Tuesday, July 27, 2010

So Hard to Say Goodbye {CELEBRATE!}

In our last update of Her Journey news, we were counting down the launch of our new website. It's been up and running for almost a month now, have you stopped by yet?! You have 5 minutes! We are sad to announce that we will no longer be updating this blog, but we are moving on to featuring the magazine articles and blog posts all in one place. We hope you'll continue to grow with us, as we expand our website to fit our growing audience. We don't want to loose your loyalty!

You can find us at Her Journey's magazine official site! It's your comprehensive one-stop for everything you need ...updates on travel tips and destinations, lifestyle coverage, book reviews, motivational nuggets, and our very own focus on "Good News" from around the world!

The Her Journey team of contributors is not going anywhere, so you'll be reading from the same people you have grown to love here on the blog. If you have a heart for travel and think you have what it takes to join our team, please send your inquiries to herjourneyblog@gmail.com.

We are also proud to announce that we'll be celebrating our 2nd Anniversary on 8-8-10. If you're in the NYC area, please find us on Facebook, and take a look at the invite here. We look forward to celebrating with you!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Practicing the 10th Agreement - Walk With Courage

Today, Is the last installment in the series, "The 10 Agreements for Living the Life you Truly Desire." I invite you to participate in the conversation as we explore the power of living a well lived life.

I came up with the "10 Agreements for Living the Life you Truly Desire" to help myself and other women identify those areas that would give us the direction we need to live our lives with fulfillment, purpose and joy.

•Agreement # 1: I agree to help others in their quest to live the life they truly desire.
•Agreement # 2: I agree to discover how to develop myself to the fullest extent.
•Agreement #3: I agree to remember that there is no perfection, only process.
•Agreement #4: I agree to take life serious enough to remember to laugh with the good times and some of the sad ones.
•Agreement #5: I agree to stop self judging behavior and replace it with self assessment.
•Agreement #6 - I agree to share my gifts and talents with everyone I meet.
•Agreement #7 - I agree to not make apologies for or bad mouth who I am, how I'm created, or how I think.
•Agreement #8 - I agree to admit to what I don't know and learn it only if necessary.

•Agreement #9 I agree to remember that there is no true success without synergy.

Agreement #10- I agree to walk with the courage needed to make a positive difference on this planet, in my community, and in my very own life.

Years ago I altered the traditional approach to setting new year's resolutions and began to select a single word as my focus word for improvement for the year. One year it was joy, another year it was finances and this year it was courage. Actually, it's been courage for the past two years. I know what next years is, but I'm holding that under my hat until January 1st!

Anywho, Agreement #10 is the quintessential agreement because the truth of the matter is that to some degree we must activate our courage if we're going to attempt to do anything in life. Therapist and philosopher Rollo May has a great definition of courage that I use for myself and teach to my students: "courage is not the absence of fear, but going forward despite fear or doubt. Many of my former students have written to me years later and shared with me how life changing the teaching on courage and the courage of creativity has been for their lives.
Striving to make a difference in our very own lives, the community and on this planet, to some, might seem to be a rather lofty goal. Yet, it's something that we must do. Creating a life of value and positive impact in the world ought to become our most important creed. I'm certainly making it mine.

As we end this journey of discovery through the 10 Agreements for living the life you truly desire, I want to thank you for joining me. Your comments have deeply enriched my life and the lives of others. Leave a comment and let me know how you're doing with implementing the 10 Agreements. Once you start, your life will never be the same again!

Remember, time is short. Do your happy dance. Enjoy life!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Travel Tuesday: Vienna for beginners (Part Three)

Over the last two weeks, we visited the heart of Vienna by walking down Kartnerstrasse and Graben. There's one more street and two squares left in this tour of Vienna--Kohlmarkt, Michaelerplatz, and Heldenplatz.

Last time, we left off at the Julius Meinl cafe. As you turn left and continue down the Kohlmarkt, you'll be in one of the ritziest shopping streets in the city. A fun place to visit is about three quarters of the way down on the right: Demel Hofzuckerbacker (chocolatier and bakery). The shop has been around since 1786, which means that it predates the United States' Constitution. You can go in and look at all the amazingly crafted chocolates or you can sit and eat a slice of cake in the cafe. This cafe is one of the few that is smoke-free in Vienna, by the way, and its Sacher Torte is considered the chief rival to Hotel Sacher's.

If you don't have time to go in, at least take the opportunity to look at the window displays. They change with the seasons, and they are always pretty incredible, with the almost life-sized marzipan figures. It's ice cream season right now, so the man below is an ice cream cone with scoops for arms. (Important tourist note: the word for ice cream in German is "Eis," pronounced exactly like "ice." If you ask for an ice coffee, the waiter will think you mean an Eiskaffee, and he will bring you a coffee-ice cream sundae.)
The current window display at Demel.

Then the end of the street brings you to Michaelerplatz. What you see below is a photo of where you would be standing if you followed the route above. The big building is where the emperors lived! It's called the Hofburg, and inside is the Sissi Museum, the Imperial Apartments, and the Spanish Riding School.

Right in front of the Hofburg, however, are Roman ruins in the process of being excavated. The story is that they were digging a new U-bahn station there when they stumbled upon Roman ruins and had to stop the work.

If you continue through the Hofburg, you'll get to see where the emperors lived, and if you take the time to tour the Imperial Apartments and the Sissi Museum you will learn a ton about Empress Sissi (Elisabeth of Bavaria), who is simultaneously this revered figure in Austrian history and a total mystery. Below you can see a famous portrait of Sissi. She was considered the most beautiful woman in Europe, if you can believe that, and was known for her amazingly long hair and tiny waist. She was desperately unhappy as the subject of public attention, however, and spent her whole life traveling away from the court. She also studied five languages and had her tutors read Greek epics to her while servants brushed her hair. She also rode horses and was a daredevil. She had her own private bathroom decorated with all the plants and animals of the jungle, and she washed her hair with her own special "shampoo" of cognac and egg yolks. She was also known for having had a sweet tooth and ordered lots of cookies from Demel's. Clearly I was fascinated.
Empress Sissi
(this image is from Wikimedia Commons)

If you keep going through the Hofburg, you'll arrive in Heldenplatz! To your left is the National Library. It's slightly impressive looking. Inside are not only all the books, but four museums: the State Hall, the Papyrus Museum, the Globe Museum, and the Esperanto Museum. For those of you who don't know, Esperanto is a totally made up language, and the museum houses the "Department of Planned Languages," where more than 500 "planned" (or "invented," "made-up") languages are documented. According to the website, it is the world's largest library on interlinguistics. So get excited about THAT.
The National Library
To your right in Heldenplatz (and pictured below) is my absolute favorite view in Vienna. Above the trees, behind the park, are the spires of the Rathaus. At night, they are lit up.

I used to bike ride to work just so I could see this view in the morning (I gave up because bike riding on cobblestones is absolutely not comfortable). It's just a beautiful building, and people are always walking by calmly, and the atmosphere is perfect. It is such a statement about Vienna to emerge from the home of the Emperors and to see the majestic buildings to your left and your right, surrounded by parks and facing a giant ornamental gate. If you go to Vienna, you absolutely must do this walk... it sums up so much about the history and the style of life in the city.
Closer to the Rathaus... and throughout the summer, the city holds giant free concerts in the square in front of it.

If you want to learn more about some of the more off-the-beaten track sights in Vienna, please check out my blog, transatlantic sketches! I'm moving to Sweden soon, so my focus is going to shift quite a bit north, but there's plenty in the archives to keep a tourist busy in Vienna for a while.

All best to the Her Journey readers--and I'm hoping you make it to Vienna!

Kate Wiseman is an expat and a travel blogger.
You can find her blog at www.transatlanticsketches.com.
You can email her at kate@transatlanticsketches.com.
Questions, comments, and life advice welcome.