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; https://youtu.be/f-vZBPwUAEE

Peace and Love

Wandering Spirit.

Back in the Highlands!

It feels great to be back in the Highlands! As I sit here gazing out the window of the train, reflecting my last journey up here and how important that phase of my life shaped up to be.

At the time I was gripped by a pretty harsh psychosis, it rendered me vulnerable to the world and very nearly took my life. It is the hardest test I have undergone in this life and I am grateful to sit here now, over a year later, being able to relay this enlightening experience.

Just when I needed an escape a fleeting voice passed through my inner ears guiding me to Scotland. “Live in job rural Scotland” was all the voice had said. Immediately I punched this into the almighty Google search and found myself applying for various vacancies.

An hour later I was exchanging emails with a self made hotelier Ian. After a few emails and a phone call he wished to employ me at The Ardeonaig Hotel situated on the Eastern shores of Loch Tay.

Upon arriving to the Ardeonaig, I was beginning to feel the grip of the demons loosen almost immediately. The place was fit for Kings and Queens, Gods and Goddesses and people of hierarchical importance. The place screamed elegance!

After my initial tour of the building I ventured into the gardens on my own and down to the jetty which offers the most incredible panoramic view of Loch Tay and the surrounding mountains!

It was autumn and the trees were displaying all the colours of the rainbow. It was at this moment I felt my whole body tingle as all of my pain and anguish was released from me and the demons blew away in the wind, as the angles descended they created ripples that stretched the entire expanse of the lake.

I looked to the skies and thanked the universe for; the excruciating test, the intuition, the strength, the willingness, the demons, the angels; for listening, for protecting me and for everything else in this world, good or bad.

I recalled in this moment a time not so long before spent with two people of great importance to me at Ashton Court in Bristol. It was here I was temporarily relaxed, surrounded by nature telling my companions how this is what I needed, some solitude in the mountains surrounded by rivers, lakes and trees. I thanked the universe over and over again.

I managed seven months before my wandering spirit was called back to adventure, this time I was pulled towards Andalucía, to meet a friend of mine to research permaculture and ecological living.

To this day I am not sure Ian will ever understand how much he helped me, how he took my arm and pulled me up from the depths of despair, a true saint. To him and his family I owe my thanks for providing the desperately needed solitude my soul craved.

This time round I am heading deeper into the Highlands for my next adventure, awaiting to be shown signs for my next path and to be engulfed by the magical aura of the snow capped peaks that cover the land.

“I want to watch you courageously walk into the sunset…”

Now I think we all agree that we would all like to be more courageous. As a traveller of 6 years I have never come to short of courage. Courage to hit the road and re-discover myself, to break free from, as Bill Plotkin, a depth psychologist says, The Standard Game of Security Building.

This is a game we all play each and everyday by getting up and sticking to our normal routines. We do reach a sense of equilibrium within this game, however, we are never truly satisfied.

When we have been living the same life in the same place for so long, boredom will inevitably set in. That is your soul calling you to adventure, that is your soul trying to redirect you into your soul purpose.

We all have these callings. Some will simply make small changes in their lives to temporarily heal themselves without understanding what this reoccurring sensation truly is. Others might have an idea as to what this sensation is but still hide from and ignore this calling creating a deep sense of uncertainty.

This can go on for years until we finally decide to take the almighty leap of faith, or we might only realise what it was on our deathbed, and then it is to late. There is a lot of factors that go into our avoidance of this calling.

The main aspect in our Nature to avoid this comes from fear. “The Loyal Soldier” as Bill Plotkin so accurately describes it, is a part of our psyches that is developed within our childhoods. It is a mechanism that is designed to protect us and keep is in our secure environments, like it has done for most of our lives.

You can read more about this in any of Bill Plotkins books; Soulcraft: Crossing into the mysteries of Nature and Psyche, Nature and the Human Soul and Wild Mind: Nature’s Guide to the Human Psyche.

Now we come back to courage, courage being the great aspect of our beings that can overcome our fears. I think we all know how incredible it is to overcome fears, the sensation is body tingling to say the least.

So as I said at the beginning, I have never come to short of courage, the distances I have endured because of this is incredible. From; over 20,000km hitchhiking in New Zealand, climbing mountains, deep sea fishing , growing kiwifruit, countless festivals, cooking in the ground, sand boarding, caving, climbing waterfalls and the list goes on.

Now I will tell you what I want to do next, I want to watch you courageously walk into the sunset, descend into the darkness and onto the plains of the unknown. A place where adventure awaits you and your vibrant spirit, a place where you will discover your gifts for the world, and a place that will bring to light the purpose of your soul. So, what are you waiting for?

Nature Fights Back

Out for a walk through the fields on the outskirts of Guildford, contemplating, as I do every waking moment of my days, how, we as a species are going to get ourselves out of the global epidemics that are so obviously occurring all around us.

It is a good time to think about these things when you are out in Nature, where you are surrounded by such symbiotic relationships between trees, plants, birds, rabbits, squirrels, horses and all other species that dwell under the protection of our Great Mother. A symbiotic relationship, that we were also apart of, a time long ago when we worshipped our planet and recognised it to as The Great Mother Earth, the bringer of all life.

After walking for a little while asking myself why we continue to pollute the world with more and more plastic knowing the damage it is doing. Why we continue to spray chemicals over our land just for a bigger yield of the produce.

We do this at what cost? These chemicals strip the earth of its vital nutrients leaving nothing but baron land for the generations after us. For what reason do we behave in such manners? Well, as we live in a monetary based society which is driven by greed and allowed to flourish through our immature ego’s we find our answers.

I pray we can make it through this, I am always asking for signs of hope, and it is only then I am displayed with the beauty of an old farming machine which looks like it could have been used to spread fertiliser over the land. This machine sits on the edge of a field rusting away in its decommissioned state and through the middle there is a young tree growing.

I see Nature displaying a show of reluctance, reluctance to bow down to the industrial world.

It is now I look to this skies with my hands held together and thank the almighty universe for this. The fight is not finished, there is still hope for us yet. This display of strength elevates me, for so long the industrialsm that began in what is said to be around 1760 has pushed the forces of Nature away and looked at as nothing but a resource. Yet here this tree stands forcing its way through this old machine making a statement of its own.

Another angle of the young but mighty tree!

I head home from my walk feeling a renewed sense of hope, and I stir my imagination towards cities with ivy covered skyscrapers, cars fuel by hemp, free and renewable energy for all and running water that needs no sterilisation.

It is important to imagine a world like this, for everything in our existence started in our imaginations, it is the only way we will create such a world. But I cannot do it alone, we must all imagine, act upon and change to create this cleaner, safer world we so desperately need.