The Meaning Of Life and My Next Trip

singen germany sheep
singen germany sheep

Sitting on a mildly uncomfortable throne in the sky, somewhere between Las Palmas and Amsterdam, I’m thinking.

I don’t mean thinking about the mundane realities of everyday life as I’ve often done lately, but thinking with a capital T. I’m looking for the ultimate answer. What is the meaning of life, and is there any? Why do we live the way we live?

The question seems innocuous at first, but the deeper I delve into it the more damning my answers become. My very existence largely revolves around travel. Exploring new countries, meeting new people, broadening my horizons – perhaps even broadening your horizons through this blog. I like the way that sounds.

peyto lake alberta

But sometimes I wonder if I’m doing this right. Sure, I have hundreds of gigabytes worth of photos with the magical power to make people drop everything and start planning their next holiday. Here I’m standing on a mountain top with the wind in my hair. I’m lying on a beach full of powdery white sand. I’m eating a three-course meal surrounded by palm trees.

Those experiences mean a lot to me and they seem to mean a lot to you as well, otherwise you wouldn’t bother coming here when you have the whole internet at your disposal. But they only show the world from one perspective – as seen through an expensive pair of pink-tinted sunglasses.

What I’m getting at here is this… I’d like to start writing about the truly important matters in the world as well. Education, gender equality, poverty eradication, sustainability, peace and security, the refugee crisis. After all, I didn’t spend the past four years writing academic papers about social injustice and development issues only to turn my back on them. I got my degree in political science to make a difference in the world and there is no point in waiting.

european year of development

Why am I telling you all this? Because over the next two weeks I will be converting all these thoughts into reality. If I want us to discuss all the big issues society is facing at the moment, I have to witness them first hand and I’m going on a very special journey to do just that!

I’ve teamed up with the European Commission to embark on a whirlwind trip around the world during which I will explore the world for what it is really like for most people. No fancy dinners, no goose feather duvets, no high heels. Just a few ambitious development projects, a camera and the kind of unfiltered honesty you can always expect from me.

You must have had enough metaphors by now, so let me tell you more about the project in plainspeak. This year was dubbed the European Year of Development by the European Commission (#EYD2015 for you social media fiends) – a campaign designed to raise awareness of all the amazing development projects outside of our continent which the EU contributes to.

I’m working with a Dutch production company called 1Camera to film a video explaining what it’s all about and showing the world some of these incredible projects. And since I like a challenge, I’ve set myself a pretty ambitious one. Three continents, five countries, ten days.

european year of development

I know that amount of time isn’t enough to understand how any given country operates or what makes it the unique place it is. But it will give me an opportunity to get an overview of how these development projects operate, how different they are from one another and how they have benefitted the locals.

We will be visiting projects in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Philippines, Dominican Republic and Lebanon – I’ll give you more details as we go. During the whole journey I’ll be accompanied by a camerawoman who will document all then ups and downs, and then turn all that footage into a short video to be shared with you all… as well as viewers in cinemas around Europe. No pressuuure…

I honestly couldn’t be more excited to get going and I’m so grateful for this unique opportunity! If you’d like to join me on this once-in-lifetime adventure – which you totally should – you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I will be updating them daily (or whenever WiFi permits) to share snaps from the road using #EYD2015.

When do we start? Today, September 29! Our first stop is Ethiopia so pack some sunscreen and don’t be shy to come along…

What do you think about my upcoming journey? Have you ever heard of the European Year of Development? I’d love to hear all your thoughts before I embark on this crazy eye-opening trip!

  • Ashley and Alex

    Congratulations! That seems like an amazing, life changing project and we can’t wait to see the result. Travel is so much more than beautiful locations and can change the world. Good on you to see what else is out there and how we can change the world for the better!

  • Antonette Spaan

    Wow – such a great development in your life! Ask your Dutch camerateam for dropjes!

  • This is such a great opportunity! And you’re visiting my country, The Philippines. I’m glad that this project will show what it is really like living in countries like the Philippines. It’s an opportunity to show that our country, despite having 7,107 islands, is more than just beach resorts.

    • Thanks for all the support Alyssa! I loved my time in the Philippines (although it was far too short!) – Manila was very surprising… The final video of the whole project is here 🙂

      • Amazing video! Not many travel bloggers do this, highlight huge issues of developing countries. I hope a lot of people will be able to do this and inspire change and actually start the change 🙂

  • This sounds incredible! I studied International Relations (it seems quite a few travel bloggers have that kind of political science background), and awareness of these issues is something we should all be aware of, travelling or not. Looking forward to following the journey on here!

    • So true! IR is such an interesting discipline and I definitely think it goes well with travel blogging 🙂 The final video showcased the journey really well – you can check it out here! 🙂

  • Sounds like a golden opportunity, forgive me for being jealous! Can’t wait to hear your reports GvG… 🙂

  • Oh wow. I’ve never heard of it but it sounds and incredible opportunity! Hope it all goes well

    Feet Meet World |

  • Sarah Lynn

    What an amazing opportunity!
    I can’t wait to watch it unfold and hear more about it! Safe travels 🙂

    Sarah Lynn

  • What an incredible opportunity! I will be following along to see what you learn from it. Oftentimes, I feel like travel is my main passion, but I didn’t go to school for nothing! I want to change the world too. I just have to find a way to combine them, and then I can rest on my capital T thinking. 🙂 Thanks for being an inspiration!

    • Thanks so much for following and commenting Amanda!! 🙂 Yeah I know what you mean – I’m so passionate about travel but like combining it with projects that can spread awareness and improve the world a little bit. Have you seen the final video from the trip yet? 🙂

  • It’s good to know that you’re also visiting my home country, Philippines. Looking forward to what you and your team will accomplish on this trip and hopefully, this will help open doors and opportunities to the Philippines. Thank you! 🙂

    • Thanks so much for commenting and following along Melai!! Did you see my post about the Philippines yet? I really loved the country and would love to go back, for longer this time 🙂 And have you seen the final video yet?

  • TherenBackwithSnacks

    That’s amazing. I’m excited to read about your experiences in the Philippines. It’s my home country and the islands definitely have their highs and lows. It’s so beautiful though. Have a safe trip!

    • Thanks so much for your comment!! Visiting the Philippines was incredible, I’d love to return for a longer time. Have you read the post about Manila yet? And have you seen the final video? 🙂

  • This is amazing! Congratulations on getting this opportunity!

  • I LOVE that you’re using your platform to make a difference. I look forward to hearing about your travels and about the people you interact with. Safe travels!

  • This is amazing! I can’t wait to come along with you on your journey with you. Can I also say, you’re an incredible writer!
    Chalsie x
    Wayfare | Travel & Life Blog

  • So exciting!! It’s such an amazing opportunity for you… and, enjoy the ride, that journey will be full of emotions 🙂

  • mary

    Wow! I think this is incredible that you’ve decided to switch things up a little bit and go on this adventure with a different type of meaning. I’ve never heard of the European year for development, but I’m going to check it out. Can’t wait to stay updated with what you’ll be doing these next 10 days!

  • Michelle Serra

    This sounds amazing! Would love to do something like that! Really excited to follow your journey!

  • BeyondBlighty

    This is amazing! I hope you have a wonderful time. I recently stayed with a rural Cambodian family. It’s great (and humbling) to get to share stories with people from such radically different backgrounds.

  • This sounds so amazing! What an amazing adventure!

  • Wow sounds really amazing!

  • I’ve been following your journey and pics on Facebook! Your experience looks incredible, I’m so happy to see you have the opportunity to travel the world while enriching the lives of others!

    • Thanks so much for following this journey Allison! It definitely feels amazing to combine travel and development – these projects are all so amazing and I’m happy to be spreading the word about them 🙂 Have you seen the final video already?

  • Wow – this looks like an amazing cause for which to use your platform! I’ve just followed you on Instagram to catch up with those photos, and really look forward to reading posts about this trip and the EYD project later on. Hope you’re having a wonderful time! xx

  • This is so exciting! I’ve been following your trips since forever and I’m thrilled to see you participate in the development of such an important and life changing project.

    Safe travels!

    Green and Turquoise

    • Thanks so much for your lovely comment Andrea and for following my journey!! 🙂 I really appreciate that. This project was very special and not one I will ever forget. The final video is now live if you wanna have a look 🙂

  • Karmughil Vannan

    All of your pics, site, post titles, contents and questions are amazingly catchy! Way to go the Global Girl! 😉 😉

    • Thank you, I’m glad you think so 🙂

  • Thank you for using your social media presence for good! Great to see! I’d love to hear more about how we can help too.

  • I can’t believe I’m reading this for the first time. Not to sound like a total fan girl, but YOU ARE AMAZING! I love how you got the social media at your feet and yet you choose to rise above and not use it for shallow things. You are truly an inspiration and I am actually surprised at how young you are and yet so insightful. Thank you for your meaningful projects and if before, you were on my radar because of your wit and charm, now I will be definitely following you (in a totally non-creepy way) because of your intelligence and compassion. 🙂

  • Claire Ramirez

    I can’t wait to see your take on global issues! You have a very unique writing style (in a good way) and will definitely shine new light on problems facing our society 🙂

    All the best!

  • Abdou

    Hi Sabina,

    Nice to meet you! I just wanted to say that I enjoyed your blog. You seem to have an interesting way of seeing life. I am curious to know your life motto.