“If you don’t go, you won’t know”

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Istanbul skyline by night. A city I want to visit. I got to know a South African girl in the plane studying in Istanbul. She taught me so much on Turkish as well as African cultures… So intriguing.

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My first glimpses of South Africa. Love at first sight 😉

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The stunningly beautiful campus buildings. This one is the faculty of law.

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Stellenbosch Christ Church. So pretty. The Dutch architecture with the white stone buildings are simply stunning.

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At Winelands Chocolate Festival with my roomies. Stunning sceneries in the middle of mountains and winelands, tasting coffee, wine and chocolates of local producers… If you ask me, Saturday couldn’t get any better. The ones who know me well also know that these three foods are closest to my heart. Besides guacamole.

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On my way to the gym… No words to express how grateful I feel of walking along these scenic roads.

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At the Woodstock Winter Beer Festival. PJ and I sticked to cider though. My hot mulled cloudy apple coming up 😉

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Followed by a visit at Woodstock Street Food Festival. Fueling with a fresh pressed immune booster juice and some flat breads.

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Followed by a visit at Waterfront to toast for PJ’s friends for his birthday. Not sure if it was purely the alcohol or my emotional state of our perfect Sunday that me feel extremely high 😉

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My new baby, the old-school Mercedes. Simply love it. And the surroundings on my way to school. Still can’t believe these are the views I get to watch while driving to school and back.

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Also still cannot believe I live in these sceneries. Stellenbosch is simply indescribably beautiful, idyllic and inspiring place.

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Quiz night Tuesday. Wine, food, quizzing, friends. We didn’t win but didn’t lose either. Another great night that we enclosed with chocolate and cheesecake at Basic Bistro. Perhaps the most delicious chocolate brownie I’ve ever had.

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Caption tell the essential.

Here were some snapshots of my first days in beautiful South Africa. Though my exchange destination came as a surprise for me, I had dreamt about this country for years. I visioned lions, unique nature and vineyards. After five days here, I can already say that SA has proved to be everything I expected and so much more. I experienced no culture shock whatsoever, yet everything is different than back home. I get so many wow-moments every day. All this has made me better than ever aware of how important it is to stay curious, creative and have courage to step out of your comfort zone. And once you do, cherish the experience with gratitude and being mindful. Some observations of things I appreciate here the most so far:

1. People
You experience this everywhere. South African people are the warmest, most smiling, friendliest, helpful and hospitable people I have ever met. People are polite and genially interested and happy to help. I love the way how you can easily engage a conversation with just about anyone. I honestly have not met a single person who I would not consider as friendly.
2. Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch is everything I dream right now and more: stunning sceneries, white and pure Dutch architecture that reminds me of a village in the Alps, the cosiest and most delicious restaurants, outstanding sports facilities. Buzzing joyous, open minded people. The local markets and grocery stores sell anything a healthy foodie can hope for, with half prices (for Scandinavians).
3. Food & wine
This topic needs (several) own posts. I’ve only eaten couple of times out so far yet I can easily state that this town serves perhaps the best food I’ve ever had.
4. Festivals
Chocolate, cheese, wine, champagne, vintage… You name it, there’s something happening everything.
5. Sports
Again, you name it.

I strive to practice gratitude every single day, but changing your surroundings every now and then truly gives a new level of awareness to life. Suddenly, you realise what are the most important things back home, yet how much experiencing new places can teach you about the world and yourself. As in the past, I feel like I’ve learned so much about new people, cultures, myself, experienced beauty and felt so alive. Feeling alive, isn’t that the feeling we are looking for? I am constantly looking for ways to feel alive, and traveling simply is one of the best sources of this feeling. Can’t wait to the adventures ahead.

xxx

Re-establishment of the feeling of groundedness

 The past year has been a happy one for me. I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot without burning myself out. Pretty much the opposite – I’ve taken better care of my mental and physical health than ever. A lot has happened since I arrived back home from Hong Kong 14 months ago. I remember how rootless I felt, not having a home or a clue of my future plans in terms of studies and work.
What I did have, was a bunch of loved ones I had missed during the time away. I needed time surrounded by these people to feel grounded again. Then, one by one, things started to fall into place. I landed a job that excited me every day. I learned more than I ever would at classes. The best part though was that I could maximise my time with wifey as colleagues, before she would head to new adventures for the Fall.
Fall, then, was time of studying, working and working out. Day flowing by with routines – which usually makes me feel anxious, but what I had missed in Hong Kong. Also the feeling of accomplishing small but meaningful goals makes you feel good. Spring was time of true self discovery for me. I was lucky to travel three times to Barcelona with Satu, and besides truly falling for the city, I learned a lot about myself. For me, traveling really is the best way to get to know yourself. I also managed to shift my studies towards psychology, which I loved after 5 years of business studies. Also, for the first time in my life, I integrated working out into my daily life. And there’s no going back, being physically active simply is a major part of well being for me.
A lot has happened in a year’s time. I’ve built a life that is comfortable and filled with nurturing relationships which I love, but not that exciting. And excitement is what keeps me feel alive. Seeing new places, meeting new people, hearing new stories. Being inspired. It is time to go and do something new again.
My destination: Cape Town & Stellenbosch, South Africa. My final year as a student will take place in Stellenbosch university as a MBA exchange student. At the moment I’m sitting at Istanbul airport, waiting for my connecting flight to my destination. Feeling: excitement. My wish for being inspired started in the plane already as I sat next to a gentleman who has worked literally all over the world as a consultant and diplomat for the past 25 years. I decided that I want to have as many stories as he does at that age
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I still remember this first meal with wifey at Sushibar + Wine
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Summer Fridays spent at Lonna island
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Catching up over high tea at The Cadogan with my Londoners Henni & Anne and Amanda’s surprise visit from Aberdeen
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Weekends at Hanko
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This cutie visited from down under ❤
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Our beautiful office building
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The perfect holiday at get together with my girls from London & Uppsala
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Getting this girl back from Shanghai ❤
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Elektro music brunch in Barcelona
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Beautiful Helsinki Summer nights
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High on hill sprints and Helsinki skyline
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Nightless nights
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My never-ending project
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Witnessing the tying of the most inspiring love story
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Next time from South Africa xxx

Summer of Helsinki, Hanko & Copenhagen

Memories of last week are the kind I will cherish when away from home again. My thesis project has had to slightly step down in my list of priorities lately, as I want to spend my time left with the people I will most miss. We enjoyed a family dinner at Boat House on a flawless sunny night, being nourished by the food of course but also the sea breeze, sun bath and great company. For me, this was truly luxury. I’m also so happy for my sister who dropped big news; she has founded a company. I believe 100% in their business idea of utilizing wild Finnish herbs. They will produce three great products, for starters, and aim to democratise and spread the use of true Finnish superfood. You make me so proud sis ❤

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We started the weekend early and headed to Tammisaari with a great combo of peeps. We woke up the boat of its winter sleep and took it to Hanko. We enjoyed a meal cooked by the boys (points up guys), followed by a proper sauna session in the seaside sauna. I was the last girl standing which resulted in hearing real man sauna talk with the guys. Something I recommend every girl to experience 😉 Dipping several times to the sea was a cherry on top.

Hanko and Itämerenportti harbor truly is one of my favourite places in Finland to spend the summer. Hope I get to spend many more to come Summers here. Thank you skipper and crew for one of the best 24 hours this year! Skipper knows that I’ve already reserved a spot for next year(s) …

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Beautiful Ekenäs harbour where our adventure took off …

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The next day, it was time for me to head back home to catch a flight to Copenhagen. We celebrated Jenna’s last single days as this beauty is getting married in two short weeks. The hens party was filled with laughter and happiness, and Jenna simply looked like a princess. So proud of you dear 

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Kicking off hen party weekend with poached eggs and fruits at Granola

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Beautiful bride-to-be buying groceries at Torvehallerna for a picnic lunch … Wifes need to know how to host parties, right 😉

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Jenna giving a public Soul Searching Session in Botanical Garden. She was simply amazing.

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The glowing bride to be ❤

Cuddling with wifey

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Dinner of pure pleasure. Cocofo serves surprise four course menus prepared of local and organic ingredients. The mussel soup was simply to die for …

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Fresh brunch at Raw42 before heading back home. The tapas plate is delicious with avocado filled cracker, raw lasagna and thai noodles. With green juice of course.

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Love Joe and the Juice.

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Back to training mode. My dancer’s pose work in progress 😉

This week I kicked off by moving out of my apartment. Luckily my wifey was there again for me, and I get to spend the last days with her. Yesterday it was time to hit our gym and bootcamp session again, after which I couldn’t resist training my dancer’s pose… Though this posture is never finished, I’m quite happy with how it looks like already!

Have a great week lovelies ❤