Menu

The Digital Nomad Cruise – taking a boat to an exotic land with a handful of chosen people

I am not sure who Elon Musk would choose to take with him to Mars, to start a scientifically 3D printed utopia, fast progress colony, superhuman principles and highly effective time employment. But I know who I would take to one of the most beautiful places on the planet and make my time and their journey worth every penny.

I’ve heard about the digital nomad cruise for a good while now. I have been a digital nomad (by definition) for 3 years, so I follow anything related to this specific lifestyle. To clarify “Digital nomads are a type of people who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner.[1] The digital nomad community has had various events established to host members of it, such as the Nomad Cruise.” This is straight out of Wikipedia. In other words, with the help of technology which allows us to work online and earn a living this way, we can pursue freedom in all its aspects: of thought, movement, knowledge, constant self-improvement and lust for life. This is more my definition, but I am quite sure most can relate.

Not only do I follow the whole movement in itself, but I also try to make sure that the point is never missed. So that we don’t become what we ran away from. Our community is very strong and very fragile at the same time. It’s everyone’s duty to respect and promote openness, sharing, respect, responsibility, participation, kindness and consent. These are actually the 7 principles of the Nomad Cruise and I would be very comfortable with making them official for all digital nomad communities out there, cruise or no cruise.

I met Johannes (NC founder) briefly at Dojo Coworking in Bali last year, and although we didn’t speak much, he has a certain way of being that gives you an idea about what type of person he is. Kindness and humbleness are two of the attributes that most distinguish him. He can disarm heavily rooted egos with one simple smile. I don’t know too many people like that. And now, after living this amazing adventure, I can say that he created an incredibly beautiful experience bound to either change people’s take on life or simply confirm that they’re on the right track. For a fairly young and untested lifestyle, this is a huge accomplishment and responsibility at the same time. I don’t have a single doubt that Johannes and his team will be able to promote the right attitude and keep its undistinguishable spirit alive.

So this November I embarked on a crazy 2 weeks adventure across the Atlantic, which started in Barcelona and ended in Recife, Brazil. I didn’t know what to expect. I heard amazing things about it, but I tend to be quite skeptical when it comes to putting hundreds of people together and not just any people, but the ones who don’t need to take vacations from their lives. People who know what they want and will purse the smartest and most effective ways to get there. People who have a very high understanding of how the world works and craft their lives and personas based on what they’re good at, and mostly, what makes them genuinely happy. Sounds too good to be true, right? Exactly my thought!

I arrived in Barcelona a few days before the cruise to ease into the mood and prepare for the journey. My friend Olivia and I felt quite excited if not nervous but we didn’t really understand why. We are both used to travelling full-time and meeting cool people all over the place. If I didn’t know better or if I was a bit fluffier in my thoughts, I would have guessed a certain amount of electricity buzzing through the streets of Gaudi’. Was it because Barcelona filled with nomads from all around the world, ready to make some serious magic? There’s a particular feeling that you get if very young and before a school trip. Can you recall? Your mother didn’t need to wake you up. By the time she knocked on the door you were already up, packed and excited to the bare bone. I don’t know about you but I make sure to never lose my school trip spirit independently of the amount of time I travel and the amount of incredible things that I see and experience around the world. However, this time it took me by surprise. And I couldn’t help but wonder how incredible will this trip be?

Big boat, bigger thrill, loads of emotions and so many tingling sensations. And that was just Day 1? Imagine 12 more…

Turns out you can’t really imagine what will happen. You sort of know why you are there, you guessed you were a good addition from the way people acknowledged you, you had every minute of the day to prove the magic ingredients that you were made of, in front of a crowd with an inextinguishable appetite for beauty and wonder. But you cannot really imagine the sort of interactions you get to live, the fascinating people you get to have the most interesting conversations with and the amount of joy you get to experience from being surrounded 24/7 by like-minded individuals who have so much to offer and so eager to do so, independently of their status, popularity, physicality and IQ. I’ll go back to the previous phrase when I said that most of the people on the cruise have pursued their true selves and got comfortable with their real potential – be what it may – and this is what made them rank 10. Not perfection but the power of presence that comes from exploring their true nature and the resulting altruism which comes with living a life characterized by happiness and fulfillment.

This is a social experiment by all means. You are responsible for your time and for what you want to get out of it. You are responsible for your generosity, for your feelings and for other people’s feelings. You are there to learn, absorb, live and give back as much as you can. You are there to support, encourage and spread the love. You are there because the community needs your strength and the beauty of your character to inspire the others and prove to the world how amazing humans are if given the opportunity to live a life outside the norms and obsolete rules and regulations, that slowly kill the soul and replace it with daily doses of selfishness, materialism, egocentrism, loneliness, mental exhaustion and ultimately depression and alienation. Nowadays life reads raw and that’s how it is and will continue to be, if we don’t prioritize quality and awareness over quantity and trends.

If you are currently living a life that doesn’t feel natural to you, where you are invisible and misunderstood because you see things differently and want to craft your future oriented more towards meaningfulness in every form, from how you bond with people to what you can create to bring value and joy in this world, then join one of the Nomad Cruises. If you are already a non conformist, a beautiful soul and a smart and productive individual who craves to be surrounded by other similar fellows then join the nomad cruise.

Don’t join the nomad cruise if you plan to come empty handed and take only. Don’t join the nomad cruise if you are limited and bias. Don’t join the nomad cruise if you’re not open to new concepts, ideas and ways of seeing the world.

With the right mindset, your spirit will benefit from each and every encounter. From a simple talk to one full of laughter; from an ethereal connection gazing at the stars while lightly sailing the beautiful ocean, to a productive and professional dialog, from which you or your business can benefit for life.

And without going into further details as I wouldn’t want to spoil or condition your expectations too much, I sit here in Copacabana, Christ statue in the back and Sugarloaf mountain in the front, and feel the alchemy of this beautiful adventure still lingering in the air. I really couldn’t help sharing that I think to myself… what a wonderful world digital nomads get to live in!

Read More

Homo-Digital Nomad

“Digital nomads are a type of people who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner.”(Wikipedia)

And so a new species has been added to the evolution chart. The Darwinian beauty pageant of digital nomads stretches from surfers with 6 figures and packs to blondes fallen from the sand catwalks of Koalaland, and SIPs: seriously invisible people, which make for 99% of our masses. Welcome!

With tinkers, bells and Macbook Pros, they arrive and reshape the jungle with Buddha bowls and pearls of e-commerce wisdom. They throw (bit)coins in the imaginary fountain of all their financial wishes coming true, or coach you to explore your full potential from pelvis to the 7th chakra.

You know when they’re in town because you can’t quite figure out why Meetup is down for intensive traffic and all restaurants reintroduce tofu in their menus. They also speak very loud English, which is the Esperanto of the location independent and local language impaired sustainable clothing roamers.

I love them! I am one of them and I feel exotic as funk even though I am not. Yep, you’re not, either. Unless you’re an Ethiopian princess. I met none.

It’s always a pleasure to meet them all, hear their stories on how they founded these amazing businesses of which I can’t remember the name or nature for that matter. I know they feel equally oblivious when I boast about mine. But that’s really a pity because my affair is awesome. Both the one with the world and the one with my profession. That’s what we all say. And sometimes it will be the truth.

Deep down we all know that the more they brag the less they earn, both from life and www.com. But we don’t care because hashtag #support, #patience and lots of time to waste from all that space left by passive income. Damn yeah!

We’re all spiritual and s*it. We practice yoga, ecstatic dancing and heavy flirting because that’s what keeps one fit around the world.

We drink very little, except for those times when we don’t, because it’s vacation time every day.

We read Tim Ferris like little devils praying by the side of the bed. We hide Alain de Botton under our pillows and pretend to make utter sense of all Sam Harris’ podcasts.

We manage to convince ourselves that we are some sort of digital angels and that our digestive track is populated by orchids, essential oils and the food of the Gods. It’s not. It’s actually pretty nasty because Southeast Asia. You know what I’m talking about.

I love each and everyone one of you wackos, because you followed your dreams, you dared to pursue an entirely new lifestyle, quit those nasty jobs and love life as much as it’s humanly possible. You gave yourself a chance at living fully and you chose to trust yourself to create something truly unique.

You took a leap of faith with strangers, foreign lands and your own instincts. You allowed yourself to be happy AF. You also cried your eyes out because alone and confused AF. You made friends with all sorts of humans including yourself. You forgave their flaws and insecurities, you encouraged them to believe everything is possible and work hard for their dreams. You promoted a tolerant and kind mindset, stopped judging and started to chill on the wisdom hammock.

You kind of became beautiful. If you didn’t, why don’t you go home? I’m kidding! Let’s have a smoothie sometime. 😉

Read More

I know you’re smart but are you mental?

Let’s play a game.

1. Here are the clues:

Texture

Colour

Temperature

Memory

Emotion

Sound

2. One scenario, two different interpretations:

a)

She’s standing with a white cup of tea in her hands, looking at the grey clouds on the horizon. The window is lightly stained with condensation – drip drops without a sound. She finds some relief in the warmth of the cup and the smell of orange from the steam. He left.

b)

The clouds released a swirl of liquid silver. It’s trying to insinuate itself through the pores of the refined state of what used to be sand, just left of her gaze. She sips the tea and recalls the smell of oranges on a white Christmas morning, and his fingerprints down the wet spine of a woman who just made love and exchanged the heaviness of her heart with the one in her head. A condensation of pain.

1. Here’s the challenge:

Where are you? What’s in front of your eyes? Tell me your latest, most intense and pleasant memory.   

1.Trick question:

Is your life “visual pleasure” or “factual newspaper article”? Somewhere in between – “hipster magazine”?

Notes:

I often wonder how people think in social circumstances. Do they filter their thoughts constantly, in predefined and licensed speeches? Do some have a more practical way of transmuting their senses to verbal ablation? Can we find romance in every person we meet or what is it that people want to obtain from each other?

Information, distractions, norm, fashions, routine, concrete disciplines – all abstract to the spirituality of a human being.

What do we make of it all? Who are we? Mobile and rudimentary memory deposits, exchanging information with anyone willing to give some in return. A sort of empirical currency of the factual… but what do we buy with it?

How do we feed our need for intimacy? Can’t the power of knowledge fulfil our strongest desires? Is it still necessary to twist our faces and bodies in a modern orgasm of romance defeated? So primal. So marvellously indispensable. The act of love walks hand in hand with your weaknesses and they all refuse to bow to reason or instinct.

So, are you willing to cooperate with your chemical imbalances to bring some poetry to the table?

B) One scenario, two different approaches:

a)

Hi, I am Mike. How are you?

Hey, I am Rose. Good, thanks and you?

I’m good. Where are you from?

Norway

Aaaah, cool I’ve never been there. Is it nice?

Yes, you can visit this town, that museum and you can also eat our famous meatballs.

I’m vegetarian. And what do you do?

We have fake meatballs! I am a teacher. And you?

I am a digital nomad.

Oooh, are you one of those people that travel and work at the same time?

Yep.

Swedish.

Aaah smorgasbord or how do you pronounce it?

/ˈsmɔːɡəsbɔːd/.

b)

Hi, I am Mike. 

Hey, I am Rose.

Odd evening tonight. I wish I’d heard and replied to less biases.

I agree. I felt like getting out of my own skin. I heard the turkey was good.

I’m vegetarian. 

Cool. Did you know that turkeys can blush? Despite the fact that they can’t flight nor copulate, nowadays.

Oh… that’s sad. Maybe they can’t blush anymore, either.

It sucks to not be able to fly and make love as much as you want.

Funny you say that. For turkeys and people, alike.

(space to smile and ask something with your eyes, possibly blush like the turkeys)

What’s the last book you read? This weather calls for a good story.

A Man Called Ove.

What is it about?

It’s about a Swedish grumpy man and the love of his life. Perfect for dark November.

Exercise:

Try your very own “b” scenario. Right now. 

What game is this? If you must label it, then it’s a creative one.

Last question:

If we’re all a fountain of random, bizarre and wonderful thoughts, should your presence, smile and words bring magic, colour and meaning to every table you’ll ever have the privilege to attend?

Read More

Geocare – a love that grows each day

When people ask me what I do, I tell them that I have a customer support company. No one is impressed.

Customer support sounds uninteresting, undistinguished and unprofitable. I am not sure why. I assume everyone imagines tedious customers screaming over the phone, or complaining via email, overwhelmed operators and frustrating conversations. How can anyone feel happy to work within the customer support industry, let alone start a business?

I’ll eagerly raise my hand to that question and tell you quickly how it all came together. My favourite game as a I child was to pretend that I had an office and to fill out papers all day long. This was before I knew how to write. I would involve my friends and we would all pretend to answer important calls, write and properly classify documents as well as closing very good deals. My favourite subject in school was English. I studied English with the same amount of passion whether it was for fun or for national competitions. I naturally moved towards a career that involved foreign languages and administration.

I ended up studying more foreign languages in Italy and working in different offices. I also ended up working as an online freelancer in Sweden, doing various admin and European language-related jobs. My client base grew and the next natural step was to open my own business and set up a team to help with various projects.

This was almost six years ago. Since then, Geocare and my life took a composed attitude towards making money, a resolute one towards quality and a very sensitive one towards the human element.

I genuinely like to help businesses and take great pride in the feedback below:

“High quality work and excellent service for our customers!”

“We love working with you. You and your team are a blessing.”

“Thank you for the great work as usual.”

“We have enjoyed a premium service for over five years with thanks to the GeoCare team and look forward to growing further together.”

“Geocare Support has been brilliant in all aspects and has gone above my expectations. You have taken care of my customers in the best way.”

When a potential client contacts me, it will usually be the owner of a small to medium-sized company. It could be e-commerce, entertainment and/or educational applications, or any other online services. It will be someone in need of social media, email or call support, usually in multiple languages. But it will also be someone terrified of outsourcing and worried about how their products or services are constantly influenced by the fluctuating and unpredictable level of customer satisfaction. How will they be able to trust a third company to offer the same level of support as they would? How will someone be as equally interested in constantly learning about the product, in getting to know and appreciate the services offered and be motivated to do a great job?

And it makes sense. Big call centres are famous for being impersonal, robotic and for not cultivating an environment where the customer’s needs come first or where proactiveness provides instant solutions. Big call centres handle big companies without specific criteria. They often recycle overworked and overstressed operators. They are structured on statistics and numbers. They are functioning at a level where the human factor is basically non-existent. They are everything I don’t want Geocare to be.

Geocare is what I like to call a boutique support centre – great quality for a great price. We prioritise the right values. We make everything possible for our team to thrive and be happy, and for our clients to feel protected and supported well beyond operating hours and contract norms. We choose to work hard, to learn each day, and go beyond any difficulties or frustrations, knowing that we will always come out on top, stronger and wiser.

During these 5 years as CEO, I’ve made sure my business kept its soul independently of how much it grew and how much revenue it made. I am utterly in love with Geocare and I will do whatever stands in my power to stir it forward using the same positive principles that got us where we are already – a can-do attitude, a can-fix and a can-help no matter what.

I warmly welcome any entrepreneur who is in need of customer support to reach out for a hassle free chat. I know all about the fragility of baby businesses and the instability of the ones growing very fast. This is the reason why I am determined to gain your trust and peace of mind….so that you can focus on other aspects of your business while my team and I take care of your customers, just like I would do with my own.

💙 www.geocaresupport.com 🌐

Read More

Why I don’t need meditation in my life

In my last year of Swedish nesting, I used to meditate every morning, with recordings from The Honest Guys (they are awesome, btw). It was the first thing I did after petting my cat. I felt that each day had a great potential of dreadness, and that I needed some sort of daily mantra to keep me sane and balanced. It helped of course, but it didn’t propel bliss out of my heart’s chambers. To put it bluntly, I wasn’t at all happy with my life. I wanted to travel the world. No meditation, technique, walk in the woods, fitness program, book or YouTube tutorial could have made me zen about the lack of fulfilment of my life-long dream.

This is my recipe on how to fix oneself without doubting every single thought that comes to mind, including self-flagellation.

  1. Don’t change your mindset, but trust it more.
  2. Change your life, instead.
  3. Remove what doesn’t work and replace it with hard work towards your big goal.
  4. Appreciate all the good things that you have.
  5. Separate them in a pile and pack that with you in your next endeavour.
  6. Do what you want to do or don’t stop until you get to do what you want to do.
  7. The journey will be as satisfying as the result itself.

You have 3 options: my way, your way or the highway to nowhere. Roaming the world is not the solution, but how I personally feel like living my life. And it should never be in fashion. I find it’s very educational and empowering, but not the secret to happiness. Chances are that a normal life fits the criteria just the same, with far less efforts and resources. I know it sounds very cliché, but please welcome every day with excitement. Build a life where you will have enough elements to be thrilled for, from Mon to Sun.

I’m thinking:

  • Mondays can be good because you get to see your office mates.
  • Tuesdays can be good because you exercised and you’re a sexy badass.
  • Wednesdays can be good because you are having coffee or a glass of wine with your friends.
  • Thursdays can be good because you’re planning a movie or book night.
  • Fridays can be good because you have a whole week of accomplishments behind.
  • Saturdays can be good because you can take a stroll in town and have a mini adventure.
  • Sundays can be good because you get to have lunch with your family and share some love.

There shouldn’t be any compromise on the uniqueness of each day. We are not here to make a point out of modern life’s impairments, but to use our right to freedom and the opportunity to develop in the right direction. Each day can be special for something. And it will be. You just have to focus more on the right element, as opposed to routine or responsibilities.

Once your daily vision is improved, you can work on how to fine tune your serenity channel. How to appreciate happiness and love, and how to not be afraid of feelings such as sadness, confusion or loneliness. The powerful awareness of movement, wander and complete submission to all the beauty in this world is made of a multitude of opposite feelings, just like colors inside a kaleidoscope. All emotions are welcome. They are the trigger to the birth of really good and productive ideas; a much needed drive to sweep life off its feet.

Today and for the last 3 years, I don’t have to take meditation pills. I have a self-regulated mechanism of emotional balance that allows me to appreciate each thought for what it is. It works 24h a day. It makes sure I don’t demonize negative emotions, but acknowledge them without judging and without fear. I feel comfortable with showing and sharing them, just like I do with my boasting happiness.

In my eyes, my life comes out as a beautiful poem.

And the reason I wrote all this, is you. Because I hope you feel the same or you will do anything in your power to feel the same.

Read More

When magic knocks at your door, you’d better open

Am I the only one who’s being stalked by books? In my case, they run away from the book shop with nothing but a price tag, they cross borders and pretend to be part of my Airbnb’s owner collection, they bribe Amazon to make them digital, then Google to act all subliminal on me, and if all this doesn’t work, they quote themselves in cool people’s posts. This is what happened with Big Magic: creative living beyond fear. It followed me from Sweden, on TED Talks, to the UK, until it literally threw itself at me, with its best quote on Medium. It finally found me in Lithuania, tormented by Eastern European literature. Easy catch.

Truth be told, I’ve loved miss Gilbert since before she became famous. I bought Eat Pray Love from a library in Porto Venere, many years ago, prior to the movie and media attention. I loved the book and naturally felt pissy about the movie and the whole desperate housewives’ movement. My sister in law read The Signature Of All Things before me and it was one of the best book recommendations I’ve ever received. Elizabeth Gilbert writes beautifully. From the heart – no fuss. She’s your best friend, the one you listen music with, over coffee and great conversations. She’s true quality time.

Big Magic is an interview with Creativity – where it comes from, how it works and what criteria it chooses in order to manifest itself. E. Gilbert believes that creativity is a common human trait, one that allows for the highest personal reward to occur. If people are magical, it’s because of this unique quality. We’re all creative up to a certain level and I think that art (in any form) is what gives meaning to the human condition. It’s what keeps us sane and united. If one needs a purpose in life, then creating fills this role, wonderfully. In my opinion, creativity is spirituality. It’s how we communicate truthfully with the others.

“Possessing a creative mind, after all, is something like having a border collie for a pet. It needs to work, or else it will cause you an outrageous amount of trouble. Give your mind a job to do, or else it will find a job to do, and you might not like the job it invents (eating the couch, digging a hole through the living room floor, biting the mailman, etc.). It has taken me years to learn this, but it does seem to be the case that if I am not actively creating something, then I am probably actively destroying something (myself, a relationship, or my own peace of mind).”

Turns out this book was chasing me for a smile, a ruffle of my curls and a ”Keep going!”. I spend hours on end, hand in hand with my thoughts, trying to understand where they come from, what they need from me, what I need from them, how important it is to share them and how much space I should give to the truly silly ones. My thoughts are like kids high on candy or to quote, “border collies”, so it’s usually a messy business, but as soon as I put everything into writing, peace shows up. In comes chaos, out comes freedom. It’s like releasing a bird from its cage. There’s a lot of love involved in this process.

I believe it’s our duty to encourage creativity, whether there’s a genius behind it, a kid writing to Santa, or anyone in between, including yourself. Creativity is the expression of an open heart. If reading, admiring a photo or listening to a song, brings you the smallest amount of well-being or helps you to re-establish a connection with the world, express your appreciation. Be grateful for being able to feel gratitude. It doesn’t have to be a like on social media or a 10000 words letter, but it has to be tangible.

Consider it like this: if someone puts their heart in their baby or monster creation, and you felt it, then the least you can do is show your support. The way you feel most accurate and when you feel it’s right, but do it, because I wouldn’t want to live in a world without craft. I doubt that you do.

Last but not least, explore your own creative nature. If there’s something divine, something that goes beyond your survival instincts and material needs, then that would be your ability to create something beautiful. Don’t be afraid to explore your own magic, no matter the result. It is enough if one heart benefits from it.

I’ll leave you on the lookout for a cheeky book searching for a new reader and 3 quotes: one from a genius, one from a kid and another one from someone in between. You decide which is which ;).

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

“You can make a wish, but it’s not magic. People have to make it happen.”

“Art teaches nothing except the significance of life.” 

Read More

The Eastern European parade of misplaced egos

Eastern Europe is one of the few areas left on the self-sufficient part of the planet, where some women (very few left so hurry up), are still tickled by the idea of putting on a visual show to engross male ego to the stars, made by the same dust as their all-mighty wallets. Indeed, boys still travel east to look for women or better, their self-worth.

Girls, if you want to be in the race you have to be perfectly clothed, preferably wear very uncomfortable dresses, ironed to itching perfection. You have to smell impeccably, a fragrance worth your monthly salary, or someone else’s. You have to have perfect skin, nails, make-up, shaved where no razor has gone before. Last but not least, you have to be thin but also curved. Your beauty has to make a man think in perspective.

You have to pretend to be interested in the foreigner only, at least one foreigner at the time, and take no pleasure from the surroundings, unless wined and dined in a masonic mid-budget restaurant. It’s better if you don’t speak too much English, any elaborated speech would bore to death your vodka intoxicated companion. You have to act like you have no history, no critical thinking or any memory of progress trapped in your smooth wrinkles.

You’re religiously dedicated to square meters of sentimental confinement and if it happens to have the foreigner’s arm wrapped around your promising waist, make sure they become part of a future 4 walls scenario. I don’t know exactly what happens under the covers, if your guest can perform after all that alcohol, but I heard some very theatrical female moans, which would raise the dead from their graves and have them interested in getting a residence permit.

So what happens next, Joe? You finish your smooth talk, gentleman duties and move on? Or you have an epiphany and marry the gorgeous girl? They have these flash ”Married in one day” 2 x 1 unlimited offer for at least the next couple of years.

So what happens next, Ina? No success, next dress, one more try? Or you suddenly realise that these silly times are gone? You can now wear normal clothes and make an art piece of your mind. You can travel, open a business, work hard, read – now everything is available. I really get it, you know; I’m Romanian, but times have changed. You can come down from the soul and sole killing high heels and put on some atomic balls, instead.

Then the world will become a bit more interesting, but less fu*kable; more like Musk smoking weed and talking about global warming. Imagine that – if in the future we’ll have to take interest in heads attached to those bodies and legs. If we all soon become aroused by wild thoughts and the poetry of human mind. If we all first build an universe and then copulate in it?

Read More

Europe’s last dictatorship

 

Do you know anything about ”White Rus”? Who travels there? Almost no one. And that’s a pity, but I’m sure it will change soon.

Some will ask perplexed – “Why are you going there?”, others went and they really liked it. Then there are those who will become dead serious but also dead curious about the topic.

If you speak to the locals, they will ask you why you have decided to come to their country. They aren’t shocked by your presence, just curious about what pushes someone to pay a visit. They will pay attention to the list of compliments you give to their capital, but they will end up thinking: “Ok, I see why you like Minsk, but would you ever want to live here?”

Minsk is a pristine town of 2 million folks. Some speak English. It has quite a selection of imposing buildings and statues, plenty of parks, fast food chains, fancy restaurants and hipster cafes. It’s one of the cleanest, if not the cleanest town I have ever laid my eyes upon. It’s also very safe and easy to navigate. You can walk everywhere or if you prefer take an Uber. It’s much more modern then you’d think, but it also has a very distinct soviet imprint.

Belarus has a tumultuous history, an interesting present day economy, a resourceful president, alas since 1994, and very well-mannered and humble citizens. It’s also the size of Belgium, Switzerland and Netherlands put together. It was destroyed during WWII and lost a third of its population. It gained its independency in 1991. However, this is not a free country. As Wikipedia outlined, it’s ruled unfairly, there’s no free press and death penalty is still legal. I am assuming the citizens would like to see Belarus part of the EU someday, or at least have the right to freer circulation. I will never know because no one is comfortable to talk about politics. What I do know is that people are educated, friendly, they travel as much as they can and they are quite curious about different cultures. I met teachers, writers, software developers, handymen, salesmen and students, and they all shared the traits above.

A few more interesting facts about Belarus:

  • Children here want to either become astronauts or programmers
  • It’s called “The lungs of Europe” because of its extensive forests
  • It has 300+ potato based dishes
  • Cafes are allowed to serve croissants that are 2 days old; I asked after I broke my gums with one
  • It has extremely low unemployment rate – 1%
  • It’s not cheap
  • It has one of the largest national libraries in the world
  • It may have the largest amount of buried treasures in Europe
  • The airport automatic distributors sell contact lenses and caviar
  • Lee Harvey Oswald’s story and apartment location are part of the free walking tour

By the end of this read, you must all be pleased with knowing more things about Belarus, but I bet there’s one more thing that you really need to know. Are the girls as beautiful as everyone says? I invite you to take a stroll to the World War 2 Museum in Minsk, instead, and find out what an important role women played in the war and how brave and resourceful they were.

Yes, the girls are very pretty if that will help with raising your interest in Eastern European history and culture! 😉

Read More

Modern relationships – the beautiful truth

This post is a result of the many conversations I had about relationships, during my latest travels. It was pretty interesting to find out that age, background, culture and lifestyle did not increase the amount of distinct replies. We all pretty much want the same thing and envision the same white fence and children running around, a wife in apron, a man going hard at his work…

Wait a minute… We picture ourselves as our parents, but could we possibly be less similar? How can we think that their model can still satisfy women or men who now have amazing careers, travel the world, have a high level of education, an incredible amount of experience, zero need to be financially supported, and quite a set of expectations?

We don’t fall in love with the good, plain guys anymore. We want men to be wild, smart, charming; men who change from gym shorts to badass business attire, on a daily basis. We want men who have a lot of experience with women. Who know exactly what we need. Men who read lots of self-help books, get in touch with their sensitive nature but also strong enough to… you know.

We want women who are pretty, fit, successful, witty and fascinating. Women who wear perfumes that smell like wild flowers and sexy confidence. Women who will take 1 second to make a decision and who are not afraid to engage in politic, cultural, tech but also silly conversations. We no longer want women at 90 degrees, we want them at 360.

On top of it all, we’re still dividing our lives in two phases. First – have fun, explore the world, literally have the time of your life, and second – settle down, become boring as, put on a belly and have wet dreams every night.

We’re seriously our worst enemies. How can we possibly strive to be with an awesome man or woman and all we’re thinking about offering in return is a white fence that needs to be painted, a good set of chores, victorian discipline, emasculation, frustration, responsibilities, tedious arguments and the bad sex that comes with all of this?

On the other hand, how can we programme ourselves to have one night stands, drink a little bit too much, party hard, become a bit artsy, maybe a little bit mad, only till the clock strikes 30?

Ok, so can we do things a bit differently? Or at least acknowledge how funked-up the above is?

As many of you might have noticed, I never post stuff about my boyfriend. That’s because I don’t need to splash him all over my social media, pixelate him in a Facebook or Instagram trophy. We both cherish life and share this amazing passion, which is to travel the world. We sometimes do it together and sometimes separately. We love to wander x 2, but also need our own space. We are both free to understand the world and ourselves the way we most feel accurate. We prioritise authenticity and as much lack of hypocrisy as we can. We don’t grow in predefined patterns, but expand through a variety of experiences and interactions that help us bond with the world and give back as much as we can. We resent jealousy, possession and being someone’s property. We resent big egos and any kind of decision making, detrimental to someone’s freedom.

We’re far from perfect, but we love each other like crazy. He’s my most favourite person in the whole world, and I could literally be on the moon, but still feel his presence. We don’t really care if we’re going to last forever, that’s for us to decide each day. What we do know is there will never be any regrets, any “I wish I had”, “I wish I could”, nor any feelings such as wanting to break free or fear of standing alone.

If I may say, we would become victims of our own white fence if we did things any differently. We would forget to have fun, to laugh together, to miss each other and be aware of our true value. We would fight about the most stupid things and feel stuck in the awful side of life, where worrying sucks and time goes by, excruciatingly crushed by routine and righteousness.

Don’t programme your life and end up wasting it both before and after. Stay fun, grow and add meaning to your interactions, each day. You will get so much more out of it. If you find somebody while being on an adventure or while doing something that you love, please don’t torture them afterwards. Don’t see them as your property, safe net or domesticated pet. Don’t kill their spirit – the one you fell in love with in the first place. Feel free to be free and find someone who supports your dreams and sense of adventure. A person who sees beauty in what makes you truly unique. It is not your partner’s duty to heal you from insecurities or lack of identity. Do not let anyone break your spirit and work hard to become an individual first and then somebody’s someone. Apply the same for them. It really is possible.

Cheers to true love, my friends!

Read More

Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex

is the book I chose to read while here. Called “the most influential Ukrainian book for the 15 years of independence”. It’s about an Ukrainian woman’s identity seen through the relationship she has with her abusive boyfriend and her country’s culture. It’s been 10 days almost and I barely read 30%. Usually in a frenzy, just like the book is written. Usually after 2am, when I get home, get my mint tea ready and make sparkles with every surface I touch.

I must have met more than 20 people in one week which is 90% more than in my previous destination. Travellers and locals alike. Some younger and some older, some memorable others not too much. Some I hanged with several times; we made the city our own playground. Some already left and dragged all their dreams away, like newlyweds drag cans on the back of their cars. Some want to leave but they can’t and others just take days as they come. A splash of life from shy pink to bold black and everything in between; colors and eyes light up 1 dollar fireworks, from the around-the-darker-corner all-necessities store.

I added last Saturday evening to my 2018 memorabilia. Nothing fancy. Just a hot masochist restaurant, where you get whipped, poured wax on or have a lady lick whipped cream off your bare chest, while your hands are handcuffed to the back of your chair. Good company, lots of laughs, ok wine, tasty fish, tight jeans and hungry arms. But the best part was way before this, when we all got out of the Wine fest and walked to Rynok square, with local festive music coming from several street artists, people laughing, dancing and partying in the streets, from small kids to old couples and pretty much everything and everyone in between. My spirits got lifted high up like a helium balloon and dragged back to the ground in a cheeky pirouette of foreign accents and velvety sweet Ukrainian cherry nalyvka.

On Sunday morning I rushed to the opera house to see Snow White (ballet). It was wonderful. The place is extremely beautiful, the play was cheerful, and the dancers fantastic. I feel I should mention how I never thought about the story before. So this girl is too beautiful for her own good, her step mother throws a party for her birthday, she meets the prince, gets taken away to the woods but not killed (yay), she loses it for a bit and starts talking to animals, which eventually take her to the dwarfs’ house. Now why are there 7 dwarfs in the woods? Are they not accepted in society? There’s a scene in the play where all dwarfs wake up in the morning and get ready for work by bathing in a small water container while Show White is supervising them. Uhmm… Anyway, she finally dies because she eats the apple (always the women who eat the apple), but then comes back to life, magically, after the prince attends her funeral and kisses her on the mouth. This prince has serious issues like procrastination and necrophilia. Snow White needs to grow some. The dwarfs remain innocent.

I’m digressing.

It is absolutely amazing to hear so many life stories, to see so many emotions, ways of being and ways of understanding the world, in such a short time span. I wonder to myself, why isn’t travel mandatory? We would all be much more open minded, tolerant, compassionate and patient. We would all feel a deeper affection for each other and so, far less alone in the world. What a cruelty to have to be subjected to the same limited environment every day and not have the possibility to grow and learn from the world instead. How will you ever overcome your fears amongst only a handful of people, who can determine your worth as an individual? We are all extremely resourceful despite our battles and we can all bond with and learn from each other independently of our background, appearance and education, as long as we feel love for the world, instead of fear, shame or prejudice.

Ukraine was an interesting and wonderful experiment for me, socially speaking. I wasn’t even aware how “exclusive” I behaved before this. I let go of any expectations of myself or the others, I asked nothing in return and shared all the time I had freely. No ego, no specific criteria and no restrictions. Only a serious amount of respect for myself and the ones surrounding me. I strongly recommend you try the same. If you can’t do it in awfully beautiful Lviv, it’s also safe to try it at home.

The book is now finished. Not sure if I recommended it. Insightful but numbing overall occurrence. The summer’s gone but I look very forward to autumn. The neighbour is practicing piano. My 17 days here are up. Definitely ready to move on, but immensely grateful to Lviv for all the fun I had and for keeping me happy, safe and sound awake.

Read More

Do something different, average Ion.

The longest day travelling the shortest distance ever. My mood has been a complete disaster in the last 10 days. I made a stupid pact, I drunk texted, I was grumpy with the whole world and hated all my surroundings. This is the first time in 2+ years of travel where I felt completely trapped by my own desires. It was such a weird sensation. You know that time where you could go absolutely anywhere, you could book a plane ticket to literally anywhere, you have zero obligations and zero reasons not to, but it would be completely useless. You would still be locked in your god damn skin. I don’t know what happened in Slovakia, but I will gladly ditch the mental turd there.

I’m hoping the bad spell will be over now that I’m in Ukraine. The people look serious but I think they’re much friendlier than the Slovaks. We will see. I have 17 days here and I plan to summon all the magic back.

Finally, on my second and last flight of the day. There’s a guy in his 50s who looks exactly like Gerard Butler, Ukrainian version. I feel like an outdated Lolita right now. I’ll sprinkle away the memory confetti of the guy in first class, and he’ll probably do the same with the girl sitting 30 rows back.

Sunday mooooorning, the Ukrainian birds are siiiinging. I barely arrived here and I already talked to two super friendly locals. Alex on the plane and Tetiana on my way to the apartment. How refreshing!

The girl who owns it combined the hipster apartment style (pallets, bright blue and green combined with relaxing grey), with the charming tall ceilings, white terracotta stove and big eyed windows. I don’t do much on my first day anywhere (unless I’m in a hurry) but I got loads of work to finish and eagerness to be out there. I googled the digital nomad friendly cafes and chose Svit Kavy. It’s a old style café’ with what it seems to be the best coffee in town (the town has a coffee festival, so that says much). The staff is friendly and the atmosphere warm. Good place to get some Sunday work done. However, to get here (1km from my apartment), I had to walk past a political mini parade, a clochard peeing in a plastic yoghurt bucket in the middle of the square, several trucks with soldiers and an army of church goers. It’s foggy outside. My first real fresh day since two Christmases away.

It takes 2 seconds to understand that Lviv is pure energy. This is what gets you hooked on travelling like a maniac. It’s not easy to find it because it will usually linger in the most unexpected places. The combination between modernity, freedom, history, political tension, faith, youth, class and poverty is electric. You can literally feel the mental buzz in the air. Lviv is alive and I wouldn’t expect anything less from the cultural capital of Ukraine. I have this very cocky belief that it’s my own cultural background that makes my heart shiver in a place like this, but I’m pretty sure that most travellers will understand its vibe.

It seems that I didn’t have to summon magic after all. It has summoned me here.

To be continued…

Aug 26th 2018

Read More

Based on a true story

It’s August 2018 and it’s so damn hot here, furnace dry. No breeze and no sweating. Faces hold their makeup (un)disturbingly and no wrinkles appear, no need to sleep naked. A perennial discomfort of the body in cold winters and dry hot summers, it seems to me. One eerie list of poems lingering in the shadows of the buildings, waiting for green to mark the time passing…

Some time ago, when I used to go on holidays, I would walk around unknown neighbourhoods and fantasize how it would feel like to live there. What kind of life I would have had, how old I would have been, if I had pretty dresses and a good body; my daily routine, my friends, my lovers and of course my fears.

I used to daydream like this all the time. I always wanted to experience a different life. I needed to know how it feels to be somebody else – everyone else. I would allow the air to acknowledge my presence, my eyes to peek at the windows, I would guess on the smell of cooked food and walk around aimlessly; whatever felt right to get me into the role. You see, I wanted to live like this most of my life. I couldn’t just settle in one place; I was too curious about everywhere else.

Now I’m doing exactly this. I experience life in different places and play pretend. But living many different lives doesn’t make life any different. It’s a play pretend of real feelings: odd or good interactions, solitude, enchantment, love, restlessness, wanting to be in a different place or not wanting to be in a different place at all. This is my way of bonding with the world.

I am in Bratislava. I have been here for a week. It’s been an unusual week. It started with me crossing the highway where I shouldn’t have, jumping a non-lady-like fence and dragging my suitcase on a very steep flight of stairs, under a serious amount of Celsius degrees. My hood is past the upside down radio pyramid, a 20 minutes’ walk to the old town. My place is good but there’s nothing cosy between my studio and the cobble carless streets, any pedestrian’s dream. I can’t vibe with the town at all, everyone is so serious, rushing around and not smiling to strangers. The other bunch get drunk or follow the small flashing flags of dorky travel guides. It’s hard not to project myself outside my own body.

But I have never imposed on a town or country. If things come naturally, that is good. If things are hard, though shirt. The moment when my journey will revolve around me only, I might as well not travel anymore. If solitude and isolation is what I need to experience, that is fine. Not ideal but fine. I am supposed to observe, understand and move on.

It’s full of pretty girls here, very nicely dressed, very much crumbling inside and very stiff. I know the feeling. I was also educated way-out-East to act all serious and uninterested, to never smile to anyone because they – the men would take an invitation out of that, a most unwanted one. What a silly frigid education. I recognize it in every pretty girl walking these streets and I think how painful this moral corset is. They take life way too seriously, they spend their pocket money in cafeterias, on very long coffees, complaining about everything and not knowing what’s wrong or how to fix it. Their only bible is the cold norm. And dreams run around in their heads, only.  I’m thinking if they could only let their fantasies become deeds. All the roads covered in red dresses, magic stories and waves of Slovakian wine… What a feast would that be.

There’s also a book shop every few meters. More books shops than clothes stores. That’s where the girls got their fair skin from and minds as sharp as the almost neighbouring Swiss clocks. Talking about books, if you want to know more about the post-communist years here, check out Rivers of Babylon by Peter Pišťanek. It kept me cool at nights.

Bratislava is also the home of the most phenomenal graffiti I’ve ever seen. But that’s maybe because I’m in a fox frenzy. I got fox earrings in Ljubljana and I’m getting a fox tattoo in Ukraine. As for my green light, it switches Saturday, with the promise of a new beginning.

Aug 21nd 2018

Read More

Ljubljana heart emoji

This is the first place where I figured out I’m not a noob traveller anymore. It was love at first sight. I haven’t felt confused, lost, upset or uncomfortable not even once (well except for that time in the castle).

Things about Ljubljana:

1. It’s easy and super chill.
2. It has a really nice young vibe.
3. You can go everywhere on foot.
4. Food is good.
5. Bread is fantastic.
6. The girls are pretty.
7. Slovenia has 2 million people. Just 2. 🙂
8. Accommodation is expensive during summer and does not live up to any expectation.
9. Everything else is doable price wise.
10. There are tourists but not too many. Even in the middle of high season you can still enjoy the city and its charm.
11. People are friendly. Not crazy overbearing but just the right amount of friendly.
12. Weed is not the thing. It’s the norm. I don’t smoke but one must love this incense flavour.
13. My favourite thing here was to get out and go everywhere.
14. I love every single inch of Ljubljana. It’s a non-pretentious emerald gem.

Things I did here, thoughts I had and how I went on with my life:

1. I went to a rock concert alone in the Metelkova squat neighbourhood, ex Yugoslavia barracks. A sort of Danish Christiania. It was great.
2. I had people waiting for me in my hostel room which was supposed to be a single room. Nobody was sleeping in my bed.
3. I blissfully missed the wooden river boat cruise twice, for a matter of seconds.
4. I had the best vegan cake at Barbarella Bistro.
5. I thought often that my life rocks.
6. I learned that is fine for people and things to change. I can’t just show up somewhere once a year and expect everything to be how I left it.
7. I feel so blessed, so I naturally keep hoping nothing bad will happen to me. I want to die from natural death with a smile on my face, knowing that the world is a beautiful place despite its reputation.
8. Being alone and doing things alone is a marvellous gift. I’m usually so focused on the others that I never get a chance to hang out with myself for real. The natural instinct is to bond and socialize and I do feel weird when days go by without either but this is my journey and alone time takes it to a whole different level.
9. I had a drink at a bar alone. Not nearly as weird as you might think.
10. I had the most alternative art experience. I visited two interactive museums and an open air one.
11. Went to an ex porn cinema alone. I watched He won’t get far on foot and loved it.
12. Won 6 euros at the casino.
13. I had the world’s most average strudel and two people just had to ask for my honest opinion.
14. It must be that Ljubljana loves me, too.

If you haven’t been, just go! 😉

Read More

Mandarins and potatoes

Jan 20th 08.31am

How is it possible that each time I start reading a book from pre or post war Paris (The Mandarins), I always get transported into another realm, the one where I always feel good because it is the one that best reflects my personality?

I am on a flight from Bali to Malaysia. I am very happy. There is no internet so my brain forgets about work and endless bookings and research.

I have a guy sitting on my left, with long hair, tattoos and a good body. I am immune. I can’t help but wondering why and then I think that I don’t like clichés anymore. I am also entirely focused on myself. I found terrible bliss in hanging out in my brain. I have so much life trapped in those synapses, it’s incredible…

Maybe I should write more and share more. Make people think. Attract kindred spirits. Be like in The Mandarins. But then I remember what a titanic job that is and how it’s almost impossible to find such spirits. People are very nice, which is really cool and reassuring. The world is an awesome place to hang out with its ups and downs; overall, people everywhere are trying to make the best out of what they have.

However, to find real pulse is really hard (and by this I don’t mean romantic or sexual). People blame social media, smartphones, lifestyle, times changing and fast-everything culture. We post stories but we’re unable to live them. We compose Instagram worthy scenarios but somehow fail the mental patience to actually be in that moment. We want to go back to more talk and more genuine interaction but we lack courage and transparency to do so.

Then every eclipse of the moon I would meet a man or a woman who suddenly reminds me what a charming being the human is. Ethereal, sparkling, chapeau magical.

Attributes that become contagious and stronger with every smile and each time my eye meets your eye. We talk about stuff, mostly stuff that matters and I get lost in the colour of your eyes, the shape of your lips or crest of tasteful wrinkle art. Maybe when you smile, I can catch what are you nervous about or maybe when I say something, my words remind you of something or someone important, including yourself. We chat for a short or long time and if I am seated I will be a bit dizzy when I get up or if I am standing I will have forgotten where I was going or what was that important just two seconds ago. But I will feel very good; a kind of happiness that never goes away, it only adds up, like a pouch of little treasures that stay valuable no matter how much time has passed.

I wake up the next morning thinking how lucky I am to have met you; the world makes sense again. How foolish to think that you don’t need anything from people… Certain rare encounters give you this crazy energy that no other practice will ever deliver or any easy earning will ever satisfy.

So you meet the person the next day and you play cool. Until they smile back. Then you know. Can this be a bit like falling in love? Or falling back into the world?

I do believe in chemistry, not just between two people but all people. The more you’re connected to your true self the more you manage to connect with everyone else. Conscience has a scientific explanation but it can best be observed outside the labs and definitely outside the norm. Maybe if we were focused on bonding rather than showcase displaying, than it will all make sense. I believe with all my heart that if this won’t fix us, nothing will.

Now… about that Eastern European personality with its magical mist of what might have been and how it would have felt (…).

July 20th 12.56pm

After a few more flights and countries, and what it seems to be a case of amnesia, I found myself reading the above note from six months ago and asking myself (should I be concerned with all this internal talk?), why the heck I didn’t publish it. Uhmmm, because I forgot. How am I ever going to remember everything…?

If someone asks me where I was this year my instinct would be to take out the phone and read my 2018 Travels note which I tried to memorize several times so I sound very natural at remembering all the crazy sh*t I did. Instead I sound senile. Well, you try to remember every single day of your past year if every single day is different. I’m still trying to understand if I accumulate memories or it’s the world who accumulates me. I’m very aware that I’m all over the place. Which is really good because my place is everywhere. Remembering is the second most important thing.

Anyway, it’s funny how this six months ago memoire ends on a note related to my Eastern European nature. It’s funny because now I’m on a flight to Bucharest and yesterday at midnight I just finished organizing my two months’ roam to Eastern Europe (well now now I am waiting for a delayed fly to Pisa, for further confusion). My reason is very practical; I’ve seen most of the other Europe. But I do intend to be mentally skinny dipped in romantic assertions and find comfort in being surrounded by equally dramatic and psychologically over charged people.

Stay tuned for future Eastern European cultural dissertations and my own twisted interpretations.

Thanks for reading!

Read More

Eat kale and reason like Bukowski

I think I finally understood what homesick means. I would assume it’s the same type of ache that home seekers have. 

I am homesick for certain people. The ones that make me feel in a certain way. They have this special talent of modelling the curves of my synapses back to brand new self-acknowledgement. I can remember a simple smile, or a certain thing they said, the way they looked at me; we formed this special connection that I still need to understand how it actually works but sort of like a chemistry of souls. Peachy!

I always feel funny about quoting Bukowski considering that he was a drunk, he didn’t go to the gym nor did he eat kale, totally unhealthy and a masochist but he got a few things right. ‘The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it – basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them.’

In the grand scheme of things, everything else is useless. We interpret the world based on our moods, obsessions, self-imposed goals, discipline and chemical imbalances. We keep searching for a meaning and we end up burning fuel and engine, left emptier than when we started but worthier of someone else’s attention. Right?

Right. This is actually how it works. You can’t own anything. You can filter information, benefit from knowledge and be surrounded by a positive, uplifting vibe or the opposite. But you have nothing and you are nothing. The only time you can own space and gain body, is when you take shape in someone else’s eyes or release energy so your light can shine on someone else’s parade.

And if you ponder about the true source of your depression or the things you do to stay away from it… I can’t think of any attempt of ownership that looks natural or feels natural long term if built by humans. Take families, relationships, businesses… what a ship show. Everyone is constantly recovering from someone else’s mess. Human nature is everything but natural. To heal from human nature, you have to hide in nature, far away from humans or…

Should I buy a cabin in the woods or roam volatile, free and temporary…? Which future 365 days project would make the most sense? 🙂

Read More

Unrelated reflections after a 3 months’ Social Media detox

Have you ever felt super sh*tty but some stranger gave you a smile and you instantly forgot about all your trivial worries and felt perfectly fine again? That’s what I call magic. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work by browsing selfies.

I read an article a few weeks ago about Zuckerberg getting a conscience and working intensely this year on reducing and filtering fake news and properly endorsing the independent publishers. He also changed the algorithm in order to populate our Facebook walls with news from friends first and everything else after. I wonder if this is related to my decision to temporarily quit social media…?

And since we’re at it, my chubby sense of entitlement drove me back to the mother platform, to share my oh-so-wise reflections, in the hopes that someone could benefit from them.

I’ll start by saying that my life did not finish when I stopped posting and sharing. I still travelled like a maniac (imagine that), and literally around the world in the last 3 months. I’ll show you a little bit later.

Are you curious to know how it feels after two years of full time travel and 40 countries later? Freaking awesome AF and tiring AF. 700+ days without a return ticket. No home, no day the same. No single regret.

Perhaps, still the less glamorous and strongest feeling is gratefulness; for being able to see so much beauty it hurts. (New Zealand blew my mind away just to mention one piece of heaven). For being able to go and do what I want when I want to. For being able to test myself and my limits and for understanding and accepting that there is no perfect choice or perfect place or perfect way of being.

Each accomplishment comes with so much sacrifice and work and the high of it lasts less than an orgasm. There is no flawless community or person who figured things more than you or I did. I’ve seen many excel in their work but quite terrible when it comes to social life or the way they treat themselves. Whether it is obvious or not, everybody is trying to figure things out and they’re quite active at it. Feel free to contradict me with examples of perfect individuals.

I’ve also seen disenchantment and confusion in many living the nomad or any dream. I’ve seen all these things in myself at times. So, I got pissed. And after I got pissed, I was finally relieved.

Now you’ve done it, G! You did everything you wanted and more, you fast-forwarded a lifetime of emotions; dozens of countries and more memories and experiences than one can hold. You opened the Pandora and found beautiful sceneries, interesting people, good stories and life lessons, good flight fares, but no trace of the secret of the universe. What are you going to do now? Chase some more countries? Wake up, work, explore, read, sleep and repeat? Until you’ve visited the whole planet and you’re ready to move on to the next one? Maybe I will! 😋

I’ll save you a costly retreat with a life coach or more of an appropriate professional and tell you what I found: a state of the art merry-go-round! You will continue to inevitably suffer no matter how much money you make, how awesome your carrier is, how many trips you take or how many friends or kids or houses you have. You will continue to suffer no matter how many adventures you have, how many things you accomplish or learn; no matter how many people acknowledge you or whatever it is that you are trying to achieve. Suffering is part of the human condition. It actually defines us. Suffering is creation. The higher you rise, the clearer it gets. But it doesn’t have to hurt that bad if you make peace with it.

If you live a life worth living you will gracefully come to terms with the fact that there’s no higher meaning, purpose or after-life orgies in paradise. Try to be a cool person now and put a smile on someone’s face and give love as often as you can. Make everyone’s life easier, yours included. If you’re miserable, just know that this is not how it’s supposed to be and you have to do something about your life. Change whatever needs to be changed and face whatever fear you need to face in order to find some peace.

Mark Manson laid the cards on the table and stated that the ultimate freedom is commitment. It’s damn true. Make sure you commit and suffer for whatever feels right for you. Start figuring it out and act upon it as soon as possible. It won’t get better than this and by doing otherwise… it will only get worse. Be sure to invest in your life. Work is important, being involved in something is important, people are important but most of all, your life is important. Make sure you actually get to LIVE. Your life, the way you want it, not someone else’s. If you want to change (the world), this is the only way to do it.

So cheerios, Pandora! I know what happiness is and I also know that lack of happiness is kind of the same thing. I know I have a place in this world, no matter where that is. I know it’s ok if things don’t make much sense and that’s fine.

The world is mine and it will stay this way in my highs, lows and in betweens. 🙂

Every feeling you get to experience, no matter how common, how good or bad, is your biggest privilege. It means that you’re still breathing. It means that you are still alive. That alone should make you crazy happy. And as relevant and important as anyone else. As vulnerable and badass as anyone else.

So, back to the topic; did I miss Facebook? Yes, sometimes I want to ride the fluffy virtual cloud by browsing for one hour straight and get dizzy from all the pixels, look at my brother’s amazing photos, have my mom show me the things she paints, read the #poveste of the day from Anca or get inspiration from people living their dream or trying to change the world for the better, any way they can.

That said, dear social media heavy users or not, I do hope you are still making an effort to actually meet someone every now and then. Hear their story without switching to automatic mode.

Take a break from networking, selling, bragging or complaining (use Facebook and Instagram for that). In real life, make that eye contact, be present, smile and give as much as you can.

Thanks for reading and let’s catch up! 😉

Read More

Mirror mirror on the phone

I must confess that I am absolutely terrified of selfies. I don’t understand faces, anymore. I am Instagram and Facebook instructed to know what qualifies for the perfect shot in the perfect face but what a perfect waste of interpretation. I see people doing kissy, marvelled, upset, sexy, horrified and inquisitive faces, tried it myself and what a total mess! If the point was to feel better or more beautiful or even worse, more interesting, I’ve literally only managed to count my wrinkles better and feel completely disconnected from myself. I am 34, after all, and thoughts and gravity are constantly and visibly shaping my looks into what I am hoping it’s going to become a gracious old face. This is happening to you, too, by the way. No ducky lips will bring your youth back. Find a way to deal with it.

What is the social purpose of the face, anyway?

Flirtation? Acknowledgment? Power?

Flirtation has a totally different meaning for me now; I flirt with men, women and life in pretty much the same manner. I have no specific criteria. I am not trying to charm anyone, let alone get their approval. I want people to always feel thick and whole in my presence. Like we are both there and then, alive and awesome. By default. We create our own magic.

With regards to acknowledgment, I’ve developed a fine taste for touch and have a whole library stored in my head. It has become my favourite sense after sound perception; I have an extremely soft spot for interesting minds and care very little about facial appearance (remember though, you can always be fit and healthy, no matter what face you have). I used to be obsessed with smell and pretty people but I got used to both. Bad smells and pretty people. Completely immune. Well… with those exceptions that confirm the rule, of course.

I took this photo because of the wall, to be honest. I had a video call and noticed that the wall behind me was very photogenic. So I thought it could benefit my face. I think it did. But I still feel the same. Half wonder woman and half unicorn at a busy intersection. Nothing changed. The times I really feel beautiful, have nothing to do with selfies, walls and good light. It’s all about interaction. Eye contact. Genuine curiosity. Alert spirits. An obsession with life and feeling alive. A touch. A disarming smile and also a terribly good laugh. This is all the power I need.

Read More

Freedom chop suey

I was talking to my mom about freedom last night. We can afford to have these talks lately, because everyone is doing good. It wasn’t always like this, alas, this is how we know how freakin’ blessed we are, lately. 
So, what does this freedom mean and how does it look like? To me, freedom consist of a given set of independencies. Emotional, financial, professional and perhaps even spiritual. This means that instead of being afraid of Gods and big shots, you will simply be scared of your own lack of capacities and actions.

So, do you think a life worth living would be one where you are the master of your own time, space and desires? What about all the other lives? The 9 to 5s, the 1-month holiday per year, the non-stop maternal care, the territorial boundaries, the lives compromised by toxic relationships and unfair set of responsibilities towards thirds?
Are we really happy with being that altruistic and self-disciplined? With dedicating our whole lives to making things happen for someone else, whether it is your child, spouse, relative, friend, boss or the person that we think we are supposed to be? Are we really selfish if we don’t do all this? If we break free from the pattern and give our real selves some credit?

Is it even about being this or that? We all have such a different concept of freedom and what really makes us content…but one thing we do have in common: time is running out and the best way to eliminate 99% of our problems is to live in the present. Right? 
So, how does your present look like? If you were able to choose, would you still opt for the same? No matter how complicated or hard or meaningful? Ah… maybe that is it – meaningful. It is not about being happy, posting cute little photos or smart stuff on 4 different social media platforms and then sit and wait for likes and approval like there’s no tomorrow. 
*Nothing wrong with that by the way. I invite you all to like everything I post because it is super cool! Really, now. You don’t even have to read the text. Go see if you missed something and heart it, asap!

I think it’s really about whether your life has a real purpose or not. When you feel that you are not wasting your time, but you’re very busy living it, fully. Take your eyes off this text and look around you, right now. Is this where you want to be? I am not asking if it’s perfect because nothing is. What I am referring to, is do you feel any peace of mind or soul? If I were to ask you this, would you be able to reply with a simple, humble and least spectacular “Yeah..!”?

If so, add a cheeky smile and whatever it is that you’re doing, keep it up! Stay off the wheel and fight your little free, fluffy and selfish mouse race. Remember, it’s sooooo worth it!

Read More

The smile at the foot of the ladder

Surrealistic short story by Henry Miller. He wrote just one of a kind. It’s set in a reality built from elements and visuals present in Miró’s, Rouault and Chagall’s paintings.

It’s about a clown whose main act consists of enlightenment on stage. He changes lives and identities a few times in his quest for joy, to only realise that he doesn’t need to impersonate different characters in order to be himself and that by just being himself, he was the best that he could be. The fantastic world surrounding him was not a fantasy at all. It was reality just like our reality is built from dreams coming together into a beautiful and resourceful picture.

I had a chance to talk to a few people about Henry Miller while in the US as I was quite excited about being in Big Sur, where he lived a big chunk of his life. I realised that Americans have mixed opinions about him; they recognise his reputation but struggle to understand his writing. They struggle to understand where his greatness was, while fairly disgusted by his raw description of taboo subjects. Or his way of living, completely unfiltered and always ready to absorb and describe the human show, whether it was fair or not. And if you read Miller, you will find out that things are rarely pretty or simple. That life is a crazy brothel employee. That unlike angels, we release various bodily secretions. And unlike angels, our lives are most wild and adventurous.

I really felt proud of my origins, knowing that Miller found comprehension and admiration in Europe back in the 30s and this made me reflect upon how things have changed. Americans are tolerant, open minded and have a far-reaching mentality nowadays, whereas Europeans seem to have forgotten their revolutionary minds and have found themselves hanging desperately to old fashioned and obsolete ways of thinking and seeing the world, for fear of losing their identity.
If this is too much of a generalisation, I will then take the example of Paris, of how much they fear and resent diversity, and invite them to remember the roaring 20s, when Paris was a glorious place, full of artists, writers, painters, philanthropists and other glorious minds, from all over the world. Everybody came to Paris to become the best version of themselves. And what amazing times those were, despite the shaking political situation after the war and all that came with it.

California definitely feels today like Paris must have felt in the past. Creative, bubbling, artsy, a bit mad and terribly beautiful in its extremes. And the rest of us, might we be somewhere in the middle? Adjusting to an ever changing world, to our many talents and aspects of our personality, to the struggle of loving ourselves deeply in those few moments when we realise we are at our very best as we are right now?

I am yet to have heard of a reality that is better, more colourful or fulfilling than mine. Or yours. I don’t always feel this way but being wrong or feeling lost is also part of the journey. It’s evolution, coping with change, taking clumsy steps but always moving forward, always reinventing oneself and being aware of how much we have to give if we all managed to create thousands of different realities, all unique, all from scratch and all wonder like. It’s enough to look around and see your friends and family accomplish amazing things on a daily basis. Whether it is growing the tastiest veggies in your garden, learning the alphabet, building a house, a company, excelling at work or raising awesome tiny humans. Crazy inspiring!

As grandpa Miller points out, in order to be the most fantastic clown there is, you don’t have to put on a mask. Just get out in the world and have us find out more about your very own. Honestly, if you truly believe in yourself, who won’t?

Read More

Memory’s needle and thread

“For people could close their eyes to greatness, to horrors, to beauty, and their ears to melodies or deceiving words. But they couldn’t escape scent. For scent was a brother of breath. Together with breath it entered human beings, who couldn’t defend themselves against it, not if they wanted to live. And scent entered into their very core, went directly to their hearts, and decided for good and all between affection and contempt, disgust and lust, love and hate. He who ruled scent ruled the hearts of men.”

On May 12th 2017, I sent a happy birthday message to someone I met in Puerto Viejo (Costa Rica) on July 31st 2016 and got a warm “thank you” back, while I was at dinner in Marrakech (Morocco), with 9 people, eating various colourful foods and trying to be in the moment. Just like I am trying to be in the moment now, sitting in Skövde (Sweden), work typing my day away.

But that did not work. I got transported instantly to Costa Rica (then and now).

I thought about the colourful hostel where I stayed, the way it smelled (like fragrant wood and salty air), about how I could hear the waves at night. About fresh exotic fruits from the market, homemade dishes and delicious drinks. Tonight (May 12th) there was a feast on the table but my eyes, my nose and my heart were full of Costa Rican magic.

This beautiful land is scent. It somehow gathers all the right reasons for which we decide to spend our lives traveling. Its scent transcends from wild to tamed and back to wild again.
I often imagine how not living to the fullest would be if it affected our physical appearance. I would imagine a crooked body, with troubles breathing, and with pain in every movement.
Costa Rica fills your lungs with hurricanes, gives you wings to fly and the ability to run far far away into the sun. Each morning you feel its nature embracing you with light, embodying smells and for each breath a gift of visual tale.

I remembered:

How it felt to listen to Pearl Jam on the hammock in front of my room, overlooking the sea
How it felt to run home at dusk, knowing that I couldn’t be out alone after dark
How it felt to wake up early in the morning in my blue room kissed by sunshine
How it felt to wait in line to wash up in the sink in the corridor, with everybody smiling and chatting cheerfully
How waiting for hours for my coffee, felt
How it felt to work at my laptop with a kitty in my lap and tourists buzzing by
How knowing nobody, felt
How meeting two sweet guys in line for the ATM that didn’t work, felt
How it felt to not have money for two days
How it felt to buy groceries at the supermarket
How it felt to have my lunches cooked by beautiful exotic women with colourful dresses and fiery manners
How it felt to swim in the strong sea
How it felt to be utterly and completely in love with myself, wearing no makeup and no worries
How it felt to bike in the national park on winding roads and into the jungle
How it felt to visit the animal rescue centre and see baskets full of baby sloths and other beautiful creatures
How it felt to buy hot cocoa from local women while waiting for the bus on a rainy day.
How it felt to get close to someone without ulterior motives
How it felt to be on a bus full of back packers and reggae tunes
How wonderful it felt to drink chocolate home brewed beer while listening to live music all by myself
How it felt to leave and head over to Panama on a minibus full of dreamers
How it felt to see and take in so much beauty

How it now feels to have stayed in Panama for two weeks and have experienced more happiness, more bonding and more beauty.
How it now feels to have since then travelled to dozens of countries, leaving small or big pieces of my heart in each, while daily patching this terribly fascinating organ with love, wonder and adventure.

And now in this precise moment, I am looking at the table in front of me, wishing there would be more coffee in my cup, pleasant emails in my inbox and stupidly smiling at my Google Chrome tabs containing work pages, maps, travel information and messages from friends scattered all over the planet. And I remember all the useless worries I get from time to time and how I somehow manage to forget what I am made of.

All the beautiful memories that we have and all the beautiful things that we have felt, help us remember who we really are and how lucky we are to be alive. PURA VIDA!

Read More

Uneasiness – quick fix

A thing I would like to share with you from my travels is the way animals are treated in the various countries I have been so far. I have mentioned the topic a couple of times before but not in a specific way.

I am honestly shocked to conclude that animal treatment (I refer mostly to cats and dogs, stray, half stray or belonging to someone) has nothing to do with the wealth of the country but everything to do with education and some with religion. Hindus seem to really mean what they say about the equal right to life for every living creature and our responsibility towards it. About caring and not standing indifferent to animals being hungry or in pain. In India, all dogs approach you in a friendly matter and love to be petted. If you have some food even better, but your company and a cuddle are very much appreciated as well. Same goes for Nepal, Jordan, Kenya and Tanzania. It says much about how people treat animals there.

Developed, civilised and random countries like Romania, Seychelles and Mauritius have mostly shy animals that are scared to approach you and act like they have been beaten up or chased away.

I don’t want to be accusatory, point fingers or offend anyone. I just want people to practice more compassion. We have infinite resources and need so very little to make the world a better place. I strongly believe in outgrowing poisonous environments, coldness or rawness of heart, cultural limitations, educational lacunas, behavioural patterns and non-malevolent ignorance. The world sets good examples each day.

All the times we have said it’s useless, it won’t change anything, it’s not my responsibility, I have good reasons and all the other excuses you come up with for not doing a good deed, you have actually burdened your conscience, felt bad inside, poisoned yourself with negativity and grew apart from your community, from nature, your own instincts and from the beautiful world we live in.

Don’t plan to change the world with a mighty big deed or if you do, don’t forget about all the small things that you could do each day, meanwhile. They will warm your heart, bring happiness to you and the ones who are lucky enough to benefit from them. Maybe it will not be revolutionary, maybe it will not be drastic, nor perfect nor a permanent solution but it will surely set an example and mix with the other billions of good little things that the others do, will give meaning to the world we live in. As flawed or impossible and even cruel, as it can be at times.

When I was in Romania last time, I talked to an old sweet lady (who never left the country) about the dogs being treated better in the third world than in her neighbourhood and she agreed that is shameful. I want to believe that she maybe began to feed some leftovers to the strays running around outside her garden, since. I will be in Romania again this summer, pet a bunch of doggies that have their tummies full but never get cuddles or the other way around and hopefully, there will be some curious neighbour spreading the word or test a bit of kindness, himself. 😉

If you were wondering, in Panama, Costa Rica, USA and Sweden animals have more groove than any tourist, they are far more stylish and educated and they can probably surf, as well.

Below, however, you have a family of 4 stray puppies (plus mommy), that live in the forest in front of the hotel I stayed at in Flic en Flac, Mauritius. They are sweet, happy to play and hungry, unfortunately, as their owners are extremely poor. Do not close your eyes if you see something like this. Buy some food and share some love. I love Mauritius, it’s darn paradise, but these puppies here have melted my heart far more than any paradise on earth.

Whether it is about puppies, volunteering, dietary habits or a kind word to someone, whatever you choose to give, give as often as you can. The world will give back pure happiness.

Read More

Watermelon shaped serendipity

How many days can one spend on secluded beaches without permanent mental damage?

My brain slowed down considerably and I seriously started to think that I’ve gone half dumb. My heart had its own abstract project, with a contrasting and fast-forwarding amount of emotions that most of the times made little to no sense at all.

Memory is subjective, when left by itself in the warm beach breeze. It stops the preprogramed patterns and forgets practical stuff.

I had to take mental note of all important deeds. And add extra reminders. Natural in the nature reset at its best.

Working also felt like I was part of role; a school dress-up where you get to be and act like a boss. Running my business felt like multiple personality disorder. Luckily, it went fine. It always goes fine. My father taught me that the most shameful act in cleaning your own or anybody’s mess is to hide the garbage under the carpet and deal with it later. Reason why I am mentally incapable to pause working, delay finishing, under deliver or care less. I am so disturbed, that I actually take pride in it.

The other side of me, however is a multicolour spy glass that paints reality in sophisticated, unintelligible ways. This is a curtain that I have to consciously pull in order to see “normal”. By the beach, you forget where stuff is, imaginary curtains included. And you get time to decode the view. In your own twisted way.

So, while I was looking for shells and crabs, I found out that behind everything there is an actual nothing. Like the view behind the last house in a town on the side of the desert.

You can actually reach nothingness if you travel long enough. The world becomes extremely small and you can really comprehend that there’s a huge amount of nothing just around the corner from the big fuss. Your emotions, desires, reflections, hypothesis, ideas and perpetual motion stop somewhere and there is no feeling beyond that. No opinion, no consideration, no relation. Nothing to conquer, to analyse or experiment. Like floating into space. I always imagined it would be a terrifying at first, but zen experience, overall.

I should have mentioned this post was a spoiler alert but this is one of those things that you need to experiment for yourself. The idea of “nothingness” born out of anything but complete dedication to a life dream and consequently of the feelings derived, is some sort of neurosis and should not be mistaken for the real thing. You will know the difference because one will feel amazing and the other really crappy.

So, what happens next? Do I still care?

Very much so. My hooman nature will take me back to the anthill and get me into a global routine which is very much so like a non-global one, maybe just a tad more fun.

Beach beach beach / town town town / friends friends / family family / forest / lakes / roads / planes. It’s just words. Words and endeavours. Repetitive but beautiful large scale diversity. That I can always stop by mentally chilling on the side of nothing.

Equilibrium – perfect!

Once the external environment has given you a valid chance to be yourself and to find out that you can be happy, then the means to get there will no longer depend on circumstances, to do lists and grand globe-trotting. All the richness is in yourself, all the happiness, too. I would not recommend living without love and books, either. Unless you want to experience a self-induced chemical nothingness. The crappy one.

I think life is an impatient child. If you do have the chance to reach some point where you can safely say that you got what you wanted, prepare to get down from the peak of that dream mountain into a non-glamorous, unpopular and unfashionable descent, straight to grounded magical innocence. To where you started. Deciphering yourself will be the only project that you will not be able to finish and the only one that will provide genuine satisfaction, right till the end. Oh… the humblest of them all, as well.

Read More

When you meet the other, you meet yourself

I was not a rich kid, nor a poor one. I know how it felt to not have things, whether is was exotic foods or nice clothes and to interact with people that did. When I relate to the children in Kenya or anywhere else where there is poverty, I don’t see myself as the “rich” girl who can offer material stuff or save somebody. I don’t perceive the gap when it comes to feelings. I am overwhelmed with too many strong emotions. I cannot detach hence rationalise.

Recently, I was lucky enough to spend some hours in a Maasai village, interact with the grownups and the kids, hear the stories, see how they live, what’s their daily routine, what they eat, how they love and respect the nature and wild life and hear them talk highly about their tribe (men and women) and their traditions. Did you know that the Maasai don’t eat wild game? Did you know that most lions don’t hunt the cattle because they somehow understand that it is not theirs to have? There is absolutely no other place in this world where I have seen so much respect for the nature and animals in general. A cheetah sleeping in a bush 50 meters away from a small kid herding his cattle. Might I say mutual respect?

I am constantly taught that my ideal world does exist.

I don’t know for how long the Maasai will remain uncontaminated by our ways, our needs and our weaknesses but today I got a glance into yet another different world, so different and so similar when it comes to goodness of heart, happiness and love for one another.

When I started my journey one year ago, I needed to reconnect with the world, I needed the world to teach me once more how beautiful it is and mostly how beautiful people are. It is easy to get caught up in negative thoughts, negative patterns, misanthropy, distrust every time you read the news or every time you are constrained to live a reality in which you cannot blend into the whole and feel part of it.

To relearn that most people are awesome was much easier and faster than suspected. It took letting go and not expecting anything. It took going alone somewhere very different from what I was used to and having no choice but to trust strangers. I cannot say how many hours or days, or weeks it takes, but it is really a very short time. Escaping your own dictatorship and expectations and embracing vulnerability, lack of control and knowledge as routine, will be the best medicine against depression, anxiety, lack of confidence, feeling and seeing all wrong.

What I found out after my trip in Kenya was that I had so much love trapped inside of me, love that I didn’t know how to use and how to release. That knot in my throat, was just a tap to my so many bottled emotions. As soon as I had the chance to be nobody but part of everything, I could just let go knowing it will all mix and shape my surroundings for the better. When you have nothing to show and have no one to be in the eyes of the others, you really become aware that to love and to be loved even if for just one smile or a hi five with a child in the middle of nowhere is the highest degree of happiness that you will ever get to experience. Somehow, your presence, your life, the life of the other it will make sense in the most unexpected of ways. I don’t know what is the technical term for this amazing energy that connects us all no matter where we come from or how much we have, but to get to experience it is the only luxury worth paying for. To be honest, I am not sure there is a different way to get there, other than traveling. I would be curious to know. 🙂

I am aware that there are a lot of bad things happening in the world and a lot of things that shouldn’t happen at all. There are plenty of wrongs, misconceptions and lives thrown away and destroyed due to errors of the mind and wounded hearts. We fight our vulnerability 24 hours a day, yet it is our most valuable tool for making wise decisions.

I asked our Maasai guide if they believe in Gods. He told me they don’t… or at least not in the same way other people do. They pray to the God of Nature – they pray to NATURE. I was embarrassed when he asked me the same thing. I told him that I believe in good and doing good.

He agreed that was the right way.

Read More

Frequently asked questions

I decided to shed some light on why I travel and how am I able to do it all year round. I am not a travel blogger, nor a life coach, nor an expert in online trading but I do have a couple of cool services to offer as well.

I took off with my backpack, laptop and no return ticket on a warm April evening, last year. I celebrated my birthday and departure with my friends, took my not so easy goodbyes and poof! But before this extraordinary adventure started, I had a life and it was interesting and quite challenging most of the time.

I moved from a super small town in Transylvania, just after celebrating graduation, camping on the lake with a few school mates full of dreams (all of them came out right, oddly enough), to Carrara, a town in Italy famous for its marble and… marble. I swapped this town for a few other places but lived in Tuscany for all of the following Italian years. This land taught me that good food, culture and the beauty of nature are three things that you should never compromise on. Nor should you lack any in your life.

I must admit I had a peculiar adolescence, surrounded by both ignorance and wisdom. A small town’s charm. Luckily, the wisdom road presented more adventures and infinite possibilities, so my friends and I embarked on it with a caravan full of books, good music, profound spirits, unconditional love and a terrible ache for self-awareness. This middle of nowhere has been propitious for many seekers of higher education and wise worldly deeds, somehow. But it’s no secret that most Romanians are awesome. And modest. When needed.
*if you are not really sure what a good friend is, move to Romania and make one.

Anyway, the hunger for the unknown hit me in the face with the reality of bureaucracy, political relationships and loads of papers. What should have been my first year of university in Pisa became 365 days spent at two different jobs, keeping company to an old grumpy lady and assisting an office assistant for a small spare parts office, as fascinating as that could be, while all my friends were partying wild back in Romania, in their first year of college. I guess I should have realised then, that jobs and productiveness in Italy are simply two aspects that will never work – literally.
Tough times, but the next years were quite fun in between university and clubbing, during and after serving people with drinks. It’s still called clubbing, at least after a certain hour. University sounded good on paper and the waitress job landed me a handful of amazing people and some crazy memories, that I will never forget.
After the rebel years, I started working in administration for various companies ranging from travel agencies to real estate and tv broadcasting. Low pay, almost nonexistent rights and tons of frustration. However, I gained a lot of experience and made friendships that I am sure will last a lifetime. These years surely strengthened my character and will never cease to remind me how grateful I need to feel about my professional situation right now.
In fact, by the time I got to Sweden, I was pretty bummed but thanks to my friends and my family’s contagious spirits and constant encouragement, I began to work as a freelancer and sometime after, started my own business.

To make it short, I lived my first nineteen years in Romania and the following fourteen in Italy and Sweden. Those years, I travelled traditionally, just as any working class hero, on holidays and with what was left after rent and bills but I got to see plenty and had loads of fun, either way. Nowadays, if you count the waking hours, I guess you could say I travel full time. I return to Sweden each time my heart (and accountant) desires but my place is Everywhere. In the World Wide World.

So, if you have made it this far with the reading, you are probably one of those people that doesn’t stalk social media profiles in depth but prefer to ask me directly what kind of job I have, either out of sheer or malevolent curiosity. I like both and cannot satisfy either but I am grateful for the attention, hence this post.
So my company, Geocare offers multilingual customer support to small to medium sized companies around the world. Everything is done remotely with a team of amazing freelancers based in Europe and with my own two hands – fingers. We have a tiny adaptable call centre that can match all our customers’ needs, but we also offer chat and email support, as well as translations, research, data entry and content writing.
If you need help with any of the above, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d be happy to discuss any new ideas or existing projects.
If you would like to work for Geocare, we are always looking for passionate and honest people with the above skills.

This means that as long as I have good internet connection, the same strong determination to deliver optimal results and clients that understand and appreciate the value of my work, it doesn’t really matter where I live and how often I switch countries.
I have always wanted to see the world but didn’t want to sacrifice my career for it and there is nothing I hate more than putting life and dreams on hold. I can finally do both and I confess that I have never been as peaceful and productive as I am now. I don’t mind working on weekends, late at night or early in the morning. Just as I don’t mind visiting eleven countries in six months. Everything I do, is made with love because I am happy. As simple as that.

I can only hope that it will last a long time. If it doesn’t, I would have still made it. I cannot begin to tell you how vital this feeling is. But I do recommend getting there at some point, no matter how long it takes.

Read More

The 2016 Bed Saga

allbeds

Sweden, Romania, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba, UK, India, Nepal, Oman, Maldives, Jordan, Israel and US.

47 is the number of the beds I slept in, this year. 46 as a full time nomad. And if you count all the overnight flights…

Why the beds? I am not really sure how photographing them started and what made me continue but they are fascinating. What is actually fascinating is the way we are when presented with one. So ready to be exposed and kind, whether it is with our own needy self or someone else joining the comfort zone. I don’t think there is any other spot where we are this ok with being scared, vulnerable, naked, exhausted, loved, cuddled, spoiled, happy, sad or protected. I cannot count the amount of smiles, dreams, work, sleep, staring, reading, love making, eating, drinking, movie watching and crying, that happened in my temporary beds.

The good old chameleonic bed is flexible like that. Accepts you naked, dressed, sick, healthy, with or without makeup, alone, together with someone, together with more than one… I am just teasing you. 🙂

Point is that these beds have seen and touched all my angles and curves and are a constant reminder of all the feelings and emotions I had during my adventures this year, of the fact that I lived my life exactly as I wanted, that I was not afraid to dare, experiment, adventure, risk and erase all labels, despite various fragilities. I was not afraid of being alone. Being with no one else but myself or entirely with someone else, proved to be the best gamble I ever made. I gave up comfort and got plenty of aches. Plenty. But there was, however, one organ truly benefiting from all this – my heart.

There is really no better time than the end of the year, to remember that dreams do come true. That awesome people do exist. That support comes to those who deserve it, that love is true and soul mates (plural) exist. That the whole world is full of yous and there is no such thing as alone. Alone is a confused state of mind, a self imposed status and terrible misconception. People come and go, the right ones stay as much as they can, even our own core mutates and becomes dozens of different individuals. We cannot get angry at people for going away, for not doing what we want, for not being what we have imagined. We cannot invest all ourselves in building imaginary futures with imaginary feelings, located nowhere. Change is the only constant and your best bet is to be the best version of yourself. Now.

So, allow love to flow freely. Be surrounded by it and surround with. Allow love to be a status quo, not a consequence of right circumstances or situations. Understand the blessing of the present moment and be aware of its transitory nature.

If you need inspiration, see the whole world doing exactly the same – reach out, give a hand, care, help, make a mess, fix and remake it. There is no such thing as alone, in a world with 7 plus billion people wanting and needing the exact same thing. I can testify for this after a few miles of hopping on different continents with different habits, traditions, religions and behaviours.

This is my New Year Resolution. To build and decorate a “home”, located “everywhere” and inhabited by “everyone”, where I can always go back or forth to. Where there is always room for kindred spirits. Where it is safe and where there are no judgements or preconceptions. Where we breathe love and laughs. Where no one is afraid. And as much as I would like to take credit for all my architectural project, I have to confess that I am the luckiest kid in the world for having friends, family and partners in crime, willing to give a hand and extend this wall-less home in all cardinal points. This way, we will make sure that no one gets lost and no one ever feels alone, again.

Cheesy Happy Darn Awesome New Year to everyone I know and their lovely beds!

Read More

Don’t travel. Stay where you are.

donttravel

If you are looking for perfect experiences, don’t travel – stay where you are.

Curl up on your favourite chair/couch, make a tea, watch a nice movie or cuddle with your pet but don’t travel. Independently of your budget, which can increase your level of patience considerably, traveling will always take you by surprise. You’ll always be at risk of something, the level of comfort will shift way more than you’d like and your happiness will manifest itself quite colourfully. That’s about it. Flattening your curves on thin mattresses is the biggest risk and real challenge of the day. Watching a movie on your 15″ laptop, eating takeaway pizza on a fluffy bed and possibly in good company, will make you as happy as the next important tourist sight. Which is crazy happy. Never gets old. 

So, if you are content at home, don’t get weird ideas. Don’t pack your bag and go into the world. Don’t be that crazy person. Don’t make your parents’ heart beat faster or your friends feel dispensable. Don’t drop all your healthy eating, exercising and cultural habits. Enjoy your wardrobe, clean home, safe neighbourhood, quality time with the loved ones. Be part of the community, do good things, be a good mate. Make your business thrive or your boss proud. Stay normal because that is actually great. It’s much greater than constant travel. It requires a high level of mental sanity, constant sacrifice of your personal needs and desires, honesty towards the others and oneself and an even higher level of diplomacy and tolerance.
Waking up early each day, getting ready for work rain or shine, performing for 8 hours, coming home and performing for another 6 or so, is hardcore. Party on the weekends, go on road trips, walks, lunches and to have the actual energy and mental promptness to do it all with joy is hardcore. Being surrounded by people living the same lifestyle is hardcore.

Routine is the hardest thing I ever had to do. And I wasn’t very good at it. I actually sucked at all of the above. I was constantly complaining, whining, lamenting, criticising and protesting whether it was a silent thing or a theatrical display that could have been avoided for everyone’s sake. I’ll admit I wasn’t a river of sorrow all the time but my mood often resembled the Medusa on a bad hair day or Don Quijote in the midst of his epic battles.
I still complain these days but it has become a luxury habit as I hardly ever have time for it and whatever the reason might be, it will probably be out of the picture with the next flight, room, town or person that I meet. I actually realised this morning (hence this fluffy post) that I am not capable of feeding any sort of negativity, anymore. I have life imposing on me rudely, pulling my hands, rotating me in the air and making me laugh a bit hysterically like this crazy Ukrainian dude that I danced with in my twenties.

There is nothing noble in traveling full time. Life spoils your selfish needs and you have the whole world at your service. You feed your brain with live history and culture, you pass each exam with very little effort because the answers come from left and right and you fuel your body with the best and most exotic foods and beverages. From Everest to the Dead Sea, you roam the world more than most kings and queens did and truth be told, you do feel quite mighty.

But if you want to be a hero, stay. My friends with family, kids, bills, mortgages, loans, kickass jobs and passions and everyday problems; they are the hardcore heroes. I am just a lucky fool with a ticket to the biggest playground ever built.

Humble in my bubble, I figure that we should all focus on living a life that we are good at, heroes or fools, there’s room for everyone.

*Limited time offer.

Read More

Nepal

nepal

h23.00 still waiting for the super moon to show up above the Himalayas, as I don’t want to miss it. It seems to take forever, here. 

10 days spent in Nepal count. I arrived here chased by the emotional intensity and alas pollution of almost 3 weeks spent in India… only to find out that Kathmandu is pretty much the same, hence the continuation of my cold and general feeling of tiredness.
I did not feel 100% in the last month but tried to always keep my senses alert and eyes open to grasp whatever I could from a land entirely different from mine.
I woke up each morning longing for familiarity and went to bed each night marvelled by what the day to day life had in store for me now. A continuous battle of high demand for rationality versus not losing the naif child’s heart that I battled so much to regain after years of what it felt inadequate or compromising.
Hard task when surrounded by poverty, starving animals, dusty roads, heavy air and constant contrast in between locals and foreigners getting on with their purpose.
What to make of all this? What can there be learned? Could it be just the ego’s battle to fit each piece into a puzzle without instructions? Shall I just settle with the observing silently and keeping the core strong so I can continue my journey unharmed by constant emotivity? Highly unrealistic to suggest that I haven’t felt lost most of the times or trying to figure out where this is all going. Same with the constant desire to make my presence agreeable and warm to each local that blessed me with a morning Namaste’ and disarming smile. Or all those kids coming from school, fending traffic, grownups and complicated fates.
“Hello”, “Where are you from” with a singing Nepalese accent, never sounded more beautiful or natural. Om mani pad me hum rising from cafes and restaurants early in the morning or late at night, added magic to an otherwise hyperrealistic hustle and bustle coming from the streets or perhaps my own heart. I shall never forget being accompanied by the community dogs in Nagarkot, who asked for food but were more than happy to just receive cuddles. What to say about the majestic mountains that made me dream about all the brave ones who dared to adventure to the base camp or even higher? And the girls smiling in the sun and chatting serenely in the rice terraces or under the shade of the pine trees?
At the end of the day and in the last hours remained before the next flight, it all somehow makes sense. I will go with one last attempt to catch a glance of the moon on the roof top and then to sleep hoping that they will not notice my emotional luggage at the check in tomorrow, as there are no money or wealth in this world that can pay for its fee.

Read More

More India

moreindia

India is like the 10 seconds flash before your death. Everything reminds you of someone or something relevant and makes you reconsider and reevaluate each aspect of your life. It makes you feel very small and very fortunate at the same time.
So, why do we come to India? Are we educated and informed about it? Are we able to understand its ways and culture? Can we observe, not judge and stay humble at the same time?
Why do we travel so far? To take millions of pictures and tick that off the list? To do a lot of cheap shopping? Eat exotic food? Ignore the beggars, starving animals and feel happy about our full pockets, thanking God that we have a nicer life?

I am sure many of you thought about all these aspects. Really, why do we come to places like India? To go home and feel thankful for the things we own? Or see the wonders of the world as a treat for a life spent working? What do we gain out of it? Some chose to travel wisely, others chose to remain comfortable in their ignorance and others to go beyond and change their complete lifestyle to a more genuine and simple way of living.
I am not sure what my answer looks and feels like. I thought about my family and pets more than usual. I missed them more than usual. I wanted to be home several times. Not having a return ticket didn’t feel so cool, anymore. I felt alone and over challenged, mentally. How can Indian people be so nice and calm, no matter the rudimentary lifestyle and lack of everything? I am ashamed about how miserable I felt because the electricity went off, the food I ordered was wrong, the cold showers, the hard beds, the long hours spent travelling.
Trying to cope with the millions of emotions that India put on the plate can put a bit of a psychological strain on a spoiled European brat. All this with a nasty cold that won’t go away still, after two weeks – to my defence.

My heart knows. It clearly told me to stop and feel, each step of the way. Photograph less, open my eyes more, listen and smell. Stop being afraid and take it all in. Be aware and present. Just like a radio with full signal on my favourite station, the call of the wild sings out loud!
And so, the journey continues.

Read More

India

india

The magic, the illusion, the light feeling, the innocence of my tourist nature, the giggling, the miss “I know it all” are basically gone. Without asking for permission, India managed in two days to carve a couple of deep holes into my body and patched them up with all sorts of materials and smells and colours. Some, are not that nice. I have never been aware as I am here, of the heaviness of my feet and the little grace I have in drawing invisible boundaries with a smaller version of myself in the middle of my misshaped circle. Useless effort. The extra space has to come from within, outside there is none. India will clearly show you the validity of this sentence.
This is why I travel. To be able to expand and break all need of walls and fences and habit to judge or alter the truth in order to understand or accept it.

Freed from delivering the premises above, I’d like to walk on the streets wearing a transparent sarong made of fresh air, with plenty of room for moving. Because, you see, when people smile here, I feel like dancing with them, in between all cows, dogs, garbage and fruit stands, rickshaws, poverty, terrible traffic and crazy loud horns. Since we are, after all, on Hindu sacred grounds and I can come up with my own God, I vision it like a giant machine swallowing and regurgitating everybody in a vortex of fresh air, clean clothes, plenty of food, Indian music, confetti and flowers, henna tattoos, bright saris and white men shirts and ironed pants.

Talking about religion, 2 days ago, I saw the biggest Hindu temple ever built and while I might have been impressed with its majestic features, I couldn’t help but thinking how many schools and hospitals and care centres could have been built with the same amount of money.
I don’t know how it feels like to live in a nation where everything is so scarce. Where air and space are luxuries. I won’t indulge in saying more about my personal feelings with regards to the aspects of the Hindu religion, which conditions people in all sorts of ways (positive and negative), but I will say that as a leader of any sorts, my heart would break constantly.

I am not sure about the people, yet but contrary to my expectations, they seem incredibly sweet. I guess this is why I want to dance with them, hold the babies, hug these beautiful women or touch their skillfully tattooed hands and jewelled arms. Indian eyes are pure magic and when they smile at you, that magic will feel like love. No exaggeration.
I have not felt unsafe nor harassed in any way on the streets of Delhi. My arms got a lot of attention due to the tattoos but that’s about it. I really feel sorry for India’s reputation and while bad things can happen, I am convinced that a good amount of common sense and respect for the culture, makes this country doable for everyone. In terms of safety, at least. For the rest, prepare mentally. This will be your most hardcore trip. I am by now convinced that it should be mandatory for everyone to come here and experience ALL this at least once in their lifetime.

As for me, my biggest challenge will be to understand their spirituality and their ways. I remember being curious and reading about India’s philosophy as early as high school. The only difference is that back then I would imagine India literally out of this world. Now that I am here, I just feel really happy to walk among them and assist to their daily routines, no matter the shock and wonder that I have experienced on some occasions. Literally, each street corner tells a story that will probably make you think about every aspect of your life and be thankful for it.
I am curious about their thoughts and how they feel about themselves, their loved ones, their country and hope to get a better insight but once again, no matter how contrasting our lives are, we crave for the same things – peace of mind, warmth and affection. I really don’t feel any different from them.

*I wrote this on my flight out of Delhi. Now I am in Varanasi, which literally blew my mind. If my character won’t gain strength here, I don’t know where it will. I feel like crying and laughing and just being peaceful and marvelled all at the same time. Will write more about it.

Read More

Thousands of Layers

friendship

French have this incredibly tasty cake called Thousands of Layers.

“Traditionally, a mille-feuille is made up of three layers of puff pastry (pâte feuilletée), alternating with two layers of pastry cream (crème pâtissière), but sometimes whipped cream or jam are substituted. The top pastry layer is dusted with confectioner’s sugar, and sometimes cocoa, pastry crumbs, or pulverized seeds (e.g. roasted almonds). Alternatively the top is glazed with icing or fondant in alternating white (icing) and brown (chocolate) stripes, and combed.”

Because of all the lives they lived, all the experiences they had and all the sweetness and love that they have shared with me, I see my favourite people like mind blowing Thousands of Layers.

I will admit that their main feature is to be located in different continents, most quite far from each other and have this convenient inconvenient, called their own amazing lives, so they cannot come and see me or I cannot visit them every time my heart desires.

Thus being said, when we do get the chance to spend some time together, they always make me feel incredibly special. They make me feel SUPER ME. I could visit 100 countries, encounter 1000 interesting people, have the wildest experiences and live an extraordinary life (I am actually working on this very hard :p), but honestly without my roots, I’d feel completely lost.
I am beyond words spoiled to have my brother and sister in law taking care of my Madi, Johan doing a great job with Freja, my mom (temporarily :p) dropping the grandkids idea and constantly advertising my adventures to everyone, have my anti Facebook best friend checking at every landing if my feet are still “grounded” and honestly admitting to be jealous at times and all my close long and not so long term friends who always have time and consideration to ask me if I am good and safe.

After my first official face to face with my old lifestyle, where in the beginning I was emotional and at times very confused and not sure if everyone understood me and my idea of happiness, not to mention their generosity in accepting the bluntness of barging and settling in and out of their homes, my 3 weeks in Sweden meant 3 weeks of warmth, despite the crappy weather, quality time, cooking, sharing meals, taking walks, spending hours talking and laughing at memories and all the invisible threads that keep us together no matter what.

Is there anything impossible in this world, really, when surrounded by Thousands of Layers? If you have at least one Mille-Feuille in your cupboard full of dreams, please make sure they know how much they mean to you and the special place they hold in your journey.

Read More

Back to Sweden and off again

file-2016-10-05-13-43-09

I left 5 months ago. Travelled since. I have had a good share of wonder, introspection and happiness above all.

It was quite an intense experience to come back and spend 3 weeks doing the exact same things I was doing while I used to live here. I made a leap into my past and watched from distance how the new me coped with the old one.

Sweden is a beautiful country but cold. I really don’t know if I will ever consider living back here. I am most sure now that I am not compatible with the human spirit here and my way was never compatible with theirs. I function much better when feeling warm (inside and outside). We are different. Not better or wiser, just different.

Swedish people are practical, they hate drama and conflict and keep things for themselves. They are balanced, hard working, quite good looking and live in beautiful cosy houses from fairyland. Sounds like a cliche’ but I have learned it is the truth. Not a bad place to be, really. 🙂

I am way too familiar with “the grass is not greener on the other side”, “you’re chasing the end of the rainbow” etc. Truth is, I want to see all the grass, greener or not. Chasing the rainbow is quite fun, as well. But I have a deep respect for the ones choosing to invest in their community, backgrounds, families and friends. It is not easy. We are each driven towards something and we all have our own set of ideals. There is no right or wrong. I would just love to see more people smiling and in peace with their lives, that’s all.

I however, am all over the place so I need to literally be all over the places in order to function properly. I am hooked on breathtaking and soul shattering experiences. I love meeting people with different cultural backgrounds, strong and passionate personalities and peculiar ways of seeing things. I love communication, I love real presence and awareness, I love giving and expecting nothing but be ecstatic when receiving so much in return. I love not taking someone’s love for granted or their time or their friendship. I love the lack of routine and boredom and identical days repeating and crushing the spirit.

I love being stripped from labels, circumstances, predefined ideas, form and social pressure. I love feeling good about my work and accomplishments, taking care of myself, respecting the others and have the shyness and genuineness of someone living in constant change. I love feeling so grateful all the time and the amount of love that I can carry, with all that free space left from frustration, worries and guilt.

I love moulding time in my hands like kids’ plasticine, stretch it at my will, when beauty hits my way and let it pass when in need of rest.

I love moving, feeling alive and dance my way into the whole world with wide open eyes and curious spirit.

As for my share of personal growth, I am slowly trying to learn how to let go of such a deeply rooted need to have control over everything including hypothetical scenarios. Of accepting that things might not go my way all the time, that stability might seem comfortable but it takes so much energy and sacrifice to maintain. It takes away the spontaneity and playfulness that we have in our hearts and transforms us into the slaves of our own mechanisms.

I work on getting rid of trivialities, control stress and anxiety and replace it with acceptance and common sense. We are highly adaptable beings and we can fix stuff all the time. We can always make the best out of the worst and when we cannot act, appeal to patience and a friendly advice from our loved ones.

I am going to end this post on a practical note and say that I prefer my bank account wearing a fishing vest with many full pockets, rather than a pair of underwear with holes in it. And will keep striving for that. But all the material things I own right now (except 2 full backpacks) are just a big pain in the administrational arse. I wonder how many of you feel the same?

 

Read More

I’m telling you, the world is beautiful. Ask anybody!

friendship

If I were to describe the difference between small talk and real conversation, I’d have two scenarios: we all walk around in invisible grey soundproof suits, on predefined and smooth parallel paths that never intersect but create a logical safe pattern v e r s u s hugging in the middle of the crowds, shrinking a tiny piece of space into a timeless photo memory of two vital energies, combined in utter serenity.

Bollocks!
Really?

I am truly convinced that our true unfiltered nature is undisputedly amazing. We are givers if not manipulated by society into thinking that taking is the key to success. What if we find out that by being ourselves, we magically manage to connect on a deeper, satisfying level in the most natural and spontaneous way possible?
Is this a naive view? Stop thinking about the terrible exceptions out there and start thinking about your closest friends, think about your family, some people that you have met. Think about their weaknesses and strengths, their childish embarrassment, the playful nature that comes out when they feel comfortable or safe enough. Think about how beautiful they are when stripped naked of any label, social norms or roles imposed to them. How beautiful their souls are when they laugh spontaneously, talk about their dreams or cry defeated, even. Think about how they feel and react when you tell them you love them, you celebrate their accomplishments together, give them a sincere hug or hold their hand when they are sad, tired or sick.
Now can you honestly tell me that it is still possible to lose your faith in humanity or think that we are all evil?
What an enormous change we can make by choosing to spread love and care, instead of hate, indifference and harm. It is so easy to smile, so easy to help someone, so easy to make eye contact, so easy to really get closer with an honest, heartfelt “How are you?”.

Let’s go beyond age, gender, social categories, beauty standards and other excuses. Instead, let’s see the world as a large community of people with the same exact fundamental need: to be seen and appreciated for who they really are. The only way to find out is by asking and offering a cup of your time. Two human beings, same beating hearts, same sparkle in the eyes, same need of affection.
Take your time, fix the cracks, make peace with your heart, forgive yourself and the others, offer your body and mind enough rest and good quality time in your own company.
Interact when it feels natural, when you have enough energy and willingness. Do it when you feel calm and grounded. Do it when you can give something for real. Don’t ever be afraid to reach out and ask for a helping hand.

Let me know how it goes. 😉

Read More

Après

lock

Men are no longer men and women are demons

A lost battle of genders
Society, the winner

We stab our own hearts
With old rusted knives

We drink from full cups of blood
And wash or thoughts in wine

We crawl on our knees
And beg for warm sheets

We rest our heads
On cold aubergine hands

And right down in tears
We drown those few dreams

Love, I wish you’d said “please”.

Read More

Real communication

realcommunication

On the same wave with the concept of my new project, own mindset, optimal circumstances and subliminal random quotes on my Facebook wall, I would like to share what I have come to terms with, in the last six months (more or less).

 You can spend years and years in the same community thinking that you are happy. Not believing it but trying to convince yourself that your needs are weird and if everyone seems to get along just fine, then it’s your fault if you feel misunderstood. William Gibson has a good saying with regards to this.

 Same goes with love under every form. If you kind of feel like you are not getting any, but as per agreement, you live in a situation where you are being verbally assured that you have plenty, you will eventually start believing it and treat your common sense like the odd crazy little dwarf messing with your head into believing something else.

 Which reminds me about paranoia. Not the clinical one but the most relevant treat of one’s wrong lifestyle. While I agree that there might be serious issues with the chemical substances in your brain, causing it to see and interpret the reality with a splash of heavy black paint, in most of the cases, the environment you are living will be responsible for your heavy indigestion, known by its colloquial term – anxiety.

 You get really used to it, although it feels everything but natural. You wake up cuddled by anxiety attacks, followed by a love – hate staring contest with your coffee machine and then, resigned, you fall into daily routine like the great disciplined tin soldier, that you are. Of course your life is good, if you have time to reflect upon abstract nonsense aka your soul.

 Now, as it might not sound like rocket science, have you ever asked yourself with how many people you can actually communicate and what are the benefits involved?

 Here is what I don’t mean:

  •  Social special skills that create a comfortable ambient
  • Wearing a gorgeous mask that everybody adores
  • Auto pilot
  • Self sacrifice
  • Silence treatment
  • Isolation
  • Stressing the pets or the walls, instead

 Here is what I do mean:

  •  Eye to eye
  • Real affection
  • Willingness to listen
  • Genuine interest
  • Pure honesty
  • Physical contact
  • No expectations
  • Deep feeling of peace as a result
  • Distress side effects
  • Random happiness oasis in your heart
  • Urgent need to spread the love
  • B E L O N G I N G

 I really DO want to take responsibility for my words, so I urge everybody to start a real and worthwhile interaction test with whomever you feel that has a deep impact on your current life but also add a touch of adventure by trying it out with complete strangers. Take a mental skinny dip and if you hit concrete or quicksand on most of your attempts, take a look at the mirror and see how awesome you are (proof – you have read this as if you cared) and start packing before you can still breathe and can carry a suitcase full of good intentions and hope.

 Please take the above with a grain of Himalayan salt. 😉

 Ps: No, I haven’t figured it all out, but will keep you posted!

Read More

On expectations and the complexity of human bonds

sunrise

Probably my biggest challenge in the process of maintaining a stable happy core is to not take things personally.
Human beings can lift you to elation or accommodate you in deep sadness, hardly ever on purpose. Most of us have been on both sides, taking turns. It’s life.
We are capable of great things if we live in a positive and safe environment, but we can still survive in the poorest and most negative ones as long as we maintain a stable core.
Have you read “Man’s search for meaning”? It is a chronicle about survival and hope. We all know deep down what our purpose in life is, even if we get trapped into a completely unrelated lifestyle or distance ourselves from our true nature, either as a form of sacrifice or just a wrong turn. The answer is always there. We know what we can do to be happy, and as a consequence, be a positive influence for our family, friends and the community that we are part of. As longs as we keep this in mind, our soul will remain unharmed by any hardship.

It is very difficult to interpret what’s behind the sadness that we feel when someone hurts us. Is it the ego, craving to have utter control over every person that we cross path with or the crave to receive back as much as we give or simply being over sensitive to the lack of truth or empathy?
No matter what feeds the negativity or bad feelings around it, the cycle has to be broken. Behind every act of cowardliness, violence and anger lies a deep feeling of insecurity and a great amount of pain. We are indeed capable to do a lot of harm but yet most of us choose to do and live by the exact opposite. We chose love over hate, generosity over meanness and altruism over selfishness. Traveling alone made me realise that most of the people around me are good people and the world is not scary, despite the exceptions that confirm the rule. I cannot count the amount of times that complete strangers chose, without thinking twice, to share with me their most precious possessions: time, care and unconditioned love.
What I need to do is focus on the good, be kind and patient to myself and understand that whatever comes my way it is not personal. It is just a reflection of a given state of mind at that specific point in time. Each and everyone of us is going through some sort of transition or change and in the process of becoming, we might hurt the ones around us or get hurt in the same manner. Acknowledging this and most of all – remembering it, will allow me to work on my personal growth, forgive and move on.

This is my view for the next two weeks. I wake up, watch the sunrise each day and climb the roof to see the sunset on the other side, where the jungle starts. Once again, my heart remembers how to expand, be grateful and send as much love as I can, back to where it belongs.

Read More

An exotic queen without her beautiful crown

Cuba

Cuba

How does it feel?
It feels familiar and not. It reminds me about the old majestic buildings in Europe that have been abandoned or unattended since the times when they shined glorious. I can almost imagine how people looked like, how they acted and how they were dressed back in the days. Gangsters as well as high society. It must have been really beautiful. Inspired by the countless Hemingway novels that you can find at every street corner, I can almost see papa smoking his cigar and taking passionately over rum with his quite unique friends. I surely understand why he liked it as much as he liked Spain.
Old Havana is still quite beautiful right now. One of her most interesting features is the contrast between the old fascinating look and the vitality and bright colours of the Cubans, populating its streets, nowadays. Somehow it works. Cuban salsa music pouring down the alleys, bright sun and welcoming shades, beautiful old American cars cruising around, art shops at every corner, uninviting communist style cafeterias where all cakes taste the same and where the coffee is either too strong or too weak.
Sometimes I feel like I am the first tourist to wonder around. There is a perpetual dust settled in the walls, paintings, chairs, tables and plates on the table. The mugs are chipped and most look like something my grand mother would serve coffee and whipped cream in. I close my eyes for a minute and imagine how it would feel like if she were around. I open them again and see beautifully curved black women chatting and hurrying around and feel enchanted of how this place appeals to my senses. Street level windows show you glimpses of day to day life. You imagine waking up in one of those apartments, watch TV with your family, see countless people walking down the street and hear all its rumours and talks. You also imagine living in one of those beautiful decadent Art Decos, on top floor and wonder if the whole edifice isn’t going to collapse while you fry chicken and rice or hang the clothes to dry outside.

There is no corruption in Havana’s looks. It has not been transformed to suit the travellers and their needs. You find yourself working at the Hotel President with a scratch card and limited internet. You have booked the biggest apartment you have ever seen in your life and cannot help wondering who lived in an 8 room home. Things do not make a lot of sense. You walk around endlessly to get the most basic needs such as water or food. If you do end up in a restaurant, your food is going to be plain. If you do wear your smile, people are going to thank you for visiting their country, they are going to offer you rum and cigars and tell you Havana’s most peculiar secrets.
There is a certain liberating pride in their words, together with a deep appreciation of their culture, history and ethnical diversity.
It will be very hard to find again a country where everything feels so real, so unspoiled and so unpretentious and where the new accepts and respects the old in harmonious co-living. I would love to come back to Havana in 20 years time and see all those grand buildings, restored to their glorious elegance. Meanwhile, I will fill my heart with the unique sensations and emotions, that only a place aware of its past, growth and transition can trigger.

Read More

I am grateful for everything

flight

I am (was) on a flight from Costa Rica to Mexico. I am tired as I usually am when I have to deal with practical stuff. I cannot be myself if I have to think where I am going, be careful with my bag, talk administration. This is highly incompatible with my nature.
The world that I perceive has millions of details that I need to take notice of. I never have real mechanic time. I could spend countless hours reading, learning, observing, kissing, making love. I suffer from terrible anxiety when hurried up by the clock. This is the only mask I have. The good working human. I am grateful for it. I am grateful for everything.

I always focus on the beautiful, because I know I won’t miss the ugliness. It punches me in the stomach so hard, that I lose my breath for a moment. I am quite used to being over sensitive to the world. I have no choice as I cannot moderate it without becoming idle. Every time I say “idle”, I think about a coffee bag, the vacuum sealed one, no air, stiff and isolated. I cannot live like that. I need to release my essence and draw kindred spirits to me. Love heals. Mine is more than enough, when needed.

Stomach just bounced in the air loop. I would add some vanilla to the sky knocking outside my window and stir it until the aroma fills us all. The girls sitting next to me is a bit scared and a bit shy. Quite sweet, holding her man’s hands, shrinking her whole body into a little mouse that he can protect. I am pushing my invisible vanilla air towards her and imagine that her green sweater is a fresh spring field. I feel grounded again with my feet in the green grass and point my nose up, until I see the metal bird and fly back to myself.

I remember a clown sitting on an aircraft wing, in a horror movie that I saw some years ago. You know when you meet someone and you feel like they are burning underneath their skin? That clown had crazy eyes. Passion for something makes you look a bit crazy, just like that clown. Especially if it drains you.
Or maybe you’re lucky enough to have never looked this beautiful. Maybe you mark the space you penetrate like the sizzling electricity before the storm. Maybe your passion connects you with all that explodes and mutates. Mine does. And I do look like a clown on plane, if placed in the wrong environment.

I will soon be landing into safe arms. This is because of all the wonderful people I met in Mexico. Happiness is very high on their list of priorities. They carry their smile everywhere and are always ready for a heartfelt hug. I am really hoping to spread this warmth everywhere I go. I have seen people bloom on ordinary days and out of the blue, transforming me and themselves into pure magic. Actually, just by letting me tag along. A wild spirit will either run alone or in a fair race. I don’t really know what meaning can the rest of what remains, have.

I am yet not able to find the words to fully express how my life confirmed itself, but I will try my best. Although I travel alone, I don’t feel like this is my journey. I cannot help but carry everyone in my heart. I have enough room, finally.

Read More

Leaf Eaters Cafe

leafeaterscafe

Things that I have done here today:

-Worked on defining the concept of my new baby project after almost three weeks of lazy idleness.#yay

-Read Anais Nin and thought about how beautiful she writes and then about Henry Miller and felt happy, instantly. Happy to the point of becoming emotional. They reminded me about how blessed I am to be able to see and feel the world, the way I do. #nut

-Thought about how I ended up staying double the time in Panama, about my Argentinian friends who made my experience authentic to say the least, by letting me be part of their daily life and by being super nice and caring, always! #grateful

– Waited for the rain to pass, feeling thankful for the sunny morning and for this beautiful roof over my head. It is my last day and I am ready to go. While Puerto Viejo accelerated my breath with its undomesticated charm each day, Bocas didn’t ask any questions. Like a good mom, it made me feel like home and shared all it have with me: turquoise calm waters, beautiful islands, sunny and cozy rainy days, good food, good bed, happy & relaxed environment. #love

Read More

Assent

Assent

Inner peace, calm display, wavy mood
Warm light, breezy air, the smell of you
Fresh clothes, silky skin, sandy feet
Overfamiliar smiles, undulating hair
Fireworks and one quest against time

I bribe the rest of the evening with my eyes.

The ego displays contentment and dances around like a fool with no legs
We kiss and stop staring for a while
We come back to ourselves
And see the fool mirrored in our eyes.

The taste of the unknown, curiosity of the untold.

What might have felt like a second
Lasted in truth an ounce of eternity
It was born before we could breath
And led us by hand to a first and last night
The sheets left some marks, I can’t remember else.

Back and forth, rain drops, we shifted the tides.

 

Read More

DIY

Me

The first time I traveled and stayed alone in a place was 2 years ago. It was Poland – Gdansk for 1 week. I was electrified in a good and bad way. I had no clue what to do with myself. I walked funny. I watched romantic couples on the street and wondered why. I wanted to write a Russian novel. I was embarrassed to go to the restaurant alone and when I did, I asked for a table for one.

I still need to be careful with that. There are no tables for one. You can go ahead and abuse one of the tables for two. Nobody will judge you. Order the typical couple meal – a main and a salad, so you earn your right for it. Be cool about it. Don’t check your phone constantly, just take it out and stare at it the whole time. You might also notice that if you don’t travel in pair, you become invisible to most of the couples and very shinny to the other lonely and sad people out there.

Solidarity rules. Reason why, I would like to give you some tips and tricks after the huge amount of knowledge collected during the last few months:

•Look lost, like you just landed on the Moon. Stare at high buildings looking for street signs, take out the classical tourist map, unfold it all the way. Make it a fun quest by reading it upside down.

•Pick a random stranger and hand him/her your phone or expensive camera for a natural pose photo. Drop your bag somewhere or pass it to the good samaritan as you don’t want it in your photo. Take your time. Try different outfits and if you don’t like the photo give him or her a bad look.

•Take as much duck selfies as you possibly can. Everybody wants to see your gracious fluffy lips on their Facebook walls. Every day. Every hour if you can and have data.

•Start a conversation by saying how much the weather sucks or how the country you’re in, sucks. Nobody is going to think you are a drag.

•Talk about yourself to anyone willing to listen. Don’t ask any questions, just build your monologue till touchdown. If you can, brag about how much money you earn and where you’re staying. Include room number and entrance code.

•Don’t say Hi to anyone on the street. Keep a mean face and walk like you own the joint. Nobody is going to mess with you.

•Eat only fast-food and complain about the cuisine quality. Write an honest heart and gut felt review on TripAdvisor.

•Always wear makeup. Even if it’s 50 degrees outside and you’re sweating a little bit.

•Dress to impress. Look expensive, wear your best jewellery, add an extra splash of your most refined perfume, but stay in a hostel, cook your own meals and only go out after dark. As late as possible.

•Don’t ever try to learn a few words in the local language. You will never be able to express yourself clearly and it will not be appreciated. Don’t create confusion.

•Last but not least, if someone smiles at you, turn the other way asap. It’s dangerous to smile back, let alone start conversation. Especially if opposite sex, cute, with the sexiest latino accent and tanned. Tanned is the worst.

Btw, this is one of the 10 top meals I had in my life. It’s Caribbean chicken cooked by an Argentinian lady, in a Pin up bar, on a tiny island in Panama. Did I mention you should be very careful with cultural diversity when traveling? It’s highly contagious and makes you stupid! Remember what your momma taught you!

Love to all!

Read More

Living to the fullest

CostaRica

A note or two about my typical day, nowadays.

Most of you know that my biggest dream was to become location independent and be able to run my business online while traveling. Now that it became true, I must say that it is as good as I imagined. Actually, much much better! And I can die happy. That’s morbid but honestly, I can. Whenever I feel like complaining, worrying too much, or not being able to do everything all the time, I like to remind myself that I made it. And by this I don’t mean money, security, family or things that don’t depend on me, directly. When I say I made it, I am saying that I made it to the point where I managed to live the life that makes me happy.

My mom says happiness is a big word and she is right. I feel happy every day, despite life surprising me with daily challenges, with stress related to work, stress related to being alone in a foreign country, missing my loved ones, moving often, testing my trust skills on a daily basis, counting entirely on myself and the twists and turns of luck.
I thank the odds for being healthy and safe at the end of each unique day, that I get to experience and enjoy. I thank my body for taking up with my crazy ideas and my mind for being the eye of the storm, always and no matter what.

Coming from years and years of “yeah, life is good but something is missing”, I feel like I need to let everyone know that the “something missing” can be accomplished. A life that feels fit to your true self is possible. Really. It will never be perfect, but who needs perfect, when you can have constant joy? I don’t mean high as a kite or delusional. I mean a stable and peaceful core. I mean love. Towards oneself and consequently towards the whole world, no matter how beautifully flawed.

Back to the topic, today I woke up at 6 and had issues with work for some hours, trying to keep it together and praying that the internet in this tiny island in Panama, won’t bail on me right in the middle of figuring things out with my team back in Europe.
Later on, went in town for a delicious Caribbean chicken lunch and by the time I finished, the owner of the pub downstairs took me to “The Rastaman” bike rentals and told me to take the bike and just follow the road until I feel like it. Sounded like a good idea. He forgot to mention the up and down the hills, the fact that it was a dirt road and that it was full of mud due to the heavy rain this morning.

But guess what? It was worth it all the way. Beautiful landscape, crazy waves and surfers, monkeys in the trees, 145 Holas, all topped by the Playa Bluff below. As the name suggests, you bike your heart out for this majestic beach to realize that you cannot swim without drowning before the water reaches your knees. So, I admired the view, sipped some water and biked back sweaty, muddy and happy.
Mission accomplished!

Read More

Wild beauty

13882630_10206818012585029_147537537547972134_n

A word about my Costa Rica experience.

I have been here for one week and it feels like at least double the time. This place is intense. Nature is overwhelming, people are rough, everything feels hyper real.

I see untamed beauty all around me. I am intimidated by the sea, by the wild jungle and its creatures, by the way some people look at me, by the heavy rain and loud crashing of the waves at night.

I keep a safe distance, metaphorically and literally. It is not safe to walk alone at night, not safe to leave your bag on the beach and go swimming, not safe to have your head in the clouds or act stupid.

At the same time, sloths and monkeys are adorable, the flowers and butterflies super colourful, mulatto kids splashing in the water are the sweetest, the fresh banana cake from the bakery – exquisite, the old man selling coconuts – disarming, the fish and salad and everything tastes delicious, the reggae music – peaceful, the smell of marijuana in the air – relaxing.

I cannot help but feeling grateful for being Costa Rica’s guest. For having had the opportunity to see this wonderful land and live one of the most unique experiences of my life.

I am, however, humble enough to know that I will never fit in. I might pretend for a while, like some of the expats here do, but I will never have the raw grace and posture of the locals. It is like the nature shaped them with the same features – strong presence, wild and fierce beauty.

This is my personal opinion of Puerto Viejo and surroundings (I heard the Pacific side is a lot more “Americanised”) and what I would presume quite different from the general opinion or maybe not…?

I DO recommend everyone to come here for a while. You will instantly reconnect with nature, diminish your ego, find a healthy level of modesty and see some of the most beautiful landscapes and fauna in the world. ALL worth it.

Read More

Ambrosia

storm

Pulse, high tempo and air that’s never cold
I carry the whole beauty of the world
In a jar of amber and gold.

I am nothing but heritage of blood and bones
But I give thanks to you, my fearless soul
For loving the light and shadow of the earth.

I owe nothing and pretty much all
To all goodbyes and farewells of every wall
Of every city I left my fingerprints on.

The far away drums are playing our last song
Entangled in star dust and dreams never told
“To you my darling, I did promise to be whole.”

Enough to carry all your deepest hopes
To the end and beginning of the world
In a jar of amber and gold.

Read More

Like Water for Chocolate

Mexico

I just finished Like Water for Chocolate (Laura Esquivel) and realised something. Something I couldn’t put my finger on before but felt it all along.

Not experiencing love in Mexico is a sacrilege. Because passion is everywhere here. The food is made with passion, the heat, the sun, the sea, the smells even the bad ones are extremely raw, untamed, blunt. They don’t ask permission to be beautiful or plain disconcerting.

Couples kiss and fade at every corner. Young hearts pour through revealing eyes, the breeze embraces colourful dresses and freshly shaved beards into perfect motion. Spanish songs travel with feelings through each open window together with children laughing and screaming, dogs barking. Deviant roosters patrol courtyards and early morning casuals.

Constant noise, constant emotion, constant warmth from the earth, the sky, the two hands holding yours. Everything is a swirl of gasping for air and holding your breath again.

Things crack, people leave, food rottens, the house is silent at night, the body twists and turns in wet sheets, smell of wood and lemonade, cocoa beans. You, her, strangers running down the streets, dream catchers singing on the 5th… It’s all ravishing broken poetry.

Like water for chocolate so Mexico for the heart.

Read More

Serene beauty

When storm is in the air, Kitty paints and I play with my pen 🙂

kittypainting

If the hunger of the soul would be proportional
To the hunger of the body
You’d have the whole sky fall
And rise again to were it belongs.

In the unending movement of the waves
And under the moon’s consent

I’d disguise myself as painted veil
Of stars and wind and spell
I’d fly and dance and fall into your arms
Right back to gracious human form.

Read More

Curly birthday, I’ve got a present for you. :)

12191441_10205165372830068_8482197809392995403_n

This year is special for so many reasons.

Since my last birthday, my life was a bit of a Montagne Rousse. Tried different rides, some of them I liked better, some at all. Some I found locked and some with no seats available. Some were booked specially for me and some had some technical issues. Some also really hurt.

But I came out spiritually alive, decisive in my thoughts, with clearer ideas and although I might not feel as strong as wish I did at the moment, I am finally aware that I have all the strength I need to materialize my dreams and let the new adventure I am embarking in, shape me into a better person.

A huge thank you to all my close ones for the incredible amount of support given and for the love I have received even at my most difficult times. A dinosaurian thank you to all the new people I met during these last few months, who reminded me that no matter where you go or what you do, you are never alone and that the beautiful hearts have some sort of invisible way of connecting without pushing nor demanding.

World, here I come!

Read More