designers you follow on social media and ask other authors in your network for their recommendations. Then, go and do your own deeper-dive research. Ultimately you want to narrow it down to three illustrators that you resonate with, and then go about getting quotes.
You have to love their work, their whole vibe and the quality of their work ethic, as well as availability time-wise and budget. It all matters.
I was lucky to have interacted with three amazing illustrators last year, and so I went back to re-look at all of their work and finally chose the one I had worked with before. Her work still seemed to have the best fit for me, I had first hand experience though the other author AND she was able to slot into my very tight timelines. An incredible talent called Shannan Taylor who owns Muse and Doodle. I was publishing this book from edit to final finish in 28 days and she agreed to match my crazy deadlines.
I am NOT a designer by any stretch of the imagination, but I do have bold opinions about things, especially when it comes to my own brand, business and books. Every other book out there to date about #LocationFree living or the digital nomadic lifestyle usually has some bad version of a laptop and the world globe on the cover, or a beach and palm tree and that just wasn’t going to cut it for me!
My suitcase kept whispering to me for this cover!
When you have commissioned your illustrator, it’s time to talk through some ideas with them. If you are not a designer you don’t want to be too in control of this process, as you might sway them to your limited thinking. You have hired them for their creative brain after all, right? Let them ask questions and find out what matters to you. They have their own process they follow, so trust them! I had considered some ideas for a possible concept, but until she asked me some things, I hadn’t even thought about them. So when I said I spend a lot of time writing in cafes around the world – she asked – what country, beach or town, inside or outside, what do you drink, etc. I even had to go and find the “look and feel” of different street cafes for her. Go and look at some design elements she showed me to see what I did and didn’t like. I had always loved any artwork with a city skyline – we came up with the idea to use different iconic buildings to depict the whole world rather than ONE city per say. Think Paris next to London next to New York. Oh my – yes yes yes!
I have travelled with a suitcase for five years. Literally! That was important to my #LiveLightLiveLarge motto. She asked me my favorite colours, what I wear, some of my favourite outfits, etc. I sent her some of my brand photographs I love, and we spoke about cats, coffee, wine and the world. But it was very short back and forth on Whatsapp mostly, with dropbox for viewing scamps and ideas as they arrived.
She very quickly came back with two initial ideas, similar in essence but totally different in energy for me. They are called “Rough Sketches” also known as “Scamps” and I instantly loved the second one on the right, below. My brand motto is all about lightness, laughter, energy, movement, swift action and so the one with “me” sitting down felt too stuck and solid energetically. Do you see that too? The one sitting ON the case felt filled with oodles of possibility; like waiting for something exciting to come along. It energized me. I also preferred the quick capturing of my face pondering life – the other one felt too cartoonish and casual.
Even though it wasn’t directly to depict me and rather to have an air of universality, it certainly needed to be ‘me’ at the same time. I couldn’t believe how fast she sent through these two first ones! The joy of working with a pro!
After I chose the concept of the upright suitcase, it was then about the next layer of detail. I also didn’t love the skyline concept behind the character. She wanted to get my expression and body position next. Angle of the gaze. Smiling or not. Direction of legs, etc.
What I really wanted to achieve was that if someone doesn’t know me they would have no idea who is on the cover – they would just see a woman on a suitcase, but if you do know me, you absolutely know that I am sitting on that suitcase pondering life, love and travel. I love both the recognition and the anonymity she managed to portray.
Perspective and size
For the next scamp, I still adored how the cat walked behind the suitcase, with his little tail peeking out, but we felt something was ‘off’ with the size of the suitcase on the left image. She decided to try increasing the suitcase height so I could sit on top with my legs swinging on it. See the second image with a different face angle too- It instantly felt another notch “lighter.” We ultimately decided to leave the kitty for somewhere else on the image. Oh, I was sad to see him disappear in the next stage but the perspective of the image required it. I knew a kitty HAD to appear somewhere, and she came up with another brilliant idea. I also love coffee and wine – how on earth do we have both? What about my beautiful white sun hat, and teal computer bag? Less is more – but what is important to portray? Pile of books or not? So many things to consider!
HEELS! I always wear heels that add height, colour and funky kind of class. I absolutely knew from the very first image that I am not a closed-toe kind of gal and the “converse” shoes felt too casual for the cover. So suddenly there appeared a pair heels that I own – sexy, black strappy heels with multi-coloured crystal studs. See Yoga Pic Below to check those babies out! Everything is “alluded” to in the image, rather than being too obvious. Next was hair – how short at the sides, what pop of colour for the stripe in the front? Ever since I went silver at age 38, I have had some stripe of funky colour. NO grey rinse brigade for me! Earings and necklace?
She managed to emulate the two items of jewelry I wear 90% of the time – heart-shaped silver drop earrings and a long silver necklace with stars studded along the length. But again – no one else would really “get” that unless I told you! I really love that about this cover. You can see those in the close-up face shot below.
The entire cover illustration
When the image of me was signed off, it was time to create the background setting for the rest of the look ‘n feel.
I squealed with sheer delight when I opened our joint Dropbox folder the next morning! OMG. Squeal squeal. I was in awe and sat there grinning from ear to ear. Complete with “me” in the foreground, against an explosion of a global, waterside café in a sepia wash with line drawings. I mean, look at all those buildings showcasing global travels…! Plus there was suddenly a gorgeous dress – and it took me a while to realise what had inspired that fabric – my own kaftan bought when I worked with the YPO in Saudi Arabia that she had seen in our dropbox folder! See below.
I LOVED IT – and at the same time I had to tap into the fact that my brand is all about simplicity, minimalistic, decluttering, lightness and space. The gorgeous background scene was just waaaaaaay too busy for my book cover. Covers have to speak volumes in terms of the actual genre and the essential message of the book and also work as a thumbnail image on Amazon / online. I double-checked my thinking with my awesome, long-standing designer, Megan from Megan Barber Designs who would be pulling it all together and designing the full final cover. She 100% confirmed my initial thinking -too busy for me and what the book portrays as its core message. Darn.
Shannan was SO easy to work with and never took anything I said about the design personally. We discussed how could we pare it down but still keep the look and feel elements. Then, off she would go to re-draw. We went back and forth about what made it cluttered.
Was it simply the placement of the water and what if it was on the opposite side of the image? No.
Was it too much busy-ness in the café scene? Yes.
Was there just too much of the background in general? Yes.
But did I love the skyline? Oh yes!
Sleeping kitty? Definitely yes!
So for about 48 hours we went back and forth and then realised we could take the elements of the skyline buildings and use them on the BACK cover eventually. The cat could still appear lazing on the chair, the background could be all B/W line drawings on white to reduce the visual noise, and we totally pared down the café elements. Below are the final elements we went with – clean and simple! Spot the kitty, vino and coffee! Also, the way Shannan “doodled” it, it could be any cafe anywhere in the world, rather than location-specific, right?!
Maybe you will meet for coffee in Greece, Italy, Spain, Canada, Franschoek?
I was, and am, totally smitten with my cover!!!
Power of feedback:
I was about to sign the image off when I paused for a moment and showed it to Sarah, my honest business partner I mentioned earlier. While I was knee-deep in publishing this book, she was on a massive deadline ghostwriting a celebrity memoir. I had not shown her anything up to that point. She said, “Kate, this is absolutely amazing BUT you just look too young. You and all the other nomads you interviewed are all over 40 – but ‘you’ look 20.”
Oops – I hadn’t even realized this, as I was just so starry-eyed. Some appropriate lines were added to show my realistic laugh lines and creases, but still keeping the whole look light and bright. It just made it more authentic! Below is a close-up screenshot:) Great way to see the heart and stars I told you about too. The power of objective feedback from others is vital in any book process! To that end, we even have what we call “Feedback Friday’s” for writers in our community to get objective eyes.
Shannan gave me all the final versions required for the designer, payment was made and the next design step kicked in.
Final book cover
Next, I moved onto the elements I understand really well, that of the final cover design. There are always two parts to consider for a book cover
1. The eBook version that only requires the front cover image
2. The printed paperback version requires a full back, front and spine for the cover.
I knew the eBook cover could NOT contain the skyline buildings element and was cool with that. Megan sent through several initial options of fonts and design for the title, subtitle, and author name. I loved 90% of them, which made it a bit harder to choose. Go back to what matters – the fonts and design have to elevate the illustration and speak to your brand elements, but also be super legible and speak to the buyer/reader!
It all has to work as ONE beautiful cover that tells a story.
I loved seeing the skyline elements come to life on the final cover design, but nothing beats getting the first book IN your paws and being able to see it in front of your eyes. For me as an author that is one of the best moments in life. Unwrapping your book for the first time!
I have had such wonderful responses to the cover – everyone just loves the energy it gives off. I am so pleased I spent the time and money gifting myself this- it was fun and I feel it showcases the content of the book alongside my brand motto. If you know anyone who wants some inspiration to pack up, live light, and figure out how to work around the world, you can grab the book here on Amazon and 10% of all sales are donated to the wonderful company called The Future Forest Company, and all sales help plant trees on the island of Mull, West Coast Scotland
What are YOU going to do with your book cover to help it fly off the shelves when the time comes?
Fancy joining us on a Writing Retreat?
If you want to join us on a writing retreat somewhere in the world, take a look here. We host them in Greece, Italy, Spain, Scotland, South Africa and Italy – yes, we are gearing up for some safe travels this year!
Hope to meet you soon,
P.S What is a scamp?
Well to put it simply, a scamp is a drawing, or sketch of an idea. These, are created to bring to life and visualise your idea and share them with others. Now a scamp can be a quick idea you had in a coffee shop, a simple doodle on a handkerchief, or a full blow colour work of art. Scamps are used in the industry to communicate an idea, and depending on how much you want to communicate you can draw your scamp accordingly. My experience with scamps is to draw out a design, or composition where it is passed on to other design professionals like a photographer who will use the scamp as a reference to get the right angle or a picture close to what I want that will work in the main design. I may have to sketch a magazine layout, or paper fold idea to get sign-off from a creative director or client. Thanks to https://garethdavidstudio.com/
Who else out there is having a really tough time round about now?
It’s not just me, is it?
Are you also battling the harsh reality and effects of perceived and real lack of freedom, huge loss of income, battling to stay inspired and hopeful about future work and travel, grieving the loss of your loved ones, or desperate from the lack of personal touch and being able to hug even family and friends? I am personally finding it much, much harder now, a year since the first lockdown (and contracting Covid in march 2020). I also have friends and clients all over the world, especially with working and traveling globally #LocationFree for the last 5 years, and so I get to hear firsthand about the different countries in different levels of lockdown. And some countries just seem to be skipping to the next level of new normality and relative freedom – I found it a lot easier when we were ALL in the first lockdown together! Even though it was always a case of “same storm different boat”, I welcomed the same storm scenario in some weird way. That total peace and quiet we experienced externally as the earth was breathing from lack of people moving, airplanes dashing across the sky, cars commuting, and hectic life from us consumer-type humans. But this time feels different.
Every time I speak to my peeps in South Africa, or as far afield as Costa Rica – it’s all about parties, gatherings, lunches, beaches and life pretty much as usual (perhaps with masks on), even if they can’t sometimes buy booze on the weekends. It’s the social component I am longing for! Or other countries where the lockdown is allowing social gatherings or restaurants re-opening once again.
I find myself feeling a little envious.
A lot envious!
It even feels awful admitting it to myself.
You made your bed, now lie in it, Kate.
Yes, yes, I know I am in the country I am in and shouldn’t be looking longingly at anyone else – but I am!
There, I said it.
I miss my usual 4 times a year ‘fix’ of seeing my close friends down south, reconnecting and replenishing at so many levels and visiting my favourite hairdresser and dentist. Lack of freedom and life with this virus has clipped my gallivanting #LocationFree wings. I realise just how much of my nomadic life is about connecting in coffee shops with total strangers when we smile and say hello (or bonjour, buenos dias or kalimera) or how a short chat at the deli counter fills my soul with love. Petting cats and dogs is also a great stress reliever for me – and one of the reasons I have often housesit animals on my travels to get that welcome dose of four-paw love. But I even feel like people don’t want you to stroke their animals out of fear at the moment. And I don’t do fear.
So I am doing grief instead.
Layers of grief.
Are you grieving too?
I’m just laying a bit low for now – and that’s ok.
Is that what you need to do too?
To let yourself off the hook a while, stop comparing yourself to everyone else that “appears” to have it all together, running 20 different masterclasses, or launching two new businesses, acing their ab workouts or or or…..
I’m resting and hibernating a bit from the world of clients and too much social media and trying my level best not to let my emotions and modd fester.
I describe so much of how I love to connect into new communities in my book “10 Lessons for Living #LocationFree” but I am prevented from those sweet interactions for the time being. That loss of connection had hit hard and dtruck deep. We have also just taken our Italian Writing Retreat off the radar for this year and moved it to 2022. Eugh. I am so acutely aware that I am greatly soothed and inspired by having things to look forward to, as it actually helps me live more in the present somehow. But this endless stream of – “not sure what and when” is taking its toll on my mental health.
So as ridiculous as it sounds, I admit I have “lockdown-level-envy” while trying to hold it all together where I am. I don’t have it all sorted at the moment, and am muddling my way through messy life. How about you? I’m on the one day at a time, scale. In fact, it’s one hour at a time – one day is sometimes too long. Without trying to drop into the world of self-pity, victimhood or be caught up in the continuous web of despair, I also just know I have to admit I have been having a darn tough time. Getting into bouts of depression, lack of hope and feeling isolated is not entirely new to me – but this one seems to be lingering longer and deeper than I can usually handle. Freedom and connection are two of my highest values, so I feel that is the one hitting me the hardest – I strive to find the freedom within, as opposed to outside of myself.
I have recently been waiting for a work contract to start, and spent a couple of weeks on my own in London in a friend’s flat. Totally spoiled to have that gorgeous space overlooking the river and it made my nomadic heart super happy! I spent about four hours every day walking the length and breadth of the Thames – spectacular and inspirational. But … I was also lonely and missing real connection. I reached out to many people, but isolation and covid restrictions are still very strict here in the UK. It’s just the factual reality. I finally met safely with one willing client /friend last week, the first person in the flesh for weeks, and she said she was amazed to learn that I was having a tough time …. so I am glad I shared. The next day I got to support another dear friend finalising the sale of his mom’s house after her recent passing – and that shared time as he said goodbye to her home and that chapter filled my heart.
We so often look at others and think that they are doing ok. Even if we aren’t, we assume they are. Aren’t we wired weirdly that way, as it’s simply not true. Everyone is challenged and fighting a battle of some kind, small or large – it’s also called life.
I also think that Social Media comes into play here – where all that we usually see posted is the good stuff, the fab stuff, fun and light stuff that we want and need to escape into, the inspirational stuff …. not the real, shitty, hard stuff we are all facing too. Until something massive strikes again, like the tragic murder of Sarah Everad that gives people a voice and energy again to speak up about things that matter, about the reality of what is going on for people. How we are scared, don’t feel safe. so much injustice and loss. I have learned to lean on my friends and my mum even more recently – to say I am NOT ok and need some TLC from them. I stay connected where need be and literally get through day by day. I don’t have huge bursts of inspiration or massive ideas for the future right now. Sure – I have a vision of what’s next and what is very important to me and the live I want to create up north …. but it feels far far away.
I’m just breathing in the never-ending “kak-ness” of it.
For those of you outside of South Africa, KAK is a great word, pronounced ‘kuk” not “kack” and it means “shitty and bleh” all in one. I also love it’s fellow word friend “GATVOL,” which means “fed-up or literally full-hole”.
I’ve been feeling both kak and gatvol!
So, I just want to remind you all – if you are reading this – that you are 100% enough TODAY, right now, no matter what. Even when you feel like absolute shite. My go-to-reminder the past few long weeks and months has been, “this too shall pass.” It gives me breathing space and hope. I have also been using the simple technique where you cross your hands over the front of your body and pat both of your own shoulders- it’s super calming and self-soothing if you are on your own out there! I haven’t even had the energy to do my usually beloved journalling – until I felt inspired to write this today!
And yes, here is the irony I battle with – as “kick-ass Kate” and the “Quick Shift Deva” I guess I theoretically “should” have all the coaching, mind-shifting, woop-woop techniques in the world to call on – but being honest, laying low and coping bit by bit, is what feels possible, real and authentic right now. It will shift, and my bubble of energy and inspiration WILL rise again, just as yours will.
It is a universal law.
I don’t need lots of hype and positivity right now- I’m just trying to stay out of the self-pity wallow while staying present and in touch with myself. It feels better and do-able that way.
My go-to mantra reminders and questions are currently:
This too shall pass
Everything IS going to be ok
What one thing can I do today? Even if that means ONE wee glass of water (hydration hydration) before I have a BIG glass of wine. Or paint my nails. Or rest again. Or stare at the river view for another hour.
Tomorrow is always another day and another fresh start.
Please drop me a line if you want to reach out – just a quick message to connect and say hi.
If you want some extra support we can book that too and I’ll show up honestly for you, ready to hear where you are at. Sometimes you need an ear with someone who isn’t pretending to have all their KAK together. But I will be able to help you see your KAK a bit clearer.
In the meantime – be kind to yourself and those you meet along your path today, mask or no mask. And for those of you enjoying relative freedom – know I am just a little darn envious right now 🙂
Pics from March 2021 below share some of the quiet weirdness that is London in lockdown – not many folk about on usually bustling streets, empty tubes, stores all closed up – most with Christmas decorations still left in the window.
Living #LocationFree for the past 5 years is often met with wide eyes, scrunched up noses, and some weird questions. I know it might sound like nothing more than terrifyingly homeless mixed with exhilaratingly glamour-filled champagne parties on yachts, Instagram style.
It honestly falls somewhere smack between these two extremes.
While it may be very real that digital nomads (aka global nomads, remote workers, location free, etc.) might not have one permanent base to call “home,” we are certainly not “homeless.” We have a gazillion ways we each live into this lifestyle, and we can pretty much make it up as we go along – if we don’t like somewhere, we can move on to more suitable spaces, cities, countries (Covid and visa/passport reliant of course). Plus, folk living this lifestyle are not doing so because they have zero responsibilities, no partners, kids, animals, etc. – we are all working and contributing to society in some format. We have just figured out the best way to earn the required dollars en route – whether working remotely for a company, working in the digital online space, working in the country they are in, running global companies, have property investments, Bitcoin, or business investors – any type of work is possible, to be honest! The worklist is as varied as your creative brain allows … with the added benefit of freedom from a location.
Of course, we sleep in beds too! Whether in fancy hotels, rented homes, snazzy apartments, Airbnb options, co-living, house-sitting, or any combo of the above. What binds us together as a tribe is that we are not bound to one location for work or life. There is a sense of freedom, mobility, choice, and possibility!
Possibility of options, countries, cultures, environments, lifestyle, etc
Right now, I’m chilling in a quaint café on the prom of Portobello (see pic taken at Miros <<<) with the quieter than usual buzz and banter as “we-are-in-weird-lockdown-life-but-still-allowed-out” vibe. I’ll soon be self-isolating again before I make my way to my mum in the UK for Christmas, so I am making the most of a little thrill of being outdoors at Edinburgh’s Seaside. There is a delicious light shimmering off the sea and bouncing off the clouds, reflecting the changes in the sun as we edge towards winter solstice. After 7 years of spending most of my time in summer or what travel agents refer to as shoulder seasons, I am fondly referring to my current city of choice as Edinburrrrrrr.
Remember my cold water swimming escapades on Iona that I shared earlier this year? I will manage one more cold dip this month, which means I will have been cold water immersing for 6 whole months! I didn’t even know that I wanted to try it before starting my significant retreat and detox process on Iona. I’m still in a bikini with no warm booties, gloves, or wetsuits like many swimmers – just keeping it real and semi mad. Even if my swims are super short -they still count as a cold water blitz of energy and immune-boosting habit!
This week, I launched my fifth book, and I feel like a kid in a Christmas Santa store, to be honest. It’s some insights, sharing, and tips from living the last 5 years #LocationFree. I also interviewed 16 other souls (between 40 and 60 years of age) living in similar ways to me. It’s a super exciting collection of tips snd stories for anyone who is intrigued about the possibility of downsizing, packing up, and living and working globally.
One of my all-time favourite things to do when I travel is sitting in a café or restaurant on a beach somewhere – from Malaga to San Fran, Cape Town to Skala Eressos. I simply need my laptop and a strong coffee or a fab glass of vino, depending on the time of day. And always water – and usually a kitty somewhere close by. I seem to attract them and consider myself a bit of a cat-whisperer.
Did you spot the content kitty on my book cover?
There is an element of pure delight that is elicited when I can look up from my computer and see water – waves, sand, pebbles, sheep munching seaweed (yes 100% on Iona!), people laughing, kids playing, folk squealing in the waves and that heady aroma of sun, sand, sea, and sun-lotion. Or the smell of rain mixed into it more often than not, here in Edinburrrrr.
I find myself in this glorious city for most of winter 2020, exploring somewhere North. I am still officially #LocationFree and will be for the foreseeable future. I was only planning to be location free for one year, to figure out what country I wanted to live in, but it turns out it’s been too much fun, and here I am five years later.
Ooooh, the cafes you will find when not in your hometown. From dingy and downright skanky, to glamorous, elegant, and exotic; to simple family-run salt of the earth to trendy hipster vibes with a gazillion delicious choices; or the simple paired back local café that only serves one type of coffee and eggs – just the way you like them: the smells, the chalkboards, the conversations, and the locals. The cakes and the decadent treats made with love – from the latest LA trend to grandma’s secret pistachio and rose water recipe. A café is always filled with possibility – and is still the first place I seek out to feel like a “local” in a new spot. It’s one of my “settling-in” hacks I share in my book “10 Lessons for Living #locationFree
So I find myself with a big grin on my chops as I own the fact that I am a café writer. It can be a table on a busy cobbled street, a hotel lobby with glorious views of the pool, a tiny spot perched precariously on a hill, or my all-time favourite, seaside café!. Anywhere in the world, this will put always put a smile on my face.
If there is some Latin Salsa or Bachata music drifting out of the speakers even better, offering the quiet promise of a party as day turns to night….that will always make me type faster and get through my workload ready to pop on my salsa shoes and have a whirl on the floor.
I don’t even need earphones, really –in fact, my ears always get sore trying to wear earphones, no matter the brand or style! I usually welcome the buzz around me and find ways to switch off when I need to focus.
I have amassed a few “offices’ around the world that I have stamped my name on. To this day, there is one table at Gialos on Skala Eressos where we run writing retreats, which is known as Kate’s office. Although I didn’t get to work there in 2020, I know it is waiting patiently for me 2021. I am usually sitting at my “desk” by 6 am before the rest of the sleeping Greek village stirs. While the restaurant is still being cleaned and set up for the day – George will even stop his daily prep to bring me a double greek Coffee. Or as we order there – ena diplo hellenico para kalor!
It’s always about the views, to be honest. I find vistas open up my creativity and thinking. Sea trumps everything for me – being able to sit outside and feel the sunshine and breeze is high on my list of needs. When not working, I also love to be a fly on the wall, simply watching people. I can make up stories in my head ad Infinitum. Travelling a lot on my own, I also love to smile and then connect, laugh, and chat with total strangers. It’s bizarrely natural for me to make random comments and speak to people I walk past or sit next to. I will always talk to cats and dogs and stop owners for a cuddle of their four-paws if allowed. I guess that’s why I have found it relatively easy to be location free. What’s the point in staying separate and cut off from others– even when communicating from behind a mask nowadays, we can still connect energetically and with a twinkle in our eyes.
Wi-Fi is surprisingly not always high on my agenda, as I prefer working offline with fewer distractions when in writing/blogging mode. In fact, I will often choose cafes that do NOT have Wi-Fi – especially if I am running a writing group – as that just distracts everyone.
My challenge to you today is to visit a local café and watch the world unfold around you! Make it an adventure if you haven’t done it for a while. Take your laptop, a great book, or your journal to pen some thoughts. Let me know what you find on your café outing – I’d love to hear what great conversations you engage in or inspired ideas you come up with when sitting with a different view.
A dear friend just sent me this on Whatsapp this morning – so I will do my level best to simply keep on writing from my heart wherever I am. I just have to. What about you?
“Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate, and the governor is out of the country, and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.” Alan W Watts
WANT SOME INSPIRATION ABOUT POSSIBILITY?
GRAB MY BRAND NEW BOOK 10 Lessons for Living #LocationFree
Do you wish you had the courage to follow your dream, to quench your wanderlust? To downsize, pack light and explore the world while still working? Do you honestly think others are able do it because they’re younger, richer, are single and have fewer responsibilities, with no kids to tag along?
Wrong. That’s simply not true. This book will show you that it’s possible no matter what your age! Do you really want to play it safe just because you’re no longer in your twenties, waiting on tables as you backpack around the world?
Home Owners – 10 ways you unconsciously sabotage the
speedy SALE of your home
If you haven’t yet read PART 1, read that first here as there is LOADS of valuable information!
PART 2 – CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE
- PLAYING THE BLAME GAME
Most sellers sabotage the process and fall headlong into typical victim mentality by thinking that everything and everyone else is at fault in this process. It makes great conversation to play the blame game! Blaming the housing market/ location/ high mortgage rates/ recent increase in crime/ country’s current junk status/ awful neighbors/ commuter traffic into the local work hub/ local elections etc. You will find ways to blame every aspect of the market for the lack of a sale and extended “days on market” or non-interest of your property, especially blaming your realtor – or your mother-in-law! We like to blame them for everything! You are way more in control than you think, and sometimes it’s about having the hardest thing- Courageous Conversations!
- INFORMATION UPLOAD
As the seller, along with your realtor, make sure you are never left with a mouthful of teeth when potential buyers ask you about the neighborhood, the shopping outlets, local school, who runs the local council, etc. Do your homework to also fully understand what properties are listing and selling for in your immediate neighborhood. You want to be seen to know your home and your ‘hood. And to be open and willing to share that information. Any upcoming changes to the neighborhood should be top of mind – such as building mall outlets, new schools planned, current crime in the area, better access roads being built, shifts in zoning homes as businesses etc.
- SALES SAVVY
Are you honestly any good at sales – especially selling something you love? Even when you are 100% at peace with, and excited by this sale and move, you may not be the savvy salesperson you think you are.So yes, while it is absolutely possible to sell your own home nowadays, especially with online property sites (unless your specific county prevents this by law), it still does not mean that you should be the one doing it. A neutral, professional, home selling expert will always assist you in getting the sale price as high as possible, assess the right buyers, market the house appropriately, and handle all the dreaded paperwork on your behalf. Be sure to choose the right realtor for you. I always suggest you get a trusted recommendation or find someone who excels at closing deals in your neighborhood.
A simple drive around a 5-kilometer radius to see the “Sold” boards will give you this insight. Getting the right person on your team will ultimately put more money in your pocket at the end of the day. Know your real strengths, play to those and outsource the rest to get the best outcome! Realtors with the right designations, qualifications, passion and experience are professionals who help you navigate this complicated territory and tap into the right buyers. Speed and ease are what we are after, remember?
- BUYER CENTRIC
Even though you are obviously the owner and seller and you feel it’s all about you, when it comes to selling, this concept alone will totally sabotage and derail the process. From now on, you need to become “buyer-centric” and put yourself in THEIR shoes. The moment potential buyer’s pull up at the front curb, they need to be instantly impressed with the look and feel and be able to see themselves living in this space the moment they walk through the door. You want their positive feelings and initial experience of the space; from the moment they set eyes on it, to positively influence the economics and dynamics of this purchase. You want your potential buyer to be “blown away” and put in that OTP (Offer To Purchase). Remember you only need ONE buyer, and you don’t want to mess up that opportunity when it arises, as when you have done all the work Kate suggests, it WILL happen fast!
PART 3 – SHOWTIME – READY, STEADY, GO!
- CUTTING CORNERS?
Know right upfront that cutting corners will definitely sabotage the sale of your home. Don’t be lazy and ‘half-a$$ed’ when it comes to show days or viewing appointments. Rather be super vigilant to get SHOW DAY ready. You want the best price with a dash of speed don’t you? After thoroughly assessing the property and its current condition, it’s crucial to complete property maintenance, sprucing, fixing, cleaning, clearing, and de-cluttering. Keep your home in tip-top shape – should your buyer happen to drive past, see the ‘For Sale’ sign and want to pop in NOW, you can swing open the door and invite them in. Follow the international property trends and utilize a home stager to showcase and highlight all the positive attributes if need be. A little time and money spent in the right way will have exponential results!
- STUCK IN YOUR WAYS?
A current buyer’s market could mean cash buyers are a very attractive prospect – you have to be ready and agile in your response and be willing move as soon as possible as there will be no delay in waiting for bank bonds /mortgages to be approved. Be prepared to move out of your house sooner than expected to help facilitate this sale (and enjoy some occupational rent if your country allows). It is common for sellers who have honestly and truly done the closure work, to get buyers bidding against each other for a property – all wanting to move in ‘yesterday”.When you read more about what Kate’s clients experience when working through her process, “SHIFT YOUR HOME,” speed is a typical result. If you are too stuck in your own timelines, you might lose out! Be flexible and prepared to move swiftly along.
- MAKE IT A ‘NO-BRAINER’
Are you showcasing your home appropriately? Highlight the best features of your home with high-definition professional photographs and professionally edited videos to walk buyers through this space in virtual reality. One of the current trends is also to use drone footage to show off the neighborhood from above to enjoy that all-important bird’s eye view, as that dramatically influences buyer’s decisions. Buyers can see the property in relation to everything else around it, proximity to or distance from schools, retail, health facilities, motorways, etc.
I hope this has given you food for thought as you embark on this journey of selling your home? The bottom line is that YOU, as the home seller, need to take full responsibility, shift your energy, and be honestly ready to sell your home from the inside out.
Your heart, mind, and soul all need to align to the look and feel of the property to get the outcome you want. To sell your home with grace, speed and ease at the highest price possible. Kerching! To move on, feeling proud and with closure.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this article. Comment below or drop me a line directly on firstname.lastname@example.org!
Kate is known as the Quick Shift Deva – South Africa’s foremost clutter expert, life coach, best selling author and international speaker. She bounces into homes, offices and hearts to help clients to sort out their clutter and their lives, freeing them to move on to LIVE LIGHT, LIVE LARGE. Much like a combination of Clean House and House Doctor, she will both physically and emotionally help YOU and YOUR HOME get showday ready