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Sometimes, I admit, I really love primitive scenarios of writing on a type-writer in a secluded spot somewhere, ‘far away’.

There’s something so liberal about that notion..

And if I could make it work that way for me, for some period of time, I would..

One summer in Greece, by chance, I found a perfect little white-washed house right above a beach and away from the Mykonos town hoopla.

I could very distinctly and lucidly visualize myself there, exercising my creative and literary liberties, extracting inspiration from the simplest things like the palette of the Aegean and the types of wind lashing around..

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© skitalica

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© skitalica

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© skitalica

I think that fantasy is just going to hunt me until I make it a reality.

Yet, somehow, it seems even more distant, right here and right now.

of echoes in life

you, know… until you see the consequences, you won’t know whether that move you made was right or wrong

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I wrote this article for Travel Culture Mag.

Mircofinancing and mircolending are relatively new concepts. They emerged as possible solutions for very poor regions, communities and individuals to acquire the necessary funding for businesses from crowds, as opposed to just one or two financiers.

It’s a way to not only interact with someone whose existence, not to mention a potential for success, or for doing something for their community depends on your generosity, but also become more aware of different lifestyles elsewhere.

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The Craftsman of Rocinha. Photo © http://goran-jovic.com

Only a little bit of capital is required to help them get going, so little in fact, that it’s incredible to believe that for the equivalent of your monthly morning Starbucks coffee can help someone achieve their dream.

The shifts that these people are able to do with this startup capital, which they agree to pay off once their business starts generating profit, not only serves them personally and their immediate family, but often an entire community.

These examples include farmers, produce vendors, pharmacists, teachers, tailors, carpenters, welders, plumbers, etc.

Different from traditional donations and charities, this approach allows those people to not only save their dignity, but also have control of their lives.

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In Favela de Rocinha. Photo © http://goran-jovic.com

The stories that you get to participate when you decide to donate are not desolate, forlorn stories. They are stories of ambition, initiative, and hope.

All kinds of projects get crowdfunded and, unfortunately, what we are seeing in the developed world, through casual observation, is that the projects that get funded the most are projects for products, innovative products, but nonetheless, products that are not of incredible necessity or importance in the grand scheme of things. Because we are, after all, a consumerist society.

Contributing to a business elsewhere creates a more integrative, a more understandable global community. I have seen people choose projects and borrowers based on the story that touches them, or based on personal interest, a place they have been to and have a sense of attachment to, or a place that they would like to visit some day. And imagine really visiting this place some time in the future, and finding the person who you lent the money to or the community which you’ve contributed to.

Never doubt that small, individual, progressive steps matter. Indeed, that’s where it starts, that’s how it accumulates, and that’s how it grows. We, as individuals in this wide world, would be nothing without the power of our communities, of joint energies, of our potentials as a collaborative, interactive society. And that is the same way that microlanding works.

There are people from 200 countries (and autonomous regions) that are participating in the system, so virtually the whole world in your palm.

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The Craftsman of Rocinha. Photo © http://goran-jovic.com

TravelCultureMag lending team is at Kiva.org, please consider registering and browsing the projects, maybe some of them will spark your interest.

The decade of 2001-2010 saw “unprecedented high-impact climate extremes” across the planet, with floods, droughts and hurricanes killing 370,000 people, a 20 percent increase over the previous decade.

A new UN’s World Meterological Organization report, “The Global Climate 2001-2010, A Decade of Extremes” (available here), found that this was the warmest decade for both land and ocean temperature since recordings began in 1850, which lead to rapid melting of Arctic sea ice and land glaciers.

Decisions on flood defenses and dams, for instance, are often based on past experience and not on the likely future. But the past climate is no longer a sufficient guide to the future. We need to anticipate the climate we shall have in the next 50 to 100 years. It’s a huge challenge.

Floods were the most frequent extreme weather event, but droughts affected more people ‘due to their large-scale and long-lasting nature,’ the report found. However, hurricanes, of which there were 500 in the decade, were responsible for nearly half of all natural disaster-related deaths, killing nearly 170,000 people and causing an estimated $380 billion USD in damages.

Extreme flooding occurred in Eastern Europe, India, Africa, Australia and Pakistan. Extreme droughts affected Australia, East Africa and the Amazon Basin. View full article »

nostalgic for tomorrow

tune in, lest you forget about some grandiose dreams just because they seem too ambitious.. and the routine or the reality of life carries you away from them..

then one day, in the future, you see that tomorrow is not what you wanted it to be.. and you come face to face with the nostalgia of your unlived dream!

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the mystic Puerto Viejo de Talamanca~

This is a cover article of this month’s The Atlantic. It’s looong but very well researched and argumentative. I don’t agree with all points and find some a bit silly, but it does have other very compelling evidence throughout.

If you have time to kick back, head here for the full read.

Otherwise, these are the highlights:

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- An enormous amount of media space has been dedicated to promoting the notion that all processed food, and only processed food, is making us sickly and overweight.

- If the most-influential voices in our food culture today get their way, we will achieve a genuine food revolution. Too bad it would be one tailored to the dubious health fantasies of a small, elite minority. And too bad it would largely exclude the obese masses, who would continue to sicken and die early.

- Despite the best efforts of a small army of wholesome-food heroes, there is no reasonable scenario under which these foods could become cheap and plentiful enough to serve as the core diet for most of the obese population—even in the unlikely case that your typical junk-food eater would be willing and able to break lifelong habits to embrace kale and yellow beets. And many of the dishes glorified by the wholesome-food movement are, in any case, as caloric and obesogenic as anything served in a Burger King.

Through its growing sway over health-conscious consumers and policy makers, the wholesome-food movement is impeding the progress of the one segment of the food world that is actually positioned to take effective, near-term steps to reverse the obesity trend: the processed-food industry.

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I. Michael Pollan Has No Clothes

- The more converts and customers the wholesome-food movement’s purveyors seek, the stronger their incentive to emphasize foods that light up precisely the same pleasure centers as a 3 Musketeers bar.  That just makes wholesome food stealthily obesogenic.

- Because they are energy-intense foods, fat and sugar and other problem carbs trip the pleasure and reward meters placed in our brains by evolution over the millions of years during which starvation was an ever-present threat. We’re born enjoying the stimulating sensations these ingredients provide, and exposure strengthens the associations, ensuring that we come to crave them and, all too often, eat more of them than we should.

- To be sure, many of Big Food’s most popular products are loaded with appalling amounts of fat and sugar and other problem carbs (as well as salt), and the plentitude of these ingredients, exacerbated by large portion sizes, has clearly helped foment the obesity crisis.

- But many of the foods served up and even glorified by the wholesome-food movement are themselves chock full of fat and problem carbs.

- A recent Wall Street Journal article by Ron Rosenbaum explained that “eating basic, earthy, fatty foods isn’t just a supreme experience of the senses—it can actually be good for you,” and that it’s “too easy to conflate eating fatty food with eating industrial, oil-fried junk food.”

View full article »

Keeping the mystery alive

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Wynwood, Miami

18 months ago, 16 Jan 2012, I jumped high on a springboard and set off

So much life is packed in between

But so long, smokey promises that I started with.

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C’est la vie, say the old folks, it just goes to show that you can never tell.

And why you should live for today.

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Desires are changing..

Inexhaustible is the variety of life

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- Deja, why are you taking your passport? we’re just going to the market

- ah, life is so random.. yesterday we unknowingly crossed into Panama

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Because there are hidden worlds out there. And they’re beautifully tragic.

People that move you, people who are your scenarios and inspirations.

People that disappoint you, people who make you see that you are living a reality and not a fantasy.

Trust, that is so mercurial.

New perceptions that make you question everything, every little thing..

And a purpose, and a driving force that are like magic artistry of their own kind~

Wynwood, Miami, Art Basel 2013

Wynwood, Miami

..”FAILURE GETS YOU CLOSER TO WHAT YOU’RE GOOD AT”

Or… View full article »

It’s World Population Day and as of today, there are over 7 billion of us sharing this planet.

How did we get here?

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After rising very slowly for millennia, population figures were just starting to take off in the 1700s. A century and a half later, the world’s population had doubled to more than a billion. It took another century, between WWI and II, to double again to two billion, and the acceleration since then has also been astounding.

Before 1900s, no human had lived through a doubling of the human population, but there are people alive today who have seen it triple (source: NGM).

So, why the sudden surge?

Many things happened, simultaneously and progressively. Society has changed: more medical innovations and preventive care (including sex education, contraceptives and family planning), better transportation means and efficiency (getting medicine and medical personnel to the source of need), and a more ‘connected’ world (dissemination of knowledge and information about medical science) enabled us to stop the spread of communal and contagious diseases, advance health treatments, increase life expectancy (from 35-40 years in 1952 to 65-80 today), and make improvements in gender equality (women gaining access to education and labour force).

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Here is one fun quick lecture and a cool visualization of statistical data of the changing world:

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By the early 1970s, fertility rates around the world had begun dropping faster than anyone had anticipated. Since then, even though the population growth continued to grow, the population growth rate has fallen by more than 40 percent.

But where are we heading, in terms of population growth projection?

According to Hans Rosling, global health expert and a co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontièrs, we have reached peak child. The number of children is not growing any longer in the world. And the world population will stop growing at 10 billion. Here’s how:

View full article »

It’s 2013 and you’re a global citizen. You are a whole mechanism, requiring your own support system. You live among 7 billion people: that means a consistent and continuous interconnectedness and interdependence of people and resources. Everything we individually and collectively do reflects on our surroundings.

Global population is growing by approximately 70 million each year: that’s 1.3 million people – a city the size of Prague – every WEEK.

As might be expected, there has to be a limit to how many people we can fit on this planet. What is that limit?

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F A C T O R S

SPACE AND DENSITY

Indeed, it seems that we are living in some pretty crowded times: 7 billion is a large number. However, the perception of such volume and sizeability is relative. Apparently, according to National Geographic research, standing shoulder-to-shoulder all 7 billion of us would fill the city of Los Angeles. That’s all! Even throwing a ‘come-one-come-all’ party with room to dance requires a tiny speck of land – 1500 square miles, the total size of Rhode Island. How intimate.

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GLOBALIZATION

The buzz word of the 90s, globalization, is a concept that is still ambiguous in terms of what impact it has had on our civilization, as its accelerated force and sweeping power can be perceived both positively and negatively. It enabled us to travel and experience so much more and in the farthest reaches of the planet. This movement of people, for business or leisure has become pivotal in the overall state of communities (in particular, in underdeveloped societies).

Until now, the growth in population and the growth in capitalism have gone hand in hand. Population growth meant more consumers and greater market demand, for the purposes of turning profit. The spread of global markets and the speed and reach of trade propelled growth and changes in all the corners of the world. View full article »

when you chisel it down to the core of your feelings, past the layers of what you promised, what you’re expected to do or what’s ‘right’, the only one that remains is what you really want to do
but hey, that’s the only one that matters anyhow
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“Traveling is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.”

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