Having spent the past five days glued to the couch I have had a LOT of time to think. This flu has really taken its toll on me, cause I haven’t felt like doing anything at all, which is quite shocking for me.

Finally I feel like I have my focus back. Hence, here I am.

Something that I’ve learned in the past week is that no matter how I try – and believe me, I try – I can’t control life. As evident as it is, I am not in charge, and it is not to be controlled but lived, enjoyed, let happen.

Let life happen to you, they say, but how? How to let go and trust that it’s going to be alright, that we’re in good hands? Over the course of the past three months I’ve lost both of my remaining grandparents, which only amplifies the meaning of the message that I’m being fed by so many books: all we really have is here & now. Life is fragile.

Looking back at all that’s happened since September 4th, 2016 when I boarded that plane in Helsinki, I have learned so much, but the above is something that’s come to really stand out for me in the past couple of weeks. Here & now.

In what has become my usual (horizontal) position on the couch, I’ve been listening to my travel playlist all morning. Risking to sound like such a cliché (check!), there are no words to describe how grateful I am for the past 9+ months in my life. So many beautiful memories with some incredible individuals who have taught me so much – about myself and life, how to live it to the fullest. What a journey it’s been!

With a head full of thoughts, a heart full of gratitude and nothing but time on my hands, here’s a soundtrack that will always take me back to places & people that I am so very grateful for having been & met.

1. Charlie Puth feat. Selena Gomez – We Don’t Talk Anymore

As a kind of tribute to being spontaneous, this song takes me back to what we were hoping to be a luxurious hotel in Lombok, Indonesia, that Lauren and I decided to check in at after our three-day trek to conquer a volcano that erupted just a few weeks after we’d set foot on it. Having hung out with British people for almost a month, Lauren was the first person I met with an American accent (what a relief!) so I immediately decided to become friends with her. As for the song, the girl in charge of the music in the hotel café was Youtubing a live version of it non-stop one morning that we were having breakfast. It is safe to say she was a fan.

2. The Chainsmokers – Closer

Koh Tao was the first place where I let the good times roll, so to speak. I faced my fears and dove in the dark, and had some of the bestest times with my Brazilian señorita, Lara.

With no worries, no hurries, I let life happen to me, and I think I forgot a piece of myself among the fish.

”We ain’t ever getting older…” 

3. Angels & Airwaves – Rite Of Spring

This song reminds me of someone I met in Thailand, someone whose personality and being ignited trust in me, hope, life. I realized I might be just a little crazy, but it’s okay. Life is okay. In fact, life is wonderful!

Reach for the stars, cause that might just be your ticket to the moon!

4. Alanis Morrisette – You Learn

One of my go to’s when everything feels somehow … blah. Life is one hell of a growth curve, but just embrace it. Beauty is all around.

5. John Butler Trio – Ocean (Live)

It was a beautiful summer night on Cottesloe Beach in Perth. I had just flown in from Asia, and spontaneously decided to join Dylan and Célia to go to this concert on the beach. Reminding me of my days in Perth, this song takes me back to the start of my Australian adventure. Opening up his new home to me and incorporating me into his life for a full three weeks, I could not have wished for a better host than Dylan (+ his sister) in November last year. Hospitality defined, if I ever manage to be half as good a host as he was, I’m happy.

6. Starley – Call On Me (Ryan Riback Remix)

Who would’ve thought that I’d meet up with my host family in Sydney of all places. Spending a week with Janet and the boys, now grown up men, who I used to take care of 8 years ago was a time of a whole lot of conversations and contemplating life. I realized that we’re all in this together, this (sometimes) shit called life. Luckily we have each other!

7. Banks – Warm Water (Snakehips Remix)

This is one of the few songs on my playlist that I’ve actually never even listened to. It was added by my crazy German creative friend Isabel who, it’s safe to say, is the total opposite of me as far as lifestyle’s concerned, but whom I have so much to learn from. No longer in Sydney, I miss hanging out with her. All in, Wallin!

8. Selena Gomez feat. Kygo – It Ain’t Me

Spending two months in hostels was neither planned nor wanted, yet I’m grateful for having done so. Why? Because it allowed me to meet people that I would otherwise never have met. Billabong might have felt like a black hole, while Big Hostel brings back to me a feeling of being lost, but every cloud has a silver lining, you know? Friends.

9. Pnau – Chameleon

From whiskey waitressing to a healthy café, this song is always going to remind me of Bondi Wholefoods & its crew of peculiar individuals. There’s no escaping the fact that all jobs have their pros and cons, but this is one that I’ve really liked. How I miss the smoothies! (& the people, of course!)

10. Shakira – Try Everything

This one goes out to my roommate, Laure. How lucky was I to end up sharing rooms with such a kind, reasonable – always good to accompany yourself with someone reasonable! – and normal French person. My go-to pharmacy, she provides me with pills when I’m sick and does her very best to teach me that it’s absolutely okay to not be doing something all the time. (Arghhh!)

To sum up: there’s a blessing in every lesson. In every lesson there’s a blessing – in these painfully daunting days on the couch, too.

Forever grateful,
Anna