the trip of a lifetime?

January 12, 2012

you’ve all heard that saying, right?

but what does it really mean to ME (or YOU)?

i was thinking about this yesterday morning in a moment of quiet:

  • what would be MY trip of a lifetime?
  • somewhere i’ve been already?
  • a place i’m yet to visit?

it’s almost five years ago that my husband and i both got made redundant on the same day and, after an evening of talking it over, decided to sell our house in new zealand and go see some more of the world. since then, we’ve visited over 20 countries, some of them multiple times. if you’d asked me five years ago today what i’d be doing it five years time, i’m not sure i could have imagined up such an adventurous life, or that i’d be sitting writing to you here on gypsy girls guide.

i’ve been more places than some, fewer than others…. and i’ve made some amazing friends that i would never have, had i not left new zealand.

a few weeks ago a new friend emailed me… i’ve been invited to travel with them at the end of this year.

this is someone that, a few years ago, i would never have dreamed i would meet (let alone become friends with). since the trip has yet to be finalised, i’m not going to say where, or with who, but it’s certainly going to be an adventure.

the invitation was what started this whole thought process off – would this upcoming trip be MY trip of a lifetime?

 i actually don’t know the answer. it’s certainly not somewhere i would have imagined i would ever go.

have you ever thought about what your trip of a lifetime would be?

is it…

  • somewhere you have already been?
  • somewhere you have always dreamed of going?
  • somewhere you are already making plans to visit?

or… could it be the trip of a lifetime is already happening for all of us…

that it’s not a place, a continent, or one short holiday experience
it’s the life we are already living?



leonie wise is a regular contributor to gypsy girls guide and co-creator of the new zealand creative retreats
you can read more about her travels and random thoughts at

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Posted in Nomad, Places

2012, year of the exhale

January 3, 2012

by Roxanne Krystalli

Looking at 2012, with daring hope.

There is a genre of music my brother has dubbed “college music.” In his mind, college music encompasses some combination of sappy lyrics, acoustic guitars, hipsters, or whining lyrically. College music to him involves the likes of Damien Rice, the National, Bon Iver, and Cat Power — in other words, every artist whose music strikes a chord with me. One summer, he and I were sitting on his balcony in Greece and I was listening to Ray LaMontagne.

Worry… worry, worry, worry, worry. Worry just will not seem to leave my mind alone, LaMontagne sang.

“College music,” my brother retorted.

My life’s music, I thought. I am a professional worrier. I worry frequently, and I worry often. It seems dissonant that someone whose whole day can be uplifted by a perfect blue sky will crash with dark thoughts. I am an equal opportunity worrier: I worry about hurting someone’s feelings, about sufficiency and enoughness, about safety, about the world, about my loved ones, about my health, about the future, I worry about what all this worry will do to me in twenty years, about everything that can be a cause of worry under the sun and that perfect blue sky that will fill me with joy.

“Well, duh, you worry. You work in freaking war zones,” I am often told.

Yet, I am less afraid when I am fully immersed. When I am delivering a workshop in a conflict zone, or conducting interviews in a post-conflict setting, or doing something that makes me come alive, fear fades into the background. It is in the quiet moments of the night that the worry gets back into bed with me, holding me in a suffocating embrace, tainting my dreams.

It is not journeys I long for this year. It is not novelty or fireworks I crave, though I welcome all of this into my life and am open to it if it comes. In 2012, I am willing a quiet mind. In 2012, I want to banish Ray LaMontagne for Damien Rice and his belief that I can “look into my eyes and see that noone will harm me.” Some former smokers say that months after quitting smoking, an exhale comes and they breathe deeply, making it all worth it. In 2012, I am living for the exhale.

Roxanne Krystalli writes, photographs and worries at Stories of Conflict and Love. You can follow her on Twitter at @rkrystalli.

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Posted in Aware, Fearless, Soulful

It was a Gypsy Girl year.

January 1, 2012

Gypsy Girls, a happy and peaceful New Year to you all.

It was almost exactly a year ago I started posting here; I thought it would be a year-long series. The first post was called Getting Ready to say, “Yes!” It was about readying yourself to live your own, unique adventure. As I read that post again now, I cannot believe it was just seven and a half years ago I lived in a sprawling, cookie-cutter neighborhood in Colorado, my study of languages and love of foreign travel a distant memory.

In 2011 I was true to my word, true to that post. I readied myself and said, “Yes!” to all the adventures the Universe presented to me. They were far flung. As my very smart friend from Google’d said, how was just logistics. (At one point I was trying to figure out the best way to get from Livingstone, Zambia to work in Chengdu, China.) This video shares a small slice of what ensued. 22 countries. A TEDx talk at London Business School (that didn’t make the video). Feeding baby pandas in Chengdu, China. Safari in Botswana and Zambia. Rio, Hong Kong, Houston, visiting fellow Gypsy Girl Christine in Los Angeles.

I never imagined life could be like this. Thank you for being part of it. I hope you’ll enjoy the video. It was that same Googler friend who asked, “How was 2011?” Here is my reply. (The perfect Gypsy Girl song is Sara Bareilles‘ “Many the Miles,” purchased on iTunes.) Enjoy.

Life can look like this, Gypsy Girls. I would love to assist any of you who longs to create a life that’s true to you – your own unique adventure. How did the year go for you?

As inspiration, I’ll leave you with this snippet from Tara Sophia Mohr’s poem titled, “In the End.” ’Seems fitting. It’s included in the video above, too.

What you’ll want a thousand years from now is this:
a memory that beats like a heart–
a travel memory, of what it was to walk here,
alive and warm and textured within.

Rebecca is an American expat living in Zurich. She designs and delivers leadership development experiences for multinational firms and works as an executive coach all over the world. She took all the photos in the video in 2011 (except ones she’s in & one a travel companion snapped out their tuk-tuk in Siem Reap, Cambodia).

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Posted in Jet Setter, Nomad