On Sailing

Sometimes it seems like life is just a vast endless sea with constant storms and enormous waves that rock your boat and splash water on the deck, making you afraid if you are going to make it to the next safe harbour. But steady waters don’t make a sailor, at least this is what I keep on telling myself. Maybe I seek discomfort and new challenges, to feel like I am developing my sailing skills and enduring bigger waves when ever they might hit me?

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A year ago I had but a thought in the back of my mind to go to Melbourne to discover what life so far away from home but yet in so familiar culture would feel like. Now I am pondering whether I should really settle, at least for another year, making compromises with my life (studying mainly just for the sake of getting a visa and to have some steady foundation in life), staying in the ah-so-familiar and already a tad numbing hospitality work, or to sail away to the unknown waters. This decision making and endless see-sawing back and forth has made stressed, anxious and feeling low at times. I have never been one to jump to things head over heels, without using excessive amount of energy and brain capacity to try and see the matter from different perspectives. Sometimes this approach bites me in the ass, like in this case when both of the possibilities I have ahead of me are wonderful (or potentially equally miserable), no matter what happens.

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Sometimes in life you have opportunities that present themselves only once. Other possibilities are possible to go back to at different times. I love Melbourne. The city will stay there for me. Maybe not the same, maybe not from the same perspective, but I will have the opportunity to return, with one visa or another. The opportunity to explore, the world and myself, will also be there. Not in the same form, and less likely to actually happen, but I am the captain of my boat and I have the power to decide where I steer myself. Life will figure itself out, and going with the flow and surfing your own wave is something one should always keep in mind. You can only trust that the waters lead you to where you’re supposed to end up in.

Oh, I have actually never been on a real sailboat, I can only hope to experience it at some point.

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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.

Friendship

Are best friends those with whom we share everything starting from kindergarten trough high school to getting married and having kids at the same time, or can they be found later on in any part of life? Even though apparently I have several hundred friends on Facebook, I feel like in reality I only have a few; this is not a bad thing, I prefer quality over quantity. Being in a foreign continent has brought up quite a few thoughts about friendship, specially when meeting new ‘friends’ every day – and losing them maybe as soon as the next day.

How are these friendships different? I celebrated my birthday with new friends feeling very content and not homesick at all (day included surfing, massage, cake, and drinking local booze with locals until 3am in a temple festival listening of shitty dance pop). Being in touch with friends back home is so easy, and though all the messages don’t make up for physical presence, it’s better than nothing. On the road, people may skip some parts of the normal interaction of long-term friendships, and go to the “important” personal stuff faster. I have had few excellent conversations with some interesting people here, and it makes me sad to most likely not have these people in my life for good. Some may say I’m negative or sceptic and it is possible to make life-long friends abroad. I do believe is possible. However when meeting dozens and dozens of new people each week and going from one place to another, it is challenging to keep contact. Bless you, Facebook?

I don’t think short-term friendships are any less important than long ones, but it does get tiring at times. Same questions and beginnings each time, and for what? I do prefer going to a restaurant with other people rather than alone, so living in a hostel environment is perfect in that sense.

A friend took this picture. And drove me to Uluwatu.
A friend took this picture. And drove me to Uluwatu.

 

Brain vomit here, thank you for bearing with me. Other news: my computer broke down but has now managed to have power for 10 minutes. Score! Last weekend was good partying and the sun is bright and nice. I have heard bunch of good music, and I am also developing a love relationship. To the sea.

Happiness is where your heart is

Lately I have been reading quite a few articles somehow related to happiness. The subject never goes out of fashion, it’s something everyone pursues, right? Behold, a long mind-vomit follows.

Idyllic happiness.
Idyllic happiness.

Happiness consists of many abstract things entwined together. If you are constantly looking for happiness, what, how and where are you expecting to find it? Will a new pair of shoes make you happy? Making others happy? Donating money? For how long does this feeling of happiness (or more likely satisfaction) last?

Happiness in a tea cup and a notebook.
Happiness in a tea cup and a notebook.

Do whatever makes you happy. Okay, well, if I don’t quite know what makes me happy, I’ll just do a bunch of stuff and see what works for me. Now for me ‘happy’ seems to mean sweaty high intensity interval training, hanging out with friends, baking and taking pictures of food on Instagram. Maybe in a half year I’ll be doing tai chi, meditating in solitude and using the oldest Nokia mobile phone still available. Who knows? The only way to find out is to try things and see what floats your boat the best. But maybe there’s something better waiting around the corner – would it be possible to be even more happy, or are things good enough as they are? That’s one reason for my hunger for traveling: there’s always new ways of life and stories to discover in the pursuit of happiness.

View to the sea, Portofino, Italy.
View to the sea, Portofino, Italy.

Some say happiness comes from within. I agree: it is important to be in terms of yourself and comfortable where ever you are. One can be happy in the slums of Jakarta, or on the top of a skyscraper in Manhattan.
I also wonder if it is possible to be happy in complete solitude. Since it seems like my gratitude journal (yes, I write one) is filled with friends and other people, I need to try to find happiness from within (or something less spiritual but with the same point).
I have one educating trip ahead of me!

Good setting for happiness, rooftop pool in Hong Kong.
Good setting for happiness, rooftop pool in Hong Kong.

Is it wrong to be happy because of something that is waiting in the future?

Lost and finding

A journey of a million miles starts with a single step. The hardest step is the one out of the front door. Why worry about tomorrow when all you have is today. I need these words to keep me calm and assured that what I am doing will not be a disaster.

The leaves are falling down, the days are getting shorter, and every time I open the smelly fridge door in my temporary apartment I think: “only 6 more weeks”. Then what? I really have no idea. People keep on asking me what I will do in Bali. Often I answer “read Eat, Pray, Love“. What am I supposed to say? Those who know me know, that I am not the kind to just lie on a beach, let alone do that for months. I have no clue what I will do (except for eat loads and loads of fruit, take walks in the rice fields, do yoga, and try my very best to meditate), but I just have to trust that I will figure it out. If I wasn’t there, I would be contemplating what to do here, when it’s dark and cold and all I really want to do is sleep for 4 months.

One of my friends asked me if I am going to escape the winter or to find myself. I am definitely escaping the winter. I am also trying to find myself, or to figure out my place in this whole picture that is (my) life. I hope and am sure that I will find much more than just myself, but it’s frustrating not to know what to find. Is it possible to find something if you don’t know what you are looking for? Maybe it gives room for finding much more. No expectations leave room for surprises. Hopefully pleasant.

Double rainbows over Helsinki while uphill training.
Double rainbows over Helsinki while uphill training.