Why at 35 my only ambition is to do the splits by age 40

I remember the first time I ever attempted yoga. I was sat in my living room trying to relax with my legs crossed but I was so out of shape my knees were closer to my ears than the floor and my hip muscles hurt.

My priority in life was my ‘so called career’ so I worked day and night and through lunch breaks to climb an illusionary ladder. I had a great job, which I almost forgot to enjoy, and an aching neck from long hours working at a desk. I also had no patience and a tendency to binge drink at the weekend.

That, however, was not the beginning of my yoga journey but more like the beginning of getting fit again. I gave up the yoga out of boredom and frustration and took up Zumba, which I loved. Then came kickboxing and after that, while in Thailand, I learnt to love yoga.

 

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Yoga reminds us to take time for ourselves and that, even when it doesn’t seem so, there are enough minutes in the day.

It doesn’t leave out a single part of oneself – mind, body and soul get stretched, strengthened and balanced.

It gives us patience to learn poses, improve balance and empty our minds and in turn to learn new things, understand the people around us and relax.

Yoga has taught me to listen to my body. I know what it needs and when. I listen to people more too and understand their needs.

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Yoga reminds me that challenges are fun and not to be feared.

It makes me really look at the beauty in this world and appreciate what I have.

I am amazed how my body is continually becoming more flexible, strong and healthy as I get older.

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Yoga is a free gift. You can share it with people you care about as well as complete strangers. I love heading to Youtube for Lesley Fightmaster’s Fightmaster Yoga channel (click here) for her awesome sessions.

When I lived in Thailand I took my yoga instruction in Thai at a community sports place in Chatuchak Park. I was the only foreigner yet I understood and laughed and joked with the other yoga lovers, even though we didn’t speak the same language.

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Most of all yoga has taught me that it is never too late to learn or do anything. One does not need to be an expert or have talent to join in. Just enjoying yoga teaches us to enjoy life.

So I realise that when you have yoga everything else will follow. My first priorities are no longer my emails but my stretches. I am excited when I rest my head on my knees and I am looking forward to one day doing the splits.

I build my life on a foundation of a happy and healthy self and I know now that everything else will follow.

I got it wrong, you don’t have to be rich to relocate for the winter

Hi guys. It has been a while, but trust me I have been finding out how to make life into the ultimate adventure. Not just once in a while, but everyday. Here’s the latest..

I used to think that popping off long-term to a sunnier place when the winter months became too much was a privilege of the rich but I was wrong, it’s something anyone can do if you are prepared to change your life.

This is my new life.

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I came to Gran Canaria for a month to see if it was really possible to live the dream and be a digital nomad. The temperatures back in Germany were heading towards freezing and having spent the last three years of my life living and working in Thailand, it just felt too cold. So I had to do something about it. It was time to pack up the ‘office’ and change location, but could I really do it on the cheap?

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One thing living in Thailand taught me was that there is a growing number of people working at the beach, by the pool or soaking up the sun in some other wonderful place. It was a discovery that changed me and made me change my life. Who says I have to go to the office, deal with the commute and put up with the humdrum? When I left Thailand I came back to Europe knowing whatever my next career move was going to be, it was going to be online. For me, teaching English online and writing was an obvious choice.

When winter came all I knew was I needed some sunshine and some heat so I Googled the cheapest hottest place in Europe and Gran Canaria was my answer. Flights were 100 GBP so all I had to do was find a base. I used ihacom.co.uk to book an apartment, near to the famous sand dunes of Maspalomas, direct with the owner. My mother, stepfather and boyfriend all wanted to go so we paid 300GBP a head for the apartment for five weeks.

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I wanted to be able to work with good internet connection and then go for a stroll on the beach or swim. Mum needed conveniences and my boyfriend Mario wanted to find some good surfing spots so we ended up in the tourist area. It is easy to rent a car for about 150GBP for the week. When you take into account taxi and bus prices this is the most cost effective option for a group of people.

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Internet connection in apartments are notoriously slow because they are often shared among a lot of flats so I had to invest in renting a mobile wifi modem. I used a company called Traveler Canaries Smart, who delivered the fast wifi connection to me at the airport. A representative was waiting for me as soon as I got off the plane. He signed me in and I was connected. It cost 100 euros for the biggest package.

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So here I am, working and exploring the island. It has amazing mountains and these stunning sand dunes. It doesn’t have the glamour of a tropical country but it has what I need within my budget. Let’s see how the next few weeks turn out…

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The 6 most shocking truths I’ve discovered about blogging, so far.

So this week’s adventure is a little different but I thought it would be worthwhile talking about my blogging journey so far because it feels like everyone is blogging or at least playing with the idea of doing it. Truth is, it’s not all what it seems to be. I am no expert at blogging so don’t expect a tutorial or anything. It’s just about what I have learnt so far and a few links to sites I find most helpful.

Call me naive but I got into this blogging lark thinking if I wrote lots of great stuff everyday people would love it and follow my blog, make comments and together we would grow a community of awesomeness.

I’ve been a writer for 15 year so I should know what I’m doing, right? Wrong. Big fat slap in the face for being such an idiot.

After a few days of bashing¬†away at my keyboard and publishing to the world on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, I reaped very few followers so I started to look in more depth about how to find more readers. I was pretty sure that more people than my friends would be interested in my blog. Embarrassingly, my mother was the only person who had commented on one of my posts. Thanks mum, I love you too ūüėČ

So I jumped down the rabbit’s hole to find out about the world of internet marketing and what was really going on behind all those successful blogs.

Shocker! Number one – everyone wants to get in your pocket.

The moment I typed blog and followers into Google I was inundated with blogs about blogging. There are so many courses, webinars and experts selling their knowledge and when I say sell, I mean the hard sell. The psychological sell.

They understand how you feel. They tempt you with some free information, They get you to subscribe. They make you want more and then, bang. They want you to pay hundreds, sometimes even thousands of pounds, for their tutoring.

Shocker! Number two –¬†You will have to wait years to organically grow a blog.

Blogs with huge followings started years ago when having a blog was not trendy. There were less bloggers out there vying for space in the market and those early birds have caught the worm but what about newbies like me? I’ve seen a lot of new blogs recently that have been around for one to two years and have more than 100,000 followers on Bloglovin’ already. I thought. Okay. Let’s aim high. If they have 100,00 followers already then it must be possible to get at least 500 in a month? I was soon to discover that there is a way but organic it is not.

 

Shocker! Number three – You will have to start writing for other blogs as well as your own if you want to get readers.

The most popular piece of advice to get more readers in the blogsphere is to guest blog. Write for others and include a link back to your own site. Erm. It’s enough work trying to fill the never ending pages of my own site but if I want anyone to know they are even there I will have to guest blog on more successful blogs to reach their audences and hopefully nab a few readers. Twice as much work.

Shocker! Number four – Bloggers pay to get there content seen.

Blog sales sites are a great source of information on how bloggers develop their sites and get readers. On sites like Flippa,¬†sellers of blogs usually state how they get their traffic. Time and time again I read that bloggers were using a company called Outbrain, which promotes content on popular websites, including The Guardian, The Washington Post and Huffington Post. Outbrain is not the only one that does this. A rash of businesses offering this service have popped up. Basically whenever you see ‘promoted stories’ on a site. They have paid to go there.

Shocker! Number five – Blogs aren’t using bloggers.

The one thing we love about blogs is that they have personality but some are totally faking it. This of course doesn’t go for all blogs but I have come across some bloggers on Flippa that stated that they use an autoblogging plugin to pull in articles from online content resources. It is so cold, it literally sends shivers down my spine. There are thousands of poor journalists sweating over their keyboards for two cents a word all over the world to fill the coffers of the content providers, who sell cheap and in bulk. This is soulless and you’re telling me blogs that use this content are competition? Surely people would prefer to read something honest, real and with substance…

Shocker! Number six РThere are a whole lot of unsung heroes behind the scenes.

My little heart deflated somewhat when I realised that I was not being realistic about my one-woman quest to create a successful blog. Some of my favourite bloggers were not these superamazingwebexperts doing everything by themselves. They had teams of people behind them, not to mention guest bloggers. There is a new wave  of media companies to support these web stars and hep them make money. Companies like Social Talent (click to see) bring bloggers and brands together so they can make some money from the various types of advertising. There are lots of companies like this.

Also all those gorgeous photographs you see on travel blogs are not all snapped by the hand of the fair blogger. No. They crawl the internet for gorgeous pictures and post them on their own site with a credit link back to the photographer’s website. When I realised how many credit links there were I was surprised.

So there you are. Maybe you knew what was going on behind the scenes or maybe, like me, you didn’t.

Just thought I’d post some links to my favourite sites for advice on blogging to say thanks for the tips.

Shout Me Loud is the blog for bloggers that is my go to site for practical advice that won’t cost me money. Click here.

Nichehacks offers good tips on creating a marketable blog. Cick here.

The Moz Blog is awesome for SEO and online marketing skills. Click here.

Bost Blog Traffic is heavily based on online marketing hacks. Click here.