Mar
17
2015
rainbow chasers: Leah Davies


This week I’m thrilled to introduce you to a beautiful friend of mine, with a luminous spirit that's impossibly infectious.

Meet Leah Davies: purpose-filled writer, human rights activist and coach for budding wordsmiths. Her beautiful site and blog, Paper Planes Connect, is a place to celebrate our difference and to unite in our sameness. Leah writes to ignite meaningful connection, to arouse curiosity, to push boundaries, and to create change. And just you watch - she’s going to light up the globe.

Leah and I first connected in London, as Aussie expat classmates in in Rachel MacDonald’s Bloghearted ecourse. A few short months down the way, we found ourselves both in Australia, walking from Bondi to Bronte on the New South Wales coast, birthing and workshopping a collaborative dream that will unravel later this year (watch this space!) I just know we were destined to meet. I seriously can’t wait for Leah's return to Aussie shores again soon, for many adventures.

It’s time you get to know Leah.

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+ Let's jump right in. In one sentence, what is your raison d'etre? (your purpose, or reason to be)?

To open minds, jolt perspectives, cultivate connection and inspire positive action through the power of storytelling.

+ How did you come to be where you are right now?

Right this moment you find me on a train traveling from the Central Coast (my wonderful home) to Sydney where I will meet former work colleagues for lunch (and chats about possible collaborations) followed by coffee with a magazine publisher and then a scrumptious dinner with four out-of-this-world, talented bloggers who are carving up a storm in their own nooks of the web.

Rewind the clock 18 months, I would have laughed in disbelief if I knew this is what I would be doing today.

Devotion to my dream got me here. There has no doubt been bumps and curves along the way, but my relentless belief in creating a life of passion and purpose has kept me on point. It’s my life compass. As soon as I sense a niggle – that feeling that something is not right – I enquire. I sit with the feeling and curiously strip back the layers until I understand what needs to shift, and then go about making those changes so that my heart is humming once again.

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+ Can you paint for me your big, beautiful vision? What are you creating in this lifetime?

Imagine this: A world where we celebrated our differences and united in our sameness. A world where we slowed right down and remembered why we are here, and prioritised connecting with the people around us. A world where we openly listened to different perspectives, challenged the norm and proposed alternatives that would benefit not only our personal lives, but also the global community at large. A world where change was embraced, fear was shelved and compassionate action was your life mission.

Through our words – the way we communicate – this is what I am creating. A world where positive, equitable and sustainable change can thrive because we understand its value and its significance.

I am doing this through Paper Planes Connect by:

+ capturing the stories of Freethinkers (aka those that are agitating for change)

+ collaborating with socially conscious individuals, groups, businesses and organisations on projects, campaigns, books, documentaries (you name it!) 

+ coaching budding wordsmiths to share their authentic message of change with the world.

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+ What decisions along the way have brought you to the here + now? The ones where courage conquered fear.

There’s been a few:

+ Making the call to return to study and do my masters in International Development (sayonara full time job!)

+ Hoping on a plane bound for London indefinitely to start over

+ Leaving the security of a job I loved, but recognising it was unsustainable for my health and wellbeing

+ Launching Paper Planes Connect before I was ‘ready’ 

+ Exposing my vulnerable side, confessing I don’t know the answers and showing up regardless

+ Stellar life moments :: What’s a happy memory or story that stands out for you, from any time ago?

A happy memory I often find myself retreating to took place about a year ago in Ubud, Bali. I had signed up to do a month intense teacher training in Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga and each day after about 10 hours of practice, discussion and theory – my mind and body well and truly knackered, but in the 'this is amazing' type of way – I would walk through the rice fields after a delicious dinner with my new friends and flash light in hand.

I would navigate my way around frogs, huge beetles and low-flying bats (life was abuzz in every sense of the word!) and then I would stop and look up at the sky. The moon would glow in a way I had never seen before and the stars would pop as if I was seeing them in 3D for the first time. Overwhelmed with happiness, I would smile back.

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+ Talk us through what a typical day in your world might look like.

Each and every day varies quite considerably, but a typical day looks something like this:

I awake early most days and ‘fill up my cup’ by sitting in silence for meditation followed by some scribbled missives in my journal. Then it’s time to get moving, either by jogging along the canal near by my house or rolling out my mat for yoga practice. After brekky, the first half of the day involves emails, skype calls, face-to-face interviews and writing (whether that’s for the blog or freelance articles). Whipping up a scrumptious lunch breaks up my day. I turn up the tunes and take some time to read my book of the moment. The afternoons are when I usually coach aspiring writers and do writing and editing work for clients. I’d like to call it a day at 5pm, but it’s normally more like 630pm, then it’s time to drop the pen and connect with my man as we prepare and cook dinner together and reflect on our days. A few times a week I teach an evening yoga class down the road, topping off my day with my other fierce passion.

+ And when you’re not doing any of the above, where can we find you?

Attending a yoga class as a student (A little secret: I very rarely tell my teachers that I am too a yoga teacher. I find the class so much more enjoyable that way. Pressure is off!), walking around one of London’s many parks (the outdoors keeps me grounded), traveling to a new destination in Europe, feasting with girlfriends, head bopping at a concert or marveling at street art.

+ Down time, and the work vs. life balance deal. How does this vibe with you? How do you make it all work?

It sits at the pinnacle of everything I do. I don’t always get the balance right, but each day, I make decisions based on serving this life/work balance. I check in with how I am feeling, ask questions of myself and see what feels right. The feeling guides me on what to do next: step it up or scale it back.

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+ The creative process. What’s yours? How do rituals help you tap into your creative muse?

When I sit to write, at the top of every page, I ask myself these four questions:

+ What is the purpose?

+ What do I want my readers to know?

+ How do I want my readers to feel?

+ What actions do I want my readers to take?

I always scribble my intention for my work front and centre on a post-it note, have a candle alight, incense on the burn and music on low.

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+ When you are creating, what is non-negotiable?

Sacred space, my journal, post-it notes, highlighters, and my headphones.

+ Music, or no music, while you create? Whether yes or no, what are you listening to at this very moment?

Music! I’m usually listening to Xavier Rudd, Beautiful Girls, Bombay Bicycle Club, Jeff Buckley, Bon Iver, Ben Howard, Angus and Julia Stone, Alt J, Kate Bush, David Bowie or even better, hitting radio on some of my fave artists on Spotify and discovering new music.

+ Highlights and radical moments :: what has been your most rewarding creation to date, and why?

My Coaching for Writers course. The idea came to me like a bolt of lightening one day when I was soul-storming in a café. Once the idea landed, the 6-week program revealed itself to me. I knew – like really knew – I was onto something. Despite the nerves and the doubts when launch date loomed closed, I went ahead and have LOVED every coaching opportunity since. The heart never lies.

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+ What three key lessons have you learnt in your entrepreneurial path, which continue to carry you forward?

+ Listen to your heart

+ Approach fear with curiosity and compassion

+ BELIEVE

+ What would you tell your five year-ago self?

There is so much more to this thing called life. Open your eyes. Open your heart. Don’t be scared. It’s pretty magical out here.

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+ Who do you look to for inspiration? Or, who madly lights you up + makes you want to chase down your dreams?

Rachel MacDonald and you babe. Seriously, acing at it!

+ Self-doubt, resistance, creative dry spells. How do you handle these?

After feeling a tad frustrated that the juices just ain’t flowing, I do the tasks that don’t require my muse in the room. I reach out and connect with new people on social media, I answer emails, I read more, and I get outdoors.

+ If you were to hop on a plane tomorrow, where would you go? And why?

Ooooo the choices! I would go to Turkey. It’s been calling me for some time now. The food, culture, people, markets, textiles, coastline and hot air balloons over Cappadocia. Yes, Turkey I’m a comin’!

+ What can we expect from you next? What dreams are in the pipeline?

Next is a whole lotta writing. Think: Published. And no, not a book (just yet).

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I N   A   N U T S H E L L:
{finish these sentences}

+ Right now, I feel... Incredibly inspired after hours of blogging and business dreaming in the company of four fabulous women. 

+ I believe in… The power of our words.

+ Secretly, I wish… I could teleport with a blink of the eye!

+ I'll always remember the day when... I landed in India on my own as a spring chicken, sitting in the back of a taxi in crazy Delhi traffic and feeling dizzy with exhilaration. The colours of saris, the beeping on incessant horns, the near accidents with rickshaws and passing cows, the thick smog, the smell of incense and curry in the air. All of it. I was well and truly in another world.

+ You might not know this, but… I love Disney flicks.

+ I couldn't live without... My man.

+ The best advice I’ve been given is… You were born to create, so go create!


L O C A L   T O   G L O B A L:

+ Where do you call home?

Sunny Avoca Beach, but my current home is Hoxton in the hip East London!

+ What’s the best kept secret of your home town or city?

Broadway Markets, hands down. Held every Saturday near London Fields, the tables are a smorgasbord of fine foods from all over the world and local fresh produce. Stalls sell boutique baby clothes, second-hand books, hand-designed jewelry, and the scent of raw desserts, a pig on the spit and pho soup simmering away will have you in a spin.

+ Fave café/restaurant/hang spot?

Café Maloka (also located on Broadway Market in London Fields). I discovered this small, pocky space during my first week in London and at least once a week, make my way to my corner spot. I set up here for a day and write my heart out. The staff are all Polish and so beautiful. They always play obscure new music. Their selection of teas from around the world is phenomenal. Their deserts are all vegan with special attention to certain allergies such as gluten and diary, and are mostly raw. Try the brownie! Out-of-this-world delicious!

+ Why should someone make the trip?

London is a hub for everything culturally cool. There is never a dull moment. The city never sleeps. Most of all though, it represents diversity at its finest. All walks of life coexisting side-by-side. If you are looking for inspiration, all you have to do is take a walk down the street. It is everywhere.

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Last but not least, where can we find you, online?


WEBSITE www.paperplanesconnect.com

FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/paperplanesconnect

INSTAGRAM @paperplanesconnect

So, what do you reckon? Total game changer right here, don’t you think? Leave Leah some love in the comments below.

And, while I’m here singing this beautiful lady’s praises, I want to encourage you to check out Leah’s Coaching for Writers program, and her Writing + Editing services. There's no question about it - she comes with my highest recommendation.


*All photos above, taken by Jason Di-Candilo.

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As you were, lovely.
EKCo. x


Gravatar for Carly {Pockets of Peace}
Carly {Pockets of Peace} March 23, 2015 at 3:59 pm

What a delightful + delicious interview! Super inspiring and full of gems galore.

I cannot wait to meet you in person, Leah! Hopefully that day comes soon. (I can imagine that the three of us would have an ABSOLUTE BALL.)

Lots of love,

C xox

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Gravatar for Emma Kate Codrington
Emma Kate Codrington April 9, 2015 at 1:44 pm

Adventures to be had next summer - no doubt about it! x

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Gravatar for Leah Davies
Leah Davies April 7, 2015 at 6:19 pm

I can't wait to finally meet you too Carly!!!! So much fun to look forward to xxx

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Gravatar for Leah Davies
Leah Davies March 22, 2015 at 11:00 pm

Chloe and Ruth (and of course, Emma) - you ladies rock! So happy my words are resonating with you. Yes, sink into the purpose of your writing (your WHY) each time you put pen to paper or fingers to keys. Let there be room for creativity. Remember to write wildly (not perfectly) and see what you and your muse co-create. I'm guessing it's going to be pretty beautiful! xxx

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Gravatar for Chloe | One Infinite Life
Chloe | One Infinite Life March 21, 2015 at 8:47 am

So many incredible nuggets of wisdom in this interview. Leah is super inspiring and I love her site. I've already written those four questions on a sticky note to keep on my desk and I plan to ask myself them each time I sit down to write.

PS. I love hearing that other people love Disney movies too! So awesome.

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Gravatar for Emma Kate Codrington
Emma Kate Codrington March 21, 2015 at 8:55 am

So have I! Aren't they great? It's great to remember the purpose and how we want to make people feel with our writing/posting - and living.

Thanks for popping by to this little corner of the web xx

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Gravatar for Ruth Quick
Ruth Quick March 20, 2015 at 12:20 am

Leah is a total babe. I got to hang out and have a yummy dinner with Leah in London recently and am totally sold on working with her on my writing, can't wait!
Beautiful interview, I love the questions! I am 100% adopting the creative process of asking yourself those 4 questions at the beginning of writing a post. What a wonderful way to get really clear before starting.... so helpful for a distracted waffler such a myself! xo

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Gravatar for Emma Kate Codrington
Emma Kate Codrington March 20, 2015 at 8:34 pm

AGREED! With all my heart. And yes, aren't those questions of Leah's wonderful?! I have them stick-noted to my computer for the reminder. Thanks for stopping by, lovely! x

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