The Road to 2016 – Letting Go of Control

“If we can just let go and trust that things will work out the way they’re supposed to, without trying to control the outcome, then we can enjoy the moment more fully. The joy of the freedom it brings becomes more pleasurable than the experience itself.” – Goldie Hawn

There’s something to be said for letting go of pre-conceived notions of how something should pan out, and instead allowing life to happen the way that it wants to. In acting, we can be guilty of attempting to drive a scene a certain way instead of letting the moments unfold organically. This is usually out of a fear or mistrust of the unknown. I’ve come to realize that this concept is just as relevant to our real lives as it is a scene. The future can be terrifying! How can we let go of trying to force certain timelines and scenarios in our lives, and instead let everything happen in the way that it wants to, without dropping the initiative that is crucial to achieving our goals?

Photo 15-07-2015 8 58 05 am

A month ago, the rest of 2015 was looking very different to what it is looking like now. I had recently signed with a new Australian acting agent, was enjoying going out for commercials in Sydney and taking some time for myself before my big cross-continental move planned for the beginning of 2016. While I loved driving half an hour out to Manly Beach weekly, hiking out to Fairfax Lookout from Shelley Beach and sitting down at The Boathouse for a mango smoothie and some lunch, I knew I would be restless by the end of summer. And out of that, my trip back to LA was born.

Champagne Twilight - Manly

It’s difficult to explain what Los Angeles is to me, because not everyone feels that way about the city. People have asked me whether they should move to LA or leave LA, and my answer has always been the same. Where can you see yourself living? Where would you be happy doing your grocery shopping, going to the beach, getting brunch on Sundays, working the late night shift at the local French restaurant? Who are the people there to you? Because in the end, its not about what’s the best for your acting career – especially with the decentralization of where the acting work is in the last few years. It’s about where you want to build the life that you envision for yourself. For me, that’s always been LA. It is very much intuition and I do believe that we can trust ourselves to recognize where our happiness ultimately lies.

Champagne Twilight - Los Angeles Palm Trees

I am now sitting on my bed in a hotel room in the China Town of Singapore. The bed fills up most of the room and is reminiscent of the shoe box apartments they talk about in New York, but I don’t mind. It’s just me. And the room. And yet another strange city. Strange but wonderful. The hotel was chosen for its proximity to the production office where i’ve been daily for meetings before we all fly out on Sunday to Indonesia, beginning our journey. I’m very excited to be able to bring everyone along for this journey to some of the most untouched and beautiful places in the country.

How did this happen? Two weeks ago I was sitting on my couch watching Sense8 on Netflix. It was inspiring as it is my ultimate goal to be a series regular on such a drama series like this or Scandal. I was watching the behind the scenes material they had on the shooting process and in complete awe at how a production shot all over the world pulled together as the cast and crew supported each other as they travelled and worked. It feels utterly surreal that I am a part of such a team right now and will be for the next 3 months, creating a travel format show for a major network. I don’t feel ready but when are we ever truly ‘ready’ for any challenge?

“As long as you cling to the idea of the way ‘life is supposed to be’, your life circumstances will continue to reflect a perspective that sees itself at the effect of circumstances beyond your control.”

The rest of 2015 is looking very different now.

Los Angeles
A lesson on flexibility and trust – I had originally planned the trip for the middle of September and ended up pulling the entire timeline forward by two weeks, leaving myself 3 days in Sydney to brace myself. I knew LA was something that I wanted to do before I made the three month commitment to the shoot, so I made it happen despite forfeiting my original air ticket. LA is good for my soul. I’ve been told I am visibly happier when I’m touched by those city lights and magic. It threw a spanner into the works and meant that I wouldn’t have anywhere to sleep my second week there, but it was a conscious exercise in trust for me to do it anyway believing everything would work out. And it did.

“Life is a balance between what we can control and what we can’t. I’m learning to live between effort and surrender.” – Jennifer Pastiloff

It was a whirlwind of supporting friends at the LA Shorts Fest, catching up with those I hadn’t seen in months, visiting old haunts – there was something about getting dinner at The Eveleigh, and walking around the area where I used to live that was very special to me. I stayed with one of my closest friends in LA, and it was amazing to have the time to relax, whether it be ordering pizza and watching a movie, hitting up a rum bar downtown after the film fest singing along to Taylor Swift all the way there, spontaneously visiting a psychic after a dinner (don’t ask how we came to that), early morning Thai food and talking about the things that matter. This all happened, and because I practiced saying ‘yes’. Seeing everyone was an incredible support before an exciting, but long and uncertain journey.

It was a fearful moment when I realized I would have to fly to Asia almost an entire week sooner than I had expected, but it is the nature of the industry and was extremely grateful to the friends who saw me through that. It is difficult to explain that despite the amazing opportunity, there is a lot of fear involved for me. 3 months in a foreign country with questionable contact with everyone I know is a scary commitment.

The trip ended with a girls evening at Burke Williams Spa to cap off an amazing 10 days. It was an extraordinarily special trip, and while on the surface it was just a week spent relaxing with friends, I had the opportunity to explore what really mattered to me.

Champagne Twilight
Champagne Twilight - The Everleigh

Champagne Twilight - West Hollywood

Diana Huntley - LA Shorts Fest

Diana Huntley - LA Shorts Fest

Diana Huntley - LA Shorts Fest
Diana Huntley - LA Shorts Fest

Diana Huntley - LA Shorts FestPhotos Courtesy LA Shorts Fest and Angie M Sanchez

Champagne Twilight
Champagne Twilight - Le Pain Quotidien

But realistically, anyone who isn’t allergic to nuts would agree that any trip where one discovers peanut butter french toast and curly fries all in one place is a good trip. What do you mean the french toast is limited edition?!

Champagne Twilight - Art's Table

Champagne Twilight - Art's Table

It’s my third day here – life has already thrown my share of curve balls at me. I had trouble checking in for my flight as I had not yet been sent the plane tickets out of the country and they would not let me board without an outgoing ticket. As things go, it all worked out and here I am. Packing 6 weeks of clothes into 20kg is no small feat either.

The China Town part of Singapore is quite different from the modern Orchard St district, where I stayed the only other time I’ve ever visited the country. It’s hard to believe you can drive from one end to the other of the country in less than an hour. There are a myriad of cute cafes and restaurants in this area as well as hawker food centers.

Getting back to basics with some hawker food. Super cheap and quick way to eat! In Asia, much of the best food is found in the smaller eateries i.e. street stalls and hole-in-the-wall places. For less than $5. Or less than $2.

Champagne Twilight - Singapore Hawker Food

The colors on the European style architecture in the area are spectacular at dusk, if only the smog wasn’t as bad as it has been for the last couple of days. If nothing is a reminder of the damage we are doing to our planet through our emissions, the air quality here should be. The debris has blown over from Indonesia where arsonists have set forests on fire to clear space for palm oil plantations. I have been told not to run in the streets, and to eat indoors, as the haze is not good to breathe. Speaking of, if your room is too small for yoga, you can’t run in the streets, and you don’t have access to a gym, how does one exercise?

Champagne Twilight - Singapore

The first day consisted of meetings and I struggled to keep my eyes open, my hours awake without sleep creeping towards 72. The second was a significant amount of compulsory shopping for Indonesia at Ion Orchard, Wisma Atria and Orchard Central with an Australian photographer and blogger who will be appearing with me on the show. We figured out the subway system pretty quickly and got it all done before another afternoon meeting. Aussie efficiency. I let them choose our dinner spot that night, and so indulged in our last greasy Western meal for 6 weeks consisting of gourmet burgers – chicken, fish, pineapple and guac. I tend to be alternative with my burger choices. People have a perception that unless it’s a burger with beef, cheese and pickles, it’s not a burger, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I could have personally gone without, but I know not everyone is a fan of soup for dinner.

Day 3, eating like I’m in LA, in Singapore. Raw food style. Pizza with less carbs. Raw salted caramel slice and a wander in the streets. It is excruciatingly hot and humid, something i’ll have to get used to for the coming three months.

Champagne Twilight - Afterglow by ANGLOW, Raw Pizza

Champagne Twilight - Afterglow by ANGLOW, Raw Salted Caramel Slice

Champagne Twilight - Afterglow by ANGLOW

Champagne Twilight - Afterglow by ANGLOW

Champagne Twilight - Singapore Chinatown

Champagne Twilight - Singapore Chinatown

Still don’t know what’s to come, but can’t wait for the roller-coaster that will be the remainder of what has been a spectacular but very emotionally difficult 2015. I will be posting about what I can share, and there will be a series of 12 posts and short v-logs which will accompany the series as it airs in December this year, and at the beginning of 2016. Thank you to whoever stays with me for the journey. It will be grand.


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