Chase the life in your Life ...
Travel not to escape life but for life not to escape you...
REVISED & EXTENDED EDITION COMING SOON
EACH NEW CHAPTER OF OUR LIVES HAS A BEGINNING POINT.
NINE SEAGULLS WERE THE BEGINNING POINT OF A NEW CHAPTER FOR ME, BUT I WOULD ONLY KNOW THIS FOR CERTAIN WHEN I STOOD ON THE BACK OF A BOAT TRAVELING ON THE GANGES AND WATCHING SEAGULLS FLYING LOW OVER THE HOLY RIVER.
THE JOURNEY FROM NINE SEAGULLS IN MY VILLAGE BY THE SEA IN AUSTRALIA, TO VARANASI, SOME EIGHT HUNDRED KILOMETERS
SOUTH-EAST OF NEW DELHI, TO BE ABLE TO FULLY UNDERSTAND RAHUL'S STORY ABOUT WHY SEAGULLS FLY LOW ON THE GANGES TOOK ME TWELVE YEARS, CROSSING SEVERAL CONTINENTS AND NEW LOVE AFFAIRS BEFORE I FOUND THE LESSON I'D BEEN SEARCHING FOR. BY THE TIME I GOT TO VARANASI I HAD LEARNED YOU SOMETIMES HAVE TO TRAVEL FAR AND MAKE A BIGGER INVESTMENT IN YOUR LIFE THAN YOU EVER THOUGHT YOU WERE CAPABLE.
– JULIE STAFFORD
SUBSCRIBE AND BE THE FIRST TO KNOW
When our creative spirit chases life it lets go of existing perceptions and assumptions to find a new way of thinking and being: it has a deep desire to see beyond the obvious and ordinary: it's curious, it travels beyond the realms of its borders to reveal its capacity and greater purpose. It lets go so it might receive anew.
When the creative spirit chases after life it sets the imagination on fire and there begins a dance of collaboration and transformation with other like-minded creative spirits who come together to share ideas, experiences, skills, encouragements and outcomes.
When the creative spirit chases after life it lights up our minds by stoking mental fires and all outcomes and possibilities of what was once a dream or an idea become a reality.
"What if you were destined to write something that would change the world or transform just one life...would you chase after the reason and rhyme of writing?" Julie Stafford
I didn't so much choose writing ... writing chose me. When my husband was diagnosed with life-threatening cancer, just two and a half years into our love story, my attention turned from teaching art to working with food. I wrote a healthy eating cookbook to support my husband’s immune system after his aggressive cancer therapies. I called it - 'Taste of Life'. My first cookbook became Australia's biggest selling healthy-eating cookbook, selling a record 1.2million copies alone, and becoming the first book in a series of 22 best-selling healthy-eating cookbooks over the next eighteen years. It was an extraordinary chapter of my life. Cookbook sales exceeded 2.2million copies worldwide leading me to open two successful health restaurants in regional Victoria and Melbourne. Through the '80s and '90s, my recipes changed a generation's eating habits. Inconceivably, eighteen years on, my husband was diagnosed with mesothelioma (an unrelated terminal cancer caused by asbestos exposure). Navigating grief,and building a new life for myself, I set off on a solo journey to heal. The journey began in Dubrovnik - a city that has called me back for every European summer since that first summer in 2006. My travels challenged my courage and built my resilience. Every year I have left behind Victoria's winter and travelled further afield across Croatia, France, Spain, USA, Morocco, and Portugal. I've also tasted the colors of the Carribean and the glaciers of Alaska. My experiences have been life changing. Along the way, I explored photography and began my love affair with fiction writing, producing a debut novel. 'Seagulls on the Ganges', (not quite a memoir, but certainly close) is a love story that will have you questioning those synchronistic moments that happen in your life that makes you question coincidences 'just too coincidental'. My writing also includes a screenplay adaption of my novel.
"I want to tell stories with paint that make you question life as you know it." Julie Stafford
Though I began my career as an art teacher, teaching art left little time to explore my desire to paint. I knew I would get to it one day! However, that one day got pushed further and further into my future when my husband was diagnosed with cancer and I swapped my art career to write healthy-eating cookbooks. But the day I always imagined, has arrived. I sometimes find myself wondering did it take so long to come because I would need meaningful life experiences to become the story/teller artist I love being. Currently, I'm working on a suite of acrylic paintings on canvas that tell the small stories within the bigger story of my debut novel, 'Seagulls on the Ganges'. Each canvas shares a special synchronistic moment and questions the role synchronicity plays in our everyday life. My thought-provoking seagull moments invite my audience to look deeply into their everyday experiences to find those colliding events that seemingly are coincidental, yet connect us to our bigger story.
CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY& PRINTS
"My natural curiosity about life, things, destinations, history, cultures, philosophy, and people, means there's always something wonderful to chase after and capture through my camera lens." Julie Stafford
I would be lost without my camera. More than my trusted friend, it is the first thing I pack when I travel. For me photography is much more than snapping a great moment, it allows others to see the world through your eyes. But what I particularly love is the exploration of what is possible after capturing an image when you use the many technologies available today to manipulate and create a final image that is worthy of becoming a unique fine art print.
Photography connects me to the magic of life that I am drawn to observe because looking at life and people through a lens of a camera makes me look just that little bit deeper into what I'm seeing.
"We dont travel to destinations, destinations call us when we're ready to know their lessons''.
THE SOLO JOURNEY
My solo travel experiences have been challenging, scary, rewarding, empowering, exhilarating, transformational and liberating. What I've learned has changed me. My solo travel has gifted me a new sense of independence and confidence. If you’ve never solo travelled, then perhaps you’re imagining it’s for those who don’t have partners or family and friends who want the same travel experience you are seeking. Perhaps you’re thinking it’s a lonely way to spend your holiday, long service leave, or retirement. Perhaps you are asking, why go alone when travel companies can create a travel plan for you, taking all the worry and effort of you even having to lift your suitcase or decide what you will eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
Though you might initially come to solo travel because you have lost a partner (as was the case for me) or you can’t find family or friends to agree on your itinerary, you'll soon discover the freedom to be spontaneous and choose your destination, and staying for as long as you want, is an extremely addictive experience.
Solo travel allows you to map your desired itinerary. It allows you to be flexible with your travel timeframes. It means you can stay for as long or short a time as you wish. It allows you to get lost off the beaten track and down those roads less travelled for you to realise that in life you are never lost, you are only ever on your way to somewhere. Travelling with others usually means your conversations are directed to those in your immediate group, but when you travel solo you invite conversations with strangers from all corners of the world. You meet with the unexpected. In these conversations, I’ve learned some of my greatest life lessons.
For me, the solitude of solo travel has allowed me to hear the whispers of my heart. Without the commotion and chaos created by others I’ve learned to finetune my observations, hearing, and awareness skills. I see and feel life differently when I’m travelling solo. Solo travel has built my confidence in my abilities to find solutions to perceived problems. I’m definitely more patient with those around me. Small things in life often now become the big things for me. Because I more clearly see where I fit into my world and how others fit around me I'm so more appreciative of the spaces I'm able to touch and people I meet.
"If you can speak you have influence. If you can influence, you can impact and change lives." Julie
In the middle of all my cookbook writing, I paused to write a motivation book, titled, 'Turn Obstacles into Opportunities' (later republished as, 'Stepping Out'). My book shared my recipe for how to live a full life. It addressed our need to step beyond that which kept us comfortable and contained in an ordinary life rather than an extraordinary life. My simple philosophy gave me an opportunity to deliver keynote presentations on the lucrative speaker's circuit, resulting in over 1500 keynotes presented to community and corporate organizations around Australia. Along with my creative energies I continue to address how our best life can be found in that which makes us most uncomfortable and that no matter our physical age, we are all emerging and growing towards something new. I want to remind others that it's never too late to chase after the life in your life.
Be the first to receive announcements about new book releases, new fine art print releases, art exhibition 2024, writing workshops, curated solo woman travel adventures