I’ve created several bucket lists in the past few years. Lofty goals that I’ve set for my life which I hope to be able to look back on with fond real-life memories when I’m prepping for my final one way journey off of this planet, assuming I still have my mental faculties at that time.

Each time I rewrite my bucket list, there’s been these 2 constants that make it onto the new list.

  1. Visit Paris
  2. Meet Sue Bryce

Paris001Copyright- (c) Abigail K Photography-2About Paris

My friends and family know that my obsession with Paris runs deep. My apartment is adorned with Eiffel towers and Parisian artifacts. The ‘goal people’ said you should have visual triggers of your goals around your house, and so that’s what I did! I’ve even taken it to the extreme, where I now wear an Eiffel tower pendant necklace every chance I get.

About Sue Bryce

My friends, colleagues and fellow photographers also know that I’m obsessed, in a good way, with Sue Bryce. An award winning portrait photographer and a woman who has blazed a trail across the globe with her phenomenal photographic artwork of everyday women, her photography business teachings and her life lessons and philosophies that inspire and encourage a mindset of self worth, confidence and love. There are thousands of portrait photographers, myself included, who aspire to create imagery as magnificent as hers, who are working on building a photography business as successful as hers, and who are actively addressing their mental blocks, practicing mindfulness and injecting personal development into their regular daily activities.

Sue Bryce is without doubt, currently one of the most influential portrait photographers on the planet.


So you get it, right? In my world – Sue Bryce is HUGE! She’s like Star Wars huge!

Sue Bryce is HUGE! She’s like Star Wars huge!

So the fact that this year I’m not only going to visit Paris, but I’m going there to meet Sue Bryce in person and attend one of her workshops… IN PERSON, is completely insane!!!

This has me completely…

  • Paris eiffel towerdumbfounded,
  • excited,
  • exhilarated,
  • terrified,
  • nervous,
  • ecstatic,
  • unsure,
  • amazed,
  • inspired,
  • thrilled,
  • stressed,
  • delirious,
  • grateful,
  • determined
  • and happy.

To list just a few adjectives.

In other words, this is a big deal!

How I nearly wasn’t going to Paris to meet Sue Bryce

Let me tell you how it all came about, cos it hasn’t been easy, it’s certainly been complicated, but oh…it’s so going to have been worth it!

Last year Sue had made a public announcement that she was going to be running some workshops in France and I immediately logged on to get the details. The first thing I saw was the price, and I immediately wrote it off. With the state of the South African Rand/Dollar exchange rate, there was no way, along with flights, accommodation & food, that I was ever going to be able to afford, or justify that cost. So with a heavy heart I clicked away and scrapped the idea.

A few weeks went by and I kept thinking about the workshop, and what an amazing opportunity and experience I was missing out on. My mind kept imagining what it would be like – to be in Paris, walking those cobbled streets, hearing the melodic dialogues, smelling the unknown cuisine and of course delighting in the landscape with it’s ubiquitous tower.

Not to mention meeting and learning from Sue Bryce herself, feeling her energy and soaking up every ounce of information she would share with us. And afterwards, how the combined experience would change me forever, making me a more skilled photographer and a woman closer to her true self and richer for the memories I would treasure.

I would pinpoint the experience as one that changed the course of my life.  I’d be a different person returning home from the one that left. I knew it. I felt it.

Then one day in late September, my mind was once again wandering the streets of Paris, when suddenly something snapped. I couldn’t just dream about it – I had to make it happen. I’d regret it forever if I didn’t at least try to make it a reality. I didn’t know how I would afford it, I’d figure that out later, but I had to at least commit to going and perhaps once I’d done that, the universe would show up and help me get there.

sue bryce workshop sold outSo I logged back onto Sue’s site with renewed excitement ready to make the commitment to the workshop. I got to the page, and wouldn’t you know it – all workshop dates were sold out!

The familiar cocktail of regret, disappointment with a dash of anger and a slice of envy promptly slid in my direction across the bar into my outstretched hand. I started sipping as the pity party got underway. Just before reaching the bottom of the glass, a sentence on the workshop page caught my eye. It said something like “Email Sue to get on the waiting list in case of cancellations.”  I thought “Right universe, here’s your chance – impress me!”

It was a Friday afternoon, I sent my email and I shut my computer off for the day.

Paris Eiffel Tower Calendar with cup of teaThe next morning, I was lying in bed enjoying my tea and cookies, when I happened to check my emails on my phone. My stomach dropped as I saw a mail from none other than Sue Bryce! I heard my heart thumping in my ears as I opened it up. As it turns out, it was from her assistant who was writing to tell me that, due to popular demand, Sue was adding an additional date to her Paris workshops and if I wanted to attend, here was the invoice for 50% of the fee. By now I realised I’d been holding my breath and let out a loud gasp! My opportunity was here, right in front of my eyes. The universe had indeed been listening and if I wanted to, it was mine for the taking.

I still didn’t know how I was going to afford it, but I thought – “Hey, that’s what credit cards are for, right?”

By this time my husband came over to see what I was up to, and that’s when the floodgates opened. That was the sudden realisation that this dream of mine was within reach, and the last hurdle was the justification and ability to manage the expense of it all. We’d planned to do some home renovations, and this trip would put those plans on hold. It would mean I’d have to not only work to be able to pay my rent, but to pay this off too. It was no small ask.

Through ugly-cry tears, I told my hubby how much this meant to me, how I’d dreamed of the chance to do this. How I felt compelled to commit. He must have really seen something in my eyes as, without flinching, he said I should book it. I felt instant relief, fear, exhilaration and dread, but I took it as a sign – if this chance had been sent my way, who was I to turn it down.

So with a trembling hand, I clicked “Pay Now” and with that, the deed was done. I was going to Paris. I was going to meet Sue Bryce.

ME! Li’l ol’ me! This over-ripe teenager had just taken a big, scary, bold leap of faith in the direction of a personal dream.

Holy shit!!

The Universe Starts Showing Off

It took a few days for the giddy feeling in my chest to subside and for the emotional fog to clear in my head. That’s when I started working out how I was going to make this happen.

I worked out how much I would need to cover the entire trip. When I finally regained consciousness, I remembered that my sweet Gran in the UK had been sending 10 and 20 Pound notes with every birthday, anniversary and Christmas card for the past 5 years we’d been living in Cape Town. I counted it up and it turned out it would cover the majority of our accommodation!

A Lesson in Patience and Faith

Side note: I started writing this blog post shortly after confirming the workshop, but decided that I’d hold off on publishing until I knew for sure that it was actually happening – meaning that flights and accommodation were booked and paid for.

Note that it’s now January 2016!

It’s been a loooong process which has sincerely tested my level of patience and faith. Here’s why…

I have an old British bank account from when we lived over there, which although it was dormant had enough in it to pay for our Air France flights. I went ahead and made the online payment which turned out far too complicated for the Air France system. The fact that I was making the booking from South Africa but paying with a British bank account rendered their system dumbstruck and their customer service agents apologetic but ultimately useless. So we’d paid for the flights but didn’t have any confirmed tickets. It took a full month for them to finally issue our tickets!

At that point I almost finished writing this blog post to publish, but then I thought I’d wait until our accommodation was booked and paid for.Maps-Copyright- (c) Abigail K Photography-009

In October my folks happened to be going over to the UK for a family visit, so I asked them to deposit the cash from my Gran into my account over there, and bring back my new bank card, so I could make the online booking for hotels. For whatever reason, my mom told my brother he could post me my card instead of them bringing it back with them which, as it turned out, was a good decision, because she was pick-pocketed in Italy on their way back and my card would have been in her purse!

By the time my brother posted my card, the full deluge of Christmas post had clogged up the postal pipelines and it took more than a month for my card to arrive. He was panicked, concerned that it had been stolen, but I knew deep down, there was no need to worry. It would get here.

So eventually, at the beginning of January, when the card arrived safe and sound, I started booking hotels and accommodation! And while I still haven’t finished the bookings for our entire stay, we have our accommodation in Versailles (which is where the workshop is happening) booked and paid for, hence me finally publishing this post!


Very Long Story Short

Paris001Copyright- (c) Abigail K Photography-4I had 2 dreams, both of them showed up at the same time.

After first turning the opportunity down, I listened to my gut and took action when the opportunity showed up once again. I faced the fears and doubts and things lined up with perfect synchronicity.

I trusted wholly and completely that things would work out, even when they were outside of my control, and they did. I’m still anxious about the budget for this trip, especially with the Rand getting even weaker, but I know the cost of not doing this will be far greater than any monetary expense.

As frivolous as this trip might seem to some, it’s enormously important to me. It’s a journey that has already taught me so much and I haven’t even left home yet.

It’s taught me about following your bliss, taking action to make dreams come true, trusting your gut and having faith that it will all work out as it should. I can’t wait for the lessons I will have learned when I’m back, and I can’t wait to share them with you!

Share Your Thoughts…

This blog post took far too long to compose and publish, but I suppose being something that means so much to me deserves to be allowed to cultivate.

So I want to hear from you – have you ever gone against logical and common sense to follow a dream? How did it turn out? Any regrets? Any advice?

Or have you ever been to Paris? Where should I make a point of visiting – outside of the obvious tourist traps?

Let me know in the comments…