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I had forgotten …

Humans. We learn fast and we forget fast. That is definitely applicable to me. I have been away from india for almost four months and I had forgotten a lot of things.

The population in India is big. It is dense, it is packed and it is crowded. Today I realised why so many first time visitors feel overwhelmed when they come to india. Even though it is my third time visiting, this time it hit me too. Hit-Light, Light Hit but still it hit me.

If you want something you have to get it. With such a dense population there is a form of struggle involved when in comes some everyday actions.. This is applicable too if you want to buy a ticket then make sure you get to the counter. There is no waiting in line. Everyone rushes to the counter, pushing, trying to get a ticket first. And you can imagine if everyone is doing that.

But it works. Here in India it works. No problem. No one gets mad or angry or too offended. It works. The problem lies with me and all other visitors. If I had come straight from Bangkok I would have gone into shock. There you stay in line, wait patiently for your turn, let passengers get off the train before anyone attempts getting on, you always offer someone else to go first, there is a lot of bowing and in general a lot of generosity. And all this towards complete strangers. Delhi is different. It is the opposite and it is hard to explain if one has never experienced it. The overwhelming factor is very high.

So I arrive to New Delhi and realise I had forgotten about all the squaching, pushing, honking and all other things that makes big part of what is different and special with India.

My last visit to india started and ended in New Delhi. I sort of fell in respectful love. I saw the dirt, the chaos, the poverty, the wealthy people, the poor people, I saw the contrasts. I saw people living their lives on the streets. Sleeping there, eating there, raising their children there. Living a life. I felt such respect. That was last september mid october. Weather was hot, 30+ celcius. When walking the streets I always tried to find some shade, a fan to cool me, anything that would ease the hot hot temperature.

Yesterday, 10 january, I arrived to New. Delhi. Took the same metro to city centre, negotiated with same tuk tuk driver about the price to my accomodation, and he drove the same streets as last time. I saw the same people sleeping on the streets.

But this time the temperature was 9 degrees celsius. People sleeping in the streets, layers of blankets I would guess wasn’t enough to shield from the cold. I gave them a thought, arrived to the hotel, checked in and five minutes later I could have a hot shower.

You know the feeling when you have waited for something for a long time and suddenly it is a reality. That happened this morning when I was ready to leave the hotel, the joy and anticipation , I was on my way to have a proper masala chai. My hotel is situated in between, on. one of the tiny alleys in the Old Bazar district. It is cold, I knew it would be so I am literally wearing all my clothes to keep warm. The smile on my face slowly turned into a sad face, a sad face.

I had forgotten what real poverty looks like. But most important, I had forgotten what poverty looks like when it is cold. It is rough but it is also full of love. To see how people care for each other.

 

My heart is bleeding for the people here. My heart is full of respect for the people here. My heart is full of love for the people here.

So this morning I go for a walk, it is cold, so I too stand close to the chai stall and drink my chai. That is where you meet to enjoy the warmth from the fire under the kettle, the hot chai and one can have a chat with the others.

I remember now. I remember a lot of things and it is humbling. We all need a reminder now and then. It is good to remember.

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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