Hallstatt

March 2017

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There’s a reason why it’s one of the most photographed places in Austria.

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Bali Video

 

Bali is afternoon naps and beach walks. Infinity pools and lazy mornings. Strong coffee and fresh fruit. Late night pool swims and peanut sauce on veggies. It’s dodgy bathrooms, power outages and stylish bars during sunset. It’s saltwater in your hair and chlorine on your skin. The smell of sunscreen and mosquito repellent. Old ceiling fans and surfboards mounted on scooters. It’s palm trees and dark storm clouds rolling in over the ocean. It’s learning how to drive a motorbike and sand between your toes.
It’s everything I thought it would be and more.

Bali

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About a week and a half into my trip I was up late, doubting myself, doubting my choices, doubting pretty much everything that made me end up in a hostel in Melaka with 3 friends. I was supposed to have a great time, supposed to enjoy every second of it and yet, something held me back.
A long talk with an old travel buddy and a spontaneous decision later I was the proud owner of plane tickets that would take me to Bali. It was only for a week and I, of course, doubted that decision too, right away, but nothing could have been more right.

Bali healed my soul in a way I could not have anticipated. I was finally able to let go of everything that weighed me down. Stress I took with me from back home, stress from pressuring myself into doing as much as I could, seeing as much as I could in the weeks prior. I was finally able to catch up on lost sleep, let my body rest, let my heart rejoice in old and new friendships, lazy mornings in bed, massages on cliffs and afternoons at the beach.
The air smelled like frangipani and incense, the people were gentle and polite, the food healthy and light, and my life was suddenly healthier than it had been in a long time.
If all of this was possible in a week, I’m excited to see what could happen when I go back (because that is certain) and stay for a longer period of time.
Bali has completely enchanted my heart, body, and soul.

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* All pictures featuring me taken by Krystin Ross.

Complete (back)packing list

Thailand, Malaysia, Singapur

 

My mum always said “in this day and age, everything you’ll need is your passport, some money and your phone.” She’s not entirely wrong, of course, but since I don’t plan on shopping for an entire new wardrobe and accessories, here’s a list of what I’m planing to take to Malaysia with me. It’s my first real backpacking trip and I’ve never really done a proper packing list so here we go (this might also be therapeutical for me and could show me to not always take so damn much!)

Let’s get started:

What I put in my carry-on:

Passport
Prints of hostel/flight reservations
Credit card
Debit Card
Cash

Phone (and charger)
MacBook (and charger)
Camera (without charger)

Chewing Gum
Small snacks (lately I tend to get a bit nauseaous on long haul flights and meals are never that appealing to me)
Book
Travelguide
Headphones
Pen and a small notebook

Scarf
Toothbrush and travel sized toothpaste
extra pair of underwear (I’ve learned from my lost luggage incident in Morocco!)

In my trekking backpack:

Locks (for lockers)

Travelsafe
Underwater Camera
Portable speakers
Various chargers
SD Cards

2 long, wide, cotton pants
1 pair of jeans (worn on the plane)
2 dresses
2 pair of shorts
5 T-shirts
2 long sleeved shirts
1 Cardigan (worn on the plane, I tend to freeze on planes and I know it can get cold on buses too!)
2 pair of socks
Underwear
1 bikini
1 pair of sneakers (worn on the plane)
1 pair of flip flops (for gross hostel showers)
1 pair of sandals

Earplugs
Toothpaste
Shampoo
Travel sized conditioner
Razor
Menstrual cup
Facewash
Lotion
Sunscreen
Deodorant
Bug spray

Wet toilet paper/baby wipes (has been a lifesaver many, many times!)

Lipbalm
Mascara
Lipstick
Hairties and clips/bobby pins
Hairbrush
Nailclippers and file
Sunglasses

Painkillers

1 travel towel

 

I’ve linked a couple of things that I’ve really enjoyed so far or are really handy to have on travels (foldable toothbrush, anyone?).
The Hansaplast earplugs are honestly the best I’ve ever had – and let me tell you, I’ve tried a lot of them.
The travel safe is actually rather bulky and heavy but something I got to have some peace of mind when it comes to my valuables. I’ll be taking my Laptop with me, as well as my DSLR, and while the camera will be wherever I am most of the time, my MacBook won’t. I’m not sure if there will be suitable lockers in every hostel so this is a compromise. If someone really wants to steal it, they’ll probably manage it but it will make stealing my stuff a bit harder and more inconvenient for the thief ;-)
I think this is a pretty conclusive list of what I’ll be taking with me to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
I’m aware that Malaysia is also a muslim country, so I have my usual long cotton pants with me, but since I’ve been told it’s more relaxed than most other muslim countries I’m hoping I’ll also be ok with shorts or knee-length dresses :)

Why I didn’t change my Facebook profile picture to show solidarity with Paris.

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If you’re on Facebook you’ve probably seen it around. The feature where you can layer the colours of the french flag over your profile picture. It’s a nice gesture. You can now show solidarity and support through a single mouse click. This might read as sarcastic, but let me clarify, I have nothing against this. In fact, I think it’s a great idea.

I do, however, feel a bit awkward about it. And this is why:

Bombings, shootings and terrorist attacks of all kinds happen every day. They happen in parts of the world that we’re so used to hearing these kind of horrid news reports from. Afghanistan. Iraq. Syria. Then they also happen in parts of the world we mostly hear nothing about. After all, when was the last time a news outlet properly reported about the Crisis in the Central African Republic? About South Sudan?
Yeah, that’s what I thought.

And I get it. I get that this is a difference, because it happened in a country where terrorist attacks do not belong to day to day life. I get it because it’s Paris. It’s a city in a western country, peaceful, modern, beautiful. It is shocking to us because it happened in the midst of Europe, a continent that has been at peace for 70 years now. It is shocking because it could have happened to any of us. It could have been me and my family spending a nice evening in a café. It could have been my friends at a concert on a friday night.
We feel shocked because we’re so used to this security. We don’t know what it’s like to live in constant fear. We don’t know how to react when we’re confronted with so much hate, so much brutality.

We are so incredibly privileged. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you live in a European country and don’t have to fear for your life on a day to day basis, you are privileged. We should be more aware of this fact and never, ever, take this for granted.

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I am utterly heartbroken about what happened in Paris. Of course it has affected me as well, how could it not?

However, Paris is not the only city where terrorist attacks happen.

I am not just Paris. I am Beirut. I am Baghdad. I am every city that was recently affected by senseless tragedy and bloodshed. I am every town where parents kiss their children goodnight and don’t have to be scared for them and I am every refugee camp where parents worry about what kind of future their children may have. I am everywhere safe and calm and peaceful. I am both, because I am humanity and I am the world.

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