I really want to write in this blog, to share the things I am doing and to record the many awesome moments which make up a life so that one day I can look back on the incredible things which have happened and remind myself to keep doing even more incredible things, also I have a terrible memory and only have so much space on my body for tattoos of destinations.
My life has changed immensely over the last year, in ways which I never expected, which lets face it, is how most of life unfolds before us. If I look back over the last 35 years, very few of the things which have happened were anything like what I imagined my life might be, fortunately, I have been led, through some terrible pain and incredible highs, to a place where I am ridiculously happy to be, and to a lifestyle, present, and person which shows me that everything which has come before, has been exactly the right thing to happen.
This year I achieved and experienced a lot, most of which I hope to get up on this blog sooner or later, even if just through pictures and highlights so as to have a reference point one day. This post is not an individual expression of each and every journey I have taken this year, but rather an explanation of the path I stumbled down which led me to my destination, which could only ever be the present.
At the beginning of 2016, I was beginning a whole new life. I was on my own again and for a few months struggling to figure out what that meant, and how I was going to deal with it. The first step and something which helped me immensely, was to get back into shape, and so through 2016 I maintained an intense workout routine and diet, which led to losing 24kg and building some decent muscle. The best part of this is that I am now at the age of 35 fitter and healthier than I have ever been. This is important to me as I believe you can with effort maintain a good amount of fitness and mobility throughout ones life, and I aim to be jogging down a beach at sunrise when carking it rather than sitting in a chair staring at the TV. We’ll see how that one pans out as I spent the previous 15 odd years doing everything you’re not supposed to do to keep a body ticking along nicely…
This is also the year my ideas about travel, and how it fits into the life I want changed. I have known for some time now that the travel is not enough. I love seeing new things and new places, I love being out of my depth and having to think on my feet in the way only travelling to crazy new places can make you do. But it just wasn’t enough, the extent of this feeling became apparent because initially I was still staying in hotels, which makes it hard to meet people, and nothing feels quite as bleak as sitting in a hotel room by yourself in a foreign land, staring at the wall and wondering what the fuck you’re doing there, and why.
I met a few people who’s company I really enjoyed fairly quickly, but this was enough to show me my travels needed to incorporate a lot more socialising, and to my surprise I found out that I actually enjoyed it, and am pretty good at it to boot. So I became more social, and I met so many awesome people this year it is impossible to mention them all, especially because of the aforementioned terrible memory and a lack of updates on this blog. I also met a lot of weird ones, and they are in many ways the best kinds as they show you how varied humanity can be, and to try and hold your judgements of others as you realise through this nuanced look at the world, that all opinions are just that, opinions. Just try not to be a dick, be nice to people and you’re OK by me.
WHERE AND WHAT
In 2016 I travelled to 9 countries, starting with Croatia and Montenegro where my epiphanies began to take hold. Then it was off to Spain where I spent 3 months learning to fly a paraglider and meeting some great people, and of course, doing some more epiphanising. After that it was Morocco for a month where I got sick but also saw some stuff. It was alright, I met some local people and learned more about another side of society which is always on the news but seldom talked about face to face. Some of it I respect and admire, some of it I will never be able to accept.
Then there was Italy! Italy was where I really began to hit my stride on the solo travel thing, I still wasn’t 100% on doing it all alone and missed sharing experiences with people or a person, but I began to really enjoy the challenges and rewards of travelling again here, and of course, met loads more cool people, and started to hone in on just saying Hi and seeing what happens from there. I travelled in Italy for about 3 weeks going to Rome, Pompeii, Naples, The Amalfi Coast and Venice. Naples was my favourite without a doubt, an authentic living breathing city with history, filth, old men in budgy smugglers and more graffiti than walls, I loved it.
Italy was great, but Romania, now that is where it all came together…
I would say Romania is where I really hit my stride, it was where I met a lot of awesome people, and where I was truly realising what I wanted from my travels, and how I could achieve that. I became content with my lot, a far more valuable emotional state than happiness in many ways, and yet I was fortunate to have found a decent amount of both here. I bought a bicycle, joined a gym, and proceeded to live.
GETTING TO KNOW “BLUE THUNDER”
After Romania I went to Tenerife for a month, then Israel and Jordan for a couple weeks before heading to Iceland to meet up with the person this post is really about…
THE WAILING WALL, ISRAEL
In Romania, I met great people, the sort of people which make being on the road and always leaving someone behind worth seeking out new destinations and interactions for. One person in particular of course stands out, but I’ll get to that…
In Romania I began flying a lot more and improved in my new passion tremendously (I still have a long way to go, but learning is an integral part of the fun). I fed my mind and body the things they needed to be healthier and more whole and I began to formulate some semblance of an idea for what the future might hold for me. True it was a sporadic interconnecting web of maybes and probablies, but lots of really great maybe’s and probablies which gave me butterflies and private smile sessions at the thought of how it might all turn out.
I was just getting ready to embark on some of these new adventures, some worldly explorations which would guarantee a great mix of people meeting, adventure having and awesomeness doing. I was about to take a proverbial step out the door, when something truly remarkable happened…
This thing is truly remarkable in no small part, because it came when I needed it the least. It came when I had not only accepted my new life but was also thriving in it. I was blindsided by this thing because I had moved on from a desperate need to be with someone to a delightful acceptance of being with myself. As soon as I became comfortable in my own skin, confident in my abilities as a human being and kinder to myself, life decided I was ready for another change, and so thrust upon me in an unavoidable flash of “Hey you, look over here!”, not a thing, but a someone, and not just any someone, but someone named Calina…
One day, while packing away my glider in the landing field in Romania, I spotted a red headed woman chatting to some pilots as she idly packed her own glider away, as oblivious as I was, to what was about to happen. What was about to happen is that both our lives would be changed completely. At this point I will speak only for myself because to do so for Calina seems somewhat garish and assumptive, so hopefully she will speak for herself on here soon!
Looking back on that moment I realise now that I had decided immediately to ask her out for a coffee. Where once may have been nervousness and a failure to do so, this new me which has been built up over the last 35 years, was primed and ready to ask this new her to meet me as soon as possible for coffee and a chat.
She accepted and a few days later we were drinking ice coffees in Brasov, which then led to wandering around aimlessly, seeing nothing, and talking until the wee hours of the morning. I said goodbye to her that morning, but a few days later she came to stay at my place, and then never left…
That was how I met, and fell in love with Calina…
Big words and scary to say, but only because I did not expect to be able to say them with such fervour, or to have them said back to me with an equal level of bewilderment at how such a thing could have happened, and so quickly, and so perfectly.
We ended up living together for the next 2 and a half months in Brasov, neither of us were keen to label it as we both led such unusual lives and so, we just lived, together, one day at a time.
Those 2 and half months were nowhere near enough and so we decided to travel in Spain together and do some flying. And we became even closer. Unfortunately even unusual lives need to be funded and Calina needed to work. Due to a number of circumstances and both of us thinking a couple months apart would be fine and we’d just see what happened. We went our separate ways, Calina to Iceland, and I to Tenerife, then London, then Israel and Jordan.
This period would cement the fact that my life had changed once again, and that although I now had the ability to travel and thrive on my own, I had found someone who in an unexpected and wondrous way, made the already incredible journey I am on so much better.
So now here I am in Iceland, back with Calina, and I find myself more excited by the future than I have been in a very long time. My passion for travel has come back with a vengeance, and my ideas about love and what it might mean for me at this point in time, have been wondrously shattered into a thousand glittering pieces of anarchic uncertainty. I only know that she means the world to me, and her company feels like home…
This all sounds very intense and emotional I realise, and in truth that scares me somewhat, but it also enthrals me and shows me that no matter how much you experience in this life, there will always be something you don’t know, emotions you never thought you could have because you never knew they existed, and people which can blow your mind with a sentence and make you smile by entering a room.
Calina is not big into the Social Media thing, and in general is not as big into sharing on the tinternet as I am, but unexpectedly she is keen to write in this blog with me, a multiple perspective thing on all the cool shit we are about to get up to. And so we have come full circle with the blog, travel, and this new life I have the great pleasure of diving into.
I have not been writing in this blog because my life has been so full of emotion and change that I just didn’t have the time or the desire to write about it. But now, as I am reunited with someone I am truly excited to share the present and the future with, someone who bounces around as much as I do at the thought of all the awesome things we are set to do, we will (probably) pool our powers of perception, or at the very least our own small but personal opinions about the world we are heading out to explore together, in some new and more frequent content.
I did not expect such a massive change and upheaval of my life to occur at this point. But I was fortunate enough to be shown that I know very little about this world or the potential it holds, and that every day truly has the possibility of being a new beginning way beyond my ability to predict it.
This new beginning, this unexpected shift in my ideas and wants, causes me to smile from ear to ear every time I see her. She challenges me with her kindness, intellect and enthusiasm for life, her energy and passion are wonderfully contagious, and her weirdness and desire to live outside of the normal boundaries of society fits my weirdness so well it is startlingly awesome.
For all this and more, I am grateful and excited to share this world with you Calina. Anything could happen next, but whatever it is, I know it is going to be awesome!