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Midt i en karantænetid

2020-04-02 | Denmark, Short read | No Comments

Jeg er introvert. Det betyder at jeg har brug for meget alenetid for at lade op og samle energi til at være sammen med andre ude i virkeligheden. Jeg holder meget af at være sammen med mennesker, men min hjerne brænder simpelthen sammen, hvis jeg ikke får et pusterum – hver dag.

Foråret er på vej i Danmark

Derfor har jeg umiddelbart heller ikke noget problem med at skulle være i karantæne og holde afstand. Jeg har været vant til at være meget alene på mine rejser. Der har været dage, hvor jeg ikke har talt med andre end receptionisten på hotellet og kassedamen i supermarkedet.

Det har ikke været noget problem. Men de dage har været afløst af intense perioder, hvor jeg har været sammen med mange nye mennesker. Lige så meget som jeg elsker at være alene, elsker jeg også at være sammen med andre mennesker (så længe det er i afmålte doser 😉)

Det her er anderledes. Jeg elsker det støjende København – nu er byen ufattelig stille. Normalt hører jeg kun fuglene synge om morgenen inden byen rigtig er vågen. Nu hører jeg dem hele tiden. Jeg går en tur hver dag og prøver at finde nye veje rundt i byen, så jeg ikke bliver én af dem, der flokkes rundt om søerne.

Jeg savner det støjende baggrundstæppe, der giver mig en følelse af at være en del af byen. At være en del af fællesskab. Vi har alle sammen brug for at føle at vi hører til og indgår i et fællesskab – også os introverte. Det er svært i disse tider, når vi ikke må mødes i store grupper.

I stedet mødes vi på nettet i online fællesskaber. Tilbage i slutningen af 90’erne blev jeg medlem af mit første online fællesskab. Det hed Brainstorms og var stiftet af Howard Rheingold (en af de helt store guruer dengang). Medlemmerne kom fra hele verden. Jeg var med i et stykke tid men stoppede, da tonen blev for grov til sidst.

Vi kender tendensen fra de sociale medier i dag. Folk har kortere lunte på nettet end i den virkelige verden. I krisetid skærpes tonen, og det er som om folks negative sider forstørres. Der er flere end normalt som shamer andre, eller selvbestaltede sundhedseksperter der kritiserer alle initiativer.

Solen skinner langs søerne i København

Jeg er nyhedsjunkie og har brug for mit daglige fix. Jeg bruger ekstremt meget tid online, ikke kun for at følge nyhedsstrømmen. Jeg følger mange forskellige mennesker på de sociale medier og deltager i nogle debatter.

Det er min måde at socialisere på, men jeg har virkelig ondt af de ekstroverte. De må være ved at brænde sammen over ikke kan kunne komme ud og mødes med andre mennesker.

Men hvordan undgår man at blive bims af at skulle distancere sig, holde afstand og afmontere fællesskabet. Kreativiteten er stor derude. Folk holder online fredagsbar. Der arrangeres fællessang og dansefester fra altanerne. Behovet for at føle sig som en del af et fællesskab er enormt stort. Det er jo fantastisk – vi har en enestående tilpasningsevne.

Jeg fandt hende her da jeg gik på opdagelse på Vesterbro

Jeg selv har slukket for en del af nyhedsstrømmen for ikke at blive bombarderet med negative historier hele tiden. Jeg ser mine yndlingsfilm og -serier fordi det giver hjernen et pusterum. Jeg går en tur og hører mine yndlingspodcasts. Jeg taler også med min familie og mine venner. Og så er jeg blevet mere aktiv i online fora – når man ikke tale med folk ude i virkeligheden, må man jo gøre det på nettet.

Det kan være at det fører flere nye venskaber med sig… venner som jeg kan møde ude i virkeligheden, når vi må 😊

Jeg nåede lige at slippe ud af New York før verden lukkede ned og millionbyer jorden rundt blev forvandlet til spøgelsesbyer.

På toppen af Taal vulkanen på Filippinerne. Den gik senere i udbrud

Jeg har rejst i områder, hvor katastrofer er en del af hverdagen. Hvor samfundet kan bryde sammen på et øjeblik, fordi der kommer cykloner eller skovbrande. Fordi en vulkan går i udbrud eller der kommer et jordskælv. Andre steder jeg har rejst, er der risiko for terrorangreb eller kidnapninger.

Jeg har talt med mange undervejs om, hvor privilegerede vi er i Danmark. Der er ingen naturkatastrofer som lurer under overfladen. Og hvis der sker noget, har vi et velfungerende – og ikke mindst gratis – sundhedsvæsen. Vores infrastruktur virker – strøm, veje, varme, vand – er ikke noget vi dagligt frygter forsvinder i time- eller dagevis.

Imens jeg kiggede på hende her var der et terrorangreb igang i Nairobi få kilometer væk

Jeg har været utrolig heldig og undgået at blive ramt af katastrofer, selvom det flere gange har været tæt på. Der har både været terrorangreb, vulkanudbrud, jordskælv og skovbrande undervejs. Det er næsten blevet en stående joke, at jeg har rejst foran alle katastroferne – og lige er nået at få røven med mig hver gang.

Altså indtil jeg kom hjem igen til trygge Danmark. Jeg regnede med lige at skulle sove i en uge for at komme mig efter strabadserne. Og så skulle jeg ellers i gang med at vende tilbage til hverdagen – være sammen med venner & familie, kramme dem alle sammen godt & grundigt. Komme i gang med at tjene nogle penge, så jeg kunne rejse ud i verden igen.

Sammen med Columbianske humanister. Columbia er lukket ned – 306 smittede & 3 døde

I stedet slog verden en kolbøtte & Danmark lukkede ned. Jeg er så glad for at jeg nåede hjem for det her er noget andet end en naturkatastrofe. Det er en katastrofe der rammer hele verden med 200 kilometer i timen.

Jeg er bekymret for alle mine venner verden over. Mange af dem lever i lande hvor infrastrukturen ikke fungerer, hvor der ikke er nogen forsyningssikkerhed, hvor sundhedsvæsnet slet slet ikke har kapacitet til at håndtere en pandemi.

Sammen med fritænkere i Tanzania. Landet er ikke lukket ned – 12 er smittede

Jeg tør slet ikke tænke på, hvad der sker når Afrika først for alvor bliver ramt. Det bliver frygteligt. Selv i mere veludviklede lande har almindelige mennesker ikke råd til at hamstre forsyninger til længere periode. Mange bliver nødt til at gå på arbejde, selvom de er syge fordi de ellers mister deres løn.

Jeg er så glad for at være hjemme i vores privilegerede land, hvor jeg kan hæve min arbejdsløshedsunderstøttelse, købe mad & betale mine regninger. Et land der har vist sig at stå sammen i en krisetid – tusinder har meldt sig som frivillige. Verden vil være forandret når vi kommer ud på den anden side. Indtil da er det fantastisk at se, hvordan folk hjælper hinanden – lad os fortsætte med det, når krisen er overstået.

Sammen med humanister i Filippinerne. Landet er delvist lukket ned – 552 er smittede, 35 er døde

Pas godt på jer selv & hinanden – hold afstand 😊

Hvordan det hele startede

2020-03-09 | Denmark, Long read, Mali, Rejsen | No Comments

Indtil for 15 år siden havde jeg ikke rejst udenfor Europa og Nordamerika. Min datter Sofie & jeg blev inviteret med til det vestafrikanske land Mali af min datters venindes forældre. Den gang var landet demokratisk, fredeligt men stadig et af verdens fattigste lande. Jeg havde aldrig drømt om, at jeg skulle rejse så langt væk og være væk en hel måned med min datter, der bare var 10 år – Afrika havde aldrig stået på min ønskeliste.

Omgivet af skønne børn i Bamako, Mali

Nogle gange springer jeg ud på dybt vand. Det gjorde jeg også den dag – det var starten på min eventyrlyst. Mens vi opholdt os i Mali’s hovedstad besluttede jeg mig for, at vi da skulle til Timbuktu. Selvfølgelig skulle vi det. Den sagnomspundne by hvor både Tintin & Anders And også havde været 😉

Jeg bookede en jeep, en chauffør og en guide til at køre os den tusind kilometer lange tur fra Bamako til Timbuktu. På det tidspunkt risikerede turister at blive bortført fra ørkenen, så der var advarsler om at vi ikke skulle overnatte i Sahara. Jeg tror min mor var ved at gå ud af sit gode skind hjemme i Danmark – hvad kunne der ikke ske. Men med en chauffør der hedder Balou og en guide, der havde en datter på alder med Sofie kunne det da ikke gå helt galt. Det gjorde det heller ikke.

Vores guide Muhammed Ali var Tuareg – en blå mand

Vores guide i Timbuktu hed Muhammed Ali – you can’t make this shit up. Det var en fantastisk tur. Sofie viste sig at være den bedste rejsekammerat i verden. Nysgerrig, empatisk, tålmodig – vi opfandt begreberne hverdagstålmodighed & ferietålmodighed. Til hverdag må man gerne være utålmodig, hvis tingene går lidt for langsomt.

Men i det øjeblik vi tager i lufthavnen, træder ferietålmodigheden til. Så er der ingen brokkeri over 4 timers ventetid ved en grænseovergang, eller 8 timers kørsel i en jeep. Sofie er eminent til ferietålmodighed. Efter rejsen til Mali besluttede jeg mig for, at vi skulle se meget mere til verden, når jeg havde råd til det.

Det blev starten på mange års rejser sammen med min datter Sofie. Vi har haft de mest fantastiske oplevelser. Vi brugte en måned på at rejse gennem Laos og Cambodia, hvor vi overnattede hjemme hos folk i hytter i landsbyer, så bombekratere fra Vietnam-krigen, græd ved mindesmærket over ofrene for Khmer Rouge, besøgte utallige templer og jeg fik min første og eneste madforgiftning nogensinde.

Sofie i Sahara i Mali

Vi har taget dykkercertifkat på Mauritius og, dykket blandt vragene fra Cubakrisen i Svinebugten og svømmet med en søko ved Great Barrier Reef i Australien. Vi har holdt jul i Uganda og stirret bjerggorillaer i øjnene, Jeg måtte bæres ud fordi mine ben ikke kunne gå længere, men jeg fik set dem. Hun er min bedste rejsekammerat og at have oplevet verden sammen med hende, gav mig modet til at tage de ultimative spring – og rejse alene rundt.

Jeg har rejst igennem lande som mange mennesker vil være bange for at rejse i. Jeg har været i Cape Town som mange advarer imod, fordi kriminaliteten er høj. Jeg oplevede intet ubehageligt. Jeg har rejst i mange lande i Afrika uden at være bange – selvom det kan være livsfarligt at færdes i trafikken 😉

Sofie med vores guide & chauffør

Der er selvfølgelig også lande jeg har fravalgt at rejse i – simpelthen fordi det er for farligt. Jeg er jo ikke en naiv idiot. Jeg forbereder mig godt og tjekker anbefalingerne både fra det danske udenrigsministerium og Storbritannien (der som regel har bedre vejledninger end det danske).

I sommer ville jeg gerne have rejst rundt i Mellemøsten og blandt andet interviewet en ateist i Iran. Selvom man sagtens kan tage på ferie i Iran, blev jeg frarådet at tage dertil, fordi jeg kan googles og sikkerhedsmyndighederne kan finde ud af at jeg er humanist og menneskerettighedsaktivist. Derfor er det for farligt for mig personligt at tage dertil, da jeg kunne risikere at ende i fængsel sammen med andre vesterlændinge. I stedet interviewede jeg iraneren via Skype fordi jeg gerne ville have hans historie.

En af moskeerne i Timbuktu – verdensarv som nu er ødelagt af oprørsstyrker

De største farer ved at rejse rundt i verden nok trafikken og derefter kommer naturkatastrofer. Jeg har behændigt undgået at blive ramt af naturkatastrofer – tyfoner, orkaner, vulkanudbrud, jordskælv, oversvømmelser, skovbrande og nu coronavirus.

Men ellers er verden et ret fredeligt sted, og de fleste mennesker er venlige og nysgerrige, når de møder dig derude. De er ligesom os selv bare almindelige mennesker, der lever deres liv på den bedste måde de kan – mange steder i fattigdom. Ofte er de utroligt gæstfrie og vil frygtelig gerne snakke. Jeg har haft de mest fantastiske filosofiske samtaler om livet, døden, tro, ikke-tro mv. med mennesker i hele verden.

Så jeg er utrolig taknemmelig for at jeg blev spurgt dengang for 15 år siden. Det gav mig – og min datter – så meget, at vi siden har turde springe ud i mange eventyr.

En halv milliard dyr regner man med har mistet livet i Australiens skovbrande – en halv milliard!

Det har videnskabsfolk regnet ud. Hvert år hærges landet af skovbrande i ildsæsonen (’fire season’) som de kalder den hernede, down under. I år har det været rigtig slemt, fordi mange steder har været tørkeramt i månedsvis. Nogle steder i årevis. Sofie og jeg så utallige indtørrede floder og vandløb på vores roadtrip.

Tusindvis er bukket under

Temperaturerne kommer flere steder over 40 grader – nogle steder over 45 grader. Brandene opstår spontant og breder sig med lynets hast, fordi det samtidig blæser kraftigt. Ingen kan forudsige hvor brandene bevæger sig hen, når vindretningen skifter pludseligt. 1.500 hjem er blevet ødelagt. Alene 400 hjem udbrændte nytårsnat i New South Wales, hvor jeg opholder mig. Flere mennesker er døde og mange savnes.

Tusindvis af mennesker er strandet langs den australske kyst, som har været deres eneste tilflugtssted. Flere byer er isoleret fra omverdenen og har ingen strøm. Tusindvis af brandmænd kæmper for at redde mennesker – de har flere steder opgivet af bekæmpe brandene. Militæret er sat ind for at hjælpe med forsyninger og evakuering af nødstedte mennesker.

Billede lånt af Boston.com

Australien brænder op i en usædvanlig tørke og hedebølge – et Australien der på sidste klimatopmøde indædt kæmpede imod en ny klimaaftale. Et Australien som stadig ikke vil erkende nødvendigheden af at skifte kurs, og fortsat graver massive mængder kul op af jorden.

Jeg har mødt konsekvenserne af klimaforandringer i mange lande. Vi har det godt i Danmark. Vi er ikke rigtig ramt af klimaforandringerne – endnu. Den vestlige verden som er den, der forurener mest per indbygger, er den del af verden der har mærket mindst til klimaforandringerne. Ja ja – vi har oversvømmelser og meget regn indimellem, men det er ingenting ifht. hvad de oplever andre steder.

Deltaet i Botswana

Jeg har set de samme problemer i næsten alle de lande jeg har rejst i Afrika og Asien. Der mangler vand, og når der endelig falder regn, kommer der så meget at det skaber store ødelæggelser.

Tørkeperioderne er strenge, årstiderne begynder at ændre sig. Da jeg var på Serengeti fik jeg at vide, at dyrene migrerede. De var forvirrede, fordi regnen ikke kommer på det normale tidspunkt. For at finde mad bliver de nødt til at migrere ’udenfor sæsonen’.

I deltaet i Botswana strækker sig over 22.000 km2 når der er mest vand. Da jeg var der var vandstanden 2 meter under normalen ifølge min guide. Vi kunne gå tørskoede fra ø til ø for at kigge efter dyr.

Fish Tail Mountain i Himalaya

Klimaforandringerne smelter sneen i Himalaya og gletsjerne på Grønland. Det får havene til at stige. Vi oplever mere ekstremt vejr. Den værste tyfon i over 60 år hærgede Tokyo mindre end 2 uger efter jeg havde besøgt landet.

Luftforureningen i Indien er ekstrem. Jeg måtte bruge maske og alligevel kløede det i mine øjne og hals, da jeg besøgte Delhi i november. De mest forurenede byer i verden er i Indien, men alligevel siges det at Canberra i disse dage er den mest forurenede by i verden i disse dage – pga. af skovbrandene i Australien.

Nytårsaftensdag var temperaturerne næsten 40 grader i Sydney. Om aftenen skiftede vejret – det blev koldt, så jeg næsten frøs mens jeg så fyrværkeri. Temperaturerne er nu i midten af tyverne.

Men glæden er kun kort. Den ekstreme hedebølge er på kort visit i det vestlige Australien, men vender tilbage på lørdag. Der varsles over 40 grader og meget høj risiko for skovbrande.

Goodbye Ghana

2019-07-13 | Denmark, Ghana, Long read | No Comments

The Gate of No Return, Cape Coast

I just left Ghana after a visit which seemed too short. It was my first trip back to western Africa since Sofie & I visited Mali 14 years ago. Back then Mali was a peaceful country and we travelled with Sofie’s friend Martha, her brother Simon, her mom Dorthe and her dad David (who is born in Mali).

It was a family visit, but Sofie and I took a road trip to Timbuktu. The first of many trips to far away fairy-tale places (at least for us Danes 😊). Our drivers name was Baloo and our guide in Timbuktu was Tuareg (one of the blue men) with the name Muhammed Ali. I kid you not it was their names. Internal conflict now makes it impossible to visit and the UNESCO world heritage sites we visited back then is ruined by rebels.

The food is good – here jollof

Ghana is the opposite – it’s peaceful and compared to other African countries wealthy. Like all the other countries Ghana is very religious, but the humanist organisation is growing. Roslyn who recently was elected to the board of Humanists International helped me settling in, showed me the beach and took me to a pub, where I experienced the football frenzy – Ghana fighting for a place in the quarter finals of the African Cup. Unfortunately, they lost so we didn’t party all night (good for me).

With Ros on the beach

At Roslyn’s house a met some of the other humanists. I interviewed her, Roslyn’s husband Michael who is also president of the humanists in Ghana and Ato & Anim. They are trying to create a safe space for non-believers, since they are stigmatised. It was so nice meeting them and discuss humanism, human rights and much more.

Danish history is intertwined with Ghanaian history. We don’t talk about it much in Denmark, but we also participated in the slave trade from Afrika to Amerika. We had a few islands in the Caribbean with plantations and some slave forts along the Ghana coast. I visited one of them Christiansborg in Accra with Michael who took me on a road trip from Accra to Cape Coast to Kumasi and back.

It’s estimated Denmark was responsible for 100.000 slaves being brought across the ocean over 130 years. Local tribes delivered slaves to the Europeans – amongst them the Ashanti kingdom which still exists. Slaves was rounded up from todays Mali, Burkina Faso and other countries. Then they were sent marching towards Cape Coast which is several hundred kilometres – barefoot in shackles, many of them dying on the way.

Place for the Homecoming ceremony

Today decedents from the slaves seek their roots and a lot of them visit Ghana. Every year there is remembrance of the slave trade. A homecoming ceremony is held for those visiting for the first time.

Ghana is a beautiful country. People are so nice and friendly – we had a lot of laughs. I leave with a lot of good experiences – a lot wiser regarding my own country’s history and new friends I will surely miss.

Some facts:

Ghana (Denmark)

Population:   30.4 mio. (5.8 mio.)

Area:   239.000 km2 (43.000 km2)

Density: 128/km2 (133/km2)

Life expectancy: 63 years (80 years)

The final episode of Babelfish season 1 has been published. The podcast will be on holiday until August. So far 30 interviews with non-believers from 7 countries in the eastern and southern parts of Africa have been produced.

I have talked to humanists, atheists and freethinkers from Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Botswana and South Africa. All of them had fascinating stories to tell about their life and the challenges they face.

Many of them grew up in religious families with no room for critical thinking, questions and discussions about belief. Growing up most of them have felt alone, thinking they were the only ones doubting the existence of God.

Now they are building communities for non-believers in their countries. In some countries humanist schools are formed, educating the kids in science and critical thinking. Other humanist schools are supporting single moms. Humanitarian projects are being run by non-believers.

In some of the countries the communities are very small with almost no resources. But in all countries non-believers are having metups, debates and social events in order to grow the small communities.

Everywhere I went non-believers are discriminated and stigmatised. Not due to legislation since the constitutions are based on human rights, but due to the religious society. Some have experienced to be shunned from their families, some have been fired. In some cases, there has been violent reactions to non-believers fight for human rights.

Sometimes it looks like an uphill battle to change the society’s view of non-believers. But everywhere I went I met amazing people full of energy and optimism. They keep up the good work and I am sure they will change the world.

It’s been quite a journey for me as well. A year ago, I started the planning – a bit scared, nervous and excited. I have had doubts many times, thinking this was crazy – thinking I wasn’t able to do this. But I did – and I will continue.

Season 1 has been finalised. Tomorrow I’ll fly to Ghana to meet another group of amazing non-believers. The interviews will be part of season 2 which will begin in August.

Next step is to cover the rest of the world. I am actively seeking funding and sponsors for a tour around the world. The tour will start by the end of August.

You can also support the project by donating money through Patreon – or for the Danish audience through 10er.dk.

Have a nice summer

The humanist society

2019-04-02 | Denmark, Short read | 1 Comment

Happy Human

My life stance is humanism and my values are based on human rights. This means I belong to a minority in this world since most people are religious. I have not really considered myself being part of a minority before I started my travels and talked to other non-believers.

But we are a minority. In Denmark approximately 1.500 people are members of the Danish Humanist Society and approximately 800 people are members of the Atheist Association – Denmark has 5.8 million citizens. So we are a minority in Denmark even though the country is considered to be one of the least religious in the world.

I’ve been a member of the Danish Humanist Society since it was founded almost 11 years ago. Since then the society has fought to be acknowledged as a life stance organisation to acquire the same rights as faith communities. We are not there yet but hopefully we will get there within a year or two.

I have been active in the society in some years now. It was my involvement in the international work which gave me the idea to Babelfish – it was meeting all the other humanist struggling to get recognised who sparked the idea. Even though I travel I am still active in the political work – you just need your laptop and your phone, and you can work all over the globe.

I have also been involved in planning a lot of events culminating in our 10-year anniversary celebration last year. 2018 was a busy year with a record high number of ceremonies held and a lot of events. Last weekend we had our general assembly where our President Lone Ree Milkaer again was amazed on how far we have gotten and what we manage to do with very few resources.

At the general assembly I was re-elected for the board and will also continue as vice president the next year 😊

Management by Fear

2019-03-20 | Denmark, Rwanda, Short read | No Comments

Rwanda – Genocide Memorial

I just finalized my next article. Its about my visit to Rwanda and it has been difficult writing it. Its been tough thinking about my visit again, so emotional. I ended up spending several days writing the article, because I needed breaks in between.

Thinking about all those people killed during the genocide. All those lives lost. Looking at history it doesn’t seem like we will ever learn and change our ways. I’ve visited the memorial in Rwanda, I’ve also visited the killing fields in Cambodia – my grandparents were part of the resistance during world war 2. They were imprisoned in a camp in Denmark (Frøslevlejren). They were lucky. They were caught just before the war ended, else they might have ended up in a concentration camp.

Cambodia – Killing Fields

And why do genocides happen – how is it possible for human beings to kill other human beings. How is it possible for human beings to commit those horrible crimes. It is difficult to comprehend.

Looking at history the commonalities to me seems to be when groups of people are dehumanised – either because they are from another tribe, another religion, another race or just something else which differs them from the majority.

Denmark – Froeslevlejren

The dehumanising begins when those in power (or the people who wants to be in power) starts to distinguish us from them. They point out the differences between humans. Next step is to put fear into people, claiming ‘the others’ are bad people. Claiming ‘the others’ want to force you to change your life, your belief or even that they want to kill you, your family and friends.

This is what the Nazis, the Khmer rouge and the Hutus did. This is what happened before all genocides. Fear is a powerful tool – it is a powerful weapon. It is easy to scare people, especially when it comes to the un-known. It requires much more energy for us to have an open mind, look at the facts and be pragmatic.

Everyday we see how fear is spread, fake news and lies are all over the place. It’s a shame because basically all we want as humans is living a good life. We want a good life with friends and family being happy. This is what everybody wants no matter where you live, what colour your skin has or what you believe in.

Home sweet home

2019-03-14 | Denmark, Long read | No Comments

I haven’t been active on my blog the last week. My writing routine is a bit off after I came home. I’m still trying to adjust to everyday life – it is especially hard to get used to the cold weather and the rain. I’ve been freezing, some days just wanted to stay under my blanket binging Netflix. It is no surprise that many people suffer from winter depressions here in the north.

I’ve been bust processing all my experiences, catching up with everybody and at the same time plan my next trip. My plans are in progress and I’ll hopefully leave Denmark in 3 weeks. At the same time, I am meeting a lot of new people and hope I can corporate with some of them in the future. interesting times 😊

I & Maja aka minnie_mouseling

I met one new friend through Instagram. The fun part is that she lives in Copenhagen, she is an atheist and has made atheist jewellery for some years. I had never heard about her before and we live a few kilometres apart from each other. She found me and yesterday we met for coffee and talked for hours about humanism, atheism and our common goals. She has a lot of followers in the US where it can be (in some parts of the country) just as difficult to come out as a non-believer as in Africa.

The invisible pink unicorn

Her name is Maja but known as minnie_mouseling on Instagram. Maja has created a beautiful invisible pink unicorn pendant for atheists to wear and has the motto: put a friendly face on atheism. The invisible pink unicorn is an international symbol for atheism. Check out her webpage and follow her on Instagram.

Last week was International Women’s Day and I spent a lot of energy being frustrated about the media coverage. In Denmark the media prefer to ridicule feminism instead of focussing on the issues and challenges we still face.

We do not have gender equality in Denmark – a report from Amnesty international highlighted this in a report on how rape survivors are being treated by the authorities. It is devastating to read how the survivors are blamed, victim blaming is the norm both by authorities and in the public eye.

But the media wanted to cover a non-existing conflict regarding gender neutral traffic lights. A story created by a journalist who months back also created a non-existing conflict about a song.

Saturday night dinner

So I was mad most of Friday – fortunately we (Humanistisk Samfund) was hosting the annual Nordic Humanist meeting the whole weekend – they managed to make me happy again. It is always a pleasure meeting our friends in the Nordics – from Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

We talked, shared experiences and made plans. During the weekend we also had a visit from the Norwegian ambassador in Denmark Aud Kolberg talking about Nordic identity, and a Danish scientist Josephine Valentin talked about SKAM (the tv-series) and Nordic identity. Great weekend.

I’m also adjusting to the day-to-day tasks – getting used to grocery shopping, doing the dishes, cleaning the apartment, visiting the doctor and the dentist. I still need to get a haircut. All the tedious tasks you have to do – it’s tough to adjust 😉

I’m back in Copenhagen, I’m back in my hood on Vesterbro down town Copenhagen. Today I went back to my ‘office’ – a local restaurant BOBs where it is possible to work all day if you are a member of Sp8ces. Through sp8ces (no I don’t get paid to tell about it) you have access to several working lounges in Denmark and Norway – they make agreements with hotels, restaurants, etc. to use timeslots where their spaces are not occupied. It is a great concept – and cheap.

I’ve spent the last couple of days sleeping, doing absolutely nothing besides catching up on Netflix. It will take time before I have processed all my experiences from my journey. I have travelled many kilometres, met so many people – not only humanists, but also other locals and tourists, seen the most amazing landscapes and met fantastic animals. Earth is an amazing and beautiful place.

I know I’m privileged – I have the possibility to visit places where the usual tourist never goes. I’m glad this journey is a combination of following the usual tourist path and meeting people living their lives in these countries. It adds so much more when you talk to people living there and not just other tourists or people from travel agencies.

My journey has showed me the diversity of the different countries. There is so much prejudice in the western world toward the African continent – yes, it is a continent and not a country. Africa is unfortunately often perceived as a country and treated as such in popular culture and media. Africa is three times larger than Europe and occupies 20% of the land mass on Earth – it is huge.

In eastern and southern Africa where I have been travelling, they have many challenges. I travelled during the rainy season but in most of the countries, if not all, they got lesser rain than they need to avoid drought. Climate changes are already impacting this part of the world. The growing population is also impacting the infrastructure – water supply, electricity and transport.

I’ve been travelling for 10 weeks, visited 8 countries and held 30 interviews with non-believers. During the next 3-4 months all the interviews will be published as podcast episodes through Babelfish and I will continue to write articles for POV International.

At the same time, I will plan the next steps of my journey. Which means I will be pretty busy while in Copenhagen – I also want to see, to hug and talk to my friends and family. Right now it is cold and rainy – I hope spring is coming.