Wednesday, 18 September 2019

"always" chasing your dreams - what is life about?

Let me tell you one thing, readers. One life advice if you are like me and think „ain’t no shame in looking for a better world“ (as said Arthur Morgan in Red Dead Redemption 2; incredibly dark game by the way, and it’s hard to set the lightness to something brighter and easier on the eyes).

Life is and will always be greener on the other side.

Oh, you know that already, is what you say. Yeah, I know. But few people actually realize what that means (I am one of those who did not get it until just recently). It means: you will always be looking for something better somewhere else. Always. It’s a mindset. You will think of that time you spent during your travels and how you want to go back to it. You will think of a long left home or lover. You will think of a former work place even. Raise your hand if you are not guilty, will you?

And you will think of a life that you have never lived. Why do we crave new experiences so much that we think they are worth leaving everything we have? It’s like chasing the American dream over and over. Grazing, grazing and then leaving for a new place to graze more. Then maybe realizing there is nothing to graze. Are we all nomads maybe?

But don’t go. Don’t go if you are not ready to encounter disappointment and having much less than you have now - and being ready to crave what you have right now in this moment. Because you will, you will crave what you had. You will crave the security that you have right now later, or you will crave the sense of adventure later if you have it now. Can we ever free ourselves from these cravings of destroying our own lives?

The real question is maybe: when will we live the lives that Eckhart Tolle tells about?

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

travel is but a mirror - do you really need to look at yourself that many times?

Readers! Do you know what I am currently doing (of course besides writing this blog, haha, yes that was so funny)?
I am doing what I wanted to do for a long time. I am doing what I painfully regretted not yet having done while in Vietnam. I had so much to do in Vietnam that I suddenly remembered all the things I wanted to do. Okay, to be honest, I kind of also wanted to do what I did in Vietnam but... it turned out different than what I expected it to be and with much less free time in a day.
Right now what I am doing is writing a book. The idea came to me in just a random moment. I had random (tv and video game) inspirations and I just started getting them down. And now I push myself to keep it going. It’s an idea. It’s a start. But most of all, it is doing something that I was meant to do.

 Kabukicho is still my bitch no matter what & I felt like a queen staying in a hotel with this view on it

Funny story, I wanted to go for a trip to the US this summer and I saved September for it. Originally I thought I could go even in August but then I did not manage to finish writing my paper early enough to leave early.
September comes around and I am doubting myself. Then I am like - hey whatever. Let’s get the visa and make it happen. There I go, get my visa (well that ESTA thing anyway), want to book hostel and flight and realize my bank account is locked and I might not be able to access my credit card. Fast forward some phone calls, some more IT problems and me having to write a letter to get the account unlocked again, it takes more than a week to unlock it again.
Even though I reserved the hostel, I decided to use the free cancellation option. The fact that I was not 100% sure I could use my credit card (when I know I need it), already stressed me out. What’s more, I had asked friends to meet me where I go - big mistake, sorry friends. The thing is I try to please my friends and often (though not with all of them) end up not having fun myself when I please them. And then when I don’t please them, usually it’s hard to agree with anything with me (because damn, I am a loner and I need a lot of time doing stuff alone for some reason. Or doing the things I want to do. But some things, really, I need to do alone).

I felt autonomy slipping through my fingers. What’s more, I hated the idea of cramming sight-seeting with friends and running around like a chicken with its head cut off for several days around a place that I would hardly get to know because - let’s face it, if you go to places alone, you notice your surroundings way more. Please do not take it personally my friends, it’s just a loner travel thing.

But when I thought of going alone to the US, I still did not feel it. First of all two weeks seemed the longest I could go. This is my last long break and I could go one month if I really really wanted to. But doubts clouded my way. And I started to feel I would get bored over there.
I will be honest: home is the only place where I do not get bored. I love home. But travels? I usually get bored. Unless I am staying in a hotel. But then I don’t really travel, I just stay in a relaxing hotel far away from home and pay a lot for it.
That’s what happened with Japan. To be honest, coming back to Japan felt like coming back home. I don’t know why. Some things seemed to annoying in the beginning ... but eventually, it’s always like coming back home. Japan is home to me, probably because I came there first almost 10 years ago and stayed so many times and always so long. Tokyo is my home. The people all seem familiar. Just as when I come back to Germany.


Shirahama beach in Shimoda, Japan, where I went for a day trip

They say eat sushi when you are at the beach but I really had to recover from this one. The assortment was not for me.

I was only two weeks in Tokyo this summer (August), and even that felt extremely short. But then again, Vietnam felt short too (and exhausting).

I remember when I was in LA last year. It was new to me and I honestly liked some of the encounters I made. The encounters seem really worth it. But I was there only for a week and somehow I really really wish I would have stayed longer. Even two weeks do not cut it.

Only got instagram pictures fromLA because on a trip to Malaysia in May 2019 my phone was stolen (photos lost)

In many ways though, LA felt like Germany. The people I met were spectacular - but the feeling was at times very European or German. All the stores seemed the same, the food was similar (only worse) and without the people it all did not seem so great. And if I don’t want to go for the place, it only makes sense to stay longer. I still dream of staying at least 3 weeks over there.... but with my scheduel right now and me being lazy to do the study work I have to do, I am not sure if and when I will make it. But as I once gave as an advice here: do not fear time. Keep looking at your goals.

As for travel itself, doesn’t it feel super overrated? I read all these people feel so inspired by travelling but I have yet to find a person who painted a great painting or wrote a book worth reading about their travels.
Do you know what the most awesome book about travels is that I read? Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. And that man did not even travel!
Gaugin? Remember when he went to Polynesia and all the paintings he did were mainly of the Polynesia he imagined and not the colonalized he lived in? Yeah. Poor dude, didn’t have to got there and die in the end, he just had to use his mental images and paint.

Now Steve Jobs got inspired when travelling. Oh hell yeah, that makes a lot of sense to me because commercial travel goes hand in hand with ideas for commercial business. But where’s the art in that?
I have never heard of anyone doing anything inspiring or great art or anything to ease the Weltschmerz because of their travel experiences. But please, prove me wrong. Maybe I am just trying to prove myself right here for cancelling the trip and there is people who got inspired by travel to do something big and meaningful. But people like the Dalai Lamah, Gandhi, or Martin Luther King? Or Jesus? You can answer that question yourself.

To be honest, being home feels better than any trip I think. I haven’t felt good on most trips for the past few years. I kept pushing myself out of my comfort zone but even when I was out of my comfort zone, most of the time (70-80%) I thought I would rather be home because life is not so much different there (still very happy for the great encounters in the US though).
We all long for something, but all that travel can do is make us look in the mirror to see if we are all dolled up for nothing. Do you really need to stare into that mirror again? Do you really have to constantly check your looks that much? Don’t you think it’s time to focus on something more real than commercial travel? (Again, maybe I am only telling myself that.)

Can we stop making it look like travel is the path to enlightment and self-finding? Because it can be, in a Siddhartha way, but you gotta do much much more than just travel. And you will have to make it much less commercial and more conneted to yourself. While, you see, I usually get stressed out by my outer world to do and experience things too much to actually sit down and work on myself while I travel. So what’s the point, honestly? It seems like you will almost always be that chicken who runs with its head off... unless maybe you already made that place you visit a home.

Friday, 21 June 2019

to the moon twice & back (Japan, Vietnam and the journey so far)

Wow. So many things happened. And why is it always late at night that I want to get back to blogging again?

To be honest I wanted to write this post about deciding to not go back to Japan anymore and being happy with it (I even had in mind to link this awesome Iggy Azalea video to it). But I am not so sure anymore. Life seems to be just about... going on with your life at times. And more often than not, you will want to go back to things because of nostalgia.

Though I do not support some of the things T.I. sings about lol

I miss doing make-up more and wearing pretty clothes (mostly the clothes, I do make-up here too, a lot, haha). And the opportunities to wear pretty clothes and make up.
But to be honest, there is so many things I do not miss. Extreme objectification (Japanese men being abnormally crazy about boobs and anime girls... and of course anime girl boobs). The constant bland conversations. And I am not sure if that was Japan or not, but I also had some health problems and I swear I could see it in my face.

I still don’t get why my face always got so puffy in Japan after some years of living there and what causes me these deep scary breakouts when I go back like in February this year (right picture)

Meanwhile my face and only very minor breakouts in Germany

Meanwhile - well, a bit random but - flawless skin in Ho Chi Minh City (right; left is industrial zone in a suburb. but I mean it. Flawless. Maybe it's the holiday/novelty effect though. Also love durian since I had it in Malaysia. Only can't eat too much of it or else I get sick again lol)

Still I wanted to go back countless times. And that’s not only to get my new glasses properly adjusted again (the tiny nose part broke and a friend helped me to replace them but did not get them adjusted to my face yet - and totally scared I will break it again if I adjust the nose part myself again).

Though I have had my phases with being back in Germany, I try to remind myself that you can always change your life. And being here for now is not so bad. I took up the studies I wanted to do (Master’s) and got to go on a EU supported project that was completely sponsored. It was quite tiring but it was nothing compared to the brainless Japanese university project. Which surprised me a little but well, the EU was kind of behind it for the most part, so maybe not that surprising.
Some Saigon (HCMC) impressions

And the industrial zone suburb next to it

While being in Vietnam, I realized I still had so many things that I wanted to do. The project was maybe way smaller than I imagined - and so are fieldtrips. They are way more ‘natural’ and not really as exciting as one would expect (God, I got sick while being in the industrial zone. Saigon/HCMC was surprisingly clean compared to it.) And while the project was good on its own, I can only hope it was bringing me a step towards where I want to be. And I suppose that is: no mediocre.