‘So brown and so happy’ – my grans description of me travelling, May 2017

So after 3 countries, 13 flights, 19 airports, god knows how many beds/places I’ve fallen asleep, countless memories and laughter and just a few tears my travelling time came to an end. Today marks one month since my return to England and this post seems to be coming late but it took a lot of time everything sink in. This post is going to be relatively short but I just want to put an appreciation post out there about my experiences.

I know how ridiculously lucky I am. I know that I have had a once in a life time unbelievable experience. My heart is so full and I am so grateful for everything that I have done. I don’t want anyone to think for a second that I have taken all of this for granted. The experiences I’ve had have been absolutely incredible. They have changed my perspective on things and made me look at life differently. I can honestly say that I have returned from this trip a different person. I know that a cliché thing to say but seriously, it would be weird if all these crazy experiences, travelling alone, volunteering and meeting so many different amazing people hadn’t changed me! I am the happiest I’ve ever been. I have a clearer picture of what I want and what I want to achieve but I also have learnt to enjoy everything in the moment, not always being like, oh, I can’t wait for this part of my life to start. Of course, I still look forward to stuff and get excited about the future but definitely not overlook what’s going on around me now. I used to panic about absolutely everything but now, I’m a lot calmer and I deal with problems a lot better. I also like to believe I’ve become more compassionate and more understanding towards others and empathise with their problems more. But also I have learnt that it is ok to be selfish sometimes and to take time to look after myself, which was never really a priority for me before.

But I wouldn’t have been able to have any of these experiences or grow as a person at all if it weren’t for all of the incredible people that I met along the way. You made it what it was and, I want to thank each and every one of you. My heart is so full and I am so grateful. From my volunteering buddies who I got extremely close to even after a few days, I will never forget, to the guys I met in hostels all over Australia, to people I met on tours, trips, even the people who helped me when I was lost and didn’t even know their names. Thank you to all of you. There is so much love in this world and travellers share the most of it. Everyone wants to help each other, even though everyone’s in the same boat of poor-ness and worry. You guys are some of the best people I have ever met and the people who have the most love in their hearts. I love you all.

‘Spread the love not the hate.’ What I learned from Zigi Shipper, a Holocaust survivor.

When I was at uni, I did a module called Holocaust literature. One of the weeks the lecturer had a Holocaust survivor Zigi Shipper come in and talk to us about his experience in Auschwitz and during the Nazi occuptation. You can read the outline of his experience on the Holocaust Educational Trust website. Link below:

http://www.het.org.uk/survivors-zigi-shipper

He spoke to us for over an hour. His experience was heartbreaking and shocking to hear but it conveyed so many important messages. The biggest of which is ‘do not hate’. Hate will do nothing but spread negativity and lead to destruction. Hate is what caused the Holocaust. He spoke about how people asked him if he hated Germans because of what happened to him. He said of course not. The Germans that he meets have absolutely nothing to do with what happened to him in the past. It would be completely counterproductive and ridiculous to hate them now. He asked us what would be gained from hating these people. Absolutely nothing. He has seen firsthand how all that this hate would create was more negativity, more hate, and if that escalated, even more death.

This brave, old man, who has seen so much more hate, death and destruction than many of us could ever imagine, stood in front of a room of the younger generation, as he had done probably for the eighth time that week and begged us; he pleaded, spread forgiveness, spread the love, not the hate. Do not hate, he kept repeating. Do not hate.

 

Below is a link to a transcript of one of the talks that he gave. Not the specific one that I attended but the main story is the same. I do have a recording of the talk I attended, which shall hopefully be uploaded soon, when I work out how to do it.

https://www.atl.org.uk/Images/Zigi%20Shipper’s%20story.pdf