F.E.A.R- False Expectations Appearing Real. How has fear set you back from accomplishing your dreams? Any dream, big or small. The fears of travel, money, health, time, age, failure, perceptions, rejection, etc. can limit us at anytime. The best way I found to conquer FEAR is by facing it head on.

In Part 1- The Turnaround Point of this series, I discussed my moment in Bora Bora when I was inspired to conquer my fear of Scuba Diving. I faced it and almost failed an open water dive in Hawaii. I had a panic attack during the certification process. I did not quit, and now I’m able to enhance my vacations and discover the amazing underwater world! Try not to let your FEAR stand in the way of obtaining something you’ve always wanted.

This famous cliff in Malta where The finale (Fire and Blood episode) Game of Thrones was filmed. The episode catapulted viewership and ratings of the series. 

After Bora Bora, we continued to travel our bucket list. The experiences gave me courage and motivation to start pursuing my other life aspirations. Since 2017- I learned to play the piano, speak French, cook all sorts of delicacies, and now write a blog (which I hope will grow into book writing one day). When I am doing any of these activities, I instantly return to the country and moment I experienced the inspiration, and I am so thankful. I call these activities living memories that I enjoy regularly and is a wonderful way to look forward to coming home.

How’s living my life dreams of Piano, French, Cooking, and Writing so far?

Florence and The Piano

Sunset, Florence- Italy

I’ve always wanted to play the piano as a kid, but played sports instead. As I grew up, life and work got in the way. Passions were buried. As time went by, I started to fear that I was getting too old to learn how to play and that music lessons were only for children. Those excuses went away when we went to Florence.

I reminisce regularly walking through the streets of Florence. The enchanting music that played throughout the City is unforgettable. As our flight landed, I told my hubby that even the sky looked like art, the colors were vibrant and the clouds sparingly painted in. Local musicians would freely play their talents on the sidewalks where crowds danced and cheered for most of the night.

Local talent play openly in the streets of Florence
What Florence sounds like at night.

Imagine a backdrop of beautiful Italian architecture with a river under the stars. It felt like standing in the middle of Van Gogh’s, Starry Night. We strolled down residential streets and then I heard it. Somewhere in that neighborhood, someone was playing the piano in their home. The highly talented pianist was playing Beethoven’s, Moonlight Sonata. Even though I heard this song many times before in movies and internet streaming, every strand of hair on my body stood, as if lightening stroked. Somehow hearing this private live performance stirred an emotion and created tears of joy. It was an incredibly romantic moment to share with my hubby.

Ponte Vecchio, famous Florence bridge canal

A similar instance happened again in Chianti. We stayed in an amazing Castle Resort in the middle of Wine Country to get some R&R after two weeks in the bustling cities. During dinner one evening, I heard sounds of the piano playing Moonlight Sonata again traveling through the restaurant to where we were seated outside.

It invoked the same response I had in Florence. I did not want the inspiration to end and I thought “why must it?”

I can’t believe I learned to play…

One of the first things I bought for my home after the trip was a Baby Grand Piano. I have been taking formal piano lessons since January of 2017 to present. After only 9 months, I was able to play our wedding song, Fools Rush In, by Elvis Presley. Hubby was so impressed and thought it was the perfect gift.

Within 9 months, played Fools Rush In by Elvis Presley

I continue my lessons and practice almost everyday. 6 months later, I was able to play Disney’s Beauty and The Beast, just in time to dedicate it to my Father in Law who took an interest in my learning.

Played Disney’s Beauty and The Beast within 15 months of Piano Lessons

Right now I’m working on one of Beethoven’s most popular pieces, Fur Elise. I am working up to Moonlight Sonata! As a child, I would fantasize playing these songs one day. I can’t wait to share it!

Paris, Macaroons and Speaking French

Private Macaroon Lesson with Chef Marthe in Paris

I absolutely loved Paris, The City of Lights. One of my most memorable experiences is a private lesson making macaroons with a local Chef in her fabulous apartment. Macaroons are some of the most difficult recipes to do perfectly. Since then, hubby and I have ventured into other challenging cooking techniques because of this experience.

Within stepping into Chef’s tiny apartment of about 700 square feet, I felt I already knew this woman and was excited to cook with her. Of no surprise, the ingredients she used for the macaroons were of the finest quality.

The vanilla she used was not from a bottle, she extracted the flavor straight from the vanilla bean. Fresh fruits, fine flour and sugar, and authentic French creams and butters were used to make our raspberry and chocolate/coconut macaroon flavors. It was awesome! I used tools that I have never seen before and learned the precision of French pastry cooking.

After spending half the day with this amazing French Chef, I was infatuated with her life. I envisioned living in Paris in an apartment just as cozy and adorable as this one and attend cooking classes at the famous Le Cordon Bleu. I would come back to the States and grow my own garden and open a little French pastry shop. When we happily left with several boxes of our freshly made macaroons, I told my hubby I wanted to make my daydream a reality. In full support, he loved the idea.

Our Fresh Macaroons, Raspberry and Coconut/Chocolate

Parlez-Vous Français? Oui Oui! Bonjour! Merci!

I can read and order in French!

It’s a lofty goal that requires proper timing, but I am preparing for it now by first learning how to speak French. Through language, I feel I can better connect with the locals by understanding their culture, thinking, and etiquette. I want to be fully immersed in the future experience and I am enjoying the process at home now. I started French class at a nearby University in Fall 2017 and excitedly working towards fluency ever since. 

I love learning but the thought of being around students 15 years younger than me made me feel silly and too old to attend. I already had my degrees and I wasn’t sure if I had the patience to be in a classroom again. Turns out, I wasn’t the oldest student in my class and I enjoyed my studies in my 30’s more so than I ever did before. I appreciate the time and opportunity I have to do this so much.

As of Summer 2018 to present, I am formally taking private French lessons where I can learn at a more rapid pace and in the comfort of my own home. It came in handy when we were lost in Valensole, France- Summer’18 when a native Frenchman with zero English helped us find the Lavender Fields, all in French. C’est merveilleuse!

Blogging and Writing

We found the Lavender and Sunflower Fields in Valensole, France

After feeling accomplished with my newfound skills in music, language, and cooking- I felt so inspired that I wanted to share with the world the life changing effects of travel. “But what if they hate my writing and my ideas?” “What if I end up hating it myself?” “I don’t know how to do this blogging stuff,” were just a few of the little frightened voices going through my head. Had I not traveled before and had encouraging moments, this inquisition may have kept me in the mundane box.

I cannot believe how much more there is to it than just the creative piece. Managing a website/blog as a business has been challenging to say the least. It took me a year just to organize it and get it started because I knew nothing about it technically. I learned everything on my own.

The scariest thing to overcome about blogging?

Like anything else with putting yourself out there, is rejection! Many like myself procrastinated launching for awhile because I thought everything had to be perfect. The irony is that nothing ever is. The blog grows, changes, and forms itself just like the writer.

My advice to anyone who’d like to start a blog or website is don’t be scared to launch, be patient, and take it one step at a time. Join communities that support you and know that you are not alone.

Overcome Your Fear

Time is the most precious asset any one can have. Even Billionaires like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates cannot buy more time on this earth with all the money in the world. When I travel and try new and different things, I realize how much more I don’t know. It makes me sad and excited at the same time. Excited that there’s always something to do and learn, sad because I may not have enough time to do them. Time is finite for all.

To overcome fear, there are 5 consistent elements:

  • Attitude: Is your attitude positive or negative towards the matter?
  • Mindset: Can you believe you could do it?
  • Motivation: Do you have desire to make it a priority?
  • Persistence: Do you want it enough to stick with it?
  • Implementation: Like Nike says, “Just do it.”

All actions first begin with thoughts, so begin with a positive mindset that you can accomplish your goal. You’ll already be halfway there! Then feed it with actionable steps.

I cannot emphasize enough that no matter your fears, face them sooner than later. You may just discover something new about yourself and a newfound appreciation for life that you never thought existed.

Move forward even if you don’t know what lies ahead and don’t look back even though you fear. Travel the roads less traveled and see what’s in store for you. No risk No rewards. -Me

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