katie mcknoulty, the travelling light, beam your light please, digital nomad, photographer, branding, travel writer, carla coulson

Katie McKnoulty and The Travelling Light

Katie McNulty, The Travelling Light, inspiring lives

I love the young ones!! I love to be surrounded by people of all ages, there is so much to learn from babies, kids, teenagers and beautiful gals like Katie McNoulty in their 30’s. She’s a writer, photographer and digital nomad and I just adore this term, on the go with a computer and a passport. Recently, Katie became a nomad of another kind. On the blog today, read what inspires Katie and all the good and beauty she is bringing to the world.


Your beautiful blog The Travelling Light takes us with you on your travels to over almost 40 countries! What initially attracted you to a path of nomadic travel and inspired your blog? How was life different before you started The Travelling Light and did you have an inkling that there was another lifestyle that you needed to explore?

The idea for The Travelling Light definitely came first, before the nomadic idea. I was working in travel marketing, for a tourism board and then an airline, and I had such a strong urge to create travel guide books that were a bit different; that only featured really beautiful, unique, smaller, lesser-known places. I wanted to make guide books for the kind of travel I liked to do because I was convinced that the generic, one-size-fits-all travel info out there, telling you to go to Big Ben or visit the Eiffel Tower, was not covering the entire gamut of travel possibilities! But the road to publish a book is long so I settled on making a blog to publish the project instead. The ideas swished around and sometimes just sat still in my head for about two years before I actually started working on it! After about 10 months of collecting content and creating the brand and website, I then finally launched it and it felt so good and my life moved very quickly in a very good direction after that. A lot of fortuitous things have happened in my life as a result of starting The Travelling Light.


I started living nomadically at first just by dipping my toes in the water and then kind of doing the full jump! Before The Travelling Light, I was living in London, working a 9-5 job and found myself pretty unhappy after living there and working for a year. I definitely thought there was another life I had to explore but I thought it was in advertising/creative agencies. I tried to get my foot in the door in that world but all the doors seemed very closed to me actually. My first freelance client was also my life coach at the time, I did her branding and marketing work in exchange for sessions to begin with. It went well and in time she started paying me and she didn’t care where I was in the world when I did the work. So the first seeds of nomadic life started to take root from there. I remember there was some point where I realised I wasn’t going to try to look for a regular job anymore and was just going to take off to the U.S. and work online and travel and see how long I could last until my money ran out! There have been ups and downs since but there’s never been a point where I thought I couldn’t keep making it work; work and clients for my Brand and Marketing consulting work always seem to show up when I need them.

katie mcnulty, the travelling light, inspiring lives

You have a beautiful warm photographic style and your writing is always incredibly insightful, refreshing and personal at the same time. Did you see yourself as a creative from a young age and know it could be a career option for you or something you considered later? What were some of the steps you took to create The Travelling Light blog as we know and love today?

I always knew I loved writing, I read so much growing up. My Mum would deliver me travel memoir after travel memoir to read as a teenager, they were always some variation of a girl finding herself in a very foreign country and navigating and eventually finding her place in that place. I wanted to study and become a journalist but practicality won in the end, so I ended up studying Marketing and French at University instead knowing that marketing could be a pretty creative career involving communicating. In my marketing jobs, I was working with travel photography and photographers a lot, as well as copywriters and graphic designers. This part of the job was always my favourite. I learned so much just watching all these creatives work. I never thought I could be creative myself until I bought my first camera (in Tokyo, Japan!) and started writing and taking photos for my blog project.


For The Travelling Light, I was all about figuring out the feeling, the look and feel and meaning of what I wanted to say first. I’m all about branding being a Brand and Marketing Consultant in my freelance work! Then I had lots of fun on my travels over the next 10 months collecting lots of stories and images to publish. I spent a month holed up in rural Italy working on creating the website myself at all hours of the day and night. I remember it then just sat there for quite a while and finally a few months later my friend gave me the final push to put it all out there; she said ‘just ship it’ haha! So I ‘shipped it’. Over the next year I was posting regularly from my travels and slowly collecting a few readers here and there but I think it was mostly just friends and family to be honest reading it all. But I didn’t care, I loved creating that content so much and I think that came through in the final product. After a year of posting just for the love of it, I got a few ‘big breaks’ where women’s magazines from all over the world and travel sites I admired so much started posting my content and including me in lists of bloggers to follow and it’s snowballed from there.


Looking back on your journey, how did your blog and travels evolve over time? Do you choose and plan exactly where you want to go next and explore?

As time has gone on, the site has become not only about sharing my travels but also about sharing my personal, emotional and spiritual journey as a nomadic freelancer living a weird life. I started to figure out that that’s something people found interesting and helpful! I also started to meet the people living in all these amazing places I wanted to visit and found their stories inspiring so I started interviewing them for the site too.


My travels have evolved just to become slower and slower until I’ve now found myself wanting to live minimum 4-6 months in one place before picking up and moving again. I had started to feel like I needed more of a stable base to travel from. At the start, I was happy to move to a new place every month or even less, and it was really dictated by friends I knew with a spare room or couch I could crash on or a place with lots of affordable Airbnb listings. I also really mapped out where I wanted to explore and cover for the site at the start and I really pushed myself to visit them all. But over time I learned that the best stories were always the ones I didn’t plan, and the best places were always ones I found by chance or by someone taking me to them, not by lots of internet research. So I learned to chill and trust on the travel planning a bit which has been much more enjoyable.

You’ve been featured in The New York Magazine, People Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan Magazine’s ‘Top Instagrammers to Follow’ lists to name a few. Do you have any special advice for someone who is considering making a career change into something more creative? Is there a way to work out what your personal brand or expression could be?

My best advice would be to find a vehicle to practice on and explore your creative talents. You just need to spend time in the energy of that creative pursuit and feel that good feeling you get from doing it, and then more opportunities to keep doing it will show up, I promise! But you also need to spend time doing that creative thing because you will need to hone your skills. It’s amazing to me looking back at old photos I took or articles I wrote and at the time I thought they were flawless and now I cringe! And I’m sure that will continue to happen as I keep getting better and looking back. So you just need to spend hours and hours doing it I think. But I think you can start slowly and maybe start working for free too, you can start taking photos of your friends, you can create a website for someone you know to test the waters, you don’t need to dive straight in and quit everything, it can be process of taking the pedal slowly off your current career and slowly putting it onto a new creative one. Whatever needs to happen in your life will happen when you’re ready. It’s true what everyone says when they say, ‘just start’.


Katie McNulty, The Travelling Light, Inspiring Lives

Taking the leap into the unknown and following your heart is a hugely rewarding path that takes a lot of courage. What have been the biggest challenges for you in launching your creative life? Did you always know it would work out?

I think believing in myself and my talents has been the hardest challenge for me. When you love doing something and it comes naturally to you, the way that creating communication pieces, writing and taking photos now do for me, you can’t really see from the outside why you should get paid to do it or why that could be valuable to someone else. It’s hard to recognise your value when it’s so in you I think. But every time I reach a new level of understanding my value and believing in what I have to offer, a new, more exciting level of work shows up for me. So I really believe that changing the internal world first, working through those uncomfortable negative thoughts and turning them around, is the best way to move forward in a creative life.


I kind of did think it would work out, my creative life, but I kind of didn’t at the same time. There never was a point where I thought, ‘oh well it’s time to pack up and go home and get a real job Katie.’ But the fear of that moment coming has always hung in the back of my mind and ruled my life and decisions a lot I think. I think I’ve always had an attitude of ‘well you better make this work because going home’s not an option’ so I’ve lived out of a fear a lot over the years. But of course going home is always an option, Australia’s a pretty beautiful place! But I’ve unearthed this strange background thought recently and am doing some good work on letting it go and living from a place of trust instead, of knowing that if it doesn’t end up working out here in this nomadic existence it’s only because there’s something better waiting for me somewhere else.


Katie McNulty, The Travelling Light, Inspiring Lives
One of the best things about The Travelling Light Instagram and blog is the level of realness and authenticity in your posts. Has it come naturally to you to always feel able to talk openly and share your story with the world?

Absolutely not! I remember when I first started writing blog posts and social media posts for The Travelling Light I would completely obsess over every letter and syllable. And I was only talking about cool places to visit back then! In time, I started to find it exhilarating sharing my deeper, more honest thoughts, and I found it exhilarating too that people out there on the internet could connect and relate to them and share their own similar thoughts. That started to become addictive sharing on a deeper level. I started to ask myself before I posted on social media, ‘what is the thing that’s really going on for you today, what do you really think?’ I think started to try to share that kind of thing more and I noticed that people connected with it and I mean, that’s what social media and blogging are about right? They’re about connecting with each other.


We’d love to know what’s up next for ‘The Travelling Light’? And lastly, what would you say to yourself if you could go all the way back to the beginning of your journey when you were just starting out?

I’ve just moved to rural Italy to be closer to nature and to loved ones and to just chill out so getting situated here is up next! But also up next for the The Travelling Light is a website refresh – I want to focus more on sharing stories from people, myself and tips and articles too on living a life of your own design, of finding and following your own light. I would also love to start making videos from my travels and interviews as I just find that you can tell such a rich story through video and honing that craft would be a huge challenge. I’d love to produce a coffee table book too! Plus in the next few weeks I’ll be launching my new website for my branding agency, The Light Studio where we help emerging businesses with brand and social media strategy, content creation and some other creative services.


If I could go back to the beginning, I’d tell myself that all those sneaking suspicions and intuitions I had about my life and how it was going to unfold were right and to not worry. I’d tell myself that I deserved to have everything I wanted and dreamed of as long as it was in alignment with the higher good. I’d tell myself that my creative ideas were good, my talents were valuable and to just trust them and put them out there more!


Thanks to beautiful Katie for sharing so generously.
You can follow her on her blog or check out Beam Your Light Please, her latest creative branding baby.
carla coulson, 20 best things to do in Paris, ultimate guide to Paris, best addresses in paris, Merci Paris,, la vie best belle, life is beautiful, la vita e bella, concept store Paris, best shopping paris

Carla’s Ultimate Guide to Paris

Dearest Paris Lover,

I wrote this blog a couple of years ago for one of my best friends who was coming to Paris and have updated it today as it is still one of the most questions I’m asked, “What would I recommend for a groovy gal if she just had a couple of days in Paris?”

As a coach and photographer, one of the things that I believe in is the power of pleasure, beauty, and joy and the wonderful benefits it has on our nervous system and mindset. So my version of Paris has plenty of things on the list for the senses!

So I have written an updated version, of my ‘best friends’ guide to Paris, where I’ve  put a lot of thought into it and jammed packed it with things I love about Paris and can’t wait to do myself.

Here goes.

1. Coffee

The first thing I hear when I meet up with most Australians in Paris is ‘agghhhh the coffee’. Now for the uninitiated us, Australians have some of the best coffee in the world (move over, Italy!) so when we arrive in Paris and see those gorgeous cafes, we are imaging great coffee. Wrong!

Now, anyone that gets off a 24-hour flight deserves a good cup and here are some of my favourites where UHT milk (that is widely used in Paris) is banned.

Boot Cafe

19 rue du Pont aux Choux
Paris 75003

I love this place! It is a teensy weensy cafe in the third and it is gorgeous in every way. This cafe was the former home of a boot maker and the owner has kept the sign out the front and added even more atmosphere and beauty inside. Be warned it’s tiny, 2 tables but they do great coffee to take-away. It’s just around the corner from groovy Merci so you can stop in for a coffee on the way.  This place makes me happy.

Coutume Institut

60 rue des Ecoles
Paris 75005

The fabulous boys at Coutume Cafe have opened an ever so cool space right next to the Sorbonne. You feel like you are in Finland or Australia. White trestle tables to share, big open space and lots of light and heavenly coffee. Tell your 20 year old friends they will love it as will you!


76 Rue des Tournelles

Tucked behind the busy Boulevard Beaumarchais Fragments is not a place you accidentally walk by. Look for the traditional Parisian shopfront painted black. These guys are serious about their coffee, the pace is slow and relaxed so don’t come screaming in for a quick take-away. The coffee is great and they serve a delicious range of cakes and salads. Hubby rates this as one of his best coffees yet!

Cafe Coutume

47 Rue Babylone
Paris 75007

A French/Aussie combo started this cafe and were at the forefront of Aussie’s doing great coffee in Paris. Not far from Le Bon Marche in the 7th these guys take their coffee very seriously. Bare-bones decor and yummy things for a light lunch. Coffee and milk 5 stars!

KB Cafe
53 Ave Trudaine

The French guy that owns KB took a trip to Australia, walked into a Bondi cafe, couldn’t believe the coffee and remained for a couple of years. On his return to Paris he opened KB Cafe in gorgeous SOPI (south Pigalle) and has a stream of devoted customers each day. If you are in the area and hankering for a good coffee or a great green tea drop in and say hi.

5 or 19 Rue Lucien Sampaix

Two cafes on the same street!! Ahh Holybelly, this is the ultimate “I’m missing my Aussie cafe breakfast’ place! I love Holybelly, eggs like you were in Sydney, coffee like you were in Melbourne, friendly staff and a cute space to boot…

Ten Belles
10 Rue de la Grange Aux Belles


2. A walk or drink along the Seine

Something magical happened in Paris a couple of years ago, the once very busy road along the river was closed to traffic and has become the most magical place to bike, walk, drink or eat with your friends. Paris has turned parts of the left and right bank into boats with bars, restaurants, dance schools and places to grab a beach chair and relax. One of my all time favourite things to do on a beautiful day.


3. Merci

First shopping stop Merci. Merci has become my second home. I love eveything about this shop, the products, the space, the wonderful restaurants and cafe.. But most of all I love that a percentage of profits are donated to charity. I lunch at the canteen downstairs as it has great ‘girl food’ Paris and you look out onto a beautiful herb garden. There are lots of lovely fresh salads, soups and organic juices that are hard to find on the menu in Paris.

111 Boulevard Beaumarchais
Paris 75003


4. Bunker down in a Bistro

I love Paris’s bistrots and there is nothing better to do on a cold, rainy Parisian day than to eat in one of these wonderful, atmospheric bistrots. There are so many glorious ones and if you are lucky to sit in front of someone you love, the memory will be burned into your heart forever. These are two of my favourites

Le Carreau
5 rue de la Corderie

Au Petit Fer a Cheval
30 rue Vieille du Temple
75004 Paris


5. Picnic on the lawns of the Louvre

Now who would have thought when you are not allowed to lie on the grass in almost all of Paris’s park (except for handkerchief size squares) yet you are able to picnic amongst the hedges of the Louvre. Go figure?? I love it here in Summer, smack bang between the Tuileries garden and the Louvre you feel like you are in the centre of Paris and what a backdrop. Take a picnic, spread out and enjoy the long summer nights.


6. Rooftop Bars – Get up high!! 

One of the most fabulous things to do on a spectacular Paris day is go to one of the many rooftop bars around Paris. You feel like you are top of the world and seeing Paris from a different viewpoint feels all so glamorous. The rooftop bar at the Hotel Raphael spoils you with a view of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe and has serious cocktails. Bring your wallet!!

Hôtel Raphael
17 Avenue Kléber,
75116 Paris, France


7. Small Museums

There are so many wonderful museums in Paris but I love the small ones. The Louvre is incredible but I get an anxiety attack everytime I go, I leave feeling guilty that I haven’t seen it all. Instead I discovered the small ones. Galerie Musee Baccarat is irresistible. Housed in ancient Hotel Particulier, France’s most glamorous glass is awe inspiring. I also adore Musee Bourdelle, Antoine Bourdelle’s incredible sculpture museum with monumental sculpture and original artist’s atelier and for photography lovers, the MEP is a must.

Galerie Musée Baccarat
Place des Etats-Unis
75116 Paris

Musée Bourdelle
18, rue Antoine Bourdelle
75015 Paris

Maison Européenne de la Photographie
5-7 Rue de Fourcy
(Metro: St. Paul)


8. Florists

One of the most beautiful things I love about Paris is her flower shops. Those sweet little local shops with their fine selection of peonies and sweet peas, lillies and roses and their devoted staff creating bouquets with love.

L’Artisan Fleuriste is in my hood and has been my go to fleuriste for all my flower photos and it fills my heart with joy and beauty everytime I walk in the door. Most markets have a wonderful flower section.

L’Artisan Fleuriste
95 rue Vieille du Temple
75003 Paris

80 rue Oberkampf
75011 Paris


9. Jardin du Luxembourg

Why?? Because it is an oasis of gorgeousness in urban Paris. When I have a giant case of jetlag I cross the river and jog in Jardin du Luxembourg. I feel like calling out ‘silence please’ as I enter this garden. For me it’s a spiritual experience to walk underneath the chestnut trees in bloom and try and discern one perfume from another. If you want to see the world’s greenest grass, this is the place. French attention for detail in every leaf.


10. Le Palais Royale

This is the double whammy.. Whilst all the tourists are circling the Louvre and trying to find space in the Jardin du Tuileries the Palais Royale is left to the locals. Tucked behind the Comedie Francaise it is one of Paris’s most beautiful spaces with a garden to boot and some of Paris’s best shops. If there is one place in Paris you should buy perfume it is in the ultra French space of Serge Lutens in Les Salons du Palais Royale. Oodles of French ambience. This place makes my heart skip!!


11. Desserts

Paris has the best desserts in the world. I can’t get excited about the Beef Bourguignon or the Confit di Canard but put a tarte citron or chocolat chaud in front of me and I am purrrringggg.. I love the atmosphere of Angelina’s on rue du Rivoli and they make the best hot chocolate in Paris. Old world Paris, pure rich hot chocolate in silver pots with whipped cream – it could get a girl into a lot of trouble!! ps. go for morning tea and don’t even think about going on Sundays!!

You all know about Laduree and their to-die-for macaroons but there are so many wonderful local places to try in Paris. I live just around the corner from Patisserie Pain-de-Sucre and these guys take cakes very seriously. Lots of original flavour combinations and they have just opened a new shop with a wonderful bench out the front where you can sit and savour them!!

226 rue du Rivoli
75001 Paris

Pierre Herme

18 rue Saint Croix de la Bretonnerie


Chambelland (Gluten Free bakery)
14 Rue Ternaux,
75011 Paris


12. Astier Villatte

If I had a shop in Paris I would love it to be like Astier de Villatte. A little run down, like tumbling head first into a magical Parisian version of Alice in Wonderland. Magical teacups and ceramics all in beautiful white, hand-picked diaries and paper weights that lift a nostalgic heart to new heights.

Astier de Villatte
173 Rue Saint-Honoré


Astier de Villatte
16 Rue de Tournon
Paris 75006


13. Perfume

I had the great fortune to photograph many Parisian perfumeries and I LOVE THEM! Serge Lutens in the Palais Royale has atmosphere and perfume ‘a go go’. Frederic Malle makes some of the best perfumes in the world and his Carnal Flower full of tuberose is my favourite.

Serge Lutens – Palais Royale
142 Galerie de Valois
75001 Paris

Frederic Malle
13, rue Francs Bourgeois
Paris 75004

45 Rue de santoinge
Paris 75003


14. Le Haut Marais

You musn’t leave Paris without visiting the top end of the Marais where all sorts of grooviness happens! Between rue Francs Bourgeois and Republique flanked by Bld Beaumarchais and in the heart along rue de Bretange there are divine boutiques, bars, cafes and the fabulous market of Les Enfants Rouges for lunch. It’s where all the grooviness is happening right now in Paris.


15. Wild and The Moon 

For my lovely vegan and gluten free friends Paris is tricky to find the right food but one of my favourite haunts is Wild and The Moon. This fabulous eat in or takeaway chain has delicious prepared food that will make your gluten free/vegan heart pound with delight at the choice.

Wild and the Moon
55 Rue Charlot,
75003 Paris


Wild and the Moon
9 rue du Plâtre,


16. Deyrolle

You know I love animals so you are probably wondering why I like Deyrolle? Deyrolle is a taxidermist with a difference and one of those old worldly, quirky places that possibly you don’t expect Paris to have. Deyrolle proudly state that all animals have died of natural causes. Polar bears and lions, baby elephants and advarks.. One of Paris’s most fabulous shops is found in the elegant 7th.. As you mount the old wooden stairs and enter into animal fantasyland you will be forgiven for the ‘oh my god jaw drop’.. Out the back you can have your made to order butterfly or bug selection framed. An exquisite present that has a constant line of Parisians queuing..Only in Paris.

46 rue du Bac
Paris 75007


17. Museum National D’Histoire Naturelle

I was stumbling around the Jardin des Plantes one Sunday morning when hubby and I decided to enter the above museum. If I have ever had a ‘OMG’ moment in Paris it was here. Holy Dinosaur Batman!! If you are a stylist, a five-year-old boy, a set designer or a lover of beauty run to this fabulous museum. It’s amazing!!! Feels like it hasn’t been touched since they dragged all those bones in here. No interactive screens, no illuminated gadgets just good old fashioned wood, bones and cabinets.. I LURVE THIS PLACE.

Museum National D’Histoire Naturelle
57 Rue Cuvier
75005 Paris


18. Go Glam

Paris has some of the most glamorous decors in the world. Walking into a high end, sophisticated bar or restaurant in Paris transports you to another world and another sensation.

If you don’t want to break the budget but still want a super luxe experience you can have high tea at the Ritz or a drink at the swish Le Meurice or possibly my favourite summer lunch at Lou Lou’s at the Art Decoratif where you sit out on the lawns of the louvre under white umbrellas and with a view of the Eiffel Tower.

Lou Lous
107 Rue de Rivoli,
75001 Paris

Le Meurice
228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris

Ritz Paris
15 Place Vendôme,
75001 Paris


19. To Market to Market

And what is a visit to Paris without a visit to a local market?? I would say it is essential!! As important as standing in front of the Mona Lisa in the Louvre!! Real Parisian life revolves around the market and all you need to do is to join the crowd at Paris’s biggest market on sunday at Marche Richard Lenoir and you will see just how important food is still in a Parisian’s daily life. Keep moving otherwise you might experience caddy rage!!


20. Enjoy

The greatest thing about visiting Paris is to take your time, wander the streets, sit in the cafes, push open big heavy doors that lead to secret courtyards to see what is revealed and discover Paris one layer at a time. You will always have your version of Paris, what lit you up, a conversation with a kind person that stays with you or a bite of a choclate fondant that will stay with you for the rest of your life.


I hope you enjoyed my addresses. I would love to hear in the comments section below what you love about Paris or a favourite address that I might like to try next time I’m out and about.

Love and light

Carla x

winter, paris, carla coulson, seasons, seine river, creativity, picking your creative fruit, taking advantage of your talents,

Are You Guilty of Never Picking Your Valuable Creative Fruit?

winter, paris, carla coulson, seasons

Dear Friends,

For most of my life, I have chased the sun, turning my back on winter and fleeing whenever I could. I avoided seeing the good in the autumn and the winter and always looking forward to Spring and Summer and the positivity and high energy that radiates with them.

There is a natural quieting that happens in Autumn and winter in Europe when life and people turn inward. It’s all part of the natural life and death cycle but I was never up for the death part of it, all I wanted was to feel alive! I never wanted the stillness. Like many modern girls and guys, I lost touch with nature, the cycles and all the wonders they bring to us, our nervous systems, inspiration, creativity, minds, and bodies.

Someone once made the observation about me that ‘I don’t pick the fruit’. I remember when he said this, it got my full attention, ‘What do you mean I don’t pick the fruit?’ He went on to explain that I never stop, I just keep moving, new projects, new ideas, new energy and never really stopping to take advantage of all the experiences I have had, what I have created or built.

This year, winter served me, I decided to pick the fruit!! I started a whole new relationship with the cold, the dark and the enforced nurturing and stayed put.

For the first time, I didn’t flee to somewhere sunny and surrendered to slowing down, to staying indoors, to quiet reflection and in this process, I achieved more than I have in a long time. For almost the entire Parisian winter, I stayed put and wrote, pondered, reflected, created and bore my baby YES, YES, YES – my online program.

I kept thinking of myself as a farmer and picking the fruit of my experience that I have always just left hanging on the tree. It was the most beautiful metaphor to go back through my experiences and see where all the learnings were and how I could pass them onto others.

The creative process for me has always been like a birth (even though I have never born a child) and I love in those quiet moments where ideas feel like magic, they come from what appears to be nowhere and out through your pen, even though you have shelved your ‘fruit’ for a long time, it’s there ready and waiting when you decide to stop and pick it.

It’s funny how a sentence, a comment or a remark can change how you do things. This one funny remark had me pondering on it for months after it was made about how I hadn’t picked my fruit, I would walk around muttering to myself ‘where’s my fruit?’, till I started to see it clearly for myself.

Are you guilty of moving on and never taking advantage of your experiences, skills, knowledge, and talents? Love to hear in the comments section your thoughts on picking your fruit.

Enjoy winter if it’s coming to a place near you soon, it’s an incredible change of rhythm and an invitation to bring something to life.

Creativity, love, and light,


new beginnings, live your dreams, yes yes , move to paris, move to france

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

carla coulson,joy, freedom, mindfulness, creative coach, yes yes yes, say yes to yourself, claire lloyd, greece lesvos,

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

Your Dreams are Valid!

If you are 40, 50 or 60+, you are the perfect age to bring what you want into your life.

How do I know?