Summer plans

We’ll spend this summer on Gotland, which is a small Island in the middle of the baltic sea. It’s where we both grew up and where our families live. Our plan is to learn how to grow our own food, and to enjoy the summer together with friends and family. If you happen to pass by Gotland, let us know!

To this date we’ve planted:

  • Haverrot
  • Chili
  • Paprika
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes
  • Leeks
  • Artichokes
  • Strawberrys

… and more!

Let us know if you have any tips or ideas for how to do gardening.
We’ll post occasional updates here, while we’ll post much more often over at our Swedish blog Mangolandet.se.

Giving Birth

Obviously, I didn’t know what it would be like to give birth to a baby. Still, I stayed so convinced throughout my pregnancy that it would be a wonderful experience, and I was surprised to see how many of my girlfriends that came to me and asked me if I wasn’t scared to death. I wasn’t. But all I could do was to give them my personal thoughts about giving birth in general, not knowing if and how they would change when it actually happened. Now I know, and my thoughts haven’t changed a bit. It makes me concerned to see that plenty of young women believe it must be horrible to give birth since I know most of them want to have children. Therefore I’d like to share my experience with you.

It seems to be the fear of pain that scares people the most. I’ve used three helpful thoughts when it comes to going through the pain:

1, The pain itself doesn’t have to be a bad thing, only pain in combination with fear is damaging and traumatic. I read a lot about this in “Att möta förlossningssmärtan” (“Facing the labor pains”) by the Swedish midwife and author Gudrun Abascal, a book I highly recommend. Unfortunately there is no English version yet, only Swedish.

2, No matter how painful it might be, the time of the actual delivery is a fractional part of the looong pregnancy. You’re at the finish line!

3, Every single person on Earth has been born. I kept this in mind every time a walked through a big crowd through my pregnancy. Imagine how many successful births that is!

I can’t say giving birth to Kima didn’t hurt. If it wouldn’t hurt at all people could give birth anywhere out in the streets, which would be a direct danger to the baby. In other words, the pain is useful, it makes you perfectly focused on delivering your baby and nothing but that. Unlike other pain, this is a positive type. It leads you to the first meeting with your child. What a reward after 9 months of carrying it inside you! I guess I could compare it with running a marathon; it’s a huge physical exertion that I’m sure is not only pleasant, but it’s still an amazing experience to go through.

And really, I never found the pain any worse than that I’ve been looking forward to doing it again form the very second our daughter was born. I’m therefore convinced that anybody can manage even the most painful situation – as long as you don’t panic. I didn’t use any medical pain relief either, since the whole process was over in a few hours and I felt alright with just a heating pad and some hot towels. Though I think it’s great that all sorts of pain relief is accessible in modern hospitals, I believe it might make you even more afraid of how much it would hurt WITHOUT medical help, since no pain killers will numb the pain completely.

Another aspect that makes me critical towards using medical pain relief is that I’m not sure I would have felt completely how much and when to push or to take a break etc. And I found this to be the most fascinating part of the process – my body told me EXACTLY what to do and I just had to string along. Somehow I think that makes baby delivering one of the easiest things a woman can do, funny enough! And no matter what happens when you give birth, I’m sure the pride, love and relaxation you feel once you can finally hold your baby in your hand for the first time is the same.

I’d be incredibly happy if I could inspire a future mother or two who might feel anxious about giving birth. I look at my one month old daughter who I’m breastfeeding while i write, and I happily confirm my overwhelming conviction from early in the the pregnancy: Giving birth to her was absolutely wonderful.

A Different Kind of Challenge

Pontus in a tree!

It’s been over 9 months since we got back from Pakistan and settled for a while in Stockholm, and our baby moved into my belly. Made him/herself comfortable and became the third part of our family. Now that we’re no more than two days (!) from due date, I reflect a lot upon the different kind of adventure that we’ve had the privilege to meet this year.

Travelling around the world is a big challenge. Constantly meeting new people, new scenarios, adjust, adapt, stay alert, keep the energy and passion even if your money run out or you loose your way. But in a way I find all that very easy, very natural. When we’re on the move, we are also “served” with experiences. Automatically fascinated and amused by the world around us as we gain new skills and knowledge. I’m not saying travelling is only easy, but it’s part of a travelers nature to discover and soak up the new atmosphere. Inspired to tell, to write, to share and learn.

Since March when we moved to Stockholm and started working regular jobs again, we’ve obviously been a lot more stationary. Especially due to the pregnancy and me vomiting 15 times a day for a few months. That makes me philosophize about what’s more challenging; to travel the world or to stay just as inspired in your daily, stationary life? Both, I’m sure, in their own ways as the grass often seems to be greener on the other side. For me personally right now, I know the answer :) !

Make no mistake; I am incredibly happy and I’m doing excellent. We are so excited to meet our baby that our apartment shivers, and I absolutely LOVE living the life I live right now! All I want is to remind you all including myself for the new year ahead, that making your weekdays feel fresh and new is a challenge worth credit. To keep lifting your chin above the wall, to keep looking AROUND the corner you pass every day on your way home from work, that takes some effort.

We are inspired by our friends, by making bread and baking cakes, by our mango baby plant, meeting couchsurfers (although it’s been a while now), picking mushrooms in Gotland and spending time with each other and the kicking belly. What ever you do in your daily life, it will be just as much fun as YOU make it! Merry Christmas to those of you who will celebrate it and a happy new year to all you njaros out there!

Amanda

Good Luck Or a Matter of Behavior

What is good luck?
From a philosophic perspective, you could say that “luck” doesn’t exist. That there are no such things as having good or bad luck. Many people who were impressed as we returned from Pakistan also told us that we had had “a lot of good luck”.

From one point of view, they might have been right. You might consider good luck as when a situation where you are totally out of control still turns out well. Like, you meet a black mamba but it doesn’t bite you, or somebody tries to rob you but you don’t loose any valuables. But more likely is that the mamba doesn’t bite you cause you didn’t freak out enough to offend the animal. Or you’d been smart not to carry any loose money or wear any jewelry worth steeling.

Meaning, it’s not your “good luck” that saves you, it’s a matter of your behavior.
You surely COULD get hit by a car while crossing the road, but most of the times you’d prevent this by looking carefully before crossing.

Yes, we are very lucky that nothing incredibly bad happened to us along our way from Poland to Pakistan, and many other times in life as well. But was it just fate sending us a few hundred amazing people to pick us up as we hitchhiked, or did our attitude and choice of behavior also bring out the best of the people we met?

You are mightier than you might think. You are in position to drive, change and affect what happens to you. Break down negative destiny. Create a new one that suits you.

Life as a constant adventure

Some people asked us directly on return what our next adventure would be about.
“What’s the next challenge?” they asked.
“Each moment of life has the possibility of being a challenge and an adventure, if you so choose.” was our predictable answer.

Now, we might have a more satisfying answer for you all:
We’re expecting a baby in December! This is our biggest adventure to date. Amanda has been struggling with nausea and puking during 4,5 months now, and hasen’t been able to work much, though we’re nearly halfway through the pregnancy. This has been a great challenge for Amanda, as she has not been out or even seen much besides the bed and the toilet. We’re pretty sure it will be worth the struggle x 1000 though, and can’t wait for this years Christmas to come around and expand our little family.

We’re planning on moving to Gotland within a few years, and so we’re keeping an eye on the housing market. We wish for our child to have the privilege of calling Gotland her/his home, just as we’ve had. Inspired by the HelpX and WOOFing community, we’re planning on getting a big house somewhere on the country side. Now, it won’t be expensive and it won’t be pretty but it will be a fun project! And guess what? You’re all invited.

This geographical move will certainly result in a big pile of new challenges that need to be completed! And what an adventure :) ! For starters, we don’t even know if we’ll be able to find work on Gotland, or how we’re going to solve that potential issue. Only time will tell.

This certainly doesn’t mean we won’t keep traveling, blogging etc. Writing about our future journeys as a family will probably be even more relevant and just as interesting.

Now we’ve heard that Niall is about to start his long journey, that Andra and Razvan are moving to China, and Breno is back (and blogging!) in Brazil.

What is your next move?

Inspiration: Acrobat of the Road!

Acrobat of the Road showing students a map

Acrobat of the Road is a blog by Juan and Laura. Juan became a hitchhiking nomad on May 1st 2005 and has been traveling ever since! He has been to Europe, Middle East, China, Tibet, India, Laos and Thailand! He somehow ended up in Argentina and met his life mate Laura.

Now, they are attempting to hitchhike from Antarctica to Greenland!

Besides all the hitchhiking stuff (which is really cool and inspiring) they also have a project where they involve school children, villages and neighborhoods. They show pictures of other countries and have the ambitious and wonderful goal of generating empathy and intercultural understanding.

From their website:

“By sharing updated images of everyday life of the countries already visited we display world hospitality and transmit the fact that a better world is not only possible but actually already exists.

Also, when addressing high-school level students we install the concept of travelling as a method to acquire knowledge and plant the seed of curiosity.

We never introduce ourselves as otherworldly heroes but rather show that travelling (not tourism) is at everyone’s reach.”

We think that this is an incredible project… and because of that we sent them an email!

Beginning of email:
—-
Mangomanjaro: Hi,
found your website through CouchSurfing.
Really awesome project you’re up to.
Where are you guys at now?
Paraguay?

Acrobat of the Road: HI we are already in Bolivia! Thanks for your message!

Mangomanjaro: We hitchhiked from Poland to Pakistan, and blogged about it at http://mangomanjaro.se .
Now when we’re back home, we’re writing an article about you.

Acrobat of the Road: About me? really? Go ahead! thanks again!

Mangomanjaro: Do you have any specific images that you would allow us to use in the article?

Acrobat of the Road: All of them are available to share in this case. Note I am not travelling alone, but together with my girlfriend Laura.

Mangomanjaro: Are there any specific thoughts or causes that are more important to you than others?

Acrobat of the Road: Check on the menu, you will find the whole idea is to portray world hospitality and write books to spread the word! I would be really greatful if you could share a link to my e-book “Vagabonding in the Axis of Evil – By thumb in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan“.

By selling the e-book we fund the educational nomadic project

Mangomanjaro: How did you come up with the idea to connect the south and north pole by hitchhiking?
Is it a common concept in south america?

Acrobat of the Road: It’s not a common idea. People normally go as far north as Mexico… The idea is to work out a book about the American continent, so that means going all the well. Alaska is too obvious so we decided to hit Greenland.

—-

That was the email conversation :) !
Check them out at http://acrobatoftheroad.blogspot.com, buy the book and send them an email!