“Create. Connect. Cultivate Change.”
This is the message from the lovely Leah at Paper Planes Connect. Her beautiful Blog is an amazing vibrant space for telling and sharing stories, yarns and spiels. Connecting people through the art of storytelling.
So, lets get chatting…..
Hi Leah, Thank you so much for taking part in this interview. I’m already excited to learn more about the creation of your Beautiful Life and your own story behind it.
How is your Beautiful Life looking right now?
I’m in a really good place and it’s all a bit surreal. I am living the life I always wanted to create and this shift happened about 18 months ago. I have moments of sheer gratitude when I think of how far I have come. I’m living a vagabond kind of lifestyle with my man in London’s East. We left Australia last year in June and kicked off the adventure of a lifetime by traveling our way through the towns, beaches and nature havens of Morocco, Spain, Portugal and Italy before laying some roots in London.
What led you to embracing this new adventure?
Looking back I previously had been bitten bad by the ‘comparison’ bug which clouded my vision. Everything felt very external and my success was defined through other people’s expectations. I wasn’t living my truth. I didn’t see all that I had to give and I was craving freedom.
Personal and professional hiccups had also really shook my world. Everything I knew as ‘normal’ and all that which defined me was turned upside down. During that phase everything felt turbulent and confusing but I realise now that I needed to be ‘shook’ to get to where I am now.
My journey and creation of this new Beautiful Life began as a very spiritual journey. I did a mass inventory of my life and tuned into my past, my present, and the future I desired. I stared at my demons head on and decided boldly that I was the one in control of my life. I accepted that I was completely responsible for my own happiness. This was the game changer. This fueled me with empowerment. I started to dream again and dropped all that was simply ‘logical’ and ‘practical’.
I mapped out my dream life: Love, Family and Friends, Travel and Lifestyle, Wellbeing, Career and Creative Expression. I was crystal clear. I desired a life driven by my values and I became very aware of where I wasn’t in alignment with these.
Was this the point at which your Blog was born?
Yes, a major part of my dream life was creating a career that honored my ethical, creative and spiritual needs. What has evolved is my online space Paper Planes Connect. It is a storytelling playground where I share the journeys of individuals/groups/networks who are “BEING THE CHANGE they want to see in the world” (Gandhi) to inspire others that they too can live the life they desire. My ‘life inventory’ kept bringing me back to this idea of connection. It is what life is truly about. Without it, we are not living. We are simply existing.
Creatively, my blog allows me to play with words. Magical, magical words. I’ve always had writing skills, but I was previously confined by the ‘system’ and my job roles. Now however, Paper Planes Connect is my domain and I let the words sing loudly. Bellowing from a place that is soulful and wise, with an overall view to connect all the dots.
Why the name Paper Planes Connect?
Paper Planes Connect means exchange, sharing, engaging in dialogue, Connecting. When I think of the name, I see someone with pen in hand, writing a message. Linking and looping words to tell a story. When they are content with the fable they have told, the delicately fold the piece of paper to form a plane. They turn and see someone who needs to read their message and send the plane soaring in their direction. The person catches the plane and unfolds it to read the words he/she was longing to hear in that moment, to set things right.
Beautiful. …Tell us about a story from Paper Planes Connect?
Faces, Masks and Mirrors and One Big Vision: This story features David*, (not his real name to protect his identity) a refugee from DRC who has lived within Nyarugusu refugee camp in Dar es salaam, Tanazania, one of the world’s largest refugee camps. David* is a very good friend of mine who I met through I program I was working on at Oxfam Australia. He is dead set amazing. Despite everything he has been through, he has created so much. He tries, tries and tries again. He really makes you think about what the label ‘refugee’ implies and how he is so much more than the unfortunate circumstances, which led him to flee his home. He delves into what identity means and how the frameworks, boxes and borders we pose on ourselves and society are limiting. Yes, David* is a refugee but he is also a man. A son. A brother. A student. A change maker. A leader among his peers. He is human above all else and entitled to creating the life he wants to live. This story embodies what Paper Planes Connect is about. It is individuals like David* who are BEING THE CHANGE they want to see the world and who are creating a difference. Read more of the story here.
What inspires you to Blog?
I love writing. It gives me a sense of freedom and allows my mind to journey to different places. When I am feeling really connected to the issue or person I am writing about, the words flow so effortlessly and paint this picture. It’s a real craft knitting your words.
Piecing together a blog makes me feel like I am contributing to something bigger. That I am creating a space for someone’s significant voice to be heard.
The stories of Paper Planes Connect aim to leave traces of something inside you; a ravenous curiosity to learn more, a budding desire to push the borders and the binaries of the status quo, an impetus to speak about the unspeakable….
What dreams do you have still for yourself and your Blog/Business?
Oh I have big dreams! But it will take time and that’s completely fine with me. At the moment, my focus is really nurturing and sharing Paper Planes Connect’s message with the masses and building the tribe. This is happening and I can see that the stories have a lot of value in other people’s lives and that just overwhelms me with happiness.
The big vision is to have a community space where I can teach yoga (as I recently trained as a teacher in Bali) whilst managing and developing Paper Planes Connect as a magazine and non-government organisation. The change makers featured in the magazine will be invited to speak at the centre. Paper Planes Connect will also support projects/initiatives/campaigns overseas and I hope to run workshops a couple of times a year.
It Sounds amazing….
What 3 things have you embraced most on this journey?
Believing in me.
Embracing change head on.
Being open to whatever the day has in store
What does your Beautiful Day consist of?
Developing a daily practice has been pivotal. Mine involves a daily practice of meditation (sometimes twice – to start and end my day), moving my body (a combination of running, yoga and fitness training classes with a rad group of English locals), nurturing my body with wholesome and nutritious foods (lots of greens, fruit, grains, nuts, fish and meats in moderation and loads of water…. And dark cocoa to satisfy my sweet tooth!).
I also write a gratitude list in my phone every single day. I jot down all the things that I was grateful for that day, the small and the big, to remind me that life is pretty frigging amazing.
Your Passion and Purpose shine through. Sum up what they ultimately meal to you?
Oh love this question. I am a huge believer in purpose. I believe that we are all here for one reason or another, but often we forget or get disconnected from our purpose. My own purpose is open space for connection. Through the written word, in the form of storytelling, I connect people and create an opportunity for people to learn from each other’s lifestyles and choices. I create a space for voices to be heard. Social justice is a deep passion of mine, and all my stories have an element of creating a world that is equal, positive and sustainable for future generations to enjoy. And now that I am a yoga teacher (Yay! Slightly excited), I can aid people as they connect on a deeper level with themselves.
What is your ‘Be Well & Breathe Happy’ mantra?
That it is all within. Everything you want. Everything you desire. You can have it. In fact you deserve it.
And finally, what is your favorite quote?
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Anais Nin
Bio: Leah is a passionate storyteller, a multi-skilled communications specialist and a devoted human rights activist. She writes to ignite meaningful connection, to arouse curiosity, to push boundaries, to live large, to speak up, to create change. She is deeply fuelled by a desire to create ideas and build visions to make this world a better place. A place where we can each equally follow our dreams – regardless of the place we were born, our religious affiliations, our sexual identity, our access to education. Everything in fact to do with the status quo. After studying the causes of conflict and division in society, Leah now uses storytelling to unite people, to create community and to open opportunities for collective action.
So, let me know if Leah inspired you? I certainly smiled a lot whilst editing this. Are you encouraged to find your own purpose or share your story? What is your mantra? Leave me a comment below xxx