She Wanders // She Wonders

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Merry Christmas

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…and just like that, it’s Christmas time!

Wishing everyone a very safe and happy holiday. May all your wishes come true! x

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I’m glad our paths crossed

It was January 2013 when I approached my manager’s office and announced that I would be quitting in December to travel the world.

An eleven month notice period isn’t a bad thing for a company is it? I’m sure he took it with a pinch of salt and decided that it was just me having a ‘moment’ and he’s told me this in different words since! But nope, this was me making a decision to myself and the world that I wasn’t backing out.

It’s now December and it’s almost a week since I left the company. Although I was ready to move on I was still dreading the leaving day. A decision like this isn’t something to be taken lightly. I knew I was leaving a secure and reasonably well paid job to jump head first into the unknown and that terrified me. As much as I love adventure, I do take comfort in my habits and this was just the start of stepping out of my comfort zone!

As well as having a job I enjoyed; the reason I stayed for almost four years was because of the amazing people who work there. Thank you friends for making my leaving so special.

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My amazing card! Chuck Norris and Mr T on my shoulder, I couldn’t be safer! Drawn by the talented Mathilde Maze. Click on the image to be transported to her Facebook page!

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Beautiful words from my friends and colleagues.

I’m glad our paths crossed and I hope you’ll follow me on my adventure!

I’ll be seeing you all again soon xx

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Haunting me – Auschwitz & Birkenau

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I wrote this on the evening after visiting Auschwitz & Birkenau and I felt that it needed to be shared. I was feeling a little ‘creeped out’ by the whole experience so excuse the mournful tone.

I’m having trouble sleeping tonight. Every time I close my eyes all I see are visions of Auschwitz & Birkenau scorched into the back of my eyelids. Today we visited two of the death camps that I’ve heard so much about. It felt so wrong that the sun was shining on this place, yet despite it being a bright and sunny day full of curious tourists I still felt an eery stillness walking around.

Before arriving there, I kind of felt it was a little wrong to visit a place which was the resting place of millions of Jews. Did people really get a kick out of this? I wondered. Now I’ve been there however, I can’t emphasise just how important it was to go and see the camp with my own eyes.

We need to remember. We need to be educated. We need to pay our respects for those who perished and the few who risked their lives for the sake of others.

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Inside one of the buildings at Auschwitz, there was a wall of photos of some of the men and women registered into the death camp. Some, though only having just arrived showed signs that they had been beaten; some wore a blank expression and some (and the ones that really got to me) were faces of men and women wearing genuine smiles with what seemed like no inclination of what was soon to happen to them.

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Of about eight hundred jews who tried to escape, only about one hundred and fifty managed. It didn’t matter how long it took to search for an escaped prisoner, the Nazis would carry on searching even if it took a whole year.

We learnt about the medical experiments performed on the jews for various purposes and how a lot of the prisoners would end up physically handicapped and thus  would meet their end much faster because they could no longer work and were therefore deemed useless to the Nazis.

We learnt about Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish priest who died as a prisoner in Auschwitz. When a prisoner escaped, the prisoners in the camp would be punished. This was to discourage other prisoners from having even the notion of thinking about escaping (and also because they were just merciless bastards). On this occasion there were ten Jews selected to be eliminated in the starvation bunker including Franciszek Gajowniczec who began sobbing for his wife and children. Maximilian stepped forward and asked to take this mans place. Oddly enough, the officer agreed and the priest was thrown down the stairs into the starvation bunker and left to starve. Whilst the other prisoners were gnawed at by their thirst and hunger (often drinking their own urine and licking the cold walls) the priest would pray.

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After two weeks only four of the ten were still alive.  The Nazis grew impatient as they needed the cells for more victims so an executioner was sent to inject a lethal dose of carbolic acid into each of the men. Maximilian was the last to die and whilst fully conscious, he lifted his arm to receive the shot. A true saint

Franciszek Gajowniczek survived to tell the story and died in 1995 at the age of 95.

After putting pen to paper, I finally managed to get some sleep. I won’t ever forget my visit nor will I forget the fluttering wings of the butterfly that danced past a gas chamber that day.

On another note; try to be respectful if you go. Taking pictures of you smiling next to a display case of glasses (or whatever) just makes you look like a fool.

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It’s Bath Time!

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I’m back from a wonderful short trip to Bath to see my man! That’s not him in the tub by the way; he is an actual person.

The last time I was here in September I didn’t get to see a whole lot as my stop there was so short and the weather wasn’t too forgiving but this time we went around the city centre and to the Botanical Gardens which I loved not to mention visiting The Royal Crescent which may be future postcode (ha!). There are so many attractions left to visit which is kind of good as I’m going back again in December so we’ll try to do something different every time.

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Hello you!

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The Royal Crescent!

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I do love trees – can you tell?

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See, not made of grass!

A little shout out for 4 amazing months which just so happens to fall on Thanksgiving. Whatever or whoever you’re thankful for – let it show!

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The Golden Key to Happiness

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A dear friend had lent me this beautiful book a couple of years ago (at least). My intention was to return it a lot sooner but I kept forgetting and so it wasn’t until her birthday that I actually slipped it into a gift bag with her presents and sent it back to its rightful owner.

It wasn’t until a couple of months later that she opened the gift bag because she had refused to open it without me being present. So it sat in the back of her car in anticipation. On opening the bag and finding the book she asked me to keep it and that if there was any book I would bring with me on my travels; this was the one to bring. This was her favourite book and I was deeply touched by her gesture so I humbly thanked her and promised that I would bring it with me.

The actions of those around us deeply impact on our happiness whether we like to admit it or not but we have the power to decide just how much we’ll let those actions or words affect us, be it in a positive or negative situation. If it’s positive, like your best friend asking you to keep her favourite book then embrace it. If it’s negative then find some way to learn from it and let it go. You are so much bigger than taking joy in a persons flaws. Life is so much bigger than that!

Here’s a random excerpt from this beautiful book. I might make it a thing on the blog, we’ll see!

It’s not good just to be delicate and sensitive, nor is it good just to be rough and coarse. You can’t be considered a fine human being unless you achieve balance and moderation in every respect. The delicate and sensitive worry so much about others that they exhaust themselves. The rough and coarse ignore and irritate others’ hearts too much. In everything, leaning too much to one side always makes you lose the balance. No good results come of it.

I love that I opened this book and the piece felt so relevant to me…I hope that it does for someone else too.

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