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Motivational, Personal

5 Things I Will Do for Myself in 2017

January 20, 2017

If you know me, you’ll know I never make any New Year’s resolutions. Simply because I am weak and never stick to them. The last time that I made a resolution was on New Year’s Eve when I was 17 and swore to quit meat. 10 minutes past midnight, I was eating a kebab (I eventually did stop eating meat on a hot July day in 2006 and never ate it since but still). However, I feel like 2016 taught me a lot and mainly reaffirmed my belief that I should nurture my relationship with myself a bit more. So I’ve decided to do some things throughout the year in order to make myself happy and to make 2017 rock!

 

  1. See new places

    I have a tendency to travel to places I’ve already been. I’ve been in London five times or so and while I love London, there are other places to see too! This year I want to go to places I’ve never been. I already have a sixth London trip planned but other than that I plan to explore new places this year.

  2. Read more books

    In 2016, I didn’t read that many books and I really regret that. I only read during vacations but I want to prioritize books this year. I tend to get stuck with Netflix or HBO shows because it’s just SO easy, but reading gives me so much more. Jacob got me the Harry Potter book set for Christmas and I’ve already startedI just love being so caught up in a book that I simply can’t put it down.

  3. Stay active

    You might be thinking “Oh, what a cliché!” but hear me out. This is not a resolution to work out more but simply to continue working out – yes, even BORING cardio. I love lifting weights in the gym with some old-school hip-hop in my ears. It makes me feel strong and most importantly it keeps my back problems in check. I never feel bad when I work out, I am in the moment, focusing on what’s in front of me: the weights and the amounts of reps and sets I need to do. And even though I hate doing cardio, I love the rush I get when I walk out of the gym. So for 2016, I will continue to work out, not because I need to get in shape but for the sake of my mental health.

  4. Stop thinking about consequences

    I have a  tendency to over-think stuff. Before I do something, I tend to think about the different scenarios in which it could play out. The what ifs and the buts tend to dominate my inner conversation and it usually ends up with nothing. I realize that this is not something that happens overnight, or even in a year but I do plan on keeping this in mind.

  5. Say “No” and “Stop”

    I was always taught to be polite. To smile and nod. To do things for others. But I’ve become rather sick of it during the past few years and I’ve gotten better and better at saying no to doing things I don’t want to do. I’m better at speaking up when I hear someone pull a sexist or racist joke. But I plan on getting even better. I’m going to say no more, even to people that I’m afraid of hurting. I’m not going to stand there and listen to people tear women apart or using the N word or talking bad about Muslims. I’m not here for it and I am going to make that clear.

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Personal

2016 in Review – Part 2

December 31, 2016

The second part of 2016 started rather well. We were in Hvar, getting day drunk at Hula Hula Beach Bar (as always), reading books, sleeping ’til late, and dancing the nights away. We spent one day/night in Split and headed back home to Denmark.

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In Hvar

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Floating in the Adriatic..

A few weeks later, Jacob’s step-sister got married and we all went all the way to Mariager in Jylland (a 5 hour or so drive) for the weekend. A few weeks later we had another gathering on Jacob’s side of the family and come August, I learned that I was going to be an aunt. I went to visit my sister and she said that she needed to show me something. Our dad and his girlfriend were there and she didn’t feel like telling them right away. She opened the drawer of her vanity table and showed me 3-4 pregnancy tests – all positive. She had just learned that morning and was beyond excited. I immediately started to plan what type of cat outfits I’d buy for the baby 😉

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Jacobs side of the family while on their aunt’s and uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary.

One of my good friends in Copenhagen, Maija, moved back to Finland and so I went to say goodbye. My article on animal-friendly traveling was published in the Huffington Post, and my dad turned 60.

In September, Jacob and I celebrated 7 years together. I still can’t believe we’ve been together for so long but I feel like each year keeps getting better. That same month, I decided to get Invisalign to straighten my teeth out. I’m half way in now and by March I’ll have straight teeth! Cannot wait 🙂

We kind of decided on a whim to go to Rome for a weekend trip in October. We had never been there, but both longed to visit the city. So two weeks later, we sat on a flight down to Rome with a group of annoying Swedes who decided it was the perfect time to get drunk. Rome was sunny and warm, filled with cultural and historical sights, good food, even better wine and even a cat shelter, which I, of course, visited. I still haven’t gotten around to writing about Rome but I promise I will. I just have so many photos to go through (I took over 500 photos on my DSLR alone).

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The Pantheon in Rome

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A little ginger cat who belonged to the cat sanctuary. More on that next year!

I managed to get hold of two Adele tickets in November but had to keep it a secret for what felt like an eternity, as it was my Christmas gift for Jacob. Oh, and then there was November 9, a.k.a. the day the Empire struck back if you catch my Star Wars reference. I woke up in complete shock over Trump’s win. It felt like the big bully in school was getting praise. It felt like Darth Vader (but less cool) killed all of the rebels and told them to suck it (although I doubt Trump would be that classy). I decided I would just go to the gym and lift some really heavy weights and stay mad at the world for a while.

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We all listened to the baby’s heartbeat one evening in December. Look at my beautiful sis and her lovely belly! <3

I also visited Malmö a few times and in December we got a small Christmas tree to get in the holiday spirit. Turns out, cats love to fight over the tree and it ended up looking rather ragged at the end 😉 Our Christmas was spent at my brother-in-law’s place with lots of good food, wine, and music.

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We were in Malmö with my sis and her boyfriend, and ate at Eatery Social Taqueria which I looooved.

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My cat Pelle tangled himself up in the Christmas tree lights…

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4th of Advent.

As December ends and I look back at the year that’s been, I did have some wonderful times. My best memories are of all my travels; wandering the streets of New York, having a drink in London, dancing with strangers in Croatia, being astounded by the surroundings in Rome… Traveling is the essence of living and  I can’t wait to see even more places next year. Like I say to Jacob every time he complains about my wanderlust: on our death beds, we’ll remember all the things we’ve experienced, not all the things we’ve bought. So for me, there’s no better way to spend my time and money than to travel the world, see new places, and continue to be marveled at the things I see. I wan to collect experiences rather than things and I plan to continue doing just that in 2017.

A Happy New Year to you all! 

 

 

Top photo courtesy of affinitymagazine.us

 

Personal

2016 in Review – Part 1

December 31, 2016

2016! What a year. There was an ongoing war in Syria, the Zika virus, we lost several legends (I’m talking to you Bowie, Muhammad Ali, Prince, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, Carrie Fischer, and Debbie Reynolds), terrorist attacks in Brussels, Nice, München, and Berlin (not to mention in the Middle East!), the shootings in Orlando, things aren’t looking too bright for the environment with record high temperatures on the North Pole. Then came Brexit. And Trump. Who would’ve thought? Sure, there were good things that happened too but 2016 will always be remembered by the many negative events. Let’s hope 2017 will get better!

Thankfully, my 2016 was quite alright. So I wanted to take a look back at this year and show you some of the highs and the lows for me personally.

This time last year, I was suffering from depression. It wasn’t my first time dealing with this horrible condition but it definitely doesn’t make it easier anyway. My doctor put me on sick leave and so between my weekly therapy sessions, I was doing yoga and reading books.

I spent New Year’s Eve with my brother-in-law and other friends and we had a lovely time, as usual, cheering in the New Year. January slowly went by and I went back to work in February again. I remember feeling all dizzy as I drove to work my first day back, not knowing how people would react to me being gone all this time and then suddenly coming back. Although I have suffered from depression before, I have never, ever been on sick leave and the situation was kind of weird to me. But as time went by, I started getting better and better.

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Jacob & I on NYE 2015

In March me, my mom, sister and our boyfriends all went to London to celebrate my mother’s 55th birthday. She’d never been and I couldn’t wait to show her my favorite parts of London. We went for afternoon tea, ate delicious food, saw Big Ben, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and the London Eye, we had drinks at Galvin by the Windows, overlooking all of London, and of course did some shopping as well. It was a short but sweet trip where we somehow managed to fit everything in, in just a few days. You can read more about our trip to London here.

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At the airport, waiting for the flight to London.

London

Spring came to Copenhagen and in April I finally got to realize my dream of going to New York! It instantly became one of my favorite places ever. We had delicious food and drinks, went on top of the Empire State Building and 30 Rock (where I, unfortunately, didn’t run into my hero Tina Fey, as I had hoped), had drinks on rooftop bars, had the best pizza ever and went to the most romantic restaurant EVER in Brooklyn, did all the museums, and of course some shopping as well. All in all, it was a fantastic trip and I can’t wait to go back.

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When we came home from NY, the jetlag was unreal and I spent my nights awake and only slept 4 hours/day for 4 days. A little while after we came home, I was visiting my sister when I got a phone call from Jacob. He told me he was at the hospital and that he had been hit by a car when he was riding his bike home from work. I hurried over to the hospital and luckily, Jacob was doing really well. I don’t believe in God or angels or miracles, but he must have had more than good luck with him that day. The car was totally smashed, as was Jacob’s bike, and he hadn’t been wearing a helmet. Things could have gone really bad but, thankfully, they didn’t.

A few weeks later, I went to Stockholm to visit my friend Sanna. We had lots of Indian food, did some shopping, watched some TV, ate at Surfers (an amazing place with fantastic food and cocktails), and just chilled. I kind of needed to get away from everything for a bit, and Stockholm is always a good idea 😉

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Gamla stan (Old town) in Stockholm on a cold, gray Sunday in May.

In June, which is where I end part 1 of this review, a lot of things happened. Jacob graduated from med school after 6 years of studying (and 3 years of studies before med school) and of course, it was a huge day for him. I took half the day off work and went with him to his final exam, which he aced 😉 We celebrated with champagne and had some friends over for wine and food that same day. A few days later, I went with him to sign the Hippocratic Oath.

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More champagne!

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Proud girlfriend moment!

On my birthday, June 8, we went out for cocktails and dinner and celebrated with my family. We ended the month of June by going to Croatia on what felt like the world’s smallest plane. This time, we went to Dubrovnik, where we stayed at a hotel that had the best pool ever invented: a pool with a swim-in bar. Needless to say, many mojitos were consumed there. We also went kayaking, where I badly burned my shins. After five days in Dubrovnik, we headed over to “our” island Hvar.

I remember being so annoyed on the ferry from Dubrovnik to Hvar. There was this large group of Americans who had absolutely no respect for anyone else. They were loud, a bit drunk, and talked about way too personal stuff. Non-confrontational as I am (and apparently, as the rest of the passengers were too), I moved someplace else after a few hours 😉 Hvar was marvelous, as always, but more on that in part two so check back later…

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Kayaking..

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Just chilling in the pool 🙂

 

Personal

Milestones and the past week

June 13, 2016

Last week was very eventful to say the least! On Monday, Jacob was up for his final exams and graduated as doctor. Finally! When I met Jacob, almost 7 years ago, he was studying physical education and had a year left. And then he told me he planned on becoming a doctor. He had applied to different schools in Denmark and we didn’t know if he would be able to stay in Copenhagen and continue our relationship (I lived in Sweden at the time), or if he would have to move and we would have to end things. It was stressful to say the least, but he got into the University of Copenhagen and has been studying ever since. It hasn’t been easy at times with both sickness and death in his family, but he managed to do it all. So needless to say I was extremely proud of him when he was done that day. We celebrated with champagne in the sun with two of our friends and later we invited our friends over for wine and take-out. It was a pretty good Monday! 😉

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Ready to pop the champagne! 🙂

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My sister and her boyfriend were there to celebrate with us

On Wednesday it was my birthday and we went out to eat at Spuntino, an Italian restaurant run by Cofoco and located in Vesterbro. The food was great (except for the fact I got hair in one of my meals!) but overall it wasn’t amazing. We had a fun evening though, as we always do.

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Me on my birthday. Not posing AT ALL 😉

On Friday it was time for Jacob to take the final step in becoming a doctor and sign a declaration that all doctors in Denmark must sign. After that, we had a lovely breakfast at Sidecar, a hip new place in Nørrebro. We waited for forever for the food to arrive but it was really tasty so it was worth the wait after all. I had a soft-boiled egg with toasted Danish rye bread and a bowl of greek yoghurt with fruit, while Jacob had the most Instagram-friendly brunch I’ve ever laid eyes on.

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Jacob signing the declaration

 

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So tired and ready for breakfast at Sidecar.

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Jacob asked to have his brunch vegetarian and it was so delicious!

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Egg, yoghurt and mint tea is a great way to start the day…

Friday night was spent baking all evening because my family was coming over the next day to celebrate my birthday. I used to have like 5 different birthdays a few years ago. One with mom. One with dad. One with Jacob. One with my sister. One with all my friends. It was exhausting (but fun!) so I’ve cut it down to just twice – once with Jacob on the actual day and once with my family. We ate vegetarian lasagna and pizza and had a rather failed (if you ask me) version of a Devil’s food cake. Oh well. It was fun, but it got late and I had a bit to drink so Sunday was really, really hard.

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Pretty roses

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And my beautiful sister celebrating me (our dad is watching football/soccer in the background..ehh..)

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My cat Nemo decided to be a social version of himself for the occasion

Tonight I’m just spending the evening in my couch with my cats and the Mindy Project on TV – not bad at all.

Motivational, Personal, Places I've Been, Travel

When I Fell in Love with Traveling

February 7, 2016

This year is going to be my year of traveling. After years of trying to find what makes me happy (as in really, really, madly happy) I’ve learned that traveling is one of those rare things that fulfills me. And after the last couple of months, which have been really difficult, I’ve promised myself to do a lot more of what makes me happy. The thing is though, I still have a job to keep; I’m not blessed with untold riches so I also need to fund my expensive hobby. However, my happiness is not in traveling all the time. I’m quite content with having an everyday life where I can put my knowledge to the test at my work, binge watch Homeland any given Sunday, cook food, pet my beloved cats and long home for the weekend just to be able to open up a bottle of wine. But I get bored quickly and need a trip to look forward to every now and then.

I have always been curious of the world, of other people and other cultures. I wanted to explore it all but always put my traveling plans aside due to insufficient funds and no friends who shared this passion. So it wasn’t until 2009, when I was 22 years old, that I fell in love with traveling. It was me, my best friend at the time, and a rented scooter in the island of Rhodes, Greece.

I had a rough year; I saw the end of a relationship, me suddenly living alone and paying all the bills, getting out of a depression and having almost daily panic attacks. All the while, I was running my own company and studied full-time at the university. Ambition is my middle name! So when summer came, I really needed a break. I took a week out of my schedule (which is difficult when you’re the one in charge of your own salary) and decided that I needed to get away. Badly. My sister worked and lived in Rhodes at the time, so me and my then-BFF decided to go there for a week. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I was single, had finally started to feel better and learned to handle those panic attacks and my finances were finally looking okay, so there was no stopping me. I was set on having fun. We lived in a pretty nice room with a huge terrace with the most amazing sunset (see picture below). We could see all the way to Turkey from there. During the days we hung out on the beach, read books and ate ice lollies. We laughed. We ate a lot of Nutella on white bread. We fought and made up. We Googled people we met the night before. We befriended the parrot in the hotel reception and tried to learn it dirty Swedish words. I guess it wasn’t appreciated though, because the parrot started to catcall men passing our hotel any time we were by the open windows.

Falling in love with traveling

Amazing sunset from our hotel room in Rhodes.

One day we decided to explore the island and rented a scooter. I have no idea what kind of scooter they gave us because we were able to drive at more than 100 km/h, which we of course did all the time. She drove, I sat behind her holding on for dear life. Truth is, my friend did have a license for driving it, just not one that was valid in Greece. So we kindly begged someone with a real driver’s license to rent it for us while we hid around the corner. It worked.

We’d spot a little path somewhere and drive down it just to see where it would lead. Sometimes it was somebody’s house, painted in traditional white and blue, other times it was an olive tree or beautiful beaches where we went for a swim before we hopped on our little ride again, off to the next place we found. We’d slow down and say hi to the goats that were literally everywhere, wave to hot guys we saw. At one point a car came towards us, driving in the wrong direction and we had nowhere to go. I held on to my friend’s waist and thought that was it. We were going to die. But the car steered away and as we finally relaxed and thanked our lucky star that we were okay I said “It wouldn’t have mattered if we had died, because I finally felt like I would at least die happy”. That was the truth. There was nowhere I would rather have been than exploring a Greek island with my best friend at that time and it forced me to live in the moment and not to worry about what was waiting when I came back home. I still believe that living in the moment, as cliché as it may sound, is the key to happiness.

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My sister and I back in 2009 (how do you like my glasses?)

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The Acropolis in Rhodes

Whenever I go traveling, every problem, worry and bad thought seems to vanish and I only think about how I am going to make the most out of those days. Next week doesn’t matter. It’s all about enjoying life as it is right now, in the place I am right now. There’s something very peaceful about that.

Here’s to 2016 – my year of travels.

/Anja

 

Personal

Year in Review: New Year’s List of 2015

December 30, 2015

I started blogging in 2005 and ever since 2008, I’ve filled in the same New Year’s List, which has been a fun way to look back and remember what that particular year brought. When I closed down the blog I’d been writing for 9 years, I decided that at least the New Year’s List is going to live on, because it’s so much fun to look back and see what I though about that year. I’ve removed some irrelevant questions and tweaked others.

1. Did you do something this year that you’ve never done before? I went river rafting in Bosnia and parasailing in Montenegro and it was amazing. Really want to do it again.

 

About to soar in the sky above Budva

About to soar in the sky above Budva

2. Is there something that you miss from the year 2015 that you want in 2016?  Health! 😉 And I want to get to know more people, both in Copenhagen and the rest of the world.

3. Which date from 2015 will you always remember? March 1st, when I started my full-time, grown-up job and my birthday, which I spent in my favorite city London, enjoying cocktails and listening to jazz.

4. What’s the best thing that happened to you in 2015? I’m really grateful for getting a “proper” job. It might sound boring but it brought me a sense of safety that I’ve missed and enabled me to use all that knowledge I’ve accumulated during the years studying and working other jobs.

5. The biggest mistake this year? Not living in the moment and worrying about not reaching my full potential.

6. How has your health been? Unfortunately, not that well. This year hasn’t treated me well, as I’ve been dealing with some painful stomach issues as well as depression. It’s been quite a rough year health-wise and I am doing all I can to get back on track.

7. Your best buy? My Kartell Bloom lamp, which I’ve dreamed about for many years. I used to work close to the Kartell shop in Copenhagen a few years ago and whenever I passed it, I would look at that lamp and think “One day, when my salary isn’t this shitty I will go in, and I will buy you”. When I got my second salary from my current job, I went out and bought it immediately and I love it.
Although we’re only leasing it, I’ll have to mention our car as well. A Peugeot 208, which has air condition, bluetooth and ass heating. Pretty much all you need in a car. It takes me to and from work and going to IKEA is no longer the nightmare it used to be. Also, I’m pretty happy about my new iPhone 6s. I’ve been an Android-girl forever but got so tired of it. I love iOS!

8. What did you spend the most money on? Traveling. Just the way it should be.

9. Did something make you really happy? Every time we booked a trip. Jacob in general. Jacob saying funny things like “Oh, it’s that movie the Girl with the Dragon Tail” and not realizing he said it wrong. My cats lying next to me whenever I’m feeling a bit down.

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My two kitties, Nemo and Pelle.

10. Which songs will always remind you of 2015? Hello with Adele of course. Uptown Funk with Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars seemed to play whenever something good happened in my life this year, and basically anything with Simon & Garfunkel, because I listened to them a lot this year.

11. Where you happier or sadder this year compared with last year? Generally sadder. But I’m working on that!

12. What do you wish that you had done more? Worked out. However, I had som physical limitations and now I am slowly working my way back to excersizing on a regular basis, starting with yoga a few times a week. What a difference a good yoga teacher makes!

13. What did you wish that you had done less? I wish that I had been more relaxed and enjoyed the moments as I was in them.

14.  How did you spend Christmas 2015? I spent it with Jacob, his brother, dad and step-sister, eating good food, playing board games and having fun.

15. Favorite TV show this year? I loved season one of How to Get Away with Murder, Homeland and Empire, which I began watching this year. But also my old favorites: Girls, Blacklist, Modern FamilyThe Simpsons (I’ve been a huge fan since 1995) etc. Suits was dissappointing though.

16. Do you dislike someone you did not dislake in the beginning of the year? No, not really.

17. The best book you read this year? Oh, there are so many! I particularly liked Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, which I’ve been meaning to read forever but just finished last night, The Girl on the Train, which I finished a few days ago, To Kill a Mockingbird and the witty The Rosie Effect, the sequel to The Rosie Project.

18. Something you wished for and got? A job and a bookshelf from Swedish brand String. Plus of course, lots of love and support from those closest to me.

19. This year’s best movie? I loved The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game.

20. What did you do for your birthday? I went to London with Jacob. We stayed in the Hilton Park Lane, where we were upgraded to a room on the 26:th floor with the most amazing view of London. We shopped, ate good food, drank cocktails, beer, and Pimm’s and just strolled around the city, getting to know it. It was perfect.

 

 

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This awaited in our room on the Hilton Park Lane.

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Left: Shopping and strolling in London. Right: Ringing in my 28:th birthday in my favorite bar The Nightjar, drinking out of a bird’s ass. A glass bird, mind you.

21. How would you describe your style in 2015? Pencil skirts and pencil dresses.

22. What made you feel good? Eating good food, walking the streets of Paris hand in hand with Jacob, photographing squirrels in Hyde Park, enjoying good wine in Dubrovnik, meeting new, interesting people, dancing on my own in nightclubs, wearing red lipstick, doing yoga, friday night Italian evenings at home, binge watching TV shows, Sunday morning cat snuggles, listening to podcasts (especially Serial – obsessed – and Lena Dunham’s podcast).

23. What or who did you miss? I missed my friends, I missed my grandma and grandpa (although I got to see my grandpa just recently!) who live in Bosnia, and of course I really missed those who are no longer with us.

24. Favorite month? It will have to be June.

25. Plans for next year? Well, I want to make 2016 the year of travels. I already have a London trip booked, but am also planning to go to Barcelona, New York, Rome and back to Croatia again.

Personal

Welcome, folks

July 28, 2015

 

While I am writing this, I am sitting on a balcony in my bikini bottoms and a sweaty tanktop with sand on my feet, overlooking the beautiful town of Budva in Montenegro and its surrounding mountains. I’ve been at the beach all day solving crossword puzzles and am about to hop in the shower. It’s my sixth day in Monenegro, a country I have never visited despite my many trips to the Balkans (oh, and despite being born in the Balkans). As many of you know, because you know me, I live in Copenhagen in the wonderful area of Fredriksberg, which I once heard someone call the Vatican of Copenhagen. Not because we’re overly religious there or anything, but because it’s a city within a city – a municipality of its own despite being in Copenhagen. I love Copenhagen and have lived there for five years this fall but I like to travel whenever I get the chance. Truth be told, I’ve never left Europe, but I do plan to – as soon as I save up some hard earned cash. I am not a vagabond, I haven’t seen the world and have never lived out of my suitcase for longer than a few weeks but I do love to travel, to see new things, experience different cultures, eat finger-licking good (vegetarian) food, meet interesting people, find the best mojitos in the cities I visit (it’s become a little bit of an obsession) and just experience something out of the ordinary life with a 9-5 job, bills to pay and dishes to wash – although I leave that last part up to my boyfriend Jacob, because he secretly loves it even though he’d never admit it.

So this blog will be about travelling, about food and mojitos, about Copenhagen and about all the things that make life worth living in my opinion. With this blog I wish to inspire you to try new things and see new places. To try the established as well as the emerging. To share what I see, taste, love, dislike and think.

Welcome.

Budva Montenegro

From the balcony…

Budva Montenegro

Me right this moment…

– Anja