Finding the balance between starting and stopping can be challenging when working on growing your own business or project. Just like a beginner on a motorbike ride.
Taking a break, especially when first starting up isn’t easy.
I’m practically always on it, whether I’m in full flow of the tasks at hand or worrying about all sorts of countless elements. And, if and when I do switch off, then how do I get back on it again?
Here’s how I recently juggled 1. being cocooned in the comfort of my parents’ home, 2. my vanlife experience, 3. life coaching development and work, 4. Blogging continuity, and 5. Exploring new territories.
I stopped at ‘Casa Dolce Casa' – Home Sweet Home.
I call so many places my home. Peter Van (Link to my Vanlife) is one of them, however, I feel the whole world is my home these days! But in this scenario, Casa is my parents’ house.
It’s not even where I grew up but it is where I lived for two months in 1998 and where I have been visiting mamma & papa ever since.
After three months on the road, driving through 10 European countries, and taking two flights back to London for various commitments (including my British citizenship ceremony), I returned where I parked the camper earlier in December: at my parents’ house.
This is where I decided to close my amazing 2018. Where I would get the perfect balance of family time, friends, outdoors, coaching, blogging, radio show and school visits.
Where is “Casa”?
I come from a beautiful area in the province of Treviso, at the foot of Mount Grappa. The pre-Alps.
I landed in Venice on 24 December 2018. I almost missed it because I arrived one minute too late at check in, 44 minutes before departure.
Luckily, BA and Gatwick staff were amazing and helped me rush through all airport steps, even when I made the detector go off. Apparently, caused by too much glitter on my body, which was coming off a crazy wrapping paper I was carrying by hand! Then not one, but both my pieces of hand-luggage needed to be checked inside.
A perfectly-balanced time at home.
I ended up staying at my parents for four weeks in total! Longer than anticipated, but I certainly made the most of the stay cramming in a lot of great stuff. Rest, family time, playing tourist, socialising, connecting with nature, writing, and coaching.
It took little time for everyone to fall for Peter Van and recognise us as we drove around. I’d get messages saying: “You just drove past me” or “I just saw Peter Van go by”. How lovely.
Even with over 22 years in the UK, I am blessed with many fond connections at my Italian home.
It’s never a dull moment with so many great people to spend time with. I also got to visit my adorable Nonna Rina regularly too. She lives in a home now and is getting more forgetful, but she is still our rock. A gorgeous gem at 97.
What did I get up to?
I love the outdoors, so I cycle and hike whenever possible.
On one occasion, I joined friends on a hike up to La Vedetta, part of the Mount Grappa. A pleasant and steady climb of 900m, along a 5km winding track. A local celebration awaited us at the top, with food and drinks. A couple of wines made the descent interesting!
I also continued writing articles, coaching clients and attending my own coaching courses.
I particularly benefitted from a group programme by one of my favourite Success and Life Coaches, NYC based Nando Rodriguez. Check out his awesomeness and energy on Instagram (@nandoism) or here: https://nandoism.com/
You may know already that the key to reaching your big dream is to break the journey down to smaller, achievable and measurable targets.
For my four-week ‘Brand Ambassador’ programme with Nando, my goal by the end of December was to speak out more. To broaden my audience and share my key messages on freedom, positivity and adventure – and to inspire more people to live on their unique purpose.
To measure my achievement, I committed to arranging at least two school interventions (something I had in mind to do more of, for a little while) and as guest-speaker at two events. I succeeded!
Speak Out More! Goal Exceeded.
Guest Speaker, Radio Interview and More…
Guest Speaker 1:
I was invited to talk about my transformational journey and my love for ‘me-time’ (and its benefits) to a group programme run by the amazing Love Coach, Speaker and Author: Kelly Pretty. (www.facebook.com/kellylpretty/ )
Guest Speaker 2:
I secured an interview with a small local, Italian radio show called Bassano Generation (www.instagram.com/bassanogeneration/ ). I shared my story of Gr8fool, my key messages and the exciting times of my vanlife.
I initially connected with two Italian schools about talking to one or two of their classes. I explained I wanted to share my experience and help inspire them to learn and believe in themselves.
The word got around and thanks to the welcoming and progressive approaches of the headmasters and teachers, I ended up presenting to 8 classes of 4 Primary and Secondary schools. Over 150 young students.
The dates and details were to be organised after the school holidays, when they re-opened from 7 January 2019. The schools were all in my area, and in fact I was a student myself at two of these!
By the time the schools re-opened, my proposed presentation was ready. They were all in ‘mother-tongue’ English and I really enjoyed the curiosity and the inspired responses I received from the students.
The questions asked were many and heart-warming. Many asked if they could join me on my travels. One surprised me with a beautiful question like: “What was the strongest emotion you felt so far on my adventures?”. An impressed 9 year old said: “When I get home I will ask my parents if they can take me to London for my birthday”. Whoops!
How I find Balance.
How do I find balance in this multi-faceted reality I have created for myself?
It is vital to learn what gets us motivated and started but to stop when needed too.
Essentially, I never fully unplug. When a time-out is due, I pick just one or two smaller, easier actions that will help me relax, knowing I still created progress. While at my parents, I enjoyed the family but I kept the work momentum alive in smaller doses.
I stayed committed to my clients, I continued writing, I attended coaching courses for my own development, acted as a tourist in my own area with Peter Van, and said yes to new things: the radio show and the school presentations.
If you're looking for guidance on how to find your right balance between stopping and starting, I would be happy to help. You can get in touch here Connect with me! or through the various Social Media links.
Founder of Gr8fool Limited.
Francesca is a Freedom Coach with a mission to help everyone find freedom and happiness. After 22 years of office life and the last 16 in the legal & corporate secretarial sector, Francesca took a big leap of faith and swapped her successful career for exploring new horizons. She went volunteering in Nepal, solo travelling in Asia, riding her Harley from London to Italy (and back!), walking 930km along the Camino de Santiago then launched her own life coaching business. She recently also completed a solo vanlife adventure, touring Europe in a campervan for one year. All the while, she continues to serve as a Freedom Coach, to share her passion for freedom, gratitude, foolishness and positivity, through writing and speaking, and to manage her rented properties in London. You can follow her stories and updates on www.gr8fool.com and