new beginnings, live your dreams, yes yes yes, say yes to yourself, the real you, how to become the real you, dream big, dreams to reality, carla coulson, change your life

Dreams of Moving to Greece, Italy, France, Spain, and Beyond??

new beginnings, live your dreams, yes yes yes, say yes to yourself, the real you, how to become the real you, dream big, dreams to reality, artisan fleuriste, bully, merci paris, paris plage

Dear Friends,

So many of you have big dreams about moving overseas, and as someone who moved from Sydney to Florence in Italy and from Florence to Paris, I feel like I have road-tested the concept of moving in all its glory and all its darkness. I’m always asked how to do this so today I’m sharing with you some of the valuable lessons I have learnt along the way.

Firstly, moving overseas is so much about our hopes and dreams, what we want to bring into our lives, and what adventure we want to go on. It’s about standing in a piazza and feeling the wonder and the beauty around you; it’s about dialling into your creativity and the things you’ve always dreamed of making in a new place; but most of all, it’s about love. The idea of loving a place so deeply that you’re willing to give up your life, everything you know, and what is comfortable to have this adventure.

It’s about loving yourself and believing in your dreams enough that you’re willing to step so far out of your comfort zone and try on a new life.

 

Here are some of the lessons that I’ve learnt in the past 19 years:

 

Lesson Number 1 – Choose a place you love

Going somewhere that lights you up, that you are connected to is the best place to start when choosing a new town or country. Of course, afterward, you will need to look at some of the practical things that may come up but loving the place is the most important. When I moved to Florence, it was my choice and I felt so deeply connected to Florence and I moved mountains to stay there. The smallest daily tasks brought me joy, such as ordering a coffee in a beautiful café, riding my bike through the ancient streets, shopping in Piazza Santo Spirito from a micro truck at my local market and all of this brought me a daily inner joy that helped override the difficulties.

Moving somewhere that someone else wants to move to is another story. The daily doses of joy were no longer there and things that I managed to overcome because I was so connected to Italy, frustrated and annoyed me in Paris.

If you can feel the love and excitement for a place, it will help you with the daily challenges without destroying your positive attitude.

new beginnings, live your dreams, yes yes yes, say yes to yourself, the real you, how to become the real you, dream big, dreams to reality, artisan fleuriste, bully, merci paris, paris plage

Lesson Number 2 – Take forever out of your story

One of the things that people always asked me when I moved to Florence were questions such as ‘Are you EVER coming back?’ or ‘Is this FOREVER?’ It always felt like someone had poured a bucket of cold water over me when they asked these questions. I would ask myself, what is FOREVER anyway? Does anyone know what they will be doing in FOREVER? My answer was always something like, ‘I’m not sure what I’m doing next week, let’s see how it goes.’ Allow yourself the luxury of the here and now and don’t ask yourself, ‘Can I live here in 20 years?’ — that would freak anybody out. Take it 6 months at a time and know you can always go home. No-one is making you sign a contract that you can’t break. On a lighter note, just imagine you are simply changing addresses.

 

Lesson Number 3 – Make a list of what you need

There are some practical considerations to take into account, such as how you will earn money, or do they have a professional printing place, a cinema or a supermarket? Ask yourself, what are the important ingredients for you? One of the things I learnt living in Paris is that a garden or outdoor space is really important to me, as is a printing place for my photography and ideally on my next move, I would love to live in a place where I don’t need to own a car. One of the greatest joys I have had living almost 20 years in Europe is not owning a car and using a bike, metro, or electric scooter for transport. Think of all the things you would love to have in your life, from a cinema to a local market, and see if your place fits your bill.

 

Lesson Number 4 – Test run

Going somewhere on holidays is vastly different from living in a place. It’s wonderful to spend some time renting an apartment where you can start to see how daily life works. Doing the shopping and seeing how much it costs, what it’s like living in a certain area, how the basic things work such as where the pool is or what the locals are like? Give yourself a chance to spend a month or more in a place and investigate as much as you can.

new beginnings, live your dreams, yes yes yes, say yes to yourself, the real you, how to become the real you, dream big, dreams to reality, artisan fleuriste, bully, merci paris, paris plage

Lesson Number 5 – Plan

If you are serious about moving overseas and don’t want to go back, make sure you have saved enough money for a year or two so that you give yourself time to settle in and don’t have to leave. Start learning the language, get the basics sorted such as paperwork for visas and how you get started when you get there and how you are going to support yourself.

You don’t need the whole story but you do need to feel safe and secure and that it’s long term. This will allow you to start your journey in a place of ‘love’ instead of ‘fear’ and from a place of love and a positive attitude all is possible.

If you are starting from fear, you are already making the whole project more difficult and your likelihood of it being long term slimmer.

 

Happy travels, let me know in the comments below if this was helpful and where you are off to.

Carla x

Letting Go – Why is it so hard?

Glorious Ones,

Have you ever done this? You arrive home, enter the kitchen weighed down with the shopping only to see the cat has pushed his food out of the bowl onto the floor and has no intentions of putting it back. Without pausing to put down the shopping bags, you grab the wettex and start juggling the cats bowl, your bag and wiping the floor with the shopping still on your shoulder requiring an Olympic gymnast level of mastery in balance and weight lifting?

Then whilst you are wiping away at the pet food stains you look over and see the other cat’s bowl is empty so decide it’s a very good idea whilst you still have the shopping bags attached to your shoulder, even though they are cutting into your skin, to pick up the 2 kilo bag of cat biscuits and pour some of them into kitty’s bowl??? By this stage you are a hot mess huffing, putting and sweating giant beads of sweat.

Then if you are lucky, like I was the other day you pull yourself up and ask yourself ‘are you mad’? What the hell are you doing??

I’m writing this from the place of someone that has had a life-time battle with doing things quickly, maxing out every moment of every day and holding things together with the most exhausting tool available to us human beings on this planet, white-knuckle control.

Although I am in ‘control rehab’ and have learned to let go, trust and use all sorts of other delicious parts of my brain, than just the logical left part of it to get things done with more ease and grace, sometimes that old neural pathway just kicks back in and there I am back again wiping up the cat’s food with the shopping attached to my back.

 

Here’s what I have learned your life looks and feels like when control is running the show:

  • You micro-manage every detail of your life and others.
  • You fill up every moment with something to do.
  • You’re outcome-driven – so you need to know where you are going to end up before you start or you don’t want to start
  • You’re tired and exhausted trying to make sure everything is perfect.
  • You thinking through every plan and what could go wrong days, weeks and months in advance of the actual event and come up with plan b,c,d & e.
  • You need proof that something will work before taking the leap.
  • You feel anxious and in fear because of the stress that it’s all on your shoulders.

 

Here’s what I have figured out why letting go feels so dangerous and scary to a control freak.

  • Everything will fall apart if YOU aren’t looking after things
  • It feels like riding a bike without your hands on the handlebar
  • There is no plan and no railings to hold onto
  • It feels like you are doing nothing
  • The sand is shifting underneath your feet and you don’t like it
  • You have come to trust control kinda like the person who buys a Volvo. It’s safe, gets the job done and will protect you and your loved ones.

As a creative and someone who ‘burnt the ships’ when I left my life in Sydney and moved to Italy with a ‘dreams-will-not-be-refunded policy’, I’ve learnt that there is another kind of magic available to us when we have the courage to follow our hearts and trust that what we are doing is the right thing instead of micro-managing it.

Learning to let go of the outcome, to follow the process whether it may be a creative process or trusting that a photography shoot will be ok even though the weather is looking challenging, letting others sometimes have their power and help you, is a process in itself. But that’s where the magic is.

I have learnt, that’s where the ideas come that I couldn’t force out on a deadline when I wanted them to, that is where serendipity leads me down a road I would never have gone down, that’s where someone else gets to shine and be heard and where the universe gets a hand in on the creative process. I have learned that letting go is the first step to getting a little bit more glorious you if you will just loosen the reins on this beautiful ride called LIFE.

So my lovely friend, if this little musing on letting go struck a chord with you, creativity is one of the most beautiful places to start whether it be singing, taking photos, painting, dancing or dangling your feet in the pool and creating water art.

Letting go rocks…

Carla x

Matthew Usmar Lauder, Carla Coulson, Wild At Heart Foundation

Reigning Cats and Dogs Art Exhibition London

Matthew Usmar Lauder, Carla Coulson, Wild At Heart Foundation

I love cats and dogs in fact I love all animals.

Matthew Usmar Lauder is one of my favourite people on the planet for so many reasons, not only is he a brilliant man, kind, generous, funny and loving, he is a super talented artist and is an animal whisperer.

Matthew Usmar Lauder, Carla Coulson, Wild At Heart Foundation

Matthew Usmar Lauder, Carla Coulson, Wild At Heart Foundation

I have witnessed first-hand his devotion to animals and art and nothing brings me greater joy than to let you know he is combining his two loves in an art exhibition in London next week called Reigning Cats and Dogs. The solo exhibition is in conjunction with the Wild at Heart Foundation Lesvos project to help fund the people of Lesvos rebuild a shelter on the island to ensure that hundreds of strays can find safe refuge, receive urgent care and medical treatment.

Matthew Usmar Lauder, Carla Coulson, Wild At Heart Foundation

Matthew Usmar Lauder, Carla Coulson, Wild At Heart Foundation

Matthew Usmar Lauder, Carla Coulson, Wild At Heart Foundation

If you are in London there is much delicious art to be seen and had and it will help our furry friends in need and the great people who look after them.

Matthew Usmar Lauder, Carla Coulson, Wild At Heart Foundation

 

Hope to see you there!

Carla x

And the Winners of the Yes, Yes, Yes Scholarship are…

Dear Ladies,

Thank you to everyone that applied for the scholarship and my apologies this is a day late. I had over 60 applicants and it took longer than I thought to watch the videos and read everyone’s story.

Everyone’s stories and dreams are valid, real and achievable. It has been one of the hardest decisions of my life to award 4 places and I was unable to do it, so I have created space for 7 scholarships.

There have been times in my career when people have reached out and helped me and maybe some of them didn’t know it at the time but they changed my life in some way. I hope this scholarship for the following women help them open a new chapter of their life and bring what’s in their heart to life.

So ladies, get ready for a happy dance…

Each of the following people has won a scholarship to the Yes, Yes, Yes Program:

  • Georgina Lee Jones
  • Kate Spanti
  • Julia Ferguson
  • Sarah Schaub
  • Meri Angelucci
  • Natalie Radalj
  • Loretta Horn

 

You will receive an email from me with all the instructions regarding Yes, Yes, Yes and the open date of our next round!!

For all the other ladies who APPLIED, THERE IS A SPECIAL EMAIL COMING YOUR WAY so look out for it and thanks for your time and stories and I hope our paths cross soon.

Big thanks and don’t give up on your dreams.

Carla

PS: If you want to start working on your dreams and projects today you can download my NEW BEGINNINGS WORKBOOK HERE.

new beginnings, live your dreams, yes yes yes, say yes to yourself, the real you, how to become the real you, dream big, dreams to reality, artisan fleuriste, bully, merci paris, paris plage

Aunty Joy in Paris

new beginnings, live your dreams, yes yes yes, say yes to yourself, the real you, how to become the real you, dream big, dreams to reality, artisan fleuriste, bully, merci paris, paris plage

Dear Friends,

When I was a kid, I was attracted to women who had giant rings on their fingers, often glamorously referred to as cocktail rings. I noticed these women seemed to belong to a special club! They were a little louder, noisier, a tad more free-spirited and sometimes downright naughty.

I watched with intent from the front row of my parent’s parties, barbecues and events how different types of people did life, I decided a long time ago I wanted to join the ‘cocktail ring club’. I wanted to be a glamorous woman with cocktails rings, living ‘who knows where’ in the world, doing something interesting and fabulous whilst being slightly naughty.

Even as I kid, that wild maverick side of me wanted to be unconventional. There were so many things that just the thought of made me feel hemmed in. A picket fence (would love one now), a grinding routine and conforming to the norms of society.

new beginnings, live your dreams, yes yes yes, say yes to yourself, the real you, how to become the real you, dream big, dreams to reality, artisan fleuriste, bully, merci paris, paris plage

I remembered in my late teens announcing if I ever got married I wouldn’t choose a diamond ring I would have a piece of rock instead and I would wear something weird to the wedding. My poor mother would just roll her eyes and deal with my latest rant on whatever I thought about life or my weird fashion moment.

When I was growing up I was attracted to excitement. I guess it was wanting a ‘bigger life’ and excitement felt like that, a little dangerous, a little sexy and a little like the ladies wearing those cocktail rings, doing something you shouldn’t do whether it was going to a party you shouldn’t be going to, hitchhiking to see Barnesy at the Kempsey RSL (sorry mum never told you about that) and being attracted to the funster men (mostly proved to be heartbreakers and very unreliable)!

When my sisters started having babies I was the most excited Aunty on the planet. They did the most amazing job being mums whilst I was still kicking around Sydney single, a little lost in a life that didn’t feel that exciting. How did the girl with the cocktail ring fantasy end up single at 35, in a job with a grinding routine, pretty much conforming to the norms of society!!!!! What happened to that bigger life?

new beginnings, live your dreams, yes yes yes, say yes to yourself, the real you, how to become the real you, dream big, dreams to reality, artisan fleuriste, bully, merci paris, paris plage

Well, I took my Aunty duties very seriously and packed as much fun into our lives as we could when I still lived in Sydney near these beautiful poppets. We would go to the pool together, dine in Darlinghurst (aka sip a babycino) and I would just love to look at these beautiful creatures and watch them grow.

A lot has happened in between and last night (aka 19 years living in Europe) and one of these poppets was in Paris this week and is now a grown, beautiful woman. I took her on one of my favourite tours around my local area in Paris, starting with a coffee at Caffe Tortoni and little something from Bully, off to see an exhibition of Elliott Erwitt, we dropped into Merci to check the wares and then weaved our way through the cobbled streets of the Marais eating Pierre Hermé macaroons on the hop before delving into Eataly just to please my Italian heart.

We watched Jessica Chastain shooting a movie on the corner of Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe and then we headed to the river and found two empty beach chairs (modern miracle) on 29-degree days and drank Aperol Spritz as the sun went down along the Seine with the whole of Paris.

new beginnings, live your dreams, yes yes yes, say yes to yourself, the real you, how to become the real you, dream big, dreams to reality, artisan fleuriste, bully, merci paris, paris plage

There was a moment that I looked at my beautiful niece Isabella and got choked up at her beauty, intelligence and kindness and with all my heart and felt grateful to share this moment with her.

I reached down to get something out of my bag and I saw my handful of big rings, you could almost call them cocktail rings on my leopard print dress and I was wonderstruck ⁠— sitting on the edge of the Seine in the spectacular afternoon light watching the sun going down behind Pont Louise Philippe, I realised I had become the little girl in my childhood dream without even noticing. I was no longer watching from the front row I was her and ever so naughty!

The spirit of the unconventional girl may have been covered up for the best part of 20 years in the middle of my life whilst I lived the wrong life for me but she triumphed in the end. My spirit kept whispering in my ears all these years and like the words in my own jumbled Cat Stevens song (needs to sung to The Cat’s in the Cradle) I formed my own lyrics as I headed home.

 

As I caught the metro home, it occurred to me

I’d grown up just like me

I was just like me

 

Sending you light and love,

Carla x

P.S. If you have still have some dreams you would like to realize, you can grab a copy of my NEW BEGINNINGS WORKBOOK HERE. It’s never too late.