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Live the dream …

I realised I got a bonus year. The original plan was to travel for one year. But then something came up and I had to decide whether to go home after seven months or to stay on the road another year. That was a tough and difficult decision to make, but I did and decided to stay on the road

Today, I have been away for exactly 470 days. I’ve got 386 days before I realy realy have to go back to my …. apartment, my friends, my swedish family.

I talked to a friend of mine from back home, telling him I felt I was in a bit of a hurry. Why, he said, you have one more year to go. One year, I said, and look how fast the last one went. Because time really flies. Not when one is waiting for things to happen but when one is inn the middle of something time really rushes, vanishes. One year was such a long time, to make that decision, to travel for one year. one year came, was lived and passed so quickly.

386 days to go, to be lived in a different way than the ones that just passed by. Not that I have decided exactly what I will be doing, but I have a rough idea. I want to settle down, to stay put more, not to constantly be on the go.

For decades I have been having a dream, picturing myself sitting on a porch overlooking a serene view writing. Now that I have got this bonus year in my life, I will try and find that porch and the serene view to live my dream.

Perhaps this is the way one should live life, as if the coming year is about to end andoe doesn’t know if there will have another one. To make the most of the time we have now, not taking anything for granted.

 

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Traveling is not about me …

I’ve never been to Japan bit I’ve done some reading, seen films and documentaries and everything is about respecting the other person. Making sure it works for the next person. If I make sure it works smoother for the next person, and if that person make sure it works easier for the next person then eventually I will benefit from it. Mindfulness of others they call it. An interesting culture And as any other country Japan has its own problems and difficulties but Mindfulness of others is probably one of the reasons the Japanese police force has nothing to do.

Religion in Japan is dominated by Shinto and by Buddhism.

Thailand is I would say Japan light. People are very polite, generous and tolerant. Probably one of the reasons the country is so popular for tourist to visit. There are a lot of bowing and courtesy involved in many situations. People stand in line, wait for their turn, make sure people get off the train before attempting to enter themselves, strangers will make sure you cross the street safely. In a way very similar to the Japanese way, being mindful of others.

Thailand guarantees religious freedom for all Tai citizens but the main religion practiced is buddhism with a strong undercurrent of Hinduism.

The population in Indonesia is predominantly Muslim and Christian but the vast majority of the population in Bali identify as Hindu. In Bali one finds the same sort of kindness and generosity as in Thailand. Friendly people.

And this is probably one of the reasons why so many visit these places. Appart from beautiful sceneries and nice places to stay it is all about the people. Friendly people. Perhaps it is about the values in their religion, values that are lived by, values of putting others and the community before yourself.

So what happens when people come and visit these nice countries, lovely places, encounter with the locals, being exposed to this kindness and in many ways selfless attitude, where the visitors enjoy the easy life.

Adult men and women walking the streets with a can or bottle of beer in their hands in the middle of the day. Being drunk and behaving disrespectful toward the locals customs and way of living.

Tourists not taking the time to observe how things work in the country they are visiting, barging in, being loud and demanding. When everyone at the metro station are standing in perfect lines on both sides of the doors to the train but the tourists see that as the perfect opportunity to enter first.

When people with the Me and the Ego meet the ones that are brought up with a You and Others.

I like the japanese way of thinking, being mindful of others, being observant of how other people live their lives, learning from what I see and experience.

I believe in that when we focus on what is outside ourselves, when we see others needs and desires, when we acknowledge people around us being important to us, when we give before we take. I believe in that.

Traveling is not about me. It is all about what is around me. That is why I travel. To see places and meet people I wouldn’t have seen or met otherwise. To experience the different normal. To ask questions so that I can understand and learn.

I believe we learn more about ourselves when focusing on others, when we ask questions instead of assuming and when we listen to understand, not to reply.

 

 

 

 

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Trust in the simple life…

This morning I was thinking of Boxing Day. A shopping Holliday according to Wikipedia. Buying happiness.

When I am not moving from one place to another, my days look very much the same. More or less.

I usually wake up early, I go for a walk, I have coffee, more coffee, I read and reply to the messages received during my night due to time difference,I browse Facebook, read the news, read articles, I write. Then I have my first meal around 10-12. After that I would probably go nap for a while. Afternoon will be spent exploring. I will have my second meal before 6 pm and the evening I might go for a walk again. This is roughly what happens. More or less. Some days I do more walking and exploring, some less. But my mornings are very same same.

The whole thing about social media and Facebook is intriguing and packed with contradictions. The good thing about FB is that I can connect and stay in touch with people, I ‘like’ different news agencies which automatically provides me with lots of diverse news. I also read about what is happening in space, new inventions, politics, life, death, news from embassies, good news, bad news, science …. One can get a lot of information from Facebook. Everyone is using it, you and me, governments who are trying to influence us in different ways, to spread good information, to spread bad opinions, false news, hatred and love. It is all there.

After the last election in the US we now know how easy people are fooled, tricked into believing things. We believe it because we read it. There is one thing most people don’t do when reading or listening to someone telling a story.

The lack of Critical Thinking.

Reasonable, reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do. (Wikipedia)

The other thing most people don’t realise is that

There are no Quick Fixes.

These simple two facts has become a multi billion dollar industry feeding on people who are in a not very good place at that moment. Recognising and knowing how to use human behaviour to make money out of it. And today, in the era of internet, nourishing on others insecurities and fears.

How to find yourself
How to make money while you are sleeping
How to create a better future for yourself
5 things you should do now to be more productive in 2018
7 things smart people do frequently and 6 things they avoid at all costs
7 things you can do now to start the new year less stressed

And all the adds telling us about the things we need, about the things we must have to make our lives easier and better and happier and more successful.

Launch a professional copywriting career for jus $24
How to become a travel writer $97
How to make money online, cost varying.
And much more …

The one topic I see almost everyday is about successful people quitting their well payed jobs to travel the world and how they managed, how they did it, how they continued being successful. But now on the road. With a new digital career. This massive industry on how to be happier, how to be successful, how to get more …

When it really should  be about how little we need, about good enough, that we can’t buy happiness, less is more, keep on dreaming, continue making dreams come true …

Don’t  believe or trust everything you hear or read before looking at it in a critical thinking way. Form your own opinion.
Everything takes time, change takes time, there are no quick fixes.

Rome wasn’t built in one day and a good life can be a very simple life.

 

 

 

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My Christmas gift to You …

Today, 24 December 2017, I have been on the road exactly 14 months. That is a bit more than 420 days that I have spent in

The United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Thailand
Malaysia
Singapore
Indonesia
Myanmar
India
Sri Lanka
Vietnam
Brunei
Mexico

I had a brand new passport issued before I left Sweden and I have to get a new one soon since I’m running out of empty pages.

I’m not sure how many kilometres I have traveled on land but many for sure. Traveling as the locals do on busses and trains are the best way to travel. Flying is sometimes required because of visa regulations. Stupid rules, but existing rules so sometimes one has to go there.

A lot of people, both old and new friends have asked me a lot of questions and made many remarks about my traveling.

Have I been brave? I don’t know.
Have I been courageous? I couldn’t tell.
Have I been bold? Perhaps a bit.
Have I found myself? Didn’t have to. I brought myself along before I left Sweden.
Did I learn something about myself while being on the road for 14 months? Yes, I certainly did. I learned that

I don’t have time for bulshit
I am mentally strong
I can handle difficult situations
I am adaptable
I am genuine
I am capable
I know my boundaries
I don’t appreciate being told what I can or can’t do, should or shouldn’t do, because of my gender.
I don’t have time for bulshit.

So what does all this mean. Who am I? What sort of person have I become?

I am still me. The only difference is that some things have become more important to me and some less, and now I know why.

Money and wealth wasn’t important to me 14 months ago and that hasn’t changed. Now I know why.

Being at peace with myself. That has become more important to me, embodying the definition of happiness. Now I know why.

Today, on Christmas Eve, I want to gift you with my hopes and wishes for you all to

Be in Peace within Yourselves

Merry Christmas, With Love

Madlen

 

 

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Luxury in Bangkok …

It has been a long time on the road. I can feel that in different ways.

My bag, batteries, mobile, keyboard, eyes, skin ….. everything is getting older if not old. Worn out. Not bad enough to replace, at least not my eyes or skin, but I can see my gadgets are complaining.

People I meet still tell me I look younger than my age, my I can see I have aged more than I probably would have if I hadn’t exposed myself to the sun. Like if I had stayed in Sweden. Or used sunscreen, which I realised is impossible in Asia. I did that the first two days realising that the hot weather made my face perspire, sweat running into my eyes stinging and hurting. No more creams or sun blockers. But yes, my skin has aged.

So what, who cares.

When I was in Brunei I had a rip in my right eye cornea which prevented me from wearing my contacts. One week ago I started wearing them again realising my sight had changed. I cant see properly neither with glasses or contacts. Time to find an optician.

Usually I have my teeth checked every six months, have the cleaned, making sure the smile is ok. Spending one year in Asia I realised the food here stains my teeth so I have to have them cleaned more often. Bangkok is a good place to have that done.

The hair issue, having a haircut in Asia can really be hazardous. In most countries women are not considered feminine if they have a short hair cut. Which means going to the hairdresser for a modern style hair cut is like winning on the lottery.

These are things that are really not a big deal. These are things that are easy to fix. With one big difference. When you are at home you know who to approach, where to go. All these things that feels so safe and comfortable when one is at home. And when it doesn’t work out one can complain, and that is ok.

When traveling long term these things feel different. Well, if one has lots of money there are no problems but if the budget is limited, then its different.

Since I’m traveling on a budget, staying in hostels is the only option if I want to stay within the budget. That means constantly sharing space with others. Unless I’m lucky to find a place where every bunk bed has curtains to provide some privacy. But most of the time one has to endure being with people you didn’t choose. Being patient, to a certain extent, teaching people in how to behave, to a certain extent. There was this young Canadian guy who apparently didn’t now he had to close and lock the door to the toilet before starting to pee. A lot of young Indian men who are so full of themselves believing any dorm is their private space, never heard the expression ‘being considerate’. People packing or repacking their stuff in plastic bags, In the middle of the night. Playing music or watching movies not using earphones. Not turning of the sound on the mobile but texting in the middle of the night disturbing the rest of people in the dorm with constant pling pling pling …

So once in a while I give myself a sort of vacation from the budget traveling and upgrade to a hotel, or a nicer hostel. I treat myself.

Luxury.

A place that is quiet.
A bed bug free bed.
Hot shower.
Privacy.

Christmas is coming up. The city is decorated, people are shopping, social medias are filled with posts of people preparing for the the holidays. Christmas presents, all the should do and must do.

I’m thinking of all the people around the world that won’t have the luxury of a hot shower, clean bed or privacy. The ones that don’t have the means to upgrade their lives.

I’m thinking of the importance of being grateful for what we have instead of focusing on what we don’t have.

I just had breakfast. One toast, two eggs and some fruit. Grateful.