The generosity of creativity

I was in my car this morning driving to work. A mundane route that generally aggravates me; the traffic, the car fumes.. The reminder that we’re killing the planet – all very “positive” thoughts. I put on a podcast and immediately I was transported from my negative outlook into a sense of complete inspiration and wonder. I was listening to the story of a woman who inherited thousands of designer vintage dresses from her godmother. Each dress was given to her by someone, making them 3 dimensional. Literally being the embodiment of its owner when they wore the clothing. Whether it was during heart ache, love, loss or opportunity.

This got me thinking.. These dresses are works of art, styled individually by whoever chooses to wear them. Communicating something about the person. They are the story of the people who wore them. It got my mind imagining what they were like and who they were. Wondering all of these things made me feel so much better, I was filled with hope, possibility and inspiration. This was because my imagination took off, I was outside of my own head. Instead I was inquisitive and curious. And so it got me thinking… I realised that the act of this storyteller -sharing their words with me changed my day. It effected me deeply, it moved me. And so I realised what had just taken place was a generous act from the storyteller – and I was thankful.

Creativity is a generous act. It takes the appreciation of what’s around you, in the details and in having intense curiosity to create something new. You have to be in tune enough to question what’s around you. And these muscles of appreciation take generosity and love. To truely listen, to really look, to intensely appreciate. A sunset, an outfit, a shade of blue, a beautiful song, the emotion of a chord. To truly appreciate these things takes love, care, slowing down, really looking. And to take what you’ve collected, the details and inspirations all around you and create something from that is a beautiful act. To create a song out of someone’s story. To make an artwork to reflect a political opinion, to challenge what you see that is not right in the world. This is a generous act. An act of love. And it can change someone’s day, year or even life. So the challenge is for you today – step outside of your mundane and really look around, and maybe you’ll be able to use what you’ve gathered to share with someone else. Thanks for reading!

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Siem Reap, Cambodia #yesAgain

Siem Reap in Cambodia is not only the gateway to the world famous Angkor Wat temple. This city has a lot to offer, even though it is quite small. You can do heaps of activities, try out the best food you have probably ever eaten, visit small local markets and much, much more. Siem Reap in Cambodia will definitely be a place you gonna remember.

Posing in front of the majestic Angkor Wat

This is actually my second trip to Siem Reap. Siem Reap is nothing similar compared to Malaysia..but the city has its own uniqueness that makes me feel like revisiting it again and again. This city is very old but Cambodia is one of the poorest countries on earth (even though tourists been using USD in the country).

Siem Reap is a relatively small city in the northwest of the country. The province it belongs to is called Siem Reap as well. 30$ is the general income per person, which is a joke. The city has been built in the 17th century after the Khmer won a war against the Thai kingdom. Translated Siem Reap in Cambodia actually means “place from the defeat of the Siamese”.

The city has about 175.000 citizens and it lies next to biggest lake (Tonle Sap) of Southeast Asia, which is also one of the most fishful inland waters on the planet. Today Siem Reap in Cambodia is mainly used for tourism purposes. Back in the days farming and fishing have been the main income resources. Since the end of the 20th century the size of the city almost tripled, because of the tourism industry. Siem Reap in Cambodia now even has its own international airport and is the fastest growing city in the country besides Phnom Penh (capital).

Tuk Tuk ride in Siem Reap

Once you have arrived in Siem Reap in Cambodia, you easily get around with a bike or a Tuk Tuk. They don’t cost a lot of money. You can rent a bike or a scooter at every corner or at your accommodation. And Tuk Tuk’s can also be found every 5 meters. So, don’t worry about that.

Bayon temple. Was full of tourists

Weather conditions in Siem Reap in Cambodia are not any different to most other parts of Southeast Asia. It is quite warm all year long. Temperature sets between 20°C – 36°C. Wet season lasts from Mai to October. The rest is dry season. I recommend to visit during dry season. Otherwise you probably won’t have a good time.

Bayon temple

The food in Siem Reap in Cambodia is absolutely great. Of course, you get all types of food that you can get anywhere else in the world like Italian, Indian, French, etc. But you also obviously get typical Southeast Asian/ Cambodian food everywhere you go.

Siem Reap's very own Killing Field

We actually visited a Buddhist temple in Siem Reap
I stayed at Day Sunrise Boutique Hotel. The location was good (nearby, located behind the Art market) BUT the Tuk Tuk driver (free airport transfer) forgot to pick us up. The lady at the front counter was unfriendly. And at night, it was noisy (because of stray dogs). I wouldn't recommend anyone to stay at this hotel. Room was decent but not that great.

As said, Siem Reap in Cambodia is the gateway to Angkor Wat. The headline of this post says it all 😉 Angkor Wat/ Angkor City is one of the most famous temple areas in the world. It has been built about a thousand years ago. The whole areal is full of different temples, built by different kings of the Khmer empire. Each and everyone has a different meaning and they are all incredibly detailed.

Ta Phrom temple
Angkor Wat’s architectural condition is fascinating and the historical value is priceless. It is also a holy place for many Cambodian people. Lots of citizens come here to pray and show their affinity to Shiva. Definitely one of the most spectacular attractions I have seen on any of my travels so far!

Pub Street area

Siem Reap in Cambodia even has a small nightlife scene. At night the city becomes alive. You can go for a midnight shopping tour at the Night Market. All kind of stuff is waiting for you. It’s very vibrant and variable. Also check out Pub Street where you find a couple bars and clubs at nights. It’s good fun!

I enjoyed every moment when in Siem Reap in Cambodia and am looking forward to return back here next year.

Till then, xoxo.

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A long time ago, the city of Edinburgh was known as “Auld Reekie.” This was back in the days of peat fire smog, overpopulation, and a lack of modern plumbing. Add to this a stagnant Nor Loch (which was polluted with everything from waste to dead bodies), and you probably can figure out where the “Reekie” came from.

Thankfully, Edinburgh has come a long way since then.

It was on this very first trip that I totally fell in love with Edinburgh. The city is filled with history (both its Old and New towns are UNESCO World Heritage Sites), amazing architecture, plenty of Scottish culture, and not one but TWO castles!

If you've never been to “Auld Reekie” before, here are my suggestions for what to do in one day in the city. (And don't worry – they figured out those plumbing issues ages ago.)

Accommodation-wise, we stayed at Grassmarket area, located at the Old Town and it is extremely nearby to Edinburgh Castle. We booked our accommodation via AirBnB and the apartment was lovely.

 The first place that we went was Arthur’s Seat, a wilderness right in the heart of the city from where you can get panoramic views of Edinburgh’s stunning skyline and the Firth of Forth in the distance.

The second place that we went was Calton Hill. Edinburgh is surrounded by seven hills, so you don't need to go too far to find a great view out over the city. At the end of Princes Street is Calton Hill. This hilltop park is covered with monuments and statues, including the Greek-inspired National Monument and Dugald Stewart Monument.

The third pit stop was Edinburgh Castle. The Edinburgh Castle is an important landmark. Although it costs 17 GBP to enter, you can spend a good part of the day here, and it's worth it alone just to see the Crown Jewels exhibit. You can also get sweeping views of the city.

The last stop was Edinburgh's most famous attraction by far is The Royal Mile. Though “attraction” isn't really the right word, since the Royal Mile is so much more than just a singular thing to see.

Edin is definitely one of my favourite cities and I will be going back on the regular! Thanks for having me Edinburgh.

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UK Part 7 (DURHAM)


With ornate collage buildings, gowned academics, dusty bookshops and fleets of bikes, Oxford is just what you’d imagine from a British university city – you can almost feel yourself getting cleverer by association. But Oxford and rival Cambridge aren’t the UK’s only classic university cities. Further north, Durham has a lot of similarities but with a lot less visitors. Like Oxford, it’s a small city that’s packed with history. They’re both set along a river and have cobbled streets, botanic gardens, great museums and a university made up of separate colleges. You can take a self-guided tour of the Durham’s campus (check out University College and St Hild and St Bede for the prettiest buildings), visit the UNESCO World Heritage cathedral and castle, and if you’re there in November you can catch the UK’s biggest festival of lights, Lumiere.

I’ve always wanted to visit Durham, the famous cathedral city in the north of England, ever since I first saw the church out the window of a train on the way to Newcastle. Luckily, my cousins decided to bring us for a day trip to Durham

Us having hot chocolates in Durham

So, I’m finally traveling to Durham, with its historic castle and cathedral on a hilltop peninsula carved out by the River Wear. After the 1 hour car ride from Newcastle, I walk through a pretty market square and a historic cobbled street to get to the church. It’s a foggy day, which lends the air a haunted feeling, and that seems appropriate given the centuries of history surrounding it.

Durham Cathedral dates back to 1093, and is one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in the world. As a lover of architectural history, I’m awed by the place. The interior is stunning with its beautiful Romanesque arches and stained glass, and the sounds of the choir—which is practicing for Sunday’s service during my visit—echo off the stone walls, giving the place a welcome warmth.

Back outside, I cross the large square and make my way to the castle, which together with the cathedral forms a UNESCO World Heritage Site. An hour-long tour takes me through the grounds and interior, where I learn that the building, which was originally commissioned by William the Conquerer in the 11th century for the Earls of Northumberland (but was actually used by the prince bishops of Durham), is now part of Durham University.

As I’m leaving Durham city, I am once again afforded a great view of Durham Cathedral. And even though I’ve now seen it up close and on the inside, I still do a double take. It’s just that amazing.

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UK Part 6 (YORK)

For any traveler visiting the UK (especially first timers), it's easy to get wrapped up in the lights and glamour of London and overlook other places to visit throughout England. But seriously... How can you not be drawn like a moth to the flame by that city? There's loads of history to be learned, incredible architecture to see, markets to shop in, and different cuisines to try. I had the same exact thoughts until my cousins suggested expanding my horizons and visiting other cities in the UK besides London. That's when I came across this little gem: the city of York.

York, which is located in the northern part of the country, is just a quick 2 hour train ride from London and just 1 hour from Newcastle. This picturesque and historic city is full of fascinating stories and landmarks that date back over 800 years! Just one walk around the city's medieval walls is enough to fall in love with it.

Most fascinating is York’s Viking history.  Vikings captured York in the year 867 and reigned until 954, when Viking York — then called Jorvik — was absorbed into England.  The Viking Age continued for the next century, albeit without political independence, but the civilization began dwindling after William the Conqueror arrived in 1066.

The York Minster is the largest cathedral in northern Europe.  One of the highlights of our time in York was the Evensong service, hearing the fantastic choir.

York is also a great place for shopping, particularly in the Shambles — a super-narrow street chock full of little shops and boutiques!

So many people skip northern England, and it’s a shame because the region has so much to see! York is just another lovely getaway in this fantastic part of the United Kingdom.

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