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Music & Stories- “I created an event especially for me!”

So here I am writing about something I only dreamed would happen. It’s just that, this was no longer in my plans. I sing. Yes. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. As life went by, my singing evolved from just the church to audiences on a professional level. Always for someone else, never just for me. I had my run and it was great. I kinda forgot about the things I wanted to do musically. I moved on, and started pursuing life in a different direction. Then, just like that, because of one decision, some of the things that I always wanted began to happen. FAST!

In June I shared an idea I developed to do a house show with a good friend of mine. She loved the idea and immediately saw my vision. Not only did she see my vision, but she helped me get to work in planning to make this happen!  The original house show idea came from one of my favorite artists, Jason Mraz. I was watching him on you tube many years ago and he was encouraging people that love to sing and perform not to wait on something big. He advised to “just invite your friends over and sing!” I thought this was just such a creative idea! So I took the idea and created an event especially for me….

Grateful!

Music & Stories

As many of you already know, I have a deep rooted purpose to inspire others. There are many ways that I have done this and will continue to do this in the future. I wanted to create a show that would allow me to inspire others through words and music.  The focus was never just on the music, but it was about reaching people through music and my words.  So, this show had two main goals; to inspire people through my words and to introduce the Danish lifestyle of “Hygge” in order to encourage the most comfortable atmosphere I could.  The song selection was based on the message I wanted to give through each story.  Music is what brought us all together. It’s amazing how we can all speak the same language through music.

Hygge

What is Hygge?? (pronounced HUE-gah) Here is the best dictionary definition I could find….”A quailty of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” It is a very hard concept to define. Hygge is about creating an atmospher and an experience. It’s about being with the people you love. A  safe feeling of home. A feeling that you can let your guard down and enjoy some guilty pleasures together. I have found this lifestyle to be simple but complicated at the same time. There is a lot of language that describes it but the idea of the atmosphere is simple. Family. Friends. Conversation. Candles. Coffee. Tea. Hot Cocoa. Blankets. Pillows. Fluffy Socks. PJ’s. Sweets. Comfort Foods.  All of these things and more help to create the desired hygge atmosphere.

Why Hygge?? I included this lifestyle as a part of my show because; I have adopted it in my own life and I look for different ways to incorporate it and  I wanted to create an atmosphere that would allow people to feel safe and comfortable. Hoping that they would be more open to receive the messages I had to give. So that’s it! That’s Hygge! If you are interested, there is a wonderful book that goes into great detail about this lifestyle called The Little Book Of Hygge by Meik Wiking. It has wonderful pictures! Check it out!

Culture

One of the things I enjoyed about this show is that there were so many different cultures and backgrounds that attended. I felt blessed to have people from as close as Japan to as far as the continent of Africa! There can be so many barrieres when it comes to culture, but music brings people together in a way that can’t be described. Check out the pictures and videos below. If you didn’t attend, hopefully these pictures and and video clips will give you an idea of the amazing atmosphere and a peek into the world of Music & Stories!

Thank you’sJiro-san (Guitar) Words can not express how deeply grateful I am to you! You were amazing and helped make this night possible.  Sono-san (Transltor) You rock! I know it was not an easy task but you did it!! Thanks for bridging the gap! Ukba-san– You saw my vision and pushed me to see alot more! You were there every step of the way. Thank you for letting me lean on you.  Rieko-san– I’m gonna have you run the fan club! (lol) You are my biggest cheerleader and you never miss an opportunity to tell others about little ole me! Thank you for helping me organize this and making sure the night was perfect. To my family and friends over the seas that couldn’t be here….I love you! 

 

 

I’m here, now what? Things you MUST do when exploring a new city!

So you made it to your destination! You’re tired but excited and you didn’t plan a THING! You have no idea what to see or what to do and until now, you didn’t give that part much thought. Well, I must admit that I’m a planner, so I can’t completely relate. However, I hardly ever plan every detail and I have shown up in a city or two without a plan at all. I may have even shown up in a city I didn’t even know I would be in…..oops!

So listen, I’ve come up with a short list of things you should do when exploring a new place. I love this list mainly because of one reason, it usually allows me to connect with locals and experience daily life. Ok, maybe that’s two but who’s counting! lol Let’s talk about it!

 PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

I learned early on that public transportation was the way to go! During my first couple of trips I spent alot of time and money jumping in taxis. After living in China and traveling in China I learned the hard way to stay out of taxis! I got ripped off several times, stuck in traffic, and just frustrated with trying to help the driver figure out where to go. There are times when they are helpful and you need them. As a rule of thumb I just rely on them as a last resort, not a first option.

Public transportation is a great way to connect with locals and get a different view of the city you are in.  You can explore neighborhoods and maybe even see places that interest you that you where unaware of! I’m a lover of Garrett’s popcorn. During one of my trips to Bangkok I saw a local with a Garrett’s popcorn bag and I lost it! I had no idea they had locations in Bangkok! So I went to him and demanded he tell me where I could buy some! LOL Well, maybe I just asked nicely if he could tell me where I could get some. He was very nice and helpful and that night I sat in my hostel eating my Garrett’s popcorn that I didn’t even know exsited there hours before. All because I rode the skytrain!  By the way, Bangkok’s public transport is great! So get out and see the city from a different view by using public tranportation. It will save you lots of money too! DISCLAIMER: Be careful about riding city buses! Especially if you don’t know the language. Although they are cheap, they are not always easy to navigate. I strongly believe that buses are for the locals! lol I’m all about taking the chance and giving it a try, within reason!

 

LOCAL GROCERY STORES

Going to the local grocery store is a must! It’s usually the first thing I do in a new place or any place for several reasons. One being that I always stock up on water before I get out and about. I never drink the water in a foreign country even if it’s drinkable. I suggest you don’t either. Generally, your body does not have enough time to adjust to possible parasites and toxins in foriegn water. So, what might not make the locals sick, might make you sick. Keep that in mind.

Another reason I like going to the local grocery store is to see what local food or snacks they sell. It gives you a sense of the meals they prepare and I always see something that is interesting! I like to try to figure out what things are and ask questions to the locals I see in the store. I never leave without picking up a local snack to try!

LOCAL COFFEE SHOPS OR LIVE MUSIC VENUES

I love music! Music brings people together on so many levels. I can’t count the conversations I have had with people at music venues around the world. It’s something about music that connects people no matter where you are from. Coffee shops and live music venues are a great way to connect with locals and other travellers. It also helps that I don’t mind picking up the mic and joining in on the fun!

Little Big Ben

DOWNTOWN (THE CITY)

The downtown area is very fun to explore. It’s usually the heart of the area. Most of the time you will find markets, live music, shopping and sights to see! There have been times when I just didn’t feel like doing much exploring, so I decided to just hit the downtown area and I felt fulfilled.

SHOPPING MALLS

I’m not a big shopper. When I visit shopping malls as I travel it is to people watch, look at the fashion selections, and find good places to eat! I might even pick up a souvenir or two. Although I usually get them in the downtown markets! However, its also great to look at different mall structures and get use to local currency.

VISTOR CENTERS

Vistor centers are the way to go!! I was so missing out early on in my travels. When I visited Tokyo I had the best experience at a vistor center. They were very helpful with directions and things to do. They also offered many free things such as; Kimono dressing and Calligraphy writing! I had similar expereinces at other vistor centers around the world. Please don’t miss out on a great way to connect with the community and help make your trip stress-free!

So that’s my list! What did I forget? I would love to hear your suggestions and success stories!