SDG’s – tell everyone you know!

There are seventeen SDG’s and you need to know about them.

I know, it made me think of some sort of icky disease at first too, but they’re actually a good thing! The disease may actually be us, but it turns out, we are also the cure.

Looky here:

Spread the word!

PS I’ll be posting some blogs on the Sustainable Development Goals over on my other blog in the coming weeks (I’ve been telling myself this for months now, but this vid was just the kick I needed)

Ignorant inspiration

The other day I read a blog by Chelsea Fagan in Time about the unintentional hurtfulness that is sometimes caused by the inspirational quotes on traveling, freedom and making life choices. We all know them. I’ve probably liked and shared these images on Facebook on several occasions.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After reading Chelsea’s blog and thinking on it a bit, I totally get how these quotes that are meant to be encouraging and empowering are really hypocritical, elitist and insulting.

The point that Chelsea makes is that we westerners have become very much obsessed with “being happy” and “following our dreams” and not letting our lives to be dictated by material desire, career ambitions or what society (or our parents) expect of us. We are oh so mindful.

What we forget when we proclaim our freedom in that way, is that we implicitly label people who do not travel somewhere new every year as boring conformists, uninspired souls or cowards. In all honesty I still believe there are people being held back in pursuing their dreams by the dogmas they have adopted or been implanted with. I have seen people living with regrets and unfulfilled dreams because they are convinced “it is not meant to be” and this is often not true.

However…… I do realize now that being able to drop all your responsibilities and “just go” is an enormous luxury that not everybody can permit themselves to have. I have grown up knowing (albeit mostly sub-consciously) that if I were ever to get into serious trouble (financially or otherwise) someone would be there to help me. It has never been necessary, luckily, which isn’t even really my merit either. I have the great advantage of having been born in a wealthy European country and having a matching passport to go with it. Finding work has never really been an issue (all though I may have thought so at some point).

I can permit myself to take chances and be adventurous because failure is also an acceptable outcome. I know this is not the case for many people. Failure could mean falling (deeper) into poverty, or as Chelsea describes:

Encouraging that person to “not worry about money,” or to “drop everything and follow their dreams,” demonstrates only a profound misunderstanding about what “worrying” actually means. What the condescending traveler means by “not worrying” is “not making it a priority, or giving it too much weight in your life,” because on some level they imagine you are choosing an extra dollar over an all-important Experience. But the “worrying” that is actually going on is the knowledge that you have no choice but to make money your priority, because if you don’t earn it — or decide to spend thousands of it on a trip to Southeast Asia to find yourself — you could easily be out on the streets. Implying that this is in any way a one-or-the-other choice for millions of Americans is as naive as it is degrading.

Another conclusion that I have come to is that travelling is not some sort of holy ingredient to find ultimate happiness or fulfillment. Quotes like the ones seen above imply that people that do not travel are “only reading one page” of the book of life and are condemning themselves to live nothing but the lethal routine of life. I realize now that there are many people that are simply content with their life as it is, and they don’t just say this because they don’t have the nerve to book that flight. Travelling would not make them happier.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There are people whose world is big enough as it is and do not wish to expand it. Dealing with the surroundings they are familiar with is challenging enough. The idea of going out to explore new areas does not sound like an adventure but a nerve wracking experience. There are people that like their food prepared thew same way every day and have no urge at all to taste that odd looking fruit (let alone that insect).

Now it seems as if I am saying that everyone that does not travel has some sort of anxiety disorder, which isn’t my point. My point is that there are people that love to travel and people that don’t and they are both completely justified. Some enrich their lives with new smells and tastes. They learn new languages and meet people from different cultures. They come back with tons of pictures, dozens of new FB friends and a brutal tan. Good for them. Others enrich their lives with the comfort of a true home, with family and a loyal pack of friends. They learn to perfect their favorite meal and find pleasure in everyday life. How about the enjoyment of having sound roots and knowing where you stand in the bigger picture? How wonderful is it to build a place for yourself that gives comfort and happiness?

Some people don’t need to leave to be able to appreciate the joy of being home. 

Twenty minutes of wisdom

Undiluted. Uncensored. Unapolagetic. And sadly, unsubtitled.

José Mujica’s speech hit me like a strong tidal wave, when I heard it today. He spoke for less than twenty minutes at the Unión de Naciones Suramericanas (UNASUR)- meeting last week. I turned the video on, thinking I would listen to it while unpacking the groceries I had just carried in, but I was mesmerized instantaneously and didn’t move until he was done. My groceries are still unpacked. I had to share it first. My heart is full and I wish more people would listen. I wish I would listen. And I AM!

It is one of those speeches that should be viewed in history classes in years to come. I would like to say it is his “I have a dream” moment, but with this man it is just one of his many inspiring appearances.

You can watch the whole speech in Spanish, if you are hispanohablante. The full transcript can also be found here.

A few quick quotes I translated (and trust me, there is so much more in there):

Some of us have been taught lessons in a world that is a valley of tears, so you can go to a paradise afterwards, but I will not take you there. This is the paradise or this is your condemnation. It is this life that you must fight for, so that the people may live their lives in a better way. There is no compromise.

(…)

After having been born you can give [your life] content or not. You can alienate yourself from life, let the market buy you, go through life buying cards or buying rides and move forward. And then at the end, when you are old like me, full of rheumatism, you are found naked… and what did you do for the world?

But if you had a dream and fought for hope and tried to transmit it to the rest, their might be a small breathe of you that lingers on in the hills, in the seas. A faint memory that is worth more than a monument, than a book, than a hymn, than a poem; it is the human hope that is established in the new generations.

Friends, nothing is worth more than life. Fight for happiness! And happiness is giving life content and direction and not letting anyone steal it from you. There is no recipe for this. It is in the consciousness that you get when you use the marvelous opportunity of having been born.

I am going to unpack my groceries now, but I will be back later on to translate this speech to English and see if I can share it with all of you.