Juicy Olive

The quest for “the good life” should never be complete but it should definitely begin now.

What’s In A Name? March 16, 2009

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Last month I went on vacation to Morocco. It was glorious. The sights, the sounds, the smells and the people all mesmerized me and put my senses on overdrive. In the coming days, I’ll post more about the trip, but for the time being it’s important to note how influential it was over the decision to start this blog.

For years my friends have told me that I should share my experiences with the rest of the world. I suppose I always felt it was grossly self-important to be pontificating about my daily adventures, when there are so many other groundbreaking issues to learn about. While I was in Morocco, however, I realized that I had found myself in a place where many others never think to voyage, and that’s a shame. It is a gorgeous country full of kind and interesting people. As a woman travelling solo, many were concerned about my safety – however I can confidently report that I felt very safe and secure in Morocco.

What I think made my vacation “successful” was that I was thoughtful about where I was going, what places I would visit and what I wanted to achieve. I had an idea in my head about what would make me happy once I got there, and all of my planning was centered around getting to that ideal.

My lightbulb moment came to me at Cafe Arabe. After a morning of bargaining in the souks, I was ready to have a relaxing lunch. I found my way to this gorgeous, chic terrace that had a cozy lounge-like feel. As I sat down to a chilled half-bottle of Moroccan white wine, the waiter brought me a lovely little bowl of olives. Using the toothpicks provided, I scouted through the bowl looking for the perfect first bite. I wanted it to be flavorful, firm and – yes – juicy. The hard work paid off, and the treat was delicious.

The perfect juicy olive?

The perfect juicy olive?


By the time my b’stilla lunch arrived, I had savored a few more olives – each one a delight.

Yeah, yeah…leave it to me to compare my philosophy of life to food, but it’s something to consider, right?  What if we all focused on using our proverbial toothpicks to find the perfect, juicy olive. Attaining our ideal experiences may not be that hard. Great experiences might be had by hunting around for the exact elements that will get you there.


Prove her wrong

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I recently learned about a woman who had – from the outsider’s point of view – a fabulous life. She travelled extensively and had lived in every corner of the world. She worked in a field of human rights. She was tall and had great hair. She had a handsome husband and two beautiful children. She was well-educated and seemed to know all of the “it” people.

The day came when I finally met Madame Fantastique, and I was excited to pick her brain about how she was able to accomplish so much in so little time. We began talking at a local coffee shop and, quite quickly, I was underwhelmed. This woman was snobbish and was not very nice to the kind man serving the cafe au lait. She proved to be a braggart who had an air of superiority that was entirely off-putting. She wasn’t a question-asker (in fact, at the close of the conversation I realized she knew nothing about me, but I knew the most intimate details of how much her handbag had cost and why she didn’t eat carbs.) When I aimed to turn the conversation to  her children, she used their budding fluency in new languages as a platform to let me know how lucky they were to have parents as fabulous as she and her husband are. I had reserved judgement until she said to me, “You’ll probably never be able to have the experiences we do – it’s just that we’re really focused on giving ourselves the good life.”

At that moment, two things came to me: 1) I didn’t like this woman. She was an insecure elitist who pumped herself up by trying to make others feel small. Yuck. 2) I didn’t agree with this woman. There should be nothing stopping anyone from having the experiences they want in life. Whether that means learning multiple languages, visiting foreign countries, mastering a new sport or perfecting the art of the perfect nap – THE GOOD LIFE IS ATTAINABLE.

And so I have begun a quest to convey small lessons, gentle encouragement and outright guidelines to anyone interested in finding that next great life experience. We are sophisticated people with curiosities about the world and our own back yards. Indulging Nay-say Nelly (how could I have ever thought she was so fantastic?! Shame on me.) in her assertions that enrichment is tough to come by lets her win.

Juicy Olive will prove her wrong.