Map on a Banana! (Jan 5)

Come play with me! Join me for my (free!!) MAKE A MAP! FIELD TRIP with Creative Mornings on Thursday, Jan 5th.

Get out of your head and map on a banana! And a napkin! And paper! We’ll make 3 maps in one hour. Fun and inspiration guaranteed. Who knows where your maps may take you… ✨

It’s BYOB (Bring Your Own Banana) but sweet potatoes, squash, lemons, clementines, or anything from the recycling bin is fair game. However, I will tell you that bananas not only have the best texture for mapping, they’re also magic….🍌✨ (You can read a brief history of banana maps here.)

If you can’t join live you’ll get limited-time access to the replay. Either way, you have to sign up!

Get ready! The next 3-mo cohort of Mapping Your Path workshop + community opens for enrollment in mid-January, and kicks off the first week in February!

Vision Board Workshop

The first time I heard mention of vision boards, I rolled my eyes. I was not only highly skeptical, I was judging something before I even gave it a try.

I had convinced myself that it’d never work. The life I was drawn to was not what was rendered in magazines. I made excuses and avoided even thinking about considering it despite the fact that I saw people who I looked up to singing their praises.

Then one year, my Mastermind group decided to make vision boards together as a group activity. I agreed, albeit reluctantly Since that fateful day, I’ve never turned back. I’m a vision board convert.

I saw how the stories I had in my head weren’t supporting me. I was able to get creative and creative something I was excited about, and proud of. Now I look forward to creating one every year! This workshop is designed to get you thinking about vision boards differently too!

Not only can I make sense of my vision boards by the end of the year, but they also provide another tool and anchor to ground me throughout the ups and downs of a year.

Click here to learn about my new 2-hour Vision Board Workshop! (The workshop which took place live on Jan 7th is now available for purchase—don’t worry, you’ll feel like you’re there live with us!)

P.S. My popular Write Your Own Rules Workshop is now available as an instant access self-paced workshop. Sign up and you’ll get lifetime access!

P.S.S. The next 3-mo cohort of Mapping Your Path workshop + community kicks off in February. Enrollment opens in mid-January.

Choose Love (a great last minute gift)

On a recent trip to London I got to pay a visit to the Choose Love pop-up store supporting refugees. Choose Love works with 200 different organizations in over 25 countries around the world. All the proceeds go directly to those who need it most.

Everything for sale at their pop-up is a representation of what will be gifted to organizations working directly with those in need. You can shop by what’s “most needed” (as defined by the organizations), or buy something that relates to the person you want to gift it for. They also have bundles with multiple things, and there’s even an option to gift one of everything in the store. 💗

You can shop according to things that resonate with you, the person you want to gift to, or you can shop by what is “most needed” (as defined by the organizations). They also offer bundles of multiple different offers, and there’s even the option to buy one of everything in the store.

I absolutely loved this way of shopping, and am excited to offer it to my relatives. I walked out “empty handed” but made 9 purchases, including a “bundle of love” for various family members (which I noted for myself on the shopping list as I made my way through the store.) They also have cards in the store which you can offer to the recipient.

As an added win, the day I went there was an anonymous donor who was matching everything purchased that day.

This year Choose Love hosted pop-up shops in London and New York leading up to the holidays, but you can shop online year-round. It’s a wonderful way to pay it forward. And it’s not too late if you need last-minute gifts!

P.S. If you’re looking for other less traditional gifts, check out my workshops! Write Your Own Rules Workshop is now available as a self-paced instant access workshop.

A story of magic and the British Pullman

A year ago today I offered my dad a ride on the British Pullman for his 80th birthday. For two Americans who live in the US and Paris, gifting a gift that took place in London was not the easiest gift to make happen. I hadn’t quite considered how we’d be in the same city, but those were minor details. Still, it was a crazy idea I got a few days before his birthday and stuck with it. I didn’t need to have it all figured out. I just needed to tell him about it.

It’s honestly something I thought we’d do in summer at the earliest, but the day after his birthday my dad found out he’d be passing through London for 24 hours on his way home from a business trip to Kazakhstan in two weeks’ time. Yes, at age 80 he was traveling to Kazakhstan.

As the trip was less than two weeks out the train—the fancy British Pullman with lunch—was fully booked (it was one of the Saturdays with a steam engine, clearly making it a popular pic too). Despite not having a place on the train but we decided it was a good idea for my dad to take advantage of the 24-hour stopover, and I’d come to London on the Eurostar to meet him.


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A post shared by Anne Stark Ditmeyer (@pretavoyager)

I will never forget the magical day when everything came together: 11/11 (November 11th) which I later learned 11:11 is a magical number to many people. Not only did I get word that tables had opened up on the train, but my goal from the start—a table on the newly designed Wes Anderson car—became available! Clearly this trip was supposed to happen. Yes, it was splurgy, but for a man who loves trains, it couldn’t have been better! (It also was a fascinating contrast to our previous train adventures in Vietnam in Feb 2020!).

The actual trip didn’t happen until Nov 20th. While not my dad’s actual birthday, the magic of the fact that we rode this train on what would have been my grandfather’s birthday (my dad’s dad). (The strange thing is that the temperature was 11 degrees C too).

My dad flew in from Kazakhstan that morning, and I was on the first train out of Paris that morning. We miraculously arrived at the hotel within 15 minutes of each other. It would have been the same time, but I stopped to get my Covid test (required at the time) upon my arrival.

The biggest surprise to me was that my dad booked the hotel where my mom had told him she was expecting me on the way back from a business trip! He told me I had been to that hotel before. I figured it was my first trip in high school. Nope, it was in utero.

We both dressed for the ride not knowing if we had time to change before the ride. And yes, my dad specifically picked a tie to go with the Wes Anderson interior.

The train left from Victoria station where there was live music as we checked in. We checked and once boarding opened took a stroll to check out the train (each car has a slightly different interior, I’d been on it before when I had the chance to ride the Orient Express). We even got to check out the steam engine which is a huge endeavor to get going (like a day!) but there’s a whole organization of engineers who are preserving the tradition.

Once we got to our seats/table, we were served champagne and were on our way. We loved our multi-course lunch and 4-hour ride while we did a loop (down towards Guilford) as we were pulled by a steam engine.

The other awesome thing about this experience was that the train plays a role in Paddington 2, which happens to be one of my dad’s favorite movies. Conveniently we were staying at Paddington Station so we got to visit him as well.

So here’s to dreaming up crazy ideas, and believing they can happen—and faster than you expect—even when the train is sold out. 🥂🚂 HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!!!!


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A post shared by Anne Stark Ditmeyer (@pretavoyager)

Mapping Your Path into 2023! (Kicks off Oct 7th!)

WHAT IF the New Year was not about resolutions, but an opportunity to catch your breath and get grounded?

Together we’ll work on mapping our own paths forward into the New Year—and beyond! All while having some fun along the way, and with the power of the collective.

Set yourself up for success—as defined by YOU–so that you’re able to make things happen in a way that is as fun as possible, and feels true to you, NOT dictated by society’s standards.

WHAT IF fun was a pre-requisite and anything was possible?!

Mapping Your Path into 2023


Oct 2022 – Jan 2023

It all kicks off Oct 7th!
(Read on for the earlybird discount code!)

Create the map for your future.
Unlock the magic within you.

Follow your curiosity.
The journey is the destination.
Anything is possible.

During our 3 months together we’ll explore how you want to go into the New Year with intention, while using the rest of 2022 as an experimental playground. We’ll unlock creative juices along the way while inviting in fun + joy.

You’ll be guided every step of the way through live workshops and reflection sessions (recorded so you can watch any time), small group connection calls, and a community of warm-hearted humans around the world like you’ve never experienced before. I’ll be an active participant alongside you for the entire journey too!

The breakdown:





  • Exploratory map
  • New exercises for your personal toolkit
  • Your own mini guidebook to refer to when things go off course
  • A word, theme, or mantra to carry you forward (your guiding force)
  • New friends + support system
  • A new, empowered mindset!

No artistic experience is required. No two maps are the same. A bit of curiosity will take you far! 

Goal: Remove overwhelm, NOT add more to your to do list.

Where do YOU want to be?


Mapping Your Path kicks off Oct 7th and runs through mid-January 2023


Use code MAPONABANANA for 100€ off! The earlybird discount expires at midnight CET/Paris (6pm EST) on Saturday, Sept 24th. Code must be entered during checkout to apply.

Write Your Own Rules (new workshop dates!)

At some point I realized the rules I grew up learning didn’t make sense for me. In many ways they were outdated, arbitrary, and something we never learned to question.

I created my Write Your Own Rules Workshop as part of my ongoing mission to ask “What if there was another way?” It’s a way to break the status quo and consider other paths forward, opening possibilities along the way.

In this 2-hour interactive workshop, I’ll guide you every step of the way through a series of creative exercises as you write your own set of guiding principles to serve you in work and life. You’ll walk away from it with your own rulebook to refer to regularly.

It’s one thing to write your own rules, but it’s another to actually live by them.

I have TWO upcoming workshop dates to reach the most amount of people around the world as possible. (Use the Eventbrite link to convert to your local timezone.) This is probably going to be the last time I run this workshop live online, so sign up so you can experience it in this format!


Detours in the right direction: Avignon adventure

Earlier this summer I headed down to the south of France. There was a lot about the trip that didn’t go as planned, starting with my friend I was supposed to travel with having to cancel her trip to France, then learning the joys of non-refundable train tickets (I found a taker for the second ticket), my own inability to judge distances / a surprising lack of connecting trains, and a heatwave and forest fires to top it off.

It really was the last leg of my trip where I was set to see a second friend in Aix that didn’t go as planned. I do love logistics and not backtracking, but no matter how many ways I looked at the puzzle it just seemed forced. No, I was not going to spend 3+ hours on the train for what should be a 20-minute train ride.

Instead, I saw it as an invitation from the universe that this visit was not supposed to happen right now. There was no point in forcing it, especially when it was in the high 30s C / 90s F. Instead I’d head back to Avignon for the afternoon and catch my train back to Paris. I’d been to Avignon before, am good at entertaining myself, and could read my book.

But the adventure didn’t stop there. When I arrived in Avignon Centre (after Ardèche for a couple days), I spotted a banner near the train station for a Dan Flavin expo. I looked it up on my phone, and much to my pleasant surprise, it was only a 5-minute walk from the station so I decided to head that way, hoping I could find lunch nearby. It took me to a place called Collection Lambert, which was also new to me (and is definitely a new favorite!)

I arrived at a walled “city” that was more than just an expo. It was everything I was looking for in an afternoon, and I barely had to move (remember, sweltering heat!) to take advantage of it all. My curiosity had taken me to a magical mecca on both a heatwave day, and a national holiday (14 Juillet/Bastille Day). My bag even fit perfectly into their lockers. I was ready to move in for the day!

My first stop in this magical land I arrived in was lunch at Le Violette restaurant in the courtyard. The sign said they were complet/full, but I asked anyway. By some stroke of luck I got the last—and in my mind, the best—seat before they closed for the afternoon. I opted for a starter and dessert—burrata and fresh tomatoes (with oil and vinegar served in Coke and Orangina bottles) and pavlova with strawberries. I rounded it out with a fresh juice and glass of rosé. I kept thinking to myself, where am I? How did I get here? I wasn’t even supposed to be here. This place is magical!

I probably would have and could have sat there all afternoon, but alas, they closed for the afternoon. I took that as my cue to venture into the contemporary artspace that is more like a museum the much smaller Yvon Lambert gallery and (art) bookstore in Paris 3ème. But wow, there was quite the collection, and the space felt dynamic and brought the works alive. I let the space guide me where to head next. There was Dan Flavin, but also so many other artists whose work I recognized (and new to me works too—including an Afghani artist). Somehow I got lucky with timing as all the shows had opened a couple weeks prior. I couldn’t have planned it better if I tried!

It’s actually quite miraculous it wasn’t more crowded on a holiday. The Festival d’Avignon was also going on at the same time where venues open up for various events. It was clear in another hidden courtyard space there was a theater or performance state set up.

Before heading back to the train I enjoyed an iced coffee with my book in the courtyard for what turned into a perfect and unexpected day.✨ This was all better than I could have imagined!

It was all an excellent reminder to not force plans. Curiosity and openness really can be the best guides. Sometimes the detours really do take us in the right direction when we allow our plans to change.

P.S. Mapping Your Path into 2023 opens for enrollment next week! The 3-month workshop + community is designed to get you thinking about how you want to go into the new year with intention, while getting creative, making maps, being connected to an incredible community around the world, and having a ton of fun. Click here to sign up to be notified. 

A Magic Carpet Ride

I wasn’t supposed to be in Istanbul. I booked a ticket with 10 days of notice after hearing a friend would be there for work and knowing I needed to escape the ghost town that would be the first week in August in Paris.

I had very little intentions for this trip. A friend was going to be there for work, which was just the nudge I needed. I just had the pull to go for reasons I couldn’t explain. There was a clue on my vision board of a beautiful view with a minaret. I knew where I was going to stay the first two nights (the INCREDIBLE Hotel Mest–see here + here), but beyond that, the rest would unfold as it would.

Little did I know just how big (and hilly) Istanbul was. Hotel Mest put me on the Golden Horn side of town, an easy walk to the Hagia Sophia (a must given my art history studies) and Blue Mosque.

My first full day in town I decided to venture to the Hagia Sophia. At one point I veered off Google Maps directions when I saw a couple places that I’d starred on my map that were recommended by a friend. These put me on a street I wouldn’t have been on.

The next thing I knew there was a very attractive Turkish man stopping me in the street. The conversation started by telling me how crowded the Hagia Sophia is right now and he recommended the Cistern Basilica (that actually was on my radar thanks to another friend). I knew the Hagia Sophia was my priority.

We keep talking and I’m very aware of what’s happening. He tells me he likes practicing his English, his family has a business that sells carpets, that I’m very beautiful, I have great energy. I tend to pride myself in my stubbornness (there’s no way in hell I’m buying a carpet), but there was something about being in a foreign land that feels very different from my daily life I was up for a bit of an adventure.

The next thing I knew I was agreeing to go look at carpets. I’ll get a free tea I tell myself. This will be great. I don’t need a carpet. I don’t want a carpet. I don’t have the space for a carpet.

I’m now sitting upstairs in the shop. I’ve been handed off to the uncle. I thought my hot new friend would be joining us, alas not.

They find out where I live. Paris. They definitely understand Paris apartments are small, which I appreciate. The tea arrives, as does some water.

The entire process is fascinating. An art that’s been perfected for centuries.

I’m sitting on the couch. The uncle is on the single seat next to me making small talk. The next thing I know two men are unrolling rugs—which are piled in stacks around the room, making me reminiscent about my childhood and wanting to jump all over the piles while rug shopping with the family.

The “nicest” fanciest rug goes down first. It’s on the right.

Next to it is a similar rug. I later learn that there is a 500€+ price difference between the two.

The rugs keep getting unrolled faster and faster.

“Which one do you like?” and then I’d point or say “that one.” I’ve come to realize this is an incredible strategy of life. We often need the comparison between possibilities to really get clarity on what we like/want.

More rugs came out. I could say no right away. I don’t like those colors. No, not that pattern. Not my style.

I’m not for certain, but I’m fairly certain that the rug I liked best was rolled out early on. The points of comparison allowed me to see what I liked in the process. It happened so fast I didn’t have time to overthink for once. But ultimately, it came down to feel.

Then we finally get to talking about price.

I’m still in my typical stubborn mode. I’m fully convinced I’m not leaving with a carpet. Perhaps this tactic helped me in the end.

The next thing I know the carpet price is dropping 150 USD. Less scary, but still I don’t need a carpet. Besides, the idea of having to get it on the plane was a nightmare (if I wanted another bag I’d have to pay for it).

My not budging is paying off. I try to explain that my apartment is small and there isn’t even room for a carpet. I don’t need a carpet. I’ve never wanted a carpet. (And in the meantime in the background I’m starting to dream about a future dream home with a carpet.)

“What about shipping?” I ask. Ok, that’s included. “And customs?” (I knew I’d had to pay customs on the past 5 gifts shipped to me that were tiny, so customs on a high-priced product terrified me.) Yes, customs included.

Uh oh, the needle is starting to move. I’m rather entertained.

The other carpets have been restacked. The helpers have retreated.

Mind you, I don’t even have any idea what size this carpet is or what size would fit in my living room.

I stayed seated on the couch. Drinking my tea. Drinking the water. The carpet came towards me — “here, feel it, look at the quality.” Funny, at this point I didn’t even care to go have a closer look.

I agreed. Ok. I’ll take it. I started laughing, and kept laughing all day. What just happened?!?!

Friends later asked what carpet I bought and I barely had an answer besides a laugh. I said, “I think it’s this one.”

I walked out of the shop and ran into the “lure” who had been out working his magic trying to find more customers. I laughed and said, I hope you get a good commission. (It was 11:11 —my magic number when I left BTW). I’d later run into him again and he showed me just how insane the Hagia Sophia line is and took my photo at the Blue Mosque (which he warned me was under construction).

I should have business expensed my carpet because it seriously was a masterclass in selling.

In my terms we even specified that the carpet wouldn’t be shipped for a few days as I wouldn’t be home to receive it. Did that happen? Of course not. But I bought a carpet!

I was the first sale of the day, so was told I got a good deal and would bring luck to the store for the rest of the day. Did I get a good deal? I have no idea. I think so. What I did get was a good story, and a carpet I absolutely love.

It’s funny. When it arrived the package was much smaller than I expected. And then there was a layer of padding. Was this even my carpet? Whew. It was.

Knowing I never got off the couch or stood on the carpet, or asked what size it was, I really had no idea what I was getting into. I had invited a friend who has strong muscles thinking I’d need help moving my couch. Alas, I didn’t need the hand at all, but still, it became the perfect excuse to have a couple friends over for what became my first “magic carpet party.”

The late Ann Hamric, a friend’s mother, once said in her Last Lecture Series talk that she always keeps a bottle of champagne in the fridge in case there’s something to celebrate. This was cause to celebrate. I bought a carpet in Istanbul! It was accompanied by the Turkish Delights my hotel had gifted me on my way out, and some pretzels in the container. Classy ;) And of course good conversation too!

We had the best time, and I realized the carpet was more than a carpet.

The day before I had the urge to take all the post-it notes off my walls and clear my desk to a clean slate. I’m definitely not a minimalist, but tend to operate in stratospheres of piles. It was a big departure. Then the rug arrived and EVERYTHING CHANGED. My room that had become a frozen time capsule of creative inspiration was transformed instantly.

My entire space came together (and has even been updated since this photo). The colors of the carpet even pulled together my swimming pool art on both sides of my living room. I never would have picked this carpet or these colors had it not been for the “comparison game.” Perhaps my subconscious was at work because I really think I was operating by feel—a theme of the entire trip.

In the words of Marie Kondo, my carpet “sparks joy.” On a daily basis I tell my carpet I love it. Ha!

I see the magic carpet as the carpet found me, I didn’t find it. I didn’t know I was looking. However, it’s unlocked so much. It was like the first domino pulling my apartment together. I’d done a lot of work last fall going through my stuff and “making space” (shout out Paul Sockett for support on that front). It was subtle at the time, but all the groundwork I laid then meant everything now has been super speed.

I cleared my hallway, removed my workshop table, bought new bedding (a matching set and found the perfect accent pillows). It’s been fun, rewarding, and just flowed. And with it I started writing again too.

So yes, while we may not need a new carpet. Sometimes what we’re buying is more than just a carpet. It’s an investment in ourselves. It’s a story. It’s something to weave everything in our worlds around us together.

For more fun from Istanbul, check out the inspiration that kept appearing all around me. I swear there was magic a play in that city.

P.S. Mapping Your Path into 2023 opens for enrollment in mid-September. The 3-month workshop + community is designed to get you thinking about how you want to go into the new year with intention, while getting creative, making maps, being connected to an incredible community around the world, and having a ton of fun. Click here + sign up to be notified. Click here to see my 2022 map.

A trip to a snail farm + the season of slow

Travel has always been about unique experiences for me. Little did I know that my recent trip to Ardèche in the south of France would involve a trip to a snail farm!

Have you ever considered what a snail farm would look like?

Well, now you know! It looks like the picture on the left. The snails like to hang out on the inside of the diagonal planks to stay cool. As you can see (right), they like to huddle. There’s moisture and plants under there too.

Now guess how many snails are grown on this farm?

360,000!!! Yowza. These babies are ~1.5 mo.

I was sad to not be there for the annual snail races—now that sounds thrilling! But I love the idea of a race of the slow.

I didn’t know that I’d be visiting a snail farm when I was on the train to the south of France to visit my friend Judith. But on my train ride, I had drafted a new blog post on “The Season of Slow” for my Biz Blog. I’ve come to realize just how much magic there is in slowing down, so I love that the snail became symbolic of my trip.

Fun fact. After I posted my snail doodle for my blog post, Judith informed me that I drew the snail shell in the very rare direction—99% of snails have clockwise spirals. I love that unknowingly I managed to draw a magic snail! ✨ Read the blog post here.

Mapping Your Path into 2023 is my 3-month workshop and community designed to get you thinking intentionally about how you want to show up for the new year (and beyond) through creative mapping exercises and connection to a warm-hearted global community. It’s not about doing more; it may even involve slowing down. It’s about having fun, enjoying the journey, and taking the time to reflect while mapping a path forward that excites you. Come unlock the magic within you!

The next cohort runs Oct 2022–Jan 2023. Enrollment opens in mid-September. Kick-off is the first Friday in October. Sign up to be the first to know when it opens!

What if there was another way? Mapping Your Path Accountability Booster Group

My favorite question: What if there was another way? 

We get stuck in an either/or, black or white way of thinking. Yet, the best options are the possibilities we never considered or knew existed. When we find them everything feels lighter. Let’s keep opening doors, not closing them. 

What if there was another way is the guiding question of Mapping Your Path, but I think it relates to so much of life too! Sometimes that means getting creative, sometimes it means trusting our intuition, and sometimes it means believing that we’ll get there even if we don’t know when or how. 

But here’s the thing. We don’t have to have all the answers to get started, and we don’t have to go it alone. 

Mapping Your Path is a 3-month “incubator,” workshop series, and community for accountability, forward progress, and good vibes. It’s a door to exploration that will provide you support, inspiration, and a boost of motivation. The May-July MYP Accountability Booster Group is about to get started. The community opens next week (May 9), and the kick-off workshop is May 13!

Let the next 3-months be about taking real, yet imperfect steps. This summer (or winter if you’re on the other side of the world), be intentional to move forward on that business idea, hobby you’ve been wanting to try, or project you’ve always been wanting to do that always gets out to the wayside. You may just discover there’s another way forward that you haven’t considered yet… 

The Accountability Booster Group is designed to have fewer distractions (fewer workshops, but more exercises and prompts on demand) so you can make real progress on the path you really want to be on. Three months can seem like a big commitment, but it will also fly by. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to lose track of how far we’ve come, but when you zoom out you’ll be able to see all the progress you’ve made. You’ll also have a community that feels like old friends to help you see and celebrate what’s easy to miss. 

Come join a global community of incredible humans navigating their own paths! You’ll get my direct support and feedback every step of the way. It’s like having a coach in your pocket and a team of cheerleaders on the sideline, ready to celebrate every small win along the way. My approach isn’t like other coaches (you can read about my approach in Forbes). I fully believe in learning to navigate life on your own terms and playing by your own rules. It’s only when we do that that can we put our best work into the world and be the change we want to see.

There is no perfect time. Don’t wait to feel ready. Start before you’re ready. Let the Mapping Your Path Accountability Booster group be the first small step of many. You don’t have to be the perfect student to enroll (in fact that’s discouraged—we are human after all). This experience is designed for people with actual lives and other things going on. It’s flexible and created in a way to ensure you get to put yourself first for once! It’s up to you how much time you want to devote to it, but even a few hours a month can put you on just the trajectory you need.

How do you want to show up in the world?!

Learn more about the Mapping Your Path Accountability Booster Group + sign up today!

Questions? Not sure if MYP is right for you? Don’t hesitate to reach out. It’s time to get out of your own way. Keep going! You’ve got this!!!!

P.S. I’m running Write Your Own Rules Workshop this Saturday, May 7th. It’s a great place to start, but is by no means required. I’m also running my FREE Make A Map! FieldTrip through CreativeMornings on Wednesday, May 4th.  (There will be banana mapping!!)

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