All posts tagged: blog

Send Me to Tohoku

The Tohoku365 Project is a web-based magazine aimed at promoting foreign tourism to the magnificent, yet often uncharted, Tohoku region of Japan. The Project is offering a rare opportunity for an applicant to travel, eat and blog their way around this culturally rich and diverse prefecture, for one whole month! I hope to be that person, and share the beauty of the country that I now call my home, with the world. Fellow bloggers and subscribers – please have a look at my application video, I’d love to hear your thoughts on YouTube.   Arigato Gozaimashita    

Good Vibrations

A composed woman stands like a statue on stage, draped in a yukata and fitted with a tubular, over-sized headdress, cushioned against her head. She floats her hands above a black metal box emitting eerie, yet melodic, sounds without her ever touching it. To her left are two men dressed in tight, white lycra bodysuits, one with a towering salmon sashimi tied to his back and the other with an omelet pillow. A human sushi dance unfolds between the nigiri men and a monstrous, evil-eyed dragonhead, orchestrated by the captivating woman and her black box. The black box, a musical instrument called a theremin, was the world’s first electronic instrument invented almost 100 years ago. Theremin players create and manipulate sound by placing their hands next to two metal antennas and making subtle hand movements to control pitch and volume. The theremin’s ethereal sound is most commonly heard in sci-fi movies, but also in music genres such as classical, rock and pop. Classics such as The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations”, Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” …

Stop. Breathe. Release.

Sitting in the neon lit room, enclosed by cream walls, I can see speckles of the signature blue trickled throughout the room, in the notepads, the notices on the wall and the student’s vacant gaze. I glance down at the textbook and regurgitate yet another lesson in English 101. Feigning interest, I smile and pretend to be enjoying myself. Days and days go by like this, but the student knows the truth, they can see through my plastic smile, and feel it in their bones. resistance (n): the refusal to accept or comply with something. Resistance shows its destructive face in many ways, acting as the saboteur of our lives: when we decide to follow a creative calling; commit to a health regime; feel the urge to launch a new venture or simply get ourselves out of the present moment into a perceived better one, in my case, lying on the beach somewhere with a pina colada in hand. Resistance seems to come from outside ourselves, like an uncontrollable force emitted from jobs, partners, circumstances that poison us and cause us to be unhappy.  It …

What To Do When The World Says No

The easiest option is of course to join in and say ‘no’ with them. To accept that you really aren’t that great and don’t deserve more. Of course you can’t have anything you want, I mean that’s ludicrous, it just doesn’t work like that. Go out, have that 2nd, 3rd, 4th beer or that double chocolate cookie and slip back into the hum drumness of everyday existence. I don’t believe it has to be like this. Most of us accept that a select few get to live their dreams. That they are blessed with luck and that things just come to them without much effort. We believe that we can’t really follow our dreams – whether it’s starting that pottery business; making toy airplanes, or opening a specialist sweet shop – these are just fantasies that can’t be realised in the ‘real world’. I think this is all bullsh*t. Excuse my French, but it had to be said. Perhaps the real issue is that most of us just aren’t prepared to put in the effort. To apply ourselves daily to achieving our dreams, however simple …

The First Rule of Tinder Is…

… Don’t expect your date to look like his photo. The Second Rule: Drop your expectations dramatically, like 100%. And then some more. And the Third Rule: Swiftly delete your account (well, that’s for you to decide..) I’m an old school gal at heart, and not one who has ever delved into the magical world of online dating, but I thought I’d give it a try. I mean it’s 2015 after all and everyone’s doing it; I’m living in Tokyo and dating is tough for a western girl. So I got one of my closest buddies to sign up with me.  It started out as a joke of course – let’s just join for one month and see what happens; maybe we can meet some guys to take us surfing. Well things didn’t turn out quite like that. There sure are some strange cats lurking on Tinderland. We spent many train rides home swiftly swiping left for horrifyingly unsuitable suitors. There’s the guy who’s married but is looking for a threesome; the Marilyn Manson lookalikes, the redneck from Texas,  and of course the ones with poodle profile …

Roast Veg Nori Wraps

Living in Taiwan, we are super lucky that fruit and veg are so cheap and abundant here. I sure will miss that when I leave! I popped down to my local fruit and veg street market this morning and came back with 2 bags full of colourful goodies for less than $8. I’ve been feeling like I need a health reboot, and the best way to do that is cook for yourself of course. I didn’t feel like just plain brown rice and veg, so decided to add in some nori (seaweed) for fun. I don’t need to tell you the benefits of eating seaweed, but incase you don’t know check out my previous post on 5 Essential Japanese Foods. So this is what I did: I  roasted up some veg, use whatever you have on-hand. I used squash, onion, red pepper, cloves of garlic and mushrooms. A splash of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, black pepper and some Himalayan rock salt and you’re good to go. I like it when the onion goes crispy and caramely when baked.. mmm mmm mmm. …

Slowly, Slowly…

Step by step. I placed one foot in front of the other, pressing gently into the wooden steps as I made my ascent. Up, up and further up I went, slowly, steadily, with ease and flow. Until soon these steps became somewhat effortless, as if I was floating up the mountain. This was my experience hiking up Shoushan 壽山 (Monkey Mountain) today; very unusual for me because usually I’m puffing and panting all the way to the top. So what was so special about today? I decided to take it slow. I wanted to see what it felt like to feel each step, and keep my awareness there in that moment. To my surprise, something magical happened. I hiked and hiked and didn’t have to stop once along the way. My heart rate stayed steady, I felt full of strength, like I could go on forever. I felt connected to my surroundings – the beautiful old trees, butterflies, and monkeys. Perhaps because today I actually took time to look around, instead of forging ahead. Everything seemed wondrous. When someone came past me, I felt myself wanting …

Why, Hello There…

As part of WordPress’s Blogging 101 challenge, we have to write a post about who we are and why we’re here. Ok, so Day 1 was 2 days ago, but here goes… Who Am I Really? I could start by telling you a list of things about me, like who I am and what I do in this world. But does any of that really matter? Instead, I’d like to tell you about what moves me. I’m inspired by beauty. It’s all around us, waiting to be seen. We just need to open our murky eyes, rub back the dirt, and look. Really look. I see it in people’s stolen smiles; I see it in trees, mountains, sunsets and cups of tea. Aaah… the beauty of it all. I’m inspired by travel, exploring unknown lands. Spending some time there, maybe a few years, and uncovering the essence of the place. Getting to know the people, the food, and the culture. It’s all very exciting. I’m moved by yoga. Everyday it gives back to me more and more. It teaches …

Thoughts Become Things

Well that sounds easy enough. I’ll just think about all the things I want in my life and they’ll manifest NOW! Haha if only it was that simple. Well, it could be if we were in a place of complete allowing. Our intentions would be pure, our focus razor-sharp, and in an instant our desires would be fulfilled. But like everything in our perfect universe, this principle is based on that of duality, and on the opposite end of the spectrum we have resistance. allowing <<<  >>>  resistance Resistance is what ultimately stops us from fulfilling our desires. It keeps us stuck in the lack of it (the job/healthy body/relationship/money, etc.) and draws that which is like itself towards us. Haven’t you noticed when you don’t have resistance to something, how easily it comes into your life? It’s like the more you want something from a place of need, the more resistance is created, and the harder it is to get it. “If you are resisting anything, you are focused upon it, pushing against it, and activating the vibration of …

My Kaohsiung

There’s a lot of reasons to love living in Taiwan, like the ever-friendly Taiwanese people, cheap food and accommodation, safety, amazing healthcare, $5 acupuncture treatments and the eternal sunshine, to name a few. But here’s why I love living here, and especially in Kaohsiung, which I think has the perfect mix of first-world living balanced with an easy-going edge. 1.  My Hood I live in the Cultural Centre 高雄市文化中心; area (KMRT 06/07) downtown. I absolutely LOVE living here. Maybe it’s because I live down a quaint little street that lights up at night, and the area is filled with eateries, cafes and pretty much everything I need within walking distance. I like that I can walk to the park which is always humming with people walking their dogs or families just hanging.  On the weekends, it lights up with craft markets and there’s a definite buzz and an authenticity about it. I love how the corner man greets me everyday, even though I have never eaten at his restaurant, not once. I feel at home here. 2. Massages with No.23 Oh yes, massages with …

Be Like A Butterfly

A wise friend once gave me some great relationship advice. He said, “Sam, you need a man who can see you are like a butterfly. Someone that allows you to flitter and flatter out into the world, do your thing, and then have a safe home to return to.” Looking back I’d say he was spot on. On my morning hike today, I was lucky enough to see some beautiful butterflies about, every kind of colour and size you can imagine. Moving effortlessly from flower to flower, dancing about, completely absorbed in the beauty of the moment, and then the next, and the next… We can learn a lot from our dear little winged friends. They embody a feeling of playfulness, a lightness of being, joy, beauty and of course transformation. Symbolically they represent the world of the soul and remind us “not to take things too seriously and to get up and move”. Mostly I think they remind us to be present, feel the beauty of the NOW and love every moment of it. Find out more symbolically about these …

Take Me To The Mountains (or ocean, or forrest)

I went for a hike up beautiful Shoushan this morning, or as us foreigners like to call it, Monkey Mountain. It reminded me to feel lucky; lucky enough to live in a country where I can easily access the beauty around me. I think back to when I lived in South Africa. I really had it all, but didn’t quite know it. I lived on the beach. That’s right, literally the beach was across the road from my house. And I enjoyed hearing the waves crashing when I fell asleep and the cool sea breeze. I often even walked on the beach. But what I forgot to do, was get in the ocean. I spent years and years denying myself the joy of swimming. Too scared to venture in, not because of great whites, but because I didn’t want to be seen. Living in Taiwan has taught me to get in. I hike, I swim, I explore the beauty around me. I get excited about stuff. I stopped doing that back home, and I’ve realised it’s essential for …

Where’s Home?

They say ‘home is where your heart is’, but what does that mean anyway? That ‘home’ is with the person or place you love the most? I’ve had many physical homes on the path that I’ve chosen, enjoying the newness of setting up house in foreign lands. Of course, South Africa will always be my ‘home’, the place where I was born and where my family and friends reside. But as I travel longer and longer on this path, I’m learning to find my home in my heart. Because ultimately isn’t that where all the love in the entire universe resides? Right here, inside my tiny little heart. And the further I seem to travel, the closer I get to myself. Layers unfold, judgements melt, realisations occur, here, now. Sometimes all I really want to do is squeeze someone I love, and I can’t, and that reminds me of my aloneness. But then I remember that life is transient, people come, people go, change occurs whether we like it or not. And all we really have is …

How We Did Palawan

My mom and I spent a magical week in Palawan in July, and here’s a detailed blog about how we did it. But first here are some of our highlights… HIGHLIGHTS El Nido was definitely the highlight of our trip. Here’s a map I drew for my cousin with my favourite places highlighted. Island hopping tours – we only did Tour A which was great. We used Pearl Gates Tours, they were excellent. Normal price is 1200 pesos but we paid 1000 pesos ($22) each for a day tour from 9am – 2pm including lunch (yummy fresh fish, octopus, salad, fruit, rice) including snorkelling gear. Our guide was really funny too! There are many tour companies to choose from, but I can recommend these guys. If you are coming down the main road towards the beach, they are located down the main side road (to the right) closest to the beach. Walk down a while and they are just past the first massage shop you see on the right hand side. They also organised our transportation …

The Place That Stole My Heart

I spent the last week in a very special place, with a very special person (my mama) in a little town tucked away on an island in Northern Palawan, Philippines. What makes this little town so special you ask? Perhaps it is its quaint and quirky feel; the fact that it essentially only has 3 main roads running throughout; a plethora of beautiful islands surrounding it; or that it takes a 6 hour bumpy and sometimes dangerous van ride from the island’s main city to access this little gem. The long journey there makes the final destination ever more so inviting. I like that there is no electricity though out the town from 6am to 2pm daily, and that I can walk from one end to the other by foot or take a cheap tricycle ride for only 50 pesos ($1). This town has a certain charisma, its beauty subtly draws you in and begs you to let go and enjoy the simple pleasures of island life. It’s really hard not to be happy in a place like this, …

A Time To Let Loose

This Friday’s upcoming full moon in fun-loving Sagittarius should be called the party moon, and not the strawberry moon as it’s known in the U.S. In contrast to New Moons which represent rebirth and new beginnings, Full Moons embody clarity and obtainment of desire. Basically, every month we get a chance to hone in on our desires, figure out what we really want, and then plant them like seeds into the universe on the eve of New Moon. Then we wait patiently for our intentions to blossom, and on Full Moon simultaneously release what no longer serves us. Aren’t we lucky folk? The moon & me The moon cycles have always been a part of our lives and we can see her effects throughout nature and within ourselves. As Selacia describes on her blog, “The moon governs the natural world as well as our emotions, instincts, intuition, and unconscious. It is related to water, the element often described as being furthest from the rational realm.” We are of course made of 70% water, how can we not …

Wisdom from a Tree

I got chased out my apartment this morning by very loud drilling resonating from downstairs. There was just no way I could meditate at home, so I got dressed and headed out to the park. Even though I love meditating in the park, I was slightly annoyed. So off I trotted and found a spot of shade under a big, beautiful tree that I often meditate near. As I was about to begin, I couldn’t help but be disturbed by the obvious traffic noise beside me. I considered moving deeper into the park but it was already very sunny and hot and not much shade available. Then I thought maybe I should stick with this. I looked up at this big, sturdy tree in front of me and wondered how he manages to stay so calm amidst all the chaos. So strong, so serene, so steady. The complete opposite of me. I wanted some of that. And then it hit me. There’s always that quiet, peaceful place within us. I know people often say that, but have you ever …