Travellers Tales

For me, travelling isn’t about how many countries I can cross off, cool Instagram shots or how many likes I can get..

to me it’s a personal calling, one that I wait to hear…

This time, I was summoned  to the amazing continent of South America! I decided to leave my job, give up my flat,  cut ties to material, took my savings and left! 

I go because I want my mind to be completely expanded. To understand the anthropology of people, land and explore natural beauty, whilst absorbing the spirit and most importantly feeding my colourful SOUL! . 

It’s all about staying true to your individual core and self, where I want to do impactful work, travel ethically and live consciously. This journey took me across Ecuador- Peru-Bolivia-Argentina-Brazil and (one day accidentally in Paraguay) full of hiking, camping, altitude sickness, insect bites, partying with locals, homestays, extreme sports, overnight buses and connections that will last a lifetime! 

(And breathe!) 🥵 

I feel the world is my home where I’m free and belong. The older I get, the more I feel I have no home. But that its out there- a feeling under the stars. 

home is a feeling, rather than a stationary location.

Often, I’m advised its unsafe and asked if I’m ‘scared’ as a lone female traveller. A belief I hold strongly is, not allowing fear or society’s perception to limit or influence my world views, and to put the people behind the headlines. I am amazed at the parallel worlds that coexist side by side. To me, the world is to be revealed as a blank canvas, without judgements and for me to uncover.

So, why did I go there?… why not 🙂 

South America fascinated me with it’s beauty rich in history, diverse ethnic make up , a land of colour , inspiration, and passion that’s full of hope, struggles and revolutions. It’s a fierce personality with an unpredictable temper and untouched nature from the mountains to the beaches. Its home to the Amazon, the lungs of the earth with immense biodiversity. This captivated me as a child learning about a rainforest, covering a continent. That’s why I decided, it was the spirt of extremities that spoke to my personality!

Julio, my Amazon tour guide in Ecuador blew me away as he shared his insights on his magical forest. He was born in the Andes and moved to the Peruvian side, where his family still remain.  He was extremely jovial, enthusiastic and passionate in sharing his home with me. I stayed in wooden lodges and booked with a company that support eco tourism, who work with local communities to preserve cultures. I try to travel ethically not to exploit people or countries.

In particular, what I loved most during my Amazon stay was the spiritual journey I was taken on. Julio, took me on a night tour in the depth of the night, where silhouettes of the trees outlined the glittery night sky above. He explained how as a boy he wandered into the forest and was lost where his family presumed he was dead. It was from the oneness of nature and being in tune with his surroundings, that carried him home. Jungle philosophy spoke to me as I loved the synergy between humans and land. The native tongue of Checha is a connection to their ancestors and respect is given to all living things. As this relates to one, their PachuCutti (mother earth ) They never forget that our time is limited and every moment we are present, is a blessing not a right to have on this earth.

This spiritual enlightenment carried me through as I suffered altitude sickness whilst camping and hiking for 4 days. It was the mountains way of greeting me, which was also shared with fellow travellers from New Zealand. We laughed at the side effects of medicine we shared that weren’t prescribed to us, and inevitably at 4,200m felt the side effects, by having facial spasms.

The journey of learning the native beliefs, and hiking with local porters.  I was able to endure the hardships, reflecting on mountain time alone, and passed through Amazon cloud forest, Inca ruins and breathtaking sights. I was just happy being in the moment where a sense of content filed me. The path was guiding me where I felt welcomed by the Incas. 

Not chasing the race but going at my own pace felt enough, this allowed me to appreciate and pause on my current phase in life.

My time at a homestay in Lake Titikaka, Peru also humbled me. As, I was welcomed into a locals home under the dim light of their simple makeshift kitchen made up of basic stone and not being able to speak their language but communicated through humour and body language. My senses were on fire in absorbing it all in, whilst my eyes were appreciating as genuine happiness sent chills through me, not wanting anything but to sit and learn. 

I was fascinated by a tradition where married men would wear their wives hair around their waists, as belts. As a sign of unity and commitment that they’re always with them. 

This different form of a wedding ring, has inspired my future plans 😉

Traveling allows anything to happen and unexpected events to unfold. As I walked aimlessly in Argentina Buenos Aires, armed police didn’t allow me to visit the Casa Rosada (government house). I struck up a conversation with a passerby, who was told  the same and turned away. I introduced myself to her and to my luck, she also spoke english! As two strangers we walked and talked along the streets. I called her Blue as in Spanish that’s what it means. 

She was extremely helpful and friendly taking me to the square and told me about the women’s movement, as I was curious by the slogans and flags. I offered her a drink where the waiter was Venezuelan and told us how he was studying to be a doctor, but it became useless due to the political crisis. A prevalent situation that I saw across the continent first hand, with floods of Venezuelans camping on the Peruvian border, whilst others pleaded at police stations in Araquipa with documents in hand, in search for a safe haven and new land to call home.

Having only packed flip flops and walking boots, I wasn’t equipped for city life.  A real genuine friendship formed between me and Blue where she invited me to a party that were a collective bunch of young people of performing arts, actors, musicians who welcomed me in with ease. I was fascinated to learn more about Argentinas feminism, especially as the girls who were studying at university were passionately involved. Blue, invited me to stay with her providing a local insight, cooking me dinner and bought me a green bandana, to share my solidarity with the women of Argentina! 

What did you learn?

I wish I could speak languages and often felt uneducated in not knowing Spanish beyond Banyos (toilet) and agua (water) although I had a very limited vocabulary, it allowed dialogue to unfold naturally, made up of humour and human connection. I found South Americans intrigued by the fact I was British, but by appearance looked ‘exotic’ to them. This challenged their perceptions on what they thought of England and brought an appreciation towards my heritage.

Often, I joked how South America was my continent! As it gave me something, that I don’t feel in the land I’m born. An admiration for everything I am and possess, not labelled based on assumption.

My experiences are hard to condense as they are forever wavering feelings, that take flight and manifest into memories. As all journeys they are eventful and fragmented from cliff jumping even though I can’t swim, ending up in favelas unprepared, to taking motorbike taxis down mountains , salsa with locals, camping across Argentina to Brazil and spending new years on  Copacabana Beach, and of course always making international friends to connecting with the lone wolves on the fringes of society. 

The genuine connections I will forever cherish. All making me realise, I find what I already know, the beauty in the world full of diverse people. It has all engrained in my thoughts and memories ..imprinting profoundly on my soul. 

From the streets, the people, the markets, the fact of life …the variation of living 

Who’s to say which is right or wrong

The randomness of life coexisting

To sum up what I really felt and learnt is that South America is my continent! One I felt most welcomed, the most me, free to express my self and identity

I wonder where my journey will lead…

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This Girl Can

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Sport England, have been running a woman focussed campaign in a bid to open discussion around encouraging positive body image and healthy lifestyles to close the gender gap between men and women in sport.

Research has found two million fewer women than men aged 14-40 year olds in total play sport.

The media plays a big influence in how we associate the world, its great to see adverts such as these placed in shopping centres across UK, the above advert was in Leeds. The more we see women in sport and media encourages an attainable image that inspires other women, to open up get involved and achieve what those similar to them have. A positive role model is a powerful tool in connecting and inspiring people to reach beyond their limits and break barriers.

When it comes to adverts, media and news, as individuals we tend to view it from the angle we see the world reflecting our own beliefs and experiences that create our own interpretations. Advertisements by being shown often help to change associations and stigma in society by altering and normalising attitudes.

 These have a positive effect, shown in the This Girl Can campaign which encouraged 1.6 million women to exercise.

Not only defying the expectation of women in society but also breaking cultural barriers of woman from certain faith backgrounds. This offers a depiction of women worldwide who can access exercise and sport, cutting down obstacles to get involved and improve general fitness, whilst remaining in the religious and cultural boundaries.

It was great to see the This girl can campaign in action!

#ThisGirlCan

Is that how I really look? 

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Ever looked at yourself in the mirror, seen yourself in a shop window, or caught yourself in a reflection and not liked or recognised what was on the other side ? What if this became an obsession and was all you could think about?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a body image anxiety related disorder, where a person has a distorted view of their body image. Each year, it is estimated 1 in 4 people will experience mental health related problems

According to the NICE guidelines (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) who set the care expectations for health, public health and social care professionals across the U.K. Body Dysmorphic Disorder is characterised by time‑consuming behaviours such as mirror gazing, comparing particular features to those of others, skin picking and reassurance seeking.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is often linked with other mental health conditions such as obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, substance abuse, and eating disorders.

Body Dysmorphia in sports and especially men:

Generally speaking men in society find it harder to speak out about personal issues where feelings and body image are discussed. Therefore, making it harder for the problems to be detected and go unnoticed.

Body Dysmorphia is highly common in situations where high importance is placed on physical appearance, in particular with sport and more in those of aesthetic appreciation.

Athletes especially, may suffer Muscle Dysmorphia as they hold an emphasis of obsessive traits to getting bigger, losing body fat and having more muscle. These thoughts can be seen as ‘normal’ routine and behaviour, which are praised by coaches for the level of dedication and intense training. This results in Muscle Dysmorphia being normalised and going unnoticed as a problem.

Have a look at this article that looks at ‘Muscle dysmorphia: One in 10 men in gyms believed to have ‘bigorexia’

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/34307044/muscle-dysmorphia-one-in-10-men-in-gyms-believed-to-have-bigorexia

Finally it’s a sport!

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Parkour: Is movement to get from one place to another using the fastest method

Freerunning: Is the artistic and gymnastic movement that is more visually impressive than Parkour.

The UK has come a long way in regards to sport, by becoming the first country in the world to appreciate the art of Parkour, officially recognising it as a sport!

 Why is it good that it’s a sport?

  • It can be taught in the national curriculum in a safe and educational setting strengthening stamina and mind power
  • It has access to funding and government support providing benefits, that other sports receive
  • Raises recognition, appreciation and inspiration!

Starting the sport myself in 2015, I have always been fascinated by the ability to train the body to move artistically through air.

The practice of this sport encourages creativity and opens up the mind to playing with the environment around, where there are no limitations creating a space for the unexpected, that is full of trial and error.

In years to come, maybe the new sport will be competed in the Olympics! To me that would be amazing to see, the different countries interpretation of Parkour incorporating movement with their own culture, colours and country!

I was amazed to find Parkour in India-controlled Kashmir. It is remarkable to find sport that brings inspiration especially for those living in war torn countries, an art of movement that brings enlightenment!

This expression of movement depicts the fight against political struggle, stepping towards broadening minds and providing a light of hope!

Let me know your thoughts on this?

What is identity to you?

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Growing up, I have been challenged to think more about my identity, what it means to me and how I relate to it.

In my younger years living as a minority, I adapted to living in a majority white society, being the only non white  in my primary school.

However, as I got older I started to feel the labels being placed on me, were purely judged for how I looked. My ethnic appearance, gender and age being the first thing I was judged on with pre-conceived ideas of what I was about.

The struggle to disapprove these ideas received  surprise as it was out of the norm of what someone ‘like me’ should behave like opposing the ‘labels’ ‘representation’ and ‘standards’. I was showing myself for the individual that I am, in human flesh away from a tick box.

Sometimes, ‘diversity’ on the screen and media can feel like it is just a coloured face as part of an inclusion exercise,  with no substance that strips the real individual away. It is as though the background has to be concealed and all aspects of the individual has to conform to be accepted.

As a result, I feel torn with my identity, but realised it is not simple and is changing for all the different things I represent. I can only be true to myself, and  fight against expectations of what someone like me should be like, finding my own identity.

I  fall into many categories that have shaped my personality, thoughts and way of life just like everyone else.  I present an image for those that have presumed ideas on what people like me should be like.

I am a patchwork of beliefs, cultures, interests and I stand for more than just to be defined by the heritage of my appearance.

I  fight to break barriers and defy expectations that are put on by others, standing for everything that I am!  My identity is that I am ME-whatever that may be!

From this, please realise that: You cannot  conform. Your ‘identity’ is what makes you, You-and thats the beauty!

Leave your comments below, I would love to hear what identity means to you? #BBCIdentity

🙂

Why are you called Silent8butterfly?

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Answer:  It is a metaphor for the nature of the website that attempts to talk about stories and broad topics openly.The name is about breaking silence and ‘Silent8butterfly’ is about how remaining silent can destroy something fragile like an innocent butterfly.

It’s in the sound of words:

Silent 8 butterfly = Silence ATE the butterfly

The name is about the importance of speaking up, using the power of the voice and word

Why has March been a bad month?

mapThis March 2016, has seen horrific attacks and killings spreading from the East to the West in a short space of time of 3 weeks. My thoughts to the world and in particular the countries in recent pain Turkey, Belgium, and Pakistan.

It is upsetting to see and to be immune to attacks like these occurring so frequently. When there is pain in the world, we hurt together and unite as humans. This is a mention to not forget the innocent lives lost and to the loved ones affected from the horrible aftermath.

Turkey was the first to receive an explosion on 13th March where it was reported a car bomb exploded in the Turkish city of Ankara killing 32 people and wounding more than 100. And not to forget- this is was the second recent attack in Turkey in the same city of Ankara as in February a bomb attack killed 28 people, and leaving dozens wounded.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-35798517

Brussels was next targeted on 22nd March where it is recorded two bomb explosions took place at the international airport, and another blast occurred at a metro station in the city centre. This saw at least 28 people killed and 340 injured.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-35869985

Pakistan is the most recent to experience an explosion on 27th March where 69 people have been killed and 193 at current injured at a public Park in Lahore in Punjab-Pakistan’s largest and wealthiest province.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-35908512

 

These sporadic attacks are disgusting acts designed to divide and conquer to instill fear and instability worldwide.

They clearly show that there are no borders in evil and hate spreads across all countries. We stand up to fight, together as humans all for peace.

To all the innocent lives lost you are not forgotten, we stand for you!

I admire those who carry on with life the next day as normal, and to those that react in these situations without hesitation from the firefighters, police, doctors and general public whose positive spirit has not allowed the darkness to overcome the light.

-Keep the flame burning bright X

Leave your comments whats your thoughts? Share along 🙂

What is a Terrorist?

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A recent event in Czech took place on 24th February 2015 which saw a gunman killing 8 people in a restaurant.

It was disappointing to find the report using words such as  ‘”Bursts” “Shooting indiscriminately” and “Worst mass shooting” “Police described it as the worst mass shooting incident on record” in Czech. However, this was not classed as a TERRORIST by the interior minister.

According to the terrorism act 2000, terrorism includes “serious violence against a person, a threat to a persons life; serious risk to the health and safety of the public” This event fits the definition of the word as it is only a terrorist who causes terror by killing 8 people in a public restaurant. According to the law this is the definition of Terrorism. However, in todays society it seems that people’s perceptions have changed when they associate with “terrorist acts” confusing it with only being capable from a person with religious motivations. It is upsetting many are shown to believe this. A terrorist can be anyone!

Both good and bad deeds come from humans who use any means to justify their acts coming from array of people of all colours backgrounds and differences. Humans are complex and have created the most inspiring and compassionate developers moving humanity forward, to the most heartless destroyers creating evil in the world

So what does this show? We are all capable of good and bad. It is only up to us as individuals to change how we see the world and each other.

Fear controls people, it puts us into boxes makes a complex world seem simple by labelling differences.

Here is the link to the Czech shooting article, please have a look for yourself and let me know what you think:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-31608932