10 Tips To Change Your Life

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All Photos from Italian Joy available in the print shop

Dear Friends,

Italian Joy brought so many people into my life and many who too wanted to change their life.

So much of what happened for me in leaving my job and heading to Italy was following my intuition and instinct, listening to my heart and not my head.

When I received the ‘first prize’ at my local Thai take-away for eating more take-away than anyone in Darlinghurst I was devastated. I had ‘rationally’ tried to stay in my old life for the previous three years when I knew I was unhappy but this small gift pushed my emotions and intuition into action. I knew I had to leave my old life.

Listening to my heart and not my head got me on a plane to Italy and the rest was one foot in front of the other and one day at a time. Many rational thoughts have entered my internal dialogue over the years telling myself I am crazy but staying true to my heart has been my anchor.

Here’s some advice looking back that might help you on your path:


You are really important. There is a reason you are here on earth, it isn’t an accident and you aren’t insignificant. You are a fabulous human being that should live a full and happy life and yes you can dare to dream your wildest dreams. You and your story is important please value and love yourself.


In my old life I would have little ‘daydreams’ of living a life less mundane, one without a grueling routine, with more people and more adventure. I was continually told ‘how lucky I was’ to have a successful business and live a comfortable life. This kept me in that life way too long. The feeling of being trapped is often our own mind playing tricks on us. Dream your biggest dream and work towards this dream.

Inspiration Board

Surrounds yourself with a visual version of your new life. Put it somewhere you will see it everyday. Spend 5-10 minutes everyday imaging yourself in your new life, feel the clothes, taste the food, see your work up in lights or whatever you desire. I did this recently when I wanted to move apartments. On the down days when I thought it wasn’t going to happen I would close my eyes and see myself in a beautiful white space (guess where I am today).

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All Photos from Italian Joy available in the print shop


Action is as important as dreaming. Without action, your dream won’t become a reality. Taking action whether it is research about your new life, finding a new job or creating opportunities is what will convert your dream in the long term. Over the past 15 years, I have put in so much energy to make this happen, far more than if I had ever stayed in my comfortable life and on those down days when I thought it wasn’t possible I would scrape myself off the bathroom floor and do something (anything) positive to keep my dream alive.


There will come a day when you decide to take a leap. It will be a day filled with so many emotions, from ‘school girl silly squealing’ joy to being in the scariest place you know. When you take away the comfortable or sorts of emotions flood in but be safe in the knowledge you are not alone and this is a normal reaction.


Open your heart and feel the joy of being truly in your new life. Trust in your decision and pedal as hard as you can to make it happen. Give where you can, a smile, a coin or a helping hand and you will always be rewarded ten times over.

More Than One Ball In The Air

I have never truly put all my eggs in one basket. Even when I was working with magazines in the early years I also started working with book publishers and accepting commissions to work on other people’s books. Don’t close yourself down to other opportunities, sometimes you never know which one will be your path.

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All Photos from Italian Joy available in the print shop


I have been on this adventure for 15 years now and I realize you never ‘arrive’ to that one perfect day where you clap your hands together and say ‘well that’s done’ and you look around at your perfect world and want to stop. I love my life, I love my husband, cat, my photography and my world and it’s a continual evolution so I remind myself to enjoy today no matter what is happening. Take a break, look around, smell the peonies and applaud yourself for how far you have come.


Never stop believing in yourself and your dream. I promise you, you will be tested, there will be days you feel like the universe is peppering you with rubber bullets but hang on tight and ride it out. One of my favourite quotes that I feel sums up my journey more than any other is by Mary Ann Radmacher “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” I just kept trying and trying and each day took me closer to my future.


In my old life I was dying to be loved! Wow, just blurted that out there but looking back I often wonder why that was one of my only focuses. I realize now I was so shut down to everything and everyone around me that I didn’t realize that I could give love and friendship whilst buying a coffee, patting a cat (or two), by smiling and taking time to talk to my next door neighbour. Love is all around if we are willing to give and accept it, you can feel loved even if you don’t have Mr or Mrs Right in your life yet. If you feel unloved today stop and give ‘love’ to someone else by giving someone on the street a coin or go rescue someone in crowded room standing on their own.


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain





P. S. If you would like a little help reconnecting to something that sparks your joy, you can download my free Reawakening your Lust for life PDF here.

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Danielle Melhop
Danielle Melhop
6 years ago

Best post I have ever read…you have no idea how much I needed to hear this. This will be a post that I re read and re read. Not only are you a wonderful photographer but a real inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing from your heart…by doing so you touch the heart of many xx

6 years ago

This is beautiful, Carla – and so ‘do-able’. I love what you said about love, too – that regardless of a romantic love life, love is all around and there’s more than one way to keep ourselves rich in it. Hugs to you and your gorgeous Avedon from my gorgeous kitty Ella and me !! x0

6 years ago

Love this! Wise words… Can’t wait to be living my dream xx

Natalie - The Writer's Ink

Oh Carla you are singing from the same place in my heart!! I adore this post and every whimsical word you have written 🙂 Would love to chat dreams/adventure/life with you!! Sending BIG love your way always. Thank you for releasing your gift to the world.

Love Nat your Aussie friend in NYC 🙂 xoxo

6 years ago

Carla, you are truly inspiring.

6 years ago

Thank you Carla
What a generous post.
Good timing as well.
Just today I picked up a book on nature and what ways to get into nature.
The thing is to ‘do.’ … Do it. Get up and physically do it.
This starts the wheel turning.
Sometimes the hardest thing to do.

Lynn Taylor
Lynn Taylor
6 years ago

Thank you so so much for sharing this Carla, you really are such a beautiful spirit! xx