This year I started out with a clear vision, I am going to concentrate on writing and writing only. After trying quiet a lot of creative outlets, I figured writing will offer me the most chance to live the life I ever wanted. Being free in my decisions to stay and travel where I want, work when I want and escaping the daily grind of being dependent on others and their judgment to meet months end. While in January winter in Europe covers tress with ice and snow, storms and heavy winds torture the sea, throwing out lots of driftwood and dirt on the empty beaches, my mind was set, my goal clear. Highly motivated I cancelled my sea view apartment, sold all my belongings and arranged that some of my pensions plans, I’ve had paid for and build up in my time as corporate member of society, where cancelled and paid out to me over the coming month. I calculated that my freed assets allowed a gap year where I was able to finish writing the first series of my debut children book. After some travel blogging, poem- and song text writing, in 2015 Rosalinda came to me in my dreams. Meanwhile February in Holland mostly offers grew and dark cloudy skies, plenty of rain mixed with stormy winds and minus degrees, my thoughts where stimulated by living in a sunny place with clean, white sandy beaches, blue crystal clear water, tiny colourful fishes and that typical laid back lifestyle where you just can be yourself, no questions asked. However, it must be kind of safe for single women, as I travel on my own and do not want to put myself into places and or situations where I may get in trouble easily and unknowingly, which as a free spirit I surely have a talent to. Considering all this little but for me important points, beginning of March I was ready to start my new adventure/third career. So my first airplane ticket had Aruba written on it, also known as “One happy island”. Back in time, I had been living there for about two years and knew it is a place where I will have all I need writing down my stories and beside that; I had a chance to catch up with some old friends from back then. Needless to say that a quiet place is mandatory, which automatically ruled out typical beach resorts, time shares or any other tourist packed place. So I ended up renting a studio apartment via an agency specialized in short term rentals. After downsizing my belongings to a 30kg luggage, laptop and hand bag, a few weeks later I happily arrived on that tiny but evolved and westernized island. Passing emigration and luggage check quickly I stepped out into the sun and took a deep, deep breath. What a feeling, warm with a slight breeze and relaxed atmosphere simply perfect, I welcomed myself back in paradise. But as usual there are things you just cannot prepare for. I walked to a nearby taxi while pressing the call back button on my phone, to call the landlord I had booked my apartment with. In the car a young voice answered my call and after a quick introduction I handed over my phone to the driver so that the young lady could explain him where to drive me. No big deal on Aruba as it is really a tiny island and you barely can get lost – beside Nathalie Holloway then -. The driver, a typical origin with a friendly appearance and a bit too much weight, answered in the local language Papiamento handed me back my phone and quickly drove off. After about 10 minutes and 25 dollars less in my pocket, I arrived in front of a yellow house anywhere between airport and downtown. Tired from a 10 hour flight at first I did not realize that the pictures I had seen from my future temporary place to life where slightly different and so I stepped through the entrance and that young lady welcomed me warmly. She then explained that my apartment was not ready yet as they had not heard from me. So then I thought, lighted up a cigarette and happily looked around me. The sunlight and coloured houses catch my eyes while my brains got flushed with old memories. A bit later she came back and brought me into the apartment. It did not look at all like the pictures I remembered and as the sun set slowly went down, I started wondering. A moment later by the time we discussed the days she had me booked and the rent she wanted to cash in, it hit me. This was indeed the wrong place and while darkness had come down, I remembered. Back in Holland I had booked a 10 day backup, while awaiting the confirmation from that specialized agency. With a 24 hour cancellation policy I thought better safe than sorry. The young lady now explained me that she had called me after I had cancelled, just prior to my arrival but with no avail. The time she mentioned calling me, I indeed was not able to pick up the phone and just later saw a missed call from Aruba. Mistakenly thinking it was the landlord from the other rented apartment, which was supposed to contact me at that same day I just saved that number not thinking much about it. So now it turned out that I was at the wrong place with a rental just for ten days, instead of six weeks for almost the same price. It took me a view seconds to realize and with my best “I am so sorry smile” I apologized for the misunderstanding and kindly asked her to call a taxi so that I quickly could drive to the place where I was expected, hoping that the landlord there was still waiting. To my surprise the young girl did take it very well and showed much understanding for my mishap. She even asked a friend of her mother to drive me up to the location which was more on the north part of the island. Another twenty minutes later I finally arrived at the right place, but of course the landlord was gone already as she had been waiting for about 2 hours. Luckily living on a tiny island brings some advantages with it, such as having a nice next door neighbour who is holding the key ready in case the expected new tenant is yet to come. I thanked the lady friend who drove me, got out of the car hastily and grabbed my luggage out of the trunk. Yet before I even had opened the gate my new neighbour opened his door and stepped outside. With a big grin over his sun tanned face he listened to my story while walking with me to the entrance of my studio apartment in the back of the house. After some quick instructions he left and finally I had been arrived on my first stay in my new life as a writer on travel. After a long and much needed shower, some crackers and a glass of water, I fell on the bed and with a deep sigh I closed my eyes for a dreamless, well deserved sleep.
The following days I was busy meeting the landlord, renting a car and assimilate into the laid back way of island living. The first week passed and I had not started writing yet, but therefor pretty much enjoyed daily beach outings and happy hours around sunset where I just mingle among the usual tourists, time share owners and long term residents. Quickly I made new friends who proved to be very much involved in water sports, so the following week I just hung out, got tanned and just lived by the day. It felt great living by the day, not thinking or worrying about anyone or anything. Deep inside myself, I knew it was right and that on a certain point my new discovered inner voice would tell me when it was time to start writing, and so it was. My initial idea was to finish six of twelve short stories which had popped up in my mind over the past months. All of them related to that little girl that just want to help mother earth and increase awareness that nature is not for granted. And not long after I thought about my main character and how she best could explain her experiences and communicates her concerns, I woke up one morning and started writing, and writing and writing. About 4 weeks later I had written four stories and had to switch apartments, which came in quiet handy as I felt that it was time to have a little break anyways. And from what I had learned so far, just living by the day and doing the things that pop up in my mind. That day the local Butterfly farm was what I spontaneously decided to visit whilst driving around. It turned out to be a visit which delivered so much worth knowing information that a new short story was added to the book. Although the whole island is just a great place to be, that butterfly farm really hits the mark. What a calm and peaceful place, I went back there several times to research, relax and to silence my very, very chatty mind. Beside, you only had to pay entrance once and could come back as often as one wanted. Perfect for me and for the first time in life I watched butterflies popping out their cocoon and could participate in early morning meditations with the sun rising. They say that if a butterfly is going to sit on you, it will bring good luck. So one day after I had taped all information from the guides, made plenty of pictures and was just sitting on a tiny pond watching fishes and relaxed, it happened. A huge green winged butterfly sat down on my knee. And while watching him slowly swinging his wings and resting on my knee. I felt assured that this new added story was very important to write and my little main character girl had to share it with the rest of the world. So I got back to my new apartment put myself back behind my laptop and started writing again.
A little more than five months later I got my first writers block as it is called. Empty brain, exhaustion, pain in my back and hands, my body was telling me to take a break. I had finished writing five of the six stories I had in mind and another six just outlined. Satisfied with my results so far and another three weeks to go on Aruba, it was time to relax again and start thinking about the next steps.
What are the next steps, I asked myself? Not having published a book before, I felt a bit clueless. But then I remembered a conversation I have had with a lady from a small publisher company about a year ago. Back then she had given me some useful starter tips and I had joined their network building website. So I sent her an email with my questions and she got me in contact with some editors, to start the next phase of my debut children book.
By then my finances had been drastically shrinking due to the fact that living on an island is just tempting, I am a woman and as such I like to pamper myself so now and then. Which includes hitting town for a shopping spree; beach parties and I also usually become a regular in a local beauty salon of my choice. Nothing to worry about but as by now I had not generate any income with my new chosen path, I thought it was time to start thinking. How can I keep concentrating on becoming a professional writer and also keep that life style I meanwhile got accustomed to? No need to say that I could not imagine at all going back to beaten paths.
With this in mind I figured making a promotion video could help me to find a publisher or sponsoring in some way. And to get the best out of editing I need to get in contact with a native German. Because those contacts I have gotten so far, were not native, did not appeal to me or just asked too much money for my idea. Some kind of a plan must be developed to fulfil all this different aspects and also assure me to be able follow my dream. First I contacted a young guy I had met on Aruba to tape the promotion video, and then I created a promotion website. I also checked out fund me pages but quickly discovered that this is not for me because I do not have a huge network yet. Next I started thinking about options to provide myself a place to stay with not having all the commitments that come with renting or best not paying for it at all. Thinking of going back to Germany or Holland made me a bit ill feeling as I do not function well in cities and the cold also turns my energy level down. There has to be a way, I just have to find it, I said to myself while hanging in my hammock nipping on a refreshing, cold beer.
Time flew by and in my last week on Aruba I had to make arrangements where to stay next. Nothing came up and I had to book a ticket back to Europe. Beside my efforts to get noticed by a publisher and/or sponsor hadn’t been successful so far. Luckily friends in Holland offered me each a stay of two weeks which gave me another four weeks to figure out how I can keep on building my new career and living the way I meanwhile felt was perfect for me. Back in Holland I contacted my mother and she told me that my aunty was going on vacation for three weeks and apparently did not have anything against the idea that I would come over and use her place. It pretty much fits into my plans, finding a German native Editor and so it happened that I travelled to Germany in autumn. Of course first I had to visit and say Hello to all family. This took me a few days, before I eventually could start searching for a suitable Editor. With only one week left in my aunt’s house, one Sunday afternoon I had a Skype call with a close friend of mine. We were joking about the fact that I was kind of homeless and he mentioned that even before I had quitted my old secure lifestyle, I frequently had taken care of his house and cat. We talked further and extended that thought with the idea that such an option probably already was existent. Considering that in 2017 almost everything is a business on the web. Ok that is something I wanted to have a closer look on and later that same day I started searching the web for options. Indeed it turned out to be an option and not just one as I found several sites that offered housesitting. As more I read, the more I got enthusiastic about it and by midnight I had subscribed to a site which appeared most interesting and promising to me. Not to forget that I had just a week to find a new place to stay. Entirely focused on becoming a house and pet sitter, I totally forgot that I earlier that week had contacted some editors. To my surprise the next morning I received an email from one of them who was interested to edit my first five stories for a decent price. Good things happen to good people I thought, wrote back immediately to set up a meeting where we could discuss details. From there on everything fell into place, I first applied for house sitting vacancies, then I met my now editor for coffee. And before my aunty was back from her vacation I had my first assignment as a newly started house sitter. So from Germany I travelled to Goa, India. Remember? I mentioned right at the start that I am more a sun loving person, so just right for me. I stayed for six weeks in a very nice house with garden, four dogs and plenty of space. I was able to concentrate on reading the corrections from my editor, and also had enough time for another little project I set up to support an environmental campaign in my birthplace. The next assignment was New Zealand where I was asked to becoming the Christmas body for a fluffy little black dog called Bentley. Now I am still here enjoying not only the warm weather, but also the fact that the editing is moving in a good pace. What indicates that I am going back to Europe half January, staying over for a few days in my auntie’s house and eventually meet my editor. Then I go by train to Holland where I’ve already signed up for my next house sit. Great because a friend of mine has some new recording equipment which I can use at no costs involved. Because after all my efforts to find a publisher or sponsor and with zero results booked, I decided to start the other way around. First the audio book, then the e-book and then print on demand. Maybe I let go of the print on demand version totally, as young generations nowadays swipe or listen rather than really read a book. But no stress here, time will tell. What I do and where I stay from mid-February on? I do not know yet, but since I live in the here and now, it is just following my heart and inner voice and things just develop great, not to say perfect.
Although I still do not make a dime with writing, I surely have found a way to keep on following my hart and inner voice. Further looking for new ways to support myself I also started an online course to develop my talent as a speaker. And as a newly started house sitter I am looking for websites that might are interested in a weekly or monthly story about house sitting as a fantastic new form of living.
With that in mind, I am looking forward to an active and adventurous 2018, where the stories of a little girl finally will be published. A little girl who is keen to awake humanity and the awareness that we are all coming from one source, a planet called earth.