Category Archives: Blog Posts

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5 Life Lessons That You Can Learn from the Gateway Arch (St Louis, Missouri)

Welcome to the World’s Tallest Arch and the Tallest man-made Building in the Western Hemisphere!

If we choose to look at things differently, we see different things.

And while I am pondering on how fortunate I am to have visited the St Louis, Missouri Arch recently, I instantly reflected on what other meanings this arch could have, and how the importance of a symbolic, 630-foot (192 m), stainless steel monument could be applied in different areas of one’s life!

So here are 5 lessons we can all learn from The St Louis Arch.

Lesson 1: If It’s Worth It, You Have to Work For It

So many things in this world make us prone to consciously (and unconsciously) seeking instant gratification. We are occasionally forgetting the values of perseverance, endurance and simply, grit. This is so prevalent that we tend to give up, even on things that are worth it.

Looking back into history, the bidding process for the St Louis arch started on December 20, 1961, then was postponed to January 22, 1962. Building of the arch itself didn’t start until a year later, in February 12, 1963.

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Sometimes, you’re plans get delayed, rearranged and reshuffled. But if it’s really worth it, you keep working on it.

Find out more about The St Louis Arch here.

Lesson 2: The Journey is Molding you for the Destination

I used to believe that being at a place was important, until I realized that “getting there” was the most important thing. And if someone had told me that the journey was more important than the destination, I don’t know if I would have believed them. But be it as it may, I am here now: at the point where I understand that the journey is more important than the destination, and when you get to the destination, you feel compelled to start a new journey. Life is not meant to be static, we have to constantly be moving. So you have to enjoy and live your life while you’re on you journey to get to your final destination.  Allow the experiences to teach you, transform you, mold you, and build you for your destination.

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Lesson 3: There are Always (at least) Two Sides to a Story 

We could leave this here, and you’d still understand what this means. But for the sake of this article, let’s develop.

Sometimes, we fail to see other perspectives because we are so stuck in our own ways of seeing/doing/understanding things. But traveling has an amazing way of opening your mind to so many things that it never leaves you the same. You learn to see things in a different way. For instance, I would have never looked at this magnificent arch as a source of 5 key life lessons. So remember, there are always “at least” two sides to a story. And there is no need to pick sides. Embrace them all.

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Find out more about The St Louis Arch here.

Lesson 4: Life is a Story of Transitions. You’re always moving, from One Point to the Next.

Look at The Arch. It is intrinsically meant to take you from one side to the other (and for the historical purposes, it was built as a monument for the westward expansion of the USA). And so, people passing under the arch were always moving. And so are phases in our life. We always have to be moving, growing, learning, discovering. This is the essence of progress. So do not allow yourself to be stagnant. Keep growing. Keep moving, especially intellectually.

Arch 1F

Find out more about The Arch here.

Lesson 5: Always Do Your Best. You never Know when Your Chef D’Oeuvre will Turn into  a MasterPiece. 

When the Finnish – American designer Eero Saarinen submitted his idea for the St Louis Arch in 1947, I doubt he knew this was going to be the tallest man-made building in the Western Hemisphere. When workers started construction in 1963 and tirelessly dedicated their time and energy to this building for 2 years, they probably had no clue this was going to be world’s tallest arch and Missouri’s tallest accessible building. But here we are. Whatever you put your mind to, do it at your best. You never know when your chef d’oeuvre is going to turn into a masterpiece.

Find out more about The St Louis Arch here.

Have you been to St Louis, Missouri? Have you visited the Arch? What were your thoughts on it?

Drop a comment below if you feel inspired by these words, or if you’ like to share your own. ☺️

PS: to find out more about how I got that “super cool and totally unplanned face painting tattoo” on pic #5, subscribe to see my post: Quick Guide: Don’t be Stuck Up When You Travel: Be Fun! The St Louis Science Center Experiment! .

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

 Ibn Battuta


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The Colosseum

One of Rome’s #1 touristic attractions and a publicly accepted symbol of Roman resilience, the Colosseum is a double amphitheater which was created under the Flavian dynasty.

Why double? Because it is made of two superimposed amphitheater

Why the name colosseum? Because there used to be a massive status of the then Emperor Claudius Caesar Augustus Nero in front of the building.

The colosseum used to accommodate    50 000 – 80 000 people, and was a famous arena for gladiator fights, parades and the re-creation of classical mythology wars. Try to picture an open “Broadway theater”, Roman style, where gladiators fight for their life, honor and the honor of their King and Queen. Each fight ended up with at least one opponent dead, the body of which was carried through the “death door”.

Today, the Colosseum is also considered as a site for Christian remembrance where homage is paid to the Christian martyrs who lost their life during the Roman revolutions.

Every good Friday, the Pope leads the stations of the cross starting in or near the Colosseum.

In Ridley Scott’s Gladiator (2002), the Colosseum was recreated by computer imagery for a few movie scenes. Also, a scene from the movie Jumper (2008) was filmed at the Colosseum.

Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing:)

Cheers,

Clem😊


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The Spanish Steps

Category : Blog Posts , Europe , Italy , Rome

A set of 135 steps located at the heart of the city of Rome, the Spanish Steps have been the stage and highlights of several movies, video clips and album recordings by well-known celebrities.

Historically, they are called “Spanish Steps” because they are located at the Piazza Di Spagna, and connect the Spanish Embassy with the Trinità dei Monti church. At the forefront, the steps are beautified by a water fountain, the Fontana della Barcaccia (the fountain of the ugly boat), which is made into the shape of a half-sunken ship with water overflowing its sides into a small basin.

Fontana della Barcaccia, Piazza Di Spagna

In Rome, today, every major piazza is surrounded by at least one fountain. To learn more about Roman’s history with water and fountains, click here.

Me walking down the Spanish Steps

Today, I definitely feel like Audrey Hepburn in The Roman Holiday (1953).


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A view this beautiful…

A view this beautiful should be shared with the world…
Happy Thursday Everyone, and Happy December 1st! <3
May the new month bring new blessings, new adventures and new reasons to be grateful. 

PS: this picture was taken in my backyard. Even at home, Nature surrounds me 🙂

Cheers,

Clem<3


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10 Things I Learned from Living on the Nature Isle, Dominica.

I come from a culture where I was taught that nothing worth having comes easy.

From a very young age, I knew that it was paramount for me to work hard to get where I want to go and become who I want to be. That principle has instilled in me a sense of discipline and hardwork that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

However, I have been so busy working that I never ever time to get to the “living” part of life. What is the point of spending all your time working and having none left to celebrate the fruit of your work? I never really realized what a counterproductive cycle I was living in until I moved to Dominica, where I discovered these 10 life facts.

1. Nature is free. Be like Nature. 

This refers to the nature that surrounds us, and the nature of things within us. One of the best things I have experienced living in Dominica, the Nature Isle, is the ability to get in touch directly with nature: original, pure, untainted, unstained. Not only can you experience it internally, but also internally with the availability of fruits and vegetables, all year long. There are always fruits and veggies for every season, and you get them straight from the ground into your body. Sounds a lot like Eden to me!  And if you really want to know what it feels like to get a “breath of fresh air”, then come to Dominica.

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2. Life is a party, so dance while you’re still an invited guest.

“We never know what the future may bring: it could be winter, summer, fall or spring” (By Marie Pascale Affana) . So you’ve got to dance, sing, shout, eat while you still can, because you don’t know if you’ll be able to do that tomorrow. So why wait to be happy tomorrow when you can be happy today? Don’t procrastinate on your happiness. Happiness doesn’t wait.

dance

3. Seize the Day. 

This saying has had such a great impact on my life that I bought a mug (my “now” favorite mug) to remind me of this every day. I won’t tell you that everyday is a gift, because you probably already know it. I also won’t tell you to live everyday like it’s your last, because I don’t know how to do that (not even sure if that’s realistic) and I wouldn’t want to spend a day thinking about how I’d live my last day. However, what I’d like to share with you is this: everyday comes with a new set of 24 hours, 60 minutes and 86 400 seconds, and the power is in your hands to decide on what you want to do with it. So take it. Take the Power. Take the Frigging Power.  

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4. Listen to your needs… and attend to them. Your body is comparable to a machine or an engine that needs regular care and servicing to function efficiently. When you feel sleepy and tired, your body needs to re-set. When you feel hungry, your body needs to re-charge. When you feel angry and cranky, your body needs to re-lax. Often times, we tend to ignore those needs and hope they will pass. I have learned to pay a close attention to the messages that my body, my emotions and my whole being are sending. And instead of giving it a quick fix, I have actually learned to address them accordingly. Most of the time (as you would have figured from reading my blog and past posts), the message is hunger (because I am a foodie), and there is no better to address hunger than to eat. 🙂

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Breakfast with a view. Buena Vista, Calibishie (Dominica)

5. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously.

I am so proud of the person I’ve become. If you had known me a few years ago, I’d have probably been the most uptight person in your friends circle (my current friends actually have a hard time believing that because of how silly I’ve turned out). And this doesn’t make me any less smart or capable than I was before. In fact, being silly give me a different approach to life, and makes me more open-minded to different ideas. Obviously, it’s important to know which cap to wear (silly or serious) based on the situation, but I can guarantee you that 90% of your day does not require you to be this serious. So don’t take life so seriously. None of us is getting out of here alive anyways.

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Dominica Carnival, Powder Fete – 2016

6. Do More of what Makes you Happy.

We are all called to live a life of service. And if you just take the time to observe your life, you’ll realize that too. Whether you are a gardener, a chef, a lawyer or a doctor, whatever you do ends up helping someone, directly or indirectly. So, we are constantly being of service to our fellow humans. However, before you can take care of (or provide service to) someone else, you have to take care of yourself. The reason being, you can only provide the best service when you are at your best, and for you to be at “your best”, you have to be happy. So do more of what makes you happy. Find your Happy. 

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7. Celebrate Small Successes!

Goal-oriented people tend to be very focused on the task at hand and do not stop until they have accomplished whatever it is they had set their heart and mind on. That is great, because it helps you keep the focus. However, what would be even greater would be to look back at how far you’ve gone and celebrate your progress as a way to motivate you to even go further. Are you in college? Don’t wait for your big graduation day to celebrate your accomplishment: be proud of yourself for making it to the next semester. Are you in medical school? Don’t wait for the day you finally become a Doctor to give yourself a tap yourself on the back. Are you working on a special project? Don’t wait for the last day, but celebrate every successful milestone.

small-successes-edited

8. Be Daring. 

A wise woman once told me that you miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take, and that wise woman is my mother. More, every time you take a risk, there is a 50% chance of it ending into a positive or a negative result. So why deny yourself of the 50% chance of whatever you want actually happening? And what’s worse than missing a shot? Not taking it. So take a chance! The worse that could happen is you getting a NO, which means Next Opportunity. 🙂 For my part, every time I take a shot, I succeed, because I believe I am going to succeed even before I take that chance.

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Performing with Michele Henderson at the World Creole Music Festival (Dominica, 2016).My sister (on the right side) was having a ball of a time. Photocredist: Zaimis Olmos Visual Arts.

9. Show Love to Your Friends, as often as you Can.

A wise woman once told me something deep enough to be reflected upon: our friends and family members are not ours, they do not belong to us. In fact, they belong to God and He only lends them to us for a specific purpose (whatever it may be), until He calls them back when He needs them. (That wise woman is my mother, and I seriously think she will start billing me for using all her quotes in this article).

So, we need to value the time we spend with them because we never know when He would call them back. We also need to show them love and appreciation because as human beings, we all need this. I am not asking you to tell all your friends that you love them everyday (which could be quite a task actually 🙂 and they might not all be receptive to your words, because we all speak different love languages (and thus, we have different ways of expressing our love). Rather, show your appreciation to each one of your friends in a way that he/she would like to receive it. (I guess it’s time to go through that list of 1000+ friends you have on Facebook ^_^)

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10. Work on your Resting Face. 

Everyone has what we call a “resting face”, and that is basically the state of your face at rest. When you are in the bus (or driving), on your way to work (or school) in the morning, pay attention to the people around you, and see what their resting face is like. Some people look angry (even if they are not), others very pensive, others extremely serious and others quite happy. The thing with your resting face is, it does not always depict your emotion “at the time, but it is the default state in which your face goes when there is no emotion to depict at all. So if the majority of your time, you are angry or anxious, your face is going to get used to that constant emotion, to the point where even when you are in a good mood, you still look mad (and not mad happy, more like “mad mad”). That is one of the reasons why some people are perceived as “less approachable” than others. So make sure you control your resting face, as well as the message it sends. (As you can see in the picture below… I have several resting faces. That’s because I am still working on those!)

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The inspiration for this article comes from a heart of gratitude and an amazing change in perspective. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed putting these thoughts into words.

All pictures were taken by a wide variety of amazing people, but at the same location: The Nature Isle, Dominica. 

PS: I will soon start an article series specifically for my travels, tours and sightseeing experience throughout the Nature Isle, Dominica. If you live there, feel free to contact me and contribute! If this is a destination you’d like to visit, make sure you subscribe to follow the upcoming series!

Either way, subscribe to this blog to make sure you keep seeing amazing content!

Cheers,

Clem 😉


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5 Silly Things EVERYONE does at the Airport…

I recently returned from a short trip and it was quite interesting to notice (once again) the things that people tend to do in airports, when traveling.

Actually, I have noticed these for quite a while now, but it’s becoming way too obvious and way to hilarious that I have to write about this!

  1. At the check-in counter: go straight in front of the counter (and skip the whole labyrinth) when the check-in line is empty, or pass straight right under when there are only a few people: I actually do this a lot (guilty!) and I always smile at myself when doing this. I mean, what’s the point of making the line when there’s no one in front of you? (Spoiler alert: I also do that at the bank, school and all other applicable public services. Please don’t judge).airport-security-line
  2. Pray that your bags are not overweight! When you’ve spent your summer shopping in Paris, London or Saint Lucia and you’re ready to check-in for your return flight, the idea of having your bag weighed could be an instant trigger for a panic attack! If you’re traveling with me, you’d catch me saying a few prayers, like the extra pounds are supposed to magically disappear… And sometimes they do! Nah, who am I kidding. If this happens to you and you’re lucky, the check-in agent might actually turn a blind eye and let you pass (depending on how overweight your bag is, though).20150531_112213.jpg
  3. After you’ve passed check-in and airport security… Window-shop at the Airport Duty Free stores! This is definitely one of my favourite things to do while waiting! I particularly like to stop at Perfume and souvenir stores. However,  my sister and I discovered a Makeup store at the  San Juan Airport  and it has become a mandatory stop for us ever since! You can get to sample and try different products, and you can even get a (light) makeup done for free! All you need to travel in beauty! (feel free to leave your comments below if you want to know more about that specific store, or for my recommendations of Duty Free stores to absolutely checkout while traveling!)selfplannedtrip-duty-free
  4. Take a selfie along the way! Hey, doesn’t cost a thing, doesn’t hurt a being. There are so many reasons to take an airport selfie: the background is amazing, the lighting is amazing, and you almost never need a filter (unless you’re feeling super fancy). Plus, you can update your Instagram or Snapchat to let people know what you’re up to (or not, the latter applying to me depending on my mood). IMG_8037.PNG
  5. Finally, remove your seatbelt before the seatbelt sign is turned off. Why?????? I really don’t understand why people do that though, I think that’s really the silliest of it all -_-. The sign is on for a specific reason, and the seatbelt should not be removed until the sign is off… I really don’t get why people remove it ahead of time. This one definitely takes it home.  seatbelt-sign

Which one of these silly things are you guilty off? (I definitely do all of them, except #5!)

 


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