Category: Increased awareness

How music travels

Just like people, music also travels.

I bumped into this wicked interactive map on today, surprisingly made by Thompson.

With a stylish design it shows in a very simple way how music genres evolved and spread over time from Africa to the Caribbean, the US and so on and so forth.

Click on images to make them larger.

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As you can see from the above screenshots it ends with an interesting proof on the massive global development of various electronic music genres of the world today. Oh, internet haven’t you just been the best that could happen to us?

Check the map out in action out here !

Fashion without pollution, please

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I’m thrilled to see the fashion industry trying to take more responsibility for their impacts on the world we live in. The reveals about poor working conditions in textile fabrics in Asia have been going viral, huge corporations have signed codes of conducts for improved practices and high-profiled fashionistas and bloggers are writing about brands that seem to take some extra steps.

Good!

Now Greenpeace are running a campaign too, and I just saw they had posted this:

Around the world a growing movement of people are using their creativity, design skills and purchasing power to demand fashion without pollution. United by a shared belief that the clothes we wear should carry a story we can be proud of, activists, bloggers, designers, scientists and models have been able to convince big brands including Zara, Mango, Valentino, UNIQLO and H&M to commit to toxic-free fashion. There is still a long way to go, but our successes so far prove that when we work together, big brands are forced to stand up and deliver.

Here is the video to the campaign:

 

You love fashion too? And consider yourself a concerned consumer? Then please engage and help spread the message!

Why is it difficult to say how we feel?

Not everyone finds expressing their feelings easy or having it come naturally. While the stereotype is that men have the hardest time expressing their emotions, everyone at one time or another in their life may find it difficult to say how they feel.

Learning why you have trouble expressing your feelings can go a long way into changing that behavior. Saying how you feel is something you can learn how to do, just as readily as you can learn how to fix a faucet or mend a button on a shirt. Here are ten common reasons why people find it difficult to express their emotions to someone else.

The above introduction is taken from a smart little article I just found. As I find this topic very interesting and think many of us can relate to it, I wanted to share it here on my blog. Please note that 10 reasons why it is difficult to say how we feel is written by John M. Grohol, Psy.D., and taken from a website called PsychCentral.com

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1. Conflict Phobia

You are afraid of angry feelings or conflicts with people. You may believe that people with good relationships should not engage in verbal “fights” or intense arguments. In addition, you may believe that disclosing your thoughts and feelings to those you care about would result in their rejection of you. This is sometimes referred to as the “ostrich phenomenon” — burying your head in the sand instead of addressing relationship problems.

2. Emotional Perfectionism

You believe that you should not have feelings such as anger, jealousy, depression, or anxiety. You think you should always be rational and in control of your emotions. You are afraid of being exposed as weak and vulnerable. You believe that people will belittle or reject you if they know how you really feel.

3. Fear of Disapproval and Rejection

You are so terrified by rejection and ending up alone that you would rather swallow your feelings and put up with some abuse than take the chance of making anyone mad at you. You feel an excessive need to please people and to meet what you perceive to be their expectations. You are afraid that people would not like you if you expressed your thoughts and feelings.

4. Passive-Aggressive Behavior

You pout and hold your hurt or angry feelings inside instead of disclosing what you feel. You give others the silent treatment, which is inappropriate, and a common strategy to elicit feelings of guilt (on their part).

5. Hopelessness

You are convinced that your relationship cannot improve no matter what you do. You may feel that you have already tried everything and nothing works. You may believe that your spouse (or partner) is just too stubborn and insensitive to be able to change. These positions represent a self-fulfilling prophecy–once you give up, an established position of hopelessness supports your predicted outcome.

6. Low Self-Esteem

You believe that you are not entitled to express your feelings or to ask others for what you want. You think you should always please other people and meet their expectations.

7. Spontaneity

You believe that you have the right to say what you think and feel when you are upset. (Generally, feelings are best expressed during a calm and structured or semi-structured exchange.) Structuring your communication does not result in a perception that you are “faking” or attempting to inappropriately manipulate others.

8. Mind Reading

You believe that others should know how you feel and what you need (although you have not disclosed what you need). The position that individuals close to you can “divine” what you need provides an excuse to engage in non-disclosure, and thereafter, to feel resentful because people do not appear to care about your needs.

9. Martyrdom

You are afraid to admit that you are angry, hurt, or resentful because you do not want to give anyone the satisfaction of knowing that her or his behavior is unacceptable. Taking pride in controlling your emotions and experiencing hurt or resentment does not support clear and functional communication.

10. Need to Solve Problems

When you have a conflict with an individual (i.e., your needs are not being met), avoiding the associated issues is not a functional solution. Disclosing your feelings and being willing to listen without judgment to the other is constructive.

Reference:

Burns, D.D. (1989). The feeling good handbook. New York: William Morrow

Getting spiritual in San Cristobal

Our relationship is in its early stage and yet, San Cristobal de las Casas fascinates me a lot.

There’s something with the energy. A special, like an increased spiritual one, energy. These things are difficult to define, let alone to explain, but it’s as if you can sense spirituality in the peaceful, awake and smiling local people, and on the streets among the old cars and worn out, colorful houses.

Perhaps indigenous history is responsible, or perhaps it’s the surrounding nature. Maybe even the bohemian expats living here does their share? Either way, it’s been a long time since I sensed so many kind and interesting personalities around me, overall good energy around any corner and knowledge in every wrinkly face passing me on the street.

photo cred: thefamilywithoutborders.com

photo cred: thefamilywithoutborders.com

There is undoubtedly an extra touch of spirituality in the many foreigners here too, many of which seem to be unable to leave this place. Most of the foreigners I’ve met in San Cristobal call themselves artists, yet aren’t interested in talking about anything related to ambitions in that regard. They’re simply into the making love, making art sort of lifestyle, as well as making sure to detach as much as possible from the capitalistic world view out there.

By the way, defining spirituality I like to think that:

 it’s an individual practice that has to do with achieving a sense of peace and purpose. It also relates to the process of developing beliefs around the meaning of life and connection with others.

What’s inspiring with people like this, is that none of them know where they’ll go from here. It’s just not a topic. They rather show you how much they’re in love with this very moment of life, focusing on what happens here and now around them. Which – hands down – isn’t an attitude people overwhelm you with when closer to societies highly impacted by the rat race mentality.

So, why does some places have this effect on people? Or why does some places attract these people? Or even; how do people’s attitude towards life effect a place or society?

Pondering over these questions quickly opens for the chicken and egg argument, I guess. And as always there are several factors to take into consideration when reflecting over subjects like these. Walking around in San Cristobal, and even while writing this, I often ask myself if the ‘spirituality’ is something everyone senses. Like, as something presently stronger than in other places?

When out traveling, I often sense it in places where nature is more present and important to people’s lives. And we all know nature is full of the purest energy. But so are human beings. And personally, I’ve always been more people-oriented than nature and landscape-oriented.

Thus, for some reason I assume the kind and relaxed energy I sense in San Cristobal is put in place by the people living here. But again, it’s obviously also adopted by the many visitors, and perhaps that’s how the place has been shaped over time. Various residents Ive talked to also claim that the mountains surrounding the village represents important spots where influential and spiritual individuals have lived for decades, perhaps centuries.

photo cred: google images

photo cred: google images

Apparently there are a couple of places where people arrange energetic and spiritual events open for all to attend. I’ve always wanted to try something like that so I’ll definitely go up there one of these days, hopefully to find interesting ways to treat whatever topics that concern me. Maybe it can be a good way to find the tools to stop worrying about some things, and be more confident about how I feel. A helpful way to enforce a beautiful inner journey, which I always find equally important as the outer journey we’re constantly on when traveling.

Because although we tend to forget, a journey is much more than seeing things and ticking of destinations. It’s equally much about being on an inner journey, developing as individuals and moving on with more knowledge, reflections and tolerance about the world and people in it. Though that’s not always something all places we visit evoke in us.

When traveling solo I think the above concept is even more predominant. Due to the simple fact that one has to trust strangers even more in addition to learn how to spend time with oneself. Both of which are good lessons for self development.

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one of the main streets of San Cristobal

Honestly, I didn’t expect anything special from this place, but quickly got that wonderful feeling that sneaks up to us when living now and then: that this is the place to be. There is no other place I’d like to be, right here, right now.

It be a coincidence or not, two beautiful souls I’ve met in San Cristobal by now have said things to me about this very topic without even knowing me or whatever I struggle with. Separately they’ve told me they think I’m in the right place to find out of things. Quite randomly they´ve both even claimed that people like me has to confidently live more through the feelings, as opposed to through the thoughts.

Fair enough. But what does that really mean?

I´ll continue thinking about that for a while, and hopefully Ill get more input on the matter as time goes and Ill get to know more people with more views on it. Right now Ill run out to grab some tortillas in my spiritual neighbourhood. 😉

Peace, J

Edit two months later: If you started reflecting about the advice the two men had given me as mentioned above (regarding living more through our feelings), I´ve now written something about it here.

Orphanage tourism – an issue of concern!

For a long time concerns have been raised in the tourism industry regarding orphanages attracting tourists as visitors and volunteers, and like I wrote about some months ago, the respected tour agency Responsibletravel.com pioneered when they took action and removed tour products that entailed orphanage visits among their holiday packages. The campaign got good media coverage, and it’s delightful to see the topic being on the agenda for important events like the World Travel Market.

While these are very good news and an important step for the fight against a complex issue, it’s also true that the number of orphanages in the developing world and volunteering projects for want-to-become volunteers is booming. Therefore, as one can see with other issues of concern, it takes a lot more awareness-raising campaigns and calls for action in order for travelers to get educated and the private sector and national governments to act.

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In that regard Tourism Concern just published a post, prior to an up-coming campaign against orphanage tourism, asking whether volunteers are fueling this unethical practice. In the article they point out that while nobody doubts the good intention of the donors, travellers, and volunteers who give time or money to orphanages, they still believe that orphanage tourism, and volunteerism are fuelling the demand for “orphans”, and so driving the unnecessary separation of children from their families.

Furthermore by stating that the number of orphans in Cambodia has halved – yet the number of orphanages has doubled – 75% of children in these institutions are not in fact orphans. In Ghana the figure is as high as 90% they tell the audience how important it is that they engage with this topic, even if that means just spreading information about the issue.

So please do, and while you’re on it, please also sign this petition to stop unethical practices within this field.

Mezcal (2) – Me (0)

I don’t know if it’s a personal record, but the truth is I’ve been in Mexico for two days and already gone drunk to bed twice. One thing is to blame for that: The Mezcal.

And I speak about good Mezcals. The ones that trustworthy Mexicans recommend are equally good to drink as Tequilas. The first encounter I had with Mezcal while in the country it’s from – Mexico – happened the night I arrived to Mexico DF.

A Norwegian friend of mine put me in contact with a Mexican girl she knows that offered me to stay in her flat for some days. Fortunate as I am with my friends, the welcome committee this Mexican girl put together couldn’t be better for a slightly nervous and emotional (after saying goodbye to everybody in Canada) girl starting the third big solo travel of her life.

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Maria and her boyfriend were up waiting for me with big smiles on their faces at 1130pm when I arrived with a taxi from the airport. So was their tiny cat Fer, that welcomed me by running wildly from one living room corner to another, stopping only to look at me from behind the sofa. Considering I’m probably the biggest woman he has ever seen, I don’t blame her.

Maria showed me what was going to be “my room for as long as I needed” where I left my things before the couple insisted we had a beer and a Mezcal. We sat down in the brown sofa next to the wall covered with a full book shelf. I spotted mostly academic content in genres like politics, history, anthropology and human rights.

Part from books, shelfs in the living room was decorated with all kinds of ancient Maya sculptures and some old records. Maria’s boyfriend surprised me with a serious interest in Mezcal and showed me his selection. As if wine tasting, we smelled the different types while he taught me their attributes. Then Maria came back with a plate of chopped apples and three types of chilli powder to eat in between the sipping.

“Remember to only sip the Mezcal. What you guys do in Europe with the Tequila shots is something you’ve invented. … And it’s dangerous!” they told me.

I agreed to that and confirmed I also had some drunken-on-tequila-stories in the bag. I don’t know why foreigners started shotting Tequila or Mezcal, but it may have to do with the taste of the bad variants we use. Because quite frankly, a good Tequila or Mezcal doesn’t give you the chills every time you take a small sip.Besides the fruit-on-the-side trick is very smart. Mexicans are of world class with regard to mixing sweet and spicy, bitter and hot.

“Let’s have a beer and a mezcal” led to at least the triple meanwhile we spent two hours of intense chatting about their study times in the UK (from where the girl knows my friend), kidnapping in Mexico, Human Right issues, Indigenous people, the purpose of my journey, advices for the city and had plenty of quesadillas.

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We went to bed and I remember they said that the best about it is apparently that a good one doesn’t give you a hungover…

Now two days later, I can confirm this is a fact that is 50% true.

Because although it’s true I woke up fresh as a cucumber yesterday (and bragged about it all day, which probably resulted in chugging it again on my second night), I woke up looking like this today:

 

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Hello there..

At first it took me a while to memorize were I got that necklace…

Then I remembered it all! An elder gentleman (supposedly a bank director) gave it to me during a karaoke session we both ended up in yesterday night. Randomly I bumped into him, his colleague and another lady that were out for some after office drinks.

I was on my way to a Couchsurfer meeting in a bar when I passed by them and for no specific reason – other than enjoying random encounters – I accepted their loud offer to have a drink with them.

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As all things in life: One thing led to the other, and here I’m sitting slightly fringed out with a cup of coffee, yet very happy to be two interesting Mezcal experiences richer.

Some might argue that I’m not being careful enough when I bump into people like this, but trust that I definitely take my precautions. Part of my nature since I was a kid is that I keep running into random people. And I love it. In this last case I could have just left the drunken bank men after a little while in order to make it to the Couch surfing thing, but as I had no commitment there either – other than getting to know people – I somehow felt that the meeting I already had with the loud Mexicans was interesting.

It was especially nice to hear all the stories from the oldest man’s life. He had the saddest looking puppy eyes in the middle of a very wrinkly face, and told me he had survived three marriages. After two kids and ten slightly dramatic years with one lady he went through a hard separation before he fell in love again with a much younger woman. Her dream was to get kids, but apparently she wasn’t fertile so they had to go through a long process of applications and agreements for adoption. When their adopted kids were 4 and 6 the mother got cancer and died within four months, leaving my old friend a single father of two at the age of 55.

He told me that to get through it he had to take one day at the time, and that now looking back, the experience has changed his way of seeing love and life. To the better. Now, twelve years older he is the proud father of four and step-dad of two. With glittering eyes he showed me the pictures of everybody.

Then we talked for another hour before insisted on adopting me. At least being here for me no matter what. He was like: If you ever need something in Mexico, Ill help you out. After all this I see you as a daughter.

True story. Though it might have been the Mezcal that spoke of course..

Anyway, meetings like this is what makes traveling so beautiful and interesting. It forces you to trust people and listen, to see the world with other eyes.. And even more so when you travel alone. Which is what I love about it!

And I say that without recommending that people drink too much Mezcal, of course. For Christ sake, CONSUME RESPONSIBLY guys. Ill tell myself that from now on too, as ever before.

Still fascinates me though… That the below plant can create what it can in people. 😉

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photo cred: tripadvisor.ca

So much for the Nobel Peace prize, Obama

To wake up in a hotel in the United States of America this past week, watching CNN while eating breakfast is one of the saddest affairs so far on this journey. First of all because I’ve got reminded how full of shit CNN is with its twisted cold-hearted journalism. But most importantly it has been sad because Syria is on the agenda. And we’re told it’s bad.

Zoomed in pictures of kids and adults that supposedly are victims of chemical weapon attacks in Syria stream into the room where we are sitting with our bowls of cereals. If the pictures are real these are awful news from a fucked conflict in need of help. But the pictures aren’t what’s saddest. What is saddest is that they are accompanied by news reporters’ repeated concerns about the situation in Syria and arguments about the need for the US to “take action.” They try to convince us that because hundreds of kids are supposedly murdered with chemical weapons, the U.S army has to engage and attack the country. In order to protect future victims and calm the situation. Come again?

It all makes me sick and Ive struggled to finish my cereals.

Then again, when searching for less biased media sources and even walking the streets here in San Francisco there seems to be a rather aggressive opposition to the congresspersons’ pending decisions these days. We’ve seen posters around about upcoming protests in San Francisco and even headliners of newspaper telling Obama to take a chill pill. This all delights me, yet somehow also surprises me. You may think I’m ignorant, but more people then I’d expect seem aware that this whole fake “protect ourselves from the middle East enemies” -rhetoric is just a puppet show made up by greedy capitalists with their oil needy straws.

Today I even came across this video clip that has gone very viral on social media.

Coming from Fox News (!!) it’s a complete MUST SEE! The channel that always have applauded whatever war an American Republican president suggest to start or engage with, is now against it. And they even come up with some good, almost humane, reasons. Of course the presenter here isn’t not asking complex questions like Goodman from Democracy Now or alike does. It’s a lot simpler than that. However, what is so appealing with this (and probably why it has gone so viral) is that even your grandmother can understand the speech!

Please just watch and spread!

And to Mr. President, here’s a little message from me: You should have done it instantly but it’s not too late to turn. GIVE BACK that Nobel peace medal you were rewarded! NOBODY thought you’d deserve it anyway, and now you’ve proved it again, no matter what your final decision will be on Syria after this week.