Elephants in Africa

25 Tips for a Unforgettable Adventure in Kenya

Especially if you’re a Westerner or European, there can be quite a shock to the system when you visit Africa for the first time. In addition to countries like Ghana, Morocco, Namibia, or Botswana, Kenya is also a great introduction to Africa for first-timers looking for a rich, unforgettable adventure.

From those merely on a pit stop before trekking Kilimanjaro in neighboring Tanzania to those spending an extended period in the country, Kenya has something to offer for every type of traveler. What are some tips to keep in mind before and during your trip?

Before You Go

Preparation is always vital before jet-setting off to a new country, and while you shouldn’t be paranoid, especially when traveling around Africa, it is important to know what you’re getting into and be prepared for the unexpected.

1. Read the official travel information, advisories, and warnings posted on the State Department’s website. There is some threat of violent activity in Kenya, but this is mostly highly regionalized to the Nairobi region and the northeastern part of the country.

2. It is strongly advised to avoid going anywhere near the Kenya-Somali border area as it’s very dangerous.

3. Ensure you have the necessary immunizations and don’t forget to pack things like bug spray and malaria pills.

4. English and Swahili are the two official languages; in Nairobi, you can probably get by on English, but throughout the rest of the country, knowing Swahili or traveling with somebody who does is advisable.

5. Look into arranging your visa beforehand – many have complained that lines can be ridiculously long.

6. Airlines that fly into Kenya include Emirates, China Southern, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Saudia, KLM, Turkish Airlines, and Oman Air.

Flight in Kenya

In the Country


Now that you’ve presumably arrived safely in Nairobi, we can hit the ground running and get to the good stuff. Aside from its unique culture and way of life, Kenya is a nature lover’s dream, a country popular for its majestic natural landmarks and equally awe-inspiring wildlife.

Here are some suggestions and things to keep in mind to maximize your Kenyan adventure:

Transportation/Getting Around

7. The major entry point to Kenya is the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the capital city of Nairobi.

8. Try riding on a “matatu” – Kenya’s solution to public minibuses – which can be a cheap, neat way to get around the main city centers.

9. The cheapest (but definitely not the fastest) way to reach the safaris is by taking a local bus, first from Nairobi to Narok (get there before noon), then from Narok to the Masai Mara which will be about a 5-6 hour total trip.

10. At night, the safest way to get from point A to point B would be by taxi – a bit more expensive, but the safest if you use common sense, especially if you’re staying in Nairobi.

Accommodation and Where to Visit

11. A great way to experience the local culture in a closer, more authentic way is through homestays, which are becoming more popular in Kenya.

12. Masai Mara is the prime location of Kenya’s iconic safari tours. There are Masai Mara tour packages available that pick you up from Nairobi, and there are jeep hire options available.

13. You don’t have to stick to just the National Parks and safaris! Kenya also boasts pristine beaches near Mombasa that overlook the clear blue Indian Ocean water.

14. The seldom-visited western region of the country has a lot to offer geographically, including the Kakamega Forest reserve, one of the few remnants of tropical rainforest in Africa. Wildlife enthusiasts will love the high number of endemic species here.

15. With the high number of tourists in the Masai village, local vendors can definitely be pushy with selling their souvenirs; a great more low-key alternative is the Samburu village — it’s fascinating and definitely worth the trip.

Samburu Village

What to Do

Cultural experiences and wilderness adventures reign supreme in Africa, and Kenya is a prime example of that. There’s no shortage of activities here for the adventurous traveler, whether that means getting up close and personal with the wildlife, partaking in the local culture, or trekking through some of Kenya’s rugged landscapes.

16. Kenya is famous for its populations of the “Big Five”: cape buffalo, elephants, leopards, lions, and rhinos – as well as other exotic animals like zebras and giraffes.

17. Watch the wildlife migration in Masai Mara. The Great Wildebeest Migration is a well-known example of this. The best time would be during the migration season between July and October.

18. Get a bird’s-eye view from above. Balloon tours are a great, safe way to see the flora and fauna from atop the vast expanse of the safari.

Safari Balloon Tour

19. Visit Amboseli National Park, where you can get stunning views of its large elephant herds as well as giraffes, cheetahs, zebras, and many birds.

General Tips

20. Hone your haggling skills – prices start out overinflated, but there are many unique arts and crafts to be had for a reasonable price.

21. Meals prepared in higher-end accommodations should be fine, but otherwise be leery of consuming meat in Kenya. The quality and/or cooking style can wreak havoc on an unaccustomed foreign GI system.

22. It can actually get a bit cold at night, so don’t neglect to pack a few warmer pieces, especially if you’ll be hiking higher elevations like Mt. Kenya.

23. Stay street smart especially in Nairobi, where robbery and other petty crime against foreigners isn’t all too uncommon.

24. Small items, like pens, can be a great low-cost gift to the local people. Despite having little financial means, Kenyans are known for their friendliness and hospitality, and a little bit of kindness can go a long way here.

25. And, as always, be street smart. As is the case with anywhere else in the world, traveling in Africa – especially solo – warrants situational awareness and using common sense. But there’s no reason to be paranoid! Do your research beforehand, prepare accordingly, and trust your instincts.

Finally, when you’re packed, prepared, and ready to go, hop on that plane and have the time of your life in Kenya!

Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco

Seven Things to Do in San Francisco

San Francisco, California is a bustling, vibrant city and one often talked about on this blog. Despite its relatively small size, stretching only 7 miles end-to-end, San Francisco is rife with activities and landmarks, boasting attractions for all classes of visitors whether you’re a backpacker, traveling with the family, a foodie, outdoorsy, artistic, or something in between. What could you do on a nice day in San Francisco?

1. Pay a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge

What’s a trip to San Francisco without a stop at San Francisco’s iconic red suspension bridge? Completed in 1937, the bridge held the title of the world’s longest until 1964. One of the most photographed bridges in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge is a can’t-miss if you’re into photography; make your way to one of the many viewing points to get stunning panoramic, picturesque views of the bridge. Bonus points if you make the trip early and can see the fog draping over the famous landmark.

Now that we’ve gotten the biggest attraction out of the way, what else can we do? (Hint: there’s a lot.)

2. Ride the cable cars

Perhaps second to the Golden Gate Bridge in terms of international fame, San Francisco’s cable cars, featured in movies and depicted on postcards, are the only ones of their kind in the country. The story behind their conception starts with English immigrant Andrew Smith Hallidie, who, in the late 1800s, witnessed a horse-drawn buggy have an accident after being unable to climb one of San Francisco’s steep hills. He used his father’s invention, a patent for a wire rope, to design a transportation system that ran on these wire ropes.

Cable cars became a popular attraction and even today remain a hit with tourists from around the world. It’s recommended to hang out of the vehicle to get the most out of the experience. One-way tickets are a bit steep, at $7 per ride, so it’s recommended to pick up a one-day pass for $21 and use that to make your way around the city.

3. Check out the Muir Woods National Monument

The park that boasts the iconic redwood trees is a bit out of the way of the main city center – 16 miles north of San Fran – but worth the drive. The average age of the redwoods in the park is around 600 years old, and the tallest tree is a staggering 258 feet tall and almost 800 years old. The park is spoken about highly, with visitors reporting being awed and calling the park “beautiful and serene” as well as impressed with how well-maintained the park is.

If you drive, make sure to get there early as parking is limited; buses are also available, and they depart from Sausalito. Admission for adults is $10 and free for those under 16.

4. Stroll around the Fisherman’s Whar

Being one of San Francisco’s more touristy spots, some visitors to the Fisherman’s Wharf may be put off by the crowds and more expensive food. But those looking to get the full experience in San Francisco can’t afford to miss one of the city’s most popular waterfront neighborhoods.

The area boasts a great variety of dining, shopping, and attraction options like the San Francisco Dungeon, Madame Tussaud’s wax museum, original bakery Boudin’s, and the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park & Maritime Museum.

5. See and tour Alcatraz

The notorious island prison is often a major point of interest for history buffs, who might know a little about Alcatraz’s colorful past.

The compound, besides being the site of the first lighthouse on the West Coast, was at one time a military prison that held criminals from the Civil War and Spanish-American War and later held some of history’s biggest outlaws, most notably Al Capone.

Admission is free, but a $35.50 ferry ride (which also includes an audio guide) is necessary to get to the island. Tours run from 8:45am to 6:40pm, and it’s recommended to make reservations ahead of time due to Alcatraz’s popularity.

6. Enjoy quality eats at the Ferry Building Marketplace

Foodies will love sampling from the variety of delicious food stalls and vendors set up as small restaurants within this public food market. Selections include the usual fare, like burgers, Mexican food, seafood and lots of coffee, to more exotic offerings like empanada stands or a Japanese delicatessen. Visitors enjoy the amount, quality, and choice of food available.

The market is open daily, from 10am to 7pm.

7. Other sights in San Francisco

While New York’s Chinatown sees the most tourism, San Francisco’s Chinatown is a worthy contender. The area boasts souvenir shops, a fortune cookie factory, vendors selling Chinese spices and other goods, and Waverly Place, home of the Tin How Temple – the nation’s oldest Chinese temple.

While San Francisco is not known for being a beach city, Baker Beach, which overlooks the Golden Gate Bridge, is usually noted as one of California’s best. While dangerous conditions, no lifeguards, and sometimes poor water quality mean the beach is only for on-land activities like fishing, sunbathing, strolling, and games, but remains popular with locals for its charm and views. And please note that Baker Beach is a nude beach!

Finally, the Golden Gate Park is California’s equivalent of New York’s famous Central Park. Though it sees fewer visitors, the park is actually 174 acres bigger than its New York counterpart. Its attractions include the California Academy of Sciences, which features a planetarium, aquarium, and natural history museum as well as the Osher Rainforest, a 90-foot-tall dome that contains 1,600 live animals; the nation’s first Japanese Tea Garden, complete with cherry trees, a pagoda, and Zen Garden; and the Conservatory of Flowers, the Western Hemisphere’s oldest conservatory.

Love of a Lifetime

The Love of a Lifetime

The way it makes me feel. Like Im not alone when I am, like I shouldnt care that I dont know what certainty lies ahead, so I dont.
The way it makes me feel. Like for the first time I am me, in all my true essence, like no matter what happens tomorrow, this moment is all that I am concerned with and finally I live in it, I live in that moment.
The way it makes me feel. With her gleaming hills and wondrous earthlings, walking, talking, breathing, feeling.
I see an all forgiving atmosphere that welcomes all and succumbs to the hope of a more humane tomorrow.
The way it makes me feel. Naturally, loving, wholesome and free.
An inner guide to me. I dont fall because it holds me up, I rise with her each day, as the fog rolls through, my heart does too. And I know that with each day given in this feminine, holistic, emotionally enriching city is a gift.
The way it makes me feel. Like when your riding your bike really fast and you slowly start to let go of the handle bars, straightening your back and raising your arms, you soar like an eagle, as you scream into the open air with pride.
Pride. The way it fills me with pride. For myself, for those around me, for the city of excelling love.
The way it makes me feel. Infinite.
Thats it, thats the word The way it makes me feel, Infinite.

New York Subway

What youll come to miss about New York

If I can make it there, Ill make it anywhere. Its up to you, New York, New York. Frank Sinatra


I can still feel the earth beneath me rumbling, the effects of the underground subway bellowing beneath, where Prospect Park meets the local cinema, turn the corner and dont blink or youll miss it. Running now to get to your subway, even though youre in no real rush (everyone in NY is in some kind of rush) and you know it doesnt matter if you miss this train, but the frustration to wait a mere 12-20 minutes for the next train resonates with your desire to be at the place where you are trying to get too.

Ah New York, with your sky scrapers, and your vast scale of worldwide citizens from business men to transvestites to the extreme poor to the succulently rich.

You hold a place in my heart that creates a further desire to travel, to broaden, to excel.

Once upon a time a very little 19 year old me found myself living in an apartment in Brooklyns wonderful up and coming Park Slope. The streets filled with Gluten Free pizza shops and young mums walking the streets with their expensive German branded strollers (something that as an Au Pair you come to recognise). A place where a Japanese student comes to broaden there English and Americans flock too, to further their career. Europeans come to holiday and backpackers come to see what all the fuss is about. And little 19 year old me not quite yet at the full extent of the backpacker I am today, nor a normal holidayer, I went to NYC for the same reason I continue to travel the world now, to find myself.

NYC Subways, Jan 2013

I lived in Brooklyn 4 months. Too young to enter nightclubs I invested in a fake ID. Something that as far as Manhattan goes was far beyond worth investing in but lingering on the other side of the bridge, where hipsters where born and bad haircuts are considered cool, was a place where bar managers let you in upon how ripped your jeans and how brightly coloured your hair was as opposed to your actual age. I settled in swimmingly to Brooklyn and acquired a sort of soft spot for its ability to be able to wear whatever you want and call it fashion. I started to open up, to become more daring and individualizing myself. I started creating me. And boy did it feel good.

Four months may seem not long enough or simply too long to an outsider that does not know the full extent of what New York has to offer. For me, it was just enough, for me, it lead to the next great thing.

Happy to leave but sad to go. I knew I would return, once, twice, three times. Continuously through out my life.

Now, two of my dearest friends are planning their trip to the States, flying into New York they asked me to send them a list of things to do and not to do, over rated attractions and holes in the wall that I am familiar with. So, with NY frequently on my mind this week, I have come to realise how much I really do love it, and what I really do miss about it.

The start of my life in NY, Jan 2012

Something you cannot understand until you witness it, a place where dreams are made but more often than not dreams are also shattered. In all its beauty, its obscure noise and its seductive social stamina, here is a list of things you will, once witnessed, come to miss about New York;

  • The attractively large bookstores and the ability to sit in them for hours New York is home to some extremely large bookstores and of course the New York City public library. Both are places where you can walk around the store, find a section you like, pick out several books, and plant yourself in the middle of the pathway, legs spread out across the floor and just be. For as long as you like. Trust me this is not something you can do in Australia, if your found in a book store in Australia, spread out amongst the sci-fi section, youre going to get a rude, Excuse me Miss/Sir, this isnt a library. Its a damn beautiful thing, Barnes and Nobles will forever be one of my favourite places in Brooklyn and in Manhattan.
  • The thrift stores Oh the thrift stores! Think about the types of people that come in and out of NY year round, now think of their wardrobes Now think of what wonder the thrift stores across NYC have accumulated in the past 50 years. Second hand fur coats, that no, I will not feel bad for wearing because, they come second hand, they have been worn to the bone, and at winter time in NY, they keep you damn warm! First discovering thrifts in Williamsburg in Brooklyn was like eating ice cream for the first time, you want to race around to get to it all before it melts away, even though you know you can come back for another scoop.
  • The museums I had never really been into museums until I moved to NY, I dont get modern art and walking around staring at things your not allowed to touch annoys me. But wondering the streets and coming across museums such as the Natural history museum, the Sex museum, the MOMA or the Guggenheim was, Ill admit, pretty cool. You cant be bored in NYC, if you are, go to a museum, there is THAT many to pick from.
  • The endless eating possibilities Yes, I am one of those annoying friends that when you go to lunch with will state all my allergies and disagree on most places that you tell me, But they serve salad there too. Yes, I will research places before we go out in the area before we go, especially if we are in a place like NYC. My god, I was in culinary heaven. New York caters to every which person, whatever allergy, whatever cuisine, whatever craving you have. Take a walk on the wild side through NYCs streets and fill yourself up with whatever your heart desires.
  • The hipsters in Brooklyn I miss them. Youll see them, you might laugh at them and ask them sarcastically how their half full, macchiato, with one extra sugar twice removed was, only to receive a response fit for an episode of Masterchef. But later in life youll miss their tight black jeans with their brown suede loafers and red lipstick to stare at and get fashion inspiration that youll never admit was from them, from.
  • The music venues In the four months I lived in NYC I saw the Wombats, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Hilltop Hoods, Band of Skulls, and the Temper Trap with the possibilities (though not the funds) to see musicians I had dreamed of seeing my whole life. Blink 182, Alanis Morrisette, and so many other artists walk their instruments through the music venues of New York daily. It is crazy the amount of excellent acts playing when you look up on ticket master the NY tri-state area.
  • The life-style choice Whilst sometimes I really dont miss it, other times I really do. Right now I live quite the opposite life of that of someone in NY does and I could not be happier. But sometimes you miss that rush, you miss the sirens going past your windows at night, those sirens that once bothered you now you dont even first glance, you miss the thrill in dressing up whenever your leaving the house, the ability to express yourself through clothes and knowing that no one else gives a fuck, youll miss the dinner dates on the lower East or West side and the NYU students that take over most of the lower West end of Manhattan. A place where being too much is never too much.

The Brooklyn Bridge, Jan 2013

New York I love you but your bringing me down, New York I love you but your freaking me out LCD Soundsystem has got it right, a bitter sweet relationship forms between you and the city that never sleeps. When it starts to become mostly bitter, let your sweet tooth sink in before it evolves into mostly neglect. And do what I did, once your time in New York dwindles, leave, head somewhere a little softer, like San Francisco, and later return to it, itll by then have turned into your past love.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Baz Luhrmann

Traveling Cross Country

A Cross Country Change

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls. Joseph Campbell

On the 21st of last September, the day after my 22nd birthday, I was sitting at my couch surfers home in Austin, Texas. Hung over and hurting I had not much hope of accomplishing much that day besides feeling sorry for myself differing with an overwhelming feeling of complete and utter happiness and contentedness.

I still remember pulling out my leather journal, turning the pages to my next blank canvas and finding the words to create what feelings I had in hopes of one day, re-reading them, and remembering, if not (hopefully) still living those words.

A few days ago, I found that page, amongst others, lingering through my fingertips, the words awaiting me, like I knew they would, that feeling still lingers, and that means, that last September, above every thing else, I knew that the moment I experienced the other day was only yet to come.

I wrote about timing. About serendipitous moments. I wrote about the things that can happen when you learn to trust in your decisions, and you take the plunge to get to where you need to be.

Today, I am where I need to be, and today I will write again about what that can be like for us all. To be right where you need to be.

So for those of you who dont know, in one of my last blog posts I wrote about a flight I was suppose to get on to fly me across the country to Western Australia (from Sydney). I ever so reluctantly missed my flight for confusion flooded my mind of who I was, what I was doing with my life, and who I needed to surround myself with.

A week later I realised that who I was, continues to be created every day, what I am doing with my life is nothing of the typical, certain type, and who I needed to surround myself with is people who would help me in creating that person that is evolving every day, and more than anyone else, I needed to surround myself with well me.

My flight may have been missed but in this day and age, you come to realise that missed flights are irrelevant and not fun to dwell on and a new flight, is still as thrilling and experimental as ever.

I packed my backpack once more, I bid farewell to those I loved, and I once again set off for a new adventure. This time the adventure led me to a shiny new state in my OWN country. Something I had dreamed of doing for a while, and something that I believe, we should all experience. To better understand our own land, our own heritage, and for like any other reason we travel and move around, to experience the unknown.

We all want to fly to Asia and try living in Northern Thailand teaching English, or try a semester abroad in the US, maybe a summer in France or a snow season in Canada. But so many off us never really stop to consider that maybe our own country could fill that void of excitement and wanderlust we crave so much, that our new adventure, could be to stay.

If there is one thing I am good at, it is timing. I might miss a flight here, change directions there, but my timing is a damn thing of beauty.

Since arriving in WA and settling myself down for the coming winter months in the beautiful south-west of Margaret River, life could in no way be better (except maybe if I could score a full time job). For whatever reason, I could feel that universal pull, grasping at me, whispering in my ear, plain as day and clear as night, and I listened, and what extravagantly wonderful things have happened from listening to my intuition, to trusting in my decisions.

Prevelly Beach, WA

Here are some reasons why moving cross country will be the best decision you ever made;

  • A fresh start is always encouraged Whether your stuck in a dead end job, your lost in the world (or maybe your just lost in your own head), youve gone through a bad break-up, or youve just had enough of your routine, a fresh start is a way to kindly state out with the old and in with the new. But fresh starts dont just have to something that comes to one in a negative situation. They can come at any time in our lives, when we need them, for you as your singular self, or perhaps with your significant other, a best friend, or your whole family.
  • A thrilling adventure For travellers who have returned home, life can quickly become dull. Youve just come back from this ultra magnificent trip of a lifetime. Youve had an excruciatingly awesome experience in the middle of the desert in Central America involving Ayahuasca and discovered the meaning of life, then you continued to Spain and walked the Road to Santiago, alone yet never so compelled and driven. Now your back to reality, to real life. Your parents are still with the, So now youve seen the world are you FINALLY ready to settle down and study?, and your friends, though they mean well, somehow just dont get your new spiritually awakened self. The only thing left for you at your home town is your old room and home cooked meals from your mum whilst this is probably one of the most comforting, lovely things after a long voyage, youll soon start to crave the next adventure. The next adventure is a new place, in your home country. And, you know as well as the next person, that after that venture is through, your mum will still be waiting at home to cook you your favourite childhood dish, with arms open and loads of love.
  • You get to create your identity For me, one of the hardest things to go back to back home, is that 16 year old stigma that lingers on all those I grew up around. Although you and those around you have evolved, there is still that younger version of yourself that people you grew up around connect you with. They still see you as that young girl or guy walking the streets of your home town looking for trouble. There is something so unsettling about this, that over the years has time and time again thrown my emotions for a loop. People dont mean to do it, but sometimes you will pick up on a comment that makes you want to scream. This can be especially apparent with parents. When you move to another part of the country you get to leave that stigma behind. You get to be you, in every true essence of yourself.
  • Youll have more time for yourself This is a no-brainer. You move to a new place, you slowly ease into new acquaintances, new friends. This leaves you with time to yourself, to refuel, get in touch with your new surroundings, and maybe even discover or rekindle a past love for something you use to have no time for.
  • New areas to explore For me, moving across from the East coast of Australia to the West is a huge cultural difference. Australia is SO vast and extravagant. Each city, each town, each forest different to the next. Being in Margaret River has so far allowed me to rekindle my love of nature. And because I am new to the area, I have find myself so much more inclined to go out there and discover it all. I know I can do this in Sydney as well, but moving to a new area is moving to a new playground The world is quite literally your oyster.
  • Job prospects broaden Never thought youd be cleaning houses to get by? Working as a volunteer instead of paying rent? Creating your own business to support yourself? Well now is the time to try it out! And why not, you left your old job, (or maybe you got a transfer!) and now you have endless possibilities of ways to support yourself!
  • Youll be the new girl/guy Its fun. Especially in small towns or areas you stay prompt in. No one knows who you are or where you came from, your a mystery!
  • You never know what could be waiting for you on the other side Sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side! But youll never know unless you try right? You will never see what wonderful things awaits your arrival unless you go right ahead and do it, and when you do, youll be surprised (I know I was) at what you have opened yourself up too.

So that is my top pointers of reasons to get out of your comfort zone without crossing oceans or at least to many oceans.

Theres a whole world of opportunities out there, I advise you grab hold of them.

You might think its a mistake, but it could just be the best mistake of your life.

And if its not a potential mistake, well then, it may just be the best decision you ever did make.

Things to Love About San Francisco

7 Reasons To Move To San Francisco

Any one who doesn’t have a great time in San Francisco is pretty much dead to me Anthony Boudain

About a month ago I touched down in my home country, Australia, after 8 months of extravagant travel. In hopes of finding even just a little of the love I found every day through my overseas experience, I set out on what took me a month to find a place to quiet my mind and restore my health (as well as my credit card). A place to call home, if only for half a year, mas o menas (more or less). Because lets be honest, we all know I will be taking off again as soon as I have the funds too.

A little more lost than usual I set to the open road of Australia, exploring areas I had in the past explored, and in the past already imprinted my feet in. I couldnt find my groove. I couldnt find that cosmic sensation I feel when I find myself in San Francisco, when I find myself on the road with my thumb sticking out, ready for the next stretch of adventure.

But then An old friend who I lived with in San Francisco called me, and told me of a place she had been living on the other side of the country. Margaret River, WA.

Gather your things, no, you dont even need things, just gather yourself and get your butt over here!, she told me.

With little to no direction and an almost empty backpack I did what I always do in times when I am unsure of where life is taking me. I got on a plane and 5 hours later I was on the other side of the country. I hitched from Perth down south to Margaret River, and I found myself in a town that quite frankly, had been waiting for me.

Lost and found in San Francisco, re-united in Western Australia.

The other day when I went into a café to hand in my resume and plead for a job, the lady behind the counter started asking me some questions. She looked down at my resume and then back up at me, obviously seeing that my resume stated I had worked in San Francisco for a long period of time. She asked me, So your from California then?, and without even thinking a Yep! escaped my mouth. Whilst I corrected myself out loud, whispers in my head spoke to me and said, If you are labelled as a part of any area in this world, it is Northern California.

That introduction leads me to the quote you first read at the top of this post. When I meet someone new and they tell me they are from San Francisco, have lived in San Francisco, or visited or are going to visit San Francisco, every atom in my body shines and my body jolts up, my eyes gleam and if I wasnt fully engaged in the conversation before hand, I am now.
I have only ever met one person who disliked San Francisco My initial reaction was a slap (only a light, how-could-you?! kind of slap) on the shoulder and a yelp followed by multiple How could you NOT love San Francisco?! questions.

That person, besides using him as a reference to this blog post, I would say is now dead to me.

San Francisco is the most eccentric, magically diverse, and majestically charismatic city I have ever laid my eyes on. It is my one and for now, only true love. It is the place where I fell in love with life, the place where I discovered myself and the place that led me to believe that absolutely anything is possible. I might be being biased, but speak to any other person who has spent time in the city of fog, and I bet you will get a similar response.

Some say San Francisco is a vortex, a place where all people from around the globe come to be in unison. It is so much more than what I portray it to be, San Francisco is a beacon of what the rest of the world strives to be. It is magic.

San Franciscos Golden Girl

If you’re still not sold on San Francisco then these 7 points may change your mind:

1. Acceptance

NoCals most intoxicatingly beautiful city owes its rep not only to the rolling hills, golden sunrises/sunsets and intensifying surrounding forests, but also to the people, from all walks of life, who have made San Francisco.. well San Francisco. The bikers, the hippies, the gypsys, the hipsters (oh so many hipsters), the tech nerds, the health gurus, the working class man, walking around the streets of San Francisco is similar to looking around the cafeteria at lunch time and categorising each table, Mean Girls style.

In San Francisco, theres a Come as you are policy, which brightens the city and leaves it blossoming and growing to the full extent of what it is; a communal area where you can be whoever you want to be.

Young and reckless and at Bay to Breakers 2013!

2. The Weather

The only city in the world that has its own name for the fog that engulfs it. Karl the fog even has his own twitter account that states, All that is sunny does not glitter, not all those in the fog are lost.. How could you not love Karl?!

The ever changing weather leaves you stripping down half naked in the day, and bundling up layer upon layer at night. Its a fashion forward city that allows you to wear the best of your wardrobe, all seasons, no matter what time of year it is. It is the one place, where the fog, the cold, the wind, doesnt bother people, because the differentiating weather is purely what makes the city what it is.

3. The Bike Epidemic

If ever you wanted to live in a city where riding a bike is way more acceptable than driving a car to work, SF is the place for you. Despite its ridiculous rolling hills that connect the city, San Francisco is known for the accumulating people that ride their bikes around the city with smiles on their faces and muscles in their legs glistening. The city even has its very own bicycle coalition that continues to improve the roads for San Franciscans. Green paths mark the roads with cross-town bike paths guiding locals to and from their destinations.

4. Mexican food

Need I say more? NoCals Mexican food really is a thing of beauty. Living in Australia my whole life, I was unaware of what real Mexican food really is. I am aware, of course (especially after experiencing Mexico myself) that even Californias Mexican is westernized, but damn, who even cares? Moving to San Francisco allows you a cheap diet of dirty burritos and nachos as big as your head to share (if you dare) with a mate. Late nights in the mission result in cheap, disgustingly large proportioned feeds at taquerias, and corn chips will never taste the same after leaving the state.

5. Nature Redwoods, mountains and beaches oh my!

The best of both worlds, with the redwood forest right over the Golden Gate Bridge and hiking trails ever which way. Stinson beach for a day trip, or perhaps some rock climbing around the area of Marin. And forget Central Park in NYC, the Golden Gate park, as well as Dolores park is where it is at. Get exploring!

6. Dolores park

I cannot put the pleasure of this park into words. Just go. Maybe you will find yourself in a cardboard robot war fight, or sliding down an improvised water slide naked. You might even pick up a new hobbie whilst your eating infused delicious chocolate brownies. Hula hoops, slack lines and boom boxes can be found at this park, daily.

Dolores park

7. The open sense of community

Above all, San Francisco is one for all, all for one. With the hippie movement from the summer of 67 still lingering in the city of love, it is accepted that you are all in this together. The community in San Francisco is one that seems to be lost in a lot of other parts of the world. My first point of San Francisco allowing you to be whoever you want to resonate with the community, and the open aspect of everyone opening their eccentric selves up to everyone else around them no matter how different they all are.

Instant best friends made in the Castro one sunny afternoon.

I can still feel the sun on my back, whilst I fight with the wind in its attempt to blow up my skirt as I walk hand in hand with my loves of San Francisco, up to Dolores Park for a Sunday Fun-day. The afternoon ends with a beer or two in one of the missions filthy bars, I am surrounded by dirty mission boys, tattoos and all, as well as foreigners and locals a like, that came to be my bread and butter whilst I was living there.

Walking up Haight street to go to my favorite Whole foods markets to get my dried mango and coconut water, to then go laze in the sun on Hippie Hill was a favorite past time.

Ah San Francisco, I left my heart, my soul, my wholesome self with you. You encapsulated me at a young age and you will forever be a part of me.
Ill always find myself crawling back to you for more.

Until next time 😉

Watching my wonderful city swing by from Marin County, CA.

“If you’re alive, you can’t be bored in San Francisco. If you’re not alive, San Francisco will bring you to life”- William Saroyan

Travel Regrets

10 Regrets You’ll Wish You Didn’t Make

Im no pessimist, I am lucky enough to have never suffered depression and I consider myself a fairly healthy human, but like everyone, I do have my ups and downs through out my life.

I have a tendency to act upon almost every situation I can grasp, impulsively. Right before my mind locks the decision into my head I have this huge wave of contemplation erupt inside me, and many a times it has almost stopped me from doing what I have really wanted to do. But the better half of me, the more exciting, adventurous, scared to hell part of me comes out and grants me the ability to go right ahead and take that crazy risk.

Having said this, yes there has most definitely been times, when I have backed out of decisions I have made.

Shortly after backing out of them I find myself confused and questionable. Ill sit by myself somewhere, usually where I can connect myself with nature, and question the decisions I have made.

We are driven to do certain things and in acceptance with this, we yes, are all meant to be doing these things we have decided upon. We are all meant to be here, for one reason or another. We are all meant to achieve the goals in life we are thrown, and in accordance, I do believe (as corny and generic as it may sound) that everything happens for a reason.

Regrets are a funny thing, we say we regret a decision we have made, say we would have done it differently had we been given another chance. But what if

What if you decided to stay in one place, as opposed to move on to the next even though that was your original plan. Would you have met those people who ignited a joy inside of you that you had forgotten you had?
Would you have gone skinny dipping that night in the ocean, surrounded by others like-minded to you, freeing yourself of any collateral you may hold, even if just only for a few minutes?

If you had the chance to do something over, think about it, question yourself three times right now and ask, would you really do it again? What would it lead you too? What would disappear from your memory had you have the chance to change it?
Best out of three.

A few days ago, after having travelled up the coast of NSW in a car with two friends, I found myself in Byron Bay. A town I hold dear to my heart. I had three ultimatums. Stay in Byron Bay, find a place to live, get work and live the simple life I love in an enchanted area. Jump on my pre-booked flight to Western Australia, to meet a dear friend in the small community town of Margaret River, to of course, live with her and find a job. Or, head back to Sydney, to where I had a potential full-time job already lined up, in a field of work I have been dying to get into.

As I pondered on the decision I needed to make I thought not of what good would come out of them, but what opportunities I would miss if I pick the wrong one.

That afternoon, with only a few hours to define my decision (the flight to WA was the red eye out of the Coolangatta airport in the Gold Coast) I hitch hiked back from Byron Bay to Ballina, where I was staying.

The man who picked me up was one I will think of fondly for ever. In his late 40s, Byron local, had his surfboards on his roof and his fresh fruit and veg in a hand woven basket he sat on my lap.

I spoke of my options, and he spoke of the past decisions in his life that have led him to where he is today. A wise old owl, but something he said to me, right as I was getting out of the car stuck to me like white on rice.
He said, Trust in your decisions.

That night, I made the first decision I have ever really come to regret… Now, days later, I see the good that has come from my decision. But I battled in my head up until about 24 hours ago on what I thought, would shape the rest of my life (I can be a little dramatic sometimes).

That night I missed my flight to WA I sat in bed with one of my best friends who I have spent the last 2 months traveling with world with, Shea. Together, we thought up 10 regrets that to many people in life make.

I guess in hindsight, having only one major regret in my life, at the age of 22, is okay. I am vowing now to never again have any regrets of what I have stated below.

10 regrets youll wish you didnt make:

  1. Not booking that flight you desire so bad This one for me is a no brainer, I am all about impulse flight booking. You have your whole life to lead a 9 to 5 job, if that is even what you want to do (ugh, personally I cant think of anything worse). Is quitting your retail position or your full time barista job at your local cafe really going to affect your resume in the years to come? Plus! Who know what opportunities could present themselves when discovering new places.
    If you see a cheap flight, or you are inclined to head somewhere you have always desired to go, then act now, before you find yourself older, with more commitments, and reluctant to experience the world due to some sort of bitterness that has evolved over time from not letting yourself create your own destiny.
  2. Turning a flight you have previously booked down Ok so I might be all about the impulse flights, but I am also known to redirect myself after booking said flights, and finding myself forfeiting the money I paid. Its what I do. Ask anyone that has met me through my travels, a bunch of them will reply with, Oh yeah I was with Nat when she was supposed to get on that flight to LA from Mexico City… We spent the night on the rooftop of our hostel instead. Though I have not yet learned to just WAIT to book flights to the last minute whilst I travel, because who knows who you could meet the day off, and decide to stay based on someone you have known for less than 24 hours, I have only ever regretted not getting on one flight. Like I said, that flight to WA.
    My regret was followed by confusion on how, after so long of being so sure of myself, of the decisions I make, I couldnt be sure of this. And why my decision, secretly between you and me, was semi based on the fact that if I was to stay on the east coast of Australia, maybe, just maybe, I would get to spend more time with someone I am truly fond of.
    If you book a flight, you have booked it for a reason. It is understood, of course, that life does indeed happen whilst your making other plans, so sometimes flights need to be cancelled. But dont find yourself on the tarmac at the airport because you are frightened of whats ahead of you, because that is the greatest adventure of all.
  3. Letting your shy ego get in the way of finally making you happy Relationships. When it comes down to romantic relationships, Ill admit I know not much of them. However, what I can relate too, is how many of us can finally find someone we can correspond with, someone we connect with, and be too scared to show a romantic interest due to thoughts of rejection and disconnection, have you do tell them your feelings. Up until recently I spent a lot of my time chasing after the wrong people for me, I gave up on that and since then have found real connections (especially through travel) with the men I have come across. Having said this, I am all to familiar with once finding some one I truly care for, and can see a possibly blossoming relationship with, choosing to wither away in hiding because my shy little ego gets the better of me. If you can relate to this, I think the time has come that we all stand up and say fuck it, lets do something about it! Because when it comes down to it, what do we REALLY have to lose?
    A moment of rejection? Yes. Followed by possibly sitting around with a couple of our best friends asking, Why doesnt he see me that way?!? Yes.
    After about 24-48 hours of this we stand up, we get dressed, we walk outside, and we go on with our lives. We are no longer wondering, questioning the What ifs?. Youve probably had a couple epiphanies since confronting him, or her, and you quite possibly could be even surer of yourself, not to mention stronger, having confronted someone you didnt want too!
    When it comes down to it, they are only as human as you are, and who knows, they could be just as scared as you of the rejection you could leave them with. Maybe they are just waiting for you to make the first move Get on with it would you!
  4. Sharing too much time with others, and not with yourself I am a naturally social being. I love being around others, friends, family, and going on adventures with people. I have no problem with dissolving any awkward or quiet situation into the opposite, and I strive when in a group related activity.
    But man oh man, I LOVE my alone time.
    Since I started traveling alone when I was 19, my relationship with myself has blossomed extensively. I have found myself In NYC by myself going to see my favorite bands alone. I have found myself at bars in San Francisco, completely alone, but of course, only leading to making some of the greatest friends I have today from it. I have quietened my mind with the time granted to myself on a farm in Arizona, and hiking trails through Spain would have only meant us much to me as they do because I was entirely alone, and utterly content.
    I have learnt to be alone in nature, in crowds, at home and far from home.
    Being alone, giving yourself time to breathe, relax, reconnect with yourself, and your surroundings, is SO important.
    Some of us need to learn to how to be alone, some of us may already know and just need a little reminder every now and then. A lot of us may be uncomfortable with our own company, you need to over come that and like I said, take the chance to reconnect with yourself. Whether its taking a 20 minute walk through out the day by yourself to reflect on your emotions, or listening to your iPod full blast out on the deck.
    Making time for yourself can lead you to so many wonderful things, new hobbies, realizations and ideas, and of course, what is more important that a loving relationship with ones self?
  5. Saying no to that ridiculous living arrangement Youve had to move out of your home, due to too much rent or too little a space.
    You find yourself questioning how youll survive. Youve crashed a little while on a couple of friends couches and now you have been given with a few ultimatums you never thought youd see yourself in.
    For instance, option one is a caravan in a caravan park. You think of how trashy it is, youve seen Julie Cooper in her trailer trash park when she hits rock bottom (Yes, I totally just made an OC reference, its a damn good show). You turn the caravan down straight away, there is no way you are dealing with them rednecks or bogans. But think about this.
    If you had your own caravan, youd be paying significantly less, you have your OWN space as opposed to paying triple the price and living in a shoe box with 5 other people. You are also more likely to become pretty community based. How many of us can say we know the names of both neighbors on either side of us? It seems to be a dying thing, especially in cities, of knowing who we are sharing our neighborhood with, and I feel there is something quite saddening about that.
    Another option is moving back home with your parents. You have grown up excessively since you last lived with them and you do not want to have to deal with curfews Surely they wont fall into old habits and give you curfews now your older right?
    But just think about all the free delicious meals youd get? All the laundry you wouldnt have to deal with because lets face it, even though our mums say its annoying, shes over doing your laundry, youre not a kid anymore. THEY LOVE IT! They have their babies back at home if only for a little while. May as well milk it hey?
    I myself have found myself spending the night in some pretty crazy places, and I have lived a couple of months here and there in homes I thought I would never find myself in (we wont mention the time I was 18, had nowhere to live, which resulted me and a friend living in a drug dealers studio a couple of months). But you know what, each of those crazy situations, silly sleeping arrangements, I laugh at now, and they have made me who I am today. Exit your comfort zone and realize, to make your life work, maybe youll have to give up your usual nice bedroom for just a couple of nights, or maybe even months, to make something else work for you.
  6. Finding you havent packed enough underwear and socks in your backpack/suitcase This one explains itself. There is nothing worse than traveling and 3 days into your 3 months trip, realizing you only packed 3 pair of undies and 2 pairs of socks. I dont care what anyone says, YOU NEED MORE THAN THAT! Made this mistake to many times.
  7. Snoozing your alarm when you have places to be REGRET! I have found myself in Thailand, Cambodia, Spain, the US, Mexico, in fact pretty much most, if not all countries I have been too. Ready to go in the morning, alarms at the ready that 5:30 alarm for that 6:25 sunrise.
    I walk down to the common room of my hostel the evening before, everyones having a couple of drinks, they ask me to join. Oh why not? I say, just a few before bed THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FEW BEFORE BED WHEN AT A HOSTEL!
    I have missed many a day trips, sunrises and sometimes even sunsets due to this. Instead, I have spent most of these days in bed feeling sorry for myself.
    Take advantage of where you are and if you have places to be, take a night off drinking, or even if your just tired and you snooze just to get a few extra winks of sleep. DONT! You know your alarm with just keep snoozing and youll get fed up and turn it off and miss out on that day trip!
  8. That time you wanted to quit your job but didnt I am not going to linger on this one. All I will say is; Life is too damn short to be in something that is making you unhappy. If you have an itch that you should quit your job, look, you probably should. If you need to find a new one before doing so to support your lifestyle. Then do that. I bet youll be surprised how quickly you can find something new!
  9. Listening to your rents Ok, this one totally depends on who you are, how close you are with your parents, and how wise they both are.
    I know generally all our parents want what is best for us, it is true. But you need to make your own path, your own rules. Your mum and dad are always there to guide you, to help you. But you are your own human, and you need to make your own life, every single person around you will influence what decisions you make. Obviously your parents are a huge part of that influence, but it is up too you and how much you will LET them influence you. I do not always see eye to eye with my mum and dad, but I do know, that they see life to a different extent than me, and I take into consideration everything they say because I know they are saying it because they love me, and they want me to be happy.
  10. Sitting on the beach instead of swimming in the water So your drunk, or your sober. You have just made a group of new magical friends and you all decide, in your wonderful charismatic, eccentric atmosphere, to run down to the beach do you can all go skinny dipping. Youre in your home town, or perhaps your on a beach in Asia, or possibly at a picturesque beach in Portugal. Everyone else is laughing and screaming the lyrics of some generic song, and you are on the sand minding every one else clothes. Get up, get undressed and run into that ocean!
    Being naked is the most natural thing in the world and we are far to obsessed with what we put on our bodies. A couple of minutes of pure wholesome ecstasy shared between wonderful people in a beautiful setting is what we need more of in our lives, and besides, who has ever regretted going skinny dipping? It is, and will continue to be a favorite pastime!

So there you have it folks, I hope this has inspired you in one way or another.

Writing this blog post has helped me just by re-evaluating the past few months and connecting myself with my surroundings of being home!

I hope you have all had a wonderful Easter! I am off to, for the first time in a really long time, find myself a more permanent place to live. 😉

Writing About Love

If I were to write about love

If I were to write about love, you would come to understand that I am yet to have discovered it in that of the sense of romance.

I myself, have never experienced that essential, undying, ludicrous, romantic love that we all connect ourselves to when we stumble across it. In dire hopes that we won’t be left behind in it, that later on in life it will not hurt us but only continue to nourish and flourish upon us. We all know though, that at one point or another, that love will cause us so much pain we won’t think it possible to go on.

But that, that is not the love I would write about. Yet. As my knowledge in it goes only as far as what lust I have felt, and what happiness has come from different beings in my life that have entered it sharply, vividly, and left with an impact.

I wouldn’t necessarily call these relationships lust. Confusion is involved yes, an utter urge to have them around to complete my existence, yes. But lust some times will portray a negative outlook and that is not the image I would like to portray.

These are the words I wrote a few days ago. I thought them accurate and was content with the fact that, although I am an extremely romantic notional human, the words above described that real love has not yet entered my life.

I saved my work to come back to it at a later date. Today, searching through all my old journals that were stored away, and my two newest journal members from the past 8 months that I added to these piles, I realised that this accusation I have made about myself, is far from true.

Reading through the people I had met and the places I had seen took me back to what I felt when writing them. What I felt, what I still feel, is pure love.

What do I write about when I write about love? Who have I written about?

If I was to write about you now what would I write? How handsome you are with your quirky, shy mannerisms.

When I think of you I smile, and I think of you often. My heart stretches forward and reaches out, but you are nowhere to be found, not in the distance I would like you to be in. I cannot hold you, I cannot feel your breath on my neck, the way you breath making the little hairs on my body stick up and I bite my lips because you make me nervous, but in a good way, oh such a wonderful way.

I wonder how you are doing, if you think of me and what you think about when you do.

Do you think about the stories that are yet to unfold between us?

About the adventures of us, that has really yet to have begun.

I see us riding off into the distance on your motorbike, with San Francisco looming close behind us yet as we drive, our blood pulsating what seems right through me to you, the city that introduced us gets smaller and smaller and soon it is only a speck in the wee distance behind us, and now, we look forward to what is ahead of us.

There are nights we camp hidden in the desert, off the beaten path but not to far from the road that we will continue onto the following day. You next to me, our bodies keep us warm but its only mildly cold anyway because in these visions, when I see you, us, Summer has only just ended, and so, the warmth still lingers. Other nights, we’re in the woods, in cabins. Forest is surrounding us and it’s a little colder. Sometimes we spark a fire and other times we take hot showers to illuminate the frost that has started to surround us. I cook, and you talk to me while I do, lending a hand here and there.

Later on you read, I read… we both read our books, that take us to another place and just before I completely fall through to the realm of dreams you slowly take the book away from my hands, and you guide me to your body.

To me, writing about you is writing about happiness, fondness. How happy I was when I find myself around you. How happy I am when I think of you.
I’m not really sure what kind of love our relationship will evaluate too but I am sure it will be some kind of love, and if it ends, nothing but humble memories will captivate my head when I speak your name.

I guess that in its own way is already love.

I am no professional on the subject of love. But who is?
A lot of people say it is better to have lived and felt the pain you feel, then to not know of the subject that caused you that pain in the first place at all. I agree.
Because as hard as it is to breathe in the air every day, not knowing when I will see you next. As hard as it to accept even that my home, the only place I have EVER felt at home, is somewhere in the far distance, waiting for me to arrive once again, each time a little older, with that gleaming smile across my face, but somehow foreseeing that it will never be as soon as we both want it to be. I could never imagine not knowing about the city that stole my heart. And I shudder to think of a world where I missed out on experiencing all of earths minerals and oxygen with you.

To me, love is freedom. Love for yourself, your true self. Allowing yourself freedom. Love for those who make you feel free, and who help you in one way or another, manifest your freedom into your reality… And the love you find in a place or a time, finding that special place. That place you had been dreaming off, that allowed you to finally truly be free.
Love is that city that created me.

Australia Sunrise

Hello Australia

“There is only one way to learn. Its through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.” Paulo Coehlo

Three months ago, I decided that I thought it was time to head back to Australia.

I was in Germany at the time, and had concerning thoughts of what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go and how I wanted to live.

The answers all boiled down to a basic concept, the same basic concept in fact, that I had based my travels on when leaving Australia last August; To travel and enjoy life, with minimum money, and a healthy, wholesome lifestyle.

In Germany, I had really come to realize how lucky I am to be Australian, to be able to live the life I lead. Earning great income, whilst still reaping the benefits of taking holidays and being able to pick up and leave for months at a time whenever I felt the need. Only to come back to Australia and find any kind of job in which ever field I chose, quite easily.

I made the executive decision to fly home to Australia, and start a new adventure, somewhere outside of Sydney. I booked flights then and there.
I knew I wanted to spend time in Spain so I searched for the cheapest avenues for me to get back to Australia from there. I found two cheap flights, one that would lead me to Bangkok, Thailand, and another, 10 days later that would lead me back to Sydney.

I booked my tickets, and decided that I would not tell a soul about my plans of returning to Sydney, so that I could surprise all my loved ones.
And thus started a web of lies being spun to those I would skype with, those I wanted to surprise the most, who would, over the next 3 months, constantly ask what my plans were.

I went day by day, avoiding skype calls, deferring Facebook messages away from, So what are you going to do after London?, If you like Spain so much, why dont you stay?. Needless to say I almost caved and told my best friends, my sister, my mum, that I would soon be back in Australia. But I kept my cool, I flew to Thailand from Barcelona, and via social media let everyone know I was there.

I got quite a few messages stating that I was getting closer and closer to the country therefore I must be coming home soon, but i deferred these again with the illusion that, as I headed to the North of Thailand, I was leading myself to Laos.

I spent 10 days in Thailands mountain towns, Chiang Mai and Pai. I met some incredible people, and returning to Asia made me feel another kind of lust for travel, one different to that of Europe or even the USA. I found myself questioning again if I was making the right decision going back to Australia

But today, as I surprised my best friend in Sydney, as I jumped out of the boot of the car surprising another friend, and as I spent the night, outside of a friends back yard with a picnic rug, I knew I had made the right decision.

As soon as I stepped out of the Airport and into the Australian air, I could taste the sea salt from miles away, I could feel my skin grow sticky from the mild humidity. I was home, and it felt good.

Now that is not to say I am going back to my old life, no way. In fact, after 2 weeks in Sydney, I will be driving up the coast of Australia with Shea, the friend I most recently traveled with up until today, looking for a place to nest for the coming months.

And as for those amazing places I fell deep for, I will be back for you, all in good time.

This video is a small part of my journey, something to remember how special my time with these people and those places were.

Though nothing, no words, no photos or film, will capture how infinite I felt, sharing these experiences, I am forever in debt to all the people who have entered my life the past coming months They touched me in a way I cant explain, and have changed my very soul.

A wonderful boy I met in Spain wrote me a message in my journal that read; Such a beautiful day, clouds are not that grey, such a beautiful day and I couldnt agree with him more.

“If I am really part of your dream, you’ll come back one day.” Paulo Coelho

Grenada Sunset

The Wholesome Granada

A couple of nights ago I was sitting on the roof top of my hostel in Granada, Spain, with a bunch of new friends that, for the past week, have become like family to me. There was about 10 of us up there; Germans, New Zealanders, Lithuanians, Americans etc

We were crowded around the small terrace, huddled under blankets and keeping close for extra warmth. One guitar getting passed around as we sung the classics and listened to those who, so musically talented, could bring tears to your eyes from their own words they have turned into music.
I looked around at my surroundings. I saw one of my closest friends from Australia sitting beside me, I saw my new tightly knit family smiling, singing, some with their eyes open, some with their eyes closed.

To me, this was a perfect moment of clarity. I felt humble, whole, loved and enlightened. You could feel the connection pulsating from one soul to the next, nothing needed to be said about it, it was just so.

Last night me and 3 friends, new and old, decided to indulge ourselves in some afternoon tapas.

We set out from our hostel to the lively late Saturday afternoon streets of Granada in search for some cheap, delicious food.

After finding a small pub with vegetarian options we sat down, ordered sangria and started chatting.

Nora, one of the first girls I met in Granada started talking about how perfect the night on the roof was.

From this we started talking about the love we have come across in our travels, and how Granada has over and over again, given us so many of these moments filled with so much love and beauty.

Happiest little Vegemite in Granada.

Nora told us one of her favorite moments in Granada. She was at a party at her friends house. She walked into the kitchen and saw two of her friends. One cupping the others hands, looking at each other with so much adoration, and speaking words pure to each other. This moment, for Nora, was another one of those that fills you to the bring with an overwhelming abundance of gratitude.

Yesterday, I woke up feeling a somewhat deranged. I realized that it was my last night in Granada. I was planning to hitch hike to Valencia, a city north from here. Valencia was to be my pit stop to Barcelona, a way to shorten the road between Granada and Barcelona.

For the first time in a long time I felt truly heart-broken to have to leave a place that I have fallen head over heels for.

As the day went on I found myself conjuring up illusive ideas in my head of how to stay in Granada longer.

My emotions were running along side a roller coaster, I thought it would be best to write it out. I pulled out my journal and as I unwrapped the leather string that ties my journal shut, a tiny piece of paper that I thought I had lost a few weeks back fell out.

It was a fortune I had received from a fortune cookie. Not only was this the only fortune cookie I have ever received that has had any kind of significant meaning to me, but it is one that came to me through a very special person. A boy I met in San Francisco, who I of course have written about in my past posts, and who I will forever remember.

I remember cracking open the cookie and pulling out the note, looking at Steven as he asked me to read it aloud.

As the words left my mouth I felt the connection that drove me to him, to San Francisco, and to my own being. I felt clarity.

The cookie reads; You never hesitate to tackle the most difficult situations.
The truth in this fortune is accurate, and having this fall into my lap last night I was reminded that with each difficult situation, a good bye, running out of money, a disagreement or whatever it may be, it is no situation that you cant overcome.

I was reminded to live in the now, and everything else will follow.

Now, obviously, these moments come to those not only who travel, but to all. No matter how small it is, you can see something, feel something, and for a minute or two, you feel nothing but complete and utter content, happiness.

One moment of clarity, enlightenment, spiritual connection, or whatever you would like to call it, can give you so much. It can change the course of your life.

So don’t let them fall at the waist side. When they are happening, stay conscious, take it in, and appreciate the wonderful world around you.

As for me, I think Ill stick around Granada a little while longer.