Medium, International Publisher and Author, self-proclaimed ‘Comedium’ and one time corporate professional, Alexandra Shankland was convinced she was abnormal when she was a child and, in her first book, 'Don't blame God' she tells of her incredible journey and how she came to realize there are answers out there for everyone and not just her.
Insisting she be examined by specialist medical professionals to ensure she wasn't mad, mentally ill or brain damaged, her awareness and ability to communicate in the afterlife eventually gave her a new life, a purpose and ultimately, peace within. From as early as she can remember, Alexandra recounts the experiences that have lead her to believe that the spirit world is much more than we perceive it to be and not just a tool for finding out what comes next.
Her discussions with those she calls "the Others" include who or what God really is, where it all started and what "life" is like over there. Alexandra broaches controversial subjects such as how we die and why we die, as well as lightening the mood with some of her hilarious accounts of channelling more well known souls such as Elizabeth Taylor and Anna Nicole Smith.
With a strong personal voice Alexandra not only bares her own soul, but a little of everyone else's too.
Alexandra is also of the opinion you can never be too well travelled. "I don’t think travel is something you should wait your whole life to do. If the urge takes you and your own circumstances allow it, off you go!"
"If I wasn’t living in Australia I would be living in Edinburgh or Paris. I’ve been to some amazing places but they are the only two places in the world, literally, that I keep returning to. I would love to live in both cities for a year to write and just steep myself in the culture. Both are the kinds of places I could go alone or with my partner. Each time I do go I make a new discovery – whether it is a new restaurant or another individual historical collage.
B&B’s in Edinburgh are great value and aplenty. Make sure you check out the recommendations if you are doing things that way though. I have found that I get steered in a much more interesting direction when living in someone else’s house for a few weeks!
There are a lot of independent young designer stores and the op shops are a must no matter your taste or budget, so rummage around the backstreets as well as the main tourist attractions!
I can think of seven theatres in Edinburgh immediately and they all have an eclectic mix of shows with varying ticket prices. I always have a drink in the Conan Doyle in Ediburgh too. Homage to Arty who was born across the road from it.
Of course as a medium I had to do the underground ghost tour in the middle of the night!
I never go past the boutique hotel, Le Crayon in Paris. I have a lust for their bedlinen. I think that’s how they remember me when I go back there! Ah oui, C'est la dame qui aime le linge de lit!
Take the time to walk around the city before you head to the larger stores. I bought some amazing hand-made jewellery, suede gloves and shoes last time I was there, both from shops I accidentally discovered.
You don’t need to eat at expensive restaurants as most of the time the food from street fronted restaurants is just as good. A bonus is that the atmosphere is friendly. I don’t think I have ever been to Paris without making a new friend!
It’s kind of going from one extreme to the other when I say that the places I love the most in Australia are where I live in Queensland. Someone said to me the other day that our mountain hideaway reminds them of Colombia; we even have coffee plants in the rainforest garden!
I love the mountain air and the black stillness of the nights up here. It is the best place on earth to come home to after a few weeks away touring.
My favourite holiday for living it up a little and splashing out is Melbourne. It’s where my Australian roots are and you can’t beat the food and wine list at France-Soir restaurant on Toorak Road in South Yarra or the coffee in Toorak Village. I will always be a South Yarra girl at heart, but my sea-change to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland has me captivated for now.
I’m an impulsive traveller. I can decide on a destination and be gone within a month. Although it’s important to have comfortable accommodation, good amenities and all mod cons I believe just decide why you are going and what you would like to see and do then stay somewhere close to that.
I’m not really a beach holiday person but when I just want sun and solitude it’s usually The Pearl in Broome.
Remember when you are in another country that you have to respect that and the culture and customs that go with it.
I think if I live until I’m 90 I will retire to a cottage at the foothills of the Pyrenees.
Connect with Alexandra via her website or on Facebook.