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Friday, 17 June 2016

Miniscule Problems From Afar

When you realise the vastness and the beauty of this world, it makes your problems seem minute. What's wrong is fully encompassed by what is right. The good outweighs the bad.

Sometimes situations prove tough and will test you. But, in this test, this is the universe checking in to see if your lessons have paid off.

Happiness engulfs the sadness, but only when you let it. Only when you can stand back and see life for what it is: an opportunity to grow and learn. It is better to live a trialed life than to live an easy one. For only through trials can you learn and grow.

As I write this piece,  I'm in transit from Hamburg to Berlin and so, I'd also like to share a little about my travels as I go along. Germany has been the cleanest looking country that I've visited thus far. Take this literally,  there is no rubbish on the streets. The people are harsh and blunt but have good inner minds. I have met people from all walks of life and from many different countries. I guess that this is one of the best parts of travelling: getting into conversations that you would never have imagined with people you never thought you would meet.

Germany, whilst extremely industrious and rich in culture, there are many people living here from all different corners of the globe, does have its problems.

As I peered at the billboards on my treks throughout the city, I saw advertisements for cigarettes. This is something completely unheard of in the UK. Indeed, you can actually purchase cigarettes from vending machines without the use of I.D.! When visiting nightclubs, a large majority support smoking indoors, a practise made illegal in the UK even before I became of age to drink. For this, I'm thankful for our regulation. I like that in a paternalistic sense, our government seeks to improve the health of the nation.

Furthermore, whilst visiting surrounding bars and wandering through the city at night, one was approached by countless men promoting a seemingly countless number of 'strip clubs' within the city. My viewpoint is that if they exist, there must be demand for them in the surrounding area. Basic economics says that in a free market, markets are made by demander and suppliers.  Fair enough for this city. Although, I also believe that this existence is evidence of a patriarchal society in which mysogyny is ripe. It feels sleazy just walking past these establishments.

One last point I would like to talk about is alcohol. Yes, we all drink it, but have you ever bought a 500ml (1 pint equivalent) of 5% beer for 0.30€? Visit a local supermarket here and you can. Now everyone would have mixed feelings about this: yes it's great that things are cheaper, but thinking about society: this is a demerit good. When people can legally drinking 30 cent pints of strong beer as they walk the streets,  this causes a wider societal problem. I would see this as another reason for alcohol regulation.

That being said, there are some great initiatives by the local governance here. For example, if you do buy a recyclable product, such as a bottle of water; you can then bring the bottle back to a local drop off point and you get paid to recycle it. As we face an international climate crisis, I feel that this is a great initiative, leading, at least this locality, in the right direction.

Now I know that this post was quite long, but I had a lot to talk about! I basically just wanted to cover what I had been thinking about intellectually, along with what I saw in this city.

Thanks for reading. Until next time....

Stefan Devlin

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Travelling Thoughts, Dispersing Ideas

As I write this into the notes section of my phone, I'm on a train travelling to Hamburg from Amsterdam, a part of my 6 weeks of travelling around Europe. I have been unable to write a lot simply due to time and other projects (vlogs) that I've been working on. This writing is not complex nor is it meant to summarise all of my thoughts, it's just a quick look into my thoughts from travelling, along with ideas from 'The Alchemist', a novel I have just finished reading.

After thinking for a while though, I had a personal realisation. Originally, you dream of taking on the world, but you always sell yourself short.

Sometimes it takes time to think, time to self reflect in order to actually follow your destiny, go out there and follow it. We all have an opportunity to achieve something great. Some people see this and go out to seek greatness. But, many of us are content with just getting by in life. Thinking that money and a few friends is a solution to inner fulfillment. This couldn't be further from the truth.

Travelling, reading and talking to people has taught me this. You learn that everyone is on their own separate path in life. This is a beautiful fact. You should never try and beat anyone, you should never compete in terms of lifestyles. Never look at the destinies of others, try and seek your own destiny. Spend every moment of your existence trying to find it.

Travel, see the world. After seeing the world, you will find that Home is Home. There are some really beautiful places in the world but sometimes it's the place you least expect, home, to be the best.

Again, this is just a culmination of thoughts I've had since beginning my journey. I am by far not finished travelling or thinking, but I've noted a few ideas.

Don't let your expectations of places or ideas influence your beliefs. Always seek to experience everything in your own eyes. Whether that is Paris being over-romanticised and Brussels being a super modern 'Mekkah' for European development. Of course,  to a degree these are both true. But in reality, there are so many different perspectives of every single place. There are so many aspects to discover and so many expectations to smash. Sometimes things will fail to meet your expectations. This might seem daunting of an idea, but it's true. You can't believe anything until you see it, feel it or experience it for yourself. That's beautiful though. When going in with an open mind, you can discover and learn so much!

I will probably write up a few pieces in the next few weeks, but when I really get time to reflect, when I return to Belfast, I will be able to write with a lot more clarity.

It's human nature to want to be apart of something different.

Thank you for reading, wherever in the world you are.

Stefan Devlin