As previously mentioned on “MAM”, a while ago Dan and I decided to pack-in the 9 to 5 and begin a new project of exploration both geographically and internally. Personally, I wanted to learn as much as possible mainly in the arts field, whilst immersing myself in a new culture and preferably doing it on the cheap. This July, it was time to take the plunge.
But first I needed to simply relax and get used to this new chapter. And as if by wonderful serendipity, my good friend Catherine was heading to Indonesia where I joined her and stayed for three weeks.
The sand, sun salutations and spices were rejuvenating, detoxifying and invigorating.
After a quick stop in London, I headed to Spain for the long and meditative trek that was Santiago de Compostela, accompanied by Dan for half of the journey and meeting Mel, the instigator of this adventure, for the remaining 400 km. 6 weeks in Spain, 5 weeks of walking, almost 800 km on foot, too many blisters to count and innumerable magical moments later I had finished walking but felt like the journey was just beginning.
And it was.
My need to learn new skills, live in a different country, surrounded by untamed nature with ample time to create my own little projects was blissfully met in the form of a program where you work in exchange for room and board.
This particular program offers a plethora of choices when it comes to what you wish to do. I am currently living with a carpenter and his artist/ entrepreneur partner.
When I first started announcing this project, some people looked at me as if I were mad (I clearly don’t dispute that claim!). But to me, taking the risk of leaving comfort behind made as much, if not more sense, than waiting for who knows what, to finally do what I want!
So here I am, in a quiet little village nestled in the Allgäu region of Bavaria, collaborating in various projects with a creative and kind couple, learning new things each day. And of course, focussing on my own creative projects, being inspired by how life can be lived differently, tasting new foods, learning a language and simply taking the time to watch the sunsets, with a purring cat nestled by my side.
So far, my Bavarian adventure has included learning the essentials of autumn garden maintenance, proper painting techniques (of walls as well as decorative owls!), how to set up a garden-bed, cement prep and usage, woodwork, wood-burning, Mongolian yurt furniture decoration and many more little and bigger tasks – and all this within two weeks! But also, my hosts have brought me to the mountains, to meet their families, on evening lake escapades and to quaint little nature huts where local beer and food are served to the friendly town folk.
This really feels like one very long exhale after the suffocating pace that we often impose on ourselves in daily life.
A little while ago, I made myself the promise to always expect the good and just deal with the bad if it arises. And so as the rain falls delicately on the freshly cut grass outside, I feel proud to have made a choice. To have chosen for myself – not out of fear of what I may need at retirement age, not out of worry that I may be judged, not out of the pressure to conform to a 30-something-year old’s mould… but by saying enough is enough! Let’s live the best possible life we can! Why not!? It’s the only real choice we have!
And if the rain falls, I will welcome it, as I have seen the bluest sky.
As per tradition, here is a glimpse of the place I currently call home.
Some images from their lovely garden and around the house
The Sheila special…
A little stroll around the area
Day out in Constance
Majestic moon over Lake Constance
My favourite little spot