A Goal is a Dream with a Deadline

I believe in setting goals.  To achieve balance, I set goals in sevan buckets: Intellectual, Physical, Creative, Spiritual, Community, Financial and Travel.  Within each bucket, I set SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, results-based and time-limited.  Every year, I make myself accountable to someone for whom I have a great deal of respect.  I also post my goals online.

Because a goal without a plan is just a wish.

And wishing is not my style.

On Saturday, my coach and I reviewed progress against this year´s goals.  Because I will be in Europe for the next three months, we decided that my goals over the next 90 days should be modified to take advantage of the opportunity living in Paris will present.

Here are my goals for Paris.


  • Keep up the Momentum in Spanish
    • Speak: participate in three meetup conversation groups a week
    • Read: Finish 6 novels in Spanish
    • Listen: finish one audio book, watch two movies a week in Spanish
    • Write: One page a week on any topic
    • Study: Study with a tutor twice a week (already booked), complete advanced Spanish Grammer, Irregular and Prepositions workbooks.
  • French
    • Speak: participate in two meetup French conversation groups per week, take advantage of other immersion opportunities.
    • Read: Finish 6 books in French
    • Study: complete French verb review and advanced grammar workbooks.

Physical Fitness

  • Walk
    • One hour a day
  • Workout
    • Join a gym (already located) work out twice a week
  • Dance
    • Join an ecstatic dance group, go at least once a week
    • Take two dance classes (dance center already identified


  • Shoot
    • Take my camera with me every day
    • Shoot at least 25 images every day
    • Shoot at least 10 images a week on manual
    • Work up at least 25 images per week and post
    • Complete book on Nikon camera
    • Complete book on creative camera techniques
    • Join a camera club in Paris (already located)
  • Write
    • Have a writer´s notebook with me at all times
    • Take notes about what I am seeing every day
    • Focus on building notes on Paris for later use.
    • Write two blog articles a week
  • Draw
    • Take sketch pad with me wherever I go
    • Draw at a museum at least once a week
    • Complete two drawings a week
    • Join a drawing group
  • Cook
    • Take three classes at Cordon Blue in French pastry, one class elsewhere on classic french sauces.  (Already paid for)
  • Visit
    • Museums the first Sunday of every month, when they are free


  • Meditate: at least twice a week, once with a group, explore opportunities to take a class at a Buddhist sangha.


  • Explore a new location in Paris every day
  • Look for another house sit
  • Decide where to go in September (Shortlist: Housesit or go someone


  • Visit friends who live in Paris
  • Meet new people, look for opportunities to house swap and house sit

A Moveable Feast

I am going to spend the summer in Paris.  It will cost me nothing.  I found a housesitting position for two months and bought the ticket using frequent flyer points.  I found a couple to sublet my house in San Miguel.

The money I save will pay for classes in French pastry and classic sauces at the Cordon Blue Culinary School.  Ernest Hemmingway said Paris was a moveable feast.  (I think Paris is a woman with flowers in her hair, cooking for her friends.)

 The last three weeks have been hectic.  House sitting opportunities tend to be spontaneous, popping up like desert flowers after a rain.  Home owners rarely post a position months in advance, so sitters have to be able to leave with very little notice.

I´ll sleep on the plane.  In the meantime, busy is my middle name.

I´m very close to fluent in Spanish and I don´t want to lose momentum. My Spanish teacher at the University of Mexico helped me locate a Spanish teacher in Paris.  I purchased workbooks and downloaded several novels in Spanish to read on Kindle.

Meetup is a great tool for travelers. On it, I found several Spanish conversation groups.  My Spanish teacher will be in Paris while I am there, so we´re going to get together, too.  I also discovered several French conversation groups, bought a review of advanced French grammar workbook and downloaded several French novels to read on my Kindle.

I love being bathed in languages.  You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.  Each one is a doorway.  Learning a language is not just about learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to perceive the world.  Language is as necessary as eyes for the traveler.

Technology has completely changed the face of traveling.  I found a gym around the corner from where I will be staying, took a virtual tour of their facilities and emailed them to see if I could get a temporary two-month membership.  (They said yes.)

My phone died, so this week I bought a new unlocked device that will work anywhere in the world. It has slots slots for two SIM cards.  The first thing I´ll do when I get to Paris is buy a French SIM card with a good data plan.

I used the time while I was getting my hair done today to program my phone, downloading skype, facebook messenger, whatsapp, a Paris subway map, a street map, a map of ATM locations, a compass, a currency converter, the Uber app, French and Spanish dictionaries and a translator. The translator interfaces with the camera so you can take a photo of a sign, translate it, and locate the place on a map.

I found a meditation group in Paris, several photography clubs, and was delighted to discover a rich selection of dance communities.  I decided not to take any art classes.  I´m tired of hauling around painting supplies and those awful rickety folding easles.  Instead, I’m bringing drawing supplies.  Some of the museums I discoverd provide folding chairs for artists.   What a great way to spend an afternoon!

The housesitting assignment is for two months, but I bought the ticket airline ticket for a return after three months.  I’ll be in the wind the last month.  Maybe I´ll find another housesitting gig.  Or maybe I´ll chill out somewhere inexpensive and write. Spain, Morocco, Turkey, Greece or Russia are possibilities.

I leave in four days. My chef´s knives have been sharpened and are in their roll.  My aprons are packed.  Life is a moveable feast.

The Eiffle tower.looks like it is made out of lace and steel.  Comme une femme, n’est pas?


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