The Sahara Desert, beauty and serenity.

Sleeping under the stars in traditional Berber tents, made the rest of the world seem a lifetime a way. An endless array of sand, a scorching ray of light, a journey on a camel and unconditional love amongst the people sharing the experience. I had reached the Sahara desert, an 1295 mile drive from Marrakesh. A journey very worthwhile.
 
I naively didn’t realise how far away the Sahara Desert actually was and despite listening to several volunteers sharing my Riad, I kept telling myself that no journey could be so lengthy, bleak and unbearable as so many of them had explained.
 
Fortunately, a few unexpected stops along the way broke up the horrendous journey with one of my favourite being the passing through a small Berber Village. I was able to gain a valuable insight into Berber culture and fell in love with how the wandering tourists were the only noise that disturbed the tranquillity of village life.
 
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After a 12 and a half hour tedious journey, with mile stretches of contrasting scenery, from green valleys to mountain passes and palm groves, we had arrived. Far far away from the frenetic bustle of Marrakesh. 
 
In seconds I had left the unconditioned and unbearable mini bus to be face to face with several camels. Slow, gentle and very relaxed animals with thick black eyelashes longer than imaginable. Only after plucking up the courage to take a seat on top of the 7ft beast, I realized the journey from here was going to be anything but pleasant. But I was on a camel. On a camel walking through the Sahara desert. The movement of their jerky steps left me lurching forwards and backwards holding on for deal life. I clenched my thighs to their sides praying I wouldn’t be the one to tumble down the sandy dunes. If your looking for a workout, camel riding does just this.
 
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The silence in the Sahara is like nothing else. With views of seemingly endless dunes from every single angle.
 
I had never seen so much sand before my eyes and our chatty group was silenced for the first time since being together. There wasn’t a single sound for miles and I felt as if I was the only person in the world. The warmth within the sand disappeared the moment the sun went down and by this point we had reached our traditional woollen Berber tents and huddled together with a pot of mint tea.
 
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We started our evening in ore of how many Moroccan tagines surrounded us. Steaming pots of traditional couscous and vegetables and a table of good company. From the tent I could see the stars beginning to appear. Having lived my life in the polluted city of London, I always squeal with excitement when I’m able to visit somewhere without any light pollution. The milky way was a silver streak across the sky, with shooting stars darting across like crystallised diamonds. It was quite possibly the most magnificent view I had ever seen. I was completely transfixed. 
 
 
 
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We dragged the tattered bean bags into a circle, with our feet running through the soft sand whilst admiring and wishing on the countless shooting stars. The desert seemed to be a place where time did not exist, eternal and magical. We sat for hours, talking, singing, telling stories and drinking sweet mint tea. Crossed-legged with a pot of apple flavoured sisha in the middle of the Sahara really did make the experience seem even more bizarre and surreal. 
 
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Before heading to our basic but homely tents, our guide promised that the early start would be worth it. I knew it was going to be a beautiful day when my alarm was the sun rising.
 
 
 

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Watching the sunrise was just as magical as the 10407178_10152107371987541_6438376446164562477_nsunset from the night before. A landscape which had no buildings or people in sight, made the view all that extra peaceful and rare. There was nothing but sand stretching out in every direction, fading out into what seemed like infinity.
 
We dejectedly traipsed back across the sand to our awaiting camels and to much reluctance, we eased ourselves back on with all our aches and pains from the day before.
 
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Thee is nothing quite like the peace with walking an entire day without seeing another soul. A meditative, magical and momentous experience. Part of the globe which again had me lost for words.
 
Incredible. 
 
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Your every act can open hearts and minds.

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Energy flows where attention goes. Decide that today is going to serve your souls highest and greatest good. Bless your struggles if they arise and realise they are serving your evolution. Have endless amounts of gratitude for every single thing that comes your way, because it’s all helping you to grow, to hold more light, to experience more love, to trust in the universe. Maybe you don’t like what you’re experiencing, and if so, start manifesting more of what you want to see. This still present new moon energy gives your thoughts/energy more strength. Work with it. Love it. Create what you want to see here.

Everything you do right now ripples outward and affects everyone around you. Your posture can shine your heart or transmit anxiety. Your breath can radiate love or muddy the room in depression. Your glance can awake joy, your words can inspire freedom and your every act can open hearts as well as minds.

Your pain is an illusion. All is love and helping us reach higher states of consciousness and growth here in the physical. When you see things from a soul perspective only then can you recognise this. You are a spiritual being having a human experience, not the other way around..

“From a soul perspective, the people in your life who have irritated, judged, criticized and angered you the most, are also the ones who have agreed to serve as your greatest teachers. Once you have acknowledged their role, any attachment to feeling like a victim due to their actions will cease to exist, and all that will remain will be love and forgiveness.”

Use your energy to create, to love, to hope and believe.

Fortune favours the brave.

I fall in love with people’s passion. The way their eyes light up when they talk about the thing they love and the way they fill with light. 

Always be brave enough to show and share your passions. Let no one discourage any ambitions you may have, no matter how irrational they may seem.

You don’t need anyone to achieve the goals you set out or anyone to motivate you in the right direction. Be your own motivation. Acknowledge that YOU are good enough to succeed and achieve anything you put your mind to. 

Nobody but you has the power to change any situation you face. Do what makes YOU happy, as after all, no one lives with your decisions or outcomes.

Every day tell yourself that you are capable. That you are beautiful, talented and intelligent. Acknowledge the perfection you withhold. Tell yourself you are nothing but an astonishing and marvellous being. 

Compare yourself only to who you were yesterday and be nothing but your own competition. The attitude which you hold of yourself is what determines your direction.

This is your life. This is your time. The only thing powerful and capable enough to hold you back is any negative thoughts YOU hold.

Follow your hearts desires and follow them because YOU want to. And if you are passionate, don’t ever restrain yourself from spilling all that you are.

Good luck comes to those who are not afraid to step forward and look for it.

You are more powerful than you think. Be bold. 

This is a message for someone close to my heart. Believe in yourself. x

Returning home from worlds apart.

A fire began to burn inside of me. When you witness poverty and pure desperation for even the simplest of needs. Half of our world’s population is living in poverty. Thoughts and ideas take over your mind as to how you could fix the pain you’ve seen or even just make others see the truth.

After leaving the comfort of my home in one of the world’s richest cities, even though you swore it wouldn’t, your own difficulties begin to take precedence. How could I, one small person of 7 billion people living in this world, change such a global crises and imbalance of justice? 

It took me several days, even weeks until I felt as if I had settled back into Western civilization. I felt so much guilt. Guilt to what I had left behind, who I had left behind. Helpless beings, beings just like you and I but beings who live completely different lives. 

I couldn’t deal with how unfair life is.

After just a few hours of arriving back in the UK from a trip to Tanzania and Kenya, I had already encountered endless arguments over trivial matters and constant bitchy comments and complaints about NOTHING. A society were people leave taps running and have houses full of materials they never use. A world where basic facilities are taken for granted.

I wanted to scream. I wanted to shout and I wanted someone to listen. Just anyone.

No one understood why I was being so seclude. So distance from anyone who tried to surround me and shelter me with love. Whilst most people on my trip suffered from home sickness, I had been away for over a month and after returning couldn’t bare to see a soul. 

Fresh drinking water, two arms and two legs. Do you ever wonder what you’re life would be like if you had only one hand, or if you had to walk for miles to fill a bottle of water? I don’t have to steal to ensure I sleep with a full stomach, neither do I have parents who have to even worse, kill in order to make sure their children are fed and clothed. I’ve never reached a point of desperation where I’ve had to choose my own life over another being.

I understand that not everyone is able to have first hand sensory experience but it is something which everyone should try to gain. Millions of us sit glued to our tv screens when Comic Relief is on. You hear stories on the news and watch celebrities visit countries in need. Everyone wants to make a difference and do they best the possibly can but too often we forget because our own relevant world becomes too difficult and complex. Wake up and be grateful. Count your blessings, endlessly. 

Travel can bring about profound changes from within a person. It is almost impossible to change people from the outside but first hand experience seeps within your soul. It can change everything about yourself, just like I discovered with my journey in Africa.

A few months past after returning home and realized I had a choice. I could let memories haunt me or I could try to find a way in which I could bring some positive from it.

I saw so many heart wrenching things on my journey through Africa and I hope one day everyone’s eyes are able to see that which is too often forgotten. 

Being poor does not mean that your soul aches and is empty. YOU can choose to be happy and to make the most of the hand that has been dealt.

If you have the opportunity to venture out to a place of unknown, go. Don’t look back. We were not born to stay in one place. You never know what you may see, learn and understand. 

Take the lessons, apply them to your own life and BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD.

A photo of life.

Since returning from my travels I have struggled to come to turns with the world we live in. I understand the tears, the darkness, the frustrations and the helplessness. For a while now, I’ve felt as if the world obtains no sanity. I live in a world of madness where no one actually understands each other or takes the time to simply listen instead of speak. The colour of our skin, our religious believes, our cultural backgrounds; are these really factors which make us all so different or are these elements which make us all so similar?

Sometimes I wonder what life really is. What if it becomes less about how we look and more about how much we care? What if it becomes less about how much money we earn and more about how much we share our good fortune? Imagine a world where who we are in our hearts is the ultimate status symbol.

Imagine a world without camera’s. A world without mirrors. A world without any object possible to show any given reflection. This world seems so far from that which a large percentage of us live in. Have you ever wondered what life would be like if words were all we could hear? If the sounds around us and our sense of touch were all we really knew?

Although I am yet to cover and explore all corners of the world, I feel like already I’ve seen the world from a different angle. In fact, a world which so many of us are oblivious to. The reality of those living in poverty always seems to be lost in translation and I feel privileged to have been able to see first hand. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to experience the world through someone else’s eyes, though elements of beauty exist, a dark side never fails to seep in. The side of life which isn’t always so pretty. A picture painted differently in everyone’s eyes as well as minds.

When I returned home from Tanzania, July 2013, a million thoughts ran through my mind. In the space of 24 hours I had come from being in a remote village with chickens and goats running around, to the livelihood and madness in the city of London. Both chaotic but in such juxtaposing ways. In my home country where people spoke my home language, there was more of a communication barrier than that which I experienced with locals who spoke nothing but Swahili.

No traffic, very few voices, no sounds of the hectic modern world and no technology. I felt as if I was off the grid. Nothing could have prepared me for the month I had ahead.

Whilst strolling through a village boarding the area my group and I were working on one day, I came across an elderly lady. She had piercings everywhere physically possible, was dressed head to toe in a vibrant and exotically colored dress and had eyes as bright as the stars I had laid peacefully under every night. Despite not speaking a word of English we engaged each others attention and were able to communicate in our own way. She pointed and proudly showed of her delicate hand made home to me and kindly offered me some water and a seat beside her; the seat being that which was constructed creatively from old materials such as glass coke bottles and pieces of eaten corn centers. Though this will probably mean nothing to anyone but myself, it was a moment which made me feel so humbled and memories are perhaps the best gift of all.

The reason I share this small moment was because whilst ‘chatting’ away for a while I kept noticing the lady glimpsing at my camera which I had around my neck. It wasn’t the greatest of camera’s, just a standard samsung which was standing on it’s last legs but it done the trick. She continued smiling at me whilst glaring at the camera as if it was the most astonishing and breath taking thing she had ever seen. I passed her the camera as she continued to stare and analyze the small screen with such excitement upon her face. I showed her how to turn it on then she passed it back to me, signally she wanted me to take a photo of her. It was like seeing a small child around the tree on Christmas Day, so keen and intrigued to what was to come next. She screamed. Screamed louder than a crowd of a hundred young girls. Like a grenade had gone on. I stood in the dark, wondering what I had done wrong, questioning why this lady was stood in front of me with tears running down her fragile face. Jumping. Jumping around like a kid who’s had to much cola. Was she upset, was she happy? I was so oblivious, so naive. It was not until a few hours later that someone mentioned to me how rare it was to see a lady in Tanzania of her age. She was around 60-70 years old.

She had never seen her reflection. She had never seen her face, nor her body, nothing. She had no idea that she had black hair that reached the middle of her back and big, bright hazel eyes. She was in shock and the screams went on until eventually the tears drowned them out. She reluctantly placed her hands onto her face, as if she was trying to smooth out the moulds of a piece of clay. Touching all of her features with the very trips of her fingers, constantly referring back to the picture of her I had taken. It was like she was so certain it wasn’t her. That the image right in front of her very eyes was just a figment of her imagination.

It’s hard to imagine how she felt at that precise moment in time and I guess it will always be a moment which none of us will truly be able to understand.

For the first time in 60 or so years, she had lived each day with no recollection of her appearance. There are no mirrors. There are no cars. There are no glass windows. There is no clean river to reflect that which stands upon. Nothing.

A moment of such simplicity.

A moment of beauty.

 

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Blessed are those who can give without remembering, and take without forgetting.

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Have you ever stopped to think about how you could truly help someone?

It could be the biggest or smallest of actions. Something so meaningless to you could mean or even change the world for someone else. A simple smile to a stranger on a train perhaps? Maybe even helping an elderly person cross the road or simply saying hello or thank you. After all, you never know what battles someone may be facing.

Be selfless. Be bold. Be brave and go out of your way.

Small acts of kindness. Simple but incredibly powerful steps to helping those around you.

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What could YOU do to make that little or possibly huge different to someone’s life? I’ve found happiness with even the simplest of acts..

1) Take a minute to direct someone who is lost, even though you’re rushing.

2) Offer to pick up some shopping for an elderly neighbour.

3) Help a mum at a station with carrying the buggy up the stairs.

4) Praise and verbally acknowledge someone around you. Make it clear you appreciate them and all they do or simply for just being them.

5) Say please and thank you.. and really mean.

6) Tell someone you love how much they mean to you.

7) Smile at a compete stranger.

8) Leave some chocolate cake in the fridge, even if you’re tempted to scoff the whole thing.

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.