Only a few weeks ago (pre Brexit) I, like many, would have argued the UK is not racist or xenophobic. I’d have argued this with confidence. We are a welcoming multicultural society, aren’t we?! Yes, I was aware that there are pockets of society in the UK that are unhappy about immigration. But, did I think it was hate-fuelled and would result in personal attacks? No.
Of course I’ve spotted the front pages on the right-wing press and dismissed them in disgust. But dismiss them I did because I didn’t believe it was a reflection on our society. I was also naive to the damage they were doing. Not overtly racist but the premise was there, immigrants are to blame. Brexit appears to have provoked a crescendo of emotions within the UK, fuelled by the media. We’re Brits, we love to moan and we also pride ourselves on our freedom of speech. It’s great that we can voice our opinions but when does free speech become hate speech?
Travel is soul-nourishing, mind-bending, breath-taking and sometimes uncomfortable. We travel because we want to explore, push boundaries and understand this diverse planet. And in turn as we unlock earth’s mysteries we discover little parts of ourselves.
We don’t travel to seek a fake reality, or a home away from home. We travel to learn, to see the world from a 360 degree perspective, to break free from our bubble.
We travel because we are privileged. We come from a society that allows us to travel and an economy that allows us to earn. We therefore owe the world, we deserve to get a little bit uncomfortable.
This one’s for the wanderlusters, the travellers who’ve been thrust back into city life. Not a global brand new exciting city, your home city.
I know, coming home after travelling hurts. One minute you were living the carefree dream and the next minute – boom! Your rucksack has been swapped for business attire and you’re thinking ouch, how did I end up here.
Well it’s totally possible to survive and some people even adapt and flourish! There are just so many opportunities yah. My home stint is coming to an end. Therefore, I feel I can take a step back and give other free spirits with clipped wings a few tips on surviving London, or wherever ‘real-life’ is for you. If the wanderlust is too much, get the next cheap flights outta there!
Ahh that awkward squirmy topic of mental health. Isn’t it something we’d all like to brush under the carpet and pretend it’s an issue that doesn’t exist. In fact, that’s what most people do. Newsflash, it really does exist and although it’s not always visible to the human eye, it eats away at its victims and families too.
I stood staring at the ticket machine in Berlin’s S-Bahn train station, and the words ‘Refugees Welcome’ blinked back at me. Ahh so it’s true. If the old battered ticket machine has been configured to welcome the victims of war, then the media have got one thing right – Germany is the promised land.
Wall upon wall of blank faces are staring at me, staring past me and staring through me. Some of the paintings are so life-like that if I wasn’t surrounded by people also admiring the many artists’ portraits I’d probably be a bit twitchy. A room full of faces, staring at a room full of faces – interesting concept.
The BP Portrait Awards will always be a poignant one for me. With mixed emotions I set off this morning to admire the paintings in the London gallery. A few years back I went with my father to the same exhibition, it was my last happy memory with him and only one of a handful of happy memories I have with him.
On a warm August afternoon, in New York’s Chelsea district, I was sat in a hostel courtyard contemplating my next move. In came a whirlwind: a character so full of life and stories I was instantly spellbound. Meet Inge, my Amsterdam based hitchhiking friend. Some people radiate energy and life, Inge is one of these people. If I could see auras hers would be a gigantic rainbow, I’m sure of that.
I’m forever questioning, wondering what this life thing is all about. I listen attentively to my gut and look out for signs that I’m heading in the right direction. I battle to stay grounded and work hard on doing the right thing, for me. I’m my priority and when I’m ok I have so much to give to others.
Have you ever had one of those moments where you wish you could rewind time? I don’t have them often as I mostly believe every experience is a learning curve. Or at least I’ve conditioned myself into thinking that, so I don’t go into a full-on meltdown every time something catastrophic happens.
I stood shaking and crying next to our work landrover, staring through a hole with jagged edges – the place a window should be. The glassy crystals lay across the seat, covering my very normal looking rain jacket but something was very wrong with this picture.