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  • My first Workaway experience. Was it worth it?

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    I was telling you here about my decision to join the volunteering wagon with Workaway.

    Well I did it ..! Sort of. Only for 10 days.

    And my conclusion about my experience? Do your Research. Ask questions. Make sure what you’re getting yourself into.

    **I’ve wrote the first part of this post on day 3 of my experience – when a kind of homesickness, wondering what the hell I’m doing here phase – kicks in. I came to embrace it and recognise it as the Adjustment period. The first three days or so of getting to a new place, getting used to the house habits and so on. **

    The family that I volunteered for wasn’t that bad – in my opinion, I think they just thought they had more work on their hands than they really had, so they went and offered 3 volunteers to come and stay with them.

    And because apparently they were new to this whole thing, there were few things that I really did not appreciate, mostly the fact that they were treating us like house employees, and not like people that came there for an exchange.. 

     

    For me, Workaway was great because: 

    1. I met new people, I saw how others live.
    2. I’ve had the opportunity to spend more time in nature, and work with animals, sit by the beach with a book, read a bit more.
    3. I’ve learned more (sort of) about vegan and vegetarian living, but also learned few new recipes.
    4. It gave me PERSPECTIVE. Distancing yourself a bit, seeing the bigger picture is always good.
    5. I saw a bit of the British countryside, a place where I would have not came if it weren’t for this opportunity.

    And even though it has been quite a bumpy road, I will definitely volunteer again. It just made me realise that people are different, but we are all humans. Some of us are more open to change, some not so much.  

    Advice I would give to anyone who wants to try Workaway:

    1. Do your research. Ask as many questions as possible, don’t be shy! Ask about working hours, what exactly you have to do and if the people are able to pick you up. Ask anything you want to know.
    2. It’s an exchange, not a proper job. You are not an employee, you are there to help out in exchange for some new experiences, a new place and food. I’ve been unfortunate in this department: the people I went and stayed with considered me and the other two volunteers, employees – they would order us around, expect us to set table, clean after them and so on.
    3. Be present. You’re there to experience something different. Make sure you get involved in the family life, ask about their passions and so on. Most people love to share. All you got to do is ASK.
    4. Try new things. Don’t be afraid to try the new dish the family cooked for dinner. Or try horse riding, even if you never did it before. Or plant a flower. Or built a fence. It might seem scary and overwhelming at first, but the adrenaline rush you feel once you’ve done it: priceless.

    Here are some photos that I posted from my time in Devon.

    Until next time.

     

    Peace, Love & Happiness,

    M

  • Positive Vibes – Go out there and Live.

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    Life gets tough sometimes. One moment you’re on top of the world, seeing the bigger picture, fighting for your dreams, pushing through.. And then you’re not.

    Everything changes. Imagine it like the black cloud that covers the sun before the storm: first the wind changes. Then it gets colder. Then you can’t see the sun. Then you hear the thunder, and you know. The storm is here.

    I came to understand these dark times I get from time to time. I came to embrace them and to try to keep it at bay.

    It still takes me quite a bit of time, but prayer, meditation, reading and sitting with me in silence have been helping me a lot.

    But a few days ago, a friend of mine reminded me how important positivity is. She reads this blog, and she reminded me that sometimes my posts were dark.. And they were. But also that most of the times, I bring a bit of sunshine with my writing.

    So, today is one of those days. Because we’ve all been there. We all have bad moments in life. But that doesn’t mean that all our life sucks.

    Remember: if there was no storm, we would never see the rainbow!

    This is a collection of quotes and music to help me and you push through the darkness.

     

    “Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” ~ Louise Erdich

     

    What does it mean to be confident-

    Go out there and Live. Fight with your all. Give your all. Love out loud. Dream out loud. Hope. Shout. Break things. Make things. Share a part of yourself.

     

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    “I made it the mantra of those days; when I paused before yet another series of switchbacks or skidded down knee-jarring slopes, when patches of flesh peeled off my feet along with my socks, when I lay alone and lonely in my tent at night I asked, often out loud: Who is tougher than me?The answer was always the same, and even when I knew absolutely there was no way on this earth that it was true, I said it anyway: No one.”~ Cheryl Strayed

     

     

    I love this song. Reminds me to stop for a minute and just Breathe .. 

    Also this:

    “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~Ian MacLaren

    And this:

    And maybe this:

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    And finally, this one.

    There is hope. For all of us. Stay grounded in your present reality. Don’t hide. don’t run away. Find your coping mechanism, but don’t get lost in it. Learn to fight by yourself. Let it go.

    And don’t be so hard on yourself.. Life is too short.

    Smile now.

     

    Peace, Love & Happiness, 

    M

     

     

     

     

     

  • |Come with me to .. Instow, Devon |

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    “Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.”  ~Maya Angelou

     

    As I mentioned here, I’m currently on my Workaway adventure in North Devon!

    It’s fun, exciting and brilliant, and I will be doing a full review of the experience some time in the next 2 weeks. But for now, I want to share with the world some amazing shots that I took in the last few days.

    I will just say that it is true.. Nature does know best. Nature is the best healer.

    Enjoy!

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    This is it for now. I’ll be back very soon with a details from my adventure. I’ll tell you the bad, the ugly and the beautiful!

     

    Peace, Love, Happiness,

    M

     

  • Life on the Road: Will you be my travel buddy..?

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    “I want to stand as close to the edge without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the centre.” ~Kurt Vonnegut 

    And I’m off again! It’s been too long now – 2 months of doing nothing more than reading, watching ’90s shows and knitting. I’ve had enough.

    I’ve been feeling it in my bones for a month or so already. The buzz was building up – it needs release now. My soul needs to see new places, to meet different characters, to pack again!

    Already, Mona?? You’ve just finish your Asian adventure, some of my friends said at my birthday dinner last week.

    My answer to that? Why not. What do I have to loose. Nothing. But I’ve got everything to win. And more experiences to add to the book of my life.

    And because this blog is my testament for when I’ll be an old granny with loads of puppies and grandkids, I decided to post a life update of my life in the next few months.

    Sunday I’m heading to North Devon for a WorkAway volunteering experience. What’s this Workaway? It’s a very popular site at the moment – it allows nomads to live with families and help on different projects around their homes, in exchange for food and lodgement. You can check it out here.

    I’ll be going on my first experience for few weeks. I decided to pick Devon because we’ve recently visited the place, and it was beautiful! I’m informed by the family that I’ll be staying 5 minutes from the beach and 10 minutes from a permaculture farm, and that I’ll be helping around with tasks around the house – which the control-freak in me loves!

    A post on my experience will be coming in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned.

    I’ll be coming back to where my sister lives around November – for her *drum rolls please * Graduation!! I’m so excited for that one, and proud of my baby sister for finishing up University. Besides that, Mama Bear is coming too, so it would be nice to spend some time with her.

    In December, I’ve decided it’s a good time to go to Romania. Second time this year. I’ll be spending Christmas with my mum – the first one in 7 years – a very much anticipated one.

    From Romania, I plan to head back to Asia again, for the second part of my Chinese experience – better prepared this time – and hopefully I’ll gain a bit more language knowledge (it’s a tough language, y’all!)

    I’ll be leaving China for India – I’ve been thinking of getting a Yoga certification in few years – I think it’s time I did it.

    From India, all re-charged and full of new found energy (I hope), I will be going down towards * second drum-roll, please * Australia!! I decided I should be heading to the land down under before I turn 30 (which is not that far *sob sob*).

    And there you have it – my plan for the next year or so. I mostly wanted to write it down – it helps me reflect better and it gives me energy. I’m very hopeful this plan will become reality, like everything else that does when you work your butt off for.

    Do you want to join me on any part of my journey? Drop me a message/email/Facebook me. I’d love to have more like- minded around me.

    Until next time, I’d leave you with this tune – it helped me wrote down my future plans. Maybe it helps you to.

    “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste it, to experience it to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt 

     

    Peace, Love, Happiness,

    Mona.

  • ’25. A Manifesto.’

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    “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” ~ Oprah Winfrey 

    This one’s for all of us out there that still believe in that tiny voice that comes from our hearts .. That voice that keeps telling us to BELIEVE. To DREAM. To HOPE …     I lay in bed aware of all the noises around me. Aware of my sister’s soft snoring in bed next to me, of my neighbour making a smoothie at 5am, of the police car that just went by our building. 

    Aware that somewhere in the world, someone else’s life is beginning today. And someone else’s life has come to an end. And somewhere in the world someone is buying a coffee from Starbucks and counting their blessings, while at the street corner there’s a homeless kid who hasn’t had a warm drink in a month. And that people are celebrating the memory of loved one lost in the terrible 9/11. And that some people slept outside last night, while a mother somewhere, put her children to bed in soft and comfy beds. 

    I realise that I should count my blessings too. I am thankful for Life giving me ALL. Thankful for 25 years of crying, laughter, problems, solutions, and challenges.   For old friends. New friends. Old love. New dreams.  And all I’m asking for the next 25 years is the power to laugh a little louder, cry a little harder, give my ALL again and keep on dreaming. To be allowed to keep the child in me alive.  I’ve also learned few things over the years..  I know now that not all that glitters is necessarily gold.  I know that some people are just not meant to be in your life, no matter how hard you try to accommodate them. I’ve also learned that shouldn’t be an obstacle for cherishing the moments you’ve shared with them and the memories that were made.  I know that keeping it SIMPLE (in dressing, speech, expressing oneself) it’s a form of maturity. But also that COMPLEXITY  and REBELLING with a cause it’s highly needed for the survival of the SOUL.  Nature has taught me the if takes TIME.. It takes time to embrace your uniqueness, time to heal, time to trust. As a general rule – let TIME and FAITH show you the way.  Believe that GOOD things are coming. But be prepared for bumps along the road.  FAITH. I’ve learned this one the hard way: we all need something or someone to believe in. To make life matter – look into your SOUL. You, as much as any other being on this planet – are a piece of the DIVINE.  Time also showed me that it is okay if my idea of ‘living life’ has changed over time: it’s perfectly fine to prefer staying all cuddled up at home with a good book, a glass of wine and good music, instead of going out, getting drunk and puking in a bar’s toilet. But also if that’s where you’re at – it’s okay too. I’m not judging you.  On JUDGMENT: the hardest lesson of them all! You know what I’ve learned about this one? That I am NOBODY to judge your life choices. But also that you are nobody to judge mine either.  We are all these tiny, tiny particles in time – but we get caught up in our own head and think we are the most important pieces of the puzzle. But let me burst your bubble now: we really are not. See the BIG PICTURE.  Of course, there are so many, many things I know know yet.  Like how to make chocolate, or the distance between the North Pole and the South Pole, or the fact that I only speak 3 languages fluently from the 6500 that are being spoken around the world.  Or the fact that I still don’t know what I want to do with my life, and the fact that I still don’t have any idea how to make all my dreams come true.  But I’m trying to be okay with that – because hopefully (fingers crossed), I still got a bit more time.. Time to learn a few more things. To laugh a bit more. To cry few more tears. To wear my heart on the sleeves.  To TRY.  And I hope you do too. I hope you use the the time that was given to you wisely.

    I hope that you will leave your mark. 

     

    Peace, Love & Happiness,

      Mona. 

  • | Come with me to .. Torquay (UK) |

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    I spent the last Summer Bank Holiday by the sea. It was a short trip, and unfortunately I did not had time to visit a bit more and get immersed in the life of locals. 

    Torquay is located in the English Riviera (Devon) and has been known as one of the Top 10 Holiday Destinations in UK (according to this). 

    It can be reached easily by train, bus or obviously by car. 

    And from what I could see, Torquay is a nice, little, posh city by the sea-side. People seemed more relaxed than usual (probably because of the sea-breeze) and it reminded me a lot of Lausanne (Switzerland) – one of my favourite cities. 

    I will definitely go back there some day, and do a bit more exploring and see what it has to offer. In the mean time though, enjoy few snaps I took while I was there.

    The Pier
    The Pier

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    Beach Time! A tad bit too cold for my liking, but nice view.
    Beach Time! A tad bit too cold for my liking, but nice view.
    Toys R US.
    Toys R US.
    Meet SID - my new best friend. All I need now is a wand and I'm ready for Hogwarts!
    Meet SID – my new best friend. All I need now is a wand and I’m ready for Hogwarts!
    One of the best things about Torquay: plenty of cafes' to choose from.
    One of the best things about Torquay: plenty of cafes’ to choose from.
    The Pier
    The Pier

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    Peace, Love & Happiness - ALOHA -
    Peace, Love & Happiness – ALOHA –
    Just doing their thing - a day at the beach.
    Just doing their thing – a day at the beach.
    Ferry Ride! A must-do while in Torquay
    Ferry Ride! A must-do while in Torquay
    Livin' the Life ..
    Livin’ the Life ..
    Brihxam - a ferry ride away.
    Brixham – a ferry ride away.

     

  • | Hello, September, my Love. |

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    “Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.” ~ J.K. Rowling 

     

    I woke up this morning with the kind of excitement that only comes once a year. I could feel it creep it my veins, my nostrils and my mood. I got out of bed, put the kettle on and went to open the window wide open. That was it: Autumn had finally arrived.

    The changing of the seasons has began once more..

    And maybe for most people is not a big deal, but here’s why I think it should be a big deal: it brings Hope.

    From my experience, sometimes is very hard to make decisions. And I’m talking about any kind of decisions – from how we like our coffee in the morning to what do we want to do with our lives.

    It is hard most of the times. Why? Well I think it’s because we, as a society , are more and more worried about the consequences of our actions.

    And that’s good and very mature. Up to a point I think.

    sep“But then fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.”  

    ~ Stephen King

    There are times in our lives that we need to make big decisions. When maybe we are not happy with our lives, spouses, jobs or just the direction we are heading on.

    Times when we are so depressed about these big parts of our lives that we become so focused on  putting on masks and convincing ourselves that everything is fine, when actually, nothing is fine. 

    And that’s why I think we need a bit of a push or a sign to realise we need to change something in our life. 

    That our time here is not unlimited, like some broadband company offer. This life is a short offer and goes on high demand. 

    My wish for this Autumn is Hope. Hope to keep fighting for Dreams. Hope to keep our heads above the water. Hope that our broken hearts will heal some day. 

    When it comes the Seasons of Life, remember that they change faster and faster and we need to enjoy each  one of them as they arrive. How do we do that? Simple: Live in the Present

     

    I wish you all the power to change your lives. The power to Hope this Autumn.

    Peace, Love & Happiness. 

    M

  • |Nahko Bear comes to UK or the story of one of the best nights in my life. |

    Nahko Bear, or one of the most brilliant souls I've met.

    ** Warning: This post will be filled with love words, amazing memories and life-changing music that I was part of last week. **

    Let me first tell you a bit about the story behind the story.

    It all began few months ago. I was still in China, going through one of my now-called ‘what-am-i-doing-with-my-life’ periods. And to get over that funk, I was looking for some new music to inspire me and bring me some light.

    I first stumbled across this talented young fellow and it was there that Nahko first appeared in my Youtube recommendations. I like to think of it as Fate.

    This is how it all began. And I was hookedMesmerised. Enticed. I wanted more. By the end of the day I had downloaded most of Nahko’s songs and watched recordings of their live concert. 

    It was then that I promised myself that I will see this amazing soul in flesh. 

    And again, as fate had it, I was able to get tickets for one of his first concerts in England. 

    Arrival in Manchester

    I arrived in Manchester relatively early, giving myself plenty of time to have a chai latte and enjoy a beautiful day. Afterwards, I left for the meet-up, where I’ve met some amazing people and chatted for a bit with them.

    Around 6pm we all decided to leave for the venue (Band on the Wall). The doors were meant to open at 7.30pm, so we were there first. We even got interviewed and took some group photos. But the best thing about coming early was that I got to sit at the front of the stage.  I could touch Nahko if I reached out.

    Warmup Artist – Dustin Thomas

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    The evening started slowly when Dustin Thomas took the stage for the opening set. All I can say about the set is that the kid has talent. And soul. And an amazing voice. Although I was not that familiar with his songs, I loved his energy and how he hooked the public. Everyone loved him.

    Check his music out here. It is worth it.

    Medicine for The People gave us medicine.

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     “I’ve been trying to find my family for a long time. And I’m trying to help other people feel like they have family through this music. For all the abandoned, vagabond, vagrant, home free kids out there. I don’t want any separation between listeners and us.” ~~Nahko (2013 HuffPost)

     

    Minutes passed, and everyone was getting restless. The moment we were all crowded in that small venue was coming.

    Good vibes were flowing all around. Everyone was waiting for their medicine. People were holding hands,  sharing smiles all around and just living in the moment.

    The moment Nahko came on stage and asked us ‘How you doin’ Manchester?‘ it was all it took for the room to explode. The wait was over.

    He started with a beautiful solo. And I could see it in his eyes he was feeling his music. He was sending his message across to the masses.

    An angelic voice, wearing black boots, a pair of skinny jeans and his guitar strapped around his torso. The man got us all hooked. He owned the room. I was mesmerised. If there were people in the room that never heard his songs, I guarantee they are now believers. 

    Their track list. I was lucky to even get it signed.
    Their track list. I was lucky to even get it signed.

    The set was almost 2 hours long. But it honestly felt like 2 minutes. The connection this whole band made with the people in the audience was breath-taking. Looking around everyone was dancing and singing their hearts out. Everyone was hugging strangers and was full with gratitude for the power of music.

    But you know what’s the most amazing thing about his music? He’s making the movement move. Literally.

    And we were all connected by their music.

    The energy was phenomenal.

     

    What I was left with in the end. 

    Oh, Hello!
    Oh, Hello!

    I stayed behind after the concert because I really just wanted to say ‘Thank you’ to Nahko. In return I got a hug, small chat, smiles and even few photos to immortalise the moment. I was such a happy gal.

    Nahko is as real as it gets. He came and hugged everyone, joked with everyone and even shared love all around. Such an inspiring human being.

    My heart is simply filled with gratitude. I arrived in Manchester alone. I left after making friends, receiving blessings, being touched once more by a powerful movement and for once, feeling like all my weirdness and different thinking found acceptance. 

     It felt like I knew everyone already. All of them sharing goodness and blessing all around themselves. For few hours I felt like I belonged to an actual tribe. That I had found a place under the stars.

    Tribe.
    Tribe.

    I feel recharged, hopeful and amazingly humbled after this experience.

    His music gave me back my writing a few months ago, and inspired me to keep going on my path this past week. 

    Thank you, Nahko Bear.

    Together we’re making this Movement Move.

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    My wish for you, dear reader.

    I can’t make you listen to his songs. It’s all up to you (like always). But I’m going to tell you that this amazing human being and the amazing souls he has in the band helped my life. Inspired me.

    I hope it is of help for you too.

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    Extra.

    Some snippets from the night.

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    I’ve posted this on Youtube:

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    Nahko's Guitar
    Nahko’s Guitar

    Peace, Love and Hope. 

    Monica 

  • Thank You.

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    Tonight my heart is full with love and gratitude.

    We are not alone. 

    There’s a God above and not matter what names you call Him, he loves us all. 

    He gave us all a unique task to full fill on this earth. 

    Be grateful.

    Stop. Breath the divine air that surrounds you. 

    Make the Movement Move. 

    Stay Humble. 

    Pray. 

    Love. 

  • StarGazing.

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    There’s a meteor shower tonight. A beautiful, magical, dark meteor shower.

    Go outside. Look at the sky.

    Remember how blessed you are to be HERE.

    “And if you feel damned, 

    just remember that 

    heroin is made of flowers

    and you, are made of 

    stars.” 

    ~ Amanda Torroni

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