Moving to a foreign city…
…is sometimes exactly what you need in order to feel homey
The horror… Becoming a grown-up. I always feared to become one… I still do – because I don’t think I’m quite there yet. Honestly, I hope I’ll never truly become one. Like Peter Pan, I never saw the point of it. Sure, there are responsibilities linked to growing up and living on your own etc., responsibilities that I like (most of them anyway). But then the weird thing happens, you start to wonder, which leads to you finding out that you kind of are a grown-up already (…ish).
You know you’re a grow-up when:
When did you know, you were a grown-up (ish)?
We’ve all been there. Whether it was due to starting at a new school or job, moving away or even settling abroad: Culture shock is a thing. It leaves us with lasting impressions and ways to improve and better our lives and the way we live them. Personally, I think it’s crucial to experience culture shocks every once in a while in order to become the person you wish to be.
Of course, there are different levels of culture shocks and depending on these, it’s more difficult to adjust and assimilate to a foreign culture. However, once you learn to do so, you gain so much perspective and understanding – understanding for the foreign culture as well as yourself. For several reasons, I therefore believe you can gain much from these so-called culture shocks and grow as a person. Be careful though, they are addictive:
Sometimes you get lost in circumstances…
…It’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, when you awake, you’re somewhat baffled by yourself.
Relocating abroad this time has proved to be a somewhat difference experience from the beginning compared to previous relocations I’ve made. This is solely due to circumstances… Circumstances such as not being a student anymore but a ’grown-up’ with a full time job and certain responsibilities. This is not to forget all the formalities and paper work that need to be done when relocating. And then there’s the love interest too…
Being away from home for 12 hours a day doesn’t leave time for much during the week. That means the weekend has to make up for the ’lost time’ – the lost time that would have been spent on exploring. However, with a newly love interest that you, of course, want to see and socialize with, it has proved to be rather challenging for me to explore Amsterdam and meet new friends here. Of course, I have my colleagues and dear roomies and friend for almost a decade but that’s just not enough for me. I’m so used to having a big social circle that I’ve been building up for years – I want to I need to build a network here too. I need (as in personal need) to explore the culture…
Today, for the first time since I moved here, I’ve had a moment to catch my breath and actually reflect upon my current situation. It’s not as if I regret what and whom I’ve spent my time – quite the contrary! However, I so badly want to explore my new home city. So as of today, I will plan to do exactly this at least once a week. For my own sake, I need to root here and know my own city.
Luckily, I will also frequently receive visits from friends abroad the following months, which means that I’ll be able to explore Amsterdam (and other cities in the Netherlands) with them as a tourist and traveler. I can’t wait for this! Let the adventure vol. 2 begin!
Today, it has become normal for people to have a tattoo. It’s no longer possible to pin point certain types of people that are likely to have tattoos, as people with tattoos no longer belongs to certain social groups: No all types of people today have tattoos. As a result, new trends within the tattoo industry shows up every day. For the last couple of years, travel tattoos has become a noteworthy trend – one that I, myself, have influenced by.
Everybody who gets a tattoo gets it for a reason. The reasons are as many as there are people with tattoos. However, a tattoo marks a story. This story may be connected to home or travels themselves however, one thing is certain: It mirrors a personal development.
This permanent mark on the body functions as reminder or mark on what a person has been through and what s/he learned as a result – it reveals personality. In this sense, it’s always interesting to hear stories behind tattoos, as people can really surprise you – you learn from them. All experienced made – even if it is made by others – are experiences gained…
Personally, I have four travel tattoos. All of which I treasure. They mark my four abroad relocations and serve as reminders – or marks, really – for an old version of me. Each tattoo reflects a personal growth and development. Be this in relation to following my dreams and passions or letting go, they function as reminders… In this relation, my most treasured tattoo is a swallow on my left lower arm. The symbolism in it is clear… To me, this tattoo marks a change in my life, a choice I made. A choice from which I grew. A choice that made my life a lot easier but also, at times, a lot more difficult.
Do you have any travel tattoos? Or tattoos in general? Why did you get it, if I may ask? And what does it mean to you?
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For the last five years, I have been keeping a travel journey. The reasons for this are many, however, it’s mainly because I wish to remember the details and my observations made when abroad. Furthermore, I want to remember the people and their stories. To me, a travel journey represents the perfect way to capture all the significant memories from travels. When having a travel journey, you can namely always take it out and explore again what you’ve already explored: Remember where you’re perspectives comes from and reflect on it.
Exploring foreign cultures and acquire insight into these and perspective on foreign and own culture can be a somewhat comprehensive and daunting experience – wonderful and exciting, of course, but daunting indeed. So much happens when you travel to explore foreign cultures. Because I personally tend to forget the details in happenings and the funny stories, I decided to keep a travel journey in which all my adventures along with the experiences made have been written down. For me, this is the perfect way to remember all the small, significant details that makes my memories complete. Of course, I don’t write everything down – only the, to me, important stuff. Along with photos, I that way have a detailed overview of my travels. Sometimes, it’s interesting to go back and refresh your memory: Remembering the people foreign norms and customs and the funny stories from travels.
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…Yes, you travel in order to enjoy yourself by exploring foreign cultures …with everything that entails. However, in the process, you learn – it’s an education, really. You learn about the foreign culture itself, you learn about yourself as well as about other (foreign) people and ways of living. Moreover, you learn about your own culture – in general, you simply acquire perspective. As a result I argue that traveling builds character, which is why I believe travelers make good job candidates.
With a constant need for adventure in foreign cultures, travelers are obviously good communicators that do not set themselves limitations – on the contrary. As such, we have a lot to offer a work place – even if we have gaps in our resumes filled by traveling or periods of saving for traveling:
As a traveler, which skills would you highlight as important skills learned during travels?
For so many years, you’ve been stereotyping all guys to mirror the absolute worst of the worst. When approached, you have pushed them away with a twinkle in your eyes and a smile that convinced both you and them that they were undesired – or …what this approach could potentially lead to was undesired. This, you have done in order not to get involved – no strings attached. You have done so in order for you to have no hindrances when following your hopes and dreams. You have done so because it was the only way to make sure not to compromise with yourself and your ambitions. In your head, this made perfectly sense – no strings attached. In your head, you have convinced yourself that this was what you wanted – that a love interest was undesired. Suddenly out of the blue, reality hits. Hard.
You’ve meet someone. There’s an obvious chemistry. Suddenly, you find yourself on a date – nervous and excited. A date with someone you really find interesting. Someone who appears to be real – honest with a good heart. Someone who treats you with respect and make you feel special. Someone who makes you feel absolutely comfortable in his company. For some reason, this is highly difficult for you to process. Truth is, you suddenly realize that you’ve been lying to yourself just because it was easier – no strings attached. Because with your hopes and dreams, you’ve convinced yourself that a man couldn’t fit in your life. Now, you realize maybe he can? Even though he might can’t? Who really knows… But maybe you owe it to yourself to at least give it a try… You’re confused…
When you deliberately have avoided anything related to romantic love for years, you become very skilled at ignoring and pushing it away. You, especially, become skilled at preventing it and making sure it doesn’t become part of your life. In the end, you convince yourself that it’s just easier – no strings attached, no problems, no hindrances for your hopes and dreams. When an interest then suddenly after years of this guarding of the heart appears and you for some reason can’t ignore it as you’re used to, you become very scared. What is supposed to feel like an adventure not only feels like this but also to a certain extent feels like an obstacle. The first response might be to push it away. You try. For some reason, though, you can’t… That’s when you get confused. How is it possible to escape reality – even if you know, you should just go with the flow? Because it’s not as if you don’t want it. It’s that you’re terrified. Absolutely terrified. Terrified of the whole thing. After years of rejecting love interests because it’s just easier – no strings attached, you become scared of getting rejected. In your heart, you hope that although this feeling is overwhelming and insecurity may come across as a result, he doesn’t withdraw. You become aware of the solid wall around your heart that you’ve actively been building for years has to break. Step-by-step. You’ve known for a while now that this could eventually happen and have started the breakdown of the wall yourself. You can’t break it yourself, though. You need help. His help…
With years of guarding, with years of building a wall around the heart and with years of ignoring the sparkle, it has been years of standing on your own. Although this is a part of yourself that you truly treasure, maybe it wouldn’t be terrible sharing your world, maybe it would be rather nice have someone there for you. Someone who cared. Someone who actually cared. That wall won’t be easy to break, though, and you just hope he, with your help, doesn’t give up when trying to break it, step-by-step.
The dating continues… Then you find yourself not knowing the next steps – and you hate it. At the same time, you know it’s the best thing that could happen to you because let’s face it, it’s not like the way you normally handle men in your life has proved to be bullet proof for the heart anyway. So maybe it’s not that bad. Maybe it’s actually not that scary. Maybe it’s not even going to end as you predict. And wouldn’t that be nice. Maybe you should just simply run with it – not thinking too much, just explore. Because isn’t that what you always preach – go explore!?
Winter… There’s something truly magical about this season. I think it has to do with the snow? For some reason, I get hypnotized by the beauty of this specific winter wonderland feeling – often linked to Christmas. Of course, I’m from Denmark where it really snows a lot at times and you occasionally get a day or two off school or work when there’s too much snow for the state to handle. But walking outside in the snow, taking in the fresh air and clearing my mind is something I really enjoy during this specific season. …And is there anything better than cuddling up in front of the Television with a cup of tea or hot chocolate or the occasional glass of wine? I don’t think so…
There are many things to appreciate about this season. My favourite ones are the following ten:
What are your favourite things about winter?
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No-one can no longer deny the fact of global warming. It’s a serious and important issue to consider – not just for politicians around the world and people as well as companies in power, however, also for us, normal people. As such, I find it extremely important to highlight this issue and stress some of the small things that people can do without changing your entire lifestyle – step-by-step changes, so to speak. I’ve made certain adjustments in my lifestyle as I’ve become increasingly aware of ways to improve my responsibility towards the environment:
These are the things I consider on a daily basis. Of course, there’s always more that can be done! And I’m fully aware that I can do a lot more than what I’m currently doing – but I’m working on it, and that’s my point exactly: Step-by-step changes! For example, I’m really bad at taking a shower under 15 minutes. So instead of forcing myself to start my day on a bad note, I no longer shower every day, however, every second day. That way, I feel as if I’m compromising with myself. Moreover, regarding eating organic, I would like to switch completely to organic food and clothes in the long run. For now, though, considering my salary, I focus on buying as much organic food as possible within my budget. The organic clothes will eventually be part of my lifestyle – until then, I’ll cut back on my clothes consumption instead. Again, step-by-step changes that doesn’t affect my lifestyle too much but compromises it. Eventually, all these little steps will lead to big changes, I believe.
What do you think? And what do you do to take care of the environment and live up to your responsibility towards the Earth? Please, do enlighten me – I bet there are many things I can learn from you.
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