Horses in Portugal

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Cities

Cities have a strange affect on me. The noise, people, cars, smells, buildings and a constant bombardment of advertisements and shopping malls attempt to pull me back in to the madness that is the ever-growing, capitalist, free-market economy. Admittedly it is hard not to feel slightly inadequate when confronted with images of what we are lead to believe society should be, and I feel I don’t fit the image. In fact I reject it outright. I don’t want to be a part of it. It’s a falseness, an illusion. All the people trying to be what they think they should be, trying to portray themselves as this, and as that so they fit in, staying within the box so as not to stand out, out of fear of being outcast by society.

A Sense of Community

It has been 7 days since I left the comforts of a brick house, hot water and a comfy bed in exchange for a one-man tent in a field, compost toilets and solar showers; and despite the few days of heavy rain and chilly nights I am becoming quite accustomed to my new outdoor lifestyle.

My days usually consist of getting up around 7-730ish and opening up the little cafe on the campsite (which will now probably remain closed for the winter due to a lack of campers) at 8am, cooking some bacon, eggs and sausages mainly for the volunteers and then packing that up when we are done eating. There are no set times or schedules, things just kind of get done when we want to do things…but things still get done! Then once the cafe is shut up I will usually find something else to do which may be to prepare some firewood or help out in some way with one of the may projects currently running. Today I am clearing some overgrowth to make room for a new chalet that is being built as a hang-out area for the volunteers over the winter.

Even without the promise of a financial reward for my time I am still very motivated to complete the required tasks and to help out wherever I can. I think that the motivation is coming from being a part of this small community of nomadic eco-conscience volunteers and just wanting to provide some value. There is such an amazing group of people here and there are people coming and going. Since arriving an English girl has joined us and in the next couple of days a couple of people will be leaving. I really look forward to having new volunteers show up to hear their stories of travel and share opinions and views on different topics.

I think that the best part about being here is that when I share my ideas and thoughts, or talk about the things I want to do, or skills I would like to learn, they are generally embraced and discussed with open minds. I truly feel like I have found people who have a similar outlook when it comes to the environment, simple living, travel and self-sufficiency.

I hope to upload some photos soon.

My new home…

It has taken me four days to decided to connect the internet. Not because I felt that I needed it but because I wanted to share my last few days with my family and some of my close friends.

I am having an amazing time here thus far. As I am writing this post I am sitting in the animal shed surrounded by barns with goats bleating, dew drops falling from the trees and an ex-race horse staring at me from across the way.

It is really quite beautiful here and really laid back. Celli, the manager, is awesome…gave us all the day off yesterday and we all went down to a little town called Boscastle, then on to Bosiney and then to Tintagel where we went rock jumping in to the little cove overlooked by, what is believed to be, King Arthurs Castle and a load of spectators. One of the cats has just joined me, named Habibti…which is Arabic for ‘My Love’ 🙂 The water was bloody cold but the excitement kind of overwhelmed us all.

Here with me are two French guys, an Aussie girl who is jam-packed with personality, a German, a Kiwi and a couple of English. Apparently more volunteers are joining us in the coming week.

Cornwall is a seriously beautiful part of England and I can’t wait to see some more of it.

A new chapter begins…

I actually wrote this post a few days ago but I have been in no rush to get connected to the internet so I am only just posting it.

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So today marks the beginning of a new adventure for me; a new chapter in my life. This morning at 9am I walked out of the home that I have been living for the last 14ish months with nothing more than a backpack and my didgeridoo. Now, away from the comforts of a memory foam mattress and 4 walls I am in a tent in a field where I will be for the next 2 months, minimum.

The day began with breakfast and a coffee with 2 beautiful friends before I caught the 1220 bus from Exeter in Devon to Bude on Cornwall’s north coast. Then after a 20 minute walk I arrived at the Cerenity Eco Campsite where I am now a volunteer. I was greeted by the owner, the manager (the daughter), and 7 other volunteers. I instantly felt welcomed!

After the initial hellos and where are you froms I pitched my tiny one-man tent for the first time. It’s a cool looking tent…very cosy. Only just enough room for me once my backpack is in. Tea was another rustic treat…jacket potatoes cooked in the fire with some tuna, sweetcorn and mayo all mashed up.

It is everything I had hoped for and more! Working with animals, outdoors, and with some cool people from around the world. An awesome introduction to the world of HelpXing.

Portugal Holiday 2013

Well I have just returned from a 10-day holiday in the beautiful Algarve region in Portimao, Portugal. Myself and a few friends decided to rent an apartment and soak up the rays by the pool and the beach. We hit the town a few nights and run into quite a few people that we had met last year in a great bar overlooking the beach, On The Rocks. The local food was amazing too. I don’t know what it is but all of the food there just tastes better than here in England! Well….store bought stuff anyways.

It is such a beautiful part of the world down there. The people are so friendly and life is seriously laid back. I can’t wait to go back there. I have been learning the language for about a year now and actually having to use it was great. Even though some people I spoke to could tell I wasn’t that brilliant they still knew what I meant and showed their appreciation for my efforts with a smile. I can really see that they genuinely appreciate it when you make an effort to speak their language.

I am hoping to make my way back there in about 8-9 months where I plan on living for a year travelling around doing volunteer type work on organic farms and permaculture sites. From the minor research I have conducted there are numerous eco-communities living self-sustainably, growing their own food and harnessing their own energy promoting the principles of permaculture. I would love nothing more than to spend time in these amazing communities learning the language and living with the land.

There was another amazing thing that stood out to me whilst I was there. Our apartment was in a rather bland and monotonous holiday resort. All of the apartments and villas looks the same and the plant life was very ordinary and mostly ornamental. One morning, whilst my friends were still sleeping I decided to go for a walk through a very local-looking area, just roaming the streets, passing Portuguese locals saying “Bom Dia” and smiling. I noticed that 9/10 of the locals gardens contained fruit. Everything from Apples, Figs, Grapes, Lemons, Limes and Oranges. I thought this was amazing. Everywhere you would look there were healthy bunches of grapes and the most orange oranges I have ever seen.