Thinking back at my life – and mind you, I’m aware that I’m not even that old yet, – I can’t help but think that I am an incredibly lucky girl. I was able to attend a good school, lead a quiet life in the suburbs. My school was surrounded by woods and meadows and even when I got home in the evening the first thing I often did was throw my backpack in a corner and run outside to explore the forests surrounding my house. I played there for hours. I waded through small streams, climbed trees and built snow castles. I often fell. I had dirt beneath my fingernails and scrapes on my knees.
I was also lucky enough to live close to a major city that offered everything you could ever want in terms of culture. I’ve seen great works of art, been lost in major museums, went to concerts, the opera, musicals and jazz festivals. I’ve eaten at fancy restaurants as well as enjoyed simple, homemade meals.
For me it was an ideal childhood. It is still ideal living now.
And not just at home. My parents let me tag along every trip they made. From an early age I was used to seeing sights and eating unusual food. And now, at 22, I still continue to live this life.
During the week I walk the streets of Vienna, marveling at the breathtaking architecture. On weekends I make my way through the forest, sometimes on horseback, sometimes on foot.
I travel alone to countries in Africa and Asia. I travel with friends to cities like London or Rome. I still travel with my grandparents and parents and I treasure all these moments, covet all these memories.
I marvel at the things my eyes have been allowed to see. At the sand my feet have been allowed to walk on.
Red in Togo. White in Thailand. Black in Tenerife.
I still have dirt beneath my fingernails, scratches on my arms and bruises on my legs. And yet, I wear heels as well. I put on lipstick and wear a dress to head out for a glamorous night in the city.
It never has to be either or. It can be both. Always. Life is about balance and I hope I will always be able to keep this.