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Category: My Travels & Adventures

What I read while driving

I’m not talking about texting while driving, nor holding a book, phone or tablet precariously while driving…

I am talking about audio-books!

As you probably know, I am about to head off on another road trip – this time up to Scotland for a few weeks.

Any time you are a captive audience such as travelling in a car, on a train or similar, rather than listen to the radio, my preference is usually to listen to an audio-book or two or ten.

My selection for this road trip is as follows:



This book is actually fascinating!

“Born in the small city of Thal, Austria, in 1947, Arnold Schwarzenegger moved to Los Angeles at the age of 21. Within 10 years, he was a millionaire businessman. After 20 years, he was the world’s biggest movie star. In 2003, he was elected governor of California and became a household name around the world.

Chronicling his embodiment of the American Dream, Total Recall covers Schwarzenegger’s high-stakes journey to the United States, from creating the international bodybuilding industry out of the sands of Venice Beach, to breathing life into cinema’s most iconic characters, and becoming one of the leading political figures of our time. Proud of his accomplishments and honest about his regrets, Schwarzenegger spares nothing in sharing his amazing story.”

  • Listening Length: 23 hours and 26 minutes

http://amzn.to/2CifJ60


Wayne Dyer is always one of my go-to places of inspiration…

“The author has researched intention as a force in the universe which allows the act of creation to take place. This title helps you gain inspirational tips for living life to the fullest by listening to the author live as he explores the secrets of the power of intention.”

  • Listening Length: 2 hours and 31 minutes

http://amzn.to/2ysm0Zu

 

 


“This is the original interview between Andrew Carnegie and Napoleon Hill. Hill used this interview as the basis of his world famous book Think & Grow Rich.”

 

  • Listening Length: 9 hours and 9 minutes

http://amzn.to/2ysxQTK

 

 


“In the spirit of Steve Jobs and MoneyballElon Musk is both an illuminating and authorized look at the extraordinary life of one of Silicon Valley’s most exciting, unpredictable, and ambitious entrepreneurs – a real-life Tony Stark – and a fascinating exploration of the renewal of American invention and its new makers.

Elon Musk spotlights the technology and vision of Elon Musk, the renowned entrepreneur and innovator behind SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity, who sold one of his Internet companies, PayPal, for $1.5 billion. Ashlee Vance captures the full spectacle and arc of the genius’ life and work, from his tumultuous upbringing in South Africa and flight to the United States to his dramatic technical innovations and entrepreneurial pursuits.

Vance uses Musk’s story to explore one of the pressing questions of our age: Can the nation of inventors and creators who led the modern world for a century still compete in an age of fierce global competition? He argues that Musk – one of the most unusual and striking figures in American business history – is a contemporary, visionary amalgam of legendary inventors and industrialists, including Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, and Steve Jobs. More than any other entrepreneur today, Musk has dedicated his energies and his own vast fortune to inventing a future that is as rich and far reaching as the visionaries of the golden age of science-fiction fantasy.”

  • Listening Length: 13 hours and 23 minutes

http://amzn.to/2BpnZ6o


It was wonderful being at Highclere (Downton Abbey) and this book by Lady Carnarvon, whom I also met at the party, is extremely well researched and quite a glorious ‘read’…

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey tells the story behind Highclere Castle, the real-life inspiration and setting for Julian Fellowes’s Emmy Award-winning PBS series, and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants: Lady Almina, the fifth Countess of Carnarvon.

Drawing on a rich store of materials from the archives of Highclere Castle, including diaries, letters, and photographs, the current Lady Carnarvon has written a transporting story of this fabled home on the brink of war. Much like her Masterpiece Classic counterpart Lady Cora Crawley, Lady Almina was the daughter of a wealthy industrialist, Alfred de Rothschild, who married his daughter off at a young age, her dowry serving as the crucial link in the effort to preserve the Earl of Carnarvon’s ancestral home. Throwing open the doors of Highclere Castle to tend to the wounded of World War I, Lady Almina distinguished herself as a brave and remarkable woman.

This rich tale contrasts the splendor of Edwardian life in a great house against the backdrop of the First World War and offers an inspiring and revealing picture of the woman at the center of the history of Highclere Castle.”

  • Listening Length: 7 hours and 32 minutes

http://amzn.to/2Ci2rpW


“What really is the Law of Attraction? How do you get it to work for you? These are the incredible stories you need to hear…

Neville Goddard’s The Law and the Promise contains arguably the most amazing success stories involving the Law of Attraction ever published. Inside you will hear dozens of incredible first person accounts from people who transformed their lives by unlocking the power of their imagination.”

  • Listening Length: 3 hours and 46 minutes

http://amzn.to/2AEXSsx


While there are literally more than one hundred audio books in my library (aka my iPhone), these above are the ones selected to accompany me on this particular journey.

I am heading off tomorrow…  Sooooooo looking forward to it!

~ Bella

Appointed Official Photographer with Prestigious Bradt’s Travel Guide Company

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been thinking that it would be wonderful to have my photos distributed to a wider audience…

Almost immediately, I learned (as I put in a post a few days ago) that The Guardian Newspaper had featured one of my photos; and then that seven of my photos were featured and shortlisted in the International Historical Photographer of the Year Awards…

and now…

The multi-award-winning Bradt’s Travel Guides has appointed me as an official photographer AND…

…they are featuring twenty-four of my photos in the upcoming newest edition of their “Slow Devon” book!

Since 1974, Bradt’s guides have been among the most loved guide books in (initially) England and then across the globe.  From their website: “Bradt has a reputation as a pioneer in tackling ‘unusual’ destinations, for championing the causes of sustainable travel, and for the high quality of its writing. Our books are intended to be as entertaining to read as they are useful reservoirs of tourist information. And they have personality. Each is a one-of-a-kind expression of the author’s interests, expertise and passion for telling it how it really is.”

Hilary Bradt has given so much to the field of tourism, that in 2008 she was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) by HM Queen Elizabeth for Mrs Bradt’s services to the tourism industry and to charity.

I feel so incredibly privileged to be supporting such an icon of quality – by doing what I love!

~ Bella

Language Folly

What language do they speak in Vienna?

One would think the obvious answer is “German”, ya?

German may be the official language, however during my stay I have been making myself understood with a variety of English, German, French and Italian (and given that the only language in which I am moderately fluent is English, it has been quite a comedy)…

Not only that, but the servers at cafes, shops and restaurants seem to talk in a fluid mix of several languages.

Just yesterday I went back to the yummy gelato shop and this was the conversation with me noted as B and the man serving me noted as G (for gelato):

G:  Bitte, yes?  [German/English]

B:  Stracciatella, bitte.  [Italian/German]

The man scoops up my yummy stracciatella into a cone and rather than put it into the cone-stand-up-gizmo, hands it to me –

G:  Pour vous.  [French]

B:  Danka!  [German]  (and I licked the side of the cone as it was about to drip)

G:  Deliziosa, si?  [Italian]

B:  Si!  Questo delicioso.  [Italian]  (I gave him the money and as he gave me the change…)

G:  Danke.  Au revoir.  Caio.  [German/French/Italian]

Talk about united nations!  LOL!

~ Bella

WWII history

Lovers of History

Their Sacrifice is Not Forgotten

Just outside the window where I oft curl up at Torquay Marina (literally across the road from where I am staying) and work, write, read and enjoy a vino is a D-Day memorial.

WWII History

What warms my heart each and every time I am there is that without fail, someone stops to invest time reading the plaques.

WWII History

No matter the age, people of all walks of life stop and read… and often not just for a few seconds, but for several minutes…  Even this gentleman (who looks like he is scooting past) actually invested around 10 minutes reading each panel in detail.

WWII History

Especially given my love of history and my being immersed in it while writing of Bridgit’s adventures, my heart soars that those who gave their all have not been forgotten.  That people still stop to learn, to ponder and to remember…

WWII History

WWII History

WWII History

My profound gratitude goes to both the men and women who gave their lives and also to the Torbay Council of 2006 who had the foresight to erect this reminder of their sacrifice.

…Lest We Forget…

~ Bella

Torquay marina

Today’s Office – Marina-Side in Torquay

Torquay marinaI love my offices..!

Over the past week or so I have been really ramping up my physio and both today and yesterday even felt up to going for a walk around Torquay – literally ‘around’ – along the waterfront.  OK, so every step hurts quite significantly, but I don’t care – just being mobile is such a blessing!  …and besides, there are plenty of people who are worse-off, so I am a very happy Princess Pixie!

Torquay Pavillion
Torquay Pavillion

After a lovely walk this morning exploring in particular the magnificent but neglected Pavillion (I will put up an entire post just on that over on my Luxurious Nomad blog), have now settled in to another ‘office’ to get some work done and have lunch.

As I type this, people are strolling by, the tower bells are chiming twelve for noon, the seagulls are chiming in with a squawk from time to time… (by the way, as I typed that word, squawk, I thought how delightfully funky it is! – ok, must be the low blood sugar affecting my already unique outlook on the world – time for food)

Local fish and not-chips
Local fish and not-chips

…and lunch has arrived!  Freshly caught this morning, local fish (substituted plain jacket potatoes for the fries – am being a little good…)

It was soooooo tasty!  Light and flaky…  Yum!

I do love it here in Torquay ever so much…

Well, back to work for this little Pixie…

Today is continuing the actual pulling together all the research I have done for Bridgit’s second book and beginning the actual ‘writing’ process…

Wishing you a truly magical day!

– Bella

virtual office

What does your office look like?

…and I’m not talking about how many stacks of papers there are on your desk…

How to live a life most people only dream about…

I’m referring to ‘where’ you actually work.  For many, there is no option but to turn up to a specific place however there is an increasingly large group of people who have the flexibility to work without being tied down to a specific desk in a specific venue day after day.

If your work is such that as long as you are connected to wifi and cell phone coverage you can do what you need to do, consider thinking out of the box with regard to what your office looks like – because essentially, you can have a ‘virtual office’ and work from some of the most extraordinarily beautiful places…

For instance, just the past couple of weeks, my office has looked like this…

virtual office leigh st john luxury travel achievement strategist

…and this…

virtual office leigh st john luxury travel achievement strategist

…and this…  Sitting in the car in the sun in happily working away – no need for the heat to be on as the sun is SO bright today, it’s keeping the car nice and toasty… We had a cold snap and outside it’s 28oF and the entire lake is frozen… I went for a short stroll and the only sound you hear is the breeze and the slight crackling every now and again of the ice… It’s magnificent!

virtual office leigh st john

 

…and this…  Sitting beside the lake, in the grounds of a glorious 19th century national trust home…virtual office leigh st john

 

So, how can I work at all these (and others so cool and amazing they would seriously blow your mind – this is just a selection from the past couple of weeks) beautiful places?

Simple.

Technology has made it possible for those of us who do not have to be physically in a certain location, to work from just about anywhere.

How do I do it?  

In addition to my cell phone and iPad, I have a plug-in gizmo (technical term) for my laptop that enables me to get wifi signal anywhere that my provider has coverage.

I also have a power-outlet gizmo (another technical term) that plugs into the cigarette lighter of the car and into which I can plug anything I would normally plug into the power outlet in the wall.  This means even if batteries are running low, I can either work on ‘mains’ power (so to speak) or just charge them up and continue.

PLUS – because I travel all over the world, I have a small power-strip adapter that is suitable for various voltages – so it doesn’t matter if I want to work beside a waterfall in Virginia or a winery in Tuscany…  As long as there is a wifi signal, I am good to go!

On top of that, I have a tiny portable printer (that also prints from my iPad and iPhone) and a scanner that is so small it’s almost ridiculous.

My files are all stored on Dropbox, with local versions on my laptop for times when I’m not connected to the internet.

All international calls are done via Skype’s “Unlimited World” package whereby, for around $15/month, I can call any landline in the world and any cell phone in the USA or Canada.  I’ve also recently added “Unlimited Europe” (approx $20/mo) that includes calling to cell phones in most European countries and the UK.

My entire ‘office’ fits into a carry-on, with plenty of room to spare.

Also, many phones can be set up to be ‘hot spots’ so your laptop can use your cell phone’s data in order to connect to the internet.

“But isn’t this expensive?” I hear many ask…  My response is two-fold.  When in the USA, I probably pay around $50 a month more than the average business person who uses their phone etc for work – so yes, it does cost more.

BUT…  Look at the types of places I get to sit and work!

Seriously, if you are one of the lucky ones who do not HAVE to be tied to a particular place, consider what your office could look like – even if just every now and again…

It’s amazing how your very soul smiles and how productive you can be when your office looks like this…

virtual office leigh st john achievement strategist luxury global traveler