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Jess is the Business Relations manager at Ayur Botanicals and is taking a two-month holiday in Spain (and surrounds). Find out how Ayurveda is seeing her well in her travels here on the blog every fortnight.
It’s only been three weeks?! Feels like three months! It’s been such a journey discovering the ins and outs of travel, there is constant learning and seeing and doing. We have left Barcelona, gone through Valencia, Alicante, Granada and Nerja, and as I write this I listen to buskers performing jazz music from our living room in Malaga. And when you read this I’ll be in Ronda. There has been so much diversity in the spaces we have stayed, yet each carries some of the same.
Some have been new, and some have been very, very old, some have been lived in and others feel distant and cold. But in every house the floors have been very grubby! It seems people wear their shoes indoors, no matter! I have noticed that a distinct vibe from a place can unsettle me, but once I begin a mundane task, such as cleaning up after dinner, the space instantly feels friendlier and I fill it with my energy. And being able to witness some people’s routines has also grounded me in the knowledge that anywhere I go, there will be people carrying on their lives. Wherever I go is someone’s home, so just relax a bit, ok!
Yanis (my boyfriend) and I are in an on-going state of delegating: you do the dishes, I’ll cook dinner, you do the clothes, and I can pack up, I’ll search for the bus timetable while you research our next destination. It’s fun, pretending we know what we’re doing but can be tense and confining. A simple (and probably obvious) solution we found to ease that stress, was space. Away from each other and away from tasks and incoming information, we always find clarity…and apologies! I remember one time having some time apart, and I was dreaming of a relaxing night in a bath, with an AyurB face-mask on. I hesitantly turned towards the Traveler’s Tonic mum had gifted me for the trip, and thought “It’s all the same, right?” I left the bathroom 5 minutes later with a yellow stained face, and a pathetic sort of laugh! I learned that Traveler’s Tonic, while good for you in many aspects, does not function well as a beauty product, and applies more to the practical side of life!
It’s the experiences like this that make up a trip of this calibre. There is so much to learn while I’m here, and so much to bring back home with me. Like the ability to resource when supermarkets don’t sell what you need, or the endurance to visit three different shops for one meal! We often resort to bread, cheese and tomato eaten in a park for lunch, with my handy pocket knife. Food has actually defined my experience here so far, and can be the setting of much joy.
A defining moment in our trip was set in the Spanish countryside, fifteen minutes from the gorgeous, tiny town of Frigiliana. The sun was dipping below the distant bowl of mountains, creating a golden blanket over the many avocado, orange and lemon trees. Our host had cooked us the most incredible paella, and with it we ate fresh bread and local cheese. The food was not only incredible but also the way we ate, surrounded by strangers that felt comfortable: a french lady visiting for three weeks, our host and her partner, two Aussies who stayed with us in the apartment (!) and an eighty-something couple who didn’t speak English, but whose stories we heard through translations. Every now and then Maya the cat crossed behind us, Toby the dog lay at the door, the chickens gobbled in the background. Eating with contentment and focus is so vital for good eating, it almost doesn’t matter what you eat. It’s how you eat.
And people eat so much here. Breakfast, Tapas, Lunch, La Merienda, Dinner, After Dinner. They eat when they talk, they eat at bars, they eat to celebrate and when they watch a performance. I was surprised when we were not seated at table at the flamenco performance we saw. Although I felt hungry afterwards. Such passion and intensity, thrown at you, with force and colour. The performers smile only when spurring on the others, because when they dance their whole body needs to be engaged, rapid and strong. I love flamenco with the same fire it has.
The flamenco left me craving adventure, and so decided to climb El Cielo in Nerja. Four back breaking and exhausting hours later we almost reached the top. We asked some retreating hikers how far it was to the very top, where the white cross perched. “Uno hora.” they said. And we sighed, and realised our bodies were not meant to reach the top of the mountain that day. We soaked in the already magnificent views and began the climb down. While I was incredibly frustrated at having only almost reaching the top and almost seeing an unbelievable view, Yanis reminded me of the immensity of what we had achieved: a four hour journey upwards, to a place we had little idea of, in the middle of the day. Perhaps not the smallest achievement, and certainly and adventure! Craving satisfied!
There is still so much to learn here, and I only have one month more to squeeze in all I want to do. I definitely want to return, but later, different. It’s been a fascinating first month, of lessons learnt and people met. And the freedom to do what I want each day is a freedom that not many people get to enjoy, or choose to enjoy. I say, if you are able to, choose your freedom of choice. Mum has always taught me to free myself up by doing what I want to do, because in those spaces is where one can find true contentment, and where moments of utter clarity can strike. So, while a four hour hike up a mountain perhaps felt futile at the time, it still benefitted me in the clarity and space it gave me. Mum’s wisdom is passed on through the Space to Heal detox, which is held every six months at the change of season. A must do if you want to find clarity of mind and body.
At the start of this post I said I was writing in Malaga, but already my location has changed! Such a flighty lifestyle, good thing I’m kapha type (eye-roll). Next Sunday you can find out where I am on my adventure, and read more about how I’m using daily habits to stay healthy!
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