I happen to live in the country that has given to this world the great explorers like Roald Amundsen, Fridtjof Nansen, the Vikings (who sailed all the way to North America). These guys have set kind of high standard for what exploring means, and, honestly, sometimes that bothers me. Do you also have this idea of exploring the faraway shores, thick jungles and mountain tops that are untouched by the foot of a man? Then I check the Instagram feeds of travel bloggers with their perfect sets in places that I don’t know how to pronounce, the flowing dresses, hats and hipster backpacks all there. I look at them, I look at me – and in my eyes you can see a reflection of an abyss that seems impossible to jump over.
But where is this distance? It’s only in my head, and no one is really stopping me. And I don’t even need to buy tickets to the exotic destinations, pack my suitcase with mosquito sprays and first aid kits, and risk my life hanging from the cliff with my camera in order to call myself an explorer. My mind is like a kid, it needs a picture attached to the word. So these are the pictures I have attached to the word “explore”. But recently I came to realize that exploring is the spirit, not the destination, or a dangerous activity or a cool shot on Instagram. It is more like an attitude, a mind mode that you can tap into any time and any place.
Today I would like to start new series of posts about the city where I live. That was partly inspired by the rainy weather this week when I felt stuck at home and was browsing my older photos. I have discovered that when you cannot get out and shoot, you can be creative with all those pics. Creativity is motivated better by constrains than by freedom, according to science and Eric Barker, and I agree with that now.
My second inspiration came from talking to the fellow blogger Estrella of La Casabloga about living in the cities which other people find wonderful and how we get surprised by it. I have lived in Oslo for 10 years and lost that freshness that makes you open your eyes widely in awe. I spent my first years wandering around the city, taking pictures with my old camera. But now I got used to it, and then watching pics on Instagram (hashtag beautiful destinations) makes me dream away to places like Paris and London. And good old Oslo? Oslo is still here, but when did it stop to excite me? So with these new series I want to reinvent my attitude to Oslo, to explore it anew and share it on the blog.
“This is my mind, and I want it to work for me, not against me”, my friend said. “Let other people say to me negative things, I can ignore them. But why should I say those negative things to myself?”
We have our thinking habits, and my habit is to focus on the negative. To see my past as a disadvantage, to look into future and catastrophize, and interpret the present events in a negative light. But all the habits are an object of change, if you want. It takes time and effort, but it is possible to change the thinking patterns just as it is possible to change lifestyle habits like eating and exercising. This is a period of my life that can be named “change”. I have always been interested in self-development and growth, but it seems like right now this process is even more intense than usually. There are many tools and ideas that inspire me to change and I hope to share some of them here on the blog. And today I want to share some thoughts about success.Read More »
My favorite kind of profile on Instagram is a travel profile. Once I was showing my new finds to my friend: girls in floating dresses being photographed in beautiful and exotic sights. My friend replied: “Yes, it is cool, all those faraway places and adventures. But right now I prefer the exploration of the everyday life. When you can find something that makes your life here and now more wonderful. Like when you taught me once to enjoy staying at home, infusing it with chill-out music and relaxed attitude. This is more interesting to me than traveling”.
That got me thinking. How often I see pictures of sandy beaches with palms, or canyons and waterfalls, or old Italian streets with colorful houses and think: “This is the life worth living”. While the everyday life in my city, right now, seems gray and boring in this light. But is it so? Or better say, it is not the matter of proving that thought wrong or right, the question is: is such thinking good for me? Does it make me feel like I want to feel?
Isn’t it a good subject worth exploring? The art of everyday life. Art de vivre, as I like to call it, inspired by the French who gained their fame for knowing how to live the life with ease and pleasure. I want to devote myself to study of this art, as I believe it can be learnt just as all other forms of art. For me it is more than eating breakfast in hipster restaurants and taking photos of shoes, bags and Starbucks cups, or whatever is trendy now among the lifestyle bloggers of Instagram.
Last summer I joined a yoga retreat. Which has been my dream for the couple of years. At last, here I was, in a tiny village in the heart of Croatian island of Hvar. On the first night of retreat, after a dinner and a welcome circle, we were doing the guided meditation. Lying on the stone floor of the terrace, under the stars blinking through the terrace roof, listening to the sounds of the village, so unusual for us, city people. A dog barking in the distance, someone playing football, mosquito buzzing. Listening to the voice of Russelle, our yoga teacher. Guiding our breath and our focus. “Pay attention to this pause between breaths. Something has ended, new hasn’t started yet. It is called Standba”( not sure about the spelling, to me it sounded like “stand by”. Which makes a good sense).
This is when the light bulb went on in my head. THIS IS THE PERIOD IN MY LIFE THAT I AM GOING THROUGH NOW! Something has ended. New hasn’t started yet. Nothing is happening. So don’t rush it.
Outside my window the snow is falling. Such a peaceful moment. It is the first snow of this winter. I live in Norway where winters are long and can start early, with heavy snowfalls in the middle of November. But this winter has been different, mild and snowless. So the snow feels like a good sign right now. Like setting a blank white page in front me, ready for my story.
My story is about new beginnings. It is about a girl finding her voice. Learning to trust it. It is about new dreams. New freedom and new lifestyle. Perfect for the beginning of the new year. I feel like 2017 will be something special in my life (and the horoscopes say the same thing too :)).