Monday, November 9, 2020

That once-in-a-lifetime Safari

It's just over 2 years ago I had the absolute privilege to experience African Wildlife like never before.
Like stepping out of our lodge and slowly walking backwards and in again after having spotted a group of monkeys during what I can only guess was their morning meeting,


being hypnotised by the stripes on a Zebra,



witnessing lions do what they do best,



discovering a love of birds I didn't know I had,


and just contemplating the magnitude of life from a little boat on the Zambesi river with all these magnificent creatures around us. 


I found myself involuntarily singing tunes from Disney's Lion King in my head ... 



and just had to take a photo of myself, a bit like pinching my arm, to capture that it really was me having this experience.
















 It's a wild ride, this thing we call life.

I can't help to think about who I was back then and how far I've come in the two years since. 
Even though of course a safari is a once in a lifetime trip and something you can't possibly be on 
without feeling an enormous sense of wonder and gratitude 
(being with these animals really teaches you how to be present), 
I wasn't in a good place then. 

I wasn't living my life's purpose, I had strayed from my path ... 
and yet I wouldn't have had this experience if I hadn't thrown my own life and dreams to the side for the sake of someone else's,
so I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.


You're exactly where you need to be.

Just like I was exactly where I needed to be then and exactly where I need to be right now. 

Monday, February 3, 2020

A Most Unusual Airbnb



I don't know how useful this post is but JUST in case you ever need a place to stay for a night on your road trip from the South of France to Gotland (or Amsterdam to Copenhagen for that matter)
I know just the place!

This Vardo can be found just north of Hamburg 
in the back of a beautiful garden on a property that has been in the same family for generations 
(think LOTS of interesting treasures and trinkets, everywhere!) 
and a couple of poneys as closest neighbours. 

I don't think I've ever heard and seen so many different types of birds in the same garden. 
It made for a very idyllic awakening in my velvety orange-and-pink bed 💕
 though Hector was understandably very frustrated he wasn't allowed out.





I'm still so proud of myself for going on this solo road trip (with cat).
The next one, back to France, is coming up soon and I'm happy to report that this time I'm a whole lot less anxious and worried.
My trip taught me so much about the power of the mind and how it's so good at making you doubt just about anything.

Don't let it talk you out of the things that make up the best memories in life.

You've got this!  

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

My peaceful home on a high cliff


 Fridhem - Högklint






I've lived in a LOT of different places over the last few years.
My first home away from home was in a dorm at a Hotel Management school in Nîmes, France.
Then it was an apartment I shared with a colleague while on internship in Saint-Tropez.
After that a studio apartment in a Belgian university town, followed by a house I shared with a friend of mine in Gent, also in Belgium.
Then I moved to Sweden and shared an apartment with a boyfriend in Småland before we took the leap and ferry to Gotland where we moved from one place to the next and then one more before we broke up and I lived on my own again (in the tiniest of spaces) for the first time since that studio apartment. 

If I'm losing you here, I'm mostly listing all these places to test my own memory and to keep track, so just bear with me.

From there I moved to what to this day remains my favourite little house at Muramaris, even though it definitely had its flaws, and then back to apartment life in Visby.

Then in 2016 I left my beloved island and swapped it for Harrogate, England after a brief stint co-housing with my cousin in Brussels.

That adventure ended after not even 2 years, which led me to move back to the South of France and back in with my mum, who in the mean time built herself a completely stunning low emission house.

I've made it a habit to document little details of my living spaces over the years,
so naturally, my current little cottage couldn't escape being photographed. 

My cosy winter retreat by the sea. 
How happy I am to be back on Gotland.
I don't regret having left because I actually think I needed to
but there's no denying it.
This is home. 




Friday, December 13, 2019

How do you fill your cup?





I am so privileged to have a winter all to myself.
A winter in a place of my choice, in a cottage I rented all by myself where I get up when I want, eat what I want, watch what I want and go to bed when I want.
I haven't lived like this in many years and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

And yet I can feel a little weird about it at times.
Am I selfish?
Should I do more?
Should I do more for others?

But then I remind myself that you can't pour from an empty cup, and that even though my cup doesn't feel empty, it definitely doesn't feel as full as I'd like it to be.
So this time is my time to make sure I can do more and give more of myself in the future.
I have lots of plans and ideas but just not enough energy right now, so it seems.
And that's ok.

I'm taking this time to nourish my body (drinking big glasses of water all day long, remembering to take my supplements, sleeping in as long as my body needs, cooking plant-based meals with lots of colours and flavours ... )
as well as my mind which really really thrives when learning new things. (more about that later I'm sure)

It's not always easy to motivate myself to get out and move every day but a membership at the pool (and sauna!) helps, as well as my camera - my loyal companion on all my walks.

I also find leaving my yogamat out so I step over it on my way to the fridge is super helpful to actually get on it on a regular basis! 😂

I've made a list of things that make my soul happy, and I'm making sure to include at least a couple of those in every day. 💜

One thing I love for example is going through old photos.
I take so many pictures!
They don't necessarily tell a story and often don't make it onto instagram and just occupy space on my external hard drive ... which definitely doesn't make my soul happy, so from now on they will get more space right here!

What makes your soul happy?

xxx

Aina






Monday, November 25, 2019

And so it is





And so it is that I find myself back on the island of my heart.
The place that's been calling me ever since I left.
Where the air smells like home.

A perfect place to reflect.
To rest.
To reconnect.

There's no place like home, they say.
And I can only agree.


Friday, November 15, 2019

The Orion-Hub - a low emission house.




It's a cool but also a slightly strange feeling.
Mum's house is famous!

I'm pretty sure that the text in the images is impossible to read even if you happen to speak French so let me give you the summary:

Mum built a new house. 
It's pretty darn amazing and fits perfectly in between our 4 treehouses and our natural swimming pool.
"Bioclimatique" means that because of the building techniques used the house is extremely energy efficient.

As I lived in this house during the entire summer of 2019 (including 2 heatwaves) I can witness that it stays nice and cool even during the hottest days without any airconditioning, which, according to our architect Bruno Bazire from Trihab, the most important feature any new house should have.




Thank you so much to Nice Matin for this article.
As you can imagine it makes my heart very proud that even Hector got to be in it. 
More images of the house can be found on Trihab's website.