On the pride in Farming

Having grown up in a city and having spent most of my professional career in the IT world, I always felt disconnected from the land. In fact, I did not even realise I was disconnected from it, as it wasn’t something I even thought about. Totally out of my radar.

Although my grandpa is an award-winning farmer (honestly) and my father a true lover of Nature, the seed never sprouted within myself. It was there though, waiting.

The wait came to an end while backpacking New Zealand, where Clyde Potter, one of the most well-known organic farmers in the country, gave me an opportunity to work on his farm.

I was tasked with looking after the plant nursery of the farm, a huge responsibility!

My ‘green babies’.

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Screens, screens everywhere!

The other day I was on the train and to my right there was one of the most stunning sunrises I had seen in a very long time. The sunlight came through the windows and splashed its magical colours all around me. I watched in awe.

Yet, when I looked around, I couldn’t find a single person looking at that marvel from Nature – literally, dozens of people all around me were, instead, looking at their screens. Every single one of them.

I peeked at the closest screen to me. She was just flicking from left to right – right to left on the phone’s home screen, doing literally nothing. I looked at my right – he was on Instagram, scrolling down and liking photos at a speed that made me wonder whether he was a superhuman to be able to grasp that quickly the information that was being presented on screen.

I looked at the sunrise again. The sun was sharing its pure beauty to whoever wanted it, yet nobody did. How did it/he/she feel about?

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Three weeks in the Himalayas: The Annapurna Circuit

This story begins in beautiful New Zealand. Aranka (from now on Didi – which means ‘sister’ in Nepali) and I were cooking at her house in Napier, chatting about what following adventures we had planned. I said that in my case I was intending to fulfil one of my lifelong dreams: to visit Nepal and hike the Himalayas.

It is fascinating to see how life works out sometimes – Didi happened to have the same dream, and fast-forward ten months to the future we found ourselves landing in chaotic Kathmandu together.

Here we were, finally in Nepal! The country known as ‘Never Ending Peace And Love’!

Every single traveller I had ever met spoke of the country with glittering eyes full of excitement and passion for it. “You’ll fall in love with it” – they said.

And we certainly did. How can you not?

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Meditation retreat at Dhamma Daja

Whilst I was travelling, many friends and family asked me whether India would be part of my trip. I always answered that India required a trip by itself, and that I did not feel the calling yet.

For a while now I have been travelling with a more open schedule, in which no time-frame is set. The concept of a ‘one-year-trip’ vanished long ago. If a place resonates with me, I will stay there for one week, one month, or one lifetime. This flexibility allows plenty of room for magic to happen (no pun intended), and the journey flows more smoothly.

Following this philosophy, all I had booked was my flight from Kathmandu to Delhi, leaving the rest open. My original intention was to apply for a 3-day transit visa, so I could visit the Taj Mahal.

Yep, that one!

 

While having dinner, my friend Chris told me that the e-visa for India had become very easy – “you go online, fill it in, and boom! 30 days in the country”.

As Oscar Wilde said: ‘I can resist anything but temptation’, and if you know me you will know that I take very little to be convinced to do a trip! And so it happened, the following day it was decided: I would extend my trip for one month, and finish it off in India.

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Delightful solitude at Lake Waikareiti 

After a rather strenuous trek for my unfit body, my heavy backpack and I reached our destination: Lake Waikareiti. I couldn’t have been luckier with the spot, not a single soul made an appearance in the whole time. Delightful solitude!

I took my clothes off and started walking into the lake. I stopped and faced its immensity. Water surrounded me in all directions. A feeling of euphoria and ‘rightness‘ invaded me. Having such a place all for myself felt truly blissful.

Although I had brought my tent, I spent most of the time at the DOC’s Hut located right in front of the lake’s shore. The living room was equipped with a fireplace, running water, a bench, and a table. Basic but sufficient. When sitting at the table I faced a huge window with a panoramic view of the lake. Maybe ‘basic but sufficient‘ was an understatement?

The idea behind these days was to catch up with myself and reconnect with Nature. To do so, the basic premise was not to use screens, technology or clocks. The focus was on following my inner rhythms and what felt right at each particular point in time, practising mindfulness. If I felt like eating, I would eat. If I felt like sleeping, I would sleep. If I felt like having a siesta in the sun… Well, I had brought my hammock for a reason, right?

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Meditation retreat at Wat Kow Tahm

Welcome

Doing a meditation retreat was something on the very top of my to-do list for a long time after my –rather sparse- practice back in Brighton, and there couldn’t be a better place to give it a go than a Buddhist monastery in Thailand!

This text is just my personal experience during my retreat, and it is not meant in any case to review the retreat taking place at Wat Kow Tahm.

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Find the way

Brighton. 7pm. Typical local pub. Sitting beside me a group of strangers speaking about travelling the world.

I cannot help it, I need to ask them! – ‘How did you do it?’

He smiles and says:

– ‘Find the way.’

At first I did not understand: ‘Way? Which way?’

– ‘Just find your way.’

Almost three years have passed since that, and now I fully understand what he meant. And he was right.

There is always a way to reach your goals. Just pursue it. Walk your own path, and remember that the path itself is as important as the destination.

Have fun and learn along the way. Keep your focus on the goal, but keep your eyes wide-open and do not forget to look to the sides every now and then, the unknown and the unexpected are what makes life exciting!