To me, a good Saturday morning looks like this: Brunch with old friends, great food and lots of coffee. And luckily, last Saturday was exactly a day like that.
I made a little daytrip to my old home, Düsseldorf, where I lived for almost five years. I could never imagine moving back, but small trips like this always make me appreciate the city again. Especially, if there are great friends by my side!
As it happened, one of my best friends from school was visiting home as well. Our last meet-up was ages ago, so naturally, we decided it was high time to go out for breakfast together. When we were still at school, this was an almost weekly ritual.
Boy, it’s hot outside! I’m sitting in my flat right now, 37 degrees celsius outside, trying to stay cool with cold tea and ice cream. So instead of going outside in the blazing sun, I’m thinking back on my beautiful hike along the river Rhine last week…
With beautiful sunshine, but kinder temperatures, we hiked around the Siebengebirge on the Rheinsteig. It made me realise once more, that there’s so much beauty around Bonn. Forests and wilderness, right outside our doorstep!
We hiked the second part of the Rheinsteig, a long-distance walking trail that leads from Bonn to Wiesbaden. Most parts are easily reached by train, so it’s perfect for a day trip. You just hop on a train, hike around and then go on the train straight home at night.
Can you believe that 2018 is already halfway done? It’s July! To celebrate the first half of the year and ring in the second one, a friend of mine and I decided to start a new tradition. We want to go to the sea on the first weekend of July every year from now on. Our first trip took us to Oostkapelle in the Netherlands, and it sure was the perfect weekend to relax and find new energy for the next few months.
Right after work on Friday we jumped in the car and drove down to the sea. You might have noticed: We weren’t planning on doing much this weekend. Enjoying the sun, relaxing and leaving the everyday behind, that’s all we had on our agenda. Right after arriving we turned off our phones so we wouldn’t waste one second on Social Media while we could look at the sea!
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.