Tuesday, 19 November 2013

End of an Era

London, my beloved city of London, is changing. She is maturing, distancing herself from her days of late nights in establishments that once upon a time were the very centre of Snakebites and flirtatious encounters of youth in heat.

In recent weeks and months, sudden news of unsuspecting closedowns have come as a surprise to this now-once-upon-a-time-resident-but forever-a-Londoner-at-heart. 

London is a city that brings out the nostalgia in me and as memories pour down on me my face lights up with joy. I have wonderful memories of good times with friends, solitary times with a grande latte in one hand and a wrinkled book in another, and beautiful summer days with my then boyfriend and now husband.

It's the city where I watched my first Rugby Union World Cup match in 2004, where I watched a moving performance from the cast of Les Miserables, and where I lived in a beautiful semi-attached brick house in North Finchley.

It's where I got my first real job as a professional and where I fell in love with the man who is now my partner in life.

I never feel like an outsider in the city. London is home to anyone who wants to make it a home, and who wants to lead a life full of beauty and intrigue. It is a multicultural city in the deepest sense of the word. Residency is not dependent on birthright, race, gender, sexuality, religion, and overall, cultural background. 

To be a Londoner is to live in the city and love it with a tender heart.

But despite the city's exuberant spirit and heart of a wild rose, an era is indeed coming to an end. The era I knew to be the London of my bursting youth is slowly disappearing.

In 2003 and 2004 I got to know London for a few months and I immediately felt a connection to the city. However, at the time, I wasn't quite ready to stick around for the summer as I wanted to spend the summer far away from the cityscape on a beautiful little island.

Then in 2005, I was ready to make a deeper commitment to the city and returned to find a proper professional job and proper place to live. With both goals accomplished (and while accomplishing them) I so enjoyed my life in the city that never sleeps. 

As before, I frequented my usual beverage establishments from previous years while discovering new ones along the way.

An old-time favourite remained to be the Walkabout. Yes, it could be bit cheesy at times. But maybe, just maybe, it was the slice of cheese that made a night out at the Walkie in Temple, Shaftesbury Avenue and even the one in Covent Garden, such a carnival. The Temple was my absolute favourite. The mood was light but amicable, and the nights were a mix of youthful enthusiasm and liquid happiness. 

Much to my surprise, news of the original Walkie in Shepherd Bush and the Covent Garden one, reached my ears early this year. I hope the Temple one won't be met with the same fate but who knows, perhaps the face of London is changing and a new chain of international bars will be the new hangout for the natives of the nations down under, as well as everyone else.

Even more disappointingly is the shocking news that the Slug and Lettuce in Fulham is closing its doors. The reason it is particularly upsetting is the fact that it holds a special memory of a night I'll never forget. 

After a couple of months of convincing myself I was not interested in my now husband as anything more than a friend, I had to catch my breath when an attractive female showed him the interest I had not   allowed myself to do. Thankfully, he picked up on my sudden burst of realisation and we've been together ever since. 

We have always talked about going back to the Slug and Lettuce for a snakebite or two when we are in London, but it simply never happened and I suppose it's too late now.  The memory lives on whether the Slug and Lettuce is open or not. It just would have been something special to return if only for one night.

Being a young person in London with family an airplane crossing away, it is the friends who assume the support role of a family and that is enough in a city where life is about discovering your identity and have an adventure.

The blue house (not the house with the blue door if you catch my meaning) in Notting Hill continues to be my dream house in the city. Photo by JB.

Flat sharing, Sunday sessions, weekend trips out of the city and even to the mainland, riding the night bus home, and experiencing a truly serendipitous encounter with a man who literally comes from the other side of the world are just among a few fond memories I cherish oh so much.

Granted that the last surprise turned out to be a South African richer in kindness and patience than any man I'd ever met before (despite my having frequented an Aussie bar over the years, and yes, scoping out a few native men while at it) is truly the most beautiful chapter in my London story. 

Portabello Road is as charming in autumn as it is in the height of summer. Photo by JB.
Perhaps, as we have grown into a new life together and learned a great deal since about the people we are and want to be, the city of London is changing too. Perhaps, it is time for a new chain of bars to be the place of legends for a new generation of twenty-somethings in search of adventures. 

Change is, after all, the natural rhythm of life... 




Sunday, 17 November 2013

Lightning and Snow

In the wee hours of an enchanting wintery morning, the residents of my quiet borough were woken up abruptly by a rare phenomenon. A lightning struck at the rooftop of Hotel Saga, one of the more established hotels in the city, striking an aerial and causing temporary breakdown in a radiotelephone network.

The encounter caused a roaring explosion heard in several boroughs in the city and certainly caught my attention. We can see a section of the hotel and the rooftop from our bedroom window and had the blinds been up, we'd actually seen the occurrence for ourselves. At the very least, I would have seen the flicker of light in the distance.

Hotel Saga in the background. Photo by JB.
But I only heard the lightning strike from the other side of my blinds. Nonetheless, it was an extraordinary way to jumpstart the day (not that I didn't go back to sleep…).

It was simply the perfect start to a perfect winter day.

The perfect snowfall - just enough to light up the world. Photo by JB.
And as winters go, I wouldn't mind a mild but a snowy winter season like that of today. 

As is to be expected, I was reluctant to retire from the comfort of my cozy home on this cold winter day. At roughly 10 o'clock in the morning, I could no longer avoid the dreaded first toilet-break for my adorable dog Emma. It was surprisingly refreshing to step out into the bright morning and let her do her thing. There are times when the weather is not so perfect and I have rushed her to finish as quickly as she can, but this morning it was lovely to step out and feel the sun's warm rays.

It was still cold and as Sunday mornings go, it's always tempting to do as little as possible - no matter how perfect a day is, the cold always comes as a surprise.

But when I finally did leave my warm bubble, it was more than worth it.

My borough Vesturbær on this beautiful Sunday afternoon. Photo by JB.
A dog takes more pleasure from playing in the snow than us humans are ever capable of doing. My Emma's thick and fuzzy fur is warm and soft. She is not restricted to the layers that I pile on as the days grow colder and is unafraid to roll in the soft snow without feeling the cold on her paws. She so loves the cold snow and devours it every time she takes a bite from the frozen grounds.

Her fascination with the world, the way she holds her head up high no matter how strong is the wind, or how the snow flakes blow in her cute Labrador Retriever face, is illuminating and a gesture to actually look out into the world.

Life in little Reykjavík - ever-so-slightly enhanced. Photo by JB. 
Each season is magical in a unique way. Winter is always going to be cold in the northernmost capital of the European continent, and at times, exquisite beyond belief. The snow lights up the dark winter days and the mood changes. Even the fading plants glow on the snowy grounds and the whole world is a striking contrast to the grayish clouds above. It is as if the world is draped in a transcendent veil.

In the cold snowfall, all exposed flesh is unsheltered from the cold and the cheeks turn red while my Emma's fur is nearly as white as the snow. A thin set of gloves no longer suffices.  

Wool gloves with fleece interior is what it takes to survive a cold Sunday afternoon...

...and probably not a bad idea for tomorrow's -5°C as the car windscreen won't clear itself.

Emma's playground. Photo by JB.  
The month of November is never more appealing than on days like today.  Despite having to get used the early onset of darkness, the daylight hours are worth enjoying in this very first month of authentic winter.

And if it weren't for my dog, I'd probably miss out on days like these. And that would be the real shame. 
   


   

Monday, 4 November 2013

EverLasting Impressions...

Iceland is a peculiar place to visit…

The landscape is extraordinarily beautiful. On a cold day the pure crispy air strikes a sharp blow that sends vibration throughout the whole body. The willful spirit that dwells in the depth of this enigmatic land is never more striking but on such exquisite days.


A beautiful Sunday afternoon in the Reykjanes Peninsula
On such a day, greeting or bidding farewell to Iceland, is a lasting memory like no other. Journeying through the landscape at Reykjanes Peninsula is indeed a journey as vibrant as a classic Van Gogh draped in wintery array.

The orange glow of the sun spreads majestically over the horizon in the late afternoon and casts a spell on travelers passing through the lunar landscape.




The romantic in me is tempted by Lady Temptress's sensational introduction to the world of golden dawn and dusk paired with winter's silver dust drifting in the wind. I am constantly amazed how the two contrasts, the morning glow and the long night, meet halfway in the most magical of moments.

The vast space of nothingness separating the capital city and the Keflavík International airport is no wasteland despite the gloom of November rain or the wild North Atlantic wind hurling across the ancient frozen lava fields.



It's a world beyond the grasp of human existence, wild and ravishing, yet cool and dry, even soft in-between the sharp raven-black lava rock. 

All photos by Júlíana Björnsdóttir
...Iceland is truly a strange place... 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

To my people...and the highland we shared...

On the journey of life, the most significant events usually involve people. Sometimes the journey we had originally planned comes to a halt and we abandon it  for a temporary detour. A detour is by nature  a turn off the chosen path. 

It's never easy to abandon a path that invokes passionate response for one less aspiring. Hard times drive us off the chosen path, pushing us further and further away from the path of dreams, while pushing us even harder to get back on the right path again.

But the experiences we have on the detour count too. What keeps us going on the detour is more than anything good people, people who are on the right path in life and people who too are on a detour in life.

A couple of months ago I ran out of luck in my life and drifted off my chosen path only to find myself on a detour. The detour was brief. Driven by determination to rise from the ashes, I found my way again, and soon return to my path of words where I do belong. New exciting challenges fill me with hope once again, and the very moment the call came, I felt my spirit burst from joy and experienced a sense of personal victory over the hardship of previous months.

But despite the remarkable opportunity I now seize with all my heart's desires, I look back with a sense of admiration for the people who up until the night before last, were my companions and colleagues, people who are all in their own way remarkable.

This last detour I shall forever refer to as "Autumn Fever". Autumn because it happened this autumn and fever because it resembled at times a feverish flu and at other times a journey of intrigue and even exquisite beauty.

The fluish fever resulted from my adjusting to long hours at the front desk and a shift pattern that simply doesn't work for my body clock. I am a person of regular hours and regular eight hour sleep. I like my weekends free to pursue my academics and spend time with my little family.  

I like to make dinner or watch my husband make dinner. I like to read my book of choice in bed an hour before I plan to actually sleep, and I like to watch non-sensical shows and movies at my leisure.

But for two months or so, I went against the natural currents within and worked unnaturally long hours and shift patterns unnatural to my bodily rhythm. As anyone who's ever worked in the service industry knows, it is a demanding industry and only fit for types for whom the rhythm of the job comes naturally.

Nonetheless, it was an intriguing experience that no doubt taught me more than just about my limitations. My personal inability to work long hours put aside, it was an opportunity to better myself and meet people solid as gold.

The sense of togetherness between the members of staff was unique and when we were all stressed, we worked together to make it all come together.  George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London often came to my mind as stress over flooded the corridors, rooms and the restaurant, but friendships were not broken.  Hard days were made easier with a Latté Macchiato from my favourite waiter whose charm won over the clients in a nanosecond. He moved across the room with an ease of someone in command of the room, and at the end of the night, the guests left satisfied for a night of deep sleep under the stars in the middle of an ancient lava field.

Each and every day began with a half an hour drive from an undisclosed location in the city of Reykjavík to the suburbs at the edge of the city, across the dramatic highland landscape so unique I sometimes wondered if there was indeed such a place to be found anywhere in the world. 

Every working day, the three musketeers rode through the highlands while the sun rose over the mountains in the early hours of the morning. It was the perfect resolution to an imperfect means of transport. 

The three musketeers is my term of endearment for my friends and colleagues who will continue to ride across the highlands with my replacement. Yes, it was not the job of my dreams and I look forward to starting my new job, but once in a while, on a beautiful winter day, I might miss riding into the sunrise in companionship of friends.

On my second to last day in the job, I found myself riding through grounds draped in dust of frost; the road too. The spectacular plains beneath the rising road was a breathtaking sight as the city horizon disappeared into the distance, and the lunar terrain of crude and choppy rock formations engulfed us in its vastness. 

In all my time of working at the secluded hotel with its raw and quirky design, I always felt privileged to navigate this world that is always visually enchanting. Every time I passed by the boulder at what must be the highest point of this wasteland, I imagined the sensation of being in the midst of this land as the grounds tremble to perfection.

I do realise this is entirely a figment of my imagination and that in real life, the experience would be terrifying, in particular if the boulder is liberated from its place in the world and probably frighten the three musketeers to death. Or squash us to death. Either way, my mind is irrevocably drawn to this fictional moment be it the dark of night or light of day.

Then as our motor transportation, a black delivery van in which I have spent plenty of minutes wondering whether I will throw up my dinner from motion sickness, a dinner that was at best of times a delicious feast of the ocean or meat variety, and at worst, an authentic Icelandic country dinner I wouldn't taste under any circumstances. 

But on my second to last day, I needed to take in the exquisite landscape like never before. I never knew this desolate universe hid so near Reykjavík city. As we descended down the final curves of the steep slope that is the narrow road, the enigmatic Lake Þingvallarvatn appeared at the horizon, sparkling like the Atlantic Ocean on a perfect frosty day in February. I wanted to inhale the fresh and unspoiled air so that I could feel it and see if the visual ecstasy was in fact as pure as the world made it out to be. 
The steep slope as the morning sky awakes.
In the final several hundred metres to our place of service, another sight caught my immediate attention. From the lowlands to the highlands and again in the lowlands, I was constantly watched by the guardian of the night, the man in the moon who rests when we wake and explores the world on his own terms as we sleep.  

In the distance, behind the mountains that seem too small to be actual mountains, the orange glow of dawn creeped ever-so-slowly bedazzling us with an impressive but modest orange morning glow. The sun was on fire but in an honourable submission to the man in the moon, as she hid her face behind the row of hilly mountains until all of a sudden she emerged in an explosion of light.

The surreal terrain is indeed a playground for the imagination through which curious minds pass through on a cautious but an enigmatic journey of discovery.




The two remaining musketeers will continue to ride the lunar pathway, or until winter conquers entirely and forces them to take the long way around the majestic highland. I will miss our conversation and the sense of camaraderie we shared.  

The wise man who was my always at my back and call when I solicited him for an advise or ten is a man of many talent. Words do not suffice in the most sincere of attempts to express how deeply I admire him for his rare and extraordinary view of life, and genuine kindness and loyalty to the people in his life. 

Then it's the young man of twenty, whose driving skills are such, I am sure he'd be in training to become a race car driver anywhere else in the world. No less important is the remarkable maturity in spite of his young age; a kinder and gentler soul is hard to find in this fast-paced world of ours.

Every now and then, we rode the highlands with a woman of a great spirit, a woman who is not only a credited professional but a mindful companion and always ready to lend an ear.

One weekend, we rode into work with an extraordinary woman with an incredible life story, a woman to whom I said, "you should document your life in writing". The reason I did so is simple enough. She has had an extraordinary life, traveling to all corners of the world and living a life so unlike any I know or will ever know. She blew me away with her inquisitive spirit and worldly experiences, and last but not least, incredible humility accompanied by a beautiful smile.

These people, these wonderful companions, made the professional detour a quest for a growing circle of friends. I may be on the right path again but the experiences of the last two months are not regrettable in any way. The job might not have suited me but the people did indeed.

The breakfast waiter with all his passion for equestrianism and the darling pony of a sophisticated breed of horses always greeted me with a smile on his face. The chef made me a cake on my last day, only mildly sweet just the way I like it. Then it's the former dishwasher from Sweden and Ghana, whose not only kind-hearted and compassionate but also wise beyond his years, a narrator of knowledge acquired through his heritage and passion for travels.

The two night receptionists deserve a mentioning as well. The aspiring script writer who exercises his discipline when engulfed by the night, and the footfall fan who is genuinely passionate about the sport. 

Ahead of me is the chance of a lifetime. And oh, I shall bathe in the opportunity and become a better and a more diversified writer for it. 

I shall also embark upon the job with the humility of a learner preparing to master an art, knowing for the sake of those who still hunt for the job that gives their life a purpose, that I am only as good as I am willing to learn. 

We are all searching for that opportunity, that chance to dance in the spotlight and leap into the air as the roaring crowd calls out our name. For some of my previous colleagues and friends, their work is their dream, their pride and joy even. For others, it is a temporary stopover as they navigate the world to find the profession that gives them a greater purpose.

...I have decided to call this next season "Winter Wonderland"... 

I hope against hope it'll be just that for my former colleagues in search of a dream.

The universal workability of the wheel of fortune depends entirely on the faith we place in the talent we claim to possess. 








Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Bubbletea Café... A Dairy Queen's Dairy Dream with Pancakes

Little Reykjavík is growing up. New cultural influences are finally native to my little city and a new generation of a multicultural descent is changing the once monocultural mood of the northernmost capital city in Europe.  


I love the new city I now call home. I love the energy brewing in the heart of the city and the artistic vibe that emerges from the little alleys and the colourful boutiques in old - some historical - corrugated buildings lined along the Laugavegur high street.   

Laugavegur is quite possibly the only high street in all of Reykjavík. Unlike residential boroughs in the UK, suburbs in Reykjavík are quite often just that, residential quarters with emphasis on the residential aspect. That means some suburbs are without a decent commercial centre and flourishing restaurant scene isolated to the city centre.

Luckily for me, my little borough, the Westside otherwise known as Vesturbær, has been around for a while. It's one of the oldest residential quarters in the city and many of the homes were built in the the post-war years, primarily it seems in the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s, and some even pre-war. The three-storey apartment building I call my home - and share with the best kind of neighbours a family of three can ask for - was built in 1946.

What I cherish with all my heart is that there is past to my present. History is written in the walls and in the very soil. The tall trees in the yard have been residents to these grounds since the very beginning, even longer, watching generation after generation go about their business every single day. The stories they could whisper in my ears...

Across the "rounded road" called Hringbraut is the oldest part of my borough with narrow streets and a beautiful old cemetery that overlooks the man-made lake we know as the Pond or "Tjörnin." 


The centre of Reykjavík is so much more than a commercial centre. It's vibrant in culture and rich in the flavours of the world. In-between the simple but detailed carving in the walls of the city - most noteworthy being the carving in the rooftops peaking over the edge to watch life go by - are restaurants that have been around for years and decades. New ethnic restaurants are beautiful markers of the new multicultural world that has finally caught up with us. 

Amidst the endless arrays of cafés is a new café, a café that is different from the traditional genre of cafés that so far have been prevalent in the capital city. The Bubbletea Pancake Café is bright and beautiful, a homely haven just a few feet from the original home of the newest and truly authentic Italian restaurant, Piccolo Italia. 

Bubbletea is where I go for my sugar and lemon pancake dessert after my Chicken Tagliatelle pasta dinner. 

It's where I go when I want something cool on a summer's day. 

It's where I go when I want a dessert that isn't sweeter than all that is sweet. 

I go there when I need a shelter away from pouring rain and when I fancy a fusion of dairy heaven and fresh fruits.

I love nothing more than the light but creamy dairy drinks they serve at the Bubbletea Café. It's the kind that is naturally sweet, an oasis that like the gentle passing of the River Nile through the golden sand of her desert banks, leaves one feeling refreshed and comforted. 

Yoghurt drink with mango and lemon..yummy!
The interior design is simple but delightful. The walls are painted in blue, green and purple and the large window frame faces the upper Laugavegur High Street. Bar stools are lined up along the glass frame and drinks rest on the high table, almost too tempting to resist. Inside are simple wooden tables dressed with colourful table cloths, and in the corner of the café there is a shelf with handmade souvenirs.  

The Bubbletea Café
The creamy drinks are flavoured with fresh fruits, and the customer can choose between a yoghurt drink or a milkshake. My favorite mix is a yoghurt drink with lemon and mango.

Then it's the pancakes... the perfect golden hue... soft and silky... it's about as perfect as it gets when topped with lemon and sugar.

A pancake with sugar and lemon - yummy!


Other options, well, they're seemingly endless with peanut butter, jam and cream and so much more. Being a creature of habit, I confess to having only tried it with lemon and sugar... always with my favourite yoghurt drink.

I've only just started to make my way down their menu and I am yet to try their coffee, after all, they do offer Illy, and it's a pretty decent brand. Neither have I tried their fruity ice-teas or hot tea drinks. 

I am even more intrigued to try a beverage with their special ingredient. The Bubbletea Café is very likely the only place in Iceland where Tapioca is available and being a curious traveler, this is the perfect opportunity to do a little bit of culinary traveling domestically. 

I am dying to try just about every single one of their drinks from the Special Drinks menu. It's the fusion of fresh fruits and tapioca that intrigues me. Most of the drinks on the menu contain tapioca. The infusion of exotic ingredients and dedication to create a feast for the palate is a divine combination, and for the health-conscious sweet tooth it's a safe haven to emerge oneself in natural sweetness. 

For a non-drinker like myself, it's such a joy to finally have a café where creativity is put to work to create something sweet and distinctive, something as enjoyable as a mojito on a saturday afternoon, something that gives an impression of a celebratory cocktail.  

The Bubbletea Café is most definitely the most exciting new café in the whole city of Reykjavík, offering an extraordinary selection of beverages and both sweet and savory alimentation suitable to all ages and tastes. 


The Bubbletea Café
It's the perfect place to spend an afternoon when you need a bit of colour in your life, and since tea and coffee and fruit drinks have little to none intoxicating effect on the body (unlike traditional cocktails and alcoholic beverages) it's possible to (literally) drown one's sorrows in seasonably fruity flares beneath the rainbow walls, and walk out into the sun intoxicated with physical wellbeing. 
  



Friday, 6 September 2013

The Journey of Dreams...

For as long as I can remember I have been accused of being a dreamer. To be the girl with her head in the clouds always waiting for that big break, for that illusive dream-world to unfold before her and become a gentle reality.

To some it's a naive quality that represents youthful enthusiasm and limited life experience - the time before life breaks us and molds us to fit in with the reality that is life in general. But for others, dreams are a way of life, the path that is ever-so-close yet so far away, the path that we know in our hearts is the one for us to take. 

The business of being an adult dreamer is a tricky one. Reality with all its constrictions never ceases to attack our dreams with harsh knocks on the front door pushing the illusive dream further and further away.  We tell ourselves that these are the times that make us and break us as dreamers, the time when we find ourselves sitting in a four-wall room painted in plain white instead of the colourful world we create by dreaming big.

These are hard times. We question ourselves and our dreams. We start to ask realistic questions that cut a dent in the already fragile surface of the fading dream. Worst of all is when the dreams seem so unattainable that we almost give up on them and tell ourselves to grow up and get a real job.

Then come the happy times. The days and weeks, even months and years, when dreams come true and we find ourselves on top of the world. At last, the dreamland conquered reality. These are the happiest of times. We bathe in the glory that is our dream and celebrate each and every moment given to us in the dreamland. 

The dreamer in me has always been alive and well. When times are hard as they've been of late, it's been the heartbeat that pumps enough elixir to my veins to keep me going. Sometimes, when I am frustrated, I feel it slipping away ever so slowly and start to wonder what sort of reality is there for me to live in, a reality where I am content and comfortable.

But as all dreamers know, dreams are no different than the thick fog that gathers over the mountain peaks; once  the dream takes hold of you, there is no looking back. My dreams hunt me down until they've break me once more and remind me of who I am... what I want.. what I need. They are the oxygen that keeps me afloat when all else is lost. 

And thus, once more a reality of contentment and comfort is not enough. The desire for more takes charge once more and the compass is set on the ever-so-inviting pink clouds high over my head.

I've been up to the pink clouds. I've danced from joy up on silky clouds and embraced my dreams. Of late, as my mind ponders the future more grievously than it has done in a long time, my mind travels back to the days on the pink cloud.

The warm autumn day I walked from Green Park to Buckingham Palace, and onwards on my walk without a destination. I had very little money but oh so much joy in my heart. All I needed was a tall latte from Starbucks and a bottle of water. And a small camera to capture the moment.

Then I think of my first days in Paris as a local. The time my days were spent roaming the narrow streets of  the the Marais, across the Seine to the left bank to Saint-Michel, and eventually to Shakespeare and Company where I'd read a chapter from a pre-war print edition about an unknown fellow dreamer who too loved Paris.

The summers I spent on the "Rock" on the Greek island of Ios with a group of beautiful people, both on the inside and outside. Sailing to remote beaches... swimming in the crystal clear Aegean Sea... living without ambition to rise to fame or glory and simply living in the very moment... it's a beautiful life.

Today, I returned to another passion of mine, a passion I never thought I had so much passion for but as it turns out, I do: The academic world of English Literature. 
It's a world so full of invisible notions and ideas, and stories that parallel a world long gone but that is forever captured in the written word. Not a moment lost.

To write is an act of documentation. An act of seizing a moment in a moment, of capturing a thought, a heartbeat of a story otherwise untold. The meaning of a single word and the descriptive power of a beautifully written sentence. To me, it is where the essence of life is given meaning. 

So, today I sat down to write. To write because it gives my life a meaning. Writing means as much to me whether I get paid to do it or not. It's the essence of me.

A few months ago, when I had a lot of work on my plate and barely enough time to sleep and eat, someone asked me why I didn't skip writing for the sole purpose of writing, why I wrote without accepting remuneration.  I told that someone, in those very same words, that writing is what I do because I can't live without my words, because words give meaning to my world and because without it, I am not me.

Being a writer means I observe, listen and interpret. I read the world with my senses and paint a picture of it with my words. It's the essence of my life. 
Writing is an endless quest for life. Beautiful lyrics written for beautiful melodies conceive ideas for fictional characters yet unborn, and visual art, be it a photograph, a canvas exploding with life or beautiful choreography brought to life on stage, life's exuberance is my ecstasy.

The academics gave my words a deeper meaning and the tools to read the world and see it through an array of perspectives. I put on different binoculars and see a simple event from many different directions. I put all of me into the words I write, I think about all the different ways my readers will read the sentences I write and how they'll perceive my message. 

In my dark days, when I feel the very thing that gives my life purpose is trapped under a heavy load, seemingly eternally invisible from inquisitive eyes and a curious mind, I feel ever-so-strongly the need to fight back, to refuse a sudden death for the asymmetry of words still unborn.

Traveling the world gave me the courage to escape the confinements of reality, to live a dream and to breathe in joy and breathe out gratitude for all the joy in my heart.

I've been so lucky. I've been able to travel and grow as a person while widening my writerly horizon. Without the support of my family, I would never have the cherished experiences now turned into memories so dear to my heart. Without the support of doting parents and two sisters who understood how important it is to my being to dream big and explore the world on my own, I may have become a victim of reality.

Instead, my life has been a trail of enigmatic encounters with beautiful people, kind people, gentle people, loving people, and people with big beautiful dreams.

My Brazilian host-sister Monique is passionate about dancing and her love for dancing shines through every time she puts on her dancing shoes. My friend Aneta who moves to Canada next week to start a new life is unafraid to take on new challenges all on her own. Last but not least, my sisters B and R. 
For B, the dream of doing an MBA has been but a dream for several years. But not anymore. The mother of three, (an unlikely) grandmother of one, and super-successful professional, she embarks upon a journey that is both frightening and exciting. I couldn't be prouder. Then it's R, the youngest one who moved to Italy to finish graduate school in style. She loves her new life and I am so happy for her. 

It takes courage to dream and guts to turn a dream into reality. 
It's a risk because when a dream becomes a reality it eventually takes on a pattern we may take for granted. 

Sometimes, it's the dream we dreamt that becomes the suffocating reality. We go from a blissful state of exuberance to a pragmatic reality. But for the dreamer, it's just a momentary pause. 

It is the nature of the dream ideology to keep dreams alive, and thus, when one dream becomes a sour reality, another is born. For as long as the wheel of dreams continues to spin new dreams, one after another, life is in fact a journey of dreams.

Thus, in these darker days while pragmatism wears me down with reality, all I have is my dreams.

The dream of traveling to every corner of the world - to sail down the Amazon, hike in Borneo, explore remote beaches on the coast of Thailand and travel from Istanbul to Tehran on a train (just among few) - and to write - to write the story that is lingering in my creative space and finish it, to be the professional travel writer painting the world with my words to curious travelers, and to write a piece that inspires. 

Through my dreams, I rekindle the passion in my heart that is my desire for life as I see it.





Sunday, 25 August 2013

"Oceanside"

The city of Reykjavík sits on the edge of the northern hemisphere. The climate is mild on the southwest corner where this northernmost capital of Europe is settled into a dramatic scenery where hilly mountains meet the awesome Atlantic Ocean.

The sea is a friend and a foe, a powerful ally and a fierce enemy. For centuries, lives have been sacrificed in the name of survival. Fishermen braved out to sea, unsheltered from the rough torrents of winter and welcome gesture of the summer sun.

My grandfather was a fisherman. My great-grandmother's first husband died at sea. Countless stories tell of death at sea, the finite defeat in the battle against a raging foe, and merrier maritime stories describe the brave victory that is survival for the grace of a powerful ally.

Such is Iceland's heritage. Dramatic accounts in a dramatic scenery.

The city nightlife is a raging bull, high on life, that feeds off the wild commotion of liquid intoxication. Fashion influences monotonous but striking and edgy. Black on black. Licorice shooters and pints. The wild north.

In the modern day city, multiculturalism challenges the monoculture of the old fishing village. A melting pot of familiar and unfamiliar languages, of exotic restaurants and delightful cafés, the city embraces the birth of a new heritage.

In the prosperous years before the chaos of the economic crisis struck the little land, tall-ish high-rises where luxury was the fundamental ingredient rose in excess. The Icelandic Manhattan dream came true in splendid glass towers overlooking Faxe bay, the sea neither a friend or foe. Just a splendid background to material wealth readily available for a big sum of money.

The "vue de mar" a precious commodity. The sea not only a source of income but a symbol of wealth.

Unlike the splendid dream that died upon the first big blow, the thick stonewall that is constantly under attack from the temperamental sea, the sea that is sometimes gay and at other times gray from gloom, survives each and every blow the warrior waves send its way.

Meanwhile, the palace of music, the majestic Harpa, (in short, the "Harp") sits in her new throne. The frames in the glass walls change shades in the eve of night and reflect the rainbow of musicality that is celebrated in the spacious interior.

But there is another side to the city; a side that is quiet, so quiet not even the violent tendencies of the North Atlantic Ocean care to strike with too much force. Sometimes, just sometimes, the reminisce of a tantrum is spread across the acres of tall grass and paved tracks meant for a leisurely walk, run or a quick sprint.

Across is a row of magnificent three-storey homes with neatly trimmed gardens and French windows all along the little street.

At Oceanside, colloquially known as "Ægisíða", the wind speaks in no vague terms against the sturdy foundation of the row of "Old Reykjavík" mansions. Neither is effected by the other. Only the beach takes on the full power of the grand Atlantic Ocean.

Oceanside is where I go to think, to explore and to share a moment of pure happiness with a one-year old puppy whose joie-de-vivre and endearing curiosity takes me on a journey of discovery every time we traverse the black sand.

Words are words. They speak volumes and when properly composed draw an image of the dramatic landscape that is so innate to the little city in the north.

But alas, the raw beauty of Oceanside is best conveyed through a visual medium, a medium that serves as a visual consent of the imagery drawn with words...
















 ...

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The New Indian-a Jones

As a child, I was enthralled by adventurous conquests for relics in ancient sites and ruins of historical importance. I was eager to pursue archaeology as an academic field after watching the series of films featuring Indiana Jones and playing so-themed computer games from LucasArts. My chosen field there within was Egyptology as my fascination with the mysteries of Egypt grew with each film and game.

The element of travel to locations out of sight and off the beaten track was the glowing ball of fire so enticing to the adventurer in me, and awakening imaginary of extraordinary excursions in-between teaching a class at an esteemed university.

On the eve of a long weekend, in a sort of "off the beaten track" locations, a place exclusive to my intimate family and close circle of friends, I found myself watching an extraordinary account of how Dr. Sarah Parcak, space archaeologist, uses her technology to discover previously unknown sites and ruins that help to discover new ancient sites hidden beneath the surface, clarify and identify in more depth previous findings, and connect the dots for scientists on the brink of proving a theory but lacking physical proof.

I'd seen a previous episode covering the use of space technology to discover whole new sites beneath the surface of Egyptian soil, some that (if my memory serves me right) may take 50 years or more to uncover. 

Thus, an episode about the Roman empire and how space technology can help to explain the ways of the Roman Empire and its grand conquests and vast expansion on a grandeur scale to the north and east. 

Being a bit of a history nerd, I couldn't resist the temptation. After all, the nature of her work is to examine the world from a very remote perspective and travel to sites that most of us can only dream of visiting.

She visited a site in which I had a very rare experience, a site generally packed with people but due to sudden changes in the political climate following 9/11, was about as busy as a butcher shop in a vegetarian compound.

The rustic red ancient city of Petra shimmered as it did on the late autumn day I visited the city in 2001, and the grounds above were as empty as I remembered them. The scattered stones among the remarkable still-standing ruins and the caves hidden away from sight told stories invisible to the naked eye and seeing Dr. Parcak explore the grounds and meeting an expert in the history of the ancient city, I longed to return to the site with a mind perhaps mature enough to take in greater depth the great history of the city.

At the age of 21, I was already taken back by the magnitude of feelings I experienced as Mother Nature's beauty and ancient history collided in the dry desert landscape that today is Petra. At the time, I thought of a cinematic moment, that is, the very moment Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones stared the old city treasure in the face at the exact same moment it met with mine. I was among perhaps twenty visitors visiting the ancient grounds in the very early aftermath of 9/11, and the city was but desolate grounds inhabited by friendly Bedouins who offered delicious tea cooked over hot bed of fire in the midst of the old city.

Other sites she visited in the episode was the beautiful cityscape of Rome, the mysterious forest-land of Transylvania and the previously fertile soil of Tunisia, that once upon a time was home to grand fields of wheat feeding the whole super-sized republic of Rome. 

The great Roman empire dazzled the senses of newcomers at the height of its empire and continues to do so. So many questions remain unanswered no matter how many times one visits Rome. I have been to the city twice, once with my dad and once with my husband and his family, and both time I felt my list of things to do in the city was still incomplete. Yes, I've walked past the amazing ruins at the heart of the city and looked over them late at night after another culinary feast, and wondered what life was like in this grand city once upon a time.

I, like most of us without a vast historical knowledge of the Roman empire, isolate its centre to the city of Rome and Italy. We fail to recognize the greater borders of the empire, borders that stretched all the way to Great Britain, the Oriental East and the edges of North Africa.

My impression of the old Roman empire was also somewhat blinded by prejudice of its grand warrior reputation; how Roman soldiers violated women as they pleased and slaughtered slaves captured in victorious battles in grand exhibition-style at the colosseums.

A surprising revelation was how in some parts of the Roman empire, such as in the North African regions and Petra in Jordan, the rulers nurtured its inhabitants with prosperous living conditions and access to entertainment and leisure previously only available to royalty.

When her use of space technology failed to produce satellite images, military tools generally used to scout enemy quarters in dense areas where satellites are unable to retrieve data, was re-purposed to find great fortresses in the dense forest regions of Transylvania.

I spent a night camping in the steep hills of Transylvania in the vicinity of Dracula's notorious but white as snow castle, and I was a little amused by the "hype" the producers made out the presence of wildlife such as wolves and bears in the dense forest-land of the region. The dangers on route are nonetheless a great built up to the intriguing discoveries Dr. Parcak discovers with experts in the field.

If I were a young girl or a boy seated between my parents - interestingly enough, I was sitting between my parents in our family cottage - I'd inspire to be her or one of the many scholars she encounters.

In fact, I inspire to have the life she is fortunate enough to lead. As an academic in the field of archaeology and a seasoned traveler, Dr. Sarah Parcak is the modern-day Indiana Jones, and entirely without the theatrical drama of black and white vilification of foes, as is the case in the fictional Indiana Jones.

In the vastness of my dreams, I could envision tracing the source of grand literary traditions, discovering previously unknown manuscripts and excavate the worlds in which some of the greatest literary works are set a long time ago, as well as grasping a better understanding of modern day literature that takes my breath away.

And I do... in my nocturnal dreams at least.

I have grown tired of mindless reality television with no purpose other than to embellish shallowness of popular culture or the satisfaction of making a mockery of real people. 

To see esteemed academics document their career-changing studies, sharing their knowledge and "peeling the onion" of history (a term referring to the title of Gunter Grass' wartime memoir so-titled) in a way that is reciprocal to the needs of a "novice" audience in the field, while being intellectually stimulating and enriched by mind-blowing landscape, is a treat to all our most valuable senses.

In her travels, she is on a path of discovery, excavating places most of us will not access in that depth in our lifetime, and letting us in while doing so. 

But it doesn't mean the curious traveler without the resources to which an esteemed academic has access cannot explore this world's incredible wealth of history. 

Investing but a fraction of one's travel to learning a little more about the history of regions explored along the way is well worth the effort it may take. History has the power to explain cultural elements we may fail to understand and even recognize as we travel to and experience far and sometimes distant lands.

Take the extensive wheat (and I mean the stuff that looks more like barley than the green leaves of the weed plant) production in North Africa. Italy, the ancient centre of the Roman empire to us non-experts, is enriched by culinary culture that depends a great deal on wheat (pasta, pizza, etc) and it is possible to make the assumption the tradition may in part derive from its ancient ruling grounds.

If for no other reason than to enrich a journey through this extraordinary world of ours, an academic or/and educational program about the regions we plan to visit has the potential to enrich the journey and help us to be better travelers.

Next year, Brazil is host to the world cup in its favorite sport. For those planning to travel to the land of great football (soccer in some parts of the world), I recommend watching BBC's Brazil with Michael Palin. It provides an insight to regions with its local traditions (culinary, dancing, etc), history, wildlife and landscape that'll truly make a dreamer out of the most pragmatic pessimist.

It'll no doubt double the pleasure of visiting this extraordinary (and almost continental-sized) country that happens to be the only country in Latin America that has (Brazilian) Portuguese as its official language. 

Just like, Dr. Sarah Parcak's documentary episodes on Discovery Channel, truly enrich a trip to Rome as much as it will a trip to parts of Tunisia...  

And just so it's clear, if Dr. Parcak or Mr. Palin require an assistance or are currently looking for a new member to join their team, I'll be the first to volunteer my services!



Saturday, 27 July 2013

The Tropical North

Reykjavík is the northern most capital in the world, or so we're told.

With unpredictable and sometimes violently fierce weather patterns in winter, our hyperbolic expectations for summer - the only benign season the north has to offer - soothe a body aching for but a brief intermission from the storm.


The Icelandic winter can be hostile with its long months of darkness when the hours of daylight are few, especially during the holiday season and in the new year. Extravagant light displays decorate the city and lend magic to the black night that reigns, and if we're lucky, the white snow adds a bit of sparkle to our life.


Despite the cold, we venture on foot to the city centre and nurture our bodies and soul with the holiday spirit. Then comes January, the longest and cruelest month of the year for no fault of its own. On January 7, illustrious Christmas lights are turned off and once again, darkness prevails.


Then comes spring. Spring is the most unreliable season of all four - we know from bitter experience that spring is spring for namesake only...


Autumn however is a season, more often than not, true to nature. Cool rain and loud wind are expected to come knocking and we are not that surprised when the first signs begin to appear in August. We are pleasantly surprised if September continues to bring beautiful sunny days past the prime of summer.


... 


We know for a fact that no one comes to Iceland for the weather so divulging the facts is no crime.


But sometimes, when we least expect it, Mother Nature surprises even the most pessimistic locals with an unexpected summer surprise.


A week ago, on July 20 such a moment came out of nowhere and took me by surprise. The moment it happened I was walking down Laugavegur (the curious shopping strip in Reykjavík's city centre) and very much lost in a moment of self-reflection.


I'd been struck by a sudden realisation as walked down the mild slope down Laugavegur and creative ideas were beginning to take shape. Then came the shower, a rain that poured down in a linear fall almost in a straight line from the gray cluster of clouds.


It was the perfect summer rain: warm but refreshing in the humid air and 17°C air temperature.


And what lovely rain it was!


Like a muse sent to me by Mother Nature, the city of Reykjavík revealed herself to me. To be more specific, she revealed her exoticism to me, a local resident with small town roots and yet an outsider in her own land... a local crammed into a life of abstinence from travels, as priorities are skewed by the sometimes harsh economic reality of a writer to succeed in the hunt for the perfect job, and so far without achieving much success.   


The temporarily entrapped traveler in me that conformed to native society with ease but constantly longing to be somewhere else - to journey the world from one end to another - all of a sudden felt perfectly at home.


The warm shower reminded me how despite my immobile traveling lifestyle, I am on a journey, a journey to re-discover my country again in spite of the obstacles along the way. To get to know Iceland as if it were new to me. And in so many ways it is.


The city of Reykjavík is still a stranger to me in more ways than one. So much changed while I excavated the world with my backpack and passport in hand. The monocultural little Iceland grew and expanded beyond my wildest expectations. New residents from all over the world have changed the city and made it a better place to live. Icelanders who left came back with a piece of the world to share.


After years of sticking my head in a pile of academic books, while my mind constantly drifted to other lands, I discovered at last the simple charms of my city and within awakened a longing to get to know her better. A city that is inspiring, beautiful and modest. A city exploding from the creative powers of her residents. An international city that makes up for her smallness with a big heart ready to embrace the whole world.


It took a downpour... a warm shower to clear my judgement... judgement previously clouded by the prejudice of my youth and perhaps of late, pragmatic disposition... to see the delightful Miss Reykjavík for the young and vibrant city she has become.


Thankfully, it's never too late to get started on a journey.

The warm shower inspired me to write about the journey, a journey I can only take in Iceland, and a journey that fuels my undying belief in the realisation of all my dreams.


After all, what is a traveler without dreams...?

Home Sweet Home

Welcome Home!

Home. It's a word fundamental to our sense of belonging in this world of ours. Whether we travel the world from one end to another or never leave our place of birth, there is a special place (or places) in the world we call "home".  


After years of traveling, the concept of home continues to puzzle me. What is the actual meaning of this term? How narrow or wide is the definition in this vastly shrinking world of ours?


The basic requirement of an authentic home is probably to have in one way or another set roots. But what does it mean to set roots? Can you set roots in more than one place? Or is home simply where the heart is?


Much changes when one travels the world. The largest changes occur in the general mindset, that is, 

how we perceive different cultures as visitors and even residents, and how we perceive our own culture as a result of the exposure to different cultures.

For me personally, the definition of home has changed a great deal. I no longer identify with only one culture. I have bonded and set roots in places other than my native Iceland. My bonds to Iceland are profoundly personal. I have family and childhood history that ties me to this land. I also feel a connection with Iceland's rugged landscape and rough seas.


I identify with Iceland in ways I don't identify with any other country in the world, primarily the awesome power of Icelandic nature and my family. But I still can't say my relationship with Iceland is so profound I see it as my one and only home.

It's but one of a few.


The very first city to take my breath away was Paris. I was only 9 years old at the time and it was a half-day excursion with my parents and 4 years old sister. The hot scorching summer sun was high up in the sky and the air a dense cloud of city pollution typical for summer in the city.


As I stood on Pont Saint-Louis between the chic bohemian Ile Saint-Louis and the magnificent Ile de la Cité, I was immediately struck by the beauty of my surroundings; the gentle flow of the sea-green River Seine sparkled under the relentless midday rays that struck the surface, and the snow-white walls of the Notre Dame rising high above the Notre Dame Provincial Park.


The majestic sight hypnotized my young eyes, and in that moment, I fell in love with a city so unlike my own humble background, a small town that once upon a time relied on the fishing industry for survival but as times changed became a subdued town in search of a new identity. 


My young impressionable eyes envisioned a glamorous lifestyle in a city so rich in culture and history. As the years passed and my dreams of grand artistic success as a novelist, journalist and a photographer rose, I envisioned my life in a small Parisian studio on Ile Saint-Louis with a small terrace overlooking the city.


At 22, I finally made my childhood dream come true and moved to Paris to do a photography course. Sure, life was not as grand nor luxurious as the cityscape that compelled the dream throughout my teens, but I nonetheless was swept off my feet. And before I knew, Paris was home, my home.


Before Paris, I'd already found another place that truly welcomed me and where I had set roots through the acquisition of language, active participation in the local community and kind people who made it even harder to leave as the mandatory departure date arrived.

Rio Verde, a small city in the state of Goiás in Central Brazil, was my home for a year. I went from a young girl lost in the wilderness of a language strange to my ears and limited by extreme shyness to a young woman full of life, playfully indulging in a language ever-so familiar to my ears. It not only altered the course of my life but gave me enough faith to explore the world on my own and make the adventurous world of travels my path.   


The dream of Brazil was born out of impressions, impressions of a song from an exotic world to an innocent child. The song was Lambada by Kaoma and for reasons I couldn't possibly explain, the song seduced me with an image of a tropical culture passionate about dancing under the Brazilian skies.


Later I realised, there was more to Brazilian culture such as resilience, pride, and the spirit of joie-de-vivre. And I felt very much at home. My heart still beats for Brazil.


So far, three homes. you'd think that's a reasonable number of countries to claim as my own. But I have three more to go.


On a small island in the midst of the Greek Archipelago, I escaped the cosmopolitan citylife as summer announced its arrival.  For brief 3 months I took time out from the fast-paced outside world, working late nights and spending long days on unspeakably beautiful beaches and in a quaint little village named Chora. 


The island that is Ios is known for everything but tranquility. For the travelers who come and go it is but a place of intoxicated days and nights. Few explore the dry slopes of steep hills, Homer's grave, and the amphitheatre that overlooks the glittering Aegan Sea in the daytime and the bright reflection of the still moonlight in the night.


Strong bonds of friendship formed in our community of incestious workers - a term we used to refer to "internal" hookups - mostly in their twenties. Life, a sweet elixir of worry-free existence, was lived moment for moment, and in my Greek paradise I found a place to be just me.


But as autumn came the breeze grew cooler, the days shorter and eventually even the busy streets grew quiet. Seasonal workers traveled back to the real world where they either occupied a real-life job or were in search of one, and others returned to academic institutions to continue their education. 


After a summer in paradise, I would return to London. I felt instinctively something awaited me in this grand city and as it turns out, it did. I eventually met my husband-to-be on an outing with a multicultural group of friends, and understandably, London is a very special place to us. It is where we lived and loved and every now and then, our hearts tingle for this city that never ceases to nurture the spirit. History is written in stone in this age-old city. The spectacular literary and theatre scene rarely fails to disappoint; academic institutions with history centuries-old; castles and palaces housing arrays of museum artifacts; and leisure scene with endless possibilities. 


My final and absolute home is my husband's native land of South Africa. From the time I first arrived in the country long before we met, I felt a deep connection to the country and its rich multicultural history, as well as the majestic landscape that changes from region to region and coast to coast. 


The highland plains of Gauteng ("Place of Gold") where the glorious Cradle of Mankind sits in its throne next to the notorious Johannesburg; the towering Table Mountain peaking over the breezy coastal city of Cape Town right where the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean have their rendez-vous; and the garden route stretching along the coastal regions of the country from Cape Town to Durban. 


Durban is the largest city in the verdant hills of KwaZulu-Natal on South Africa's east coast. The pounding waves crash on the shore stretching along its centre, and within flourishes a vibrant city. On its outskirts, the verdant suburbs of Kloof and Hillcrest sit comfortably above the thick humidity of the Durban coastline, in the moist and sometimes foggy hills. 


The mere thought sends a tingle, nay, a strong tickling sensation to the very depths of my heart. 

A familiar scent, singing crickets and certain songs bring forth a state of such nostalgia and longing for an unwritten future however distant it may be. 

Thus, my definition of home is an unusual one.  

My definition of home is not isolated to years of residence or deep familial roots. Home is a feeling, a feeling of belonging in a place that touches the soul so profoundly that it occupies a piece of our heart. Be it a temporary home or the place that holds the key to our future, home is a place where the heart rejoices life no matter the ups and downs in life.


Home, in other words, is where the heart lives and beats to a rhythm of its own.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

What you might want to know about me...

I am obsessed with traveling - if there was a temporary remedy to keep it under control, I'd be taking it right now - but only until I book my next adventure.

I married a man from the southernmost tip of Africa - we met in London, the arena for international matchmaking. 

My man...the rugby player


I have a dog I named Emma after one of Jane Austen's characters. I wanted to name her Jane Austen but my husband didn't quite see the appeal in calling out "Jane Austen!"

She is a real beauty...  
Just kidding...  she's not that small.
 
Miss Emma in all her glory.

I am addicted to coffee - if I don't have my two cups straight after breakfast I am in trouble. It sounds worse than it really is. 



I bought an espresso maker to reduce the cost of purchases in the specifically chosen cafés I would regularly attend to feed my addiction.

I am an optimist - no matter how bad things get I know things will only get better.

My first love was the city of Paris - it may sound crazy but I fell in love with her at the age of 9 during a half-day excursion. Later, I studied photography in Paris - her charms never wear off and I have days when I miss the Parisian life. I even took two semesters of French phonetics to speak French with some dignity.


I so enjoy good food, French food in particular (surprise! surprise!) 


Coq au Vin... my husband can cook :)

I fell in love with more than just the French language - I settled on a total of 7 languages to learn before I die... when I was 11. I am up to 5 but hey, if I fancy a few more after reaching 7, I'll give it a try.

I can't sing - and even if I am wrong about that and actually have a voice that doesn't shriek or destroy the hearing of stand-byers, I just don't. Ever.


I live the northernmost capital in the world - some days take your breath away while others bring you close to a state of desperate misery. Sometimes it feels like we live on the very edge of the world... 

A foggy day in the city - all of a sudden the sun erupted and her blinding rays shut through the fog...
In my 33 years, I have made it my mission to not only pass through the places my travels take me... I like to set roots in a few... Rio Verde, the little city in the middle of Brazil; Ios, the party island with the gentle heart; Paris, to get to know and embrace the city I love the most; and Durban, the tropical city no one knows exactly where to find on a map but one that I like to call home.  

Otherwise...


I have always known my calling in life was to write - I can't imagine my life without the ability to express myself in words. It's a gift I cherish with all my heart and seek to nurture here.


My only intention is to write from my heart... about the journey I am on now that I am back in my native Iceland... about shorter adventures in unknown places... and maybe one day, about a life in South Africa...