Travel Log: Copenhagen

Monday 6:50

With an early start this morning, I ventured out into the crisp morning air. The only sound coming from birds – a fresh perspective on a city life.  Today I am off to Copenhagen, Denmark. It’s a city I’ve never been to, yet experienced vicariously through those having borrowed my guide book. I’m currently sat in a café in Gatwick Airport waiting for my avocado on toast; one of very few vegan options I could find. I’m surprisingly awake for having woken up at 4am, perhaps it’s the excitement of spending the rest of my day in a new city.  Or perhaps it’s the 4-shot Soya cappuccino I just finished. This trip is very unplanned for me; I got my Danish krone at the airport, I have no idea how I’m getting from Copenhagen airport to the hostel, nor what my plan is for the return home tomorrow. I suppose time will tell.

10:18

I must be more than halfway to Copenhagen by now. The sky is the clearest of blue, allowing the sun to glisten perhaps too brightly off the plane’s wing through my window. I somehow always get a window seat, and I couldn’t complain less. It’s an interesting thing to be so close to nothing; so far away from everything you’re used to being near. Buildings insignificant and the rushing lives of those in the streets of London invisible. I feel calm, and I feel un-rushed in my impatient descend on Copenhagen. I’d like to think, as I look out at the world below me, if my plane were to fall that it would be caught in the soft grips of the clouds blanketing the earth.  The clouds – they bring us rain, food for the soil under our feet – they also separate London from the world beyond. We stop looking up after a while because we are so used to seeing the grey barrier above our heads; we get so accustom to looking down at our feet, knowing our direction, our daily path. It’s nice to be above the clouds, to feel as if there is nothing stopping me from seeing new things. I am amongst the unreachable. With the unexpected wifi on board, I feel confident in my plan once I land. I know I will take the metro, a 3-zone ticket bought with either coins or credit card, and I will get off at Hovedbanegården otherwise known as Copenhagen Central Station. From there I will walk to my hostel, check in, and carry on with aimless wandering. According to the flight tracker, we are 24 minutes from Copenhagen. The descend has begun, I am now gently leaning forward with the plane; gravity pulling me towards yet another destination to tick off the map.

17:49

My feet are ready to fall off. I got to Copenhagen Central Station just after midday and spent 20 minutes lapping the perimeter trying to find my hostel; suddenly earning a major appreciation for my Citymapper app in London. I found my hostel and then went back out in search of anything that defines Copenhagen as a city. I still feel near anxious being here. Not because of it’s size or population mass, just the fact of I know nothing about it. I always prepare my holidays, map out places I want to see, where I want to eat, I teach myself the language basics; this time I came in blind. After wandering in the heat and eventually discovering what seemed to be a busy part, I opted for a canal tour. A smooth sail into tourist mode. This was beautiful and somewhat informative. More than anything it gave me my bearings and sites to aim for by foot. The hour tour finished where it began, and so did my ventures. Saw beautiful buildings, did some window shopping, but more so just absorbing everything foreign. I followed it up with more wandering until now – Urban Bar, coffee in hand. As much as I am tired, I am also eager to see more and make the most of this 48-hour trip. I am headed to Tivoli Gardens this evening.

Tuesday 12:36

I am currently located in what seems to be the Danish version of Subway – iBagel. It’s pretty good, eggplant salad topped off with a beautiful dollop of humous (of course). I woke up this morning refreshed and ready to tackle another day of touristing. My first stop had to be food, and eventually I found my desired breakfast destination: 42Raw – a café that has surrendered it’s services to the plant-based community. An acai bowl and my new addiction, The Passage by Justin Cronin, made for a beautiful start to the day. Peaking above the city, reaching for the heavens, are spires scattered around the city. All distinctly different, I’ve been finding them an easier alternative to the maps within my guidebook. As 10:30 came around, I aimed high and true, and climbed 95m up Vol Frelsers Kirke. A beautiful old church which presented me with a stunning view of the city. Since my descend back down to earth, I have wandered; seen the Nationalmuseet, Christiansborg Slot, and Det Kongelige Bibliotek. It’s warm, I’m sun kissed veering burnt, but I feel calm and happy. My flight home to London is at 18:55, and according to the Central Station clock on the opposite of the square it’s now 12:57. I have plenty of time to continue this relaxing getaway.

Survival Instincts

From a young age you always hear the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, and more often than not people will say this to you as a piece of ‘much required’ wisdom.  As much as I accept this phrase about not holding prejudice based on someone’s outward appearance, I do slightly disagree.

Judgment is an inherent quality that our brain feeds with experience. We have established this instinct for survival; the judgments we make are what permit, or prohibit, things to get close to the core of our lives. Moving to a new country, I found myself surrounded with the unknown in things as simple as a phone shop. I spent the first month making choices purely based off harsh judgment and gut feeling.  There were the initial times of pharmaceutical and grocery shopping, I would walk an extra block to shop at a chain-store over a cheapened corner shop. When I was flat hunting, as simply as talking to a person over the phone, I would judge the landlord on the language they used, and immediately accept or decline the idea. For all I know these are the simple judgements that have extended my life, or have caused me to miss out on opportunities.

So what happens when you take a leap of faith and do leave things up to chance? Once I was settled within a house, had a group of friends, and had all standard life requirements organised, I went through a phase of doing spontaneous adventures; going outside of my comfort zone with relation to cafes, experiences and stores. I think the key point here is that because I was successfully living, not only attempting to adapt and survive to this new environment, I didn’t need that safety net of judging everything as heavily as I once had. I remember phone calls home, discussing this exact topic with my parents.  There comes a point where after the judging and hard work has been done, you do need to loosen the reigns of planning, and live life day by day, decision by decision. Sometimes there are positive consequences to veering away from that planned path of judging things critically. This way of living, or leaving life to serendipity, is what makes for a more rounded life. You come across things you may have never knew existed, you may meet people who are destined to be in your life, or find a new passion.

Judgement is something that is I believe to be socially acceptable when you feel that your life or well-being is at risk. I think that we need to make decisions for ourselves based off our intuitions and personal judgements; ultimately we have to live with our own decisions and choices, so we need to be satisfied with them. Nevertheless, don’t forget to give things a chance; we need judgement to survive, but we need spontaneity to live.

March

I have been pretty lacking in the ideas department for this weeks blog.

I have decided to just post a quick overview of the first half of March in photos.

See more at https://instagram.com/paigebolland/

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Moody Music

I have written and re-written this blog post multiple times these last 7 days. Don’t even get me started about the frustration and procrastination that has come with it. I have had a very eventful week, but even my time dedicated to writing has seemed to get me nowhere. So, seeming I still require a thought-provoking topic, I am going to endeavour to write about something which I am passionate about.

Music.

Music is something I have always been consistently obsessive about. I was brought up in a family where it was a common event to listen to music on road trips or to jam out to classic rock around the house. Even right up until the day I left home, music was such a common thing I would often be woken up the sounds of my Dad playing Santana at max volume at the other end of the house – yes, quite often it annoyed me and he knew it, but it was something I quickly got over because it’s moments like that, that I love my smart-ass of a Dad for. Being brought up with the music my parents listened to, when they were younger, surely helped widen my music taste; I have immense appreciation for true talent, and a good record.

There’s something overly powerful about music and how it changes my mood. For example, Punching in a Dream – The Naked and the Famous is playing right now, and just from the first few seconds of the intro, it has taken me back to the days of when it first came out – me dancing around my room absolutely loving every melody and beat that the song produced. Thus, right now it’s causing my brain to release dopamine, a feel-good chemical which is currently dancingly frolicking around my brain; a happy Paige.

Music can affect me in two ways, through its hypnotic beat like The Naked and Famous, or it can be through the haunting lyrics. Even though I’m struggling without having my stereo (my brother better be treating him nicely) to listen to loud music and dance to, I still spend a majority of my days enjoying my somewhat forgotten favourites lingering on my iPod Classic through my well-loved earphones, or my almost decent laptop speakers.

Within my beautiful iPod library, I have a carefully chosen playlist labelled, unoriginally, ‘favourites’ – every time I “fall in love” with a song, it will find itself selected and nicely placed with the rest of my lovers. I know I’m not the only one, but I love how music can perfectly describe your thoughts and feelings with words you didn’t even know could be ordered so perfectly. Or if the songs aren’t enhancing you’re mood, they remind you of a situation. Confused? Allow me to explain myself.  Just like almost every band in my collection, I am a fairly big Paramore supporter. They released a song called Ain’t It Fun on their latest album, which got dumped into my favourite’s folder almost instantaneously (now is your chance, if you haven’t heard it, to pause your reading and click the link here to know what I’m talking about à https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFEmTsfFL5A). Straight away this song makes me beyond happy, I don’t know whether it reminds me of freedom, or my solo move to England, but it really sparks a smile inside and out. For anyone who has recently graduated high school, moved out of home or has begun an adventure somewhere unknown, this is perchance the song you can relate to the most. Yes, life is scary, especially when “you’re not the big fish in the pond no more, you are what they’re feeding on”. Being suddenly alone in this world without the homely comforts can make you want to give up, but you have to remember that life is so unbelievably exciting. You just have to make the most of every second; so when you’re feeling lost or confused, remember the words of the wise, and know that it’s “fun living in the real world”.

It’s amazing how music can bring you back to a place or a memory. I love how I can listen to a song and immediately remember the road trip I took with my best friend, my high school graduation, even a family holiday from my pre-teens. I feel like Ain’t It Fun will be my trigger for the memories I am making right now, here in London. There’s something empowering about being so alone. I’m not even sure alone is the right word, I think the word is more independent. Whatever it is, it’s the most amazing feeling, and I now know that it is “easy to ignore a trouble when you’re living in a bubble”. So maybe we should all try pop that comfort zone bubble and try live out the true definition of adventure, remembering that it will have its troubles and issues, but remember in more detail that it’s mostly beauty.

I don’t think I could ever explain what music truly means to me, nor how much I love the way my iPod is basically a memory bank. Every time I listen to my iPod, I end up taking a nostalgic journey, shuffling back through the last 19 years of my wonderful, crazy, beautiful life. And you know what?

I wouldn’t change a second of it.

Travel V.S. Money

You never realize how isolated New Zealand is until you find yourself in the midst of London.

Being in London, for almost 3 weeks now, I have soon come to realize that London is one multi-cultural location. I moved to England expecting to be the foreigner in my work, in my new home, in general — however that is not the case, I move to the busiest city I have ever encountered, and I work in a store with zero British people. I move to the furthest point from home, and I live with New Zealanders and Australians; it’s funny how the world works isn’t it.

However, what makes me really excited about being in London, is not the beautiful sights – you soon cover the tourist attractions within the first few days – but it’s the travel opportunities. From New Zealand you would have to save a good few months to go anywhere decent, however for under £80 I am off to Prague, Czech Republic, for two days in March [flights + hotel included]. This may seem insignificant to some, but if you were to ask any of my Kiwi family and friends to travel to such an exotic location for that price, they would take that opportunity within a heartbeat.

Before I pressed the ‘BOOK NOW’ button, the only thing holding me back was the money. Even though it’s only £80, all I could think was that those coins could come in useful within the next months… then I remembered that I strongly attempt to live my life by “Just say yes” – which you should have got a grasp on if you’ve followed my blog from the beginning.

What really reinforced this decision to just do it was a prior and interesting conversation with someone the other day. Talking to someone with a fair few years of experience on me, I listened to them.

The basic topic of our conversation was money.

I don’t know how we got onto the subject matter, but it had something to do with my current ventures to find a second job so I can afford my new, independent life whilst still saving money. Since I left high school and from the point where I decided to move here to London, saving was an important thing to me; I had three jobs at one point. We were discussing this, and this said wise owl said they would rather have less money and participate more in life. This (like pretty much everything I hear/see/do in life) got me thinking about the bigger picture – they are so completely and utterly correct. I have never been one to save all my pennies, ask my parents, but being in a new country standing on my own two feet, I have the same feeling of motivation as I did to get here, but now it is the incentive to be able to stay here in a healthy financial state. However he tinged my views on saving ever so slightly; I realized that you have to have balance and sometimes seeing a concert, or going out with friends, is more important than having a few extra quid in the bank account. Now obviously there is a point where saying yes becomes too often. As someone who is self-reliant I know that you do need to be smart with your money, but in my opinion you shouldn’t live out your life and only have white picket fences to show for it. So needless to say, no wonder I said yes to this trip to Prague.

“If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu

So try live, and remember that the experience will be worth more than the pounds in your pocket.

Location

“The more often we see the things around us – even the beautiful and wonderful things – the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: because we see things so often, we see them less and less.” – 

I find it intriguing how a different location can change your perspective in a situation.

If I were walking somewhere in my hometown of New Zealand, I would typically be staring at the ground, marching along, only hoping to get to my destination sooner than physically possible. However, being in this new country constantly surrounded by new things, I find myself in tourist mode taking mental photographs of everything; from fence detailing to sky-high buildings.

Today I had a complete day to myself so I decided to venture to see the much anticipated Tower Bridge. However, firstly I wanted to see the Tower bridge from the London Bridge parallel, then head along the Thames Walkway to extend the sightseeing. Along this length of riverside path every person I passed (whom obviously was not a tourist) looked bored. It bewildered me how someone who lives in such a beautiful and iconic place could just look at their phone screens or the ground.

That’s when I remembered Joseph B. Wirthlin’s fantastically accurate quote.

Do we really see so much beauty that we become blind to it?I think as time goes on, especially when you are settled within the same scenery for a length of time, you don’t exactly become blind to it, it just becomes monotonous. There are two ways of looking at this fact, this could be a negative thing; that we become ignorant and ungrateful to this beauty, or perhaps this is a thing to applaud about human psychology.

What would we do if boredom never existed? We would be happy without weariness for sure, but we would never have the motivation to go venture outside of our borders. The world is a beautiful place: full of 196 contrasting countries that are there to be explored. We need boredom to set our ambition dial on full.

With every year from about the age of 15, I became more and more uninterested in my surroundings. Leading into my gap year I found myself getting to the point of just wanting to drive somewhere out of town; for the sake of how bored I was with the same routine of seeing the same things every day. This lack of enthusiasm towards New Zealand was what got me to where I am now. And don’t get me wrong, I will forever appreciate what my parents have given me and my brothers — our home is a beautiful place, possibly the best home I could ever imagine growing up in — but we all eventually become blind to continuous beauty and it is human psychology to always want what we don’t have.

In the weeks leading up to my departure I did become more aware of the beauty in my neighbourhood. When I truly realized and accepted that I was to be leaving everything I had ever known, my love for the views escalated and I saw in more detail how beautiful the Kapiti Coast is; I was and still am so lucky to have been given a home there.

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