Why you need to travel solo for at least a few times in your life

We live in a society built for couples.

If you receive some show tickets as a gift, they are mostly for two. Trips and hotel bookings usually expect you to bring along a partner or friend, otherwise, you have to pay an extra fee for a single room (yeah, you pay MORE if you travel alone).

In some places, you cannot go alone to a restaurant for dinner without earning some pitiful glances.

Undoubtfully, life is made of those little things worth sharing, and while one might enjoy his/her own company, there is no other thing compared to sharing those beautiful moments with someone else.

Still, there seems to be a big problem in our society with solo travelers, eaters, opera visitors.

Those people who are alone not because of their free will but rather life’s circumstances are put into the cubicle of pity and embarrassment.

As it already can be hard for many to be alone, this stigma often prevents those people from further enjoying their life even without a partner or group of friends.

On the other hand, others, that are in need of some solitude or simply enjoy their loneliness are usually confronted with questions asking about why they are alone or earn curious or even pitiful looks when sitting in a bar enjoying a drink or traveling to a resort where one can find mostly couples.

This way of thinking is preventing people from living a life of fulfillment and individuality and is something that has to change, and luckily, is slowly changing.

Traveling solo is will allow you to do all those things in a different, new place where no-one knows you and where you can truly be who you want to be. It can be the first step of trespassing boundaries put upon you by society, friends, and family. It will allow you to grow exceeding your own limitations.

While traveling alone you are the one and only person responsible for yourself. There is no-one else to carry your baggage, choose and book your accommodation, decide on what or where to eat or cope with difficult situations. You can dress the way you want without being worried of what people might think — because frankly speaking — you don’t know them and most likely won’t ever see them again. You can even act the way you want (although I strongly urge people to act and behave how you would want people to behave around you). Traveling solo can actually be a test run of a more fulfilled life, a life closer to who we really are and how we want to live.

You are completely on your own and that is where the beauty lies.

Most of us live in situations, where the biggest part of our lives is organized for us by someone else.

We live lives of strict schedules, already walked pathways, of tutorials, decisions, and opinions heavily dependant on those of the people surrounding us.

Even our school systems don’t usually leave much space for individuality and self-expression, but that might be a topic for another blog post.

We might have a close circle of friends, a stable surrounding and a familiar routine. We go to work and see the same faces over and over again, repeating our patterns and habits.

Leaving on your solo journey will allow to liberate yourself completely from those views, opinions, paths, and schedules.

You are your own boss, even if it is for only a few days a year. You are on your own to solve difficulties which might occur. As you most likely won’t be able to follow your daily routine and old habits, you will be able to distance yourself from them and actually try new things. This widening of your horizons will allow you to grow as a human being and be more critical towards your habits, allowing you to completely skip the negative ones completely over time.

There is nothing more beautiful and healthy than leaving your comfort zone and open yourself to new and unpredictable experiences.

And most important: You will learn to be alone with your thoughts.

Curiously, it seems that most of the people are avoiding exactly that possibility. Almost like the prospect of having to deal with all the devils, negative patterns and thoughts are what scares some people the most.

Unnecessary to say, exactly this is what many people actually need in order to overcome those thinking patterns and grow as human beings.

Traveling solo, without familiar people around us is forcing us to leave the comfort zone and be alone with our thoughts, which in turn forces us to cope with them and eventually will lead to growth. This, in turn, will actually lead over time to us enjoying our own company.

And only if we fully enjoy our own company, can be become a good company to someone else.

If you feel like this is something which resonates but you are struggling with doing the first step, you can drop me a message.

There are also many free resources to solo traveling and many groups where people are supporting each other. Just look up Solo Travelling on Facebook.

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Want to have more clarity in your life? Here’s a simple trick to start with.

Want to have more time and clarity in your life? Unclutter.
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Old Grease DVD’s, 15 year old postcards, those shoes you tell yourself you will wear eventually for 5 years straight, the Harry Potter series in all languages or that Portuguese vase you were gifted which actually doesn’t even match your style – it all hopefully served you a purpose at some point in your life, taught you something or at least made you smile or provoked at least some kind of emotion. Nonetheless, let’s be honest – their actual purpose lately is collecting dust and making it harder to clean.
Get rid of it.
Gift it, throw it away, put it downstairs for your neighbors to take, it might actually make someone happy who will use it more than you do.
Why am I insisting on it?
Those are all objects that either take your space or your attention, in worst case even both.
Clarity comes from mental calmness, from the ability to concentrate, a clean space you can provide for your mind to come to peace and function at its best.
Visual noise in form of too many objects, clutter, things we don’t like in our living space, dirt or simply overpacked shelves makes it hard for our brain to calm down. We need this calm in order to concentrate and enter the so-called flow state, in which your mind functions at its best. That is the state which permits people to create those incredible artworks, music pieces, great business models or next bestseller novels.
What happens if you don’t have this space for your mind?
Probably not much. Literally. You simply will find it harder if not even hardly possible to ever reach that state of calmness in which you fully concentrate on one thing and only one thing at a time.
It is simply much harder to sit down and actually think about how to add realistic skin tones to your watercolor portrait painting maintaining the original color concept while you have tons of objects, dirty cups, or gifted porcelain figurines from your parents-in-law standing around your already overfilled bookshelf (worst case scenario here).
Get rid of all those things which don’t make you truly happy anymore.
I’m sure no-one will ever complain if in exchange you finally get your art in that exhibition you always procrastinated.
Or at least put them into nice boxes and store it somewhere away from sight until you find a better solution (or just do it a few years later).
Find it hard to decide which needs to go? Follow my simple trick when cleaning:
You take three boxes.
One is for things you definitely like, which provoke positive emotions and you simply enjoy having around.
The middle box is for things you are unsure about. Use it for objects you still cannot decide whether to throw away or simply aren’t ready to part with. This later can be stored somewhere close by but nonetheless off sight. This will allow you to have a clearer view of whether you actually missed them when you put them away.
The third box is for all things you don’t need anymore or which don’t have any other purpose than occupying space and distracting.
Don’t overthink too much, your mind and intuition knows better.
Old blankets? Off with them. Old books you won’t read again? Donate them. Collection of old brushes and pens nearly from your schooltimes? Store them for a little longer and come back to it later. (OK I have a weakness there).
You get my point. Unclutter your surroundings.
Remember, every space cleaned is a new possibility of it being filled with things you really love, be it books of great value, a painting which triggers a positive emotional response or simply some blank space to give your mind some more calmness and opportunity to be creative, focused and quiet.
Try it out for yourself and see how it suddenly gets easier to actually sit down and do those things you told yourself as a New Years resolution. Stop waiting.
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How five minutes of meditation a day can change your life

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Photo by Yoann Boyer

We live busy lives.
Especially those of us who live in big cities, often struggle with the fast rhythm of life.
Apart from that, we are constantly exposed to a huge variety of information, which is forced upon us by ads, companies, TV, people.
Just try to ride a train without perceiving some of that information.
Constant visual and mental noise arises. We aren’t capable of concentrating on one thought for longer than a few seconds, maintain clarity of mind and stay focused on what really matters.
This noise, constant chattering of our mind is our biggest problem.
If you encounter a person walking on the street, talking to an invisible voice, some people might say this person is crazy, yet most of us have exactly that same voice inside our heads, all the time, judging, thinking, deciding, reviving long passed moments or fearing for the unknown future.
There are known methods to help calm down this voice and obtain at least some power over your thoughts, yet people seem not to appreciate the importance of it.
One of those methods is called Meditation.
Only five minutes every morning of a daily meditation practice can have a huge impact on your life.
Some of those aspects are:
  1. Better focus 
A daily meditation practice can improve significantly how concentrated and focused you are at work, in class or overall regarding your life. With time you will notice an increased concentration when studying, playing music, creating art or reading. For me personally, it helped a lot to enter the flow state on a more regular basis.
Meditation will also give you a better focus on what really matters in your life. It is kind of like stripping down your whole existence to what really matters to you – allowing you to invest more time and energy into important things.
  1. Quiet mind 
Our mind can be our greatest tool and our worst enemy. The constant inner noise has driven many people crazy in the past.
While we might not enter this category, it is safe to say that this inner voice, while genial at some times, is often a distraction.
Get rid of that constant chatter in your head.
There are several meditation practices which focus on exactly that – to simply observe your inner voice, or, depending on your level of expertise even to cease to think completely and therefore to declutter your mind. We clean our homes and bodies, why shouldn’t we do the same with our minds?
  1. Better mood
Meditation is proven to lower your levels of stress, which have a direct influence on your overall health and well-being. A short daily practice helps you to clear emotional and tension blockades, allowing you to face your daily struggles with more confidence, positivity, and strength. By adding a little gratefulness practice along with your meditations, you can double the positive effects.
There was not a single meditation practice in my life, which didn’t help to improve my mood at least a tiny bit. It’s kind of like recovering energy, calming down and focusing on the good things in one step.
  1. Conscious emotions
One of the most fascinating changes was probably how I learned to perceive and feel my emotions.
It is long proven that our thoughts and emotions have a direct effect on our health and overall state.
Emotions can have a direct impact on our physical body. We don’t sleep if we are excited, have tummy pain when nervous and can even develop more serious conditions if exposed to constant stress and negative emotions for long periods of time.
Especially tricky are those, that we cannot identify and keep carrying with us for days or weeks.
Meditation really helped me to be more aware of the emotions that arise with different thoughts or actions by myself or other people. By being conscious about them, be it positive or negative, I have a tool to control them.
By actively perceiving and acknowledging them, I give them no chance to manifest themselves in the physical body or force me to have a reaction which I might regret later.
  1. Improved creativity 
Two abilities are needed in order to actually be able to be creative: good memory, filled with useful information and mental rest. This means we actually need to reach those reserves of information, or so-called memory banks which include things we have seen, experienced, felt, smelled and tasted. Only paired with deep introspection and quiet can it be combined for a new spark to come up. Meditation helps us to acquire this quiet and gives us tools to evoke it when needed.
Creativity arises when our brain is sufficiently calm and relaxed to reach to those reserves of useful information.
Meditation helps to enter the state of flow, which is proven to allow your mind to create new things, have new ideas and overall create new things.
You calm down your mind, which allows you to focus on the goals for today, taking decisions not based on emotions but facts.
I might be mistaken and you are totally able to zone out – I still struggle daily to keep my mind quiet.
Only 5 minutes of meditation every morning or evening can help you improve your life significantly. If you struggle to practice on your own, there are many guided meditations available freely on the internet. I might create a list of free resources later on, in the meanwhile, should you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
What do you think about this? Do you meditate? If yes, what kind of meditation do you prefer? If not, why not?

 

Are you working for your money?

What does it mean to be financially independent?
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Many would consider it to be a state in which you can afford to pay your rent, expenses and have a constant flow of money.
Others would suggest it to be the amount of time you can live off without working, living off the passive income you generate by intelligently managing your money.
For me it’s both of the above mentioned plus the possibility to move around and live wherever I wish to be at that moment, having enough time to pursue my hobbies and to spend with my family.
How to achieve it?
Seems like an impossible task at first.
Since very young, we are taught to act in a specific pattern, going to school, follow orders, memorize information. We don’t actually get taught to think and be individuals with our own strengths and weaknesses. Obviously, I cannot talk about everyone but it is definitely how it happened to me and many people I know.
School gave me some basic knowledge, but it definitely didn’t prepare me for life. Most of the things I know, I learned outside of school.
Our mindset is programmed from early one to follow orders, execute and all in one be a great employee.
So how do we reach that financial independence? 
Definitely not by following orders or working 40+ years for someone else’s dreams to expect to have enough by then to live comfortably through your retirement until you finally die. Maybe it sounds a bit dramatic, but the overall I would say it is how many of us live their whole lives.
I won’t argue with the fact, that people are quite different and might have different desires and expectations from life – but over years two facts crystallized over the years:
The educational institutions won’t grant me a sufficient education to live a fulfilling life and I can’t rely on the government to receive a good retirement. It’s all in my hands: my future, my mother’s retirement, my kids, should I have them.
The first step is the change of mindset.
For the start, it is sufficient to simply open your eyes to all the senseless consumption forced upon us by ads, tv, society.
We get raises and earn more money to spend it on stuff that won’t make us happy, just to stand up to the standards and expectations set by other people. Those new brand sunglasses, this new bag although we have around 5 dusting in the closet, or maybe again another night of fiesta, spending € on overpriced Gin Tonics?
I am not saying, we are supposed to live a frugal life without any spending. The problem is the amount of things we buy, we don’t actually need.
I have to admit, I also fall into this category often. Just recently I bought three pairs of shirt on Zalando, while actually the only thing that would be useful would be a new pair of winter shoes which don’t leak.
This is all money, which could be put apart. Yes, we are talking about plan and simple savings here. Savings, which eventually can be invested or used to buy assets, which in return can generate more money.
If we would invest half of the energy we do in getting a raise into thinking and educating about finances, life could look so much different for so many of us.
What do you think?
I would love to hear your opinion!
Gabriela