Fran, like many people I found your website while seeking out help for cystic acne. Unfortunately I’m someone who suffers from the occasional skin condition, quite depressing as I’m long past being in my teens. What I found most interesting in your video journals were the little tidbits of your life beyond the skincare advice. It became clear to me that you’d been on a journey as of late, both spiritual and geographical. Tell me a bit about where you grew up, and some of the places you’ve been.
First of all - if you're still dealing with that cystic acne I can help you fix it!
My journey into this "spiritual life" is a long one so I'll shorten it for you.
I grew up as a very anxious child and then teenager in Brisbane, Australia. It was that anxiety I guess that pushed me into working on myself in my early twenties. I had been an atheist, but that shifted with a life changing experience with one of the first "healers" I went to. She taught me about auras and energy and helped me to remove a large lump of energy or entity that was attached to me. Most of the anxiety dissolved in that moment (and permanently!!) so from that day on I have believed in God, or spirit, or source, or whatever you wish to call it.
I have now dedicated my life to opening my heart more to love and happiness - it has become my number one primary value in life.
After some time I knew that Australia was no longer a place that I wanted to live in so I began to travel the world, I've been to many countries around the world. It wasn't until I arrived in the Sacred Valley of Peru that I knew I was home. In fact I felt more at home the first time I arrived in the Sacred Valley then I'd ever felt in Australia.
How did you start in the natural skincare business?
I was very lucky. I met a man in Australia who taught people how to make money from blogging and we ended up in a relationship for two years. He convinced me to quit my job to work for him, and at the same time was helping me to start my own blog.
Originally my blog was about natural health in general because that was something I was very passionate about, but I had severe acne at the time from an old long-term relationship that had fallen apart. Most of the time I was writing about my skin troubles and what I was doing to fix them, and the more I wrote about it the more people came to read the blog. After six months I began to take the blog seriously as a business and began to earn some money.
In that two years my boyfriend at the time and I travelled the world for one year and talked about blogging for a whole lot of it. I had great blogging education during those travels. I ended up coming back to Australia single but with clear skin and a great natural acne treatment business!
Where do you live now, and what is it about this area that made you want to live there? Also, how long do you plan on staying in your current location?
I currently live in Pisac, which is in the Sacred Valley of Peru. I love it here because it feels like home and is incredibly beautiful, but more because of how this place simplifies my life. Pisac is a tourist town but it’s a small country town too. I live about 20 minutes walk out of the village and love how I don’t need a car or any type of transport, I can just walk everywhere.
The community of “gringos” and locals is amazing. My friends all live next door or a just a couple of minutes walk away. Organic food is cheap, and I can get raw milk across the road from my house from a family that has a couple of cows if I wish, or free range eggs from an old woman that sells vegetables from her garden at the market.
I spend my days here working a little, gardening, cooking, singing, painting, dancing, doing yoga or meditation, and spending time with my friends... it is a very sweet and simple life.
What has this particular location taught you? What are the people like and how do they respond to your presence?
Foreigners who come to the Sacred Valley to live come here to work on themselves emotionally and spiritually. It is beautiful to live amongst a community of people who are dedicated to becoming a better person and to opening their hearts more to love.
Peru in particular is well known for its shamanic healing, which is why many of us are drawn here.
This is my third year here and I’ve only ever found the Peruvian locals to be warm and friendly. Some “gringos” say they’ve had negative experiences with them but I’ve yet to see that! I find them sweet and happy. My landlord is a local Peruvian who lives across the road from me, he feels like my Peruvian dad.
From asking around I’ve learned that the locals are mixed about so many foreigners being here. One part of them is pleased that the tourist’s presence is bringing in my money for the village, while the other part is concerned that they will begin to lose more of their tradition.
How do you go about planning your travels, and do you generally travel alone?
Aside from making an effort to visit my family in Australia once a year, I go wherever I feel a call to and wherever my finances will allow me!
I have travelled alone for the past four years because I have been single the majority of that time, and I actually really enjoy traveling alone. I find the experience to be as strong as a medicine - it teaches me so much about myself and brings up challenges that help me to grow and expand.
Since returning back to Peru in June I’ve felt a desire to settle down a bit more and travel less. I’m off to Australia at the beginning of 2014 to visit my family but wish to make it a short visit so that I can return to my house and my life here in Peru.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your travels?
I find meeting the right people the most challenging thing. I travel alone so it’s important to find people that I resonate well with and want to spend time with. In Kauai (Hawaii) and Ubud (Bali), I actually struggled with this and spent a lot of the time feeling a lack of connection with like-minded people. Both of these places are spiritual spots so you’d think it would be easy, but each location holds a particular vibration, and coming from Peru I tend to drift towards “medicine people.” There are only little pockets of them around the world. One of the reasons why I stayed in Pisac was because the community here felt like instant family— most people I meet here I love.
What does your family in Australia think about your journeys and have they ever tried to influence you to take a more typical route in life?
My mother and I have decided that we just don’t understand each others’ lives. She sent me an email after I’d been here for about a year suggesting that I stop traveling, go back to Australia and save up to buy a house. That is a horrible idea to me! Just like my life is a horrible idea to her.
My father loves my adventures and seems to be proud of what I’m choosing to do.
They actually came to visit me in Peru to see my home and what it was like to live here. They weren’t so comfortable in my house and the little village that I live in, but enjoyed the neighboring city, Cusco. They seemed to settle a bit with my decision after having seen what it’s like here.
Both of them are very supportive now. I feel very lucky to have that.
Tell me about a normal day for you.
I mould my day around what makes me feel happy. I start every morning with making a little tea and sitting in the garden with my animals (I currently have two cats and am looking after a friend’s dog). I then spend the morning working on my blogs and writing, which I love. In the afternoon I choose a friend to visit, go and do chores in the village, and take the dog for a walk.
The beautiful thing about this village is visiting a friend requires just walking for 5 minutes to their front door. I love this. And if I walk into the village it’s guaranteed that I’ll bump into at least one friend. It’s difficult to be lonely here!
In the evening I’ll cook food, do a little more work, listen to music, dance, watch a movie or paint. Once a month or so I’ll do a medicine ceremony and every now and again go to one of the many events we seem to have now within the community.
What goals do you have for the future?
I don’t hold onto goals - for me life is all just about experience and experiencing what that is in the moment. I don’t feel that there’s any more complexity to it than that.
What first brought you to arrive at such a strong self-awareness? One of the things that drew me to you is how warm and wise you were with the way you spoke and reached out to others. You’re very candid. Tell me a bit about how that started and any challenges you’ve had along the way with staying centered.
I don’t really know... it’s one of those things where I’m not entirely sure where the beginning was. I guess I began my spiritual life at an early age when I started learning about auras and chakras, learning meditation and playing with tarot cards. I put all of that aside for a while to see what it was like to live a “normal life”. I had the live-in boyfriend, the car, the 9-5 job and the dream of owning a house. After some years of this I became depressed, and was the most depressed I’ve ever been in my life. That life was not for me.
After I came out of that relationship at 27 and joined a yoga school that was when everything began to accelerate. I’ve had too many spiritual and opening experiences to mention, and have done and tried too many things that contributed to where I am today. For a few years I did need to try everything, to spend a lot of time in nature and to spend a lot of time alone. I made a lot of mistakes in that time and had both good and bad experiences, but I don’t regret any of it.
Do you ever entertain the thought of settling down and starting a family—in other words, do you think a 'normal' life is anywhere in your near future?
Of course, I would love a family and children, but I won’t do it in the normal way, I’m sure of that!
What kind of problems do you see in the world today? We’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings. Living in such a remote location, I’d think you have quite the perspective on some of the recent goings-on of the human race.
I don’t follow the news, I don’t read my friends news feeds on Facebook, and I haven’t watched TV in years. I have no idea who the prime minister of Australia is and I’m happy like this. Everything around us is all of our own creation, I feel the less I’m exposed to the negative aspects of “it all” then the more I am able to create the lovely parts because that is all I see.
There is no good and no bad, there is no such thing. Consciousness has no emotion behind any of it, it just is. So we have the ability to create whatever we want and have the ability to create whatever experiences we want. I am simply choosing to create something a lot more peaceful and a lot more simple than what I used to be immersed in while I was in “my old life”.
Do you keep up with tv and movies, music, etc.?
Only movies! Actually I was in YouTube the other day and a Brittany Spears video popped up and I thought, I wonder what pop music is like now. It had been years since I’d seen a music video. So I clicked on it and had to turn it off after one minute! The energy behind the music and the message in the song was just not something I wanted to have around me.
Briefly, how would you describe what you do? Why do you think it affects people the way it does?
When I create a video for my blog I consciously put a particular energy into it to give that to the viewer. I haven’t learned any particular healing work because the idea of just working on one person at a time frustrates me. I feel that with my video and writing work I can work on being a channel for more than one person at a time.
Please note here - that when I say I’m giving an energy, it is not me that’s doing that, I’m just a channel or a pipe even that’s acting as a bridge between this world and consciousness.
Is there any place you haven’t been yet that you’d still like to travel to?
I’m a little obsessed with going to Iceland at the moment. It seems like a very beautiful place to visit. And I’d love to go to Egypt one day.
Thank you, Fran, for agreeing to do this interview. You have such a lovely spirit and I feel truly lucky to have gotten the chance to speak with you today. The world needs more people such as yourself who have a kind and positive outlook on life. Many good things coming your way, I’m sure!
If you’d like to keep up with Fran, you can find her at: http://www.highonhealth.org.
Thank you and have a great Friday!