Thursday, 8 October 2015

croatia caves silhouette

Being Mindful involves waking up your consciousness so that you're fully aware of every present moment, aware of how you're feeling and what exactly is happening around you. If you're not awake to those moments in your life, whole days or even a whole life can go by unnoticed. Part of this awakening process is to let go of any judgement you may have towards others, as a judgemental mind hinders your success.

Judging people reaps no reward, and only perpetuates negativity within your mind. Gossiping about people, deciding what they are doing to be right or wrong will only affect the friends you make and the life you lead. People are scared to act themselves in fear of a society where they will probably be gossiped about or judged. Thinking about who's right or wrong, and comparing yourself to others can harm your journey of self-improvement. The truth is every person is walking their own path, fighting their own demons, exploring the unknown. Being non-judging you can appreciate the life they lead, and the ventures they take, no matter how insignificant they may seem.

Someone who lives through compassion as opposed to judgement radiate the choice they've made, and people sense it. Compassionate souls are contagious, and people want to talk to you, approach you and make friends with you. People aren't scared to say what they believe and it nurtures their confidence and helps them to suceed, what better way to make you feel good about yourself.  Unfortunately getting rid of your judgemental thoughts isn't always easy, and can be rather difficult to prevent.

Here's something that I've learnt through my reading on meditation and mindfulness, to help prevent me judging others, that I'd like to share:

Look at those around you, and ask yourself whether you are actually seeing them, or just your thoughts about them. Our thoughts can act as dream glasses,  distorting what we actually see. We might see dream children, dream husband/wife, dream job, dream friends, or the complete opposite. Without realising everything you've seen you coloured and put your own spin on it, and you haven't seen what is actually there. While things through the dream glasses may change, giving the illusion of being vivid and real, it's still just a distortion. If you can try take off the glasses, and therefore be non-judgemental, you might actually see a little more accurately what is there.

When I first read this lesson and was trying to practice it, sat on a bench at my local park, something beautiful unfolded. Two Polish men came up to me, and asked if they could sit down next to me without wishing to disrupt my reading. Being open and non-judgemental I put my book down and started chatting away to them for the next two hours about life in London, cultural differences and personal stories. We had a really nice discussion, they offered me a few beers just relaxing, watching the sunset on the skyline of London. In that moment where I had freed myself from judgemental thoughts, almost instantly people approached with warmth, which is a rather rare encounter in London town. Goes to show how much of a difference can be made, just by the aura you radiate.

Thanks for reading ;)

Keepin' it real,
Wake Up, See with Nonjudgemental eyes
October 08, 2015

Wake Up, See with Nonjudgemental eyes

Sunday, 13 September 2015

What To Do

1. Scuba Diving - Ko Tao: Learning to scuba dive and getting my open water 18m certifcation was probably my favourite part of my month-long trip to Thailand. Ko Tao is one of the cheapest places to learn in the world, with a 4-day course costing only 9000 baht (£180), which will then allow you to dive anywhere across the globe. Worth every penny if you ask me, it's like visiting an alien world when you reach the ocean floor, with hundreds of colourful fish casually swimming by. It's 1000x better than visiting an aquarium, you get to see the fish in the natural habitat and you can respectfully be a part of that without destroying their environment. We learnt with Big Blue Diving who were fantastic and provided us with accomodation included with course costs.

2. Mu Ko Ang Thong National Marine Park: This park is just west of Koh Phangnan, Ko Tao and Koh Samui. Unfortunately I didn't get to visit this national park, but I would have absolutely loved to. People were raving about it all the time. I was looking forward to it the whole trip but we had planned to go when we were staying in Ko Tao, alas there's no boats or tours that will take you from that island. Make sure to go only from Koh Phangnan or Koh Samui!

3.  Maya Bay - Phi Phi Islands: My girlfriend and I went here as she had always dreamed of going after she had seen The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio. I skeptically went but was blown away when we got there. It was INCREDIBLE. Don't make the same mistake us as and go with a tour, because by the time you get there it'll be jam packed and bustling. I've seen a few photos people have taken where it's calm and empty, make sure you go for the sunrise if you want to really enjoy Maya Bay to it's full potential :).

4. Sirocco Sky Bar - Bangkok: The view up here is INSANE, can't emphasize it enough. Drinks and food are expensive, but just buy a drink each and treat it as the price to go up. If I had more money I'd go back without hesitation and have dinner there. Couldn't think of a better way to end our time in Bangkok.

5. Khao Sok National Park: Easily the most beautiful place we visited in Thailand. You can do packages to stay in a treehouse in the rain forest or a bungalow on the lake. If the choice presents itself, choose the bungalow. We had an amazing time in the rainforest, but when collecting other customers from the lake we realised what we were missing out on, and wished we had upgraded. You can do canoeing, bamboo rafting and elephant riding, and get served delicious meals. Book a few nights here and soak in the view of natural wonders and their vibes.

6. Grand Palace - Bangkok: The architecture here is majestic, and there's so many temples within the area. You can't go to Bangkok and not see the most culturally significant area in the city. It can get really busy but the buildings are high enough that it doesn't even matter. You'll see a lot of temples in Thailand but these are la crème de la crème.

7. Full Moon Party - Haad Rin: The biggest beach party in the world. Not everyones cup of tea, but if you love to party and electronic/house/dance music, then you must go. I had an awesome time, even if I was a bit overly intoxicated. Loads of fluorenscent face paint, clothes and fire breathers makes the Full Moon Party one hell of party that people round the world come to experience.

8. Cicada Market - Hua Hin: There are lot of night markets in Thailand, but we didn't come across any that came even close to the Cicada Market. We realised most markets in Thailand sell all the same stuff but the people who run this market only give stalls to people creating their own individual crafted goods and food. Every stall was completely unique and had something worth buying, I fell in love with this place. All the stalls are white and it almost looks like a little village, with outdoor seats  for a nice place to have a few drinks, enjoy the food and listen to live music.

9. Muay Thai  -  Ratchadamnoen Stadium (Bangkok): Muay Thai is such a big deal in Thailand that it'd be a shame to miss it out in our adventures. Watching the people fight was so impressive, they are so nimble, flexible and strong. The whole thing feels very traditional, with an entrance ritual and banging drums throughout. You can spend a whole evening with cheap food and snacks and watch around 8 fights for £30. A bit pricey but still very entertaining.

10. Ladyboy Cabaret Show - Chiang Mai: I was never super keene to go see a Ladyboy show but I got dragged along and it's part of the culture right? I was completely surprised to have a cracking night with tonnes of laughs and a new revelation. Are some of the women you pass by genuinely women? Some of these ladyboys are so convincing that I could actually call them pretty. Thankfully there were just as many shockingly bad ones to restore your faith in the difficulty to pretend to be a woman.

Thailand Visual Diary
September 13, 2015

Thailand Visual Diary

Friday, 4 September 2015

I just discovered this gallery the other day and thought I should share. I've never been to a gallery like it before as it displays 'experiential art', basically meaning you experience the art rather just look at it. The title of the exhibition explains itself, you essientially can make decisions throughout your visit, beginning with which entrance to choose. I'm not sure whether both entrances were both similar but the one we picked involved feeling your way through a pitch black metallic corridor, pretty scary if I'm honest! You can see the photo above (with a flash obviously). Other decisions involved whether to eat a pill which fell from the cieling every 5 seconds, to take the slide to exit or take the conviential route, or fly around on a machine for a bit (make sure the forecast is good because they won't let you on if it's raining! :( happened to us..). One of those headset things as you can see above, was probably the weirdest thing ever. Your vision would deflect upside down at an angle and made it impossible to stand straight or walk forward. If you looked down, it would look like you were looking ahead at your own body! Can't really put it into words! Definitely an amazing exhbition to visit even if you're not into art that much, the fact that it's all interactive just makes it a fun day out.

Don't want to spoil the rest as there was quite a bit more, but If you're in London this weekend and fancy checking out this awesome interactive gallery, then hurry and book your tickets now (here) as it closes on 6th September! It's on southbank, near embankment tube station.

Keepin' it positive,

Hayward Gallery: Decisions - Carsten Höller
September 04, 2015

Hayward Gallery: Decisions - Carsten Höller

Friday, 28 August 2015

Stephen Wiltshire

Stephen Wiltshire Gallery

I thought I'd make you all aware of this small but amazing gallery near Piccadily Circus in London.  The artist Stephen Wiltshire has an extrodinary talent of being able to memorise, using his photographic memory, very complex panoramic views and then draw them out. All he has to do it see the view once, and then he can reproduce it with remarkable accuracy.  

It was incredibly impressive seeing all his works of art and his sketchbooks, as well as his drawings from a young age. It's almost like a mini museum, with a board or two explaining his life story, struggles and triumphs and growing up with autism. I can't believe his raw talent, you can see his early drawings and how he could pick up infinitesimal details from a landscape view. He progressed upon his works and learnt to focus on his strengths, and now produces works of art that captivates a worldwide audience. Goes to show autistic minds can sometimes be the most beautiful, it's not something that needs a cure.

If you fancy giving it a look, the Gallery is located in an elegant Victorian-era arcade, just down the road from the National Portrait Gallery. They have a great selection of post-cards, and small bits and bobs. Definitely worth a visit, even if you're not into art Stephen Wiltshire's story is inspiring.

Keepin' it real,
Stephen Wiltshire Gallery
August 28, 2015

Stephen Wiltshire Gallery

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Hi readers, hope you've all been having an exciting or at least warm summer! I've got some good news and some bad news. Good news first, I'm finally back to the UK for the rest of the summer! I've just returned from the Azores, an Archipelago of nine Portuguese islands in the middle of the Atlantic, possibly the most beautiful adventure I've been on with two of my best friends. I managed to get loads of photos, gets loads of footage and had an amazing time.

The bad news is, I lost my GoPro paddle boarding in the volcanic crater (photo above) and therefore lost all the photos and footage besides what was on my phone. Heart-wrenching right? I guess you're just gonna have to make-do with the snaps I took on my phone. Fortunately I didn't need an amazing camera as the scenery did all the work for me :).
Of the nine islands we saw four, which were decievingly larger than we thought. The holiday (more like a pilgrimage) began in São Miguel, the largest island, in the capital of the Archipelago called Ponta Delgada (takes quite a bit of practice to pronounce this one correctly). I actually found out after I had returned from the trip that my grandmother's grandfather was one of those responsible for building the port there. The night we arrived there was a festival going on across the town called the White Festival where the town was completely decorated and everyone was wearing just white. The atmosphere was rather beautiful but there was also lots of alchol involved, these islanders know how to party. We ended up seeing half the Island with Amazing Tours, we were really surprised with actually how amazing it was. The tour lasted nine hours and our guide was hilarious and chatty, you passion for his island was shining through. The other half of the island had just as much to do and gave my friends and I a good reason to come back.

After spending a few days in Sao Miguel we had to fly to some of the other islands, the boat trip would last an entire day and the seas were choppy! We arrived in Faial's main city, Horta to discover it was festival season. Everything was fully booked, we had arrived in the busiest season of the year and stupidly thought we'd improvise with accomodation, WHOOPS! We ended up partying late, suitcases in hand, and lying up a mountain that night till we shivered to sleep. If you go on holiday here, make sure to book in advance! This island was the smallest but also had the prettiest and most scenic port town, it also had an eruption in 1957 that covered a town which you can see on the opposite end of the island. Seeing as we couldn't find anywhere to stay, we left this island slightly earlier and came back later on. 

The other two islands were only a short ferry's ride away, and still absolutely stunning. Pico Island was the newest or the archipelago and was also home to the highest mountain Portugal (7,713 ft). We found a great place to stay with an amazing view on AirBnB for €40 a night. Throughtout our trip we used AirBnB for almost all of our accomodation as it was so much cheaper than hotels and even some hostels, I definitely reccomend it. The island was quite large and difficult to get around, so renting a car is very handy if you have the time. Unfortunately for us they were fully booked again and had to hitch hike and find taxis (which were scarce). Madalena on the island is perfect for sea lovers and has whale-watching trips and scuba-diving companies. We went on one whale-watching trips and had a whale of a time haha ;). We saw three different kinds of dolphins jumping out the water around the boat and five or six sperm whales, we even saw one breach out the water (and filmed it on the GoPro!). Just before we left the island we hiked the mountain during the pitch black night with our torches, and stargazed before seeing the sunrise. One of the most incredible sights I've seen to date, it was majestic and magical but no description will do it any justice. Make sure to get a tour guide if you aren't experienced as going up the hike was extremely dangerous.

Lastly we saw Sao Jorge, a narrow but long island north of Pico. Probably quitest of the islands we were at but also the friendliest, everywhere was so green and Sao Jorge had my favourite views of our trip. All the islands were lovely but this island was probably the most picturesque. Hope you enjoyed the post, if you're a nature loving sort of person then definitely would reccomend checking out one of the most beautiful places in the world. 

Keepin' it Real

Azores Archipelago Visual Diary
August 23, 2015

Azores Archipelago Visual Diary

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

I posted an Aquatic Bucket List over 6 months ago now, and figured now that we're approaching holiday season, I'd post the sequel in a series of Bucket List posts. High places have always held a fond place in my heart... Accomplishing this bucket list is probably about as close as I'll get to reaching for the stars. Reading back on my Aquatic Bucket List, I realised it may have been a little short..., so I'm gonna try to make it to 10 limit myself to 11.

1) Hang Gliding in Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

I've always wanted to go hang gliding, and what better way to gain good luck but by high-fiving Jesus in Rio! The city looks amazing and has a perfect shape to go gliding your way about the lovely scenery.

2) Climb Mount Pico in the Azores - Portugal

So this mountain is literally in the middle of the atlantic, screaming 'CLIMB ME'. There's a possibility I might be accomplishing this during the summer. I'm going to one of the main islands in the Azores with my best friend and if we can get a boat to here, so that we can climb this monster of a mountain, then we will! I got my fingers crossed, because this Mount Pico looks absolutely magical.

3) Hiking in Peruvian Mountains - Peru 

From a young age, ever since watching a documentary with my parents,  the Inca trails have always been a point of interest to me, due to their mystique ambiance and impressive nature. Machu Picchu is one of the official seven wonders of the world and I can't turn a blind eye to some of the most beautiful mountains on Earth.

4) See the Split Pinnacle - China

Probably one of the strangest places known to man, the Split Pinnacle located in Zhangjiajie is surrounded by tonnes of naturally formed pillars of stone is known to be one of the inspirations for the floating islands in Avatar! They look so delicate, feel like one little push and they'd all go tumbling! I hope one day I can see these because unbelievable to imagine that nature could create such fragile-looking structures.

5) Sky Bar in Bangkok - Thailand

A bit of a cheat, as I'm going here when I go to Thailand. SO excited to go up here and see the whole of Bangkok on my first night arriving. The bar is second highest in the world, after a bar in Shanghai, nonetheless still incredible. Posted about some of our plans here if you fancy checking it out.

6) Climb Kilimanjaro - Tanzania

Now I know a lot of people want to climb Kilimanjaro, but I really really want to. I dreamt about it and ever since then it's become a goal of mine that one day I'll make it to the top. Plus I'm actually a bit of a wuss when it comes to loving animals, and the oppurtunity to see loads of wild life cannot be turned down.

7) Explore Chittorgarh Fort - India

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The largest fort in India located on top of a hill looks intricate, and blends in perfectly with the natural surroundings. When I visit India at some point, will definitely need to stop by and maybe have a swim! This place has so much history, which admittely I don't know much about, but I want to go to find out!

8) Witness the Angel Falls - Venezuela

You ever watched that film, Up? One of my favourite Pixar movies which is based around this whole region, waterfall included. I watched the behind-the-scenes about the inspiration for the movie, and found out so much about this part of the world. The table-top mountains nearby were so high-up that nobody had walked on top of them, or at least nobody had documented it. The Pixar crew took helicopters to go on top, purely to research the area for the film, analyse the plants, animals, and rock formations. At one point they almost lost each other because it was so foggy up there!

9) Hike the Ten Peaks - Canada

This place looks so serene and colourful that I couldn't really resist from putting it on the list. Canada looks gorgeous and I'm not sure I'll be able to stay away from the famous ten peaks, might have a hard time convincing the grizzlys to stay away from me though.

10) Stand on the Active Aogashima Volcano - Japan

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This island in Japan is a Volcano, within a Volcano. Yup you read that right, I don't think I could imagine anything more awesome. I've always had a bit of an thing for Volcanoes, as did most boys, and this place just satisfied those childish dreams of one day exploring inside of one. Apparently there isn't much but a Sauna in there though.

11) Stand at the tip of TrollTunga - Norway

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The TrollTunga, which is actually Norwegian for Troll Tongue who would have guessed? This platform protrudes out from the cliff-edge and overlooks this extrodinary view, it just oozes dominance. Who wouldn't feel like a boss looking over such a scene, above it all. Probably wouldn't want to dangle your legs off the end though, just in case.

Keepin' it real,
Celestial Bucket List
April 08, 2015

Celestial Bucket List