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.

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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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Oh Nepal

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The news of the earthquake in Nepal have left me utterly heartbroken.
So many lives lost, so many ancient historic buildings and temples destroyed, so many homes in ruins. And so many villages not even accessed yet.
We are fortunate because so far, all of my relatives are safe. The same goes for close family friends. We’ve been in contact with them and the stories they’ve told are devastating.

My grandmother is afraid to go back inside, my uncle has been wandering the streets of Kathmandu and a close family friend who’s also a heart surgeon is almost constantly fighting ti save lives. People are being treated in hospital hallways, out in the open in front of hospital buildings and everywhere else where it’s needed.

Nepal is a country with a rich culture and history. The people are warm and friendly, welcoming to everyone and they need our help.
The infrastructure of the country is weak at the best of times so I cannot even imagine what it’s like now. The government barely said anything so far and neighbours are trying to safe neighbours sometimes with just their bare hands.

#prayfornepal seems like a popular hashtag and I’m thankful for it all but let me be clear: praying alone, being sad alone isn’t enough. Please consider donating whatever amount you can to help to a reliable charity of your choice.
Right now getting basic supplies, medicine, clean water and food and equipment to save people buried in the rubble is probably the top priority, but the rebuilding of the countr y will take a long time and for that too, ressources are needed. Please don’t forget that.

The New York Times has listed some charities here. Austrian readers can also donate to the Austrian Red Cross.

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ETA:
I forgot: Facebook has enabled the safety check, where people who are in the affected regions can mark themselves as safe and let their friends and families know that they are alright. Should you be looking for someone, the google person finder may be able to help you. And last but not least, viber has made calls to nepalese landlines free using viber out.

Thank you, 2014

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What a year.

No really: What. A. Year.

So much has happened, so many things that I’ve learnt, so many opportunities that arose, so many people who I’ve met.

I honestly could not be more thankful or appreciative.

I don’t even have words to explain everything that happened this year or how it changed me and helped me become the person I aspire to be.

One of the things that stood out most to me were the people I got to meet this year. I’ve made new friends all over the world. I met inspiring and hardworking people. I was fortunate enough to talk about life and get a glimpse into their view of the world and learn from them. The friendships I made in 2014 are probably the most coveted thing I take with me into the new year.
It’s also how these people made me think about the world differently, how they influenced how I feel and think about myself, how I consequently I carry myself now.

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I originally titled this post “Goodbye, 2014” but no, I don’t want to say goodbye, and thanks to all the crazy memories I will never have to say goodbye. I want to thank you, 2014, for teaching me about myself. For allowing me to be brave, for letting me do things I never had done before and for being patient and encouraging.
When I say 2014, I mean every single person I’ve met, everything I’ve done, every song I’ve heard (and obsessed over), every book I’ve read and every stranger that threw me a dirty look on the street for no apparent reason.

I have a feeling that 2015 will be different in many ways but with what 2014 has taught me, I hope it will be easier for me to navigate through the next year.

So thank you, 2014, it’s been real.

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Thoughts on life lately.

As rough as the last couple of days have been I know that whatever happens now I’ll find a way to deal with it. I have the support of my family and I know I can come out of this ugly situation stronger than I am now. I’ll take every life lesson and I’ll grow.
For now I’ll focus on the important things: like forcing myself to eat and trying to get enough sleep at night.
Things will get better. They always do and I always learn how to adapt.
I’ll try to see this as a summer storm, a necessary evil for sunny days.

 

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