What inspires me

Welcome to my little corner of the Blog It Forward mash-up hosted by Victoria at sfgirlbybay. The question that 300 bloggers are asking and answering is… What inspires me most?  So here goes… {in my own words and with my own images.}

unexpected moments of extraordinary beauty

{Oia, Santorini, Greece}
encountering new cultures through travel

I’ve lived in five countries: Canada (home, sweet-Olympic home), Colombia, Mexico, Spain and Thailand. We travel. A lot.


 {Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland}

{Cadaques, Spain}

{Barcelona, Spain}

{Vienna, Austria}

 {Tuscany, Italy}
{Chiang Mai, Thailand}

 {Saskatchewan, Canada}

{Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy}

paris (which is in an inspiration category all by itself)

polaroids and exquisite natural light

{And the yummy-goodness of some things shall be self evident.}

good stories

Oryx and Crake.  Middlesex.  The White Tiger.  The Hours. One Hundred Years of Solitude.  The God of Small Things. Anything by Jane Austen.
The poetry of Pablo Neruda, Mary Oliver and DP.
good blog stories

Like most bloggers, I read a boat-load of blogs… about travel and writing and publishing and photoghraphy and interior design and cooking.  The blogosphere is filled with amazing writers – you really should be calling yourselves writers! I am particularly inspired by these.

this is my mother

My life has been shaped and enriched by a number of real-life inspirational people and the first of these was my mother. She taught me about the importance of making lists, a skill that turned out to be one of the finest gifts I’ve ever received.  Her mad love of travel inspired me to take my work as a teacher and counselor on the road.  (Don’t worry… she visits!)

{Mom in Florence}
six classes of amazing high school graduates

Although I’ve guided your university application process as your College Counselor, you are not just my work! You inspire me with your BIG dreams, your optimism, your mad skills and your boldness. (Be bold… you are going to need it!) Here we are raising a glass to the classes of 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005, 2004. You know who you are, lovelies. (Besos y abrazos.)

what love makes possible

DP and I do not discuss the details of our relationship here, in the blogosphere. Some things are meant to be private. (I can say that he is the love of my life. I can say that.)  Every day, DP inspires me with his own boundless creativity.  He believes that I can do anything. (Imagine how great that feels!)

{Us. Photo by Irene Nam}

ted talks

If you’ve never watched a TED talk, start here.

If you don’t have twenty minutes to watch Seth Godin‘s TED talk The Tribes We Lead, here’s a quick re-cap. Godin asks the following three questions:

  • Who are you upsetting?
  • Who are you connecting?
  • Who are you leading?

Ultimately, Godin challenges us to create a movement of people who care passionately about the same thing.

turning creativity into action
Although I feel fortunate to live a life in which I get to be creative some of the time, I want to do and create more.  Do you feel that way too?  In addition to appreciating and curating the work of others, I want to bust out with my own uniquely-Monna stuff.  Seth Godin – I want you to know that I already have some movements in mind. (Seven, actually.)  I feel inspired.

What do you feel inspired to create?

and tomorrow…
Kishah at My Life So Far will be sharing what inspires her.


  1. These are beautiful pictures, I love each one of them. I can see why they inspire you… they surely make me long for a plane ticket right here, right now!

  2. I think my other comment got eaten, so here goes again: lovely photos! The one of Auschwitz-Birkenau is hauntingly beautiful. Love those Polaroids. Thank you for sharing those beauties!

  3. Hello! I'm fresh to the blogosphere, & spend most of my time (as you said:)) reading blogs beyond blogs .. & beyond. Love the 3 questions towards the end–really puts things in a neat perspective as to what you're purpose is really doing. Thanks for sharing your inspiration(s)!

  4. @StephThanks for your lovely compliment. Travelling has definitely made me a better photographer because I feel inspired to try to capture the essence of a particular street or neighbourhood or city.@sfgirlbybayVictoria- thanks for organizing us. Who knew that 300 bloggers would accept your challenge to write about what inspires us! I have loved reading the inspiration posts.@WendeI am so glad that your visit here was a good way to start your day. When I posted, here in Bangkok, it was the end of my day. I published the post and went to bed. (Sometimes it's weird to be on the other side of the world.)@Helena – Diary of LovelyThanks for your lovely compliment. I love the sweet name of your blog. Lovely is one of my favourite words. Ever.@BrookeThanks for your encouraging comment. Honestly, I felt a bit weird posting this photo of Auschwitz here but our visit to the camps was so powerful. I think it's really important for people to visit Auschwitz if they have an opportunity. We were at the Birkenau Concentration Camp early on a late December morning; there were very few people there. This path, at the back of Birkenau, was close to the mass graves and I definitely felt a presence there. Whatever it was actually took my breath away and I took the photo above at that exact moment. Auschwitz helps us remember what it is that makes us human.@Amy / Handmade Evolution It makes me happy to know that you left feeling inspired. Thanks for your visit.@ArcadiaHola. Que tal? I'm happy to meet another educator-blogger. As you know, teaching and counseling are not always easy but we are blessed with so many extraordinary and memorable moments with kids. I work with high school students and we have the best laughs even on the worst of days. (Sometimes I forget this.)@LindseyWelcome to the blogosphere. I do hope you find a lovely little community of blogging-people who welcome you and appreciate the same things that you do – your tribe! I love Seth Godin's questions although the idea of upsetting people – even for a good reason – still makes me nervous!

  5. Hi friend… just wanted to tell you that this makes me miss you very much, and that the photo of you and DP is possibly my very favorite of all time on your blog. Besos!!! xoxoxo – Sarah L.

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