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Ep. 260: How this Former Journalist Left Retirement to Run Popular Travel Blogs at 68 Years Old with Leyla Alyanak

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In this episode, I speak with Leyla who is a former journalist and diplomat who runs two popular travel websites at 68 years old! 

She is part French, part Turkish, and part Canadian, and lives in eastern France.

Listen on to find out how to find a new purpose after retirement.

Listen Below:

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Transcription:

Debbie: 

Hey everyone. Thank you so much for being here. I’m really excited to speak with my guest today. I’m here with Leyla. 

Hey, Leyla, how are you? 

Leyla:

Hi, I’m fine. Thank you so much for having me. 

Debbie: 

I’m so excited for you to be here. Before we recorded, I was talking to Leyla about where she was and she’s in France right now. So I am jealous because I’m sure it is beautiful there, spring time and all. 

So I’m just glad that you’re here and we can vicariously live through you, Leyla. 

Leyla:

Wonderful. I’ll do my best. 

Debbie: 

So can you tell us about you and why you live an offbeat life? 

Leyla:

Well, first of all, I have an offbeat background. I have three different nationalities: I’m French, I’m Turkish, and I’m Canadian. So, a bit of everything. I’ve never lived in the country of my birth, which is France but I’ve never lived here until almost retirement. So that’s a little offbeat. 

And then I started working online at the age of 55. I’m now pushing 69 just to be perfectly open about this, I started at 55 and the online tech world is really a young world. 

So I sometimes feel like I’m the grandmother sitting around with all these very young people who seem to know what they’re doing all the time. Whereas every time I do something I have to really search and research it and relearn something new that I’ve been doing differently for 40 years. 

So it’s a bit of a disconnect between my professional life and the medium in which I work.

Debbie: 

Wow.

And it’s pretty incredible that you decided to do this after you retired. And then to also move to France. Why did you decide to do that? Why did you decide to go to France and have a completely different life? 

Leyla:

So it didn’t exactly happen in that way. I was already working very near France. I was working in Switzerland, in Geneva, the United Nations. So that’s really over the border. It’s about 50 miles from where I live now, so it wasn’t far. 

But when retirement was coming around, at around 55, I started thinking about this and realized that I didn’t have a plan and I’m a Taurean which means I have to have a plan. If I don’t have a plan, I fall apart. So I don’t have to follow the plan afterward but I need to at least have it. 

So I said, “Okay. What am I going to do once I retire? I have this job that keeps me busy 16 to 18 hours a day. Am I just going to sit in my garden? No, I don’t think so.” So I thought, “Okay, what could I do that’s useful and that would be fun?” 

And I’ve been wanting to write a book for a long time. I am in my forties, at one point, I decided to quit my job, quit my life, and take off around the world. And I was only going to travel for about 6 months but then I ended up being gone for almost four years. 

And so when I came back from that I thought, “Okay. I need to write a book about this trip.” Because in those days, a lot of women did not do that. They did not go off on their own. Now they do but it wasn’t like that then.

And I was going to write this book but I didn’t. Time passed and I still didn’t. 

And so finally, about 14 years ago, I thought, “Well, there’s this online web thing. What’s that all about?” 

I started exploring web blogs, they weren’t even blogs then. And I started exploring websites and how I can turn my book into an online thing. And that’s how I did it. 

So I ended up writing this website, which is now called a blog, about solo female travel for the over-50 crowd, and that took the place of the book. I mean, I did do a brief book online but I never tried to keep it up or to update it.

I really enjoyed the online thing, having the website. So I just stuck with it and the next thing I knew, it grew and it became a very practical tool for women traveling and I stuck with it. 

And then what happened was, when I retired, of course, being French, France is the normal place for me to live. Switzerland is hugely expensive, so it didn’t even occur to me to stay in Switzerland. And I just moved next door over the border. And that’s why I’m retired in France. No special thing except proximity. 

Debbie: 

It was just the closest to you. 

And how are you liking it there? Obviously, you’ve been there for a bit of time and you stayed there. So was that a great decision for you, or are you thinking of moving somewhere different after? 

Leyla:

No, no, I’m going to stay here but it’s a strange thing because it’s relatively rare that you are born in the country but then leave it and don’t know anything about it, and then come back. So I sound French, I have French papers and sometimes I find myself in situations where I don’t know how the country works because I didn’t spend my life here. 

I spent my life in other countries: in Canada and in Spain and growing up all over the world but never in France. So I only came here as quite a mature adult. The next thing you know, I have to ask the silliest questions at the bank and the post office. And so I belong without belonging, which is a sort of strange feeling. 

So I feel a little bit out of place but at the same time, I feel at home. It’s an odd thing.

And France is an unusual country. I mean, it’s got the best and the worst of all worlds. So, I don’t think I would really want to live anywhere else if I didn’t have to. I am very happy here. I’m still learning the ropes. Believe it or not, here I am at my age, learning the ropes of my own country.

I know it’s so odd but it’s a wonderful country to live in. And I know this from a lot of my foreign friends. France is almost a microcosm of the world. I mean, there is everything here. It’s a much bigger country than you think and it’s got different ecosystems, different cultures, different regions, different foods, different landscapes, different everything. 

So you can actually live in France and not have to leave the country because it’s so varied. 

And when covid struck and we were all stuck at home, unable to leave, I thought, “Well, hang on a second. I have this online presence now and I sort of know my way around online.” And so I launched a new website called Offbeat France. 

And that was about France because I thought, “Okay, I can’t travel out of the country but I can certainly travel nearby in the country.” And this has turned into my latest passion project. So now I have this healthy, lively, and very time-consuming website called Offbeat France and it’s all about France off the beaten path.

Debbie: 

It’s incredible that you have decided to do all of these different things and you mentioned learning all of this tech stuff and you’re older, you’re retired, and you didn’t just go off and start gardening like, you mentioned, Leyla.

You wanted to do something more and it seems like throughout your whole life, you’ve always had this very adventurous nature and it’s not just now that you are doing this. You’ve kind of been this type of offbeat person your entire life. 

And now even at 69, you’re still at it and I’m just amazed by you and I’m like, “I want to be like Leyla when I grow up.” 

Leyla:

I think a lot of it is, first of all, there’s the luck factor. I mean, I was just lucky I was born relatively healthy. I was born in a family that was already kind of crazy and moved around and did a lot of nutty things when I grew up. So, I had great role models for not staying between the lines. So luck definitely is a factor. 

But also, I live with a lot of passion. I mean, I’m very passionate about things about what I care about. So part of me would love to sit outside in the garden. Sometimes I go and I look at my weeds and I think, ”Oh, my God. I need to deal with this.”

But then next thing you know, I’m back at my computer dealing with it completely differently. I’ll take a picture of my weeds and post it on Instagram and say, “I should be out there but instead I’m talking to you guys.” 

So, yeah. When I was a lot younger and at University, I used to see these what I considered elderly Professors running around, looking very youthful and energetic because they hang around with young people and they did things that young people do. So, I really believe that somehow the way you lead your life also makes a contribution to the age you feel. 

So I’m doing things that are more normally young things and it makes me feel young. I mean, I suppose I could go and lie in my hammock but I don’t know how old I would feel if I did that. And when I say, ”Oh, there’s nothing wrong with the age,” what I’m talking about is energy level. 

If I don’t do much, maybe I will start liking not doing much. And maybe I’ll fall into that and next thing you know, I won’t be doing much. Whereas if I do it the other way and I do plenty of things and I throw my energy and my passion into it, well, I want to do more of that. And that keeps me active and busy and it stops me from worrying about the next birthday actually. 

Debbie: 

And it’s a really interesting concept that it’s not about your age, It’s how you feel and it’s your energy and your drive to do certain things. Because I’ve met people half your age, even younger, who are not as energetic as you and who don’t have this drive to do all of these different things, Leyla. 

And I think there’s a lot of people that are already old even though they’re young because they’re too afraid to go out there and do something that they are not comfortable with. And I think there’s a lot of people that are like that, right? 

And they think there’s a lot of fear or things that are just stopping you from doing something that you really want to do because of that fear that you have. And there are a lot of obstacles and I’m sure you’ve come across that a lot, especially when you’re traveling around. 

And it’s just great to hear that a lot of the misconception that you have of travel, and once you get older, doesn’t really exist as long as you have that spirit to keep doing it and that drive that you’re going to do it as well.

Leyla:

Absolutely. I completely agree. 

I think that taking aside the luck factor or the genetic factor, the one that says you’re fortunate enough not to have a debilitating disease, taking that away, if you’re a relatively healthy person and you can get out there, there is no limit when it comes to age.

I remember many years ago, I was still a useful 43 or 44 at the time and that’s during that hiatus when I took those 4 years off and traveled around the world. I’ll never forget waking up in a dorm room in Durban, South Africa. It was one of those large dorm rooms where 12 people piled in.

And I woke up one morning to see a man getting dressed because they were coed dorms so people just sort of got dressed wherever they were. And I looked at this guy and I thought, “I wonder how old he is.” And being the shy and retiring person that I am, I asked him how old he was. He looked at me and he said, “I am 82.” And I thought, “Wow.” 

Yeah, 82. And we started talking and he told me how he was traveling around Africa and he wanted to get to every country during his lifetime. And he was about halfway there but he said, “It’s okay. I still have plenty of time.” 

So I was just marveled by that. I mean, I thought, “82. He’s living in a dorm with a bunch of students who are a quarter of his age.” And he’s traveling around Africa which is not the easiest continent to travel around. 

There’s less transportation in some cases and it’s huge, very diverse, and yet, there he was doing it. I was just flabbergasted. I thought, “What a wonderful thing to do at your age and how great it is that you’ve actually taken that initiative and that you’re doing it.” 

I don’t know what led him to that but I just remember what he looked like. And I remember the sparkle in his eye and the joy he had in going to the next destination that he was headed to that day. 

So the barriers often are barriers that you built. I’m not denying that there are plenty of other barriers that are not your fault. There are finances, there’s health, and there are family obligations. There are plenty of barriers – absolutely.

But then I see people who actually don’t have barriers and when they don’t, they sometimes build them themselves because of what you were saying: that fear factor, the fear of the unknown, the what if, lack of confidence, and all those other things that come into making major decisions. 

Debbie: 

So when that happens to you, Leyla, when you have maybe these negative thoughts that come into your head and tell yourself, “Well, this is really hard either because of my age or because of all the things I’m hearing,” etc… What do you do in order to come out of that and just keep going with your initial intention? 

Leyla:

The question made me laugh because I feel that way every time I’m about to have an exercise class. I am way too old, I should not be bending in that direction at all. 

It’s hard to say because, first of all, I’m an optimistic person by nature. So it never occurs to me that there is a no in the sentence, there’s always a yes somewhere. So, I’ll look for a yes. Maybe I can’t do the whole thing but what can I do? Which part of it can I do? Which little bit can I do? Or can I start it a different way? And can I work my way towards the center of this task? Whatever that task may be. 

But it’s very rare. I mean, maybe if somebody asked me to climb Mount Everest, first, I have vertigo, second, yes, I do have a certain age. And I’ve never climbed a hill, let alone a mountain. So that might be one of those hard nos. I can’t do that. 

So what I might be able to do that’s a little bit different is maybe I could take a hike in a valley and look at the mountains because it’s so gorgeous and stunning from below. I mean, it’s never an absolute negative, there’s always something you can do towards your task. 

And the fear is something that’s quite complicated but it can be dealt with. I have actually had to come to grips with fears and things that would stop me from doing things. For example, like I said, I have vertigo. So going into anything that’s higher than a sixth floor is something that’s really going to test me. 

I’m not very good at going into skyscrapers. Mountains, I’m fine, as long as I’m lying flat on my stomach and I’m not looking off the edge. I really can’t go with the heights.

So I went with a friend who practices EFT. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that, it’s Emotional Freedom Technique. I think you call it tapping in the US. 

So she worked with me as we went up one of these hills. And we did this a few times and slowly, very slowly, my fear of heights started diminishing. And I started pushing myself to go to higher and higher places. 

So now I can take a cable car and go up a mountain. I’m not liking it, it’s not something I’m going to enjoy but I don’t have to deny myself the fun at the end of that trip in the mountain top cafe simply because I’m too scared to go there. 

So that’s just a minor example. When the fear strikes, can you do something about it? Or do you just let the fear take over and not do anything about it? 

And I’m not saying that you can do this in every situation because, in some life and death situations, there is nothing you can do. But in a place where you can do something, where there is something you can do to control the fear, I think a lot of people will opt for not trying to control the fear and will instead maybe allow the fear to control them because it’s easier because it’s a good excuse for not doing the things that you really don’t want to do because you are scared of doing it. 

So, I don’t know. I mean, I think pushing towards the solution is always an answer for me, trying to make a move towards the positive resolution of whatever problem it is – that’s work for me, anyway. 

Debbie: 

Yeah, I think taking that stuff, like, even if it’s just a little bit of it at a time is way better than just stopping yourself and not even knowing ‘cause then that’s where a lot of regrets start to happen. Looking back and wishing you had done something. 

And we don’t want to live like that in the long run. We want to at least take some risks. If you’re absolutely risk-averse about a lot of things, just taking a little step at a time is usually the best thing. 

Now, I do want to know, Leyla, how did you start having this mindset? Was there a tipping point for you where it kind of changed everything or was this how you grew up? How did this lead you to become this type of person where you’re completely adventurous and you do these types of things whatever age you are, you kind of just go with the flow and not in that way?

Leyla:

I think it’s a bit of both.

I think my upbringing was instrumental in making me the person that I am because I was very, fortunately, brought up in a household that did not differentiate between myself and my brother, that had absolutely no boundaries about what I could or could not do. 

I was always brought up to think whatever I want to do, I can. It’s just a question of doing it and getting my act together and making a plan and getting on with it. 

So there was never, “Oh, you can’t do that,” or “You’ll never be able to do this or that.” Those words were never uttered in my household at all. And there was no sort of male-female differentiation which is surprising given that my father was a Turk. I mean, Turkey is not the most modern and open-minded country in the world, especially from his generation. 

So despite that, it was really helpful to have a family that allowed me to do that. Then, of course, there was the luck of the draw where I did get the jobs which showed me and reinforced my confidence, showed me that yes, I could actually do this. I could apply for this and get that job. 

So that’s more luck than anything else. But perhaps what was the biggest turning point was this trip that I took in my forties when I dropped everything and decided to travel without really knowing where I was going because I had a really good job and I have the ideal life. 

And when I decided to leave all that behind, absolutely everyone thought I was crazy except my mother. She was still alive at the time and she was the only one who only raised one eyebrow instead of going to sort of full eyebrow. And she thought, “Okay, I suppose you know what you’re doing and if you really want to do this then go for it.” 

She had some misgivings that I think were more about, “Oh, my daughter is gonna go away and I want to know how to reach her.” It was more that kind of misgiving.

And so, being able to do that and taking that big leap changed my life. It absolutely gave me whatever confidence I lacked and fair enough, I did not like it that much but there were still many things that I wouldn’t have done.

Things, like, I don’t know, I was always a little bit of a rule follower to a certain extent, and all of a sudden, I found out that I could break the rules and there wasn’t going to be any horrible thing happening to me as long as I remain respectful of other people and their boundaries, it would be okay.

And being able to go away for all those years and learn all the lessons that I learned and come back, that really did change my life because I found out that I could be adaptable, which I didn’t know about myself. 

I found out that I could face difficult situations, almost being arrested while walking through a minefield. I haven’t exactly planned for these things but they happened as I was traveling

And being able to go through these experiences that survived at the other end, just reinforced my sense of self to no end. 

So sometimes what it takes is having the experiences that are difficult and pushing the boundaries and saying, “No, I actually can do this. It’s only that monkey in my mind that tells me that I can’t but I really can,” without being ridiculous, of course.

You don’t walk off the edge of the balcony thinking, “I can fly.” No, no, no but try to stay sensible about things that are within your control. There’s often something that you can do.

And that one trip where everybody told me it was going to be a disaster, “You’ll be home in three weeks. This is awful. Don’t give up your apartment, just sublet it.” Every possible argument.

And when I came back, life was wonderful. I was very lucky. I did find another job. Things were different in those days. They were easier, that is granted. 

But it also made me feel that whatever happened in my life after that, I would be able to cope with it because I had learned all these coping mechanisms while I traveled, being in places where I didn’t know how to order food or that I was stranded in the middle of the savannah with wild animals and no public transport and no human in sight. 

I mean, these situations, once you survived them, basically tell you that you can through anything.

Debbie: 

Yeah.

I mean, you mentioned a few things that I was like, “Oh my gosh, those are incredible. So I definitely want to hear about those.” But I do have to point out that the way you talk about these situations and I know you talked about luck and just being lucky, it’s also really about your mindset too, Leyla, because some people, I would say, won’t see that as luck, right? 

Because especially now in the time we’re living in, there’s just so much negativity and you often see more of the bad than the good. Even when things are happening really well in your life, you’ll oftentimes pinpoint to that negativity.

Maybe it’s only one thing that’s negative and you will pinpoint that and just keep focusing on it and not see everything else that you’re blessed with because of that one thing that’s not perfect in your life. 

And I think that is a really great reminder to just be grateful. And I think aside from just what you’re saying, Leyla, is luck, ’cause you’re just a really grateful person. And you’ve gone through a lot of things, almost getting arrested, being stranded, all of these things and you’re still here. You’re still doing it, you’re still optimistic and you’re still continuing even now.

And you still have this adventurous nature that a lot of people wish they have all the time as well. 

Leyla:

I don’t know. It just blows me away to think that it’s a numbers game. You have 10 things happening in your life. Nine of them are good, one of them is bad and you’re going to focus on the bad? How sensible is that? 

Sorry, I would much rather focus on the nine that are good and build those up because that’s going to give me good energy. If I focus on the bad one, what’s going to happen? I’m going to get all sorts of bad energy, I’m going to be in a bad mood, I’m going to be miserable, I’m going to bark at people, I’m going to tell my dogs to shut up. 

I mean, I’m just going to be this nasty person nobody wants to be around. So why would I focus on that one bad thing when nine good ones are happening? 

Now, if it’s reversed, if it’s 9 bad things in one good thing. Yeah, I think that would be a little bit harder but that’s not usually the case, is it? As you were saying, people have one bad thing happening to them and they focus on that. But that’s a personal choice. 

That is a choice unless you are clinically depressed in which case you don’t have a choice. But if that is not your situation, then it is a personal choice. You can choose to focus on that negative thing or you can choose to sit down and write a list. Like I said, I’m a Taurean, therefore, I do lists.  They’re even color-coded. 

And so I’ll write out a list of the ten great things, the ten things that are happening to me. Nine of them are really great and I look at the one that isn’t great. I might even do something physical, like rip that one out symbolically and throw it away or something.

But I’ll look at the ones that are good and think, “Okay, how can I make these even better?” And that would cancel out the bad one.

So it really is a question of making the decision to be happy. I mean, I could equally make the decision to be miserable. It is probably a lot easier.

Debbie: 

It’s true because you can just keep dwelling, keep dwelling, keep dwelling. And then you never get out of that. And it also changes you as a person. The way you look. 

If you’re a miserable person all the time, it really ages your physical appearance and also your disposition. Nobody wants to be around that type of energy most of the time. 

Leyla:

So true.

Debbie: 

And it’s also the people that you attract towards you because negative people like being around negative people ’cause they like talking about negative things. So, if you’re that type of person, it’s definitely who you’re attracting into your life as well. 

And it’s just so interesting too for me when I see that type of attitude where it’s just one thing that’s not perfect but everything else is going really well. And you are complaining about that meanwhile, you’re ignoring everything else that you’re blessed with. 

But I also see that when things are finally, for that person, it’s not going well. Maybe there are nine things, you just don’t know how to deal with the situation. Because when things are finally, actually, seriously, bad, you don’t know how to cope with it. 

And you don’t know how to stay optimistic and you don’t know how to find the little things that you can maybe focus on so that not everything is so bad even if it’s just that one thing. 

So, yeah, I think it’s also just practice, right? Just practicing that and seeing the positivity even when you’re in a negative situation. And if you want to travel, if you want to be adventurous, if you want to be in an unknown area or space or environment or just a situation, something is always going to come up that’s not going to go your way. So, you have to be prepared for that. 

And honestly, I think that’s really where the story is. That’s where the interesting part of your book starts happening. Not like, “Oh, yeah, it’s a great day today. Awesome.” It’s when you’re given those challenges that your life becomes so much more interesting and it’s a real story to tell.

Leyla:

There is a trick that I learned.

Sometimes things do go badly. I’ve had the same dramas in my life as anyone has had. Sometimes there are terrible things. 

The one thing that I have learned is that if I just put one foot in front of the other and stay in the moment, it helps me get through because sometimes we are our own worst enemies. We sit here and we dwell on the worst possible outcome. 

I had someone close to me in my family who was near death for a while and that person was in the hospital and it was a very, very trying time because we were very close. And I was really scared. I was petrified and I kept thinking, “Oh my God, what if?” And then I stopped and I said, “No, I can’t do that because if I do that, I will throw myself off a balcony or something.” 

So instead of doing that, I thought, “Okay, what can I do in this moment? Right now? What’s happening right now?” And sometimes it would be something as silly as, “Oh, do the dishes. Okay. I will walk to the sink and I will do the dishes.” And then it was, “Oh, I have to go buy some groceries. Go out, buy groceries.” 

And step-by-step, the day would pass and I would get to the evening and somehow I would be able to more or less sleep. And in the morning it would start and it would go over and over again. But that didn’t take away what was happening. 

All it did was allow me to continue living in spite of the situation and put one foot forward in front of the other and continue to function. And sometimes when bad things happen to us, we lose that ability to function and that’s really scary because all of a sudden we are dwelling in this huge bubble of awful pain. And yet we need to break free of that because life around us continues. 

We still have to eat, we may have a family to feed, we may have a job to go to – all sorts of obligations that pile up and still have to be met.

So, that’s my way of coping with things; simply to reduce this fear of time and space around me to that one moment and just think, “Okay, what is one thing I have to do right now?” And do that. And then the next one, “What is the one thing I have to do after that?” And do that. 

And that step-by-step baby stuff, as you say that was the name of the movie a long time ago, baby steps, one by one, you get through the day and then through the night and then through the next day and so.

Debbie: 

Yeah.

And sometimes that’s all that you can do, especially with what you had gone through, Leyla, it’s a hard thing. You’re faced with something that is unimaginable and a lot of us have gone through that. And sometimes you just don’t know what that moment when that hits you or when it happens, how you are actually going to keep going forward. 

But yeah, just taking it one step at a time, like you mentioned, doing the mundane things. Things that you would just normally do everyday, focusing on that after another. And that’s how you keep going. 

And it’s pretty helpful when you can put yourself to go towards that when things just hit the wall and you don’t know what you’re doing and it’s really hard but I love that. I love that tip that you just gave us, Leyla, and it’s good to have those things sometimes. 

So now that you have gone through all of these things, let’s look forward to 10 years from now and you’re looking back at everything that you have done, you’ve done massive things with your life, what would you want your legacy to be and what do you want to be remembered for? 

Leyla:

Oh gosh.

I think I’d like to be remembered as someone who was there to help when needed. I like to be remembered as a good and loyal friend, someone you could count on. And someone who did no harm, or who did as little harm as possible. I’d like to think that my stay on this planet is linked to doing more good than bad.

And also I think it’s a good way to live. It’s not even a question of legacy, it’s everyday life. I see so much negativity whether it’s personal or in politics – so much bent on destruction. Let’s see how we can hurt the other person. “Let’s see how we can be better than the other person by putting them down,” all that stuff.

And to me, that’s a horrible way to live and if I can do a lot of the things that I do and if I can feel optimistic and be happy about life, it’s precisely because I need my life in that positive standpoint. 

I don’t look at how I can get even, how I can get revenge, all those negative things. I don’t touch those, I don’t go near them. What I’m about is more, “Okay, what can I do to make this a better situation?”

Sometimes I can’t do anything then I move on to the next situation but I do try. And I think what I’d like to leave behind is the feeling that “Wow, you can always count on her. She was always there for you. She was basically a good person and she left the world just a very little better than she found it.” 

I think that would be a wonderful legacy. 

Debbie: 

I think so too. 

I think that’s a great legacy and just being a good person and doing as much as you can with what you have is really one of those things that all of us can manage, right? All of us can do. And if you can keep doing that and be remembered as that person, I think that’s pretty amazing. 

Leyla:

That’s the more sort of emotional, psychological, thing. But there are some practical things that I would like to do also. For example, I’ve always wanted to write a novel. I’ve never had time to do that and somewhere in me, I think, I don’t know how good I’d be because sometimes I lack something.

So I’m not really very good at that creative kind of stuff but I certainly like to try. So one of these days, I’m going to try and find the time and I’m going to write a novel. 

So there are things like that that I still would like to accomplish. They’re not part of a legacy but they are part of some dreams that I still have because yes, I’m just gonna be 69 very soon and I still have tons of dreams. I hope I can reach them but I still have plenty. 

Debbie: 

Yeah.

Since you brought that up, Leyla, now, we’re going to be pushing like, “Leyla, where’s that novel? We talked about it.”

Leyla:

Uh oh.

Okay. Shut up, Leyla.

Debbie: 

Now, we’re going to be like, “Okay, you’re going to do this ’cause you’ve always wanted to do that.” So we’re going to push you towards it. But I love that. 

Well, thank you so much, Leyla, for joining us today. I love hearing your story. Thank you for sharing that with us. If our listeners want to learn more about you, where can they find you? 

Leyla:

You can usually find me on Instagram. That’s where I hang out at @offbeatfrance. So that account is about France but that’s okay, I’m perfectly happy to talk about anything else too. So you can find me there or on my website at OffbeatFrance.com.

Those are the easiest places to find me or I could add Facebook, I’m Offbeat France there too. I mean, there’s a theme here, right?

That’s where you can find me.

Debbie: 

Love it.

Well, thank you so much, Leyla, we really appreciate you for being here. 

Leyla:

Thank you so much for asking me.


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Show Credits:

Audio Engineer: Ben Smith

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