This was a much awaited interview, just like every interview I do for this blog.
A few words just before we start: when I think of people with charisma…I think of her.
When I think of wanderlust and globe-trotting…I think of her. When I think about someone’s outer beauty perfectly matching their inner beauty…I think of her. This is my friend, Monica. We’ve met via social media and we instantly connected on a soul-level.
Monica is like the wind..wild, free, restless, untamed. A free spirit, a nomad, a wanderer.
And beneath this wild side is a beautiful soul, bursting with compassion, with love, with kindness and generosity. I am proud to say that my friend is a true humanitarian and that everything she does – from a professional or personal point of view – is linked and related to the love for humanity she genuinely feels.
Hi, Monica! Thank you for doing this!
1// What is something you look forward doing every day?
I think the basics: some sun, laughs with my close ones, long walks, long hugs, to start reading a good book –forget about it-find it some days/months/years later, to wake up alone, to not wake up alone, not heaving a toothache. Also, to not finish a sentence or an idea but to feel that the ones who know me, know that words are so damn useless sometimes.
2// What is it about life that brings sparks of excitement in your eyes? What are you most grateful for?
Have you seen Baraka or/and Samsara by Ron Fricke? I am mentioning him because in his documentaries, the camera shows us the world without the use of words, therefore you only have your eyes to capture all the diversity that this world is capable of – from the completeness and stillness of nature, spirituality across the world, beautiful starts of the day and so on, to poverty, concentration camps, nowadays illusory society, etc.
This is also what I am trying to do through my travels – capture the cultural and natural diversity that this world has to offer. What I can tell you is that the more I travel – the more I see that actually I know very little of this world and that, is beyond exciting.
Right now after saying the above, I am grateful for my health and passport and I hope I get to keep them both for a very long time. The answer to this changes every time though.
3// What do you love most about your life/work?
Hard question as I did not think about making a hierarchy but I can tell you what I simply love – nature with all its cosmic secrets, the loved ones in my life because of their patience to discover me and to put up with the nonsense I give them sometimes (if not all the time), the light in their eyes when they do what they love, the teary smile on my grandparents’ faces when they see me and they reminisce of the passing of time – also their wrinkled and hardworking hands, traveling and all that comes with this experience, my mother’s deep blue eyes because they are the first ones who showed me unconditional love.
4// Joie de vivre and fascination for life. You have plenty of both. Where do they come from?
Freedom. I will elaborate a bit on that by going to where it all started: until I went to kindergarten, I was lucky to stay in the countryside at my grandparents’ and only going home on weekends if my parents weren’t coming there too – later on, I used to come back for every holiday. There, in a small village in the North East part of Romania, I had the first and biggest feeling of freedom (I did not lose it in the meantime, by the way. It’s just that sometimes I am more aware of it; sometimes less) – this is mainly because nature was on my side and it was inviting me to discover it.
Also there I became fascinated with other cultures: I had a big forest 2 km from my grandparents’ village where the old fashioned gypsies (not our present perception of them) would live – I got see their customs, their colors, their jewellery, their way of gaining money from making things from iron and then going from village to village to sell them, their music, their dances around a big fire, the way they wore their clothes and hair.*
I think this influenced me a lot as I got to see people so different from us but so amazing in their own way from a very early age. And this left me with wanting to know what else is there when it comes to how other people deal with beliefs, knowledge, values, meanings, symbols, attitudes, knowledge, experiences, spirituality, notions of time and so on. Fortunately, some of us live in a time when it’s far more easier to be free to see what this world has in store for us. We should keep in mind that this was not the case for our parents and it is not the case for many of the nowadays countries. If we would reflect more on this, I think that investing money in material things would not be as popular not only in Romania, but worldwide.
*My father noticed this and brought me from Moscow in the ‘90s the Russian/Moldavian movie “Tabor ukhodit v nebo”/”Gipsy camp is found near heaven” directed by Emil Loteanu who developed the story from Maxim Gorky’s stories with the set in the early 20th century Bessarabia. It’s the only musical I can watch.
5// The not-so-great days. We all have them. How do you scratch self-doubt or procrastination from your list?
Not-so-great days. Yes, I used to have more of them as I had kind of a nostalgic way of being as if I did not belong anywhere and that used to weigh a lot on me. And sometimes I still do feel that way. However, some years ago I was lucky enough to visit Thailand and I think that was one of my first live encounters with the Buddhist philosophy in a very simple form – the smiles on people’s faces when we said “Hi” and the way they would greet each other and also us, foreigners – they also had problems, probably bigger than ours, but the way they approached life was very surprising and intriguing at the same time.
Regarding your question, for some time now, when I have a bad day, or a problem or I just feel doubtful regarding my actions, I try (because I don’t always succeed) to not get carried away by the negativity of the moment and observe – why am I angry, how is this anger affecting me and the ones around me and by doing this I see that if I react in a negative way towards a negative moment I can only produce more of that negativity.
Of course, I cannot react positive immediately – I am angry, I allow myself to be angry but at the same time I observe myself and somehow in time that anger/sadness/negativity, as I let it be, and not fight it but try to let it pass – it just does that, it passes. But it’s a very thorough and continuous exercise and I have to admit that sometimes I am not very good at it. But that’s ok too – I guess I’m just trying not to be too hard on myself.
6// What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned over the years about life and work?
I think that one of the biggest lessons I have learned is the lesson of impermanence. I have lost someone very dear to me when I was just starting to become aware of my own existence, around 12 years old, and since then it was very hard to get attached to people because I already knew that all things will end before they had barely begun.
However, I did not have the conscious mind I am somehow trying to have now and unfortunately because of this self taught lesson, people around me –friends, family, lovers – got hurt as I did not know how to handle it without not leaving the impression that I did not care. I did care though.
Nowadays, although I know that all things follow a natural cycle and that we should not get attached especially to the material things, I have to admit the hardest part is to let go of people who we see are on a different path from ours. But I think by letting them go, we show them love.
Thank you, Monica! This was awesome!
Dear friends, words are not easy to find when it comes to this golden girl, but I hope this interview offered you, at least a glimpse of how amazing this one of a kind, one in a million soul really is.
Wishing you a great day ahead,
*All images are from Monica’s private archive