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Freedom for the Basque country: Independence graffiti along Spain’s ancient Camino

Walking the Camino del Norte in Northern Spain is as much an exercise in history as it of the body. Any notion of Spain as one unified nation was quietly put to rest for the autonomous regions of Spain are as distinct as the nations making up the United Kingdom. The Camino del Norte begins in the Basque country, Spain’s most notorious separatist state, starting … Continue reading Freedom for the Basque country: Independence graffiti along Spain’s ancient Camino

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Barcelona. A city not as it seems

Barcelona is a city where people lose and find themselves. For many, it is the ‘bucket list’ selfies in front of the Sagrada Familia, it is sipping cervesas by the beach surrounded by dark, bearded men and trying pinchos in the narrow, meandering passage ways of el Born or the Gótic quarter. It is this and so much more. Achingly, exhaustingly more. Beyond the curved … Continue reading Barcelona. A city not as it seems

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Deserted island camping in Northern Sumatra, Indonesia

Travel helps us to understand that disconnection can lead to the most beautiful reconnection. This is a lesson learnt from the adventures of two girlfriends and I through the north of Sumatra, Indonesia’s largest island. Before going to Sumatra, I had fantasies of dense jungles, wildly exotic people and places, rare animals, unknown territories and rugged quests. After having visited, these fantasies turned into reality. A … Continue reading Deserted island camping in Northern Sumatra, Indonesia

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Multilingualism. Benefits for culture, society and your mind

“Multiculturalism means more than a nice variety of food. Language is part and parcel of a multicultural society as culture is mediated through language and vice versa. It makes multiculturalism more interesting and valuable.” This is John Hajek, the Director of the Research Unit for Multilingualism and Cross Cultural Communication (RUMACC) at the University of Melbourne. Many children in English speaking countries are denied the … Continue reading Multilingualism. Benefits for culture, society and your mind

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The dangerous pursuit of perfection

We live in a world of continual comparison and pressure to be different, special and successful. The Western world sits pretty on its foundations of individuality, competition and relentless growth and without knowing it, the young are exposed to all kinds of subtle pressure to perform or shall we say outperform, those around them. The New York Times recently covered a story on the alarming … Continue reading The dangerous pursuit of perfection

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Get detoxed! But what exactly does that mean?

Detox. One of the buzz words of the now. Along with sustainability, eco, green, mindfulness, fair trade or carbon neutral the word has the ability to attract unsuspecting minds from all kinds of peripheries. We are inherently attracted to the idea of ‘detoxing’ and being ‘toxin free’ despite not usually having the faintest idea of what toxins are afflicting us in the first place. Food … Continue reading Get detoxed! But what exactly does that mean?

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Australian aboriginal lore and how I learnt to be invisible

I’ve been on this Earth for 30 years and in that time I’ve learnt a lot about a lot of different people. I’ve travelled through Europe, South East Asia, Central America and the Pacific and lived in Asia for an extended period. I’ve been up and down the East Coast and along the West Coast of this country. I’ve met and befriended people from all over the … Continue reading Australian aboriginal lore and how I learnt to be invisible

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Feet in two worlds, heart in none: Feature film by Bangarra director

What does it feel like to have a foot in two worlds and a heart in none? Highly acclaimed new film from the director of Bangarra Dance Theatre, SPEAR, follows a young man Djali who is grappling with this very question; how to place the ancient traditions of his culture into the modern world around him. Drinking in scenes from the rugged Pacific coastline of … Continue reading Feet in two worlds, heart in none: Feature film by Bangarra director

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What a world we live in. World Press Photo 2015

Capturing and conveying the complex and diverse world of stories around us is no mean feat. Photojournalism is one medium that does this exceptionally well and at this, the annual World Press Photo exhibition presents the absolute best. The World Press Photo of the Year for 2015 is of Jon and Alex, a gay couple sharing an intimate moment in St Petersburg Russia. It is … Continue reading What a world we live in. World Press Photo 2015

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Five things you don’t know about Sweden

#1. They have run out of trash. Sweden is so good at reusing their waste they’ve run out. Their world-class waste management system means less than 1% of garbage produced in Swedish homes ends up in landfill, with the other 99% being recycled or composted for energy. The country’s 32 waste to energy (WTE) plants provide electricity for 250 000 homes and 20% of the … Continue reading Five things you don’t know about Sweden

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World’s top three most crowded islands

When you think of the most crowded islands on earth what comes to mind? Manhattan? Somewhere in China or India? The top three on this list are intriguing in that their geographical locations and cultural backgrounds are decidedly distinct. They range from quite large to unbelievably tiny and give a unique insight to the expression ‘packed like a sardine.’ 3. Migingo Island – Kenya Population: 400 … Continue reading World’s top three most crowded islands

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Curaçao. Little Amsterdam of the Caribbean

We can all probably think of that bright blue bottle of liqueur that sits on bar shelves, barely touched and only incorporated into the most outlandish of cocktails? Curaçao is its name and surprisingly it’s not just a liqueur. Curaçao liqueur (pronounced kewr-e-sow) is made on the so-named island from laraha citrus fruit, a bitter and basically inedible descendent of the domesticated orange. Like its … Continue reading Curaçao. Little Amsterdam of the Caribbean

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The vast wilderness of Mongolia

Mongolia is one of those lands where you’ll still encounter roads trips taken by horse than car. It is said to have the best horseman on earth and this weekend gone they are celebrating Nadaam festival, the nationwide celebration of the three so-called ‘manly’ sports, archery, wrestling and horse racing. Home to one of the few nomadic people left and with a population of around … Continue reading The vast wilderness of Mongolia

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Is our sludge worth its weight in gold?

Would you lower yourself into a drain of human sludge and faecal matter for the slim chance of finding specks of gold? If you were living with 15 other people in a squalid room the size of an average Australian bathroom, had no education, no job prospects and dependents to support, I guess you would. In Kolkata India, where thousands of goldsmiths work in the … Continue reading Is our sludge worth its weight in gold?

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Finding contentment within our careers

FINDING peace and contentment in our working lives can be a tricky balance to uphold. Career satisfaction used to mean having a job, any job, with enough financial security to buy a house, raise a family and be a generally respectable citizen. Nowadays, the bar has raised somewhat. Should I be earning more money? Why can’t I find work doing what I love? Am I … Continue reading Finding contentment within our careers

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What does it mean to be a girl in today’s world?

In many respects, it means what your culture says it means. In tribute to International Women’s Day on March 8, ABC has aired the critically acclaimed 2013 documentary ‘I AM A GIRL’ which follows the lives of several teenage girls on the brink of womanhood in countries around the world. I AM A GIRL is remarkable because it shows the extent to which culture dictates … Continue reading What does it mean to be a girl in today’s world?

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One man’s story: crossing the Himalayas

Originally posted on The Press Collective:
In northern India, nestled in the Himalayas, the town Upper Dharamasala provides a safe haven for a bustling Tibetan community. In 2012, a short stay introduced me to this beautiful area. Even in April, snow-capped mountains created a picturesque backdrop. Tibetan prayer flags fluttered over the paths and in the alpine forests. Small bald monks in maroon robes strolled… Continue reading One man’s story: crossing the Himalayas

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Chefchaouen, Morocco. A land for genies.

Chefchaouen, a small town in the northern central part of Morocco awakens every sensory cell in the human body. Walking through the narrow, blue stained streets and corridors of this city is like entering the world through the bottle of a genie. A place where merchants, gypsies, spice wielders, silversmiths and vagabonds still swap, swindle, stir and sell in its squares. It is a powerful place, full of … Continue reading Chefchaouen, Morocco. A land for genies.

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Helsinki. Saunas, style and midnight sun.

Helsinki, Finland’s capital, is a lesser known European travel destination and so the devouring eyes of hungry tourists have not robbed its authenticity and charm. It is undeniably Scandinavian, in style, in function and in form. As a society, Finland leads the world for its all comprehensive and inclusive social services and progressive education system that focuses on learning and equality over competition and test taking. This aside, … Continue reading Helsinki. Saunas, style and midnight sun.

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Five things walking a pilgrimage taught me

Being uncomfortable is OK. When was the last time you were uncomfortable? I’m talking actual physical discomfort, not sadness from a break up or nervousness before an exam or meeting. Chances are if you are a modern, indoors working urbanite like myself you probably have rarely, if ever, experienced it. I hadn’t. Being on pilgrimage taught me that it’s completely OK to be uncomfortable. To be … Continue reading Five things walking a pilgrimage taught me

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The happy hormones we get from dirt

When I come upon a tree or a vine with actual fruit on it in the city I get excited. Naturally, I just want to eat the delicious, fresh, found fruit and enjoy the rare delight of being able to pick it myself. Despite the slightly confusing aspect of knowing whether it’s ok to take fruit hanging from a tree that’s half on the footpath … Continue reading The happy hormones we get from dirt