Finding community through blogging: Sisterhood of the world blogging award

The amazing Paula Green, aka Nan.  She was an incredible inspiration and I'm so grateful to have had her in my life.

The amazing Paula Green, aka Nan. She was an incredible inspiration and I’m so grateful to have had her in my life.

Before she passed away a few years ago, my amazing, incredible, inspirational 94 year old Grandma, Paula Green, who had travelled the world when she sang for the troops in the 40’s, bought an iPad so she could Skype me whilst I was living in São Paulo. She’d trained at secretarial school, worked as a telephonist and even had her own orchestra in Germany after the war had ended. She was a strong, smart, sassy woman, but the iPad baffled her a bit. She persevered and we all repeated our instructions so she was able to launch the Skype app by herself.  Knowing her limitations, she sought to befriend them and surmount them.  She would not let this new fangled technology beat her!

I really saw this strength of will come into play when my grandfather passed away.  Despite being in her 80’s she cared for both of them and when he passed away she came into her new independence (my grandfather was quite controlling) in a way most 20 year olds would be in awe of! As she took responsibility for everything my grandfather had taken care of for 40 odd years she got her head around ATM’s, mobile phones, telephone banking, the internet etc to take complete independence of her 80 year old self. I could see it in her eye, “right Paula” she would say to herself mentally, “this is new, this is important, but you are going to get your little head around it”.

Maybe her biggest strength was faith and self-confidence.  She knew everything would always be alright and she knew she could do it.  She’d travelled round the world, rode an Elephant in ‘Ceylon’ and been in a popular BBC radio show.  Of course, she could do it.  She could do anything she put her mind to.

I see her approach to obstacles in me and hope I can keep channelling her fortitude and self-conviction. She was such an incredible inspiration to have as a role model. Thank you little Nanny for being you, I love you. Thank you Matt for letting me have a little cry and spend some time remembering these beautiful souls who are still blessing our lives.

Paula Green singing with Felix Mendellson’s orchestra:

Whether we like it or not, the world is increasingly digital and so much more of our lives and connections are made and sustained online.  When you’re travelling, as I am now, that’s a great thing; we can keep in touch with our loved ones, continuing to share each others lives through the wonders of Facebook, Skype, Instagram etc. I also yearn for a simpler life. For conversations looking each other in the eyes when you speak face-to-face, for gatherings of loved ones and interesting people, for less technological distractions to just focus on the moment that you are in.

Despite all of that yearning, what sustains my blogging, beyond my need to share, is the sense of community it brings.  Connecting people through interest, regardless of race, country, income level, even language in some cases, bloggers support each other and share feedback, encouragement, interest. We look out for each other in the virtual playground and we listen to each others stories. The internet waits for no postman, these connections are immediate! Penpals all over the world!

Jennie at Vegan Miow nominated me for a sisterhood of the world blogging award, which is actually about recognising and sharing your blogging influences and community.  A nice opportunity to thank people for writing words you love reading, whilst also telling a little more about yourself.

TSOTWBA Etiquette:

  • Thank your nominator & link to their site
  • Answer the questions sent to you
  • Nominate X blogs
  • Create X questions for your nominees to answer

Jennie, answers to your questions:

  1. Growing up, what did you want to be?
    • The earliest memory of wanting to be something when i grew up was of being a successful business woman in a smart suit… I must have developed this in the 80’s watching too many movies with woman in shoulder padded power suits 😉  Although when I became that successful business woman of my childhood dreams I realised it wasn’t all it cracked up to be and I ran off to India and went deeper into yoga.
  2. What inspires you?
  3. What is your favourite quotation?
    • I have many many favourite quotations that I love to share on my returntopeace facebook page, but something that always runs through my head and hinders my self-berating & judgement is something said by beautiful and wise Erin Reese – “Never judge your insides by somebody else’s outsides”
  4. What is your favourite place in the world right now?
    • Wherever the current moment is 🙂
  5. Mention an experience that changed your mentality on life?
    • So many to choose from but one of the experiences that profoundly changed my life & flipped everything to a completely new way of thinking & being was going to the Sivananda Ashram in Madurai and having my first lecture with Swami Govindananda.  So grateful for those lessons. Thank you Swamiji.

Before my answers, my nominations (I’ve obviously had to leave the boys out):

The Post Punk Kitchen 

The Tofu Diaries

Yoga and Joyful Living

Southern Blonde Vegan

Erin Reese

Food to Glow

Love and Berries

The sixpence at her feet

The Friendly Fig

Hold the Eggplant

With All My Affection

The Vegan Muffin Woman

Cooking without limits

1. Why did you start your blog?

I started my blog back in 2007 as a travel blog to keep my family and friends updated on my adventures in India, Asia and Brazil. It morphed into a food/yoga/vegan blog over the years as I continued to feel like sharing my ramblings and people kept reading them!

2. What Jeopardy! category would you clear, no problem?

Like my nominee, I had to look up Jeopardy! as we don’t have it in the UK. I am an all rounder, pretty good at lots of things but not an absolutely expert in any. ‘jack of all trades, master of none’.  I’d do well in a few of the categories but don’t think I’d smash them all.  I think my yoga/massage trainings would make me most likely to clear the human body and religion categories.

3. Three things you’d like to accomplish this year (they can be as small or monumental as you’d like).

  • Learn to surf
  • Go deeper into my personal yoga practice and teach more
  • Develop my massage therapist skills

4. Your perfect day: Go.

Life in Central America is pretty much the definition of perfect.  It involves waking up at 6am, going surfing, coming back for a delicious nourishing vegan breakfast, chilling with a good book in the hammock and chatting with friends, I’d like to invoke a wish and bring in one of my vegan sisters to cook lunch for me, then I’d go for a big walk along the beach, the woods or up a mountain, have a beautiful yoga session as the sun sets and spend the evening listening to friends play instruments and sing beautiful songs. After my permaculture adventures I’d like to weave in working in my farm to grow my own vegetables, but that dream is still forming.  Every day a variation on those themes.  Wow!

5. What is your favorite place that you’ve traveled and why?

Every new place I visit is my new favourite and I want to move there. This is what my friends say and it makes them laugh. Whilst Mexico was the first place which really opened my eyes to a new type of adventure and experience, it was Brazil that stole my heart and makes it difficult for any new place to hold a candle to it. It has such beautiful beautiful epic scenery. Everything you want is there. From incredible beaches, to hill country, tundra, wetlands and Amazonian rainforest. Who could want for more. The people are warm, friendly and great fun. There’s just something in the earth for me there that draws me back regardless of heartbreaks and new feasts for the eyes.

Bonus round: What cheesy song do you have memorized?

Perfect by Fairground Attraction.  I did not inherit Nanny Paula’s singing gene and i am very self conscious to sing in front of people.  Living in the ashram really helped that and I can now belt out a mantra without caring what anybody thinks, but to sing in front of others, especially those who can sing, takes a big whoosh of courage.  Every week in the ashram, when we ran the bigger courses, there was a talent show.  We were all encouraged to share a song, dance, poem etc.  I practiced practiced practiced Perfect by Fairground Attraction to sing with a couple of my course buddies, I could do this.  Then on the night, there wasn’t time.  I’m not sure if I was relieved or not.  I wanted to push through that barrier, especially as I had practiced over and over again.

The other night I stepped into the ring and sang Hathaway’s ‘What is love’ when a friend was playing a rift that sounded almost exactly the same as an acoustic version of that song would sound. It didn’t sound great, it wasn’t perfect, but nobody laughed, or worse, cried in ear splitting agony.  My friend’s advised you have to find your sound and tone, so I joked I was going to become a country singer.  Let’s see how that goes y’all 😉

Have a beautiful Sunday people, the sun is shining in El Salvador


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