2012 was special for me in countless ways. It gave a whole new dimension to my personality, something I never knew existed and something I never knew had so much of me in itself. However today, on the very first day of 2013, I will not be concentrating on myself but rather on the person who even though was a complete stranger yet became special. This notable powerhouse of an individual is my fellow blogger Cathy from Cathy Trails who inspired me and transmogrified me through her simple yet insightful blog posts. Her blog is nothing but a mirror of a human heart that craves to excel, be loved, see the beauty of the world and sometimes makes little mistakes. Following is the interview that I had with this amazing new blogger. Her answers clearly reflect that this young and fearless lady is all set for the adventurous journey called 'LIFE'.
ME:The world is full of amazing people who are all different and unique in their own ways. So first of all Cathy tell me something about yourself. How would you define yourself? What best characterizes you?
CATHY: Agreed - everyone’s got their own little ‘je ne sais quoi’ and sass which makes the world even more exciting to live in. I’ll start with what I’m not: complacent, pessimistic, passive-aggressive, and stubborn. I’m better in sports that are only against one person like Tennis or arm wrestling - - and do not prefer to participate in team sports because I get too flustered. I see each day as an opportunity to improve oneself from the day before. I’m the type of person that gets along with all characters but struggles to find a quality friendship. I don’t like to settle because it’s the same as giving up. In sum, I would define myself as an optimistic, quirky, driven, and sometimes funny (emphasis on sometimes) type of gal.
ME: My next question is something that I've been always wanting to ask you. I want to know what prompted you to start your own blog?
ME: How has been your blogging experience till now? Any tips for the newbie bloggers?
CATHY: Both advantageous and challenging.
Reflecting on the past year or so of blogging on Cathy Trails, I have learned so much about myself and what my brain is capable of absorbing. I’m still baffled by how much I have taught myself along the way by combining the use of Google/Youtube and downright persistence. Somewhere between googling ‘how to create the best blog header’ and pestering my Facebook friends with the usual status update “New post on my blog! Please read!” (while pouting over the fact that I’ve received zero comments on my blog posts for 2 weeks in a row), I have somehow….found my passion. I believe that everything happens for a very good reason and feel this is a clear example of that. If I didn’t travel overseas and go couchsurfing - - I might have never started my blog and still be on hunt for my niche. As odd as it may sound, teaching myself how to customize blogs and anything web design related has quenched my thirst like no other interest I’ve had in my life.
I always feel shy when it comes to sharing tips for newbie bloggers because I still consider myself one. However, there are a few things I wished I had kept in mind when I first started blogging such as not take things so personally. I had less than 10 followers for the longest time and related the lack of readership to my lack of talent. Here I was pouring my heart out about my unique couchsurfing experience in the rural parts of Prague - - and never receiving a single comment, made my heart ache a little bit.
Now I realize that as long as you are authentic in your posts, give it time, while staying patient - - readership will naturally grow. Also, don’t compare your blog to others and wished yours was as cool looking as theirs or wished you had more followers. Comparing yourself to others and pouting about it isn’t going to do you any good. Instead, draw inspiration from other blogs you admire and hold yourself accountable.
Most importantly, do it for yourself, have fun with it, and work with what you’ve got. Oh, and here are some of my favorite blogging resources: www.picmonkey.com , www.pixlr.com, and www.sillygrrl.com.
ME: What is/are your mantras for life?
- Choose happiness.
- Be comfortable with being uncomfortable (a quote by Jillian Michaels).
- The days are long but the years are short (a quote from Gretchen Rubin).
- Today will be a great day.
ME: What drives you the most? What are you truly passionate about?
CATHY: Regrets. That’s the one concept that gets my butt moving so fast; the possibility of regretting something. I’ll ask myself, ‘Will I regret it if I don’t (insert action here) 5 or 10 years from now?’ and if the answer is yes, I do what I can to make it happen. No excuses. I remember the first 20 years of my life going SO slowly but now that I’m 28 - - it seems as if time has sped up and I’m doing all that I can to hold onto the precious moments that are in front of me now. Just knowing that we only live once drives me to hop into the drivers’ seat and take full control. I want to live a life I’m proud of.
Little moments that turn out to be the most precious of moments such as making a loved one laugh until their belly hurts...a stranger giving me a compliment and vice versa...acting goofy/silly with one another...taking the time to really listen to someone...getting that rush of pride from accomplishing something difficult - - - that’s what I am truly passionate about. Call me a sap or a cheese ball but that’s the honest truth. In sum, I’m passionate about living life as a human being capable of feeling, thinking, communicating, and experiencing all sorts of cool things!
ME: Which has been that one experience in life that has taught you the most?
CATHY: I was in the middle of downtown Washington D.C, desperately lost, and holding onto a very important package I was supposed to drop off at a very specific location. While doing my best to swallow my tears and pretending I had any leads as to where to drop off this package - - I caved in, called my internship boss, and gave up. In less than 10 minutes, I see my boss running towards me with a look of fury, snatched up the package, and in less than 5 minutes seamlessly found the drop-off while stating this task was “a no-brainer and next time, figure it out”. I felt so little, so tiny, and defeated. Although painful and embarrassing, I’ll never forget it because this taught me to be stronger, to exhaust ALL possible options, be creative before taking the easy way out. Over time, I reflect on this experience because it continues to teach me to take full accountability for my good days, bad days, what I accomplished and what I didn’t.
ME: You call yourself a wanderlust. What is your idea of an ideal vacation?
CATHY:As much as I love sunbathing on an exotic beach while sipping on fresh coconut water (such as the south of Thailand), it’s never been my ideal vacation.
It’s all about the outdoor cafes in France or Italy, sipping on a perfectly crafted espresso accompanied by a few sugar cubes, while absorbing the quaint surroundings - - the people, the french or italian chatter, and the fashion. Out of all the places I have traveled to, I still fantasize about my time in Paris and Rome.
ME: Is there anything about life that intrigues you often?
CATHY: The concept of potential intrigues me. I always ponder to myself, ‘If everyone in this world recognized his or her full potential and actually took action, what would the world be like then?’ Also, because I am such an avid believer in one taking accountability and fully capable of making changes, I wonder if making excuses are ever valid and truly justify an unwanted situation such as homelessness or drug addiction. A part of me feels insensitive because I know there are some things in life that are uncontrollable - - but to what extent though? When do excuses stop justifying an undesirable situation but rather hinder a person to turn things around?
ME: Your makeover monday posts are very inspiring and reflect your efforts at starting every week with renewed enthusiasm and hope. What makes for an ideal week for you? Have you had it?
CATHY: Thank you Savvy! Although I’ve been taking a little break from the Makeover Monday posts, I firmly believe that starting a new week, day, or even an hour with full optimism will naturally pave the way for a good time. The chances of having a good day from carrying a good attitude are much greater than starting the day with a crabby attitude yes?
Getting all my workout sessions in, eating good, accomplishing my high priority tasks, and essentially having all my life areas (work, relationships, health, family, personal) stay balanced makes for an especially ideal week for me. Do I have weeks like that all the time? No, and I wouldn’t want to because it makes those ideal weeks even more special.
ME: Who/what is your biggest inspiration?
CATHY: Jillian Michaels, one of the strongest and toughest personal trainers and a great motivational writer. Almost 2 years ago, a close friend of mine couldn’t stop raving about one of of Jillian Michaels’ books called Unlimited and as a result, inspired her to move across the country to start a new life. I was convinced and thought I better give this book a chance so I don’t miss out on what could very well be the extra push I was looking for to start my travels. Believe it or not, her direct and powerful words of wisdom inspired me to finally buy the one-way ticket to Paris I’ve been dreaming of doing for the majority of my life!
ME: If you were given the power to do any five things for the world in a day, what would you do?CATHY:
- I would convince the world that an optimistic attitude can act as an extremely effective solution to many, if not all problems in the world if we just practice it daily.
- I’d urge everyone to adopt a ‘live as if it’s your last day’ type of attitude to create urgency in living, and not just existing.
- Revamp the food industry by eliminating factory farms and the use of dangerous pesticides on our produce.
- Make a poster that says “Choose happiness” in every language and give one out to as many homes as possible.
- Make everyone a cup of tea while magically ending racism, sexism, and ageism.
ME: Your posts are always full of positivism, hope and finding happiness in the little moments of life. How would you define true happiness? Do you believe that happiness and hope are complementary?
When there is no hope, there is no empowerment which is the same as giving up. To hope is to dream, to believe that everything happens as it should and to appreciate its beauty no matter what (even when it seems ugly, impossible, dreary). I feel that without hope, one’s path to happiness is more foggy, a bit cluttered, and misleading. Quite frankly, I don’t think happiness can be reached without hope.