Volcan Cotopaxi, Ecuador
When you spend any meaningful length of time away from everything you have ever known, you can not help but learn something. The past two years have been the wildest, emotionally volatile, serendipitous adventure, of my life.
Now, back home, it kind of feels as if my piece of the puzzle does not fit any more. My perspective, how I think about the world, how I decide what is important, It is not, how it was. I find myself living in complete contrast to the life I was living this time last year. Dealing with the anxiety and discomfort I have come to expect from moments like these, is as exciting as it is isolating. Continue reading
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They didn’t fall in love. A fall is sudden, unexpected, violent. It is as if they climbed down into it. Making sure that each step down, was just as easy to take back up.
The thing about falling is each second of flight magnifies the pain of impact. Continue reading
Clara Lieu Fine Art
It Is the darkness I crave,
Against the Dawn I fight.
Even in the sunshine,
I wait for the twilight.
I spent so much of my life as a kid looking out over the Pacific Ocean dreaming of adventures in unknown lands. Of wild jungles and towering mountains, of different languages and exotic foods, of bustling cities and unchartered lands. The possibilities were enchanting.
When I finally got my chance to cross the sea back in 2013 I found everything I could have possibly imagined and more. Much more, I felt as if for the first time I discovered the world. Since then I have been obsessed with adventure and discovery, traveling through the Americas for the entirety of 2014. Stopping wherever I could to look back over the Pacific with melancholy and happiness at the island home I came from.
I’m on the floor with a beautiful Brazilian girl. Both of us covered in sweat, the air seems to stick to us, as it blankets our bodies. I look down at her in a daze, I try to take in all of her, my world is spinning. My hands move up and down her legs, she smiles at me, it feels as if my heart is about to stop and I can’t breathe. Literally I can’t breathe! This girl is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and her legs are wrapped tightly around my throat, as I desperately try to remain conscious my arms scrambling frantically to free myself.
I’m back, my laptop returned, life as I know it restored. But in all seriousness existing without my laptop really was not that dramatic. In fact I enjoyed it a lot, apart from the sinking feeling at the possibility of having lost all my posts and pictures. I didn’t let any of it stop me from enjoying life in Mexico.
After nine months of travel I was back, back to where it all began, back in Mexico! But to be honest I really wasn’t that happy.
I was homesick and burnt out from the road, starting to get weary and questioning this life of movement. I could be back in my comfortable queens size bed, with clean clothes. Warm, regular showers, a predictable schedule. I would have the time to hang out with friends, or just lay around all day watching documentaries and playing video games. Maybe I could even do some exercise that wasn’t walking around lost in a foreign country.
I’m walking down Bourbon Street in the middle of the annual Decadence Parade my vision is blurry, probably due to the unnecessarily alcoholic and large daiquiri I’m holding; coupled with the sweltering humidity. I have one friend from Australia on my left and another from Colombia on my right, both feeling the same way. My bus leaves soon but it’s hard for me to care, I’m having such a great time completely enchanted by the madness of New Orleans.
I have only a few hours left in the country that has given me so much these past months. I’m smiling, near tears, I freaking love New Orleans…
California reminded me once again of one of the greatest gifts of travel. Meeting people.
For me, the time spent in California was all about meeting up with old friends and making a few new ones along the way, California was an adventure.
It is nightfall now, the group has just descended from the mountain where we sat, talked, joked and meditated. We sit in silence, huddled in a circle surrounding the fire, anxiously awaiting the instructions of Maestro Adonias our Shaman.
Without warning the Shaman speaks, he tells us to not be afraid, to trust in the medicine, trust in him and you will be fine, that we may confront our fears, our deepest problems, even death but we are safe. We are all starving, weary, but ready. We introduce ourselves formally to the group along with our intentions for the night. We eagerly follow the Shaman over to a table supporting a bottle of a thick dark brown liquid.
No sex. No masturbation. No Alcohol. No drugs of any kind (even coffee). No salt. No sugar. No chili. No dairy. No pork. No red meat.
For the past week this has been my life, more or less, in preparation for the Ayahuasca ceremony tomorrow night.
This week has been tough to say the least it was my final week of exams whilst on exchange. Many of the friends I have made over my last 6 months in Colombia are heading home. My family is pressuring me to come up with a return date for next year, to attend a wedding. And to top it off I have all but ended a relationship with a girl I have been in love with for over two years.
The truth is, it is hard to be honest, it is hard to trust in who you are, it is hard to guess how others will feel about you and it is hard to overcome the fear that the truth will not be enough.
You are having a conversation with a friend, a stranger, a girl you like, and they ask you a question, your opinion on something. Suddenly you freeze. What should I say? What if they think I am weird? How could they understand what I actually feel?
I am always looking for inspiration and advice on how to be my best, how to squeeze every bit of experience out of a situation and most importantly how to be happy. This youtube channel has some great content, compilations of talks from some really intelligent thinkers like Tony Robbins, and Leslie Brown. This video is my favourite, it reinforces this idea that pain, failure and defeat are both temporary and necessary. On your journey to be the person you want to be you can not sit still, you need to move towards what you want. Happiness is working towards something that means something to You!
Steel Workers Have lunch on top of a New York Skyscraper
What would you do to experience something truly Beautiful?
To touch, see, hear, smell and breathe in a moment, a single moment so intense and full of Awe and Wonder that you could cry. An experience that challenges what you thought it meant to be alive and your understanding of real.
Would you leave your home, your family, your friends, that one girl whose very name fills you with Joy and rescues you from sorrow? For just a chance at something greater than yourself.
Would you be prepared to die?
If life is but a dream
What happens when you wake up?
if all is in perspective
When for a moment everything stops
This is a video from the shots of awe series by performance philosopher Jason Silva, a man with a sincerely optimistic view of humanity. The theme of this episode is Awe and the importance of what it means to be inspired. To me the responsibility to awe underlines what it means to be human and that is to move, explore, experience and grow
Back in Bogota once again and not long left now, roughly six weeks, until I head to New York City for a completely different Adventure. I am absolutely exhausted from my trip to the Caribbean but i’ve got another story to tell and I am happy. Once again I am amazed at this planets’ ability to continue to teach me about it, its people, and myself.
In my last update I mentioned my excitement about my trip to Providencia Island, it did not disappoint and it may of clawed its way into my top 5 favourite places I have visited. The island has a rich history of English colonisation, piracy and in more recent history the emergence of a Rastafarian culture.
What an incredible human being Richard Feynman was not only did he contribute so much to Science and our understanding of this World, this Universe but he also taught others how to learn not What. This whole series is great if you have the time to see them all but this has to be my favourite. The title Beauty is fitting i believe that Feynmans view of the world was nothing short of Beautiful. He reminds us to Question everything and appreciate the craziness of the human experience in a universe of mystery.
I don’t believe in religion I really don’t, not any that anyone has made up anyway, and it’s liberating! I am not a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Hindu or even an Agnostic or an Atheist. I am a human being at the same time as “[i] am the universe experiencing itself”.
It is good to be moving again, to be traveling and experiencing another part of this beautiful Earth. My adventure has taken me to San Andrés, a small Colombian island in the Caribbean not far from the coast of Nicaragua.
An absolutely beautiful island surrounded by the Caribbean Ocean, San Andrés is a mix of seven different shades of blue like something out of a fairy tale. I have spent my days exploring the smaller islands, snorkelling in the surrounding reefs and taking in the sun on the crystal clear beaches.
It is an interesting thought, history’s most famous silent movie star wrote and performed one of the most profound and still relevant speeches in film and modern history, over 75 years ago. The speech is a promise we are still yet to live up to, a promise hindered by silence. Albeit a silence that seems to be breaking. Around the world for better or worse people are speaking out, united with a voice. As i said it is interesting to think what the silence in the world might say when it is finally given a Voice. Continue reading
Let’s talk about hedonic adaptation. Hedonic adaptation is the phenomenon of a loss of novelty in an experience. Wake up on a beach 100 times and it will become routine. Something is lost. Some of the brilliance, the awe, why we fell in love with that beach to begin with, is somehow not there anymore.
What a tragedy that by loving something, by suffocating it with our need to experience it we numb ourselves to it. We can do this to places, to songs, to people, to relationships, anything! After all everything worthwhile is finite.
wow! if you have a spare 5 minutes get your mind blown by Alan Watts as he explains the magic of existence and how to overcome your fundamental fears. seriously beautiful insight into the existential problem of death.
What i have learnt over this past year is that Happiness is a choice, a decision we can all consciously make. It is true that sometimes it is hard to Choose to be happy, but we are all capable of experiencing our own unique happiness. This has inspired me to try and understand happiness, to listen to other peoples perspectives to collaborate and grow.
So I asked some friends and people that inspire me what is happiness? What creates happiness? And what makes YOU happy? My first guest post is from a close friend of mine who recently started her spirituality and well-being blog, Meg from Adventuring Home. Meg is an amazing human being with a unique and loving perspective on being the best human being you can. She inspires me with her positivity and passion for life. I really loved reading her perspective on happiness and i know you will too.
In an effort to escape Bogota’s cold, rainy weather I decided to yet again return to Medellin for the long weekend. After living in Bogota for the past few months it really felt like a regular holiday. I threw a few changes of clothes, my toothbrush, phone charger and my thoughts journal in a bag, I closed my front door, jumped in a cab and headed off for a regular sunny holiday.
The sun is shining, the temperature is already perfect. I step off the plane and just stand there taking in the fresh air and sun’s rays. I am glad to be back.
How is it that there is beauty in both the ecstasy and the melancholy of human experience? In the passion of love and in the passion of pain. What is beauty but an experience of intensity in highs and lows?
I think it is interesting this idea of impossible. Why should anything be impossible, it seems impossible that impossibility exists. A man on the moon would seem impossible to the ancestor looking up to the sky from his cave at the vast unexplainable impossible night sky. Impossible is the space between uncertainty and understanding. Impossible is temporary.
A shooting star burns through the night sky
Replacing darkness with light
In the moment your paths cross
So Beautiful and wondrous brings tears to the eyes,
Life is good now, I am happy, settled, ready to experience what Bogota has to teach me in the time that I am present. It is a meditative experience adapting and integrating into a new culture, situation and perspective. Life right now is so full of that mystery we all crave, the mystery that gives life awe and wonder, and beauty. It is so refreshing living in the unknown, unsure of my destination but ready to take it on.
This video was recommended to me by a friend who assured me it was a beautiful example of human connection and communication. Tony Robbins is able to take an unresponsive crowd and convince them to listen and be inspired, by the end the entire crowd is on the edge of their seats. It also gives a profound message about decision and connectedness, something that resonated strongly with me after experiencing life the way I have these past months.
“I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way” – Carl Sagan
I absolutely love Carl Sagan he was an incredible man, with an incredible heart who truly believed in peace. This is a video set to a passage from the book by Carl Sagan “Pale Blue Dot”. It is a message about peace about how in the scheme of things all of our problems are trivial and all that is left is for us to love one another and take care “of the only home we have ever known”. I have to admit i might of shed a tear watching this.
To be a human being.
The animals that we are.
To chase and strive and be your best.
journey into the unknown.
Look upon the world we live.
The universe, the ones we love.
Stare into infinity.
Evoking awe and wonder.
Flow and twist and change.
Charging ever onwards.
Like a river, each time you fall.
Your current will grow stronger.
Everything worthwhile takes time.
Every possibility is improbable.
Only dreamer’s dreams come true.
So dream, appreciate life and its moments.
It is 12am and I am sitting in Bogotá international airport. My flight for Ecuador, Quito leaves in five hours. A flight that normally would take an hour and half but will take me fifteen hours via Panama City. A flight that was booked exactly twenty four hours ago, after a decision made twenty five hours ago and after a conversation had twenty five hours and fifteen minutes ago. I have only just moved in to my apartment in Bogotá two days ago, my Spanish lessons start tomorrow, I was settling in nicely making many new friends getting to know my house mates and now I am gone for ten days. So what the hell am I doing? The truth, I have no freaking idea I guess I’ll have ten days to figure it out…
Making new friends and missing the ones not with me, I have been having the time of my life sharing this human experience with others. One friend in particular made me so happy and proud for the people I have met and shared a connection in this world. Today is the launch of my friends new blog “Adventuring Home” (check it out here) a blog she has spent months preparing and a lifetime gathering her positive outlook on spirituality, life and well-being. I cannot wait to join the rest of the world in sharing in her message.
Almost completely settled in Bogotá and with my share apartment sorted out, I finally have a new home for the next five months, a base from which to explore Colombia. Bogotá is a very politically active city and there seems to be revolution in the air, with images of hammers and sickles, Che Guevaras, anarchists symbols, various other political slogans and “la paz de los pueblos” (peace for the people) graffitied on every second wall. Tent cities stand as a permanent protest outside the presidential palace and coffee shops are full of revolutionaries plotting and talking of change.
Since my last post I have been constantly moving, my life has been a flurry of dodgy bus rides, apartment searching, study organising and off-course Jungle trekking. I am finally in Bogota, and though exhausted in body my soul feels refreshed. My latest adventure started one morning in Cartagena when a group of us decided to drop everything and go straight to the Colombian Jungle in search of the illusive Ciudad Perdida (The Lost City).
I have been debating over writing this post down because to do so, I would have to admit to myself that I was not dreaming. That the last few days actually happened and that now I can only revisit them in memory. That familiar bittersweet feeling of experiencing something truly great, that is both inspiring and life changing, ahh the boat…
A lot has happened and a lot has been learnt since my last post. It is a new year for one Feliz años Nuevo! And one that I’ll certainly never forget although my normal attitude of ‘leaving things to the last minute and they will work’ at this busy time of the year failed me. With hopes of going all over the country dashed by booked out hostels and buses I spent the New Year in Mexico City but was still able to see the absolutely stunning pyramids in Teotihuacan.
Now only days before I disembark on an adventure that is certain to be the greatest time of my life so far. I feel as if I have been stuck in a limbo between wanting to squeeze every ounce of experience and fun out of each remaining second I have in this beautiful country; whilst also feeling like I could explode from the emotional cocktail of excitement, fear and sadness I feel towards my next journey. It is as if I am finally experiencing life at the right speed, each day is distinct and never too short or long.
This is something i wrote a little while ago, but i think it’s particularly relevant this week when the Australian high court has decided to overturn an equality of marriage law passed only a few months ago in the Australian capital.
“Accordingly, the ACT Act cannot operate concurrently with the Federal Act.”
Exactly two week remain until my adventure begins when i’ll have my bags packed my white belt folded away and will be ready to take on an adventure of a life time. I have been finalising a lot of things for my trip, trying to take in as much as i can in my last few days of training. Unfortunately I have been plagued by injury with a sprained ankle and a missing toe nail after one of my Muay Thai sessions last week. Sorry if the image below makes you a bit uneasy.
perspective is reality so why not choose happiness
we literally create our existence
we are the masters of our own destiny
happiness is a choice
we do not have to believe what we are told
if you see the world differently
you are labeled insane
but there is no right and wrong
there is no normal there is nothing but your experience
we are here to expereince to take in
this glorious wonderous universe
we are a combination of vibrating frequencies aware of itself
on an organic spaceship rocketing through one small corner of a spec of the universe
at least so far as we understand
you cannot say someones view of life or existence is wrong
but you can say i am happy
i am happy and you can be too
why not choose happiness, why not choose peace, why not choose love
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – William Shakespeare