Saturday, April 30, 2011

Venga, Vamono.. Come on, let's go.

Spent the day making pancakes with strawberries and nutella, looking up festivals in Italy, hastily scribbling names of cities and countries on dates on my calendar. Last night we huddled on a bed covered in blankets peeling mandarins and watching children's movies, talking about the tricks time keeps playing on us and all the things we've done.

It's already the tail end of the first quarter of our year in Spain. The end of the settling-in honey moon period, no more trips to ikea to make a room feel like a home, no more days wagging school and heading to the beach, no more mercadona grocery shopping or sunday 'family' dinners.

Summer's coming fast and soon enough it will be time for four months of living out of a suitcase, reverting to sign language because I know nada of the language, holding maps and looking for street signs, moving from hostel to hostel, figuring out the metro, catching planes and trains and buses. It's time for free wi-fi and shiny new everything. For traveling by myself and meeting a few familiar faces along the way, in London and Madrid and Mykonos.

It just got real. It's time for hellos and goodbyes, for different countries every couple of days, every week, every month. For new phrases to learn in languages I'd never heard spoken aloud, for beaches that rival those from home, for people to create stories with, to fill gaps where the last ones had left off. It's time for tough skin and quick memories and time that's going to go quicker than I'm used to.

Here goes nothing, once again.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Climbing mountains, near-death and Twenty One years.


I've missed a plane, almost been robbed, climbed a mountain, seen the coasts of Africa and witnessed the salvation of a bird. I turned twenty-one, learned the value of time - in the minute it takes to run from one side of the airport from another, in a night - who you can meet, what can happen, whole chunks of experiences you might not even remember, or in a week - where everything changes and leaves you grasping at memories.

It's been hard to keep this updated, to think about what to do for Will Travel 4 Life, to take time outside of planning my European summer, the weekends coming up, what I'm eating for dinner, where I'm going tonight and who to invite to the next house party that as was inevitable this poor little blog got a little neglected.

Between the road trips and train rides and missed flights everything has changed. I realised how quickly things can change. You look around and can't believe where you used to stand but look ahead and there's miles, daydreams and oceans before you're where you want to be. 

We took a roadtrip and visited Ronda, built on cliffs, hidden caves and mountains with mouths that gape open and wide. We stayed in a tiny town of white-painted houses called Parauta where we slept in sleeping bags on mattresses on the floor while the dog howled and the wind blew. We climbed mountains with bushes that scraped our legs and rocks that we felt under our unprepared canvassed feet. Our stomachs growled as we walked the 3 hours and 7kilometres up the highest mountain in Malaga. Our mouths dropped as we stood on clouds watching birds flutter and the coast of Africa in the distance. 

The night before I turned twenty-one I was in Barcelona and almost got robbed. It was 6am in the morning and we were walking to a day-club. Two of us behind, walking and talking about nothing in particular. My friend turned her head and yelled, I grabbed my bag and was grabbed in turn. I had never held so fast and hard onto something in my entire life. We laughed later with racing hearts and said it was my coming-of-age ritual.

We went to Nerja where only weeks before we had named it Paradise. The calmest, freshest, clearest water. It was there we floated belly-up while the sun kissed our faces and the water froze our hands. The day we came back for the third time the waves came with a vengeance. We braved the water, and trembling from the sea-shore I watched as my friend, fatigued and weary, almost collided with a rock face. The sequence still replays in my head. We hugged her in disbelief and went for pizza and gelato.

It's these moments, that back in Australia seem to come with pauses and spaces but here seem to crash into one other, a queue of mind-freezing-moments pushing up against each other.

You don't have time to take it in, you barely have time to breathe. So you click your finger over the button of the camera and write down as many words as you can before the next set of adventures gets underway, leaving you a loss for words and memory.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lessons learned in Paradise;


A few weeks ago I discovered a little bit of Paradise about an hour bus ride away from where I'm living here in Malaga. Just below the Balcon de Europea is a little beach enclosed by large rocks and caves in a sleepy retirement town of Nerja.

We spent the day lying on our bellies, making bocadillos and turning pages of Spanish philosophy books with our strawberry-stained fingers. Watching little kids run quickly away from the lapping waves and blonde-haired boys hitting a ball amongst the water.

Floating palms up toward the sun in the Mediterranean there was nothing missing. It was one of those rare moments where the contentment comes without you noticing, without you even having to try. The sun set and we saw a man flying in the sky, a small motor propelling him close to the beach and then up again close to the apartment buildings and large rocks.

Falta nada. Missing nothing. Getting to travel to places like this, experience moments like those and feel exactly how I felt is one of the reasons I want to Travel For Life. It's been a while since I posted about the campaign that has recently launched but I'm proud to say the website is up and running and we have already received our first donation and first visual campaign supporter which you can view by clicking the link above.

Will Travel 4 Life is about this exactly, about sharing these kind of experiences and making an indelible connection to those whose experiences of travel differ so greatly. So here it is, what I've learned and somehow already knew, what it means to Travel For Life. Read, get educated, get involved - Travel 4 life.