When we visited the home for under 5 year olds my heartstrings were pulled at. Now that I have my own child, it breaks my heart to meet children who are not able to be with their families. I just wanted to pick them all up and give them big hugs.
In a pocket of the country strange and new, distant and odd to me, I felt like I belonged. We were not alone in the west, nor in this country, but rather a part of it.
I never questioned whether it was meant to be - I knew instantly I’d keep the baby, but I felt so alone and scared.
To me, Japan is a country of convenience, politeness, discipline and gorgeous landscapes. It’s the country where napping on the train during the commute is perfectly normal. It’s home to the most polite and helpful people I have ever encountered.
The urban legend claims that for higher houses you need to make a more significant offering. No, it’s not two fetuses. It’s also not a grown llama. Brace yourselves; it’s a human.
We have a proverb in Romania that says: “Even drunk people have their own God.”
Living in a place that was away from the hustle and bustle of the usual tourist spots gave me a greater insight into the Ecuadorian way of life.
We act as if it is normal to say “I am busy” every time somebody asks us how we are.
For a claustrophobic person like me, the concrete jungle was sometimes unnerving when I was unable to see the horizon or orientate myself amongst all the similar buildings.
It is impossible to resist its Andalusian charm, the flamenco, tapas, wine and sun. I love it! Maybe I’ll never return home.
But it turned out that she sent me far enough away and often enough that I became aware of what the vast world had to offer me even if my immediate world seemed so small.
Not only does it bring you out of your comfort zone, but it challenges you in a way that will make you stronger, wiser, and more understanding of the world and other people.
If we tried to do everything our way, we wouldn’t be doing much here, so we are embracing it as much as possible.
With my suitcase rumbling against the cobblestones behind me, we darted through the darkness of hidden alleyways, crossed time-worn bridges and passed glittering canals. Little did I know that Venice already had me under its spell.
Finnish people love their summer and so do I. I enjoyed the long sunny days, bathing in the lake and warming up in their traditional sauna.
There we women were dressed in black abaya from head to toe, a hot and uncomfortable novelty, but we were generously allowed into the glittering, mirror-mosaic interiors of the mosques where rich carpets from wall to wall provided seating for thousands of pilgrims, all of them happy to see us, non-Muslims, in their holiest of places.
There are many benefits to solo travel. For me, topping this list has to be making and following your own schedule.
When I was growing up, my grandfather told me that I was an Irish princess and that I descended from a line of brilliant Irish kings. I believed in this fairy tale until I was old enough to know better, much to my grandfather’s amusement and delight.
Each evening we sat down with iPads, tea, maps and guidebooks, and figured out the route for the next day. In those ten days, we saw so many incredible things that I never ever expected when first setting off.
Each day we went from stages of absolute misery in the mornings as we pulled ourselves up on our aching legs to euphoria as we passed through an ancient ruin site or reached a new peak.
The entire six months were filled with feelings of incredulous awe and appreciation—both of the unparalleled scenes of nature, and a humble appreciation for the daily realities and routines of the people around us.
It’s a jaw-dropping place, with colourful villages clinging to a steep green coast above the crystal-clear Ligurian Sea, but that’s not what made it so special.
On our first night I was so tired from the 33hr door to door travel but I just wanted to cram it all in. Times Square, yellow cabs, hot-dog stands and sky-scrapers that made Auckland buildings look like match-sticks.
I wanted to help them take away amazing memories to cherish and to inspire them to use this experience in everything they did moving forward.
I had always considered myself to be strong and independent. But there’s no way to feel more strong and independent than when you’re wandering through Kadıköy market on the Asian side of Istanbul, solo...