From 40 degree heat and permaculture lessons in Turkey to Greek hospitality on rocky islands and Balkan war stories, from Scandinavian efficiency to Armenian derelection, post Soviet Union republics and snowy Krygyz mountains, I have followed an usual route on this journey.
I have been in countries I didn’t imagine visiting when I set out six months ago, but my plans – always transcient, always changing – have unfolded seamlessly. And when they haven’t, I’ve stopped, taken stock and changed track; it’s a lesson, recognising the signs.
I have visited so many places, wandered along so many roads, marvelled at breathtaking views and met all kinds of people along the way. My head is overflowing with memories and my heart is overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of strangers.
I can now say a few things in Armenian, Turkish and Uzbek. I’ve taken rides in buses, mashukras, trains and trams, ferries and all manner of beat up cars. I’ve drunk countless cups of tea. I’ve shared many meals and written down a few of those recipes. I’ve slept on the beach and swum naked in the clear, blue sea. I’ve touched bullet-riddled walls and felt the icy wetness of snow. I have stood atop a snow-covered mountain peak at sunset – on skis. I know how to harvest and shell walnuts. I have a collection of turkey feathers and beach pebbles. I’ve started conversations with strangers and hung out with old friends in new places. I’ve forged connections with beautiful, inspiring people, many of whom are now good friends.
I have learnt so many lessons – some practical, others spiritual, most useful and a few a little hard to swallow. I’ve experienced countless magnificent examples of the synchronicities of travel and affirmations that I am walking a magical path. I don’t know where this road is taking me, but I know it’s the one I’m meant to be on.
For all of this – the opportunity to be a wondering vagabond, to learn and share and connect with open-hearted people in unlikely places – I am deeply grateful. Now, like a migrating swallow which flies south for the summer, I am heading home – to green grass and the expansive African sky and people who have a place in my heart.
I’m looking forward to some time to decompress, assimilate and integrate what I have experienced on this journey. As for the next few months, I will be enjoying South Africa’s fine summer on the continent’s southern tip, avoiding employment, eating salad from the garden, climbing mountains, riding my bicycle and practising yoga, sharing meals with familiar faces and manifesting my dreams into my reality. If you like mountains, camping, climbing and/or the sweetness of honey, give me a call, we could use some extra pairs of hands…
This is by no means an end to my wanderings so until I set off again, thank you for sharing this journey with me. It’s been quite an adventure.
Countries I’ve visited:
Turkey, Greece, Albania, Bosnia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Sweden, Georgia, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan