What travelling gives me

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It´s 05 am. Been awake since 04. Still jetlagged. Not badly but. Gone to bed last two days knackered at 8 pm. I then woke at midnight, slept on and off, and wide awake since 04.

I don´t mind at all. Returning home after a month in Asia, jetlag makes the transition smoother somehow. Dazed, walking from room to room in this castle (compared to having lived in one room the five of us, for 4 weeks)… emptying suitcases and filling and emptying the washing machine every two hours… It feels nice.

I will write another post about Vietnam impressions, I think. But I need to load photos into mac first, and.

Right now I just feel to write about the effect of taking a month travelling.
I think I will go for list form again. Helps me think.

1. It is relationship developing. Team building.
And strengthens both the group as a whole, and the bonds between each individual. I am a lot stronger connected to my 7 yearold now. And her and her 5 yearold brother too, have a noticably greater understanding for eachother. Our 12 yearold as well. A lot more peaceful after being heard and seen so closely in environment undisturbed by friends and school teachers.
There is much better balance between my husband and myself. And as we have had to resolve all ocurring issues in front of the kids, they also have a strengthened understanding of who he and I are, and how we work together.
Travelling for length of time and going somewhere where not everything is laid out from start and taken care of by tour guides… it is the best investment, in family life of parents with children, in my book.

2. I have changed.
My focus was shifted and hence I discovered new distances to some things, and a need to walk further in certain directions. It was very helpful for me to turn data roaming off and only relate to facebook in wifi free areas. (Reception area of resorts, and some restaurants). I discovered that reading about Danish politics stresses me. So I shall do as little of that as possible in the time ahead. Not because I don´t care, but because I care deeply and feel strongly, and it is difficult for me to accept I can´t change the grave mistakes politicians are making these days.

3. I met a mystic
who… taught me a lot in 2-3 hours in a small hostel lobby in Hanoi. He is an elderly man who travels in Asia 6 months a year, giving workshops in something called family contellations. A reiki master, tantra master, engineer (!), psychotherapist and philosopher. Of education. I can´t quite explain what he said and did and what it meant to me. But it… is a big deal. I will practice the exercises he showed me. And research a couple of thinkers´ theories. Most importantly, certain realizations just clicked into place within me, and… has given me… new perspectives to work from.

4. Learning about cultural differences
especially together with kids. Is so… eye opening. “They do it differently here.” Everything. And things we take for granted at home, simply are not part of these people´s lives. And vice versa. Bargaining the prices. Toilet routines. People thinking the kids look exotic and asking them to pose with them in selfies. People who are unfamiliarily helpful, warm and funny, or get offended without us knowing what the bleep was the issue. All very eye opening, increasing consciousness about the world and our place in it.

5. Leaning about nature´s variety
The sounds and the smells of a jungle. The heat of the sunrays. The huge ants, and beetles. If you leave something sugary out on the porch, there will be an insect party there in the morning. The humidity. Nothing dries, everything is moist and it doesn´t matter coz it´s warm and no one gets ill from the wet and cold combo. Taking a shower several times a day to cool off, and to rinse away sand, sea salt, pool chlorine. Washing feet before being allowed to re enter a ship after a trip to a beach. Water bottles brought along everywhere you go. Snorkling and sea food soup. Squid fishing and kayacking. Water such a central place in everything.

6. Returning home, realizing how comfortable one is in one´s own environment. Missing the sun, the sensual impressions and the meeting with people where we were, yet feeling so happy to reunite with close friends and family at home. To float in one´s sofa! To eat rye bread with liver paté! Milk! The freedom of making one´s own food, not having to find a restaurant and a menu and then wait before food appears…!

7. The great H.C. Andersen said that “to live is to travel”. I so agree. Both literally and metaphorically. It is my favourite activity in life. The most rewarding, education wise. Where I learn the most. And grow. Which I love to do. Expand my understanding. Increase consciousness. Diminish habitus to use Bourdieu´s phrasing. (Although I´m not sure he would agree with my using it in this context and meaning).

I feel I have turned a page in my life and am ready for a new chapter of self creation. Which I didn´t think of at all as a possible consequence before we went. Strange.

I´m standing in a position a lot different from a mere month ago. I have clarity of what to put my energy into. Very concretely. And I shift away from mind, to heart and body focus. No more politics for now. I will work on awareness, relax and relate, available in the now to the inspiring people I choose to keep close to me.
I will create some new structures for my clinic, and study and practice hypnosis, and start integrating the method into my vocal sound therapy sessions.

All whilst enjoying immensely my wonderful, empathic and playful, funny and clever children. Together with my amazingly creative, one in a milllion, funny and sensitive husband.

That is what this month in Thailand and Asia has done for me. Probably there´s heaps more, that I´m unconscious of.

Sun is up now. Birds in my garden. I think I will go outside and smell the air.

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One week into Vietnam fortnight

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Hi guys

We are half way through our two weeks in Vietnam, and I’m writing from a sunbed in the shade by the little pool in the honestay where we live, in Hoi an, called “the tailor town”.

Is it only one week since we arrived in Hanoi?! It has been intense days, filled to brim with impressions.
Let me make a list, to try and organize my thoughts a bit:

1. The streets of Hanoi, full of scooters and cars, beeping horns twice a second for no apparent reason, scooters parked on all pavements so one has to climb over them or risk life by walking at the edge of the road… all the exhaust, mixed with weird smells from rice pancake and noodle restaurants, everywhere people sitting on tiny plastic stools, drinking tea, cooking on stoves……. birthday party ornament street, music instrument street, buikders’ equipment street…. So foreign and interesting, frustrating and fascinating all at once.

2. Our hotel we chose from home, Lucky Guesthpuse Hotel no.2, was a gem. Not due to placement on busy street (though in theory walking distance to the lake and placed in the old town), the room was small but clean and two double beds plus a single was comfortable. But it was a gem because the staff was just so friendly and fun, joking with eachother and with us and the kids, and helping us out with taxis, finding good prices on things, booking a tour fornus to the Halong Bay, and getting us tickets on the night train to Hoi an… all the time with a big smile and positive energy.

3. The joy when we found good food! Not all Vietnamese food is like in their restaurants in Scandinavia. Rice pancakes…. no thanks. At least not the way it was served in that cafe we visited. It hasn’t been easy to find smoothies and fresh mixed fruit juices here either, which we enjoy so much in Thailand. My 5-yearold is developing an addiction to coca cola, which they never get at home. But luckily, fruit drinks do exist. We found them at the White Lotus in Hanoi. And on the menu last night, in the first restaurant we went to in Hoi An.

4. Ps, most of the Vietnamese food is truely delicious. We went into a small place where there was no English on the menu and no English talked by the waitors, but they used google translate on their phones, and we pointed at a picture of a meal, and were served a wonderful meal with lots of small unknown dishes that we shared, whilst giggling with the young waitors, who also played with the kids while they waited for the adults to finish eating… so. No worries.

5. 2 nights sailing tour in Halong Bay
……. I dont’t know where to begin really…… A wooden ship, a group of stranger passengers meeting and getting to know eachother – I have 6-7 of them now as facebook friends…. we did… we visited a cave… and the Titop island beach. We had great meals on board the big ship and a snaller transport ship between mothership and event spots… we did kayacking and saw many big eagles… we visited Monkey Island where we fed them nuts which they came and took out of our hands… we visited big arts and crafts workshops where handicapped people had a workplace, and they made beautiful things out of silk, jade, wood, ceramics, porcelain, stone sculptures, clothes jewellery from gem stones…….. we… had a most fantastic evening drinking free Vietnamese beer and us 3 mamas on board ended up having a karaoke session! Hahaha….. oh yeah and the squid fishing by night…. And the cooking class where they taught us how to make rice paper spring rolls… The communication in hyper fast Vietnamese-pidginEnglish, which always left us passengers look at eachother and laugh because all our faces looked like big question marks, none of us knew what the message had been about and we learnt to just say “oh, we’ll just wait and see”; because the guides clearly knew what they were doing, it was just us that were confused and bewildered from the many messages that didn’t mean what they seemed to mean… actually a plus in the tour once I realized I could relax and it wasn’t necessary for me to understand their messages…

6. After Halong Bay we stayed a night in our Lucky room again. Out for a meal and enjoying peace and quiet in our room.
Next day we were to travel by train 8 pm until 1 pm following day, to Danang, and then bus one hour to Hoi An.
So we packed and left our luggage at the hotel, went out and found lunch in the fantastic White Lotus, then spent an hour in bicycle taxis around Huan Kiem Lake and around the French quarter, so peaceful to be in the scary Hanoi traffic in that slow motion bike sofa… both my little kids fell asleep one on each side of me there, people on the pavements and on scooters smiling at the sight of us…

Oh my God! I inserted photos from the phone!!
I couldn’t do that last time, in the post about Thailand.
Oh well.

Like I said, if you befriend me, there are many photos to see on my facebook wall. Lene Kaltwasser Henriksen. I accept strangers into my facebook circle as long as they are not spambots, and they behave politely. I have unfriended 2-3 people through the years of this practice, but the rest have proven to be real, and polite people, so. I enjoy getting to know new people. Send me a message along with the request and all is fine.

Where was I? Oh yeah, on that rickshaw.
We stopped at an ice cream cafe by the lake, then went into a shopping center and bought loads of foodstuffs, took a rickshaw back to Lucky ansd got our luggage and they called for a taxi. At the train station two men offered to help with suitcases, and off to the right traon we went.

7. The night train was great. Kids climbing on the bunk beds, making up games together. Lovely sounds and movements, this old train had. And exciting landscapes, water buffaloes and buikdings floating by our window. We slept well and ate all our fruits and sandwhiches and strange sweets…

8. Now we are here in Hoi An. Very hot after just 22 degrees in Hanoi. The homestay lets us borrow bikes, so soon now we’re off to the beach, 15 minutes bike ride from here. Later into the old town for dinner. 10 minutes in opposite direction.
The breakfast is included, and it is the best one we have had in Vietnam so far. Even fresh milk for the coffee, instead of that cream sirup from tins most use.
Fresh fruits, pancakes in different versions, eggs, noodles and rice, toast with cheese, dishes to order, juice…
It really lifts the day to start off on such a lovely meal.
I will find theirnfacebook page and give them some praise and share their link on my wall.

Right. Gotta dip into that pool now, I’m boiling. Not sure biking to the beach will be a pleasure with the traffic and the heat. Prefer a taxi. But my husband is Danish and sporty, I doubt he will agree now he finally gets to ride a bike again, hahaha…. some times we just divide. i take a rickshaw, and he walks. The kids choose who to go home with.

Yeah… so many things I could talk baput, inspired by this trip. But now I need to cool off.

Splash!

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2 weeks in Thailand

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Dear reader

I’m lying on my bed in Sinsuvarn hotel in Bangkok. Arrived yesterday from Koh Chang, flying to Hanoi this afternoon to enjoy two weeks in Vietnam before we head back home to our everyday tasks and chores.

I haven’t had much time online. A quick facebook update when in a wifi area, that’s all. Wish I could copy the facebook updates over here, with photos and comments… But. Anyways.

The past two weeks have been lovely. Got to spend some time with my bonus son, his wife and our two little grandsons. Such a treat to create family memories on holiday together, in no one’s home.

Other than beach play, pool dips, ice creams and wonderful meals, we’ve done a bit of colourful clothes shopping, and had three days of snorkling on Koh Kood. We have connected with fellow travellers from Quebec, Switzerland, Mexico and Austria, and with some really wonderful, fun Thai receptionists.

Like Ning at the Nirvana Resort:

Hmmm… I have now spent an hour trying to upload photos of Ning. I give up. The wifi is too slow, and the mobile format of wordpress makes it hard as well.

I think I have to wait until I’m home with photos… or maybe I have another go in Vietnam somewhere.

Anyways. I notice that it is good for me to reduce my internet access to free wifi zones only. A lot less thoughts in my head. Very unwinding. I think I shall try to keep this new habit when I get home.

The kids learn a lot. To deal with strangers approaching them, by giving a short reply in English or Thai. Meeting other kids,playing in spite of language barriers. Tasting new foods, ordering from a menu… The bonds between them strengthening as they help eachother and spend all this time together…

Yawn… Sorry… Bit tired after the long journey yesterday. 10 hours, in various taxis, ferry and buses… Heat is quite extreme, and luggage though not heavy, bothersome…

What have I enjoyed the most in Thailand?

1. The sounds of the jungle and the sea
2. Revisiting our favourite resort Blue Lagoon
3. The tastes and aromas of food and air
4. Oh the heat. To be really warmed up to the core.
5. Seeing my kids very happy together
6. The quality extended family time, bonding closer with my grandkids
7. Bangkok, hustle, bustle, shopping and tuktuk with Pinai
8. The amazing feeling of going into a cool pool when overheated
9. The weird wonderful fruits, and the fruit shakes
10. Learning something new all the time.

When I get my financial side of life together, I will definetely spend more time travelling. Ideally a couple of months every winter, and maybe a six month stretch around Asia…
Kids look forward to going home to their friends now, though. Haha…
I want to visit Nepal, Laos, Cambodia, Myan Mar. Hawaii. San Fransisco maybe. Namibia. Barbados. Indonesia. Melanesia.

Think that’s the most important places for me. For the buddhist atmosphere which I find so peacefully all-embracing… for the healing traditions of f.ex. the big kahunas, their ho’oponopono…
For the Kung! San people of the Kalahari…
I loved my studies in socisl anthropology. Should do my master and go on fieldwork one day maybe…

And now I am here. In two hours they take us to the airport. Four hours flight and we land in Hanoi where we have never been before.

What do I expect?
As little as possible. Expecting positive surprises as I do in general in life. Expecting adventure and challenges we solve. I hope they are friendly and helpful like the Thais. The food is lovely, I have been to Vietnamese restaurants in Norway. I hope they sell clothes similar to here in Bangkok, as I need a new wardrobe! I hope to visit the tailor town Hoi An and be able to get myself a suit handsown!
And with their rugged coastline I expect there will be little beach time and hence a need to go for places with a pool when we look for places to stay…

Yeah. I shall try and write you from Vietnam. Can’t promise photos though. If you befriend me on Facebook, there’s loads of photos there. Only visible to friends. Just send me a message along with the friend request, I accept strangers into my facebook friend circle as long as they are not spambots, and they behave politely.

Let me try to upload a heading image, and go join my gang in the pool outside. Have a happy day out there on this our blue planet.

Pop gan mai!
(=See u later)!

Aha! Managed to upload photo. Let me push my luck and try to give u one more then, here at the end of today’s little story:

Aaaarrrggghhh! No can do. Trying to upload one of all five of us on top of two elephants taken two days ago, but doesn’t seem uploadable. Strange. Maybe rule is different for the “set featured image then, than for inserting into post.
Anyways.
Pop gan mai and mai pen rai (=no problem, never mind).
Wow, it rhymes!!
My first poem in Thai! Yeeaahh!

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