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have you ever just stopped

Have you ever just …stopped…?

Today I had a wonderful day full of nothing in particular.

needed some extra salt (I use salt and Coke Zero to treat my low blood pressure, rather than prescription medication) so decided to finally visit the American diner that is literally across the road from the hotel.  I figured if I wanted salt, what better place to go!

I will post separately about the diner (it was fun and interesting), but the cacophony once I entered was overwhelming.  Two different soundtracks from the American 1950s competing with each other from upstairs and down, children running around screaming with glee, but still screaming, people shouting to each other so they could be heard over the noise…

After at least ordering something, since I had already been seated, I picked at it enough to get my salt fix, drank my drink, paid my bill, left a tip, and walked down the street just a little way to sit outside at a restaurant. 

At this new location, even being seated so close to the road that at times I thought a bus or two would swipe the side of my seat, and the constant hustle and bustle of people going by, it was amazing the difference I felt in the two places.  One overwhelming – the other… intriguing.

Once settled, I ordered a bowl of soup and a glass of wine, and began to just …stop…  Little by little I quietened my mind and began to truly observe and listen to the sounds and thoughts of the world as it meandered by.

The very tall Asian fellow with his very short female partner, he walking a pace and a half in front of her, holding her hand with his arm stretched out behind him, she taking two and a half steps to his one.

The nuns – who I have never seen walking alone, always in at least a pair.

The very attractive girl wearing oversized, shapeless clothes.

The average looking girl wearing so many overt labels (Gucci branded belt, LV branded handbag, Versace branded sunglasses, Hermes branded t-shirt, Dolce and Gabbana branded jacket topped off with red 5″ pumps in which she could barely walk) with a very attractive guy wearing simply black t-shirt, jeans, leather jacket.

The man in his fifties walking his dog of undetermined cross-breed heritage, the dog happily trotting along, smelling doorways, posts, people, and the man never taking his eyes off his mobile phone.

The elegantly-dressed woman in her 40s whizzing past on her electric scooter, wearing sneakers with her high-heels slung together over her shoulder.

The soup was filling, the wine a picante blend.

I was pleased with myself that I didn’t speak any English during my outing, only rudimentary Italian, but still managed to get everything I needed, and be respectful to those who were being of service – at least I hope that was the case.

One of the many, many, many blessings of the time I spent in England recently was that of simply ‘being’ again.  It was time I needed to simply ‘stop’, sit by the lake, chat with Tree (my friend, the large tree beside the lake), and just ‘be’.

It was such a gift to create my little sanctuary there on that tiny piece of Heaven, and to find my inner peace again.

…and now that I am back in the bustling, vibrant, and ever-moving ‘big wide world’ again, it gives me such a sense of peace and tranquillity to tap back into those feelings and find a spot like today – that could be any spot, any time, and last night when the world just felt a little too big, it was leaning out my window and observing the people walking by below – and just ‘stop’ and ‘listen’ and ‘chill’.

Yes, it’s lovely to go exploring, to visit places, have all sorts of experiences… but it is just as important to take time to simply ‘be’ – to stop, sit, have a glass of wine, and watch the world go by.  

Perhaps in order to quiet one’s own mind, get perspective, and find time to juggle everything one needs to juggle, it helps to simply stop and watch others – even if just for a few moments – to give our own mind time to dull and dampen the cacophony of chatter that doesn’t matter… and listen to the gentle voice of our own inner being that does.

My wish, dear friends, is that you can find even a moment or two to simply ‘stop’ and ‘be’…  Cherish each moment – as Michael Landon said, “there are only so many tomorrows.”


My Lovely Birthday in Iceland

I am in Iceland at present, and I was in quite the quandary about how to celebrate my birthday weekend this year…

Would I:

  • Go to somewhere like the Blue Lagoon?
  • Stay in one of those ice hotels or similar?
  • Go on another road trip?

While all those options and more sounded interesting, the fact is that I am having such a lovely time basically doing what I am doing, I couldn’t think of anything more lovely than soaking in the private geothermal hot tub, resting, reading, painting, and basically doing nothing but more of what I have been doing!

Then, on Saturday night I received a message on my phone…

…and yes, I did see somewhat of an aurora – very feint and wasn’t able to catch on camera, but it was like God was swirling luminous green translucent paint…  So beautiful!  So, that was an incredible gift for my birthday!

Sunday (my birthday) I totally unplugged…

I also bought myself some paints and brushes…  I had brought a set of pencils, coloured pencils, and pens with me, but really felt like painting (not that I am any Rembrandt!) – and took inspiration for a couple of them from the photos I took on my trip right around the island.

They are mixed media (on plain copy paper – as needs must…) of acrylic paint, pencil, pen, and metallic paint pen.

They are no great works of art, but I am going to give them to the hotel as a thank you for taking such good care of me.

…I really should have finished off the grassy area at the bottom left, but I was getting tired of all those individual strokes of grass leaves, that by the time I was down to the bottom of the painting, my inspiration had deserted me (but I will finish it off before I give it to Unnur)…

…so, I decided to go a little more abstract… (but with another of my favourite subjects!)

…and for my reading pleasure…

…and one can easily tell from the state of Mr Talbot’s book that this is not my first reading – nor is this the book’s first journey with me!

I also invested time journalling what I want for my life in this next year…

I had a haircut and treatment, and a facial…

I rested and slept and had a lovely bed-picnic…

I started learning Spanish…

I listened to music by candlelight…

I spent time in my suite that has three huge windows that overlook the harbour and the park, doing nothing but watching the world float by…

…and in general had the most glorious of birthdays!

PS: then I had the additional gift of receiving all my birthday wishes and messages on Monday morning when I plugged back in again!  Feeling so blessed!

~ Bella

In search of Walter Mitty

To see life; to see the world; to eyewitness great events; to watch the faces of the poor and the gestures of the proud; to see strange things — machines, armies, multitudes, shadows in the jungle and on the moon; to see man’s work — his paintings, towers and discoveries; to see things thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms, things dangerous to come to; the women that men love and many children; to see and take pleasure in seeing; to see and be amazed; to see and be instructed.

Those were the grand, and inspiring words LIFE magazine’s founder and publisher, Henry Luce, wrote in 1936, when he outlined his vision for his new publication.

One element I love about this quote is the ‘now-ness’ of it.  “To see” – not to ‘one day’ have these experiences, but rather to find them in our ‘now’.  To experience life to the fullest ‘now’.

In March 2000, Time Inc. (who by then owned the publication) announced it would cease regular publication of Life with the May issue.

This event is the moment in time in which one of my favourite movies, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, is based.

Essentially, Mitty (Ben Stiller) is a Negative Assets Manager (managing the photos and negatives) who, despite as a teenager having dreams of travelling the world and experiencing amazing adventures, has only managed to go to Arizona, and to Nashville (but just Nashville airport, in transit to Arizona).

I won’t give away the rest of the film, but a huge proportion of it is filmed in Iceland as Mitty learns to live the LIFE vision…

So, I decided for my birthday this year, I am going to go in search of the locations in one of my all-time inspirational films.

Last year I was in England for my birthday, but after months of looking forward to a particular event that I had booked, it ended up being one of the saddest of times to the point that I wasn’t sure I wanted to bother with celebrating my birthday again.

…but I am a Pollyanna, after all, so I’ve decided to only only celebrate my birthday, I am going to do so for the entire time I am here in Iceland!

My birthday is September 13th and as weather can be unpredictable here, I have decided to make this entire trip a celebration and to go in search of Walter Mitty.

…but this is more than merely looking for filming locations…


This movie represents to me the reality of Michael Landon’s quote.

We seem to think that we have all the time there is… but what if your dream was to go to the top of the World Trade Centres ‘one day’?

  • What if your dream was to ‘one day’ visit the incredible Azure Window in Malta (the one that was featured in ‘Game of Thrones’? (it collapsed in 2017)
  • Perhaps you wanted to ‘one day’ dive the coral reef off Christmas Island in Australia?  (90% of it died off mysteriously in 2016)
  • What if you want to ‘one day’ see the iconic snow peaks on Mount Kilimanjaro? (in recent years the ice sheet has shrunk by 85% and continues to disappear at an astounding rate)
  • Maybe you wanted to ‘one day’ ride the wild water rides at Disney’s River Country? (it was closed in 2001)
  • Perhaps you wanted ‘one day’ to experience The Guairá Falls, a series of enormous waterfalls that once flowed down the Paraná River between Paraguay and Brazil?  (the construction of a dam in 1982 basically turned them off)
  • What if ‘one day’ you want to visit The Cave of Altamira, located in the Cantabria region of northern Spain, to see examples of Paleolithic art, some dating back 22,000 years?  (due to the presence of so many tourists, the cave was closed in 2002)…
  • Maybe you wanted to see another new Robin Williams’ film; meet Diana Princess of Wales; hear Freddie Mercury at a live concert; see all the members of the Eagles perform together; experience in person the antics of Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter; or witness ‘what next’ from the mind of Steve Jobs…?
  • …or maybe you said ‘one day’ we will visit a particular relative or friend… and they, too, have now passed…

A friend of mine always wanted to go to France with her husband and attaching a lock to the Pont des Arts “love lock bridge” in Paris.  I heard many times about how they had made plans to “one day” visit the landmark and re-declare their love for one another…

Alas, due to the weight of the locks on the structure, in 2015, workers began removing the locks and later replaced the railings with glass panels.

No more “love lock bridge”… and no more ‘one day’.

Walter Mitty at the beginning of the film essentially lives out his fantasies and his ‘one day’s in his imagination – and while I realise not everyone is able to take off on a moment’s notice and go to Paris to put a lock on a bridge, how many dreams do we have that we simply relegate to ‘one day’…

So, in honour of every one of us who realises the importance of ‘now’, and who is doing everything we can to live our best lives…  I am dedicating this trip to the Walter Mitty in each of us.

At the beginning of this year, I wrote a ‘decade in review’ (http://luxuriousnomad.com/decade-in-review/).

I didn’t realise it at the time, but that post is basically my personal testimony to Mr Luce’s vision…  It is filled with amazing experiences I have had, people I have met, places I have seen…

“…to see and take pleasure in seeing; to see and be amazed; to see and be instructed.”

If we add, “to live happily in each and every moment, to learn, to share, to leave a legacy, but most importantly to love and be loved,” that, in my opinion, is the quintessence of life…

~ Bella

What on Earth is a “Match”?

As a Luxurious Nomad living in the twenty-first century, whose age is in the second-half of its own century, and whose love of the late nineteen and early twentieth centuries leaves her feeling like a woman out of time, it is rather challenging to find a partner.

The Season

history of debutante balls

In ‘my’ era (late Victorian-Edwardian), people did ‘the season’ in order to meet potential partners.

I grant that the system had its flaws, but it was an opportunity for individuals to meet, dance, talk, and even if on some very superficial level, to get to know one another.

While respectability was held as a virtue, some slightly less virtuous fellows had an interesting way of letting one know exactly their intentions – bring on the nineteenth-century ‘calling cards’ – yes, they are real!

You can read more about them here:  https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/instead-cheesy-pickup-lines-19th-century-americans-gave-out-calling-cards-180957743/

The Twentieth Century

By the middle of the twentieth century, the season had largely died out (with the last debutante ball and presentation at Court held in 1958) – but still people met at dances, village events, and the like.

The Digital Age

Move forward to the twenty-first century, people barely even know their next-door-neighbours, and dating is done online.

I have run the gamut of various dating sites on and off for about ten years or so, and in that time have some extraordinary tales to tell of dates gone wrong (LOL! That brings some doozies back to mind!), some lovely men who since became friends, and some that never made it past the first couple of messages (LOL!!! again, such memories! If we meet up for a drink sometime, remind me and I will fill you in! LOL!).

I still have an active membership on one site to which I subscribed during one of the ‘off again’ times in my previous relationship.

Out of curiosity, I thought I would log in… and lo and behold, apparently I have an almost perfect “match”!

…but what is a “Match”?

In this instance, the man in question is a 5’7″ accountant (I am 5’9″ and said in my profile that I like tall men) who likes to take holidays in the sun (I wrote that I love the cold weather and avoid the sun), and whose one and only photo was a selfie taken on an iPad in the bathroom.

(by the way, this is a premium site with premium membership)

Aside from this obvious non-match, at various times I have been “matched” with a man who when he started to get to know me said, “I would always feel I was trying to compete with you”; another who spent the first communications asking about my political affiliations – and then proceeded to twist my actual answers so that they agreed with his; and yet another who let me know right at the outset that he liked to tie women to bedposts (good to know)!

Benefits of being single - Album on Imgur

Post Covid

…and now with dear old coronavirus in the mix, me thinks that the best chance of me meeting a man will be at a gas station!

Hmmmmm, that does remind me about an absolutely dishy man I met at a gas station near Wales one time… I told him I was in lust with his bright yellow Bentley (LOL!) – and we had the loveliest banter about ‘Driving Miss Daisy’… and then… alas… we both left…

Note:  if anyone happens to know said fellow with the bright yellow Bentley, please do feel free to give him my number!  🙂

So, why am I still single?

One day my Mr Right will turn up – and until then…

People ask me, "Why are you still single? You're intelligent ...

~ Bella

SpaceX makes history

The rest of the world may still largely be in lock-down and not able to leave their homes, but today, Elon Musk, two astronauts, and countless support people and companies made history by leaving the planet.

Today the private rocket company SpaceX has sent Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, two Nasa astronauts, into orbit – essentially signalling the start of NASA using SpaceX as a ‘taxi’ service to the International Space Station.

These photos are my small ‘thank you’ to Elon Musk and others like him for living their passion and making their dreams a reality. Each and every one of you is a role model that if we believe, and we keep putting one foot in front of the other toward our goals, that what we want to achieve can really happen…
Here in the Southern Highlands of Scotland, it doesn’t get dark at present until around 11:00pm. I took these photos of the moon yesterday at around 9:00pm and although the sky looks quite dark, it was in fact still bright blue…

As the world begins to open its doors again, and I am preparing for my next journey, I wanted to take a moment and reflect on the fact that this planet can sometimes feel ever so big, and at other times, ever so tiny – but no matter where we go, this beautiful moon is constantly there, looking down on each of us, and in her own way, telling us everything will be ok…

Sending love and smiles to all…

~ Bella

Shoot for the Moon…

One of my favourite quotes is by Mr Les Brown:

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.” 

I was thinking about that last night when I took these photos… as well as each and every person who is dear to me… it may be corny, but there is something comforting about knowing the one you love is able to look up, no matter where they are, and see the same moon above us…

~ Bella

Bella’s Vision Book

Many of us have heard of ‘vision boards’ and ‘visualisation’ with regard to helping us focus on the future we wish to create for ourselves.

I am very much a proponent of such techniques, but not in the way one might think…  This is not a ‘wish list’ – for in wishing for something, one is acknowledging the lack of it – and since this is an attraction-based universe, what do we get?  More of the lack of it!

Instead, I like to focus on what I know is part of who I am – the essence of things in my life I love…

When I see an image of a magnificent castle, I don’t necessarily want a castle – what that picture of a castle represents to me is beauty and elegance where I lay my head of an evening… and I already have that in my world – and so it helps me focus even more on the elements of my life I love…

With that in mind, just before I left Scotland, I created a ‘vision book’ with cuttings…  Everything in this book in some way represents elements of my glorious life – always perfect, always in creation, always wonderful…

…and I thought I would share it with you…

~ Bella