Family Holiday – My Thoughts After Travelling Through Europe in 2019.

It was incredibly fun to finally be on a proper family holiday after all of these years with hardship & illness!

Initially I was thinking that the trip would provide me with plenty of material for my blog, but the truth is that I was hardly on my phone. 🙂

It was yet another reminder of how gadgets socially function like “pacifiers” and how you have to be logged in at all times if you depend on digital self-promotion and marketing…

It’s nice to have social media if you have an isolating job or if you are ill, it is also an invaluable tool if you want to start a business or build a brand, but when you go out into the real world you really get to see what a lousy replacement it is in terms of personal interactions and real-life experiences.

It was interesting to travel around in a continent that is seemingly “doomed” according to pundits and media outlets.

Since we kept far away from any of Europe’s major cities we only experienced peace and beauty. We did not run into anything dangerous, shocking or headline worthy, in fact we travelled through the continent and enjoyed it without seeing any blatant signs of imminent collapse.

The only interruption of this was checking out the news…

Whether we were in France or in Italy or taking the boat over the English Channel it was all about the EU. This created the impression of a continent in severe crisis. In Italy there was also an emphasis on the flood of people coming into Southern Italy from Africa, which is an ongoing issue…

I couldn’t help but notice that there was a general air of fatigue in Italy, which is something that I never sensed when I lived there. I attribute this to the never ending traffic of tourism and a literal demographic invasion coming in from the South. The continuous flow of Northern European foreigners have left its mark on the Veneto region; menus were now all of a sudden both in German and Italian while signs at a posh SPA were in Russian.

I don’t think most travellers notice a very apparent tiredness in their hosts, probably because Italian politeness can mask much (they are also incredibly service minded), but for those of us used to Southern energy and optimism it was a markable change. Once I returned home from our epic trip I read that multiple laws have been passed lately in Italy to protect their monuments and heritage from the destructive force of tourism. So much money is earned every year from this activity yet I cannot help but wonder if financial gain will be sacrificed eventually in the name of long-term self-interest and protectionism… It is after all t-h-e-i-r country.

Always sensitive I guess, I noticed that my masseuse over at the wonderful SPA seemed pretty under the weather, so when she went through the mandatory motions of asking me polite questions I turned the whole conversation around to inquire about her circumstances.

She complained about lousy payment and never-ending work, widespread violence in major cities at the hand of African migrants and rising living costs. She revealed that Italians in the South on average make about a 100 Euros a month which is obviously impossible to live on.

To me it was yet another illustration of how Paradise is maintained by invisible hands with inaudible voices…

You can enjoy the luxury and be in heaven for as long as you don’t bother to ask any questions or empathise with the “faceless” workers who are there to serve. The second that you turn on the news or show a genuine interest in your fellow humans you realise that the Elysium that you inhabit is tainted or bound to collapse…

As an artist there is obviously a constant reminder of the vulnerability of our systems since your income is always unpredictable. I think a general sense of ever present financial-anxiety is common amongst online personalities, regardless of niche, since any changes or trends in the world of social media can have devastating consequences for internet-dependent income…

The unpredictable nature of show-biz related work can of course in part explain why entertainers in a lot of cases get involved with grassroots activism and all sorts of non-entertainment organisations. There is always that shadow in the background reminding one of the importance of luck and of how things can dramatically change. For those who are linked into more meritocratic or solid industries, not to forget large sums of inheritance, I assume that it is easier to take the Ben Shapiro route and assume that poverty is a “you-problem.”

Of course it is important to actually enjoy a much earned holiday just like it is important to have fun and be happy when things are good. If not, one will never be happy as there will be a dark cloud hanging over any joyous occasion; a nagging sense that something bad must happen now that all is good or a sense of guilt due to all of those people out there who are faring way worse than oneself. It is obvious that what I’ve been trough have changed me forever. When I was little I only knew of one reality but now I know that there are several parallel ones that rarely overlap… Life is generally speaking merciless and brutal. Most toil few ever live.

On my 25th birthday I received my first ever SPA treatment when I stayed at a swanky 5 star hotel in the city of London, of course I was curious and asked my masseuse a gazillion different questions. She revealed that the staff were prohibited from using the pool or any of the amenities at the place which struck me as especially harsh. It illustrates a financially fuelled class system where those who provide comfort to the wealthy are supposed to not be seen nor heard.

I asked myself why income alone ought to be the determining factor of perceived success and what made me so much better than the woman who was serving me. I was talented and working hard, but wasn’t this woman working hard as well? If I work on my music for 17 hours (in one day) and another person works on another task for the same amount of hours, then what determines the value of the effort? Isn’t energy spent just energy spent? If two people are both exhausted after a long day’s work then who is to say which type of exhaustion is more valuable? If I was to be rewarded for my effort spent, especially across time, then I should currently be mega rich when taking into account my self discipline and work ethic during all of these years as an artist. The creative professions have a horrible reputation since a lot of artists just loiter about, but some (myself included) work tirelessly and endlessly. Yet the market isn’t “just” when it comes to putting a value on the actual labour spent on an artistic endeavour which is why patronage is the best solution to the arts.

A display of socio-economic absurdity presented itself later in the evening (while I stayed at the aforementioned hotel) when a young woman knocking on my door wondered if I was interested in the “turndown service,” baffled I asked what on earth this was only for the girl to explain that it meant her turning down the bed linen for me so that I could go to sleep.

Unsurprisingly I burst into laughter as it was surely one of the dumbest things that I’d ever heard of…

If you are too fancy to make your own bed ready then there really is no hope…

This year’s family holiday was fantastic and much needed, it could have gone on for another week or another month (or for a whole year) as far as I was concerned. The last time we were on something resembling a family holiday was in 2007!

I really enjoy being around my own family members especially if we are making new memories. Travelling around in territories with wonderful weather and incredible food is not exactly a punishment. I would feel like the luckiest person in the world if I could permanently live within walking distance to a thermal SPA and have a VIP membership. Waking up everyday to nice warm weather and high quality food and drink is not exactly my definition of hell. Yet I guess I’m too Nordic to not find something negative to talk about and in this instance it was the misfortune of others. As of now the socio-economic boundaries within Europe are kept intact but one can wonder for how long this will last when poverty spreads and privileges are stripped from all but an increasingly dwindling number…

Published by thecommanderinchief

I'm primarily a 7 string guitar virtuoso, bel-canto trained coloratura soprano & songwriter in Classical-Crossover, Heavy Metal & Acoustic Music. I've been featured in a number of major international music magazines, National Newspapers, etc; I've played major festivals & have been a Talk-Show guest on National TV & Radio. I've also been a coach & a judge on Norwegian prime time TV show "Stjernekamp" :) I've released an Amazon bestselling Classical Album that has been going in and out of the charts ever since its release in 2014 and I've also been award nominated for my work in Heavy Metal. I've written & illustrated "The Freezing Snowman" and a number of other books. This blog was started in 2015 due to public demand and has so far resulted in one book called "Thoughts." I've pretty much written about anything that one can write about besides make-up, dating and fashion. This blog has gone trough numerous changes both in terms of topics and layout. I don't know for how long my blogging-hobby will continue.

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