Hello beautiful beings,
I hope you are all well. I have returned to Sussex to find England absolutely blossoming into life. Spring making itself known in full technicolour. Beautiful forests blanketed with bluebells. Cherry blossom trees lining the road sides in confetti and lush green trees opening their buds with fresh leaves. It’s beautiful to witness and feels long overdue. It’s felt like a long winter for us all and finally we are all coming back to life.
I just returned from a spontaneous adventure across Croatia and Slovenia recently. I booked a ticket 2 days before and solo travelled across two countries. Coming back I feel that it was one of the best decisions I made. I really needed it, I needed something. Having been through much heartbreak and upheaval in the last year I really felt that I needed something to shake me, inspire me and challenge me. To come home to myself again. I informed my friends and family that I was off to “find my spark”, that the pesky little bugger was hiding somewhere and I was off to retrieve it. And I’m happy to say that in the ridiculous amount of walking in which I destroyed 2 pairs of shoes in 3 weeks, the many places I witnessed, the beautiful sights, sounds, connections and most importantly the huge amount of coffee and ice cream I consumed I started to heal, to come alive again. To enjoy the present moment, to find beauty in the small things and in the wonders of the world that brought me to tears.
I started off the trip, firstly timid and afraid like an animal. A feeling of what the hell have I done, transforming into a mad frenzy of action, of anger fueled into the passion of exploring for hours and miles and miles coastlines, cities, rivers and hilltops. Just getting lost in the landscapes that captivated me, that I didn’t need to think, obsess in, be in pain in. I could just be, just see the beauty of this world around me. And lastly it came into a relaxed state of “I’ve got this”, “I’m capable”, I can do whatever I like, its ok for me to feel joy again, its ok for me to smile at the songs I hear on the street, I can choose what lights me up. Adventures always seem to bring out new inspiration and insights for me, new aspects of myself.
I primarily decided on Croatia as Plitvice national park had been on my bucket list for a long time. Its endless waterfalls, wooden winding pathways, turquoise green waters and lush green trees were calling to me. Like a magical fairytale water world, I knew that if I wanted to witness beauty, be in awe, this was the place to do it. And it did not disappoint. As the bus dropped me off miles from my hotel I decided to walk for an hour past the entrance of the park to get some fresh air and stretch my legs. As I walked along with my heavy backpack half the size of me and taxi drivers looked at me like I was crazy as I said I’d rather walk I started smiling and singing as I walked along with a spring in my step, seeing my first glimpses of the lush green forests. As I reached a hilltop I saw a clearing and decided to have a short break and take a look. As I walked up to the clifftop Plitvice stretched out in the distance with waterfalls, lakes and forests as far as I could see. It was so beautiful I burst into tears. I hadn’t even stepped foot in the park yet!
The whole adventure across Croatia and Slovenia blew me away. It delivered so much more than I could have even hoped for. So many incredible experiences. From visiting sacred sites in Bosnia, island hopping in Split, Plitvice lakes, Krka waterfalls and valley in Skradin, Ljubljana in Slovenia (the capital of artistic crazy magicalness, European culture and love), Lake Bled and the turquoise coastlines of the Adriatic coast in Pula. I can’t even begin to share the incredible magical beautiful experiences, sights, sounds, tastes and connections. I will have to write a whole article just on my favourite experiences, as there were so many beautiful little moments that I will treasure.
But for now I wanted to just write a post of gratitude for all of the travel experiences I have had throughout my life and all the insights they have given me. I feel so deeply humbled when I look back and think of just how many incredible experiences I have been honoured to see in my lifetime. I have many other life experiences that have deeply moved me, but these adventures will always hold a special place in my heart and remind me of how it truly feels to be alive. To be in a state of awe at how incredibly beautiful this world is. What an amazing gift for us to explore.
I have cried in gratitude under the northern lights, swam in the blue lagoon in Iceland, seen the glaciers and been mesmerised by their crystal blue colour, visited Mexico in 2012, swam with whale sharks, visited mayan ruins, cuddled koalas in Australia, snorkelled the great barrier reef, sailed the Whitsunday islands of Queensland, drank tea with the bedouins in the Egyptian desert and snorkelled the Red Sea that is like a tropical fish tank. I have stood at the top of Machu Pichu, met indigenous tribes and shaman in the jungles of Peru, traveled all around England visiting sacred sites, camped under a meteor shower in Glastonbury, cliff jumped at midnight under a full moon in Cornwall, climbed Snowdonia in Wales. And now I can add to my list walking the waterways of Plitvice and jumping in its icy rivers (a little bit forbidden ;) ), seeing the blue cave in Croatia, visiting the Bosnian sacred apparition site of Mother Mary, walking around the fairytale site of Lake Bled in Slovenia, ringing the church bell on the island that is tradition to make your dreams come true and dipping my feet in the emerald green rivers in the valley. How truly unbelievably lucky am I ;)
And what I have found with travel is that sometimes the most amazing experiences are not those you plan for. They are the little experiences and detours in between. The chance meetings and connections, the foods, music and places you haven’t seen before. There are often places along the way that you pass through, that you didn’t know existed but fall head over heels in love with. It’s a beautiful metaphor for life. Often we know what we want and then sometimes when its delivered that’s often not the favourite experience, but what really blew you away was the detour you didn’t know how to ask for, the life experience you didn’t realise you needed, the landscapes, sights and sounds, the people that you didn’t know would inspire you until you met them. I often pray now “Surprise me” ;) , “I’m not sure what I want, something beautiful and magical would be nice”. Just for happiness, however that looks. Someone once gave me the prayer “Dear divine creator, you know my heart”.
I have a special place in my heart for the weird and wonderful connections. Meeting an old man at the top of a bridge and talking about foraging for asparagus just in gestures as we didn’t speak one another’s language, the little old lady with a huge smile on her face that didn’t talk English so spoke to me in jugs of wine, the fellow solo travellers that are living their dreams inspiring me to do the same. Spontaneous adventures together that we didn’t see coming but will always be treasured. We think that real life is in our everyday lives but really it’s those moments of just fully completely living in the present moment in reckless abandon and laughter that heal us, where we fully feel alive, where we come home to ourselves, to sides of ourselves we didn’t even know existed until we found them in another part of the world.
And so this is my little dedication to being able to experience that. Those moments, that define us. Where I feel like I fall in love with this beautiful earth we have been gifted to experience and all the beautiful souls within it.