Spending time

I have now successfully spent a month(!) in Queensland, doing things that are mostly just-for-fun productive. My biggest accomplishments have been making pulla and pulla 2.0 (with macadamia and chocolate spread, also with raspberry jam), and also baking gingerbread cookies aka Ultimate Christmas Food. I have felt relaxed and happy to just unwind, but also occasionally stressed and pressed about the things that I should be doing and how to move and do and create and develop and earn money and and and…but this is all good. I am here, playing with the dogs (first wrote gods, oops), going to the weekend markets, eating vegetarian sausage rolls, reading and breathing and learning about all of that. So much learning sometimes my brain starts buzzing!

Some days you feel like  wreck on land - but then comes high tide and it's all good
Some days you feel like wreck on land – but then comes high tide and it’s all good.

I am re-creating my website, and thinking about life from now. I have studied a lot about professional this and that and how to make 5-number salary online. While this kind of information can be inspiring to one that has no profession and a severe case of wanderlust, I realised that the more I read about creating revenue and email lists and online courses and how anyone can do it and it takes only a bit of dedication and just only these programs to do, I got very anxious and it has pulled me away from the joy of writing, of creating and sharing. We went to Fraser Island the other week, and I wanted to write about that but it never somehow happened. My writing has never been aimed to create revenue or to get as many people to read my posts; I have been writing for myself or like I would write to a friend who lives halfway across the world, not having to give a rats ass about making the post SEO friendly and having 5 sentence paragraphs and bullet lists and all the other things that make blogs read-worthy.

Lady on le beach
Lady on le beach.

Anyhow, in the near future this blog will probably move to the new site, and I will continue writing as I feel like, not abiding to the rules of all the people who want as much dough as possible.

Things I enjoy learning right now: Patience. Things will come in their right time. This life is precious, and everything is more than alright. I have the chance to just be and enjoy being, I’d be crazy to not make the most of it when I can. Who knows where I’ll be in 6 months, how hectic life will be. Now that everything is good and I can just pick a pair of boxers and ski around wearing them all day, why not enjoy that to the fullest. I’ll have time to work and run around like a maniac later. Until then… smoothie bowls and hugs and kisses for days.

Someone climbed to a fire tower for pictures. Someone else has no spiderman skills
Someone climbed to a fire tower for pictures. Someone else has no faith in their spiderman skills.

Healthy fare Melbourne

After hitting all the cafes I mentioned here, one should definitely check out the following clean eating spots while in the mecca of all things food, aka Melbourne.

Clean Eats and Treats (non cafe)

The best airport snacks I didn’t get to enjoy; the glass bottle smashed on the floor. Sadness.

Green Press, Little Collins Stret, CBD

This little shop offers cold pressed organic juices, raw treats, smoothies and clean lunch options. They’ve created their own version of a donut, made with pumpkin and almond meal. My favorite juice: Captain Planet with blue green algae, coconut water and grapefruit.

Ex salad master of Laneway Greens waiting for her smoothie.

Laneway Greens, Flinders Lane, CBD

This small salad bar on Flinders Lane should make the cut to any list of salad bars, great lunches, healthy food, smoothies, and value for money joints. I might be a bit biased to talk about this place since I was part of the team from day 1, but at least I can say that they really ARE what they preach. No cutting corners, all clean and hearty fare, big enough portions to save some for later, and smoothies that are the best money can buy. I can’t recommend any one salad, since all of them are to die for, but the Miso Salmon would probably be my favourite, along with the Seared Tuna. All dressings are made in house, with no extra sugars or additives. You can also get your smoothie bowl and chia pudding fix at LG, or grab a fresh pressed juice to go. 

Glass box of pure goodness at Pana.

Pana Chocolate, Church Street, Richmond

This little chocolate shop on Church Street sells the most delicious handcrafted raw treats you can find. In addition to their chocolate bars, Pana sells different slices, pops (think ice cream pops but made from chocolate, coated with nut crumble), truffles and such. Guilt-free indulgence at its’ best! 

Guilt-free lamingtons. Nom.

Terra Madre, High Street, Northcote

Not a cafe or a quirky small independent artisan shop, but the best shop for all things organic, natural and eco-friendly. Fresh veggies, breads and eggs, huge bulk section full of nuts, seeds, flours, spices and dry cooking things, and everything you could imagine buying for your kitchen (and bathroom). Cheap cheap, too!

Bulk goodies at Terra Madre.

Yo-Chi, several locations

Froxzen yoghurt to the win! They usually have one soy option and one coconut-based option for vegans, otherwise the flavours speak for themselves: how about rose, matcha or mango? The various toppings seal the deal. Other great sweet tooth fix: Frozen froyo on Chapel street and Melbourne Central. 

Nordic Food Co. selling homey goodies in Alma Park on Saturdays at the Hank Marvin Markets.

Markets: Queen Victoria, South Melbourne, Prahran – and pop-up markets such as Hank Marvin

Fresh seasonal veggies and fruit, delicatessen and anything you might need for a picnic in the park, the markets are my go-to place when it comes to weekly shopping or being ingredients for a dinner with friends. Best hummus in the world: South Melbourne market, Steve’s Deli. You can also find coconut cheese from South Melbourne market! 

10 Things I’ve Learned in 24 Years

And so it came, the day I was born 25 years ago. If I start thinking about it, quarter-life crisis could be on it’s way, but I have decided to take the “age is just a number”-approach and just be in denial about being too old to do certain things or too much all over the place and not doing what one is “supposed” to be and have done by the magical 25. I started to reflect on the things I consider my most important discoveries, lessons and revelations so far. Not in any particular order.

Appreciate the small things. Whether it be a nice cup of tea, great market haul on fruit and veggies, or someone letting you get first in to the tram/train/in the doors to where ever, the small things are what make the bigger picture.

Enjoy the moment. This moment is gone in a second, and all you are left with are memories. If you spend all your time living somewhere else and mentally yearning for something, you end up missing all the beauty and opportunity that is right now, right here.

Do something. Anything. It might be something big like going to a foreign country, or something smaller like going for a bike ride to the beach. As the cliché goes, you only regret the chances you didn’t take.

Looking back.
Looking back.

Don’t take things so seriously. In a few days/weeks/months/years you’ll look back and hopefully laugh or at least smile at the things that once seemed so serious and detrimental.

Give back. If it’s only giving a muffin to a homeless person, or giving a compliment to a co-worker, it is important to acknowledge others and try to impact their day in a positive way.

Take care of yourself. Your body is your home, so take care of it. Eat foods that make you feel more energised, not lethargic, and rejuvenate yourself from time to time. Move your body and embrace the ability to move and feel.

Looking forward.
Looking forward.

Love. Animals, people, nature, music, food. There’s nothing better than appreciating something, or someone. Surround yourself with like-minded people and you’ll feel your quality of life improve.

Learn. Whether it be to surf, to cook a new dish, a new language or to deal with tough situations, improving youself and getting small victories makes life better. There’s nothing like the feeling of accomplishment.

Be you. Express yourself in a way that’s true to you, do what your gut tells you to do and not what others tell you should do. You know yourself, and by time (and making mistakes) you’ll learn to know what’s best for you.

It will all be okay. Even in the worst times, there’s always something better coming, and you can learn from the hardships and grow as a person when shit hits the fan.

Year away

A year ago I packed my stuff in boxes and showed them to my dad’s tiny attic, piled all that I thought necessary in my old backpack, and left for a trip that was intended to be 2 months of yoga in Bali, then a bit of Vietnam and back home. A year later I did not do yoga but instead started surfing, ended up going to Cambodia too, and have been living and working in melbourne for 8 months, and a myriad of unexpected things have happened.

New skills learned: Surfing, driving a scooter, scuba diving, selecting cacao beans for chocolate production, letting go of things, proper headstands, knife skills, how to survive alone in tight situations (ie you’re not allowed to enter a foreign country and you find that out at the airport, or how to escape a motor vehicle accident situation in another…or how to change the scuba diving BCD vest in pitch black darkness in the middle of the sea)

Gili Trawangan, Christmas with friends.
Gili Trawangan, Christmas with friends.

Appreciation for things: Sunshine and warmth, fresh fruit pretty much straight from the trees, sea and marine life, nature, bicycles, people’s help, good company, trial periods at yoga studios and gyms, exercising, work, having the opportunity to do basically whatever, learning new and growing. New friends!

Bali style breakfast by the pool.
Bali style breakfast by the pool.

Best foods: Crate cafe breakfasts, Gado Gado and fresh mangos in Bali, tuna steak at Christmas dinner in Gili, rice paper rolls in Vietnam, the delicious meals at Hariharalaya in Cambodia. Smashed avo and poached eggs at Organica cafe in melbourne, Hummus from South melbourne market. Drinkwise: Fresh coconut water and coffee coffee coffee.

All the (vegan) rolls.
All the (vegan) rolls.

Accommodation: 3 Bungalows in Bali, one private villa. One month in the same hostel in Canggu. Hostel in Vietnam, one night in a “family stay” in the mekong Delta, and another one in a border town hotel. 4 hostels in Cambodia, one night in a bus, 10 nights on a retreat. (Luckily) I’ve only spent time in 1 hostel in Australia, and times of homelessness I was able to rely on the help of 5 friends.

Pretty much deserted island in Cambodia
Pretty much deserted island in Cambodia.

Love life: I learned that the Finnish word for love, rakkaus, apparently sounds like “crack house”. Fair enough. I’ve had more action this past year than ever before, mostly because I’ve been open-minded and just gone out. I have definitely learnt more than I thought I would have, and even though I got sick of dating and lost my faith in finding “the one” (or even someone I could imagine spending a whole weekend with), I am now closer than ever to realizing my feelings and where I stand in life. Winning!

I made someone popcorn for their flight.
I made someone popcorn for their flight.

Dealing with health: Eating probiotics, eating local. 2 Doctor visits, one dentist. In Cambodia I got bitten by a mosquito in the eyelid on the day I was supposed to go on a scuba diving trip to a remote island. Early trip and waking up the only doctor of the hospital to get cream I didn’t end up using, luckily that was nothing more serious. In melbourne I went to a GP to see if I have sinus infection (I didn’t), and had my wisdom tooth pulled.

Holidaying in Byron Bay.
Holidaying in Byron Bay.

Public holidays: I have pretty much skipped every holiday; Christmas I spent on a beach having a barbecue, New Years I was at another beach, Easter I only hid eggs for my housemates but that was it…I have enjoyed the Queen’s Birthday, and I understand why Anzac day exists, but having a public holiday for football and horse races is a bit strange to me. Nevertheless, I’ll take any reason to have a special day!

Halloween pumpkin at work.
Halloween pumpkin at work.

In the last year I have had more experiences I would never have had if I had stayed home, and going out of my comfort zone has proven worth it and beyond. I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months will bring along! And in the sad poor pictures front, by the end of the month things will look brighter and I will be able to write my hometown with a capital letter again! YAY!

I love love love that animal suit.
I love love love that animal suit.

Past and future

One year ago I was moving to yet another temporary apartment, getting ready for my adventures in Asia. At that point, I had no idea where I’d be in the next 6 months, let alone in a year. Six months ago I was walking on Wategos beach in Byron Bay, trying to decide where my journey would take me next. And here I am today, not sure where I will be in half a year, or the next 12 months. Exciting, scary, promising, frustrating? All of those feelings, and several others, I have to admit. Clearly my path is not the usual kind, where answers come automatically or at least easy. I don’t own a couch and I’ve never had a hair dryer (fun fact I noticed the other day), which definitely makes my life easier to jump from one adventure to the next.

Now it is the time for me to start planning the future, or at least be aware of the possibilities I have. In February I could be in India or in New Zealand, or if I really wanted to I could leave melbourne and move to Tasmania to do my 88 days of rural work. I don’t know, I can’t decide. On the other hand I want to have a fulfilling career that allows me to have that couch and maybe buy a hair dryer as well (yes I know you can travel with one, but I don’t really need one), and a part of this scenario would be not having to return to the motherland. But there are all of these doubts. How will I get the job? Which country do I go and try? How will I survive when I’m all alone and start eating way too much chocolate to drown my sorrows? What if what if and then what? 

The answer to all doubts ever: You don’t know how it will be unless you try. I might have an idea what it could be like going to Germany and not speaking the language (with no real passion to learn it) and trying to find a job that is not in hospitality. But unless I try the scenario, I don’t know. Perhaps that would be it for me, the place where I find peace. I have found peace (and dozens of great cafes) in Melbourne, but the immigration policies of this lovely country sure don’t make it easy for people to enjoy their stay. I am still looking for that Aussie husband, by the way, and now we’d have to live together for 12 months in country x. No worries, I’m pretty flexible on that!