May 25, 2011

Breaking Out

Craving adventure? Considering a Life Make-over? Ready to chase that dream that been lurking in your heart for years?

I’ve just returned from a glorious month’s holiday in Europe and I feel inspired! Everywhere I went, I saw examples of people who have broken out, taken risks

Firstly, there is Paul, Comte de la Panouse who was in his early twenties when he decided to set up an African safari at the Chateau du Thoiry, 40km from Paris. In the intervening forty years he’s been bitten by a hippo, trampled by an elephant and kidnapped by poachers but his boundless enthusiasm and energy remain undaunted and his passion for animal conservation is undimmed. People said he was crazy, it would never work, especially as he refused to put the animals in cages. How wrong they were. Today you can either drive or saunter around the huge grounds to see over a thousand contented animals living in huge, leafy enclosures.

My highlight was walking under a glass tunnel with a lioness lying right above my head! Paul and his wife are having fun. For kids they've also provided talking trees, a maze and play areas for them.

Not far away is Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye, one of the most

architecturally significant homes of the twentieth century. Le Corbusier wanted a home that would seem to float above the land and where walls are freed from structural constraints. Built 80 years ago, it’s still like entering the setting out of a futuristic novel, full of fascinating angles and lines with photo opportunities at every turn.

In Greece, we stayed on Samos, an island only 3km off the Turkish coast. We rented a beautiful little house right on the shore of the Aegean and were the very first visitors in this new venture of turning a family home into a holiday villa in these economically tough times. Our hosts had no English, we had no Greek but Greek hospitality transcends language. The garden was sown with vegetables which we were urged to eat and our hosts arrived on our second day with a huge crate of oranges, lemons and grapefruit they had just picked themselves from their orchard.

People breaking out, taking risks.

I love the spirit, the daring which I’ve tried to capture in my new book, A Risk Worth Taking where characters dig deep and face their darkest fears, willing to risk all to realise their dreams.

Have you made a dream come true or been inspired? Please share and be in to win a copy of my book which is released next month.


  1. Right now, Zana, you've inspired me to go to Greece! There's always something else that gets in the way, but whenever I hear about anyone's experiences, I know one day I'll get there. Glad you had a fabulous time =)
    Your book sounds wonderful! And what a cover!

  2. Zana, Greece sounds wonderful. Everyone seems to think it is the best place to visit. Like Robyn, one day.
    And your cover is wonderful. Looking forward to getting the book.

  3. Zana, fab cover ! And the book sounds really interesting !

    I have heard of Greece, of course :) But I'm not overtly keen on visiting there, unless it is to stay for a couple of years, learn the culture, enjoy the place etc !

    And for "exploring" I live vicariously through books ;) The library is my favourite hangout ;) I usually love to see others / characters take risks and enjoy thro' them :-D

  4. Oh, Zana, that lioness photo is beautiful! What an amazing place. I've never heard of it but will add it to my "must see" list for when I visit France (like when I win lotto!).

    As an unpublished writer, I'm constantly inspired to keep going, keep learning, keep perfecting. So many writers took years to be published and never gave up. That's inspirational for me.


  5. Zana,

    I second what everyone else has said. What an amazing cover and I just love the photo of the lioness. Perfect for loveCats ;-)

    I expect we will be seeing references to your European trip in upcoming books.

    As for inspiration - I am inspired on a daily basis by writers who are willing to share their knowledge, experience and stories.


  6. Firstly, I must tell you that my dear son has used up all our broadband so I'm down to the SLOWEST connections ever! If I can't respond much tonight, I'll be on board tomorrow when Telecom unlocks us! It's been the most frustrating day!!!

    Sue and Robyn, I feel so spoilt having such a great holiday. It's my second time to Greece. I lived and worked there in my early twenties and it's wonderful to see how little has changed.

  7. Ju, I think you are right - the best way to fully appreciate another culture is to immerse yourself it in. Alas, tasters only every decade or so will have to do in the meantime.

    Like you, I live through my reading - current book is set on the Amalfi coast. My fingers are itching to pack my bag again.

  8. Catherine, I loved my day at Thoiry. Coming from Africa, I've done a few safaris in my time but this was completely different - up close and personal. Having also seen starving wild animals, it was a pleasure to see sleek, contented beasts.

    Toni, you betcha I'm hoping to use this trip in future books.

    As to finding inspiration from other writers - I couldn't agree more.

  9. Zana, I am SOOO envious of your trip! The island of Samos, the Chateau du Thoiry! I SO want to go to both places now that I've read your blog post!

    Risks? All I'm risking at the moment is stepping outside of my comfort zone with Toastmasters. Not very big, on the scale of things!

    Love the cover of your latest book. Can't wait to read it -- you know I love your writing!

  10. Zana

    Sounds like a wonderful holiday Greece is one place I would love to visit love the food and the people and Shirley Valentine is one of my favourite movies LOL.
    My dream at the moment is to retire so as I can spend more time with my family and of course have more time to read.
    Love the sound of the new book Zana looking forward to reading it

    Have Fun
    Hopefully blogger will let me post this comment LOL

  11. Zana, it sounds like you visited some amazing places on your trip - that photograph of the lioness is just fantastic! Actually being there and seeing one of those big cats above you like that must have been breathtaking... and hopeful that the glass was indeed very *very* thick!

    As for breaking out... I guess my dh and I did that when we did our Big Trip around the western half of Australia on the motorbike! It's given us itchy feet and we're planning to escape again as soon as we can - probably travelling in a little more comfort this time!

    I'm looking forward to seeing your new book on the shelf DownUnder!

  12. Zana I have your book in my TBR. I love the picture of the lioness. I don't think too much travel will be in our future but we have been to Athens. I loved it and the places nearby that we visited. It's one place I would love to go back to some day.

  13. Ooh, Zana, your trip sounds heavenly! Helen just mentioned the film Shirley Valentine, which I saw again recently, and between you both you have my dying for Greece!

    Ah, dreaming dreams...

  14. Zana, like everyone else, Greece would be divine to go and visit! And love your lioness picture, the park sounds wonderful =)

  15. Internet has been restored! Yaya!

    Em, how brave of you to do Toast masters - I've been meaning to join for years. Looking forward to hearing all about it.

  16. Helen and Michelle, I can see I'm going to have to get the film out. I've never seen it! It may help me to relive memories. Two weeks back at work and Greece is beginning to seem like a long time ago :)

    Sharon, we've got quite a yen to do the big Aussie trip ourselves. Ah so many places to visit - what a pity travel costs so much.

  17. Kaelee, hope you enjoy the book. Glad to have a fellow Hellenophile out there.

    Thanks for swinging by, Mel. The lioness is magnificent, isn't she.

  18. Zana, thanks for sharing those photos! I'm green with envy on this cold winter morning. :)