Updated: Sep 20, 2019
I've published 22 healthy-eating cookbooks and sold more than 2.2 million copies as well as written a motivation title, called, 'Stepping Out' (a book to pull you out of your comfort zone). I've been blessed to travel the world; several times, promoting my books. These books put me on the lucrative speaker's circuit where I've presented at more than 1500 speaking engagements. And now, I've written a fiction, called, 'Seagulls on the Ganges', based on my real life events. I look back on my life and I am reminded that anything is possible if you don't say "NO" to life.
I didn't change my direction from cookbook writer to fiction writer without reason. My life changed; and in my new lessons, the challenge to write my story as a fiction became my new life. Such was the calling in my heart to write my unexpected love story that I just went for it ... almost at it every day for 10 years as I traveled to destinations that called me. Once there, I found ideal writing locations in small cafes and restaurants, on fast moving trains, on balconies looking out to sea, and even on sail boats meandering in the Mediterranean until finally my story was complete. Now, it has been adapted for screenplay and it is looking for movie investors.
I sometimes wonder would I ever have written 'Seagulls on the Ganges', if I hadn't listened to the initial whispers of my heart when it told me to go to Dubrovnik (Croatia) in 2006, just 6 months after cancer stole the love of my life. The city had planted seeds in me well before 2006, and once there, I guessed this was so I would not doubt my sudden desire to travel there. I knew no one, didn't speak the language or even knew if it was safe for a woman to be traveling inside the country alone. For every consecutive European summer since that first time, I've made Dubrovnik my working base.
My most profound lessons in this chapter of my life rest in this city, and in the people who live there. In all my visits I've also found a new tribe of people, from all over the world. I've shared my love affair with this city with many good friends and family: all who have ventured there have loved it, as I have loved it too.
My energies and creativity surge in my morning swims in the azure waters of the Adriatic. My diet of fish, fresh vegetables and fruits - grown in the rich soils of hillside villages and ferried in from local islands - and the salty olive oil, from the island of Sipan, revitalizes me. Let me say, writing my story didn't come easy. Nothing worth doing ever is. I'm not a wordsmith. I wish I'd paid more attention, when in my teenage years, my father told me, "Know words so well that they want to fight to be heard, before they roll off your tongue to inspire someone into action."
I hope you get to read 'Seagulls on the Ganges' - for a whole lot of reasons, but especially to read about my father's leather-boot philosophy which I gather he formed on the roads of his travels to places that called him too.
It would be easy for me to say, I shaped and polished my story for near on 10 years before I considered it was ready, but that's not true. Just like my story's subject matter is about meaningful coincidences, publishing this book took time because I didn't have all the pieces of the puzzle to complete it. Well, not until a photograph arrived, from my niece, all the way from India. She had captured a moment whilst traveling down the holy Ganges. From that moment, my story took shape, found its title, and now it has wings. Suddenly, the words were effortless, and the reason for writing my story as fiction made sense to me. Though I didn't set foot on India's shores, still this destination called me in another way, because in its culture was the vital clue to make sense of all I had experienced since my husband passed.
Writing my story has been a reminder that sometimes we miss the point of a meaningful coincidence because we are too impatient in this fast paced world. We want to rush to the end. We want results fast. We choose the sealed, flat road instead of the bumpy, slow, dirt track, because it seems more comfortable: less dusty. We even let the voice of self-doubt discourage what shouts to us from our heart. For in our heart, when we're ready, the right destination, for all the right reasons will call us and when it does we should never deny that invitation, for there waits important lessons to lead us down the path we were always meant to travel.
“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber
'Seagulls on the Ganges' is available @ www.juliestafford.com.au