Author Archives: enrichedthroughtravel

How much “stuff” is too much?

In America, we gauge success and happiness in life according to what possessions one has, and how much money one makes.  The more money, the higher one’s socio-economic status, and the more privilege one has earned in society.  On the flip side, those who lack money and the ability to make significant proportions of money consequently have less in life, as well as fewer opportunities afforded.

While staying in Copenhagen, I was afforded the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of what it was like to live as a Dane in a relatively small apartment (according to American standards).  From this short-lived opportunity, I experienced just how much “stuff” can be crammed into such a small space so efficiently!  Clothes were hung from a rack on the ceiling in the master bedroom, shelving was full of folded clothes, and a baby crib stood on the side of the space close to the bed.  In the bathroom, a small shower took up the corner of the room complete with a squeegee to shush the water on the floor back down the drain.  A small-clothes washer took up the opposite corner as well as a couple of carts with drawers for storage.

Each nook and cranny of this apartment were utilized to its fullest with no space left vacant. I did not experience the feeling of being closed in or of having too much ‘stuff.’  Rather, I felt completely at home.  What surprised me the most was the thought of just how much “stuff” I have in my ordinary home in Florida that would probably shock the standard Dane!

In my opinion, Americans have way too much “stuff.”  And what we do have, we take for granted.  Americans are wasteful and not very attune to the environment and being “green” as the Danes are.  Americans live with the expectation that we are ‘entitled’ to our possessions and live for getting bigger and better things.   After all, how many people in your own neighborhood have more than 1 television in their home?  Or how many have a cell phone for each family member?  How many Americans do you know that have more than one vehicle?  What is even more despicable is that some parents at my children’s school purchase their teenagers a new BMW or other expensive car when they turn 16!  What happened to the days of simplicity and having a kid earn his own car by working?

I am just as guilty as the next American.  Each one of my children has their own cell phones.  I find it out of necessity more than convenience.  My children have a different life than I did.  I could always be found in my own neighborhood with other peers my age.  Today, our children are just as busy as adults are trying to make it in this crazy world.  Technology has sped up the process and made our children more attuned to what is out there in life.  With this added knowledge comes a sense of entitlement to these “millennials” as they are referred.  They ‘expect’ to have all the luxuries of home, at school, in their car and elsewhere.  It seems to be a given that parents will give their children what they want.  I do not find I am “that” parent all the time.  I do feel my children “should have” some of the “stuff” others their age have, however, I do not think they are better off being given everything I have.

I am also guilty of having all the ‘comforts of home.’  I have a medium-sized house with a swimming pool and a ginormous refrigerator!  I also have a vehicle for almost every member of this household.  I have been guilty also of acquiring the American state of mind of ‘bigger is better’ and ‘more stuff’ means I am “a better person.”

With knowledge comes a liberty to change what I know.  I now know that just because I have been brought up the American way does not mean I have to conform.  I know that I can change my mind-set gradually to incorporate the good elements I learned of the Danish simplistic ways and eliminate the negative mindset of the American ways.  I can also begin to appreciate what I do have and not feel that it is an expectation to have what I have.  I can also begin to let go of the “stuff” I do not necessarily need just to give myself a false perception of happiness by acquiring said “stuff.”

I would like to end by saying that what I have written is only MY opinion.  It is not fact, nor is it fiction.  It is simply my thoughts in black and white.  Finally, I do not intend in any way to offend anyone with my opinions.

What “stuff” do you have that you would be willing to get rid of?

Safe Journeys,

Debbie

 

 

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Thanks for the pat down TSA!

Traveling can be very stressful.  But I often ask myself what is more stressful than going through security at the airport?

If you are observant as I am, I find that there are no standards in each airport in each country.  Some say remove your shoes, some don’t.  Some say take our your laptop, but not your i-pad, while others want both the i-pad and laptop removed.

Some, make you go through the machine where you “put your hands up” like a police would ask if you are in trouble with the law.  And at other times, you simply walk through and look at the TSA rep in a manner such as to say, “did I pass?”

Some TSA representatives are serious as heck, while others are light-hearted and jovial.  In Iceland, I had a TSA agent ask me quite seriously if I had security clearance for my bags (prior to going through the line)?  I was alarmed!  I panicked!  I had no clue what he was referring to when it finally clicked – he was joking with me and no such thing existed!  Grrr – don’t play with me TSA agent as I am already stressed enough going through security!

On my way home from this last trip, I was stopped by TSA and asked to stand aside.  What?  I already removed my shoes, my belt, emptied my pockets, and taken off everything I could think of (except my clothes).  I was chosen for the lucky pat-down.  Stick your arms out, separate your legs and let the agent do her thing.  When she was done I actually heard myself thank her!  I thanked a lady for patting me down – how ridiculous that sounded!!!

This is the world we now live in.  Pat downs, liquids in a baggie, and enhanced security.  I miss the old days when getting there was half the fun.  Now I simply put up with the annoyances of travel to get to my destination safely.

Safe journey,

Debbie

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Icelandic winter wonderland

imageimageAs a Floridian,  I consider  myself a die-hard Icelandic fan. After all, who else would choose to come to Iceland in the heart of A winter “slizzard” (sleet, blind rolled into one)??!!

Reykjavik is on my bucket list. I have never had so much fun and enjoyment as I did today. Playing in the snow with child-like enthusiasm was without a double the highlight of my trip. After all,how often does one let go of all concerns, and be in the throws of genuine happiness and peace??

Icelandic people live here because they love the land and the lifestyle.  Iceland in my opinion is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I feel as if I have left the world as I know it and have entered an entirely different space   A world of peace, happiness and contentment unlike any I have ever experienced in my lifetime.

As  I wander up Laugavegur I am transported to a time when Vikings ruled this land and I am just a visitor to a settlement from long ago.  I visit the settlement museum and see first hand the discovery of a land of opportunity, and self-sufficiency.

I stop to eat at the fish market and savor the Icelandic fresh fish, and savor every bite.  I am enamoured by the flavors of the land and the warmth of the people who welcome me.  I can only hope I am as good a visitor as they are a host.

I am immersed in their love of land and hospitality. I will never forget the beauty, and serenity.

safe journey, Debbie

 

 

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Secret to Danish happiness revealed

During my visit to Copenhagen I made a point of asking everyone I met why? What is this big secret to Danish happiness that everyone talks about?

i am about to reveal the big secret….here goes. The secret is that they have no worries, no stress, no pressure in life.  While sitting in a local coffee shop in Vesterbro, I spoke to a young couple. They tell me the tax rate is 70 percent of their wages.  As an American I am shocked. As I listen further, the gentleman tells me he ” is happy to give the government his money” and know that he is taken care of for life.  No worries.   Should his job ever fail, no problem, the government takes care of its citizens no matter what the circumstances in life what they have rather than .

I think about this long after I leave the coffee shop.  I think about the pressures of life in America and how everyone is out for themselves.   I think long and hard about big corporations, the greed in America and how Americans live by what they have .rather than by their experiences in life. I recognize that the Danish lifestyle is more easy going, and stresses living a good happy life, while Americans stress having bigger and better possessions as a way of expressing ones success or happiness.

I walk away from this experience with a greater appreciation for experiences over possessions and am thankful for being able to personally be where I am right get now.

Safe journeys, Debbie

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Doc Cannabis and finding nemoland

Got arthritis? ADHD? Or perhaps you suffer from chronic pain? Whatever the ailment, be sure to see Doc Cannabis the sign in Christiana reads.  This is the weird and wonderful world of  Christiana.   In Christiana, drugs rule, while fools drool.

As I stroll down the street in this tiny town, I am transported back in time to  hippies, flower power, peace, and drugs.  A pair of men carrying garbage bags walks past me stopping at each garbage can to collect cans and bottles for cash.  Meanwhile, in the middle of  metropolis “nemoland” sits an open booth of free clothes for those in need of warmth.

i walk further through the winding trail and breathe in the heavy odor of pot.   This is a totally different side of Danish happiness than what the studies talk of  Small shacks of tin houses line the dirt trail as I walk further into this colony of no rules, and open living unlike any I have ever experienced.  This is a world one can live according to ones desire without consequences or law.  Christiana is peace and happiness.

I walk in in amazement with a smile on my face. I have never seen anything like this. I do not judge nor criticize, only absorb this lifestyle as it is.  I am in awe at this lifestyle and how little these people have. Yet, without all the luxuries in life they appear content and at peace with the choices they have made.

Peace be with you,

Debbie

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Finding my hygge in copenhagen

imageimageimageFlying from the U.S. To Europe seems like it takes forever to arrive.  In reality, it was a quick 5.5 hour flight from Washington to Iceland. I was totally unprepared for the frigid air that stung my face when I walked outside to cross the parking lot to my day hotel. Give me a break, after all I am from Florida! I was expecting cold but not quite Iceland cold. After a quick shower, hot breakfast at the airport hotel, before I knew it I trudged back through the frigid air while the snow flurries stung my face! Refreshing!!

It was a 3 hour flight from Iceland to Copenhagen. Upon arrival we quickly found the train station, and rode 15 minutes to Copenhagen central.   If you have been following me, you will recall we rented an apartment in Vesterbro from air bnb. As we walked from the station relief came over me as we walked down Istegrade away from the station.  I was relieved it was not pitch dark and that it was not deserted as I had expected.  It was odd arriving at our building and ringing the neighbor to let us in.

A very kind young lady and her small child handed over the keys and let us in to our rented home away from home. It could not have been more beautiful!  Our host could not have been more accommodating!

today we awoke on a search for my hygge.  Stop one – hygge at local coffee shop with Emalie as our barista. A most delicious cortado was had, then onward to the train station.

Next stop: Malmo Sweden…for more hygge ( is it still considered hygge is you are in Sweden?)  Hey, hey they said at the coffee shop for  taste of chocolate cake and cinnamon bun in all places, a vinyl store. after some shopping and serious walking throughout town, there is nothing better than a stop at Bullen For some Swedish meatballs, the “best in the world” said our waiter. They lived up to his claim.

On the way back to Copenhagen I enjoyed my own personal “hygge” moment on the train, as I felt a sense of peace and serenity wash over me  in an indescribable way. Welcome to Copenhagen, land of happiness and hygge!

Safe journey!

P.S. My hair straightener from home does not fit in my adaptor, ugh, what’s a girl to do? The plug seems wider than the adaptor, anyone have a solution for me??

 

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‘Twas the Day Before Travel

‘Twas the day before travel and I awoke with a clatter – or was it my cat’s patter?!

For me, the day before I travel is often filled with great excitement and anticipation for the journey I am about to embark on.  My brain is overflowing with what tasks I must finish before the day is over as well as what I need  to prepare for tomorrow’s flight.  Are the kids going to have enough food?  Are the cats going to be fed?  Who will take out the trash and get the mail while I am gone?  Oh, and a big one around here -who will do the laundry while I am away?  Ha!

The reality of all this is that no matter how much I pre-plan or how much I worry about what will or will not get done – in the end, it is all insignificant as I am about to be rewarded with a wonderful journey.

I must constantly remind myself to be mindful of this moment, and as distracted as I may be, I must remain cognizant of the fact that all this pre-planning is a part of my journey and I must not ignore it.  I tell myself to take the good with the bad, enjoy the moment as it is what it is.

When I board my flight tomorrow, all this brain-flutter will be behind me and I will be able to concentrate on what is before me.  I consider myself fortunate to be able to visit new lands, experience the culture, people, and places I will visit.

I look forward with anticipation when I step off the plane in Iceland on Friday morning.  And I am even more excited over seeing my new digs I got from Airbnb in Copenhagen!

Any ideas or suggestions of what I might see or do in Copenhagen or Reykjavik?  Can a Floridian (such as myself) be brave enough to dip into the waters at the Blue Lagoon in freezing weather?

Safe journeys,

Debbie

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Denmark: Happiest nation in the world

According to the World Happiness Report, Danes are ranked as the happiest people in the world.  So what really makes the Danish so happy?  Well, some say it is in their DNA.  Perhaps happiness does breed happiness, but genetically speaking, how logical is it to say we carry a happiness gene in our genetic makeup?

Happiness can be quite subjective, so I am curious to know just how these studies were conducted that concluded who are the happiest and who are unhappy.  In American culture, happiness is often concluded based upon one’s haves versus have nots.  Success often equates to happiness and so does one’s socio-economic status.

In Denmark, this is not the case as I understand it.  The Danes are mindful people as a whole.  What I mean is that they are present-minded people who focus on the here and now versus being future oriented as we Americans often are.  Danes take great pleasure in every ordinary day and have learned to be happy with what they have in the present moment.  This is known in Denmark as “hygge” (pronounced hue-guh).  Hygge is inviting closeness into ones life and paying close attention to what matters most in the moment.  Almost anything can be considered hygge according to the Danish.  Having coffee at a cafe is hygge.  Riding a bike is hygge.  Enjoying a conversation with a friend is also hygge.

Too often life is spent chasing what we do not have but want.  I too am often guilty of wanting more than I have.  I hope to take a lesson from the Danish as I travel to Denmark in the next week in search of my own hygge!  Instead of bringing back a trinket or two, I would like to bring back my own sense of happiness for what I have as well as a greater enjoyment out of living life in the present moment.

What is your hygge?

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WHAT TO PACK AND WHAT TO LEAVE HOME

Packing is a strategy that some of us get and some of us don’t!  No matter which way you look at it, the point is to get your clothes from point A to point B and to do so with comfort and ease.

For myself, I have had plenty of practice packing over the 30 plus years I have been a traveler.  And I must add that with age comes wisdom.  Well, somewhat!  I still have my moments where I over-pack and underestimate my clothing attire.

Since I am what I consider a frequent traveler, I keep a bag packed with travel size toiletries and must have makeup.  This way, I never forget what I consider to be my essentials.  I pack my “liquids” in the TSA standard quart size bag, and the rest in my cosmetic bag.  If traveling overseas, as I am about to do, I also pack a small zippered bag with my on-flight essentials, such as hand lotion, sleeping mask, etc.

From there, it is crucial to determine what the weather will be at your destination as well as the activities you plan to participate in.  For my upcoming trip, I will be doing a great deal of flights, train travel, and mostly just touring and getting to know my surroundings.  I will be in cold to extremely cold (coming from a Floridian, cold being 40 degrees F and extremely cold under 30!) weather, some rain, some snow.

I begin by setting aside my pants, shirts, and sweaters.  I then determine if there is anything that I can utilize for more than one attire and if so what might I be able to eliminate.  I know this all sounds like common sense to some people, but I know for some, there is little to no organization involved in packing.

Finally, how do you get it all to fit in the suitcase?  You can fold, roll, or just throw it all in.  My personal preference is to roll.  I find that by rolling my clothes I am able to squeeze in more as well as layer the clothes I have inside the suitcase.  I also like to keep my socks together in one place as well as my underwear so I can have it accessible when needed.

So here are a few things for you to consider:

1. Do you roll, or fold your clothes?  What is your personal packing strategy?

2. What items do you take with you no matter where you travel?

3.  How do you decide what to take and what to leave home?

And finally, do you have any personal tips that perhaps most people do not think of that could be helpful when packing?

As always – safe journeys!

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Hello world!

Enrich: to improve or enhance the quality of

I believe that travel enriches our life and teaches us to be kind, compassionate, and connected to others.

Travel is educational in ways that text-books cannot teach us.  By reading a book about the world, one can only gain a limited amount of knowledge about the location or its people.  By traveling, one learns by gaining knowledge from personal experience that broadens one’s horizons, provide limitless perceptions of life, and creates unforgettable connections with others.  You get to see, taste, hear, and smell your new surroundings that a book lacks.

This blog is for those who not only wish to read about my experiences in the world, but also for those who wish to have their own experiences and enrich ones own life.  I will share with you not only my travels, but also tips on how you can explore various destinations and how to create your own journey in life.

My biggest pet peeve in life is when I hear someone say “someday” I will travel.  Well guess what?  That “someday” is today!  We have but one life to live – so be sure to live life to its fullest each and every day!

Wishing you a safe journey,

Debbie

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