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.

Happy.

Right now, in this moment, I am sitting at my desk.

My desk is conveniently placed next to a window, and as I look out at the Autumnal trees, the blue skies ahead, I’m listening to Waking Up – Explosions In The Sky. I can see shadows, birds flying, and leaves, all glistening in a way that reflects the changing patterns in the music. The music fills my lungs, empties my mind and I’m calm and collected. I’m inspired and aspiring for the future, but I’m spending my time being present.

That’s the beautiful truth of happiness. Living in the moment can change your energy levels, and your focus. I am no expert at living in the moment, but I’m trying to improve this skill of true happiness every day, so should you; don’t spend your limited time worrying. Where you’ll be in 2 years doesn’t matter right now, what matters is who you surround yourself with and making sure that what you do fill your days with, are things you’re passionate about. You are the power to your desires.

“If you don’t like who you are and where you are, don’t worry about it because you’re not stuck either with who you are or where you are. You can grow. You can change. You can be more than you are.” – Zig Ziglar

My name is Paige Bolland, and I’m 19 years old. After leaving home at the age of 18, and moving across the world, I now live in the city of London, in the United Kingdom (amongst 8.63 million other people). I was born in New Zealand, raised in a small coastal town surrounded by the same 3,200 folk for 18 years. The sounds of waves crashing, the unique harmonies of New Zealand and coastal birds, my attempts at deciphering my family’s footsteps throughout the house, and the familiar scenery, are all things that are a by-product of my true home; a small hint of these are enough to involuntary envelop myself in contentment. So how do I be happy when I’m 18,773 km away from all of these things?

I live in the moment. I do what makes me happy.

There are days I worry about how many years it will be until I can see my Dads smile, banter with my brothers, and hug my Mum and inhale her perfume. There are days I question my values and my beliefs. There are nights I fear of not doing the right thing, or working towards the wrong goal. In these moments, I’m slowly becoming stronger to bring myself back. That day of reuniting with my family and home will come when it comes; my life will unroll day by day; I truly believe everything happens for a reason and will work out. I should never question my beliefs because they’re mine and they belong to nobody else.  If you are passionate right now, and are experiencing everything you want to experience, that motivation and devotion will be a magnet for good things. I talk to my family everyday, I surround myself with people who make me laugh, and I spend my days aspiring to improve myself in the present day. It’s the days that I truly appreciate the present, that are the happiest. Music makes me happy. Writing makes me happy.

Right now, in this moment, I am happy.

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.

Mantra

When I say the word ‘home’, I am no longer referring to New Zealand. I am speaking of my flat, my town, London – London has officially become my new home.

It feels like more things have happened since I arrived than the combined endeavours of 2014. I have achieved so much since leaving the warm, Summery land of New Zealand, and I couldn’t be more proud. In my first blog post I quoted my favourite all time quote, or in my own opinion, more of my personal mantra:

“The more you live for yourself, the more you end up living for.”

And I still wake up every morning and live by it.

It’s rather interesting becoming so liberated so quickly; I had to quickly understand that the only priority I have now is my own survival. From the small concept of traveling alone and being able to see whatever I want to see, to the priority of my day to day life schedule, I have to make every single decision for myself. The small things of an adult life, that I now have had to do on my own, are building me into a more confident and independent individual with every passing moment. I find this new life of organising bank accounts, finding my flat, remembering to buy groceries, and forgetting to do my washing until I literally have run out of underwear, all overwhelmingly exciting. Yes it is more responsibility, but the freedom that comes with living for yourself is such an empowering thing.

I live in a house with, let’s say, a fair few other young adults – from a tall Irishman to a bunch of Kiwis and Australians. I have made some good friends living with a larger household than the usual, and I wouldn’t swap it for anything. Of course there are things you have to give up, like a bit of privacy and space, but the added bonuses of living with a full house outweighs those petty negatives in a flash.

I have good conversations with my housemates on a regular basis, and we all agree that the social aspect of where we live is all a part of the London experience. Due to the amount of people, you can almost guarantee someone, somewhere in the house, will do something with you (if they haven’t already invited you out). I go out to dinner with a person one night, and go running with another the next morning; I can wake up at 2am and join someone watching a movie, I sometimes even get home from work and everyone’s going out partying; I literally have the opportunity to socialize 24/7. The best part about it is that people know people, so you end up making friends through friends. Coming here, you just need to realize that London is a huge scary place if you are too fearful of mingling.

I never have been a huge drinker and in New Zealand if I was to go out with friends I would either be a one drink sort of girl, or the sober driver home. However, my own choice to stay clearheaded hasn’t stopped me from going out with a group from the house; I still go out to have a laugh with everyone – even if it is only lemonade or soda water in my glass. Being so venturous towards being confident with new people and socializing makes all the difference when it comes to truly living out an experience. You have to step out of your comfort zone, and I know I say this a lot, but it’s the complete and utter truth. If it wasn’t for my ability to put myself on the line, I would not be where I am today.

“Paige, want to come to Amsterdam with me and Pip?” – Um, do you even have to ask?

I guess where I’m taking this is back to, and 100% based on, the idea of my mantra. Of course, I have friends and family, and the most beautiful home, back in New Zealand, but because I decided to live for myself, and move here, I now have so much to live for. I have a city and Europe waiting to be explored, I have a new healthy lifestyle – which has allowed me to drop the pounds faster than I thought possible – I have new friends who share the same passions, and I have a new found respect for myself.

I know the quote is accurate, and I will endure to follow its meaning in my life as much as possible.

So should you.

Blogging

Blogging has never seemed like something I would do out of freewill.

The commitment, the typing, the endless mind-blanks of what to write about… but being someone who loves to write, and has decided to venture out into the world alone, it seems like a good idea. This blog will be a decent and easy way to connect with people I meet, and a way for my faraway family and friends to follow my journey in a literary sense rather than photography (Instagram – @paigebolland).

When I was younger, in fact from an age I cannot pinpoint, I was fascinated and intrigued by novels about diary keeping. Mia in The Princess Diaries was a favourite; her interesting adventures in day to day life, and in particular her quirky ways of safe keeping a memory, sparked an interest. At a young age I became a dedicated bookworm and in turn I used my book affairs to inspire my own creative stories. I remember taking so much pride in my page-long workings — prancing around the school begging my teachers to read the story, hoping to receive a shiny new sticker at the top of the page. Throughout high school, I found this creativeness and pride disappear. Creativity became something that no longer could be out of the box, it had to fit between the lines. This was something I extremely hated about school, and what saddens me the most, it made me lose my love for being clever with words and writing for pure joy.

After a year of being finished with school, and having the choice of what to do with my life, I found small things I’d lost from being in a classroom come back. For example, motivation. Motivation was lost for me, yes small hints were there, but my true motivation to live for myself came back after graduating. 2014 welcomed the dream of moving to England. This motivated me to work hard and save my money even harder; it got me to where I am now – London. From a small New Zealand town, it is more than an adventure to be almost 100% settled in such a beautifully busy city that is so new and out of my comfort zone. Today is day 5 in the UK, and out of those days I have had 1 day of being a tourist. What a day that was. With an early start, and I mean early I was able to make the most of the limited hours of daylight and go see a few, of the million and one, things I have always daydreamed about being on my back doorstep. To see the things I saw, you will have to see my Instagram, but things that I couldn’t capture within those photos was my constant smiling, my opinions and my being in awe. Being alone can seem like a sad situation to an outsider, but to me it is perfection. Thinking about yesterday, I got lost more than I could count on my fingers, but I enjoyed being a small dot within the map. In such a well organised and busy city you are never lost for long, you soon find your way back to the trail you were planning to follow. Soon enough I was listening to Big Ben ring on the hour – this really brought me into the moment, there is nothing like a sudden realization that you’re standing on the footpath looking up and listening to something you have dreamed about seeing for years. The realization that I did it. I got myself there. And to realize this, made me appreciate the moment more than I ever thought I could. I then continued, with a beaming grin across my face, along my spiral path through Westminster. I saw more breeds of swan than I thought possible in St James’ Park, I grinned like a cheese in front of Buckingham Palace to pose for a photo, I cycled through Hyde Park on a Barclay’s, and I went shopping on Oxford Street. Even sitting here now, I still can’t believe that these globally known places, are within a 10 minute tube ride from my new home! I don’t know if I will ever not appreciate this city as much as I do right now.

I guess now, after my endless worded rant, and now that I am in a point in my life where I have my own exciting stories, I want to be like Mia. I want to inspire someone. Not necessarily spark an interest in writing, but inspire someone to say yes to more things in life; to do things that make them happy, but more importantly to venture out into the world. This world is amazing, and if you don’t travel, it’s like reading only the cover of a book and missing all the gloriously written pages in between. Whether you write about your own experiences, take photos of things you see, or whether you prefer to just soak it all in as you live in the moment – just do what makes you happy. Just say yes.

The day you start living for yourself, the more you end up living for.