Category Archives: Travel

Merge With Nature

Of course we are already one with nature.  That’s how we got here in the first place.  But we are very good at acting as separate beings.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in fact space and isolation can be amazing for allowing new inspiration and creative ideas to flow.  But feeling our connection with all of life can do wonders for expanding our minds too.

We may experience this connection spontaneously when our surroundings and state of mind are just right.  Perhaps we are visiting an amazing waterfall, or are relaxed at the end of a day spent in a very beautiful and peaceful place.  In these kinds of circumstances we are very open, and are able to feel the external world in a profound way.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

We can also consciously choose to cultivate this connection.  It may be as simple as intentionally creating situations for ourselves that are conducive to experiencing the natural world on a deeper level.  Planning to do something we don’t normally do, such as snorkeling, or visiting a new place can really open us up to a stronger connection with nature.

As always, remembering our intention is the most important thing.  When we are in the water, or up in the mountains we have to remember why we are there.  We are choosing to FEEL our surroundings as part of ourselves.

A calm mind and heart are essential ingredients, so meditating with nature can be the perfect way to deepen our bond.  Find a rock, tree, river or anything you choose to focus on.  You can tune into the object with your hands, whole body or whatever feels right for you.

Stay relaxed, with your eyes open or closed.  Embrace the object with your heart, and feel its subtle qualities wash over you.  It doesn’t matter if you feel nothing whatsoever.  Quieting your mind enough to try, and being out in nature, will bring benefits regardless of the outcome.

With a commitment to this practice, you will inevitably be able to feel more of the world around you.  There is no rush, as it is a beautiful never-ending process of falling in love with the universe, and uncovering its treasures.

Do you find it easier to connect with one aspect of nature more than any other?  Do you already feel a deep bond with your environment, and how do you nurture this bond?  Let me know in the comments below ♡.

 

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Dubai – An Awe Inspiring Mega City

Everything about Dubai made my head spin.  On many occasions I felt like a tiny ant lost in a mechanical world.  More than once I had to abandon journeys on foot because giant buildings and 12 lanes of traffic came between me and my destination.

Though at times I felt frustrated by this mad artificial universe, I was also equally amazed and overwhelmed with awe.  More than once I was reduced to tears by the magnificence of this strange metropolis.

Seeing the glittering lights of the city from the top of the tallest building in the world was an undeniably special moment for me.  I’d desperately wanted to visit the Burj Khalifa since I first heard of the plans to build it.  The fairy tale like quality of a tower stretching up nearly a kilometer (830m to be exact) into the sky spoke to my inner child in a powerful way!

The experience was made all the more dramatic by the fact I nearly missed my slot to visit.  I had to run through a seemingly never-ending tunnel of moving walkways to get there, just in time to use my extremely expensive non-refundable ticket.  The relief, combined with a journey to the top in an elevator traveling up to 10 meters per second, left me feeling like I’d been reborn, as I suddenly found myself ejected onto the 148th floor observation deck!

Giant skyscrapers looked like tiny toy buildings beneath me.  Dubai wasn’t dwarfed by the soaring tower though.  My bird’s eye view allowed me to witness its sheer scale, ever-expanding into the surrounding desert.  I was also mesmerized by the most impressive intersection of roads I have ever seen, allowing miniature cars to glide with ease through the city and beyond.  I came back down to earth with even more appreciation for the construction of this unbelievable place.

I’d experienced the Burj Khalifa from the ground for the first time a couple of days before.  Every evening there is the spectacle of the Dubai Fountain, where water, music and light are used to create pure magic in front of the glistening tower.  This show is repeated several times throughout the evening and is free for everyone to enjoy.

Strolling through the Dubai Mall was another of my favourite activities.  Hearing the call to prayer reverberate through the huge shopping centre was an extremely powerful experience.  It was strange to witness this against the backdrop of such large scale consumerism, but the pristine shiny chambers provided the perfect acoustics, and actually enhanced the effect of the beautiful spiritual song.

When the hypnotic waves of melodic perfection had finished penetrating my soul, I was off to see the giant aquarium!  There is something for everyone in the Dubai Mall.  As well as watching the beautiful sea creatures, I loved to watch the people watching them.  There was always a row of people happily pointing and taking pictures of the large section of the aquarium that is free to the general public.

Another relaxing place to while away the hours in the mall is at the waterfall.  I wish we had waterfalls in our shopping centers at home, maybe people would be a little less stressed!

If fake waterfalls aren’t your thing, there’s always the olympic sized ice rink, indoor theme park or cinema.  The possibilities for non-shopping related activities are endless.  I can’t comment on the shopping as I didn’t do any, but I can imagine the joy that over 1200 shops in such lovely surroundings would bring to an avid shopper!

All the air conditioned malls, tunnels and towers left me craving the outside (a place that I frequently forgot existed here!).  It is VERY difficult to walk anywhere in Dubai though, as my disastrous attempt at visiting the Ras Al Khor wildlife sanctuary demonstrated.  After getting within 500 meters of the place on the bus, I was forced to abandon my trip due to a fenced highway between me and my destination that was impossible to cross.

This experience made the successful walks all the more enjoyable.

I managed to navigate my way along tiny pavements, through, under and across vast roads and buildings, out into a space open enough to observe the majestic skyline.

It was the marina that really stole my heart though.  There is magic everywhere we go, but near the water it’s much easier to see it!  All the shades of sunset reflected in the gentle ripples, and combined with the twinkling city lights to create an enticing glow, inviting me to stay.

I longed to jump into the water, buy a boat, or live in a glittering apartment overlooking the beautiful marina.  Anything to be a part of this special place.  But instead, I took a piece of it with me to hold in my imagination and my dreams.

That’s how I cope with leaving places I love all over the world.  They leave impressions on me that I couldn’t leave behind if I wanted to.

 

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La Fortuna – Was It All A Dream?

My time in La Fortuna was far from perfect.  I got very sick, spent way more money than I intended to, and missed a lot of the things I went there for.  However, my overall memory of it is shrouded in a hazy dream-like wonder.

As I stepped off the bus I was welcomed to town by this little guy, whose magical doggie healing properties made carrying my heavy rucksack up the hill to my hostel much more bearable!

I had no plan for La Fortuna, so happily went along with some other backpackers for a whirlwind tour of the region.  I was so lucky to be driven around in a car all day, stopping when we wanted to, exploring the area and checking off some of the major sights.

When we arrived at the hanging bridges in Arenal, I felt like I’d finally arrived in the Costa Rica of my imagination.  The forest was packed with excited tourists, and it was pouring with rain, but I was high up amongst the tree tops at last.

I paused on the bridge, feeling it bounce slightly beneath my feet.  It was a strange and unforgettable sensation, being suspended in the canopy, enveloped in mist, held in the embrace of the rainforest.

Unfortunately, the mist that made the forest all the more beautiful, hid the famous Arenal volcano from view.  We drove through the trees over winding bumpy roads in an attempt to get closer and perhaps catch a glimpse.  At one point a faint outline began to appear through the cloud, only to disappear again for the next few days!

Whilst waiting for the volcano to show, I passed the time at possibly the best hot springs resort in the world.  I spent an entire evening at Baldi Hot Springs with friends from the hostel, and the next day I went back again alone to soak up more of the blissful magic!

I can’t recommend highly enough visiting hot springs at night.  It’s like a lucid dream that is too perfect to be real, and you’re enjoying far too much to wake up from.  With 25 thermal spring water pools, there was always something new and amazing to discover as we made our way through the dark steamy oasis.

That’s not to say I wasn’t utterly mesmerized in the light of day by the sight of cascades of water filling crystalline pools, surrounded by lush vegetation.  My heart was full to bursting as I explored every corner, feeling all the muscles in my body relax into the hot soothing water.

From floating in paradise, to drifting away in a strange and troubled sleep, I found myself in bed sick for the next couple of days.  So much for the ‘healing’ properties of the spring water!  It was difficult to be annoyed though, as after camping and staying in dorm rooms, a rest in my own private room was just what I needed!

Covered in thick cloud, I’d given up hope of catching sight of the elusive volcano.  I’d almost forgotten it was there, and I certainly didn’t realise I had a view of it from my balcony!  So on my last day in La Fortuna, as I was lazing in bed, I was awestruck when the clouds parted to reveal the mysterious, slightly threatening peak.

What an amazing treat to be lying in bed with such a view.  It was almost worth getting sick for!  However, having spent a small fortune and recovered enough to travel, it was time to leave this popular yet mostly hidden wonderland.  Frustratingly, there was so much more to discover in this area of geological wonders, but I had already spent far longer than I’d planned to there.  The cloud closed over the volcano again, and it disappeared, as though it was all a dream.

Where do you go when you dream?  Have you been somewhere so magical it makes you feel like you are dreaming, even though you are awake?  Leave me a comment below 🙂

 

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Wild And Free In Puerto Viejo

My first week in Puerto Viejo on the caribbean coast of Costa Rica was everything I needed it to be.  After many months of housesitting in the UK, snuggled up with other people’s pets in lovely comfortable surroundings, I found myself the other side of the world living in a tent.

I didn’t know it at the time, but a hurricane was on its way.  Apparently it is very unusual in Costa Rica, but given my countless previous near misses with disasters it didn’t surprise me in the slightest.  Anyway, I was blissfully unaware of the storm that was looming as I optimistically pitched my tent outside Rocking J’s, a popular hostel in Puerto Viejo.

Hurricane Otto was still a few days away, but rain hammered down relentlessly on my previously untested tent.  After the first night I knew I’d made the right purchase, when after 6 hours of non-stop heavier than I’ve ever experienced rain, there was not a single drop inside.  I slept a lot easier the next night.

I’m not a seasoned camper, and there is something immensely satisfying about withstanding such extreme weather in a tent that is small and light enough to carry in your rucksack!  When the rain finally stopped in the morning, I looked around in awe at the airy spacious bubble I was living in.  It gave me the most amazing sense of freedom to know that I could travel anywhere in the world with this miraculous mobile house.

It wasn’t just the rain that was extreme.  When the sky cleared, the blazing heat of the sun made it impossible to do much more than collapse on the beach under the welcome shade of a palm tree, which was fine by me.

I would cool off every so often in the huge crashing waves, trying simultaneously to keep my bikini on, avoid drowning, and watch my bag didn’t get stolen!

The humidity meant nothing dried here, and all my clothes were left smelling of mildew no matter how much I washed them.  I practically gave up washing myself too!  I bathed in the sea and showered in the rain.

By the end of the week I’d completely surrendered to my unpredictable surroundings.  I still didn’t know it, but the hurricane was getting closer.  The rain was getting heavier and longer, shortening my time on the beach, and forcing me into the water, which was where I really wanted to be anyway.

As I played in the crashing waves I reached up my arms to feel the rain that was pouring down and merging with the swirling foam of the ocean.  Again and again I was engulfed by the sea, happily coughing and spluttering as I inhaled salt water.  I became as wild as my surroundings, bursting with joy, and freedom glistening in my eyes.

In that moment I knew the meaning of ‘pura vida’, a popular Costa Rican expression which translates as ‘pure life’.  They say it when things are good, when things go wrong, and basically whenever they feel like it!  A week ago, I felt like I needed calm surroundings in order to relax.  Now I found the opposite to be true.  I was at the mercy of the whirlpool around me and bursting sky above, and was happier than ever.

However, even with my new found oneness with the storm, when I heard about Hurricane Otto rapidly approaching I decided it was time to leave my wild caribbean paradise.  From the reaction of the locals I’m sure it would have been safe to stay, but a Costa Rican friend had said the road to Puerto Viejo may close if the rain continued.  He was right, it did, but we were fortunately back in San Jose by then.

So I hurriedly packed up my tent and left Puerto Viejo, hoping but not knowing if I would come back.  There was so much more of this amazing stretch of coastline to explore, but for now I would have to settle for the volcanoes, hot springs and rainforest of the interior of Costa Rica!

It’s so easy to get stuck in our comfort zones.  When I’m at home I spend most of my time in a lovely safe bubble!  When was the last time you surrendered to the wild forces of nature?  Was it intentional, or did weather / a natural disaster / some unpredictable event catch you off guard?  Leave me a comment below 🙂

 

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Meditation, Magic And Monkeys In Puerto Viejo

After a flight delay of 24 hours, along with spending more time in San Jose than I’d intended, by the time I reached the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica I was desperate to find the perfect beach spot to relax.  Being in a hurry to slow down is never going to work out well though!

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I was exhilarated but exhausted after surviving the first stormy night in my new tent, and was impatient to find some comfort and tranquility by the sea.  Light cloud and a breeze helped cool the oppressive heat in Puerto Viejo that day, ideal conditions for lounging on the beach had I already been feeling relaxed.  There were trees overhanging the water, providing much needed shade, and I could walk for miles without seeing a single person.

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But my tired mind couldn’t perceive the perfection I later discovered to have existed the whole time.  I just wanted to rest, but couldn’t seem to settle at all.  The fallen trees were beautiful, but they were in my way.  The roar of the ocean was hypnotic, but the unpredictable waves and sharp rocks made swimming a less than relaxing challenge.  I wanted to lie down, but couldn’t find a place where my aching body felt safe from all the bugs who made their homes in this rugged paradise.

I soon realised it was me, not my idyllic Caribbean surroundings, that was the problem.  I could either give up on the day and head back to my tent, or I could embrace this amazing place and allow myself to be at peace with it.  I decided to slow down and stop looking for the perfect spot to relax, and instead just take a gentle stroll along the shore.  I allowed myself to walk, with no objective other than absorbing the unique natural beauty of this untamed area.

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With nowhere to be, I enjoyed clambering over the fallen trees.  The sound of waves crashing over rocks no longer represented the danger and difficulty of swimming, but became a constant soundtrack to my meditation.  Instead of being worried by bugs, I marvelled at how the dead logs and leaves provided a home to so many creatures.  Instead of sharp stones and shells bringing me discomfort, they created patterns in the sand, infinitely adding to the beauty of the beach, rather than detracting from it.

I paused to rest in a tree that was hanging over the water.  The branch was low enough that my feet dangled in the waves as they lapped the shore.  The tree bowed under my weight, but effortlessly supported me.  It swayed with the wind and my movements, and debris in the water rushed past my feet.  Pebbles struck at my ankles, but in the comfort of the tree I enjoyed the sensations.

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Satisfied that I had found inner peace again, I made my way back to the spot where I had begun my walk.  The soft sand seemed so much more inviting than before, and I lay down in total comfort to gaze up at the maze of leaves and branches above me.  Finally I could completely relax.  I lay still for quite some time, observing the flickering patterns of light created by the lush green leaves.

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Then my heart fluttered as I noticed an unusual movement high up in the tree tops.  I saw the dark outline of what appeared to be several baby monkeys creeping through the interwoven branches.

I have no idea what species they were, but I’ve only ever seen monkeys in busier areas where they cheekily play with and steal things from tourists, providing much amusement.  These monkeys seemed to be much gentler creatures, and they moved carefully and gracefully, without a sound.  I would never have spotted them had I not been in such a tranquil state, looking up at the sky in total stillness and peace.

After a while a friend came to join me and we watched the monkeys together.  We talked quietly while I gazed at the shimmering light on the water as the day drew to a close.  Leaves rustled, and crabs came out to dance on the beach.  At one point it felt like we were surrounded by an army of them, and were they not such amusing creatures I would have been slightly afraid.

The wind picked up and large seeds began dropping from the tree above, almost hitting us on the head.  We looked at the fallen trees all around and decided not to take any chances of being squashed by the extremely overhanging one we were sitting under.  I retreated inside, grateful for my time on this slightly wild and fascinating stretch of coastline.

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It hadn’t been the immaculate, serene environment I’d originally been craving, but what I’d discovered was far more precious than that.  By embracing nature rather than retreating from it, I had received the priceless gifts of peace of mind, and monkeys!

I think we can learn to be a lot more patient and accepting of our circumstances by spending time outdoors in unpredictable environments.  Learning to smile in the rain, sun, wind or when covered in dirt is an awesome life skill to have, and can give us a greater sense of freedom.  It’s so easy to get stuck in our comfort zone though, I do so on a daily basis!  If you have any inspiring experiences you would like to share, or any nuggets of wisdom, please leave me a comment below 🙂

 

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Gliding Through Miami

The adventure I am currently on began 2 weeks ago with a 24 hour stop-over in Miami.  The moment I set foot outside the airport terminal I felt equally at ease with and impressed by my surroundings.  The evening was warm, and I was greeted by palm trees and shiny giant vehicles.

I took 2 buses and a walk with my heavy bags to reach my hostel, but friendly helpful people and the comforting balmy night air made it a smooth transition.  Whenever I’m in the USA it feels a little like being in a movie to me.  I watched the neon motel signs and fast food restaurants fly past the window of the cool air conditioned bus, captivated by the strange yet very familiar surroundings.

After a good much needed sleep, I headed out of my hostel the next morning into the bright blazing sunshine.  The heat and the giant cacti growing next to the road reminded me how far away from home I was.  I found it hard to imagine the cold rainy November days in the UK.

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It wasn’t until I stepped onto the sandy path to the beach that the reality of where I was truly sank in.  I literally cried with joy as the short path opened out onto the vast expanse of white sand.  Stunning clear turquoise ocean in front of me, palm tree lined boulevards behind, I found myself standing on Miami beach at the beginning of a journey with no end date.

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I made my way to the water’s edge and felt that blissful feeling of the first waves lapping over my bare feet.  As I plunged into the water I thought to myself, never before have I been to a city beach that was so peaceful.  It was early, and I was a little out of town, so I shared my slice of paradise with only a few other people.

Gazing back at the gleaming buildings from such a tranquil place gave me a beautiful perspective on the city.  After a long journey it felt amazing to move my body in the perfect blue gentle waves.

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I took a long walk along the beach, dipping in and out of the soothing ocean, floating and smiling, watching happy people enjoying cocktails outside their hotels.  Eventually I tore myself away from the beach and headed downtown to see some more of the city.

As if in preparation for the Latin American part of my adventure, I met a wonderful Colombian man on the bus who insisted on taking me on the Metromover, a free monorail transport system that covers the central neighbourhoods.  I have a slight obsession with monorails, so it doesn’t get much better than a free one for me.

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The train glided through the city, winding around, over and under buildings soundlessly.  My Colombian friend left me to explore alone, and I was free to let my mind soar across the ground that passed beneath me.

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I was left feeling elevated and expansive after a high speed tour of downtown Miami, and with only a few hours before my flight it was time to get some food and head back to the hostel.

My short time in this awesome city had been surprisingly relaxing, and I was ready for the next instalment of the adventure!

I had a wonderful time in Miami, but I’m aware I missed most of the major tourist spots because I chose to focus just on 2 activities that I found most enjoyable.  What are your top recommendations for the city?  Leave me a comment below 🙂

 

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The Exmoor Coast… A Magical Mini-Adventure

It had been a lazy day.  I hadn’t managed to do anything productive and it was already the afternoon.  I had this feeling of restless excitement that was distracting me from anything I set my mind to.  I was craving adventure, but yet again had left it until too late in the day.  I resigned myself to an uneventful afternoon, and started planning a trip to the Exmoor coast for the following day instead.

I felt tingles of excitement as I looked online at pictures of stunning scenery.  Then I checked the weather forecast and my heart sank.  Nothing but rain for tomorrow, and today looked sunny and warm.  Typical!  The spirit of adventure had a hold on me though, and I couldn’t shake the desire to JUST GO.

So I got in the car and started driving.  I didn’t know if I’d see much in the few hours that were left before sunset, but I needed that feeling.  I would rather be an adventurer that tried and failed to reach her destination than one who sat at home wondering.  Who knew, maybe I would have some fun on the way too!

As soon as I was on the road I felt that familiar buzz of excitement that I’d been missing for the last few weeks.  I didn’t know what was in store for me, but with a strong desire to explore I had a good feeling about this mini-adventure.

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After an hour of driving the roads became more scenic.  Gliding through the trees with the sun beaming through parting clouds, I danced in my seat to the music that was playing on the radio.  I felt happy, and even if I had to turn around and go home there and then, the trip was already worth it.

I arrived in Lynton, a small town that sits on the cliff top above its sister town Lynmouth on the coast.  I wasn’t expecting to be rewarded with such breathtaking scenery with so little effort.  I wandered into a church yard and the quiet serenity of my surroundings, combined with the most wonderful sea view and perfect weather, left me utterly speechless.  It’s amazing what a little determination can do to change the course of a dull day.

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I set off along the coast path towards the Valley of Rocks, just west of Lynton and Lynmouth.  I’d walked that segment of the path a few years before from the opposite direction, but it wasn’t until the trees cleared that I remembered.  The same feeling of being somewhere very special came over me.  The vast expanse of shimmering blue water radiated an unmistakable magic that I recognised instantly.

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I wanted to head down into Lynmouth afterwards, so I didn’t know how far along the path I would go before turning back.  Around each corner was new beauty though, luring me further and further out of town.

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The sun shone brightly onto the perfectly still glimmering sea, turning it into liquid silver.  With such a perfect example of peace before me, my mind and heart became as calm as the smooth surface of the water.

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I continued along the path, absorbing all of the blissful tranquility of my surroundings.  When I caught my first glimpse of Castle Rock, reaching up majestically towards the sky, I knew it would be the perfect point to finish my walk.

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I clambered up between the rocks until I reached the highest point I could without endangering my life, and paused to take in the view across the valley.

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I observed the tiny dots of cars and people that had come to visit the landmark.  I wished I could have lingered in the sun with them for longer in this beautiful area.  I could easily have spent a day reading and relaxing there, soaking up the remaining summer warmth.  I wanted to head into Lynmouth before beginning the long journey home though, so I set off back along the stunning coast path.

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Just before getting back into a Lynton, there was a tiny path that wound its way steeply down through the forest into Lynmouth.  The leaves were so dense that even in bright daylight it was almost dark in the shade of the trees.  I hoped that the train back up to Lynton would be running later, as I imagined navigating the path at dusk would be tricky!

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After the surreal natural beauty of the coastal walk, when the tunnel of trees opened out into Lynmouth, I felt as if I’d passed through a portal back into the real world.  I quickly made my way to the cliff railway station and bought my ticket for the last train back, which happened to be in just 15 minutes.  Just enough time to get a quick snack to eat on the pebbled beach, and enjoy a few moments in this beautiful place.

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It had been an amazing day, and there was still one last mini-adventure left.  The train back to Lynton was no ordinary train.  The railway that connects the twin towns cuts straight through the cliffs at a near vertical angle, and the water-powered vehicle lifts you all the way up to the top.  I’d been on the cliff railway before, but the feeling still took my breath away!

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I watched Lynmouth shrink away into the distance as I was rapidly propelled upwards by the miraculous machine.  Yet again I felt like I’d been teleported, and was almost instantly back in Lynton where I’d begun.

There was still so much to see and do in the area, but I was unbelievably grateful at how the trip had turned out.  A day can change in an instant, and I’ve never regretted a decision to embrace an adventure, even when things haven’t gone quite so perfectly!

A spontaneous decision to do something out of your normal routine can be so enlivening.  What have been your most memorable mini-adventures?  Leave me a comment below 🙂

 

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Hunt For Treasure Wherever You Go

Soon I’ll be trekking through the jungle, hiking up active volcanoes and hunting for my perfect deserted beach hideaway in Costa Rica.  But every day is an adventure, and travel has taught me that the treasure is found, more often than not, in unlikely places.

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Whether that treasure takes the form of a skeleton casually playing the piano in your local garden centre, or a sunset that unexpectedly takes your breath away…

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… a true adventurer should be ready to find it.  Planning a big trip has fueled my spirit of adventure, and reminded me that mindset is so much more important than location.

Of course I’m looking forward to the big stuff, like pristine rainforest, stunning beaches and the abundance of wildlife that Costa Rica is famous for.  But more than that, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to strengthen my sense of adventure.  The art of exploring is something I develop more and more with every trip I take.

Coming back to ‘reality’ after an amazing experience can be a difficult adjustment if we’re not used to living in the present moment.  However, if we can keep exploring with an open mind, life becomes more and more like an exciting story unfolding around us.

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I often feel reluctant to dive fully into the present moment.  I might be inside doing something relatively mundane and notice the beautiful sunset, but instead of taking the time to fully appreciate it I just keep doing what I’m doing, purely out of habit.

I’m not saying that every time we see a pretty flower or hear a bird sing we should drop whatever we’re doing.  We’d never get ANYTHING done!  But when something special speaks to our heart there is infinite value in taking a little extra time to appreciate it and fully absorb the magic.

These moments we collect are priceless treasure that we can never lose.

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Whether we’re climbing a mountain, or relaxing in a garden, the treasure is found in fleeting snippets of time.  As treasure hunters it is our job to delve deep into these moments and imprint them into our hearts, to be saved forever.

If we can truly appreciate all the wonders that surround us at home, on the bus or walking around town, then we’ll find so much more treasure when we travel somewhere further away.  It has taken a bit of effort to break old habits, but I’m getting better every day at keeping my inner treasure hunter alive.

With a combination of stopping to appreciate magical moments, going on spontaneous mini-adventures, and planning bigger exciting trips, ordinary life feel less like something to escape from, and more and more like an epic never ending journey of discovery!

Fellow treasure hunters… I am going to be in Costa Rica from 10th November, and then plan to travel around Central America for an as yet undecided amount of time.  If you are reading this and happen to be or plan to be in that part of the world please let me know, it would be so cool to meet you!  Also if any one has any travel recommendations please leave a comment 🙂

 

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The Power Of A Crazy Dream

I often imagine I’m levitating.  I dream that I will live forever, in a beautiful harmonious world full of magic and wonder.

Handmade macrame gemstone jewellery available in my Etsy shop.

Handmade macrame gemstone jewellery available in my Etsy shop.

Unfortunately I am not yet able to fly, and although my little segment of the world is pretty good, it definitely isn’t paradise.  However, when I focus on my magnificent dreams, I experience some very beneficial side effects.

Wrap your life in rainbows.

Wrap your life in rainbows.

When I imagine myself to be unconstrained by the limits of this physical world, I experience, without fail, a boost in energy and a surge of inspiration.  I feel motivated, capable and confident in my abilities.  This in turn leads to happiness and success in whatever I am doing.

Actually achieving the ultimate dream then becomes less relevant, because it has already benefited me in the here and now.  I may spend time visualising mystical realms of indescribable peace and beauty, but it is the calm clear mind and feeling of love that remains after the visualisation that is important.

Perfume Pagoda, Vietnam

Perfume Pagoda, Vietnam

Whether you dream of world domination, or holding your breath for an hour and diving down to the bottom of the ocean, there is a tremendous power in indulging your dreams.  Not because they might come true (although believing in your dreams is the first step in making them a reality!), but because getting in touch with the things that light up your heart brings so much inspiration, joy, clarity and confidence.

Ayutthaya, Thailand. I dream of a life of endless adventure ♡

Ayutthaya, Thailand. I dream of a life of endless adventure ♡

I have used this technique personally to overcome mental fogginess and apathy many many times.  It has also played a part in overcoming my struggles with depression and anxiety, along with a lot of other help, support, self-love, medication and therapy.  It is just one of many useful strategies I have picked up, but it definitely plays a significant part for me in cultivating happiness and moving my life in the right direction.

So if you have a weird and wonderful dream, please don’t feel like entertaining it is a waste of time.  Maybe it’s achievable, maybe it isn’t… but believing in it may just make your journey smoother and more enjoyable.  Enjoy all of the successes your dream brings you along the way, and gradually loosen all of the limitations you have imposed on yourself, until you are truly living in a world where dreams come true!

What does your heaven look like? Necklaces pictured from my Etsy shop.

What does your heaven look like? Necklaces pictured from my Etsy shop.

Tell me about your craziest dreams in the comments below 😊.

 

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The Magic Is In You – Elevation

See ‘The Magic Is In You’ for an introduction to this series of posts, which aim to inspire us to connect with the magic of ourselves and the world around us.

This post is about the magic of climbing mountains, ascending to the high point of a city in a cable car, gazing out across the horizon from a plane, or taking in an expansive view from the top of a hill or tower.

Whenever I am exploring somewhere, getting up high is a priority.  Rising above the tangled web of streets or new terrain that I have been wandering makes me feel at home in the world.  When I stare down at the tiny buildings and see the shape of the land from a distance, I feel as though I belong here, in this strange and beautiful place.

Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu, Nepal

I have attempted to capture the essence of this wonderful natural high in the meditation below.

Elevation Meditation

Find a high place where you can look out across the horizon and down at the land below.  This could be a bridge, church tower, small hill, top floor apartment, mountain, hot air balloon, rooftop or helicopter, depending on the options that are available to you!  Make sure you are safe and comfortable.

The purpose of this meditation is to bring a sense of elevation to your mind and body.  Set your intention to allow the physical sense of elevation and perspective you get from being up high to permeate your entire being.

View from the Baiyoke Sky Hotel, Bangkok

View from the Baiyoke Sky Hotel, Bangkok

Breathe in the vast open space in front of you.  Observe the tiny objects (buildings, trees, people, cars, rivers) that exist in your landscape.  Feel the sense of calm that comes over you as you rise up above everything.  See how the land becomes a patchwork of colours and shapes beneath you.  It is easier to accept everything as it is from a distance, without getting caught up in the details.

Goreme, Turkey

Goreme, Turkey

Imagine that you can float over the whole scene before you.  Feel the sense of freedom that brings.  It’s amazing to see how such a vast region can shrink down to fit into our field of vision.

Soak up the colours and contours of the world you see.  Let the beautiful patterns leave an imprint on your heart.  Notice how structures you may perceive to be ‘ugly’ from the ground become just another piece of the puzzle, slotting into the shapes around them, forming part of the whole.  We need to make judgements in order to navigate life, but we must also know how to step back into this more peaceful place where we simply allow everything to be.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Begin to merge with the landscape and the boundless space that contains it.  Breathe in the entire scene and allow it to become a part of you.  Feel how you can hold this mighty vision, and infinitely many more, within you.  The majestic picture you observe is just one tiny fragment of the universe inside your mind.

After you have finished absorbing all of the elevated good vibes, take some time to acknowledge any inspiring aspects of your experience that you would like to bring back with you.  Write a few words or take some photos as a reminder.  These could be things you felt, such as spaciousness or empowerment, or a particular image that will evoke these emotions.  It can be really wonderful to recall an elevating experience when we’re in more mundane, busy or stressful environments.

Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey

Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey

Remember the feeling of elevation, so that you can use it in the future to rise above worries for a broader view of a situation.  We can view all of our thoughts from this elevated perspective if we choose to, watching them peacefully from a distance.

Thank you for reading and participating.  I hope that you get the chance to enjoy many beautiful views and float up on a cloud to a heavenly place of peace and wonder!  Please share your uplifting experiences with me in the comments below. 

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