It’s the end of January and there is a feeling of unrest in the air. No matter who you talk to, everyone has enough of winter and the cold, dark days. We are ready for Spring.
Still, I’m trying to embrace this, mostly unloved season of the year. I’m trying to take it slow, rest a lot and spend my evenings reading instead of out in the cold. From time to time, I challenge myself to go on a weekday Netflix fast (so I only watch on the weekends) and I started again this January. This way, I have freed up a few of my evenings for some great books that have been waiting on my nightstand. Extra bonus: Reading in the evenings is so much more fun and relaxing than any Netflix show could ever be.
I just finished this novel and it’s a great, engaging weekend read. You might like it, if you’re looking for an interesting story and some lessons about Cambodian history. I have read another novel by the same author last fall and it quickly became one of my favourite books („Do not say we have nothing“, in case you’re curious).
Dogs at the Perimeter tells the story of Janie, who as a child experiences the terrible violence of the Khmer regime in Cambodia. This is a point in history that has completely escaped me so far, so it was really interesting – yet grueling – to learn more about it. Thien has a wonderful way of making her characters and their pain seem real and it’s just a pleasure to read her books. This one will leave you with a lump in your throat, but I highly recommend it.
I read „The Invention of Wings“ while in Mexico last year and never got around to recommending it to you! It tells the story of two girls, Handful and Sarah, as they grow up together in early nineteenth century Charleston. Despite being the same age, their prospects of life couldn’t be more different. Handful is an urban slave, and Sarah gets ownership over her for her 11th birthday. As the years go by, both of them fight against slavery in their own way. It’s a great portrait of a devastating time in history, so I would recommend it to everyone – and I normally don’t even like reading historical fiction. Extra-bonus: Sarah’s character is actually based on a real woman, one of the first feminists speaking up in the anti-slavery movement.
Now for a novel that is purely entertaining! The Group focuses on a group of women and follows them as they make their way in life after college. It’s set in New York in the Thirties, so the atmosphere made me long to go to Manhattan – and maybe travel in time. I was a bit surprised by how modern the characters acted, so it might not be completely historically correct. The Group is fun to read though, if you’re looking for something light and easy. Plus, it was really interesting to see the characters find their place in a world that didn’t regard women very highly.
Yes, this is a children’s book told from the perspective of a small pig. Hear me out. It is also a story that is beautifully written, sets an example for the importance of friendship and sticking up for others and it makes you long for a slow life in the country. All factors that make a great winter read, in my opinion. And as the prologue says: Everyone who ever wants to be a writer, needs to read this book. I definitely second that and urge you to pick it up as well.
Another children’s book, another favourite of mine. You probably know the story of Anne of Green Gables already, but if you haven’t yet read it or if it’s been long ago, you should definitely pick it up (again). Anne is an orphan girl, who gets adopted by chance and slowly but surely enchants the lives of everyone around her. She has a highly active imagination and oftentimes changes her circumstances for the better just by imagining. In my opinion, making the most of this time of year definitely requires some imagination! So, we can all learn from Anne in this aspect.
These are a few of the books I recently finished. It’s such a good time of year to read, so it won’t be long till the next roundup post! Did you read anything great lately, that I need to add to my reading list? Do tell!
Are you dreaming of following your heart and living all over the world in 2018? Well, get ready for some serious inspiration and meet Rebecca Hawkes! She’s a traveling designer and photographer running her creative studio from the road. One day she lives and works in Morocco, the next month she’s in Iceland working with ethical clients trying to make this world a kinder place.
I got a chance to chat with her about her decision to live on the road, how she makes a new place feel like home and staying in touch with friends and family. Enjoy reading!
I have always longed to travel extensively. For years I read blogs and became envious when hearing about friends’ adventures abroad. For myself I always made excuses. It wasn’t the right time, I was scared and paralysed by the amount of choice on where to go. It got to a point where I was talking with a friend, reiterating my list of excuses. At that moment it dawned on me: That was all they were, ‘excuses’. I didn’t really have anything stopping me.
Hello there and happy 2018!
How has the new year treated you so far? I am still on my Christmas holiday (returning to work on Monday) so I haven’t done much besides reading books and cuddling up inside. And set myself some goals, of course. Despite the weather, January is actually one of my favourite months. The feeling of having a blank new slate, a whole new year stretching out before me is so motivating to make the best of my days. Don’t you agree?
After toying with the idea for ages, I finally set up a newsletter! If you are up for some slow living news, interesting articles from around the internet or fair fashion items very high on my wishlist, you can sign up now. The link is in my sidebar. I’d love to have you!
Two weeks ago, I came home from a beautiful holiday to Mexico. A friend of mine is studying there at the moment (in Veracruz) and me and another one of our friends went to visit her. After a few days in the city she studies in (Xalapa) the three of us flew to Yucatan and visited Tulum and Isla Holbox.
Tulum had been on my list of places to visit for ages, and it was definitely a trip to remember! The colors, the beautiful beach, friendly people, amazing fresh food…it was a dream. Looking at these pictures, I can’t really believe we were at that very place only two weeks ago!
You know that I love to travel. There are so many beautiful places I yet want to discover and so many countries I want to visit. I recently traveled to Mexico and was really happy to meet new people, eat exciting foods and see more of the country. In preparation for my trip, I didn’t only pack my suitcase, I also read up on sustainable tourism.
If you’re trying to live a sustainable life, those aims shouldn’t end when you’re on holiday. Take care of the country you’re visiting and the people living there. It’s natural, in my opinion: If I try to buy fairly produced items that don’t exploit others or harm the environment while I’m at home, why would I travel in a way that does exactly that?
Of course, when it comes to sustainable tourism, the power for big change lies with travel businesses and hoteliers. Still, we as travelers can achieve more than we think. If we guide our decisions by the people whose country we’re visiting and their needs, we can take a big step towards a better tourism industry. As with all big topics, it starts with small beginnings. These are the basic steps, everyone should follow on their trips.
The other day, I read a really interesting article (in German) on trying to fly less regularly. To me, it illustrated once more how bad flying is for the environment and that we should probably stop flying. To be honest, I struggle with that. I know that you can live as sustainably as you want to – flying kind of cancels all of that out. I already take the train whenever possible, but I also love to explore the world and seeing countries like Mexico and Uganda.
So for next year, I will try to take less trips to faraway places and more local train journeys. Germany is beautiful, after all. If I do go on a plane journey, I will stay for at least a couple of weeks, so it was truly worth it. Brot für die Welt set a great rule of thumb I will try to follow: If you’re flying less than 2.000 kilometres away, stay for about 8 days. If it’s farther, try to stay at least 14 days. Don’t fly on any shorter trips (take the train instead).