Like any city, in any country, on any continent, you can stay in the tourist trap centre, or you can veer off into the depths of reality and explore suburban life. In most cities you are warned not to leave the tourist district. In the mind of your advisers, it’s best to stay with other vulnerable tourists, presumably this area is safer than walking around a neighbourhood where people actually live? Strange logic.
Stepping onto the wide stone fortress that is Charles Bridge, I took in what was to be our home for the next four days. A cacophony of sounds and sights filled my eyes and ears. The rapid rhythms of the Charles Bridge Band, the peaceful melodies of the flute seller, and the wide and serene blue waters of the river Danube, adding a small dose of stillness in all of the chaos.
I recently discovered, after watching the incredible documentary “Next Goal Wins” by British filmmakers Mike Brett and Steve Jamison, that in Samoan culture there exists a third gender, called fa’afafines. Highlighted by the talented football player Jiyah Saelua, a defender in the American Samoa national team who had notoriously been named the worst football team of all time. This inspiring not only seeks to change that but also opens up a new category of discrimination – gender.
So far, I have been living away from my easy one-click travel necessities and spontaneous charity shopping expeditions to the local high street of my home of England for six months – and I have been coping. Well, for the first few months I was living in the US, that was easy. But for the last two and a half I have been living in Colombia, in South America, and access to that fashion fix isn’t so easy.
I have been travelling since I was around 17 without my parents. Five girls excitedly sat on a plane towards the European quarters of Greece and Spain. Sure, I got myself into a couple of scrapes (all my own fault), but I took care of myself, and we took care of each other. Since then I have spent four months in Greece, a few months travelling India and graced a number of other European cities.
The vast country of Brazil contains over half of the entire Amazon rainforest. So if you love adventure, Brazil’s Amazon city, Manaus, is the place to start. Experience captivating culture with its colonial houses, jungle landscapes and the picturesque harbour, while situated in the heart of the Amazon jungle. Despite its location, Manaus is a relatively easy city to get to, and from here you can take a number of Brazilian river cruises into the Amazon on a unique riverboat, with itineraries ranging from two to ten days.
After Bruce Jenner revealed his new complete look as Caitlyn Jenner and appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair, people are really talking about sexuality. But in the cosplay world this isn’t anything knew, sexuality is an acceptable topic and one that frequently overlaps. In cosplay people sometimes refer to this switching of genders, as gender-bender cosplay. It sounds kind of offensive, but some cosplayers have adopted the term.
As a female singer./songwriter myself one of my biggest influences was the famously shy singer and songwriter Laura Marling. To me, her poetic fluidity and wondrous melodies takes song writing to the next level.
Whenever I visit a “third world” country I feel constantly frustrated, and living in Colombia is no different. The frustration may appear to be on the surface of my experience, why can’t I cross the road without it being a life-threatening experience, why are some things more expensive here than in the UK, and why are there so many poor people? But I know it goes a lot deeper than these trivial daily difficulties.
For too long now we have been dictated to by magazines, newspapers and blogs telling us they know what’s best for our bodies. We follow them religiously, and when one doesn’t work we suck it up and try another one. From no carb diets, to reducing your calories, to only considering your fat intake and not worrying about the calories, to no food at all, it’s, frankly, too much. It’s time to move on.