Promises Unkept, Intentions Good


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As the title nudges at, I have not kept to my promise of being here more often. There was a time I felt so compelled to write. Every evening, I was there in front of the keyboard, fingers tap-tapping away at furious speed, only pausing to take a sip of coffee and inhale sense, hit backspace and clean up mistakes. What’s changed then? A lot of things, and most of them good. I shall not delve into the details, however there is no real excuse as to why I have not been writing other than the fact that I did not give it priority over other things in my life. And that, ladies and gentleman, is why I do not think a career as a travel blogger ever existed beyond the realm of my imagination – I simply lack the discipline.

To go back to the title however, it was not merely for the above stated lack of commitment to writing/blogging. A few months ago, perhaps it might have been a year, time seems to flow, each day following the next as one fresh ripple after the other, no seam or visible separation discernible. However, I digress. Let’s call it an even 7 months ago I embarked upon this personal journey of choice where I tried to wean myself off meat and partake of a vegetarian diet. I did not go cold turkey (accidental pun, I promise), I started off cutting out red meat, subsisting on vegetables and chicken, with a healthy dose of eggs thrown in gingerly cracked open.

Let me start by explaining my reasons, mainly it was for the animals, I felt like a hypocrite saying that I loved animals while munching on a perfectly roasted chicken wing. My second reason was that it’s better for the planet – along with recycling, reducing use of single use plastics and being careful with water, eating a vegan/vegetarian diet is right up there with those concerned with living sustainably. I’d like to say all my friends and family rallied around with support of my decision, but no, my decision was met with surprise, incredulity, debates and even jokes. I did not take offence at any of this, feeling that I was doing the right thing.

I did not stick to it beyond a few months though, there was too much temptation at every turn, I felt like I was never full or satiated eating only vegetables, and cooking became somewhat boring. These are all personal problems, things I could have worked on. However, being in the final semester of my master’s degree, I chose the easy route, bought a burger and ‘mmmm’ed in satisfaction at my first bite. None of this is to discount my earlier sentiments; I still believe that animals are treated with extreme cruelty in the meat, dairy, poultry industries. The thing that I do have trouble with, and this (if it ever gets read) will cause many people anger and frustration, especially those who believe that our lack of sharp pointy canine teeth is evidence of our inherent vegetarian diet, … the thing I have trouble with is that I do not believe humans are vegetarian by nature. There, I’ve said it. We are omnivores, not meant to be tearing flesh off dying animals with our bare hands (with a noticeable lack of claws) or latching on to their butts with our dagger-like teeth as we run them down. Evolution gave us the advantage of tools, to bring down animals bigger than us, faster than us and eat them for their meat, and fire to make both vegetables and meat palatable.

I do not agree at all with the way humans treat food production, vegetables, fruit, animals included. As with the many who also share this view, I can see that greed and convenience have bred the state things are in today. Growing more food than we need, stocking supermarket shelves to the rafters all the time lest there be a whiff of ‘not enough’, and then throwing away the un-purchased food once the expiry date hops around. Do not even get me started on all the food that doesn’t merit coming face to face with humans at all because it didn’t grow in the perfect shape we expected it to. A less than round tomato, heaven forbid! And all this while millions starve, and millions more scavenge waste piles looking for something to calm their rumbling stomachs.

This is of course a very big topic, and there is no way I have touched on anything in depth here, this has been more of a rant, an exploration of the thoughts about this subject that rattle around in my head. The problem with the ‘animals reared for or as food’ industry is not one that can be solved in one go. There is no one magical solution that will put an end to this –  it is a grand challenge, a global grand challenge. Will there ever be enough forward thinking amongst politicians, policy makers, leaders and regular Joes and Janes like you and me that will allow an overhaul such as the one we will need to end the food crisis? To mitigate the waste before it becomes too big to push out of sight into landfills? A weighty topic is this, but one I feel strongly about – from the producers to packagers to consumers, is there a way that all of them can work together? Must it be left to the money hungry to decide what becomes of our world, or can small changes we can all make herald changes, hopefully causing a positive domino effect?

These are answers I do not have. However, I am so open to hearing from you all though, ideas, thoughts, personal struggles, triumphs. What do you think about waste in today’s world?


Happy New Year!

Hello Blogosphere! I haven’t been here in a long while and there are several sloppy excuses, and actual reasons. I am now a postgraduate – yay! It’s been just over a month since I successfully completed my Master of Design degree, and what a journey it has been. As anyone who has been with me before the hiatus knows, I am in Australia – which was definitely a long time dream that became reality. I came here hoping I could continue to add to the travel content here on Oh! Fernweh because this beautiful country has so much to offer. The reality of that goal however was far from achievable for me. I have studied with people who had the same study load as me, who had part-time jobs like me, and still managed to travel, unlike me. I cannot answer for them and how they did it, but I know I used whatever free time I had to recharge, alone.

Fast forward almost two years and I finally went off on a holiday to replenish my soul so to speak, to that beautiful island that I fell in love with on my first visit – Bali. I returned from a 10 day break with another island to add to the ‘love list’ and also the feeling that I could not put off real life any longer. It’s great being a student in your late twenties, it gives you a breather from the rat race (should you choose to be a part of it), but for me, the anxiety of ‘What next?’, ‘What now?’ also crept in along the way. So during my visit to Bali and Gili Air I let it all go, hoping that the answer would come to me as I looked over the beautiful ocean and felt the salt breeze on my skin. In a way, it did, a small inkling of it.

A bit of background is required here. I am primarily a designer, and a very selective part-time artist. Having studied design for 7 years in total, it was shocking to me that sustainability was not an issue that was discussed enough, not at all in my undergradute education and just 1 course in my postgraduate degree out of 12. What I believe is that sustainability is a design imperative, that trash is a design side effect. If this is a confronting topic for you, please feel free to stop reading.

It has been so hard to come back here and start writing about the kind of topics I was writing about before because that is not how I feel anymore. This is what I want to talk about now, and I am aware that travel does not really fit comfortably within the sphere of living sustainably, but that is travel for the sake of travel, for likes, for followers and for all the brand endorsements. Hopefully along this journey, I will figure out that wonderful algorithm for sustainable travel that does not require a backpack and hostels.

So what does this mean for Oh! Fernweh? Possibly a name change, if I can think of one clever enough that I’d like to pay to own, haha! Otherwise, I still hope to bring to life the beauty I find as I wander around (not aimlessly), but also have a strong focus on how we, as individuals, can help build a stronger tomorrow. As the top species on this planet, we have a moral responsibility to care for it, and its inhabitants either directly or indirectly. This will include opinion pieces, well researched pieces and also just my own little tips, tricks and hacks. If you would like to join me on this path, hit the Follow button, and also feel free to check out my Instagram: @ohfernweh where I will be adding content related to the blog along with the randomness *ahem* curated content that I already post. I sincerely hope you stick with me. See you soon!