All posts filed under: Inspiration

Life has been happening

Some time has passed. During this online pause, life has been happening. Here are some of our stories… We stayed a few months with my dad in my childhood home in Liverpool at the end of our travelling year. When I first left my home, bound for Glasgow at twenty one, I felt sure I’d never feel enthusiastic about the place again. The idea of being ‘back there’ in the place I’d grown up had felt uncomfortably retrogressive. Maybe it’s the simple fact of being older and having different values now but this time around I found that there was a satisfying circularity to having my children sleep in my old bedroom, and the sounds of my night-owl dad shuffling around after midnight fixing himself a whisky and raiding his cake cupboard were familiar and comforting. I was able to see my family often and in a casual, popping-round-for-a-cuppa sort of way, which is something I’ve rarely been able to do. Then, in March, we packed up a load of our stuff (gathering boxes and …

The Bears of Kuterevo

I’m a bit obsessed with bears and wolves. One of the reasons I’m spellbound by deer is that the idea of something so big wandering around wild in the woods is just so exciting. They’re so big! And they’re owned by no one! So obviously being in places where there are wolves or bears, which are way more exotic and wild and potentially dangerous, is pretty mind-blowing for me. The chances of us actually seeing a bear in the wild though are thankfully fairly slim, so we opted for the next best thing and went to the bear sanctuary in Kuterevo. The Kuterevo bear sanctuary was set up in 2002 by Ivan Crnkovic-Pavenka to give a home to orphaned bears that ¬†otherwise wouldn’t have survived in the wild. It has since grown to accommodate four large enclosures and supports a permanent community of international volunteers. The site provides trees, pools and caves for the bears to live a life as close to wild as they’ll ever know and simultaneously a sense of community and purpose …

Travel Wonder in Kuterevo

In an effort to be more dynamic (!) and current in my despatches from afar, I’m going to try and alernate between what’s going on now and places from back down the road. So right now! Or rather, yesterday…ok maybe the day before. we visited a really special place in the Croatian mountains. I’d been feeling somewhat jaded of late, ‘road weary’ is as good a description as any. The inconveniences and frustrations of living in a tiny space with one’s nearest and dearest, with ne’er a moment of peace (not to mention the homesickness) was proving a challenge. This is nothing new. Throughout this long journey, there have been many moments of questioning, days of tension and enough bouts of sadness to have fully excorcised the idea that this was some kind of extended holiday. These moods always move on eventually, often helped by a large dose of travel wonder. Travel wonder is what I’m calling the feeling brought on by coming across a place that gives you a fluttery stomach, when you can’t …

Finca Slow – Regenerative Farming and Friendship

Ana’s embrace was full of the goodness of friendship and familiarity, goodness I’d been craving. We pulled over by the fountain in the centre of Ginestar and jumped out, grinning to see her waiting for us in the shade, beer in hand; shiny with mid-afternoon sweat and beautiful, she led us to the bar. And so began one of the most precious weeks of our trip. Ana lives in a yurt with her two children, Gabriel and Ofelia, on a piece of regenerative olive farmland called Finca Slow. This little slice of Catalonian rural paradise is owned by, and home to, Dan and Johanna McTiernan who also live in a yurt on the land with their two children, Otso and Leo. Dan and Johanna moved here to live the modern agrarian dream three years ago; Ana and her tribe soon followed. Here the two families live without grid electricity or mains water supply, amongst almond and ancient olive trees. It was in a little shady patch between these almond trees that Ana and Rob pitched …

Shiny, Happy People

One of the difficult things about travelling is that it can get lonely. Whilst out on the road there have been long stretches when we’ve barely met a soul. We have woefully little French, Spanish or Italian and meeting people who have enough English to converse with us useless linguists is a rare thing indeed. We’re a pretty sociable bunch and it’s been a strain at times for us all not to have other folk to hang out with, which makes us all the more grateful when we do meet people who can tolerate our company for longer than a cursory five minutes. And we have met some fantastic people along the way. Most of the people we’ve spent time with and got to know a little have been those that have chosen to live a slightly different sort of life, a life in which there is more time for relationships, more time for reflection or simply more time for following dreams. As a tribute to some of those lovely souls and their inspiring stories …

10 Reasons to love Morocco

Righto then, as I’m a travel blogger of sorts (in that I travel and I blog), I thought it was about time I did one of those listy blog posts that travel bloggers like to do. And as I’m now at the end of the Moroccan episode of the adventure, it seems fitting that I should wrap it up with a couple of vaguely advisory posts about the whole affair. So, without further ado, these are ten of the reasons why you should visit Morocco: #1 Every Journey is Epic I think I’ve probably said this many times to quite a lot of people, it’s become my Morocco related catchphrase, but it’s absolutely true. If you drive anywhere apart from the major motorways along the coast, you will be blown away by the scale and variety of landscapes. What’s more, lots of it feels familiar in a ‘seen it in the movies’ kind of way and because of all those romantic movie associations, every journey is moving. As I’ve said (a million times!) the mountain …

Fertile Roots – dust, wind and permaculture

On reaching Essaouira and finding the calming campsite mentioned in this post, we finally took some time to unwind. Up until that point we’d barely stayed more than two nights at any one place and dearly needed to stop for a while. Our time at Esprit Nature restored some of our equilibrium and we hoped that moving on afterwards to a permaculture project down the road would continue the settling down process. Fertile Roots, as the foundation is known, is homed on a little piece of land close to the sea some 10km up the coast from Essaouira. Although the hills behind are thick with argan and thuya trees, this little strip of earth is wind-stripped and arid. Its owner, Mark Anstice, bought the land without ever clapping eyes on it and although it could be tempting to call the move foolish, having more sympathy for blind leaps of faith these days, I call it bold. I’d been planning to visit Mark since we first conceived of travelling to Morocco but the track to take …

‘I do!’

In many ways, the hardest bit of any big life change, is making the decision to do something different. Saying ‘yes’ to the unknown is pretty difficult at any stage of life but I think gets harder as we get older and more set in our ways. Even the more adventurous amongst us, increasingly seek the comfort of the familiar as they approach middle age. Throwing ourselves willingly into an abyss of uncertainty then – particularly when we have children – can feel at times wildly irresponsible. It was easier for me than for Rob. I had already let go of whatever ‘career’ I may have had by choosing to leave the workplace over seven years ago. Rob on the other hand, was at a comfortable point in his career working as a Head of Development for The Science Museum Group, enjoyed his work and was continuing along a fairly reliable employment path. I was asking him to consider giving all of that up to come on an adventure. And to spend most of our …