Friday, 01 December 2023
We all have history, but it’s not what defines us Gillie Sutherland

We all have history, but it’s not what defines us

Written by  Gillie Sutherland Mar 12, 2023

Looking at what’s happening in the world, if we watch the news, it’s easy to slip into the mindset that it’s a hostile place.

Perhaps intentionally, much of the news presents a pretty bleak picture.

It can seem like everyone is fighting. We’re on one side of the other, we need to choose a side, and personally I find it exhausting and quite dismaying.

It only takes one day to convince me otherwise.

We are out on a hike, enjoying some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve seen here in the Zadar area.

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Out in the fresh air with friends - Photo - Gillie Sutherland 

It’s different to our usual Velebit mountain terrain. It’s rocky, quite barren, except for wild herbs and wild rabbits, and you can do a 360 and not even see a house or another person.

With a backdrop of the Velebit mountains, the Adriatic Sea is at its best - the most spectacular turquoise blue that is just begging you to jump in.

It’s only the beginning of March, but Spring is well and truly here. We are in t-shirts, and there’s not a cloud in the sky.

The conditions are perfect, not just because of the weather and the scenery, but because of the company I’m in.

I’m taking a mixed group of locals and Internationals, from countries all over the world. They haven’t met each other until this day, and you’d think that this might be a tricky dynamic to balance.

It’s the opposite.

The interaction between the nations - from Turkey, Ukraine, Sweden, UK, Slovakia and Croatia - is pure love and respect.

The group bonds easily, and there’s even humour as our guide recalls some of the history with the Ottoman Empire, with a wink to our friend from Turkey.

No one cares where each of us are from, we are all equal and there is a respect for each other as individuals and not defined by where we are from.

This brings lightness to my heart, and a renewed sense of hope for humanity.

We are not all at war with each other. There is so much more that unites us than divides us.

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Find your path - Photo - Gillie Sutherland

There’s a fascinating young woman in our group. She’s travelling in her car with her dog (automatically, a kindred spirit), and when she’s asked where she’s from, she simply says:

“I’m a citizen of the world”.

It’s simply that. It doesn’t really matter where we come from. This is where we are right now.

We all have history, but it’s not what defines us.

No one cares out here hiking.

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Good vibes in Zadar - Photo - Gillie Sutherland 

There’s a respect for what each of us bring from where we came from, but there’s no argument. Only humour, light teasing, but good vibes.

Even when I try to introduce people to the idea of a banana sandwich, no one is rude about the Brits having dreadful cuisine. Maybe because my fellow Brit explains it’s not a British thing, maybe just a Northern thing. Or even a “Gillie thing”, which may just be true.

Everyone is open to trying it, and even though I’m not sure I’ve convinced anyone, there was no judgement or meanness.

I am reminded that we thrive in the right environment. We need to regularly take ourselves away from the madness, and just be open to the idea that the world is not a hostile place.

And that people are generally good and kind towards each other when they’re not scared, and when we really just see ourselves as equal “citizens of the world”.

Read more Gillie here...


About The Author:

Gillie Sutherland grew up in the Lake District on the border between England and Scotland, but has now made Croatia her home. As well having her own online yoga and well-being business, Gillie plays an active role in the International Community here in Croatia, running events, activities and holidays. She is passionate about nature, wellness and adventure, swimming in the sea all year round and spending weekends hiking.

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