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The background picture explained




The picture shown on the frontpage holds great meaning to me. It serves as a reminder of where I've been and where I'm going. However, I hadn't considered to explain what it represents until a friend of mine pointed out that it has some strange religious undertones.


That is not the case, although the picture is taken next to a monastery. Precisely west of Santuário de Santa Luzia in the town Viana do Castelo, Portugal. It was an incredible experience that lead me to take this picture and has guided me forward ever since.


Back in 2019 while studying, I was part of a youth NGO called Aiesec. The organisation promotes practical opportunties and exchanges focused on leadership development for young people. Being part of the organization meant I had the opportunity to attend international conferences.


The conference I attended in Portugal were named 'Global Lead Conference' and was unique in its way that different from many other conferences, it provided no formal agenda. We had certain activities throughout the three day conference but was free to interact as we liked.

The way I interpreted the purpose was that the organisers, also called hosts, made everything from decorations to guidelines with the express purpose to create a completely accepting and open environment. To generate an energy that was so warm and loving among all the delegates, made the perfect setting for accepting once own flaws, getting out of your comfort zone or to work on your personal goals. I did all three.


Rules included keeping eye contact when sharing your thoughts and with an open body language (no folding your arms). Which I interpreted as a way to encourage us to express vulnerability and honesty.


Furthermore, we were split in to tribes according to different colors and themes, which changed every conference. Mine was Orange and Creative, neither of which I perceive myself to be, which likely was on purpose as i wrote an application to join this conference.


I cannot fully explain what happened as I still find it difficult to grasp how simple activities and discussions could be so impactful. In 24 hours all the people felt like we had known each other for years. My actions, thoughts and ideas were all encouraged even if I was not sure what I was doing. It felt liberating.


On the final day we all went for a walk towards the monastery on top of a hill. Upon arrival, we gathered in our tribes. We were instructed to walk around the area and reflect over our experience then take picture of something we felt symbolised it, or anything else we felt a connection to. Again, no rules at this conference.

We were given 45min for this, which first felt like a long time but really wasn't. I've never taken a lot of photos, especially not with the purpose of it representing something. I walked around, snapped a few pics, and didn't feel much of anything for them.


With little time left, I closed my eyes, and searched for whatever place that called to me. Next moment I stand by the edge of monastary, facing the sun and the ocean. I look up, take one glance, and saw what it was I was searching for.


The picture was ingrained before I even take it. The land and ocean with the dark clouds towering in front of me was almost intimidating. But above it all was the sun, shinning its light through the vast darkness, giving immense calmness and inspiration.


There's so much chaos in this world, along darkness, confusion and frustration. But the sun and the light it brings has the ability to pierce through all that.

And although I find myself in dark clouds and storms, I have the potential and ability to work through it and share the light I have inside. To somehow rise up and become the sun.

I believe my purpose is to shine my light onto everywhere I go, to bring joy and happiness so not all we see is dark.

That is what the picture represents to me and why it stays as a reminder for what I want to achieve.


We all carry light inside of us and the way to express it is through love and kindness. Everyone has the potential to be a sun themselves and it would be a beautiful to be part of a world with 8 billion of them.

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