Embrace change

Our lives can change to the positive, once we start embracing change.

It is funny how things changed my life in only 6 months after I left London to travel through Latin America. Once I started embracing the changes, I found that my life changed for the better. I trust that life has a plan for everyone and I guess in my case, the  relationship was simply not meant to last, but it was meant to bring me on this journey that would change my life fully. Life had better plans for me. Once I trusted myself and life, it all started working out by itself. Like a puzzle finally coming together.

Life has better plans for you. Trust the journey.

I believe we all want to control situations, other people, reactions, behaviours and life. But we also know that gaining control is impossible. If a person is meant to be in your life, he/she will. If you are meant to have that job, then you’ll get it. If a relationship ends, then it wasn’t meant to be. Just trust that life has a plan for you. Let go!

We also behave in certain ways and patterns hoping and expecting other people to recognise this and to act likewise and then we are deeply disappointed, if our expectations are not met. Expectations are a big challenge in today’s world, as most people look for their happiness outside of themselves. However, happiness can only ever be sought within ourselves. This means it is essential to be fully happy and at peace with yourself.

Once you are happy with yourself – and this is of course a process that you need to be ready to start – you’ll find that you can let go more and more, that you don’t want to control as much anymore, and that you’ll have less expectations on other people. That doesn’t mean by the way that we shouldn’t live up to our best possible standards and values, but we can’t expect other people to guess our expectations and to act the same way.

Disappointment is usually the result of miscommunication or lack of communication, based on our beliefs. In order to avoid disappointment, it’s therefore critical that we communicate our beliefs, values and wishes in every relationship, be it professional or personal. Dare to speak your truth and the right people will come into your life and those people who were meant to accompany you only for a certain period of time, let them go.

Be grateful that you had them in your life, as you can learn something from each and every person and every situation. Just think about it. I am for example grateful for the relationship that ended during the trip, as life waved at me saying that I needed to be true to myself and my values. I’m grateful that this relationship somehow brought me on that journey. Who knows, maybe I wouldn’t have done it on my own…?

Let’s embrace change, love ourselves and be grateful.

Yours, Nina

 

 

 

Self-love

Self-love has truly been an affair of my heart, in particular for the past year. For me, self-love is strongly related to moving from my head to my heart, meaning being good to myself as much as I can.

In the past years, I was often stuck in my head and my heart didn’t manage to prevail. I always thought I’m so emotional, and yes I am an emotional person. But I also had to learn to accept my emotions, to feel all feelings I’m feeling and especially to allow for my heartache instead of suppressing it.

I had to re-learn trusting my intuition and gut feel more than anything else in the world, more than the kindly meant suggestions of family and friends, the expectations of society as well as the often heard don’ts in life. Don’t do this, don’t do that. This is too dangerous. This is not safe enough. This is insecure. This is not right for you. You cannot do this. You don’t have enough money. You are selfish. You are egoistic. You are a dreamer.

I could continue this list of limiting beliefs that I’ve come across in my life, like we all have, but the above are probably the ones I’ve heard most often. Looking back, it’s obviously a shame, that I wasn’t strong and self-confident enough to push back or not to listen. Although deep down these beliefs didn’t feel right for me, I still believed them and acted accordingly. Because, what can be so wrong about something that most people do, right?

With two break ups in not even two years and on the road traveling, I got to a point, where I wanted to reflect my life. I felt the urge to understand myself more. Maybe this only came up for me, as I had the time back then? Either way, I booked a yoga retreat in Tulum, Mexico and I’m so grateful I did. Because what happened there was magical and Tulum has become my magic place.

During the yoga retreat, I practiced yoga everyday, I meditated, I did a detox from social media, I ate very healthily (especially I discovered smoothie bowls), I solely focused on myself and my well being. I basically practiced self-love, and it came up very naturally for me. But I wanted to go a bit deeper and when one of the yoga teachers mentioned a Reiki healer, my attention was there. I arranged an appointment with him the next day and without telling him anything about my life, he noticed immediately that my heart was broken and that I still hadn’t released some pain from the past. This pain blocked me from moving forwards and from accepting myself for who I truly am. It has also caused my hips and groins to tighten up. The Reiki healer explained that we tend to put all our emotional baggage that we are not able to release into our hip area. Obviously, the tension didn’t build up in a day, but within the last couple of years. But suddenly it all made sense. Just him mentioning this triggered lots of tears, as I felt so relieved and understood.

My healing process was about to start and should continue.

This moment was my biggest moment of self-love, as I realized the following:

  • I’ve always felt that I was a bit different and unique in way, but I didn’t allow myself to really be, out of fear for the reaction of others.
  • I’ve always felt a spiritual connection to something bigger than me (I’m not religious, so I’d say I believe in the Universe), but I was not in the right environment to truly live this spiritual connection and I simply didn’t do (responsibility).
  • I’ve always been a person questioning behaviors, reactions and situations, but very often I was scared of challenging other people for fear of rejection and being regarded as too critical or arrogant.
  • I’ve always felt I was ahead of the game, but I was afraid of overtaking people.

This resulted in me simply adapting to pre-defined standards, without understanding why I should do it this way. So, for many, many years I lived a life without being truly true to myself.

However, only if we dare to be brave and be ourselves by practicing self-love, we can walk the way to happiness!

  • Love yourself so much that you allow yourself to be yourself.
  • Love yourself so much, that you live your true self.
  • Love yourself so much, that you allow yourself to be in your highest alignment.
  • Love yourself so much, that you truly believe you can be everything you want to be.

Yours, Nina

Be kind to yourself

Once you step out of your comfort zone and dare to be brave, there is no going back. At least, this is what I experienced during my travels. Especially once my unintended solo travels kicked off in Bolivia. I did a 4×4 jeep tour with a bunch of French people crossing the border from Uyuni in Bolivia to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. Our driver was so kind to drop me off directly at my hotel (Hostal Masairi) that I had booked for 1 night in advance to have at least somewhere to go to in this new town. I loved my room. A big bed. Comfy bed linen. A nice shower made of cobbled stone. This was exactly what I fancied after the rather basic accommodations in Bolivia. And the sun was shining, too. I remember thinking:

What a feeling.

After a power nap and a refreshing shower, I walked into town (approx. 8 min) to explore the different tour operators. I read about the different tour offers in advance and decided to visit Geysers del Tatio as well as Laguna Cejar. I booked my tours with Cosmo Andino and Desert Adventures and I was very happy with the tour guides, their knowledge and the fun part to it. On my first tour the same afternoon to Laguna Cejar, I met two really nice girls, one Chilean girl and one British-French girl who both live in Santiago de Chile. How perfect, since this was my next stop. We spent the entire day together and then decided to go the Geysers del Tatio tour together.

When sitting in the mini bus with them, I realized how easy it was for me to connect with new people. It made my heart jump, as I understood in this moment that becoming aware of my strengths meant I was kind to myself, too. Sadly, being aware and mentioning our own strengths is often perceived as arrogant, but I think it is the most critical thing to practice self-love and to know our positives in order to live a happy life.

Suddenly it hit me in the mini bus that I can easily connect with new people, that I can speak 3 languages (German, English, Spanish) fluently and that I love exploring. I felt so empowered in this moment. I was impressed by myself about how quickly I got back up on my feet after the break up, how I was able to enjoy this adventure and how I was brave enough to continue living my dream – to travel through Latin America.

What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?

I love this quote. We all tend to see the painful and negative side of things only, however, in every pain, in every change, lies the potential for something better. The universe is sending us signs that the old situation wasn’t right for us and that we should move on to something else, to something even better.

Let us see the positive in every fall – ’cause it might make us fly.

Yours, Nina

Dare to be brave

After the break up in Bolivia, my solo travels were about to start. I decided to fly from La Paz to Uyuni to do a salt flats tour there, also known as Salar de Uyuni.

Getting into the taxi in La Paz and heading to the airport was tough. When the taxi started driving, I instantly started crying, I couldn’t hold back my tears anymore. Too strong was the pain I felt, too strong the shock about what had happened and yes of course there was this feeling of uncertainty.

When I boarded the plane and sat down, I felt relieved, majorly because of the physical distance I was about to create. I knew it would do me good. The further we went, the better I felt. When we landed in Uyuni, I took a taxi to my accommodation (Hotel Jumari**). I was greeted very kindly and shown my room. The first thing I did is that I took a hot shower – ensure you book a room with hot water, as it’s not necessarily common in this town. I showered forever, as I didn’t know what else to do. I went to bed very late, but set my alarm for breakfast. Even if we don’t feel like eating when in emotional pain, I know for myself that having a bite to eat is important to give my body energy to keep going, to literally digest. After breakfast, I walked through town to find a tour operator for the salt flats. I had decided to do a day trip only instead of the originally planned 3 day tour, as my heart and body weren’t necessarily craving cold nights when I felt emotionally low, too. So, I booked a one day tour with Red Planet Expedition

The tour left the same day only a couple of hours later in a 4×4 jeep. We were 6 people with a few from the UK and a few from Germany, so I felt home in a way. A great start!

Sitting in the car, I couldn’t believe that I was now traveling on my own. I had moments where I felt abandoned in a way, as this was not the plan; on the other hand, I felt so proud of myself that I pulled through with the travels and hence with my yearlong dream of traveling through Latin America. Most people I spoke with after the break up said that I should come home and quit the traveling. Funny in a way, since at that point I had already packed up my life in London, so I had no reason to return to London and also I hadn’t lived in Munich for almost 9 years, so it didn’t feel right to return to Munich at this stage in my life either. Hence, I realized one thing for myself.

Home is where the heart is.

And my heart was clearly with my travels and myself. So, whilst I listened to each and every opinion, I had already made my decision and I knew deep down in my heart that I wouldn’t give up on my dream, that I would continue the journey on my own and that I would be happy with my decision. It simply felt right.

Trust your intuition and follow your heart.

Back to the tour. We were a fabulous group and had loads of fun taking pictures, listening to music in the car and chatting. However, what really got me was the beauty of nature. I sat in the car and I couldn’t believe I was here, in the largest salt flats of the world, in Bolivia. I looked out of the window and was overwhelmed by the vast extent of the area, by the colors and by the beauty of our world. When we stopped somewhere in the middle of the salt flats, I needed a moment for myself, so I walked up a hill to enjoy the view from the top. I just looked into the sky, and felt so emotional, that I couldn’t hold back my tears and you know what? I didn’t want to hold them back. I wanted to allow myself to feel touched by this beauty around me, and I wanted to allow myself to feel sad and to feel everything I feel, without controlling, without evaluating.

Allow yourself to feel everything you feel.

Back into town, I was so motivated that I visited some bus operators around the bus terminal (Terminal de Buses, Av Arce, Uyuni) to organize the next part of the travels, crossing the border to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. I spoke to approximately 5 operators to find out costs and times, however, I didn’t really fancy being on a night bus for 14 hours on my own. I also heard though that there are 4×4 jeeps crossing the border to Chile. So, I specifically explored this option and found an operator that had 1 spot (!) left, leaving the next day around 3pm with a group of French people. I thought that this would be the more fun and adventurous option, hence booked it in and left the bus terminal feeling satisfied with the next journey sorted.

After 2 nights in Uyuni, I walked all packed up to the agency and met my travel buddies. I was excited about the trip, although I knew we would have a cold night in a refuge camp ahead of us with no luxuries whatsoever. But during the trip I had already learned to live with less and yet be happy. Also, I had learned to embrace unknown situations and to say yes to life.

Why? Because the things that scare you, often hold the biggest potential for growth. And my personal growth was just waiting around the corner.

My learnings during this rather short night in the refuge camp:

  • Question your limiting beliefs. Because you are more than you think you are.
  • Don’t overthink, just do. Because thinking leaves you in your head. Go into your heart instead.
  • Say yes to life more often. Because it opens doors that would otherwise stay closed.
  • Dare to be brave. Because life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

You will realize that if you consciously & regularly reflect on the above points, that there’s so much more within you and that your potential is just waiting for you to free it!

Yours, Nina

 

 

When in doubt, travel

I’ve always been in love with traveling, but this developed into a whole new dimension when I travelled through Latin America for almost 6 months last year. Now, I perceive traveling as a gift.

But first things first. I lived in London for almost 5 years and had a job that I loved, as a marketing & communications manager for luxury hotel amenities. It was all good until our company was sold and they started changing responsibilities, hierarchies and ways of working. A few months later I decided that I wouldn’t be happy in this new set up and that after 3 years in the same job, it was about time to leave. Plus I always had in the back of my head that the next time I quit my job, I would travel through Latin America, a dream and vision that I’ve had for many years.

My boyfriend at the time decided to quit his job too and so we started planning our 4 months trip together. Wow, I was so excited to burn the bridges behind me, well not all of them, but definitely a few, like giving up a well-paid job, leaving my nice apartment in London and of course leaving my friends for the time being. But the excitement about being free like a bird and exploring the world was definitely bigger than the fear of leaving something behind. Dare to be brave!

So, in early June, we left London and flew to Cuba, our first stop. Unfortunately, after approximately 3 weeks my boyfriend at the time and me already got into a fight and although I don’t remember what it was all about, I do remember, that I felt like I cannot fully express my opinion, my thoughts and feelings. We continued the journey and got into more discussions, majorly due to different perceptions and interpretations of situations and probably also due to a lack of communication. We spent amazing times together, but when in Peru, we seemed to have reached the peak of frustration, so after a horrible fight, we broke up between Peru and Bolivia.

I was in shock. I simply didn’t realize what had happened and how we got from planning a trip together to breaking up on that trip. I also thought “Why me?” and “Why again?” and felt really sorry for myself. On the other hand, I felt strong and self-confident and kept thinking that this guy simply didn’t deserve me. When he suggested to me to cancel the trip and fly back to the UK or Germany, all alarm bells switched on. This suggestion felt so wrong. It was MY idea, it was MY trip and I didn’t want to give up on MY dream and vision, because of a broken relationship. No, I was stronger than that and so I accepted the break up and switched into pragmatic problem-solving mode.

First question that arose was where to go next and when. With regards to where, I decided to more or less stick to the original travel route and hence flew from La Paz to Uyuni to visit the awesome salt flats Salar de Uyuni. Regarding when, well the sooner the better and so a couple of days later, I was en route again, this time alone.

So this is when my solo travel trip through Latin America started. When in doubt, travel!

Yes I was confused, yes I was sad, yes I was shocked, yes I felt sorry for myself, yes I was angry, yes I was in doubt. But somewhere between all this uncertainty, fear, and sadness, I felt extremely confident, strong, brave and positive. Because deep down in my heart I trusted and knew that this had happened for a reason, for something better & bigger.

And life showed me indeed that the best was yet to come, if I only embraced this change.

What we can learn from this experience:

  • That it’s important to never give up on our dreams.
  • “When in doubt, travel” is true, since it gives us time to clear our head, to find back to our heart and to feel at peace with the world.
  • That it is important to talk, talk, talk. Expressing our opinion, thoughts and feelings is critical to happiness, as we can only be happy when we are true to ourselves and stick to our values.
  • Self-love is key.

Thank you for being here and reading my story. I really hope that my posts help you to find light in any sad situation that you might be facing. Stay tuned, as I will continue to share my journey to myself with you.

Yours, Nina

 

 

Travel love

When I was younger, I always wanted to be a travel writer, I’ve always dreamed of travelling to as many destinations as possible and of sharing my experiences with others (funnily enough, these words stem from my diary written on 10th January 2015 on the plane from Mauritius back to London). Read more about the beginnings of my blog here.

I am passionate about traveling, exploring the entire world with all my senses and seeing new things. I love progressing, not standing still. So, I’ve always kept an open mind and curiosity about people, languages, cultures, basically about life. Read more on Nina Who.

In 2016, I finally did what I have been wanting to do for years. I travelled through Latin America for almost 6 months. From Cuba to Costa Rica, from Colombia to Argentina, and then back to Mexico. It was intense, amazing and absolutely inspiring. I’ve grown so much ever since and I made a huge step towards my true, beautiful me, my vision and my why in this world.

If you want to know about my (inner) journey, then don’t miss my blog posts.

Yours, Nina

 

 

 

 

Yoga love

Why I love yoga? Because it challenges my body like I’m challenged in life. The beautiful thing is I decide how to react to each and every challenge that life throws at me. With noticing, doing my best & finding ease in the asanas, which reflect life situations or with giving up, not pushing through and telling myself I can’t do this.

Surely, you can guess how I decided! Self-love always.

I started practicing yoga in 2015. I was stressed at work and I had to deal with a broken heart, coming out of a 10-year relationship. I’ve always been in love with dancing and went to my jazz dance classes at Pineapple Dance Studios in London 3 times a week. At some point, however, dealing with my emotional pain and rising stress levels at work, it all just became too overwhelming that I felt the urgent need to calm down, to find peace, something that would re-align me with myself to bring back the energy I’ve always had. And I instantly thought of yoga, of a yoga retreat somewhere in the sun. I told my best friend about my idea and that same day, we browsed the internet for yoga retreats on the Canary Islands. One week later, we had our places in Gran Canaria booked. One week of Hatha yoga, Yin yoga, meditation & breathing exercises, healthy, vegetarian meals and a beautiful double room with our own balcony.

Right in the first yoga class, I realized just how much I was switched on (but not in a positive way). I couldn’t sit still, my breath was flat, my shoulders tight. I simply couldn’t let go and fully relax. Well, I thought, I need more time to get into it; on the other hand I was honestly shocked about just how agitated I was.

After a few days, I already felt calmer and more peaceful from within. I was able to sit in one position for longer, my breath was deeper and my body had begun to relax. And this feeling, exactly this feeling, is what hooked me. I wanted to feel this feeling as often and intensively as possible.

This is when my yoga journey started – in November 2015. It has continued ever since and I will start my yoga teacher training in November 2017 – two beautifully enriching years later.

If you want to be part of my yoga journey, then don’t miss my blog posts.

Yours, Nina

My breakthrough

My breakthrough is what I call the beginning of the journey to myself.

I look at pictures taken in Cozumel, Mexico, and I see pure happiness, in my eyes, in my smile, in the glow in my face.

This happened when I finally allowed me to go on an inner journey to myself. Allowing me to explore who I am, reflecting whether I’m happy with who I am, finding out what I stand for, what my values are. It’s difficult to describe the feeling of this permission, but I felt relieved. I felt light. It felt like the wings that were glued to my body (probably by myself?) for many years were finally starting to open, because I permitted me to open them. Slowly, but surely.

I realised that I’ve always had big wings, but that I had neglected or forgotten them for a very long time. So, when I could feel my wings again, I was able to open them, to use them and to finally start creating a life that should feel as free as a bird.

Which brings me back to my answer (always!) upon the question:

If you were an animal, what would you like to be?

My breakthrough was not one single moment, it was a process. However, I recognised that specific moment of happiness in Cozumel as my breakthrough moment. And I will never ever forget it.

If you are at a turning point in your life, please trust yourself and life. Trust that things will happen for you at the right time and remember that life is always working for you, not against you.

Yours, Nina

 

 

My inner journey

If you are curious to find out how I got to my breakthrough then you will like this article.

I remember the day approximately one month after the break up. I had reached a very low point, when I arrived at the airport in Buenos Aires, destination Cancún. There was a massive queue at the check-in desks, people were complaining about the wait and when it was finally my turn for check-in, the guy at the desk told me that he couldn’t check me in to Mexico, unless I could prove flying out from Mexico again. And yes, I had a return flight back to London, however, I hadn’t printed it out. So, I started looking up the ticket on my iPhone to realise the Wifi wasn’t working and I didn’t have any more data left. I got very nervous, since the flight was due to leave one hour later and I hadn’t even passed security yet. I started sweating, I was really hot, nothing worked. With the best intentions to remain calm, I could finally convince a shop to log me onto their internet connection and there it was, my booking confirmation, to prove that I would be leaving Mexico on 9th of November. I rushed back to the check-in desk. The guy told me that I didn’t have to queue again, so I went straight up to him. When I was just about to show him my flight ticket, someone pinched my shoulder from behind and shouted at me that I should go at the end of the line.

After everything that happened, this was simply too much, but I managed to reply that I wasn’t jumping queues, but that I had been asked to come forward and that he should please understand. He didn’t, but at least I was able to rush to security. Yes, I was working hard on my resilience in that situation.

5 minutes later, the crazy guy also appeared in the security queue and complained about my behaviour again. At the same time, I was on Whats App with a close friend to message about the break-up, my feelings and next steps.

And there it was, my breakdown. Too long had I kept my tears from falling, too long had I kept my emotions to come out, that I simply couldn’t control them anymore. I cried and cried, I had trouble breathing, I had to sit down in the middle of the queue. I felt out of control. My life felt out of control. Until I boarded the plane, sat down in my seat and closed my eyes. I suddenly felt relieved and light. Because I had finally given myself permission to feel my pain, sadness and anger.

And when the plane took off, I literally felt like taking off to a new life. And life proved me right. Life had better plans for me.

The message from my heart to yours:

Trust yourself and life.

Yours, Nina

 

Reason why

You might wonder why I started this blog.

I first had the idea to write a blog on 30th December 2014 after my 10-year relationship ended. I instantly knew that I needed a holiday. It needed to be a destination far away, a country I have not been to before, and I needed to do this on my own.

I decided to travel to beautiful Mauritius, setting off to new shores. Two days into this friendly and peaceful environment, I thought, sitting by the beach, that this is the perfect opportunity to start writing. About how, for the first time, I travelled completely on my own, to capture all amazing moments in pictures & words and to heal, day by day, week by week.

Fast-forwarding to my return to London 2 weeks later, I realised that everything I wrote into my notebook felt way too personal and intimate, that I wasn’t ready to share this yet.

Turns out the reason was I indeed wasn’t ready. Life held bigger plans for me. As you might know, we always get exactly what we can handle, not less, not more. Very obviously I was able to handle way more.

In June 2015 I got together with my new boyfriend. Yes, it was a rather short single break, but sometimes things simply happen and I just felt in flow.

It has been my dream to travel through Latin America since age 17 and when we both quit our jobs, I knew I had to finally make my dream come true. So, we decided to go on this adventure together, 4 months of travelling, from 5th June until 25th September 2016.

Jumping to end of August 2016, our relationship ended between Peru and Bolivia. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. But I was shocked. Another break up in such a short period of time? In South America? Really? In my head, I already titled this experience, which felt like the stupidest movie ever “Nina left in the middle of nowhere”.

Despite all confusion and heartache at the time, I heard my heart talking to me very clearly. It said that I should keep following my dream, that I should continue my travels, that I shouldn’t give up and that life holds so much more for me.

Fast-forwarding to Santiago de Chile in September 2016. I sat in my apartment planning the next stops in Argentina, when it suddenly hit me that my return flight was only 2 weeks away. I felt nervous, yet calm at the same time, a feeling hard to describe. And yet again, I knew the answer. The answer was already within me. My heart told me to extend my journey, to give myself more time to digest, to continue my healing process and to figure out the next step (moving back to London which had been my home for 4.5 years or back to Munich, my hometown).

So, I re-arranged my flights to give myself more time in Chile and Argentina plus I built in another month in Mexico. Fast forwarding to the end of October in Tulum I was fully relaxed, peaceful and in a very happy place, when I suddenly pictured Munich. And I knew this is it, this is my next step. Tulum has become my magical place. It forms the origin of my spiritual journey, of self-love and personal development and hence deserves the first entry on my blog.

In this very moment, I also knew that I wanted to share my experience of travellingyoga and how I started my healing process with as many people as possible. So here I am.

You are my reason why.

Read more about me here.

Yours, Nina