I’ll be honest, I have been walking away from writing this article for a long time now. Sharing my personal story has not been on my agenda, but the main reason is that it pushes me far out of my comfort zone. However, the work of putting the pieces together allowed me to see from a distance and acknowledge how every step of a non-linear path has come to life giving meaning to the place I find myself today and forming a strong foundation for The FlipSide.

Intuition turned Knowledge.

Since my teenage years, I have developed the (sometimes bad) habit of providing unsolicited advice to people around me on practicing a healthier lifestyle, solving internal conflicts, or establishing better time management skills to accomplish their goals. Health coach on the making, little I knew.

Coming from two health-obsessed parents, this all seemed very natural to me (and I am not exaggerating). I grew up in the ‘70s and ‘80s prematurely hearing all about the evil of ultra-processed foods and sugar, the need to exercise daily, the importance of resistance training, the role of a strong routine, and the benefits of sleep, to name a few. All these concepts and practices were blended into discipline, structure, curiosity and life-long (required) learning. As a child, and the youngest of four sisters, this lifestyle was “the only” reality, hence my health-related “knowledge” which was nothing but “intuition”, started developing.

Despite witnessing my parents’ divorce, I was blessed to inherit what they both shared and continued to share for many years: A special interest, curiosity, and passion for health and, a strong belief in discipline to achieve systematic behaviour. My mom was my guru and inspiration on how to make choices around health, come back from hardship, forgive and work with untiring consistency. My family environment shaped the first element of “my” story: an interest in health and the search for ways to improve performance. Quite early I decided to be, yes, you got it, a doctor. But I am not one, because life throws low balls, and I was not ready to catch them.

Medicine turned Education.

I was born without visual “depth perception”.  In simple terms, I see the world in 2D, like a large photograph. Flat. To make sense of the world, my brain creates the “third dimension” in real-time, so I was told at ten, which ignited a new area of interest: the brain’s power. I was fascinated by how the brain can create responses without input. But it is not until now that I have come to acknowledge that my eye-brain condition has had a massive role in directing my choices, from sports to hobbies, to studies and careers.

How could I ever become a surgeon without 3D vision? I shifted paths and dropped the idea of Med School. Throughout two decades, Medicine turned into Education (USA) and Social Policy and Planning (UK). After some years of work and life experience plus two young boys, I pursued a degree in Psychology (Venezuela). More recently, already living in Canada, I focused on Integrative Health and Nutrition. However, the common thread and second element to “my story” is that, regardless of my age or place in the world, I love studying and teaching. I thrive while learning and feel at my best when I can teach and share practical knowledge with others.

Zigzag turned Spiral.

No doubt, my journey has been a zigzag of degrees, occupations, and locations: university and au pair in Washinton DC, grad student and salsa teacher in London, educational policy analyst, swimming instructor, project manager, high-end event planner, and documentarist photographer in Caracas’ brothels. As I told my sister last week while trying to make sense of it all, “My trajectory is all over the place”, and she replied (because she is the kindest person on Earth), “But how much have you seen and learnt”. Indeed, I have, and today it is becoming more like a (hopefully golden) spiral, because it is not about completeness, but rather about continuing to evolve.

On the way, it seems I have developed the skill of establishing effective systems that draw me nearer to my objectives, strategically crafted to stay mentally and physically active and healthy. It might have helped a conversation with Madhu, a Buddhist tanka painter in Nepal when he taught my (other) sister and me the concept of “home”. He said, “Home is your sacred one square meter which you take with you wherever you go” and topped it with “A strong home allows you to be at service to others”. I took it as a mantra (and still do) given that I knew I was not travelling in a straight line.

This is where the third element which comes into play as part of “my story”. I like change and the only way change comes about is by being under pressure, my initial reaction is to look for solutions, build a plan, and act. Far from perfect, balance is not always achieved. I have my physical health issues, my down days, and my ruminating mind, but having a solid toolbox and skillset to help build a strong mindset and healthy routine, helps to put my house in order.

Methodology turned Career.

What my husband recently labelled as “the methodology” seems to have a pattern. It always starts with mastering time, observing what is available, and juggling priorities, to then plan (even though most of the time it ends up taking me to unexpected places), decide, act, create traction and become useful for others.

And this is the last element of my story. I like to be and feel useful. I believe in being part of the greater good. Since a girl I have trusted that I can contribute, that my life has a purpose, and that life holds value when we are part of a greater solution.

From a practical standpoint, more than any degree, or qualification, these four elements — a passion for health and behaviour, the love of learning and teaching, the skills for swift adaptation, and the need to be at service — have evolved into a tried-and-true “methodology,” instrumental in my ability to adjust, learn, grow, and support others on the way. When viewed through the lens of a “Health Specialist” these realms are my main contribution to The FlipSide.

Truth be told, even though I had been dodging this article for a while, writing about my journey has helped me look at my somewhat chaotic life, and find meaning in what has become “my story.” I thank you and invite you to write yours as well.

And with a very warm heart and filled with gratitude, I will share the dear words of my childhood friend when I asked her to help me edit this story:

I recently read that there are two essential components for a fulfilling life: movement (which encompasses a lot—action, adaptation, physical activity, and change) and purpose. And nothing defines you more than those two words: movement and purpose.

Feeling blessed,


(Thanks to Arturo, Monica, and Alejandra for your honest help.)