Exploring and Dreams and Smiles and Sun

This morning, I had a dream. A horrible and beautiful and terrifying dream.

It was the kind of dream that completely altered the mood I was prepared to wake up in. I was planning to be happy. The sun was shining, I could feel it sliding through the slits in the blinds, bathing my eyelids, and I was going to be smiley all day. I was going to grab my man’s hand, and hoist him out of bed to go exploring. I like exploring. We found the cathedral of the city we live in the other day. Took us a year of living here, but we found it. And that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to take my man and my smiles and go exploring.

But then I had this dream.

I have a problem with the word goodbye. Give me the most heart-wrenching scene in a film or a book or in real life, and it won’t have the slightest affect on me until I hear the word goodbye. Then the tears come, and the tissues are pulled out, and the cheeks start to burn as I realise how silly I’m being.

This dream though, was ALL about the goodbye. It tugged on about every heart string you could have, from every which direction. You barely had time to gasp for breath before the next PUNG and you were fighting for air again.

Oh, it was a horrible one. A horrible, beautiful, terrifying one.

It stayed with me when I opened my eyes. I rolled over to say good morning in the most terrible grump. Frown on my face, impatience on my lips. Not a happy camper to say the least.

The thing is, it got me wondering why. Why one would dream do that; chemically alter a person with three short seconds of story…unless that dream was a special.

My favourite creative writing tutor once told me that we all have a story within us at any given time. It is nestled in your subconscious, you may not even know it’s there – you may ignore it if you do. But these stories, he told me, are the ones of real grit, real truth. These are the raw imprints of yourself on a page. Let your story come to life.

So that’s what I’m going to do. But I made a decision that I wouldn’t do it today.

No, today, I went exploring with the man I love. Today, I took my smile and showed it off in the sunshine.

We went to the Aquarium

We went to the Aquarium

And found a beach

And found a beach

Walked past a pretty harbour

Walked past a pretty harbour

And got very excited when we saw a very BIG BOAT.

And got very excited when we saw a very BIG BOAT.

All the while, smiling in the sun <3

All the while, smiling in the sun ❤

What did you do today? I hope you all had days shiny and bright and new and exciting.

 

 

 

 

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London Bound!

For the next few days this blog will be silent. Listen to the crickets and the night song; read a paperback novel, a trashy romance to pass the hours; watch that television you scoff at and compare yourself to what you see.

Because blogging is not on the agenda.

Me and my man are jetting off to London in search of Tourist Life. We are going to don our bum-bags, squint through bug sunglasses, and stuff our socked feet into sandals as we peruse a map, inconveniently placed in the middle of a busy tube station.

I joke.

…Mostly.

(Our reliance on maps in the past has annoyed many a Parisian)

(Our reliance on maps in the past has annoyed many a Parisian)

This trip was a surprise birthday present from me to le man, because HE HAS NEVER BEEN TO LONDON. To all who live in England, this seems a little bit odd. Who doesn’t have a vague family member living there or flocked to watch a gig in the sticky early hours of the morning?

So I thought that he simply had to go, and we simply have to live up to the stereotype and do all those activities locals hate to witness tourists do.

I will be blogging all about it when I get back, of course, so keep your eyes peeled for some travel writing: ‘London Bound: The Adventures of Sam ‘n’ Ella!’ …or something equally cheesy along those lines.

But for now, live happily, fellow bloggers and readers. And enjoy the blessing of my (temporary) silence.

‘The Trip of a Lifetime’ – Echoes of the Past (Part 3)

If you close your eyes and listen – I mean REALLY listen – you can hear the throbbing heartbeat of life, pounding out the rhythm upon which we all dance.

You can hear it in the whisper of a breeze, in the captivity of the stars, in the dust at our feet and in the mighty shadow of a cliff face. All around us is life, built upon the echo of what came before and the promise of what lies ahead.

* * *

When travelling, I believe it can be tantamount to a sin to not go out of your comfort zone and explore. How can you turn your back on undiscovered land and walk away, claiming to know a place better than when you arrived? So in the middle of the holiday, we journeyed up to the capital of the island.

In the Old City of Rhodes, people live wrapped in the blanket of history; they tiptoe around it and bow to the majesty of their past – and it is beautiful.

Surrounded by walls 40feet thick, it is like a hidden gem encrusted in rock. Though giant cannonballs litter the ground outside, they are merely marked failures of invasion: proud proof of the strength of the city within.

And what a city!

Every street you walk upon is built directly above the original walkways of the past. Each house is connected to the next, the only prevention from caving in fine archways spanning overhead. Cats lounge on doorsteps and grapes hug ancient trees. The market trickles through the alleyways and spills out to the harbour where boats bob in contented surety that their travels are not done. It transports you to a different time; one where community is the root of all life and children’s laughter is piercing and true.

The history is what gives this place such intense character. For years, it was guarded by Christian Knights of all ethnicities until it crumbled under invasions from the Turks. Intricate churches were transformed into sturdy mosques; palaces were turned into prisons; and a severe physical divide was driven through the city by the constructing of a fearsome wall.

However, I am not here to give you a history lesson (although I can recommend an excellent guide who can oblige). The city bears its scars with dignity: in the face of all this turmoil, it has emerged years later with its original Christian beliefs intact and its destroyed streets built anew.

This, to me, seems to be the very point of life itself. This city is a living breathing reminder of who we are and who we have been. It has come face to face with utter devastation and lived on as a cultural jewel. It thrums fiercely with spirit and rejoices in that which it holds dear.

* * *

Some people go away to another country and come back knowing a hotel complex like the back of their hand. By experiencing the heat and the pool, they think they have experienced the country.

Other people create their own adventures whilst away and start to listen to the earth around them.

The history within the Old City seemed to be saying that whatever is thrown at you, whoever pulls down the walls you have put up around yourself and challenges you with malice…

Stand tall.

Display your beauty.

Buoy yourself up on the heartbeat of life.

‘The Trip of a Lifetime’ – Hidden Treasure (Part 2)

Did you ever go exploring as a child? Did you find the fairytale castle perched at the uppermost fringe of the forests or the secret underground tunnel to China behind the vegetable patch?

Did you continue to look as you grew up?

* * *

The sun was beating down at a cool 45°C and we had veered off the beaten track to see what hidden treasures Pefkos had to offer. Either side of us were beautiful white washed villas with lemon trees growing in clusters around the properties. A shaggy, sweltering puppy lay panting in the shade the sparse vegetation provided, raising its small head in curiosity as we passed. A cactus sprawled lazily into the middle of the dusty road, young couples’ initials carved into the skin as a sign of eternal love. We had to duck to avoid the grape vines dangling over a wall; fat and juicy bunches of the fruit bounced tantalisingly over our heads.

The sheer beauty of these simple everyday structures amazed me – such vibrant life in such a desolate country. England, in that moment, felt impossibly green. And why be green when you can be purples and oranges and pinks and blues…?

A sharp decline led us towards a group of elderly men looking incredibly proud over their collection of mopeds. They guffawed and slapped their swollen tanned bellies, sunglasses perched fashionably on their balding heads. What with us being ‘outsiders’ we received a few curious looks and more than a few grins. ‘You won’t believe what’s around the next corner’ they seemed to be saying.

Lo and behold, we had found the gateway to paradise.

A tiny little bay stretched out before us, with a smudge of warm golden sands and a glittering jewel encrusted mirror of an ocean. Invitingly intricate maps of rock pools were scattered to our left and yachts bobbed just offshore to our right. And best of all? It was practically deserted.

But Pefkos was not done with us yet and we soon found ourselves at the bottom of a dirt track and boarding a boat about to embark on a three bay cruise.

We were living the dream, skipping along the crystalline waves and skirting the idyllic shores of Rhodes. We saw the acropolis of Lindos squatting proudly at the top of a hill and ventured into a tiny bay where a joyous wedding was taking place in a simple white chapel. We motored through a narrow gap in a cliff and swam offshore from the most luxurious hotel on the island (a private pool for each room, if you please dahhling). We glimpsed lazy fish and agile goats hopping up mountains. We dangled our feet from the side of the boat as we swept around corners, the sea kissing our toes and bringing smiles to our faces.

* * *

That day I felt like the child who strained her eyes to see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow…but found something better waiting there for her.

LIFE.