"We must find ways to harmonize diversity with unity, the exercise of freedom with the common good, short-term objectives with long-term goals." During my time in Costa Rica, I saw the construction of an institute dedicated to research and implementation of The Earth Charter, which is being built next to the University for Peace. The Earth Charter was developed over the last decade by an independent Earth Charter Commission, following the 1992 Earth Summit. The objective was "to produce a global Read more [...]
A month ago I passed through Costa Rica for two reasons (1) to check out the University for Peace and (2) being stingy (bargain flights to LA). I was pleasantly surprised to discover that, like bear statues in Berlin a few years ago, and elephants in Copenhagen last year, San José was spotted with colourful statues of doves...
It is probably no surprise Costa Rica was hosting a "Parade for Peace" considering it also:
(1) has no army (abolished permanently in 1949)
(2) is considered Read more [...]
The word "encuentros" translates in English to "meeting" or "to encounter". Or as my friend translates it "Encuentros is a Meeting Point.” The philosophy behind this restaurant/bar/cafe in Granada, Nicaragua, is that it is a place to "meet the world".
Having travelled the world making documentaries (as well as doing a Master in Peace and Conflict Studies in Sydney) Erik Hof, with the help of his dad Rob Hof, set up this unique fusion of world food, cocktails, culture and conversation, with pool Read more [...]
There was a girl who hated being bored. She hated boredom so much that she liked to do the unexpected. She almost killed herself diving into the deep end, time and time again. It was an intense way of life. It had its benefits. It also took its tolls.
Surprise surprise, that girl is me: I’m home. As in, my home in Sydney, “Surprise!”
I feel like the boy-who-cried-wolf, but with surprises. It is the second time I’ve turned up in Sydney unannounced. I’ve booked tickets that transport Read more [...]
Do you ever tell yourself to “just relax” and then continue to do the very opposite? Or tell yourself to “forget it”. Or “frick’n focus!” And then find it impossible? Well that what happened to me today. Then it reversed itself in a way I didn't expect.
It started with a 75-minute hot yoga class at Y Yoga, my health retreat since arriving in Vancouver. Today was different: a hundred and one thoughts frolicked through my mind — which means today I was not doing yoga. I was stretching, Read more [...]
As a New Year approaches it is tradition to evaluate the year past and plan the one ahead. The problem is I find it hard enough to distinguish between a week ago and a month ago, let alone ten months ago from two years ago. This blog keeps track of my life for me. It’s my therapy. It’s my timeline. It’s the closest access I have to how I have felt in my past. It tracks my stories, however I wanted to tell them at the time. So, when it comes to evaluating a year gone by, this blog is where I Read more [...]
On Tuesday I leave Hickory for two weeks traveling through New York, Seattle, Vancouver, and home to Sydney. After all the mishaps this year, I have a request… I would really like to make it home safe, in one piece. No more freak accidents, please!
If you have a moment to say a short prayer or breath in and out a positive meditation for me… I very much appreciate it…
For my Storytelling class today we experimented with using Spoken Word Poetry to inspire students' creativity and as a fun way to tell some stories...
Sarah Kay set the scene:
Then I asked students:
1. Write down ten things you know to be true
2. Share and see what you learn from others' lists (optional)
3. Go outside and write a poem
4. Practice with a friend
5. Share with the class
Raving success! Using poetry every student shared a story about themselves, Read more [...]
Forty minutes into the 12-hour drive to Chicago I was yelling "STOP!!!" with my hands on the dashboard and a frozen car getting closer and closer BANG!!!!!! We hit. The car crumbled. Totalled. Thanks to some guardian angels that (thank God) seem to follow me around the world, no one was hurt.
The next thing I knew I was in the front seat of a cop car. Not in trouble for anything, I'm way too goody goody for that. The cop gave us a lift to the car wrecker yard in a town sporting a single taxi, Read more [...]
In DC on Tuesday 18th October, I had a chance to observe and talk directly with protestors, learning more about what they are really about. Camps and protests have been spreading throughout the city, I came across two of them. Each were occupied by a mixed age group, mainly students, retirees, and unemployed. Some had been there a couple of days, others a couple of weeks. Some supporters I met who have jobs join the protest even if just for an afternoon, to show their support.
At the first Occupy Read more [...]
What is #OccupyWallSt? Who are the 1%? Why did it take the media so long to report on it? What do protestor's want? Are they trying to bring down The Pyramid? Will they succeed?
I am teaching a class on the Philosophy of War and Peace in North Carolina, with a specific focus on the Arab Spring. Yet here in America I might be witnessing the greatest revolution of them all: the "OccupyWallSt" movement, and its children.
When I showed RapNews to students a few weeks ago, I had no idea that it Read more [...]
What are you looking for? What do you want? If you don't know, how will you know when you have it?
This was a problem faced after eating a mushroom in Amsterdam. We were walking around aimlessly. We didn't know what we were looking for! My friend through up her arms, "How are we going to get anywhere if we don't know where we want to go?!"
A bridge pose wasn't much of a solution...
I think I've been facing a similar problem with my life: how do bridge toward a future without knowing where that Read more [...]
"Hey y'all! Welcome to Hickory!" bellows a thick Southern accent. "What brought you to Hiiickory???"
So I have landed myself in the "Bible Belt", the heart of the "hospitable South". An authentic American experience. A deep insight into the psyche behind the democratic public of what many consider to be the global superpower of our day.
"You've seen a Western movie right?" asked my friend. "Well that's America. Cowboys and Indians. Cut throat. Last man standing."
Learning of the division Read more [...]
"No single life story is pure tragedy or pure comedy. Rather, there are narrative mixes."  I don't know about yours, but that's certainly true for mine.
Aristotle, a Greek philosopher of the 4th century BC, wrote in Poetics that tragedies are enactments whereby human suffering brings about the audience's pleasure, or a catharsis - a purging of emotions - through the pity and fear felt during a tragedy that relieves the audience of such emotions.
When I embarked on what turned into quite Read more [...]
These last few weeks I disappeared in more ways than from this blog. I've tried to put my finger on how it happened. It happened so slowly that like a frog in hot water, I came to realise it only at boiling point. It was too late. Some essential part of my "self" had gone.
Was it the incident in Krakow that led me to question my job in America? Did the massive cloud of uncertainty change everything I thought, felt and did?
Was it travelling with my best friend from high school? Did I return Read more [...]
I love Barcelona. I love it, love it, love it! The arts, the energy, the colours, cerveza, cops on scooters, the boys, the beaches, the bumble-bee taxis, tapas, the sunshine, the shopping, the street music, the dancing, the people, paella, pick & mix candy shops, live statues, the language, the list could go on.
Last time I visited I wanted to live there, and this time I had the same feeling.
“Dos noches es muy pochito. Barcelona es mas grande. Minimum tres noches,” insisted the passionate Read more [...]
It was my 4th visit to Paris. The city of lights. Allegedly a city of love. Just not my love.
On my first visit, as 2006 opened, my five-year relationship ended. In front of the Arc de Triompf. Champs de Elise will always carry memories of that moment.
My second time in Paris, a few weeks later, carries the opposite type of memories: new beginnings, “finding myself”, feeling naked and exposed with my shaved head I magically found my dreams found myself living in a model flat in the 16th Read more [...]
Amsterdam greeted us with wide-open arms. The sun was shining, the people smiling, “coffee shops” inviting.
I immediately felt a sense of belonging. I guess because my mum is Dutch. Elderly women reminded my of my Oma, elderly men reminded me of Opa, and the language – while I don’t understand a word – reminded me of home.
Of all the destinations we had been this was the first I was visiting for my second time. Last time it was a last-minute decision inspired by Frank, a fellow Aussie Read more [...]
Student life in Germany is another world to student life in Sydney: free travel, small fees, and for the most part a rent and allowance paid by one’s parents. At least that was life for my friend and his student friends. No part-time job and no living at home – lots of time to and party. Sounds good to me…
More benefits of being a student in this part of Germany include legal drinking on the street, go to a nightclub in the castle basement university’s library, and the free October-Fest-like-event-in-July Read more [...]
I hadn’t heard of a “micro-nation” until I got to Dresden. As you probably guessed, a micronation is a miniature nation within a bigger nation. Apparently I’d visited one – Cristiania back in Copenhagen. And "New Town" in Dresden was my second - well had I been there 20 years ago it would have been.
On a pub-crawl "night-tour" of what's known as the "new town" of Dresden with Danilo, a slightly odd but insightful and entertaining who taught us about the town's crazy past:
Mickey mouse Read more [...]
Even in Europe I seem to be drawn to South American cultures. Some hippies from Bolivia and Venezuela, as well as the Canary Islands, were selling jewelry on the street. Before long we were playing music, drinking beer, and joining the hippies and a crazy American family on an adventure to the anarchist town of Christiania.
Part of me is drawn to the idea of anarchy. Not anarchy that lets people steal, vandalize other’s property, murder, or do whatever they want to do. But I am attracted to Read more [...]
“What is Life?” Ho hum, where does one start to answer this question? The What is Life? conference in Krakow, 24-28th June, which aimed to bridge philosophical, theological and scientific insights to this question.
I started with what I see to be at the roots of our understanding of life: our stories.
We understand life ‘by locating ourselves with the larger narratives and metanarratives that we hear and tell, and that constitute what is for us real and significant.’
Philosophy, Read more [...]
I hate the word “evil” for two reasons: (1) because of its religious connotations and (2) because its definition is relative and constantly changing. Same goes with “sin”. Two words with definitions that change depending who is in power.
Every culture, every civilization, every person, defines evil in different ways. Evil is whatever the people in power decide is bad for the whole, or for themselves.
That being said, sometimes no other word can be used in its place. I don’t think Read more [...]
"Give yourself time to scratch your head," advised Prof Stuart Rees on one of our CPACS sailing trips down in Jervis Bay. These last few months I did not listen to this advice.
I have lived the last few months in a mad rush. I have packed up my life and put it in my grandma's garage. Now I'm in Stockholm, on route to a conference in Krakow, Poland, and (after holiday in Europe) onto work at a university in North Carolina, USA, for the next 4 months.
Sitting in the airport awaiting my Read more [...]