Tag Archives: wanderlust

The Magic Is In You – Water Wonderland

This is the second in an experimental series of posts about connecting to the magic within and all around us.  You can read the first post here as a general introduction to the idea.

I have chosen water as the theme because it is the one aspect of nature I can always rely on to soothe and calm me wherever I am.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

 

The inspiration for this post didn’t come to me in the clear turquoise waters of a tropical island, beautiful lake, or river though.  It was bubbling away in the jacuzzi at my local spa.

As I sat there in a peaceful daze, visions came to me of past times I’d been happily submerged in water, in places far and wide.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Imagined future scenes also flashed before me, until these visions enveloped me into a water wonderland which merged with the swirling delight of my present surroundings.

I sank deeper into the hot bubbling whirlpool in a dreamy stupor, and in that moment, all of my trepidation about leaving my current life behind to go off alone into the unknown again dissolved.  I knew that wherever I was I would always have this.  I could always return to the water world of my dreams that existed somewhere between planet earth and a paradise-like realm, where water was a sacred gift from the gods.

Iguasu Falls, South America

Iguasu Falls, South America

Water Meditation

Submerge yourself in water.  It could be in a bath, a river, lake, pool, hot tub or the sea.  (I have recently discovered the joy of having a wetsuit, which means I can swim comfortably even in the freezing cold water of the UK!)  Find a safe quiet spot where you feel happy to stay for a while.  Or, if you feel calmer on the move, find an open space where you can swim slowly without being disturbed.

The main aim of this activity is to relax and connect with your own magical water dreamland.  Use the flowing quality of water to wash away any negativity in your mind and body, and feel how you become almost weightless.  Feel yourself dissolving into the water, becoming more and more peaceful with every breath you take.

Your body begins to merge with the water, your movements becoming more fluid and easeful.  You are one with the water, and realise that all of the peace and calm that the water provides already exists within you.  Allow the twinkling reflections on the surface of the water, and swirling shapes your body makes as you move, to transport you to your water wonderland.

Sunset, Barbados

Sunset, Barbados

Allow images of beautiful waterfalls, lakes, rivers and oceans to float through your mind.  Enjoy the anticipation of visiting these places, and the special memories of places you have already been.  You are infinitely peaceful, and have a deep appreciation for this precious gift.

There is no set time for this meditation.  Personally, I could spend hours in water without getting bored, but everyone is different.  When you have finished, write down a few words under the heading of ‘water wonderland’ to remind you of this experience, or collect some pictures to create a collage of dream water paradises you would like to visit.

Try to take some of this relaxation and fluidity you have experienced with you into the coming days.  Allow peace to ripple out from you in all directions, and feel like you can float through any difficulties you may encounter.

Thank you for joining me in our water wonderland, I hope you enjoyed it!  Leave me a comment and tell me about your favourite places and inspiring experiences below ❤

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Learning To Love The Rain In Slovenia

There’s a reason Slovenia is so green.

slovenia3

 

The land glistens and twinkles with freshly fallen rain drops.

Vintgar gorge

Vintgar gorge

Emerald green rivers tumble down through lush tree-lined gorges.

slovenia

 

Waterfalls appear to emerge from nowhere, like fountains, gushing out of the hillside.

waterfall slovenia

 

It was hard to tell the thick mist of spray at the base of one waterfall from the nearly constant heavy rain we’d become so used to.

The lovely staff at the hostel where we were staying kindly lent me a giant rainbow umbrella.  The bright spectrum of colours surrounded and sheltered me, filling my mind with happy thoughts, so that only the beauty filtered through.

giant rainbow umbrella, slovenia

 

Shrouded in cloud and mist, the scenery of the country was somewhat elusive.  But when the clouds parted, the magical views were all the more special.

Bovec, Slovenia

Bovec, Slovenia

Fairytale Lake Bled took on an eerie grey hue to match the sky, adding to its mysterious appeal.

Lake Bled

Lake Bled

Any traces of resistance to the weather we’d been experiencing were well and truly washed away for me when we reached the vast Soca river.

Soca river

Soca river

Unstoppable, peaceful and so powerful.  I cried out with joy as I stood on the river bank, breathing it in, letting it carry my troubles swiftly away with its dynamic yet oh so soothing flow.

soca river slovenia

 

Far from the clear turquoise water we’d seen in pictures, the sediment churned up from the heavy rainfall gave the river a very pale opaque appearance.  I found this striking colour to be just as beautiful as the amazing emerald green of the Radovna river in the Vintgar gorge.

Vintgar gorge, Slovenia

Vintgar gorge, Slovenia

Winding our way down through the ethereal gorge, we became more and more enchanted with every step.

slovenia - vintgar5

 

As we rounded each corner, a new spellbinding view opened up before us, enticing us further and further along the path.

vintgar gorge slovenia

 

The hypnotic sounds, colours and shimmer of the water soothed and energized me.  The gorge seemed to contain the swirling magic of the river, allowing us to soak up more and more of it as we followed its course.

slovenia vintgar gorge2

 

After so thoroughly appreciating all of its consequences, how could I ever complain about the incessant rain again in this beautiful country again?!

lake bled heart

 

Have you been to Slovenia?  Did it rain the entire time when you were there, or were we just lucky/unlucky?!  I would also love to hear about any times you have found the beauty in something that you’ve previously disliked.  Leave me a comment 🙂

 

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The Spirit Of Adventure

I am an adventurer at heart, and probably always will be.  I’m writing this post because for a really long time I’ve had an internal battle of ‘home’ vs ‘wanderlust’ going on, and it’s been driving me a bit crazy.  I’ve felt like I should ‘grow up’ and ‘settle down’, do the sensible thing, prioritize safety and comfort, and stay close to the people who already know and love me.

Doing this has been great for a while, and 100% what I have needed.  But home isn’t just a place, it’s a state of mind.  One that I only seem to be able to access when I am being true to myself and my desires.  When I think about what I want long term, the only thing I can feel genuinely inspired by is a life of adventure.

Flying high over the desert in Peru.

Flying high over the desert in Peru.

I love that feeling of home, familiar faces and places, and the warm glow that surrounds me.  But when I deny my need for adventure, I cut myself off from this connection with the world around me.  Ironically, forcing myself to stay home for too long can be the very thing that prevents me from feeling ‘at home’.

Flowers in the garden on a sunny day - that beautiful feeling of home.

Flowers in the garden on a sunny day – that beautiful feeling of home.

It makes me feel sad sometimes that I’m not motivated by the same things as most of the people around me.  I actually find the hard work, persistence and determination of friends that have saved enough money to buy a house, or weathered the tough times in long term employment in order to raise a family, incredibly inspiring.  I know that they must really want it.

People that follow an unconventional path often project their own feelings onto those that choose to find peace and contentment in a more ‘ordinary’ life.  Obviously there are exceptions, and there certainly are people that are dissatisfied with their boring job, partner and/or miserable existence.  But that’s not what I see.  For the most part, I see people that go through ups and downs, but are committed to their future, and get enough joy from their day to day lives to know that it’s worth it.

Adventure for most people is a fun interlude during an otherwise comfortable life.  I know people that come home from an action packed holiday and are actually glad to get back to their normal routine and familiar surroundings.  They have amazing memories of the experience, they may learn and grow from it, and it will enrich their lives.  This is awesome.  But it is not me.

Amazon jungle adventures

Amazon jungle adventures

I need more.  I want longer adventures.  I need to go deeper in the jungle.  I’m no Ranulph Fiennes, but I am intent on pushing my own boundaries further than I can even imagine right now.  This doesn’t mean I’m going to take crazy risks (I’m actually incredibly safety conscious these days!), but it does mean I will chase my crazy dreams.

I often wish my dreams were more aligned with those of my friends and family… a beautiful house in the countryside, some happy children, fabulous holidays, or a creative project that fits nicely into life at home in the UK.  But what I really want is to belong, and I only feel this sense of belonging when I am following my own dreams, not someone else’s.

I first knew adventure was more to me than just the occasional holiday or adventurous hobby when, nearing the end of a 5 month long trip around South America, I imagined not having to go home.  I glimpsed a freedom greater than anything I had ever dared to dream of.

A condor soaring through the vast Colca Canyon, Peru.

A condor soaring through the vast Colca Canyon, Peru.

Many years, and many adventures later, the call towards freedom had become stronger than ever.  Every time I experienced the wild beauty of life, I knew this was where I belonged.  Not in any one particular place, but in that place within me that was unconstrained, limitless and free.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam

My passion for exploration and adventure is so all-consuming that when I am not adventuring (which has been too often during the last couple of years), the weirdest things give me wanderlust.  I was in a cafe a few weeks ago with a friend, and the smelly toilet actually made me yearn to be far from home in a warm country with inferior plumbing, where all the toilets smell like that.

That was a turning point for me.  I knew I needed to take action.  I am now pouring my overwhelming passion for adventure into planning and saving for a looonnnng trip to Costa Rica this winter.  For the last couple of years I have been channeling my adventurous spirit into my businesses and creative projects, which I hope to continue overseas.

The main challenge has been developing the confidence to rely on myself to earn money, and to ride out the highs and lows.  It’s still a challenge every single day, but it’s getting easier.  I have a little adventurousness left over now, so it’s time to wander again… to Costa Rica and beyond!

What does the spirit of adventure mean to you?  Is your wanderlust in balance with your life, satisfied by regular adventures?  Or is it raging out of control, to the point where even eating at a Chinese, Indian, Italian etc. restaurant brings you close to tears with the overwhelming desire to BE THERE?!  Leave me a comment with your thoughts 

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Nature Meditation

Some places are so spectacularly beautiful that we are effortlessly drawn into their magic.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Time seems to slow down and we feel a profound inner stillness.

Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

A view can seem so surreal that it brings us a fresh perspective on life.  The whole world somehow feels more alive, and more strange!

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

Our surroundings interact with us and remind us that we are part of this extraordinary vision.  Contemplating a magnificent ocean view is a full sensory immersion.  The endless gentle roar of the waves, the feel of the salty sea air on the skin, and the unmistakeable smell, are so powerfully soothing.

Big Sur, California

Big Sur, California

Interacting with nature in a more dynamic way can also bring about feelings of deep peace.  The full body co-ordination involved with outdoor activities such as rock climbing, paddle boarding, skiing and surfing (along with countless others!), can really force us into a state of calm concentration and aliveness.

The adrenaline of a bungee jump or a sky dive, combined with the rushing air and amazing views can only be compared to the feeling of being the hero of a real-life computer game!  These were among the most intense natural highs I have ever experienced.

sky dive

 

Meditation was rarely my intention with these out-of-this-world experiences; but they did open a doorway for me to experience the immense beauty of the present moment.  Seen with fresh eyes, beauty appeared in details I had previously missed.  The world became so vivid to me, and I had much more appreciation for the subtle charm of ordinary things.

I realized that peace was accessible to me anywhere, any time.

Autumn leaves

A tiny patch of land where nature is allowed to flourish, 2 minutes from my home in the UK.

If  we make it our intention to deepen our sense of peace and connection to the world around us, a walk in a local park can be as magical as visiting a more dramatically beautiful place.  It may not have such a powerful impact, but if we allow its gentle beauty to permeate our being, the effect can be just as profound.

If you open your heart to the beauty of the present moment, you will be rewarded.

Whether you’re taking a peaceful stroll in nature, sitting quietly in your garden, or swimming in the ocean, consciously connecting with the magic of your surroundings will deepen the feeling of peace you experience.  The benefits will continue throughout your day, and beyond.

So my challenge for you today is to become one with the subtle magic of the present moment.  Give yourself a minimum of 5 minutes to deepen your bond with a natural environment or a particular aspect of nature.  It could be as simple as contemplating a beautiful flower or leaf, or gazing up at the vast open sky.  Or if you have more time, climb a hill or follow the path of a river.  There are endless possibilities.

beautiful flowers

 

Just remember that your intention is the most important thing.  When you combine a strong intention to nurture your bond with nature and feel peace in your heart, with a simple action that is in alignment with the intention, you will find that you create a new magic all of your own.

How do you connect with nature?  What magical moments have inspired you?  Leave me a comment below and share your wisdom 🙂

 

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10 Affirmations To Assist You During An Adventure

An adventure for you might be as simple as getting up early to go to the gym, or going to a party where you don’t know anyone.  Or it might be climbing a mountain or doing a bungee jump.  We all have our comfort zones.  Some days simply venturing outside feels like an adventure to me, yet at other times traveling solo through remote areas of foreign countries where I don’t speak a word of the language has felt like a walk in the park.

Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey.

Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey.

Whatever your current adventure threshold is, affirmations can really help to focus your mind when taking on challenges.  Try using these, take bits that feel empowering, discard bits that don’t, or make up some of your own!

1.  I am infinite.

One of my top affirmations for just about anything.  It’s simple and straight to the point.  Most of the rest of this list is saying the same thing in different words.  In fact, much of what I write on this blog relates to this powerful idea.  For some ‘infin-spiration’ read my recent post ‘You Are Infinite’.

Me being Tarzan in the Venezuelan jungle!

Me being Tarzan in the Venezuelan jungle!

2.  I am an eternal being journeying through time and space.  I can do anything.

This one puts things into perspective!  When I’m afraid, remembering this really helps.

3.  Adventure brings me expansion into peace.

When we do something that takes us out of our comfort zone, we see that we can cope with a lot more than we think we can.  This brings a greater sense of peace in day to day life.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

4.  The earth is my friend and gives me infinite love and support.

Having the mindset that our environment is friendly rather than hostile can drastically change the way we interact with it.  When I got lost in Kuala Lumpur, late at night and carrying a heavy backpack, I panicked.  I was in very little physical danger as I was in a central part of town with plenty of people around.  But it had been a long journey and I was tired, hungry and not thinking straight.  I saw friendly people who tried to help and give me directions as a threat, and I strode off in the opposite direction from my hostel, determined to find my own way there!

I got there in the end but I was very sweaty, exhausted and annoyed!  In contrast, when I got lost in the middle of nowhere in Cappadocia, with no water left and in the blazing heat, I was ridiculously calm.  I was still exhausted and very hot, but the beauty and silence of my surroundings put me at complete ease.  I continued walking happily and found my way back quickly.  I’m sure I’d still be there now if I had decided the desolate landscape with crumbly rocks and thistles was out to get me!

Rose Valley, Cappadocia

Rose Valley, Cappadocia

5.  I am strong and calm.

This one speaks for itself really.  Desirable qualities for any adventurer!

6.  This experience is helping me tap into my infinite source of inner strength.

When we’re struggling, telling ourselves we’re infinite sometimes seems unbelievable.  This is when getting a bit creative with the wording can do wonders.  We may not feel infinite at that moment, but we know we have felt much more capable than this in the past.  So remembering that this strength exists, and our experience is helping us to find it, can be an excellent stepping stone.

White water rafting in Peru, just before we flipped over and smashed my face on the rock! I wouldn't want to experience it again, but surviving it made me feel strong.

White water rafting in Peru, just before we flipped over and smashed my face on the rock! I wouldn’t want to experience it again, but surviving it made me feel strong.

7.  I am one with my surroundings.

Similar to number 4.  When we experience something that challenges us, it is easy to fall into the trap of feeling separate and isolated.  At the end of the day, adventure is something to be enjoyed, not endured.  This affirmation can remind us of why we’re here, and to become totally immersed in the experience.

Poon Hill in the Himalayas, Nepal.

Poon Hill in the Himalayas, Nepal.

8.  I am growing into my limitless self.

For the times when enjoying it just doesn’t seem feasible!  We grow from every experience and that is an amazing thing in itself.

9.  I am infinitely capable and can deal with any situation with ease.

Feeling tired, hungry, scared, lost or alone can trigger feelings of insecurity which can fool us into believing we are much less capable than we are.  We suddenly become like a vulnerable small child again.  Remind yourself that you are infinitely capable and that you can not only deal with this, but you can deal with it easily.

10.  I am a super magical goddess/god/being/creature!

If all else fails call upon your magical powers!  When we’re challenging ourselves, it can seem like we need superhuman powers to succeed.  So give it a try, and use this super magical affirmation!

necklaces pigeon pose instagram

 

I hope you enjoyed reading these and found some of them useful.  Affirmations and visualizations work best for me when I play around and have fun with them, so feel free to mix them up into your own special blend.  I’d love to hear from you with your top affirmations, or any new ideas these have inspired.  Happy adventuring!  ❤ ❤ ❤

 

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Angkor’s Treasure

When I think of the temples of Angkor, I don’t think of Angkor Wat standing majestically against the stormy dark sky, although it was an impressive sight to behold.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

I remember the moments of peace and quiet, away from the crowds, gazing up at the weird and wonderful carved stone faces of Bayon…

Temple of Bayon

Temple of Bayon

… and exploring dark mysterious chambers with my best friend and travel buddy.

 

I remember climbing impossibly steep stone steps…

Temples of Angkor

 

… and even more precarious descents, covering every inch of the ancient ruins.

Temples of Angkor

 

The astonishing Ta Prohm reminded me that even these mighty monuments bowed to the great force of nature, as the forest slowly reclaimed its territory.

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

Catching glimpses of Angkor Wat between the trees…

Angkor Wat

 

… and from the air in a tethered ballon…

Angkor Wat from the air

 

… left me with much more than the image of the giant religious monument in my mind.  The powerful symbol of Angkor Wat simply acts as a reminder of our epic adventure exploring this sprawling treasure trove of ruins in the jungle.

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You Are Infinite

Our lives are ruled by our beliefs, and what we believe about ourselves often becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

I am infinite.

Choosing to believe this one simple thought has led to a complete turnaround in my day on countless occasions.  Over time, these days are adding up to a big improvement in my life.

When your confidence takes a knock you probably have a hard time believing you’re capable of washing the dishes, let alone anything more complicated.  But luckily, you don’t need to justify it.

All you need is your imagination.

Ubud, Bali

Ubud, Bali

Whenever you experience difficulties in life, remember the power that lies within you.  No matter what your situation, you always have had, and always will have, the potential within you to create magic.

Raw citrine crystal necklace from my Etsy shop.

Raw citrine crystal necklace from my Etsy shop.

This power has nothing to do with your past achievements or external circumstances.  It depends only on your ability to let your mind gravitate towards the things that light you up inside.

It is the power of the imagination that makes us infinite.  Our imagination is far greater than the sum of all our experiences.  We have the ability to draw inspiration from our past, and dream up new worlds which build on these magical moments.

Magical moments - beautiful pagoda on the Yen river, Vietnam.

Magical moments – beautiful pagoda on the Yen river, Vietnam.

You may not be where you want to be just yet, but you still have the capacity to appreciate beauty and feel peace in the here and now.  You can create something beautiful with what you already have, and you can share that with others.

 

When a magnificent scene of natural beauty takes your breath away, know that you are only able to feel its magic because it resonates with the magic inside of you.

Iguacu Falls, South America

Iguacu Falls, South America

If a vision truly resonates with your soul, the possibility exists for it to become real.  Even if you have temporarily lost faith in yourself, a true heartfelt desire holds the power to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Sometimes self belief can be the hardest thing in the world, especially when doing something outside of our comfort zone.  When we don’t have a solid track record of success to inspire confidence , our strength lies in tapping into our imagination, our passion and our dreams.

Himalaya sunrise

A dreamy Himalayan sunrise. Photo taken from the top of Poon Hill on the ABC trek.

These dreams and visions are a core part of who we are.  To have imagined them they must be within us, and when you realize that you start to see yourself in a much more expansive way.  If we can dream of such beautiful things, we must have this beauty inside of us.

To see an improvement in any area of your life, the image you hold of yourself is often the most important thing you can change.  (I talked about this in my earlier posts It’s Not What You Do, It’s How You Do It and The Super Power Of Visualization.)

Any time you doubt your own ability or feel fearful about something, try asking yourself:  “What would infinite/magical/superhuman (insert your name) do?”  Then do that.

It feels kind of silly at first, but I promise you, once you get into it, you’ll start to notice a real difference in how you feel and the way you approach tasks.  It may not always be easy to make the leap from feeling incapable and scared (I’m talking from personal experience here!), to visualizing an unlimited, elevated version of yourself… BUT IT IS POSSIBLE.  Just keep practising!

If you’re ready for a bit of practice, check out my post How To Create Your Own Heaven.

 

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Citizens Of The World

I am inspired by visions of beauty all over the world,  from striking real life Indian goddesses amidst stunning temples,

Vittala temple complex, Hampi, India

to prayer flags lining paths through remote villages in Nepal.

On the way to the start of the Annapurna Base Camp trek in Nepal.

On the way to the start of the Annapurna Base Camp trek in Nepal.

I am inspired by the love of life and welcoming attitude of people everywhere I go, from the kindness of countless strangers across the globe, who have cooked me delicious meals, performed impromptu traditional dances, and shared the joy of singing and playing music together…

Men dancing in Amed, Bali.

Men dancing in Amed, Bali.

… to the lovingly cultivated celebration of nature that is my parents garden.

roses in garden

 

I am reassured to find that wherever I travel in the world, despite the cultural differences, people all have the same underlying appreciation for, and desire to celebrate and honour, this precious life.  From elaborate man made religious buildings with a hint of nature…

Ubud, Bali

Ubud, Bali

to the more subtle yet absolutely awe inspiring Gergeti Trinity Church, Georgia, dwarfed by the dramatic landscape that surrounds it.

Gergeti Trinity Church, Kazbegi, Georgia

Gergeti Trinity Church, Kazbegi, Georgia

I take pieces of these people, places and things with me and weave them into the wonderland of my imagination.  I hope that the things I create will inspire joy in those around me, just like the things that inspire me touch my own heart.

Necklaces from my Etsy shop.

Necklaces from my Etsy shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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From Heavenly Heights To Troglodyte Life in Cappadocia, Turkey

Suspended high in the air over the ‘fairy chimney’ rock formations and magnificent valleys of Cappadocia, everything was still.  The soft light of sunrise sprinkled its magic across the land, and we stood in the basket of the hot air balloon, packed in like sardines, in silent awe.  It was my first hot air balloon ride, and although I’d been paragliding before, and taken more flights than I care to remember, the splendour of rising up into the sky in this way was truly unique.

Cappadocia, Turkey

 

It was every bit as glorious as I’d imagined it would be, with an added element of fear that I’d not expected.  Our pilot skillfully guided the balloon perilously close to the weird and wonderful rocky peaks, skimming the basket past them with what felt like just millimeters to spare.  The landing site was interesting too, a tiny flat grassy area surrounded by sloping terrain and rocks.  We all breathed a sigh of relief when we touched down safely.

The relief was short lived though, as we began to float up into the air again without our pilot who had already hopped over the side of the basket!  I was ready to jump out, but quickly realized we were securely tethered and breathed a second sigh of relief.  Once we’d actually landed I stamped my feet on the earth a few times just to make sure!

Rose Valley

Rose Valley

With my new found appreciation for the ground beneath my feet, I enjoyed a long trek through the valley, keen to explore the territory in greater detail.  I set off with plenty of water, legs full of energy and a heart full of excitement.  I wanted to find the most impressive collection of fairy chimneys, but instead of checking a guide book I confidently marched off down a track which seemed to go in the right general direction.

I ended up, several hours later, exhausted, lost and very hot.  I’d run out of water and had shoes full of thorns, but I felt so happy!  I had no idea how I was going to find my way back, but I knew that I would.  My calmness amazed me.  I put it down to the silence of the valley and the steadiness of the pale golden rocks that seemed to watch over me.

The next day I stumbled upon the particular collection of fairy chimneys I’d been searching for, having absolutely no idea how I’d managed to miss them!

Fairy Chimneys, Cappadocia

 

Despite there being quite a few other people wandering around, taking photos and soaking up the scenery, it felt eerily quiet.  There were plenty of times when I found myself completely alone amidst the staggering rock formations.  It was like being in a Bond movie, but instead of an enemy stepping out from behind a pillar to shoot me with a gun, it was a tourist with a camera!

I’d come from the sprawling mega-city of Istanbul to the sleepy town of Goreme in Cappadocia, and it had taken me a little while to adjust to the change of pace.  I thought back to the day I’d arrived there and had hiked up out of town to a viewpoint to watch the sunset with some fellow travellers who’d been on the road for a really long time.

Goreme, Cappadocia

 

My companions were so relaxed and content, quietly absorbing the last few rays of warm light as the sun slowly disappeared behind the horizon.  I smiled to myself at the memory, realizing I was now in that same mode, inevitably harmonized by my immersion in this wonderful landscape.

Goreme, Cappadocia

 

Even in the town it was impossible to feel disconnected from the land, as many of the buildings are carved into the rock.   The guest house I stayed in was a ‘cave’ house.  It was more basic than some of the ‘cave hotels’ you might see pictures of, but you still got the full troglodyte experience!  I got a great night’s sleep there every night due to the silence and dark offered by my cave room, and it even had a pool to lounge by, for when I eventually emerged into the light.

I don’t think I could take to the cave life on a permanent basis, although it does have a certain appeal…

Cave house, Goreme

 

… But my time in the fairyland of Cappadocia certainly left me recharged, relaxed and ready for my next Turkish adventure!

Thank you for reading.  I would love to hear about your experiences of Cappadocia, or any other fantastic natural wonders of this world.  Or just leave me a comment to say hello, it’s wonderful to meet fellow travel/nature lovers.

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Singapore… The ‘City In A Garden’

As I glided into the city on the MRT, Singapore’s main transport system, I felt a great sense of ease.  I was able to fully appreciate the efficiency and thoughtful planning that had gone into the layout and infrastructure of this tropical city-state.

Despite being in an air-conditioned carriage on a high speed monorail there was no denying I had arrived in the tropics.  A combination of effort on the part of the government to develop and enhance Singapore’s greenery, and a warm climate with abundant rainfall throughout the year, have resulted in a city where foliage can flourish.  Lush vegetation springs up from the earth in between the clean lines of the modern city buildings, reminding me that, despite being surrounded by modern space-age style buildings, I was still very much on a living planet.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Singapore wasn’t my wildest adventure, but that was part of the appeal for me.  I stayed for a couple of weeks visiting a friend so I had time to really settle in.  Not that it took long; I instantly felt at home there.  In the preceding months I’d been travelling alone around Turkey, Georgia and Armenia.  It had been amazing, but it was a relief to be somewhere I could blend in with the locals (there are expats from all over the world living in Singapore) and communicate easily.

It was familiar enough to be comfortable, but different enough to be interesting.  I only had to venture across the road to the nearest shopping mall to experience a wide variety of excellent reasonably priced food from all over Asia and the rest of the world, catering to the tastes of the diverse mix of people who lived there.

I was a stones throw away from Sentosa island which on a quiet week day is quite a relaxing place to explore.  It’s known as ‘The State of Fun’ and certainly has its fair share of entertaining attractions, but I preferred to find quieter spots to stroll around, or take a quick dip in the sea.

 

Palawan beach on Sentosa island, Singapore, with suspension bridge across to the southernmost point in continental Asia.

Palawan beach on Sentosa island, Singapore, with suspension bridge across to the southernmost point in continental Asia.

One of my favourite memories of Singapore was walking around the forest on Sentosa and then hopping on the free bus that takes visitors around the island.  It’s probably a different story at busier times but I really appreciated the peace and tranquility of that moment combined with the convenience of being in a city resort.  It definitely isn’t the place to go for a relaxing beach holiday, but it’s one of many havens in a large modern city.

Singapore zoo

Singapore zoo.  I loved this poncho which sheltered me and my bag from the torrential rain… I think the tortoise liked it too!

Singapore zoo was another such haven for me.  As zoos go it’s a pretty good one, with lots of space for the animals and an emphasis on conservation.  There is a lot to see, and a separate “Night Safari” too which is well worth a visit.

Singapore also has some stunning and fascinating botanical gardens which are absolutely huge.  My favourite parts were travelling through time in a garden that told the natural history of the Earth, and strolling barefoot on the ‘reflexology’ paths that give your feet a massage as you go.

The Gardens by the Bay were the last gardens I visited in this ‘Garden City’, with the Supertree Grove being the perfect example of the city’s green aspirations.  Each ‘Supertree’ is a beautiful fusion of modern technology and nature.  The trees capture solar energy to help run the park, collect rainwater and channel it to where it is needed, and cool the large domed conservatories.  They are a magnificent sight to behold, with plants climbing all the way up the huge steel frames that reach up to the sky, and views of the park and beyond from the suspended walkway between them.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

 

These crazy futuristic gardens are a perfect symbol for Singapore which is doing its best to live up to its slogan of ‘City in a Garden’.

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