What is the meaning of life? Such a big question, with millennia of thoughts, words and written texts dedicated to it. I’m not going to pretend that I have the answer, but this morning a thought grew in my mind. That one of the most important things in our lives, if not the most important, must be relationships. Relationships with our friends, family, significant other and/or God. We’re social animals, after all. 

If relationships are so important to us humans, why then do we sometimes live as if they’re not a priority for us? Why do we fill our time with work, with volunteering, with projects that make us feel important? Why do we sometimes (or often, depending on your personality) care more about what strangers think of us than how our close ones see us? Why do we tire ourselves out so much with other things, that we become grumpy and impatient with the people around us?

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Recently my boyfriend and I were in Scotland, where we camped next to Loch Achray. From our tent we had a beautiful view of Ben A’an, a 454 metres (1,491 ft) high mountain. Yes, I’m aware of the fact that in the UK a mountain is officially defined as a peak of 600 metres (1,969 ft) or higher. However, given that the highest point in the Netherlands is 322 metres (1,058 ft), I personally classify Ben A’an to be a mountain.

We woke up to a clear day and the tantalising view across the lake seemed to draw us towards Ben A’an. Described by my ‘Wild’ guidebook as ‘giving perhaps the best views-to-effort ratio of any Scottish mountain’, we knew we had to make the ascent. So up we went, my boyfriend sometimes slowing me down when my enthusiasm would make me speed up to an unsustainable pace. We saw a beautiful mansion disguised as a castle, heard a stream rumble, passed a bridge and walked along a big sad stretch of cleared trees. And then the steep part came. The part about which I questionably asked: ‘Ehm, do you think it’s that peak?’. Until we caught the glimpse of a bright red jacket and realised that, indeed, the last part of the climb would be that steep.

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Life’s a dance

Every year in May there’s a night full of arts in Liverpool: LightNight. There are exhibitions and workshops, there is live music and live performances. After delicious street food at the Bombed Out Church we wandered over to the Baltic Triangle to experience a tribute to the late Donna Summer. On the way there an iconic building next to Liverpool’s Chinese Arch caught our eye: the former Great George Street Congregational Chapel. One of those buildings that always seems to have closed doors, building intrigue of the hidden treasures inside. But this night the doors were wide open. Some christmas lights drew our attention and our curiosity drew us in.

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