Creating Our Earth – From sadness to respectful world of tomorrow

The past week has been very tough mentally for me, as it’s been for the most of the world. Beirut, Paris, Bamako, Syria, Iraq… The list continues. ‘Why’ and ‘what next’ seem to be the questions in the air.

In the western media, Paris was shown largely and Beirut seemed to be forgotten at the same time. But so were and are forgotten countless of tragedies all over the planet every day.

The lives of Lebanese lost were not any less important than all different nationalities that were lost in Paris. The reason why Paris incident has touched me personally the most and also some others, is because I lived in the city before. Those exact streets were my home. Every time I visit Paris, I go out around the same areas, I was there two weeks before the attacks, and I was there again now one week after. My friends live there. It could have been them. It could have been me. This closeness of events makes us react stronger to some events than others, even they are all as horrifying.

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A view of Paris from Trocadéro, now one week after a tragedy that I will never forget. To me it represents our humanity, the happiness we can have when we learn to respect and love.

Personally, my mind has been full of plain sadness. I have needed my time to mourn, to leave my condolences to those who lost their families/friends in these inhuman attacks around the world. And sadly, they still continue.

There comes always a turning point then, we lift our faces up again to see forward. What shall we do, how can we help, what do we need to improve, where can we start? Most of all, how can we make the new world of tomorrow better?

We need to be kind to one another. We need to learn to tolerate and understand different points of view in life, we need to stop bullying and start building friendships, we must stop bombing and start sending flowers. In every city and country.

Most of all, instead of all the mess of today, we need to focus on the future, to build it better and always more peaceful than the world today. It all starts from children. What we learn at young age, we bring to the world later on. If we learn hatred, how can anything beautiful come out of it later on?

Our Earth is full of countless different cultures, religions, and habits. We need to learn from each other, let our children learn, let the next generations build without all the limits we might have in the world today. We need to concentrate on building respect and friendships, in daycare, in preschools, in schools, and continuously in universities, work places and different communities. This needs to be part of everyday experience. Let respect live in us.

Who will start to do all this? We all will.

How shall we? Be kind. Respect. Communicate. Learn. Innovate. Create. And most of all, smile.

Creating New Culture for tomorrow’s world,

Satu

About travelling

I happened to read a blog post about travelling by an old good friend of mine. She left an incredibly tough question in the end of the page; ‘What does travelling mean to you?’

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When I lived close to Paris, I really loved all the metro and train trips – got some time to think, travel in mind.

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Ways of travelling – tuktuk in Bangkok, Thailand

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Ways of travelling – a flight to a foreign land
Fra Airport, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

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Tradition of travelling – by camels in the desert
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Travelling is a word, meaning usually ‘to move from one place to another’, as in my previous pictures. But there is so much more to it, it’s both a physical and mental life-changing experience.

At the moment, travelling is work for me, in a literal way. Long distances became my office and far lands home. When you are far from home physically and culturally, you really need to feel inside you and search your peace, your history, culture and values. Only by knowing first what I am made of, I can start learning from others.

Deeper inside we are not so different. Cultures, religions, traditions and history have made us act differently. But we all have same feelings, we need love, we want to understand the world, we get angry when something doesn’t work as we are taught, we forgive when things are settled in a respectful and constructive manner.

Travelling means meeting the world and through acceptance learning to live the world. At first travelling was mainly physical for me, but as it became mental and spiritual, it became home.

Change for 2014

It’s been a while that I haven’t been posting. For me this pause was most of all time to search something new in myself. I felt the need to understand me more, and through this process, simply get new power on sharing new stories again.

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The last sunrise I saw in 2013

I had awakening times over the holidays. During one week, I visited all the three places I consider my homes. Jyväskylä in Finland, Paris in France and Frankfurt am Main in Germany. Three different cultures, languages, lifestyles, group of friends and stages of my past life.

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French stage – delicious snails

They say you need to know your history to understand the present and to plan the future. The important thing is to understand these points in all levels, starting from the largest one – the history of the world, to understand the dynamics around, the situation of your own country and culture in this frame. The knowledge of your own culture will teach a lot about behavioural aspects and give the power to be proud of your roots.

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Wild berries is one of the privileges in Finnish forests, I learned to bake a berry pie à la Mom

Knowing the history of your own family, will help you realize partly how you have become the person you are, and the reasons behind your parents’ and other family members’ choices. It is important to remember that regardless of which choices your family has made, you are you, the only you in the world, and in today’s world you have the ability to choose the change if you wish so.

That brings us to the final one, our very own personal history. Which way have I developed during my life? Which kind of choices did I make? Which mistakes did I make? How did I overcome them?

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Sometimes the light blinds you, sometimes guides
Eiffel tower in Paris, France

Staying in my childhood home in Finland is always awakening experience. Every single time I learn new about my past. Seeing the world, grows my respect towards my roots, and all the people who have walked part of my path with me.

Paris put many questions in my mind. Why did I do certain decisions in life? What came out of them? How did I grow up during those periods of time? Answering these taught me about my decision-making and behaviour in a big picture.

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Re-living your past path makes you know yourself more

I finished the travelling week in the present. I see my path, I see this place and time that I have ended up in. There are things I like, and things I want to change for the future. I have ideas, plans and energy again but as we all know, only the future itself will tell the result.

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Find the balance of the presence and the future – enjoy today, building your future

Happy new and very successful year 2014 for everybody!

Metro communication

When alone in a metro (or in any other similar place from bus to airplane), people change their behaviour from everyday communicating.

These mobile times, the most common act is probably to chat with one’s very own smartphone. This way we avoid all the possible interacting with strangers.

The behaviour differs also between the cultures a bit, but even more because of multiple other factors, such as the size of the city. The bigger the city is, the more people seem to prefer to talk with their phones, read a book, sleep or pretend to do so, or work on any possible thing to distance them from any interaction.

There might good explanations for that, for example it is true that in metropolies we pass by so many people, it impossible to have contact with everybody. Also, one needs a moment for him/herself at times, even in our minds surrounded by all that mass of human beings.

Prejudies and judgement effect strongly sometimes on top of all other. When one senses another, possibly unknown culture from the person getting closer, it is typical to try to look that one is not available for the stranger. Ignorance can be the case but also media is very good in manipulating everyone’s behaviour towards little racist acts.

On the other hand, working on something during a trip does not always automatically mean that we don’t want to interact with the person next to us or that we are scared of them. Someone takes the trip as an extra time to work, someone wants to relax with their music and someone might be just very excited to work on something at the moment… as I am now – writing about this subject with my phone.

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A metro stop written with different alphabets
Paris, France

When there’s communicating that differs from the main behaviour in certain situations, appears a shock.

Once in one of these metro lines of Paris, an older, clearly homeless man came to sit next to me. Baring sights surrounded me. But my own reaction was different, I had a smile on my face because I received a very friendly ‘Bonjour’ from this man. I said ‘bonjour’ back. Already at this point, I could feel the eyes around staring at this unusual situation.

All the way to my destination stop, we talked. Mainly he was telling about his life as a musician. There was a moment that he got moved by a memory, and allowed few drops fall from his big dark eyes. I have to say it has been one of the most beautiful moments I have experienced in any metro. It would have never happened if instead of him I would have focused on my electronic device.

Let’s do what we need to, but stop the pointless Facebook scrolling. Look around… yes there is the life!

PS. Now I turn this device off and focus on the beautiful persons around me.

Old and new culture of communicating

I was born to a quite late generation, but I also had the privilege to live before Internet and mobile phones. I like the inventions of past times, for example it gives me a possibility to write this blog and share my thoughts all over the world (which earlier would have been quite a tough job). Though, instead of a Facebook message, it is a different warmth coming from receiving a postcard or a letter – someone really wrote it with their own hands.

Communication is faster, and many ways different what it was years ago. Sometimes we forget the real meaning of communication, interaction with another person. The strongest, only full way to interact with one another, is face-to-face. You miss lots of things you don’t even realize while communicating via electronic devices; all movement of another, the scent, the touch. While I enjoy all possibilities in this year 2013, I remind myself every day of the real life, which is still going here around us in other living people, not in the smartphone.

Creating a mixed culture of old and new – that’s a challenge to take. Keep the best of the past times and give also the opportunity for all new to step in.

Myself, I have kept some parts of the old, I send postcards from places where I travel and I read books made of paper. I meet people in real life and find the streets without Google Maps. Someone way wonder, how do I do that? Well, I check it beforehand and using my brain more helps me remember easier. We used to remember a long list of phone numbers, and these days many forget their own one. It is very important to keep the mind fit, and I’ve found this a very good tool for it.

Half way old is also the fact that I don’t own a smartphone at the moment. I used to have one, but since it got broken I decided to try a while without. There’s really nothing I miss from it. As I told before, I find my way very well. I don’t need to check my Facebook every five seconds, I’ll do that once I get home. And most important, I concentrate on the life around me or the person I’m with (and not the endless applications in my phone).

Anyway I have a very simple phone to text or call if something unexpected happens.

In the end, smartphones might be needed at some situations, eg. for working. I might buy a new one sometime soon, but I will definitely make a deal with myself to keep my eyes off of it in situations like meeting a person.

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Relaxing in the sun with a book, observing all interesting happening around. Without Facebook.
Paris, France / September 2011

You have to travel far to see close – Introduction to exploring

You have to travel far to see close. I heard this quote many times since a kid, but understood the true meaning only when I actually went far. And by this I don’t even mean physically travelling to the other side of the globe (which I also did). Even in your own home city you can explore something very far from your everyday life.

We are used to repeat our days. We have habits in everything, the route to work as well as which milk we choose in the supermarket next door. Even a little change can open your eyes, in these examples changing the car to walking one morning (meaning another route) or going to another supermarket that might not have the same milk brand.

Anyone may start exploring physically close but travel very far in the mind. Of course, abroad it’s more likely that several different things hit you that you’ve never thought of before. A holiday to the beach resort might not be the most culture shocking choice, since it is designed for you to feel EXACTLY as at home, most of the times also the travel guide speaks your language. If the purpose of the trip is to relax and have everything as easy as possible, ready package vacation is the one to choose. In this case though, the culture of the country doesn’t really open to you.

How to explore a new culture then? In the end, it takes very little effort. Most important is to keep your mind open, give a possibility for the new ways of living introduce themselves to you. Meeting the locals is a very good start, also when visiting your neighbour city in your own country. There’s always someone who is ready to show you the insights of their culture. Locals are likely to bring you to places that you otherwise wouldn’t find, make you taste something you’ve never heard of, and teach you a part of their history and beliefs.

Listening, hearing, seeing and feeling this new world will make you compare it to your home culture. What do I like better here, what I prefer at home? What could we learn from each other? You might learn a new language, or improve one. Interaction with anything different from you will give you so much, make you grow and think. It will make you richer.

Here I have some examples what kinds of things you could explore. All the pictures are from my travel archives of past years.

Exploring the miracles of nature, temperature changes, different landscapes and extreme experiences in it, getting to know the history and art, changing points of view and interacting through other visions and thoughts, tasting new flavours and sensing the vibes:

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Amazing view of Mediterranean sea. I was introduced to Sicilian culture by a local family, I ate fresh melons from their backyard, improved my Italian and explored the history of the area.
Erice, Sicily, Italy / August 2012

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Freezing moments with -30C degrees, glittery snow in the air. My home but always an experience to feel it.
Jyväskylä, Finland / December 2012

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White river rafting – feeling the great power of the nature, understanding our mortality, living full with adrenaline.
Rotorua, New Zealand / March 2011

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Going back in time, feeling the ancient. I found this place to visit thanks to my Sicilian friend.
Segesta, Sicily, Italy / August 2012

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Fresh provoking art on shirt with the happy owner – me, Spr Fkr
I participated open doors of the museums of modern art in the downtown of Los Angeles and changed points of view with a local, talented artist.
Los Angeles, California, USA / Februay 2011

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Interacting with the visions of the greatest artists of all times in Louvre museum. I have visited several times, but I never get enough of the master pieces in it.
Paris, France / December 2011

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Delicious bruschetta bread after a burning day by Mediterranean sea. ‘On a holiday’
Terracina, Italy / August 2011

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A very special flavoured liqueur from Finland, tastes similar to liquorice, just saltier. Definitely a must! A ‘little-piece-of-home’ present from a lovely friend visiting me this weekend.
Frankfurt Am Main, Germany / February 2013

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Vibes of a lake in the silence of a  nightless night. In the middle of all chaos and experiences it is important to stop and reflect.
Keuruu, Finland / June 2008