“Into the wild” and what we can learn from that film

“Happiness is Only Real When Shared.”

-Chris McCandless

As you can see on the photos in this blogpost, Switzerland, despite being so organised and clean, can look pretty wild too.

When we went for a walk in Graubünden’s National Park a few weeks back, I felt like really going “into the wild”. Look at these impressive mountains with that first touch of snow on the top. Can you imagine how I felt, walking on a trail amidst these mountains and lots of trees, crossing wild waters (OK, over bridges, but still…) and even spotting some deer and other game. The film “Into the Wild” spontaneously popped up in my head and I turned to my husband to tell him so. In that instant the famous sentence “happiness is only real when shared” got its extra dimension for me.

It’s so true. No matter how happy you are, you are happier when you can share your happiness with others, building up memories together. That is also one of the pains of losing loved ones: shared happy moments can no longer be shared.

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How history influences vocabulary: Meet Hamburg’s “Mahnmal”, St. Nicholas Church

“Memories are not just about the past. They determine our future.”

– Jeff Bridges

“What’s in a name?” is one of Shakespeare’s many famous quotes. When you look at the beautiful German word “Mahnmal” (oh, how I love the alliteration in it) you will agree with me that there is a lot in a name.

A “Mahnmal” is a special sort of monument. It is designed to make people do more than just remember an event or person. Its function is to teach, to awaken awareness, to inspire insight and to appeal to a tolerant attitude towards others. 

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Letting go in order to grow

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.”

 – Hermann Hesse

Next week autumn officially starts. It always fascinates me how nature shows us that letting go is needed in order to grow. How symbolic the falling leaves are.

Somehow, most of us find it difficult to let go, even though we know it is part of life and often a necessary part too.

This week I’d like to share a story with you about a training I had many, many years ago. During this training I was taught the importance of letting go in such a powerful way, that it has helped me ever since. Read on for the full story.

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10 reasons why you should NOT visit the Balkan (but after reading them you will go anyway)

“Don’t make excuses, make something incredible happen in your life right now.”

– Greg Hickman

I spent 4 weeks in different Balkan countries this summer and loved every minute of it. Nature is unspoiled & beautiful, the people friendly & welcoming, the culture rich & diverse, the history abundant & interesting and the weather sunny & warm. I can almost hear you think: “I should go there myself.”

I think you absolutely should, but before you decide to go: Have a look at my list of 10 reasons why the Balkan may NOT be your favourite holiday destination. To be more precisely, have a look at 10 excuses not to go and decide then that they are actual weak excuses and just go to this incredible part of the world.

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Sarajevo’s Romeo & Juliet: the heartbreaking story of Bosko and Admira

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

– Martin Luther King

This summer I have done a backpacking tour with my family through several Balkan countries. Sarajevo was one of many destinations and a city that has stolen my heart.

We had already heard several heartbreaking stories about the Balkan Wars, but the story of Bosko and Admira, also called “Sarajevo’s Romeo and Juliet” hit home full force. Around the same time when I was making plans for a future with my husband, they were making plans for their future too. They wanted to escape the besieged city of Sarajevo but that went very, very wrong.

Read on to find out more about this brave young couple and what all of us can learn from their love story.

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5 novels that will enlighten and ignite you – summer reads 2019

“I wondher why ye can always read a doctor’s bill an’ ye niver can read his purscription.”

– Finley Peter Dunne

With the days being long and light, the weather sunny and warm and my summer holidays around the corner, I am selecting novels to read during the relaxing weeks ahead. When you are keen on reading too, you will love my selection of summer reads.

In all 5 novels, a doctor plays some kind of role (hence the above quote ). And trust me, none of the novels has got the “doctor getting a relationship with the pretty nurse” theme. No, they are far more profound than that and still light enough reads for the summer holidays.

Light reads they may be, but they will certainly enlighten and ignite you! Read on to see which 5 novels are my 2019 summer selection for you (in random order).

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Why positive anchoring is good for you and why I am a fan of Vans.

Shoes: Vans, Trousers: Jacqueline Young, Top: H&M, Jacket: Tally Weijl (this season)

“Love anchors the soul”

I’m a huge fan of Vans. Not because they are very comfortable and go well with many of my outfits, but because I always wear them when I am on holidays. You can imagine that I’m already in a good mood by just putting them on. They function like an anchor for me (and this is not a sailing term!).

Anchoring is something we all use in our lives, simply because there is too much information for our brain to process.  In order to deal with that huge amount of information we delete, distort and generalise information, such that it suits us and our vision on the world.

Anchoring falls into that last category, generalisation. It means that when you see, hear, feel, smell or taste something that you have previously linked to certain actions or feelings, you react on that specific signal instantly. Take stopping for a red traffic light for instance. You see a red light and you instantly stop. Imagine you would think every time you drive your car: “Hey, that traffic light is red, what shall I do?” There is a direct link between seeing the light and your action. In the case of my Vans, I feel happy the moment I put them on, since I have worn them on so many happy occasions. There is a direct link between putting on my Vans and my good mood.

You can make use of this function of the brain in your communication. Teachers often do so and also for non-teachers it is very useful. Read on to find out why and how.

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Blogpost 100! Missed some of these 100? Here is an inspiring top 5 for you!

Skirt: Esprit, Top: Tally Weijl, Bag: H&M, Sunnies: Vögele (all previous seasons)

“Time and reflection change the sight little by little ’till we come to understand.”

– Paul Cezanne

Time flies as we all know. My statistics have shown me that today’s blogpost is number 100! Hard to believe that I have written 100 blogposts in 2 years. It was a good reason to look through some old ones and I love seeing how my blog has developed during this period and also how creative yet consistent I have been.

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3 life lessons learned while learning to sail

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than those you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

-Mark Twain

You know from previous blog posts that I often encourage you, my dear readers, and myself to step out of our comfort zones. Since I walk my talk, I did step out of my own comfort zone during my May break. I went sailing!

Trust me, setting foot on a sailing boat in order to really sail it is way out of my comfort zone. I have the highest respect for the sea (we have recently witnessed its full force on Fuerteventura) and am in awe with the power of the wind.

And you know what the funny thing is? It was a most relaxing holiday. My husband and I spent one week of sailing in the Dutch province of Zeeland, enjoying its natural beauty, the clear waters, small islands and surprise visits of seals and seagulls. Nature was kind to me (moderate windforce), my husband patient with me (an excellent sail instructor) and I had the best of times.

I learned so much in one week and those learnings go far beyond learning to sail and steer a boat…

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