La fundacion escuela de solidaridad!

I have been meaning to write a blog about the foundation of solidarity ever since I was blessed with the opportunity of coming here to volunteer last year, however, words do not come easy when describing a place that has genuinely been built on love!

The foundation was founded by one of the most inspirational people I have ever met, Ignacio, I could not possibly articulate how much hope he brings to my life, and so many other people who have been graced by his humbling presence. If the world had more men with just half of the capacity of this man, it would be a much better place!

Ignacio and me!

His partner, Dora, carries an equal amount of love into this world, and like Ignacio, she inspires me and brings me hope. The warmth of her embrace has the power to sooth even the coldest of souls!

You can see the impact Dora and Ignacio have on every single individual who resides here, the amount of hope they bring into the lives of the residents is immeasurable!

My house is your house!

Everybody you meet here welcomes you with an open heart, regardless of your ethnic background, religious beliefs, disabilities or political views, you are seen for what we are at our roots, a human being; that is something that I will never forget.

A message we should never forget!

At the foundation there is a permaculture garden which is looked after by Los chicos de Gambia! Gilbert, Sam, Ernesto and James, they are all from the same village in Gambia where they have a fully established eco-village! A place I will undoubtedly visit in the future!

Los chicos de Gambia

The boys from Gambia, like Dora and Ignacio, inspire me so much. It brings me so much joy to be back in their presence and sharing such intellectually progressive conversations with them once again, it is such an honour that I am able to call these incredible beings my brothers and this incredible place home.

As my two day visit swiftly comes to an end, I wake up early to climb one of the smaller peaks in the Sierra Elvira to catch the sunrise. As I stare off into the eastern skies eagerly awaiting the rising of the sun I send my thanks to Jaime, another incredible being in my life, for directing me here.

Sierra Nevada and Granada

I remember him warning me that I would find it difficult to leave. He was not wrong, both times now have not been easy, there is a magnetic force powered by love that draws you in.

Now as the sun comes into view over the magnificent Sierra Nevada, I send wishes of good fortune for all of us here on planet earth, and more importantly, I thank the universe for the foundation and all that is good in the world.

The rising of the sun, a daily blessing!

I sit quietly for ten minutes enjoying the warming sensation the sun inevitably brings in Andalucia, Europes only desert, before heading back to la fundacion to spend the afternoon in the company of these great people.

Time moves forward as it always does and before long it is time to leave, I say hasta otra vez, as I am sure I will see them all again, and reluctantly head to catch the bus.

Next stop, Hidden Paradise, Órgiva.

Let Me Inspire You #1

Birmingham Airport

02.10.2018 18:07


Firstly let me welcome you all to my page and to my new series of blogs, Let Me Inspire You!

It feels good to be waiting for my flight, I am excited to be heading back into Spain to continue my research in Permaculture, ecological living and alternative communities. I have just spent the last five months knee deep in a capatlistic stomping ground working for Butlins, which has been a difficult time for my empathetic soul.

However, I have come out of there even more determined than ever to pave a way into a more sustainable future for our species!

That is why, this is the most excited I have ever been before disembarking on a journey! I am excited; to share all of the experiences I will go on, all of the places I will visit, all the people I will stay with; I am excited for what I will find on this adventure, in the mountains, in the rivers, in the earth; I am excited to venture further into the wonders of sustainable living, spirituality, mindfulness and the human psyche!

As you will have noticed I have listed a few things at the top, the place I am writing the blog, the date and time it was written and my financial situation.

I think it is important that I be transparent with my readers in regards to my finances, it will give you a deeper understanding of how to be a smarter traveller and months into my trip you will see how I manage to travel such distances with such little budget! Or maybe not, who knows!!!

So my first location will be at Hidden Paradise, it is a centre for spirituality in the mountainous regions of southern Spain in a town called Órgiva! They offer Yoga and Meditation retreats, shamanic practises and more! I will be working in the kitchen catering for the guests who are attending the upcoming course!

I am required to stay for a minimum of four weeks, after this I hope to go to the canary islands as I have been in contact with a couple of hosts to work on some permaculture projects and spend time living within an eco community!

So please do keep reading and please Let Me Inspire You!

Sat on Brighton beach half pissed…

So this blog has no direct meaning, I think maybe it is just a following of my thought patterns while I sit here slightly intoxicated after, as a nice lady in Twisted Lemon put it, choosing to conform.

Firstly I am in Brighton as I am undergoing a TEFL course at the moment which entails me to complete twenty hours in a classroom as a part of my course, of which, I am thoroughly enjoying!

Unfortunately for me and my susceptible self the first day has fallen on a Saturday. For those who maybe reading from a far and distant land, the culture in the UK on a Saturday is shots shots shots and more shots, especially in Brighton and especially when it’s your friends birthday and he is in town!

To cut a long story short, after money not spent well, I sit here, half intoxicated and alone on the beach thinking of people who I would love to have in my company right now and to those people I send my love.

I have so much more to add to this tale but I just don’t have the ability to fully ventilate my thoughts onto this post right now. However for those who know me could probably understand the tornado of thought that whirls through my head. Why do we do this to ourselves? What are we achieving? Who benefits from this sort of behaviour and why the @#£& have I become susceptible to it…. Again?

Note to self…. Please escape this egocentric society and create our own re-established society, with our own trading networks, our own schools, our own meditation and yoga centres, our own medicinal practices, our own forms of education and have our own rules, on land that belongs to us!

Quinta da Fortuna 15.10.2017

Hello again, here is the third day I wish to share with you all!


I arise at 05:30, it is dark but I can still make out the silhouette of the trees outside. I get up to use the bathroom and notice there is a chill in the air, it is October after all I tell myself and swiftly get ready. I grab some fruit, two bottles of water, my tripod and a book and head out into the starlit morning.

As I am walking down the road I stare out into the sky above at all the stars that are scattered throughout the dark abyss as if it were a dot to dot that if you were to complete correctly, the mysteries of life would be revealed to you. I notice the cold again and think how I perhaps should have bought a jumper with me, after ten minutes of walking the cold is unnoticeable and I am in high spirits.

Out loud I speak the first lines of a poem, then a second line, a third and so on until I find myself nearing the top of the hill I wish to watch the sunrise from. I arrive to the top and look to the clock, 07:13, I have twenty six minutes until sunrise. Again I can feel the cold against my now, sweaty body and wet shirt, I take refuge behind a bush to shelter from the morning wind. I take out a pear and sit on my bag facing out to the vast horizon that spans out in front of me. I follow the street lights with my eyes across the land until I reach the, just visible, Atlantic Ocean.

My imagination is on fire this morning as I start wondering how many boats might actually be out there, the fishermen, the cruise ships, the sailors or perhaps even the pirates. The thought of pirates triggers my imagination further into the treasures of the sea.

As sunrise approaches the land is becoming more and more visible, I notice how many old farms/orchards are here on the Algarve, none of which seem to be in production anymore. I guess that is inflation along with these mass producers owned by big corporations making the little guys obsolete and giving them no choice but to close down their operations. Sad.

I take my bag and move it out of the shelter of the bush and onto the path where I can see the sky becoming brighter and brighter. I allow my eyes to move around the landscape again before focusing on the horizon, directly to the point the sun will make its great ascent over the land and sea, dawning us with another beautiful day on the Algarve.

In these moments I channel my breathing, I completely surrender to the moment and enter it fully. The colours enhance, the energies that fill the atmosphere become more visible and after an unknown period of time the sun slowly comes into view as it silhouettes a mountain range far in the distance. I am entranced by the orange orb rising up into the sky, I stare directly at its magnificence. I find myself totally fixated as it breaks free from the mountain range and the complete sphere floats on its own, showing off its illuminating abilities, as the land and the skies become even more visible.

I stare at the sun until it reaches a certain point where the brightness is too much, I close my eyes and focus on my breathing and I get a tingling sensation down my spine, a good omen.

It is this giant orb that provides us with life, it is this giant orb that fights away the cold winter, it is this giant orb that provides solar energy, it is this giant orb that gives us light, it is this giant orb that provides the warmth we need and in this moment, it is this giant orb I am giving my thanks on behalf of the planet.

I sit here smiling a smile that stretches from ear to ear, I can feel my skin warming up and I can now see the birds that I could only hear early this morning. I take another pear and savour the moment before my desire for a wholesome meal takes over. I get my stuff together and start the walk back to the quinta with the beautiful scene I have just witnessed stained in my minds eye.

I arrive back and make a breakfast of fresh scrambled eggs with tomato, pepper and onion. I eat it down and head back to the caravan for a day of total relaxation, music, writing, reading and yoga.

The day moves on and the smile from the hilltop has not left my face and as I lay in bed about to go sleep, I think about the sunrise and how it is moments like this that I will never forget, it is moments like this that keep me travelling, it is moments like this that make the world such a beautiful realm, a realm of simple beauty.

Quinta da Fortuna 13.10.2017

Hello, as promised, here is another day spent on the plant nursery in Portugal! I will post another day very soon!!

Another beautiful morning captivated by nature, I am awake earlier today as I went to sleep so early last night after my exhausting day! I decide to seize the day and get up for some morning yoga, a much invited activity as my shoulders are always in a lot of pain in the mornings. I finish up with the yoga as breakfast time is fast approaching, I get to the terrace to the welcoming sight of another delicious breakfast.

Sabine says this morning I will accompany Didi to go and collect stones for some of the plants and we will be taking their greyhound Buddy with us. I am excited to see what landscapes this adventure will be bring.

We get buddy in the car and set off down the road, we drive with the windows down to let the morning air into the vehicle. Didi has forgot some buckets for the stones so we stop off at the nearby by rubbish bins to see if we can salvage something, luckily we get two boxes and two buckets. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

We head back down the road and stop off in a field. We get out and Didi says we will walk Buddy first and worry about the stones before we leave! I look around, it seems this was once a large scale orange orchard and by the looks of it, it has not been used for a while! Some trees are bearing fruit, I take a small orange off a branch and rip it open to suck out the juice, it is so fresh and sweet that I realise I was wrong in my assumption of oranges, the flavour confirms it is an old mandarin orchard! As I look around more, I notice a variation in the trees, there are figs, olives, almonds, lemons and mulberry, most of which are either dead or dying!

We keep walking and come to a ruin, Didi says the houses here were made from stone and clay once upon a time, all of which would be sourced on the land! The thought of such times makes me smile, I decide to go in for a closer look. After climbing in, I come to the conclusion it would have been a small house, with only one floor, as there was not much rubble on the ground. I climb out and we carry on, Didi points out some wild thyme that is growing here, now that he has pointed it out I realise it is everywhere! We pick some and chew on it, it is strong on my tongue, almost a heat similar to a chilli (not like the one on my first morning at The Quinta!). We circle back round to the van, collect the stones we need and head back.

Upon arriving back Didi instructs me of what he would like me to do. Firstly I put the stones where he has asked, I then grab the tree loppers and head to the back of the garden. I reach the overgrown section and get to work removing this out of control tree again, I realise it is quite rewarding as you can really see a difference in the area!

I spend an hour on this before Didi asks me to work closer to the house as he is going out and with Sabine not here, it is better I am here incase anybody comes in to look at the plants. I spend some time collecting empty plant pots before Didi returns. I go back to my tree loppers and continue for another hour before it is lunchtime. Another meal of soup before I go back to to the caravan for some more yoga and a shower.

After another lukewarm shower I sit outside the caravan to enjoy the afternoon sun and Claire Merle’s, The Fall, an interesting novel about a twisted pharmaceutical industry controlling the masses in Britain! I know a few people who would love to read this inspiring book!

I look out to the skies and realise the sun is quickly descending and the idea of having dinner on the rooftop terrace watching the sunset sounds like a good one! I make a simple dinner of lightly fried bread topped with peppers and cheese! I get upstairs with more than enough time to enjoy the sun disappearing beneath the horizon, the colours of the sky begin to change, the clouds become a nice shade of pink and as the sun makes its final descent the stars slowly come into view. The first sunset I have witnessed in Portugal, and I already know that it won’t be the last!

Before heading back to the caravan to continue reading the gripping novel, I put the kettle on and make some green tea with mint and lime! Once I am in bed it is not long until I drift off into the realms of dreams.

Quinta da Fortuna 11.10.2017

Hola! Over the next few days I will follow up from my last post ‘The ruins under the city’ with a few diary entries from when I worked on the Mediterranean plant nursery in Portugal! I hope this gives you an insight into what it is really like!

As I awaken I can see the sunlight seeping through the window at the end of the bed and through the gap in the curtain I can make out the silhouette of the trees against the morning sky, I become fixated by the beauty of such a natural phenomenon. I start to wonder what time it is, I check my phone to see it is only 07:15, so I roll over and go back to sleep for another hour. When I wake for the the second time I look out of the window and although it is brighter now I can still the silhouette and it is just as glorious. I tell myself I will do this every morning for the duration of my stay.

I get up and go to the bathroom and carry out the standard morning in activities. I put on my boots and head over to the house for breakfast. Sabine, the German lady who will be hosting me shows me out to the terrace where there is freshly baked bread, homemade loquat marmalade, cheese, butter, peppermint tea and… chilli. Didi(short for Dietfrid), Sabines partner, comes out and we shake hands in a formal greeting. He takes a few chillies straight from the plant that is behind me and puts a small, deep red chilli on my plate. I remember hearing that the small ones are the fiery ones. I decide to just chuck it in my mouth and bite straight into it, and in an instant my tongue catches fire like somebody took a match to a bush in the Australian outback! Without hesitating I remove it from my mouth and put it back on the plate, we all share a laugh and Didi says he eats some every morning. This man sure loves chillies, I think to myself. In an attempt at easing the fire in my mouth I butter some bread and take a bite. I look down at the chilli thinking you will not beat me so I decide to have another go at it, this time I accompany it with some bread and a cheese spread. The flavour is immense, fiery as before but with the addition of the cheese it has created an incredible taste which lingers on my tongue. They offer me another one, which I kindly decline.

We finish our breakfast and Sabine gives me a tour of their beautifully wild garden, there is exotic plants from all over, different species of trees, flowers of all shapes, and vines growing everywhere all creating a real spectrum of colour. There is one vine that catches my eye, it has a bright blue, purple and pink bell flower on it of about 6cm diameter so I ask what it is, Sabine says it is a weed called Ipomea! I cannot believe this could be a weed, she goes on to say it spreads to much and kills a lot of the other plants in the nursery and I am likely to have to cut some of it back while I am here. it saddens me to have to destroy such beauty, but I understand the importance of keeping the other plants alive.

She ends the tour by showing me where the bikes are and says I can use them to go to the beach in my free time. She passes me over to Didi who has got an assortment of jobs line up for me. We start with emptying an enormous pot filled with soil, we do this so Didi can make, what he calls a warmhouse. It is a mini greenhouse he plans to keep his Plumeria in during the winter to keep it dry, the Plumeria is a wonderful little plant that grows in hot summers and dry winters! This does not take long and we move it to its new home near the back of the garden. After we move on to a simple task of tidying up the mini papyrus and re planting them in separate pots to sell on the market.

As I am nearing to finishing the task Sabine comes to say that I can stop what I am doing and come and have lunch. She looks at the plants lay on the trailer with the roots exposed and says that she thinks the plants will be okay until tomorrow, I politely tell her I will not be able to rest knowing the plants are laying here like this and I will finish of the task after lunch. She thanks me as we walk through to the terrace. On the table is a vegetarian pasta dish, simple but delicious nonetheless!

We finish up with lunch and they invite me to share dinner with them this evening outside on the terrace of the guest house, I accept the invitation and head back to the caravan. I spend thirty minutes doing yoga outside before taking a lukewarm shower to clean the dirt off from the garden. Once I am all cleaned up I pick up a book, lay on the bed and start to read before drifting off.

I wake up as I can hear Sabine outside shouting me to say dinner is early and will be ready in ten minutes. I quickly put on a shirt and head on over to see if there is anything I can help with, there isn’t, so I take a seat at the table and quietly wait.

After a few minutes all the food is on the table and we all start serving the food, they have prepared, a chicken, roast potatoes, a roast cabbage and a bowl of tzatziki. I have not eaten roast cabbage before so I am excited to see what it is like! In good old German fashion we all open a beer and say broust (German word for cheers) and start to eat. The potatoes have been cooked in rosemary from the garden, they go very well with the tzatziki, the cabbage is a new flavour that I will try to recreate myself one day. It is not long before we have all had our fair share, so I head to the kitchen to clean the dishes and put the remaining food in the fridge, a task I don’t mind doing.

Once dinner is all finished up we share another beer before I retreat back to my cosy little caravan to reflect on my first day in the Mediterranean plant nursery! I am so happy my hosts, Sabine and Didi are warm hearted beings. It is always so uplifting to meet such humble and knowledgeable folk, but I guess it’s what you would expect from two nature fanatics such as them. It is not long until I am dozing off into a peaceful sleep, ready for another day on Quinta de Fortuna

The ruins under the city!

An incredible view of Puente Romana (Roman Bridge)in Ronda!

Oh how happy I am to share this story with you all! I want to show you a hidden gem of Spain. Firstly though I want to open your minds to a way of travelling for longer and for less. With all this being done I aim to inspire you to want to pack your bags, jump into the wind, spread your wings and become the bird that you are!

An old abondoned factory me and friend of mine went to watch the sunset in!

I am going to start of by stripping you of the misconception that travelling is an expensive thing. It can be if you allow it to be. However, a week in an all inclusive hotel and a thousand pound spent on souvenirs, alcohol and food is not as fulfilling as; volunteering on a Mediterranean plant nursery on the Algarve or working on a Permaculture project in Andalucía. Both of which you could experience in exchange for usually 4/5/6 hours work in the morning for 5 days a week giving you a lot of free time to explore the area you find yourself in!

One of many views I witnessed while helping out a start up yoga retreat!

As for the work opportunities themselves they come in so many different variations! You could work on an organic farm helping with simple garden maintenance or help somebody out with there new tree house project! There is work in childcare, teaching English, construction, hostel work (reception, housekeeping, tour guide etc.), dog walking and so much more!

Me enjoying my dinner watching the sunset in Portugal on a Mediterranean plant nursery!

The majority of places you go to live in exchange for your time will come inclusive of food! Even for those with an appetite, you receive three meals a day which would normally be eaten with your host giving you a chance to get to know them and learn a new culture or even a new language in the process!

Now you are thinking, so where do I sign up? In my own experiences I used a website called helpx, however I have been told by multiple people that work away is another great website to use.

There are free and premium versions of the sites, I paid for a premium on help x which was only around €20 for two years access! It is worth every penny, I can assure you!

Me and my friends from Gambia at the foundation of solidarity!

The reason I choose to travel this way is simple. All costs are cut back and depending how I choose to live, I only have to spend money on getting there! Even then, I could choose to hitchhike which I did a lot of when I was in New Zealand, clocking up roughly 15’000km! Think of the savings!

The benefits are written on the wall, but I’ll spell them out for you. In the process of helping somebody you are; improving there lifestyle, gaining experiences you might not normally encounter, challenging yourself, saving money, extending your travels, discovering new places, exploring areas you didn’t know existed, opening your mind and heart and most importantly meeting amazing people along the way!

My friend enjoying the view from our camp in the ruins!

When I went to Spain last June, I initially set out to be there for two months which I eventually extended to five and a half! This was only made possible through the use of helpx and word of mouth volunteer/work opportunities!

Yes that is right work opportunities! Through the extension of your travels and meeting more people you will likely encounter somebody who is offering paid work! A philosophy I stand by is; if you don’t ask you won’t get, it’s that simple. So be vigilant and speak to locals, ask in bars and restaurants or advertise your skills in teaching your native language for €10+p/h.

A birds eye view of our camp in the ruins and one of my greatest friends!

If I had not of extended my travels the way I did I would not have gone to Ronda! Ronda is a very old city in Andalucía, it is found on the top of a cliff! When two great friends and I went there we didn’t stay in the city, we had been told of some hidden ruins under the city so we headed out to find them!

We stayed for four nights, the first two nights we stayed in Los Molinos, a hostel right by a river with waterfalls waiting to be explored!

The old electrical centre of Ronda!

The ruins were hidden as it took two days to find them! Once we did we checked out of the hostel and set up camp in one of the ruined houses that had been over run by wild fig trees which we used for our hammocks!

A piece of history!

We could not believe where we were, there was so many old buildings! The one we camped in dated back to 1905! It all seemed so surreal, there was a truly magical essence in this place! We spent two days in this lost and forgotten part of Ronda, climbing waterfalls, swimming in rock pools and dancing naked in the sun! This was one of them places you never wish to leave!

One of the many waterfalls found in this magical place!

I hope my words have inspired you and you are already spreading your wings in preparation to take flight! If not, I have made a video of our time in Ronda for you to enjoy, I have posted it on YouTube;

Peace and Love

Wandering Spirit.