Look Me in the Eyes

I read an article today about Dame Anna Wintour (editor in chief of American Vogue) and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who sat next to each other at a fashion show during this year’s London Fashion Week.

In the article, there were several photos of the two ladies sitting comfortably side by side, the Queen looking quite thrilled and happy and Anna Wintour…wearing her big, black sunglasses.

Oh, the horror…one might think.

Oh, and so what…someone else might think.

It was (of course) pointed out that Wintour broke all kinds of royal protocol and showed very poor manners by not removing her sunglasses in the presence of the Queen, a person who naturally outranks even the mighty and powerful Anna Wintour.

Wintour not only kept her sunglasses on the whole time…she never even removed them as she initially stood up to greet the Queen and shake her hand.

Royalty or not, I think that you should always (!) take off your sunglasses when you meet and greet someone for the first time so you can respectfully look them in the eye (I.e. make eye contact) as you greet them and shake their hand.

In my opinion, it has nothing to do with rank…it has everything to do with showing respect for another person. Especially when you meet them for “the first time”.

If you’re outside and the sun is really bright when you take off your sunglasses, you can always put them back on after you’ve already greeted the other person(s) and if necessary excuse yourself by saying something in the lines of “I’m sorry, but I need to put on my sunglasses because the sun is really bright…”. If the others also took off their sunglasses to greet you, they might even be relieved and put theirs back on. And that’s fine because by then you’ve already made good, initial eye contact and greeted each other in the proper and respectful way.

I may not always remember to practice “what I preach”, so if you’ve met me and I didn’t take off my sunglasses and look you in the eye…I apologize and hope I’ll remember the next time.

https://www.hellomagazine.com/royalty/2018022146508/anna-wintour-breaks-royal-protocol-queen/

Can I Have a Doggy Bag, Please?

There was a big article in the Danish news today about the topic of doggie bags. In Denmark, it’s (still) not normal to ask for a doggy bag at restaurants, even though some have already started offering it.

And why not?

Having lived for the past 12+ years in a country where doggy bags are as common as ordering food at the restaurant, I now think it’s such a shame that countries like my native Denmark are still not on board with this.

It’s obviously a way to avoid wasting food. But apparently the issue of asking for a doggy bag (in Denmark) is a bit taboo. People aren’t accustomed to it, so they feel almost ashamed to ask or to even consider bringing their restaurant leftovers home and eating them for lunch or dinner the next day.

The concept isn’t far away from, say, going to a restaurant and picking up take out (or “take away” as I believe it’s called in Denmark). Okay, maybe it’s not exactly the “same”…but still.

My train of thought is this: I’m paying for the food, so I should be able to bring it home if I can’t finish it at the restaurant, instead of them just throwing it out.

It’s food! And unless it was bad or you didn’t like it, why on earth wouldn’t you take it home?

Resources are not infinite. I think we’re pretty much aware of that by now. And we have to consider that fact and try to adapt our lifestyle in order to minimize waste, not just food waste but all sorts of waste.

According to the article in the Danish news, Denmark and Danes waste 700,000 tons of food every year! Restaurants, hotels and cafeterias waste 29,000 tons of food every year in Denmark.

I’m personally stunned by this number, especially because Denmark is such a small country with just over 5 million people. But things are apparently changing…

The government is talking about making doggy bags mandatory in all restaurants. It’s a wonderful idea. I just hope that in doing so, they won’t create another kind of “waste problem” with the type of packaging used to make these doggy bags…

Please, for the love of the planet…please don’t use Styrofoam, plastic or any other type of box or bag that is harmful for the environment…like they do where I live!

I’m way past having any issues with asking for a doggy bag at restaurants. My next hurdle would be to get into the habit of bringing my own, reusable and collapsible container and just wrap my leftovers before the waiter can bring me a Styrofoam container.

Baby steps!

Queen Elizabeth II Bans Plastic Straws

The other day, I wrote a post about how I think we (especially women) should celebrate women for their greatness…when deserved, of course.

Not all women do great things and not all women are great just because they’re women… But there are a lot of great women in the world – young and old alike.

I want to start this theme by celebrating a grand old lady – a queen, nonetheless. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II recently became my personal heroine and role model.

Why?

Because she decided to ban the use of plastic straws and plastic bottles in the royal “household”.

(…) the Queen will end the use of single-use plastic straws and bottles in ALL royal estates, public cafes in royal residencies, as well as staff dining rooms. Royal caterers will now be required to use china plates and glasses.

At 91 years old, she is a beautiful example of how it’s never too old to make a change for the better, for the good of the planet and future generations.

It is thought that the Queen became personally interested in the problem of plastic after working with Sir David Attenborough on a conservation documentary dealing with wildlife in the Commonwealth.

She is the perfect example of how you can still contribute to making the world a better place even if you’re in the twilight of your life.

❤️

Quotes from:

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/queen-elizabeth-bans-plastic-straws-bottles/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/11/queen-declares-war-plastic-david-attenborough-documentary/

Hello, It’s Me…

I’ve thought long(ish) and hard(ish) about whether or not to start sharing my blog on my Facebook profile and as I write this, I’m still not 100% convinced that it’s the right thing for me to do. I’m not sure because I know that as soon as I start sharing on social media, I’ll become slightly obsessed with stats, likes & comments – and that ruins all of the fun. But, as the saying goes: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

So, here goes.

This is my blog. This is not my first blog, but more like my 3rd blog (if I’m not mistaken). This is not my only blog, but it’s my personal blog. I’m not going to tell you that I’ll be writing about A, B, or C because I change my mind as often as some people change their socks…? Making big, bold proclamations about what this will or will not be is simply not practical because I might not be able to deliver. Not even in the short term.

What I will say, however, is that this blog is whatever I want it to be based on what I’m doing, working on, reading, or where I’m traveling to.

Is it a lifestyle blog? No, I don’t think so. I’s more like a ME blog. I’ve had this blog for a couple of years now, but it’s only in the last 5 months (or so) that I’ve really gotten serious about writing.

Almost.

Every.

Single.

Day.

…or at least every single week. Sometimes, I “forget” to write and I’ll take a a few hours in a day to play catch up and write 5 posts in a row.

I guess I have Gary Vee to thank for this blog becoming what it’s becoming. I became inspired to document (not create) my life last summer when I accidentally stumbled upon his YouTube channel after watching someone on Facebook who kept mentioning his name. I kept thinking “who is this Gary Vaynerchuck guy anyways”. So, I Googled him and that was like jumping down a rabbit hole.

For the past 5 months, I’ve been “documenting my life” in daily blog posts (Read my 1st post about why I decided to start documenting my life). I wish I could make videos. I wish that I was courageous enough to do that, but I just can’t get over the fact that a) I don’t like the sound of my own voice on video/audio and b) I think it’s weird to watch myself. Maybe I’ll get over it one day (maybe I’ll get over myself!) and JUST DO IT. But until that day comes (if it ever comes), I’ll just write.

All of this could be very interesting or it could be totally and excruciatingly boring. I really can’t say…and I’m trying to convince myself that I really don’t care what anyone else thinks because I’m ultimately writing for myself and not for anyone else – but that’s (slightly) easier said than done.

What I can say, is that I’m writing this on the fly. Some of the time, I’m writing from my home in Punta Cana. Some of the time, I’m writing from other cities/countries…from wherever I’m located when I’m traveling.

Right this minute, though, I’m writing from the edge of my bed. The a/c is running on 21C (low) and Alexa is shuffling songs by Ed Sheeran downstairs and I just had an amazing late (very late) lunch with lentils & veggies…

Everything’s all right.

Let’s Celebrate Women

Why aren’t women taken more seriously, treated equally, celebrated and appreciated more in everyday life?

Because it’s still a man’s world out there. And that takes a lot of time, hard work, dedication and fighting to change.

But I think we’re seeing the edges of that world starting to crack…

I recently heard this:

You know how basketball players are always talking about how great they are? Why don’t women talk about how great they are all the time? – Reese Witherspoon.

And it’s true. We should become better at talking about how great women are and women should be the first to do that.

In order to change the culture, you need to change the attitude, the words, the mindset and ultimately the behavior.

I’m personally tired of hearing or reading in the news about women (and girls) not being able to do this or that in certain countries. I’m tired of reading about women being abused, neglected, raped, assaulted, disrespected, not taken seriously, etc. I want to hear and read more about women doing great things, inspiring others, being successful, treated well and respected…and getting the same salary as men for the same job.

I “just” saw 3 seasons of Hell’s Kitchen where men and women compete for the grand prize of working for Chef Gordon Ramsey in one of his restaurants…and in all 3 seasons, a WOMAN has won the whole damn thing.

But let’s face it, this is still a man’s world…for now.

Let’s just acknowledge the fact that there’s no life without women. There’s no life without men. We need each other in order to do great things, so let’s start appreciating that. We’re two halves of a whole and if one is neglected, the other will eventually suffer just as much.

3 Years Ago…

My mother died.

She died way too soon. She was only 65 years old but had been sick for a very long time and in the end, I guess, she just couldn’t go on fighting anymore.

I understand that now. I understand that once a person has decided that they don’t want to live anymore (for whatever reason), there is very little (if anything) anyone can do to change that. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you say or do…when the mind is made up, it’s only a matter of time before the body follows.

I really believe that because I saw it happening. And it happened quickly.

As much as it hurt then, it’s true that time heals all wounds… it’s been 3 years now and although I still miss my mother, the loss doesn’t feel as painful anymore.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day

How are you celebrating this day of love? Do you care if you get flowers, chocolate, or presents from your boy-/ girlfriend, wife, husband, partner or other loved one? Or do you find the whole thing just a little too commercial?

I definitely find it too commercial. We never used to have Valentine’s Day when I was growing up, so for me this is something relatively new which I don’t quite understand (to be honest).

I don’t understand why I “need” a special day to appreciate and celebrate love when that is something we should be doing every single day? Why do I need to get flowers or candy from my husband to know that he loves me? Or to say “Happy Valentine’s Day” to show that I love him.

I’m sorry, but isn’t this so obviously a commercial thing that we’ve “all” fallen for at some point?

The holiday began as a feast to celebrate the decapitation of a third-century Christian martyr, or perhaps two. So how did it become all about love?

For the past several years, Anders would go out and get me a beautiful and HUGE bouquet of red roses and we’d go out to dinner to celebrate. He’d always make a nice surprise of the flowers, which were always delivered either at the office or at home. And they were lovely…very lovely, indeed. This year, he was too busy with work to organize anything and I think we’ve reached a point where we both agree that it’s simply not necessary.

I don’t know how much flowers cost in this country (I’m betting it’s a lot), but I’d rather spend the money on something else…maybe just a nice meal or some other kind of experience. I think I’m a lot like my mom in that way. She never used to like getting flowers because they only last for a few days… she always preferred getting presents that she could use (e.g. perfume, make-up, etc.) or eat (e.g. chocolate).

I understand that now.

So, this year we combined work with a nice lunch to celebrate our undying love for each other on this year’s Valentine’s Day.

Quote from The Smithsonian: The Gory Origins of Valentine’s Day.

The Perfect House Guest

These past few days, we’ve had a new person staying at our house. It’s not like we have people staying at our house frequently, but sometimes we offer friends, who are in town, that they can stay at our house for a few days if they need a place to stay.

I was really surprised and amazed by this particular person who I think was the perfect house guest.

This person’s own philosophy was that you shouldn’t have to “babysit” when you have house guests, you shouldn’t have to wait on them or clean up after them.

And this particular person practiced exactly that.

Every morning, our house guest would wash their own coffee cup and glass after use. After our guest had left us again, I went into the guest room and the bed was made, the bathroom looked as if it hadn’t need used and there was even a magazine on the bed…a little present, I guess.

I loved that. This person was so nice, so gracious and just the perfect house guest.

Styrofoam to Go

We went out with some friends for a wonderful dinner at a local lobster restaurant where we live. I really like this place and as always…it didn’t disappoint us.

We had a really nice time and delicious food. In fact, we had too much food, so I asked for the rest “to go” as is customary here.

The waiter promptly came with a styrofoam container, a white plastic bag and the restaurant’s logo bag. I stopped him immediately and asked if he could just wrap the food in aluminum foil or something other that the styrofoam, but unfortunately that wasn’t possible.

He said that the restaurant’s policy (!) was to wrap food to go in exactly these 3 things: Styrofoam, plastic bag and their logo bag.

I was floored. Really? That’s your POLICY? But, realizing that this was going to happen, I let the waiter proceed.

As soon as we got home, I moved the food to one of my own containers and threw the styrofoam out. I’ll use the plastic bag for trash and the logo bag for something.

…and I’ll contact the restaurant (probably on social media), send them some articles about styrofoam and urge them to please stop using styrofoam, which may cause cancer, and plastic for the sake of the environment and their customers.

Why Do We Share Our Lives Online

Sometimes I wonder why we willingly share our life online – for the whole world to see. One thing is sharing with your friends and family, but for the entire world? People you don’t know and may never know. Strangers from all parts of the world and all walks of like, some perhaps not good people.

Why do we do it?

Why do we post photos of our everyday life on e.g. Instagram, photos of what we eat, where we go on vacation, what we wear, read, watch, do, etc.? And why do we want other people (not just friends & family) to see our photos, like them and follow us for more?

Doesn’t it seem strange?

Why would I want “the whole world” to know that I just ate a smoothie bowl for breakfast? Or that I’m having a salad for lunch in the office while working on the computer? Why should everyone know what I wore to dinner or where I went or that I had a glass of wine and felt bloated afterwards? Or why should anyone care that I got up super early, did my workout and watched the sunrise during/after?

Who cares?

I am OF COURSE guilty of posting all of the above, but sometimes I find myself “laughing” at myself, thinking that I’m an idiot and wondering…well, wondering why I do it and who even cares?

And then I remember.

I do it mostly for myself. I post on Instagram because I like the idea of creating a photo album of my life & travels that I can look back on and remember the best experiences I’ve had. I don’t know if others do the same, but I do sometimes scroll through my feed and look back at everything I’ve lived so far – since I started posting regularly. On a rainy day or when I’m bored, it’s fun to do. And when I’m 75 or 85 and I’ve created a MASSIVE database of photos that represents MY LIFE, I bet it’ll be even more fun to look back and scroll through my feed. Can you imagine if you had posts from your childhood and teenage years as well? That would make for an amazing feed.

And of course I also do it because I’m “secretly” wishing for my “15 minutes of fame”…that one day my blog or my Instagram will get discovered by someone who’ll offer me a chance to have my blog featured or whatever it takes so that I can generate some kind of income from it. I don’t know if that’s the ultimate goal, but it would for sure be a nice place to land someday.

I also do it because maybe someone out there might find some small speck of inspiration from my posts…from e.g. a random smoothie bowl that I photographed and shared the recipe for. Maybe someone will look at that and think “wow, that looks delicious. Let me try to make that…”.

That’s what we do, right? We put things out there in hopes that we’ll inspire other people. Isn’t that what all these “lifestyle” blogs are really about – inspiration? I know that when I need inspiration, I go on Instagram or Pinterest and search for X, Y, Z and use whatever I find to maybe do the same or come up with ideas for my own blog or project. Inspiration is everywhere but if people don’t share what they do on blogs, Instagram, in books, on YouTube, etc., then there wouldn’t be anything to look at and get inspired from. Right?

If all else fails, though, and all I end up with is a nice photo album for my own personal pleasure…well, then that’s not such a bad thing either.

The Missing 2%

If you’re going to take on a job or a task, make sure you do the job 100%. Make sure you finish – really finish.

I’ve been experiencing a lot of cases lately where I feel as if the job doesn’t get done all the way. I’s almost like when you’re online and you’re downloading something or trying to load a page and your connection is bad. The process goes to 98% and then just dies so you have to either refresh or give up.

The missing 2% are crucial to this whole process and experience. Without the missing 2%, all of the other things might just not matter as much as if the entire job had been done 100% – as it should.

Think about it. If someone begins a task, reach 98% and then promise to come back and do the missing 2% tomorrow or in a few days but they never show up, or they forget so you have to remind them and ask them when they’re coming back to finish A, B or C., then it creates a lot of overall frustrations. Because they’re the ones doing the particular job so they should also be the ones to follow up and make sure the job gets done – especially when it’s obviously not complete. It’s not the “client’s” responsibility to remind whoever is doing the job that they need to come back (as promised) and finish it.

But, in many cases, it does become “the client’s” responsibility to make sure the missing 2% gets added to the 98%, so that we can all get on with our lives.

My point is this: Whatever you do in life, whether professional or personal, make sure you do it 100%. Don’t do it 98% and then come up with some excuse as to why you didn’t finish. If the job is truly impossible to finish, then that’s another story. If not, then you owe it to yourself and to others to get that missing 2% done.

Cultural Dimensions

Many, many years ago when I lived in Denmark and studied International Business Communication at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU), I learned about Geert Hofstede and his theory on cultural dimensions. Even though I was living in a multi-cultural environment back then (a.k.a. a dorm!) with students from lots of different countries, I never really realized how important culture really is.

Culture is everything.

And as the world keeps getting smaller and smaller, the more we use and embrace technology in our everyday lives, culture becomes even more important. Back then, cultural dimensions were something I read about in books like Global Marketing and Advertising: Understanding Cultural Paradoxes by Marieke de Mooij. It wasn’t something that I ever thought I’d have to understand in order to navigate life in any kind of practical sense. And even though I’ve been trying to do this for the past 13-14 years now, I think I’m just now starting to GET IT.

Culture is everything.

Imagine this particular workplace consisting of employers and employees from:

  1. Denmark
  2. Spain
  3. Italy
  4. France
  5. Romania
  6. USA
  7. Columbia
  8. Dominican Republic

If this isn’t a possible foundation for a cultural minefield, I don’t know what is.

According to Hofstede’s theory, this is how e.g. Denmark compares to the other countries in the 6 areas of:

  1. Power Distancethe extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organizations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally.
  2. Individualismthe degree of interdependence a society maintains among its members.
  3. MasculinityThe fundamental issue here is what motivates people, wanting to be the best (Masculine) or liking what you do (Feminine).
  4. Uncertainty AvoidanceThe extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous or unknown situations and have created beliefs and institutions that try to avoid these.
  5. Long Term Orientationhow every society has to maintain some links with its own past while dealing with the challenges of the present and future.
  6. Indulgencethe extent to which people try to control their desires and impulses.

Cultural Dimensions - To Live and Travel BlogScreen Shot 2018-02-08 at 5.48.29 PMCultural Dimensions - To Live and Travel Blog

In many ways (perhaps in most ways), we’re different and far apart from each other. Yet, we have to figure out how to exist and work together coherently as one unit…which is safe to say – not always easy.

Of course, I understand that there are many exceptions to the rules and that theories aren’t always 100% accurate. Even reading more about each country, it’s obvious that this is not an absolute truth. However, I do believe that there are several aspects of this theory which can be said to be generally true of the people from any particular country. Reading about Denmark and its cultural dimensions, I recognize myself in a lot of the “facts” and then there are others, which I don’t think are completely accurate.

I just thought of this theory recently (and it pops up in my mind ever so often) as I was thinking about why certain people behave the way they do – in their way of doing things, thinking, speaking and making sense of things.

It’s really fascinating, but at the same time also quite complicated …and often times even frustrating when the “world” (and everyone in it) doesn’t fit your version of reality, the truth or how you think things should be.

Read more about cultural dimensions on www.hofstede-insights.com

Book: Invisible Influence by Jonah Berger

I have to confess that I’m not reading as much anymore as I want to and it’s been a while since I’ve read consistently…but that’s definitely something that I want to get back to. I just read Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuck (I’ll read it again!) and now I’m reading a book called Invisible Influence – The Hidden Forces That Shape Behavior by Jonah Berger.

It’s interesting to think about how much we’re actually influenced by other people in our everyday interactions – often without even knowing it. Without even seeing it or realizing it…until it’s pointed out to us and then it’s completely obvious.

The author writes about how invisible influence works to make people conform and fall into the lines of whatever other people around them are doing or expressing:

When we’re not sure about the right thing to do, we look to others to help us figure if out. Imagine looking for a parking spot. After driving around for what seems like forever, you find a whole side of a street free of cars. Success! But excitement quickly turns to concern: If no one else is parked here, maybe I shouldn’t, either. There might be street cleaning or some special event that makes parking here illegal. (P. 28)

Invisible social influence also happens e.g. when we walk into a place and there’s a lot of people lined up…we instantly and without thinking about it join the back of the line. Or when we look for a restaurant, we choose the one where there are already people sitting as opposed to the one that’s empty. If we’re at dinner and nobody wants dessert, we’re more inclined to also skip dessert, even though we might really want dessert, just because that’s what everyone else is doing.

Most of us go along. Most of us conform. Most of us do as others do because it’s easier and it’s a way to be part of “the group”.

Monkey see, monkey do.

My Favorite Social Media Platform(s)

I think social media is extremely important to use, especially if you have a business of any kind. Then it’s a must. As an individual, private person…I think social media is nice to have as a way to keep in touch with friends & family (especially when you live far away from each other), but it’s not necessarily something you have to have. At least not all of it.

We use social media for our business and various have profiles on various platforms. My top 3 are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We’re also on Pinterest but, honestly, we’re not really doing much on that platform even though we probably should.

My favorite social media platform definitely used to be Facebook. It’s my favorite platform to use personally but from a business standpoint, I think it’s so limited compared to Instagram and Twitter. Or maybe I just haven’t figured out how to really use it.

I’m really getting into Twitter lately… What I like about it (and also about Instagram) is that you’re able to search hashtags and from there you can follow interesting people and/or companies and interact directly with them. You actually don’t even have to follow them to send them a message. So, I can search #puntacana and see who’s posting about it and then jump into that conversation.

Instagram is the same.

I don’t think that Facebook allows you to do that. We have a Facebook page with 4000+ followers, but you can’t interact with them the same way you can with followers in Twitter and Instagram.

My two favorite social media platforms are definitely Instagram & Twitter. Both in terms of layout and also because of your ability to search, actively build followers and communicate directly with them.

But there’s a balance game to be played as well. You don’t want to do too much and end up just spamming random people. I’m still struggling with finding that balance and I guess it’s just a matter to trial & error and then learning as you go along.

I think it’s so easy, though, to get caught up in caring too much about “likes and followers”, which is the part that I like the least about social media. There’s a quote out there which goes:

The number of followers you have does not make you better than anyone else. Hitler had millions, Jesus had 12.

Instead of caring whether you have hundreds of followers or thousands of followers and feeling blue about losing 30 followers on Twitter in a day (that just happened to us on Twitter overnight), I like to think that we’re planting seeds.

We’re using social media to plant seeds that may one day grow into a reservation, a booking, a paid invoice and a happy customer. We’re planting seeds that’ll basically grow so that we can make money and our employees can make money.

We’re planting seeds so that people will know that our business exists and so that one day, whenever someone thinks of Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic …they’ll think of our company, Group Palmera. And so that when they hear of someone who is traveling to Punta Cana, they’ll say “hey, you should contact Group Palmera because…they’re the best.”

And I think that social media is definitely an important piece of putting together that particular puzzle.

This Plant Based Life

I’m telling you, this plant based diet is really something. Eating simple and clean foods, chewing it well and eating slowly is so good.

I feel it.

I know it’s not for everyone because not everyone can look at fruits & veggies and get all excited. Some people prefer meat, potatoes and gravy or pizza, pasta and bread. I guess, I’m “lucky” in a way and in the sense that I really do prefer to eat… well, plants.

It’s been about a month now since I started focusing more on living a plant based life and so far, so good. Am I becoming a vegetarian? No, not really. Do I want to be vegan? Definitely, not. I still eat meat and dairy. I just don’t eat a lot of it or as much of it as I used to. I eat mostly fish and chicken. I’ve never really been a big fan of red meat and you won’t see me order a steak at a restaurant. Sure, I’ll have a bite of Anders’ steak if he says it’s really good and wants me to try it. But red meat doesn’t get me all excited. The only kind of red meat that I sort of like is ground beef – e.g. in a bolognese sauce or in a burger. I might have a beef carpaccio – once in a blue moon. I prefer fish, especially salmon. I like chicken. I am not (becoming) a vegetarian or vegan. I prefer to think of myself as just eating mostly plants.

Why am I doing this? Because I have a problem with my gallbladder, which (apparently) doesn’t work properly and doesn’t empty the bile into my digestive system as it should – without any trouble. Apparently, my gallbladder holds onto the bile instead and (potentially) ends up becoming swollen and painful. And I feel it if I have had a period eating a lot of food, fatty foods, fried foods…and drinking wine. Then I get these “attacks”, which lasts for hours. Attacks of constant, all-consuming pain that just won’t go away no matter what I do or which way I turn my body. Usually, they happen in the middle of the night and wake me up…and it takes a lot to wake me up. The last time I had one of these attacks was between Christmas & New Year and I don’t ever (!) want to experience another one. Ever.

So, I decided to go plant based. It’s easier to digest plants than e.g. meat. And it is working. Something is happening and I feel like this change is really good.

The fact that eating a plant based diet is also a) kind to the animals and b) good for the environment…well, that’s just another added bonus. But my 1st priority and reason for making this change is purely selfish.

It starts with me.

We Don’t All Have the Same Opportunities

I posted a photo on Facebook of an avocado tree that I’m trying to grow (and it’s growing). The photo got a few likes and comments, including one from my cousin and my aunt in Denmark.

My cousin commented that it would’ve been nice to have one in his garden, but that maybe he was living in the wrong country. I replied that that was his choice. Then my aunt wrote that yes, it was their own choice, but that not everyone has the same opportunities as I do.

That comment really stuck with me.

We don’t all have the same opportunities.

Sure, we don’t all have the same opportunities because we’re not all born in the same country and we don’t all live in the same place. Some people come from a rich family, others from a poor family. Some are prettier than others. Some people are smarter (more intellectual), others are better at working with their hands. Some are good at sports, music, singing, dancing, etc., etc., others are not.

We’re different so our opportunities should naturally also be different.

Sure, we don’t all have the same opportunities because we’re not all the same. But I think that we all have opportunities. Different opportunities, but opportunities nonetheless. I’m not good at sports so opportunities in that area just won’t come my way (or I won’t be susceptible to them), whereas if an opportunity in the area of writing/blogging came along, I’d jump all over it.

I don’t think that whether we have the same opportunities or not should be the issue or of any concern. I think we should be more focused on keeping our eyes open and taking the opportunities that do come along.

Document Your Life #154 – Five Months and Counting

After about 5 months and 153/154 blog posts titled “Document Your Life”…I’m done. Not with writing, not even with documenting my life but with naming every blog post “Document Your Life”.

Why? Because everything I write here is part of the documenting process. Because it’s really redundant to name and count every single post.

So, this will be my last post titled “Document Your Life…”.

Now what? Now…NOW, I want to start getting more into what I originally wanted to focus on and write about. Now, I want to start moving away from writing about “what I did today”, which was never really my idea with this blog.

After 5 months of writing (blogging, if you will), I’ve realized that:

  1. I want to write every day
  2. It’s sometimes hard to write every day
  3. Sometimes I forget to write every day
  4. It’s best if I write every day
  5. Writing every day is a really good habit

So, let’s start.

Document Your Life #153 – A Sunday Well Spent…

A Sunday well spent, brings a week full of content.

Is that how the saying goes? In any case, there may be some truth to it.

I am back to eating plants (!) and feeling so much better again. It really gives me reassurance that I “just” need to stick to this and really learn how to do this plant-based diet thing. Because in the end, it will be so good for me. I am certain of it.

I’ve been eating plants all day and I haven’t been bloated at all. During the day, I ate mostly just fruit & veggie smoothies, a little bread with crunchy coconut peanut butter…it’s my favorite! For dinner I ended up making a HUGE plate of stir fried veggies with black beans and veggie cheese. It was delicious and I didn’t get bloated either.

I was doing a little bit of everything today…laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, cooking and answering emails. I’ve been getting lots of emails from Danish tourists that are contacting me from our website, so that’s been a lot of fun helping them out, answering their questions and booking excursions for them.

I found out that VRBO shared one of our vacation rentals (Villa Pandora) on their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook profiles. What? That is so HUGE!!!!! I don’t know how they picked one of our vacation rentals from their database of over 2 million properties, but maybe it’s because I’ve been tagging them A LOT lately on my social media posts. That’s the thing. I’m doing all of this social media stuff, posting, sharing, etc., etc., and apart from the few likes and comments that we get, I never know what kind of real impact it has on our business. I’m sure it was some impact and I know it’s important to be everywhere, so that’s what I’m trying to do. After all, you have to be seen to sell. You have to be heard to sell. You have to create awareness to sell.

We watched Star Wars episode 7…and I fell asleep around 8:30 PM and completely missed the part where Han Solo apparently fights his son and dies.

Darn it.

Document Your Life #152 – Back to Nature

It’s Saturday morning (windy as hell) and I got up and went for a wonderful 45-minute morning walk around the neighborhood.

Today was the first time since I started walking again (every weekend) that I hadn’t felt any pain in my hips. Could it be that my body simply needed to get used to walking again?

I walked for 48:59 minutes – 4.39 kilometers. It’s not super fast, nor super slow…but just right.

Our friends have been staying with us for a few days, but today they’re heading home again. It was nice to have them for a short while and now we’re back to just being the 2 of us…