Back from three blissful weeks in Visby on Gotland – "the island of roses and ruins". Waking up each morning to the sounds of birdsong and church bells and having locally grown strawberries for breakfast. Shakespeare's Macbeth performed in a ruined medieval monastery. Watching the fairytale Swedish Royal wedding (extra exotic for me as I haven't watched TV at home for six years) on TV. Morning walks along the medieval city wall. Runestones and Viking treasures of gold and silver and Greek, Roman and Byzantine coins dug up to this day all over the island. Walks in the botanical gardens (founded by The Bathing Friends in 1856). The scent of lilacs and roses on the terrace with a marvellous view of the city and the Baltic Sea. A magic Midsummer's Eve.
The sunset tucked in a hibiscus petal, wrapping it around the horizon. White nights where each sunset faded into a new morning, dusk transitioning into dawn. Swallows, roses, blackbirds, poppies, blueweed, wood pigeons, peonies, pebbles and seaweed on the beech. Daisies and white clover. The salty scent of the sea. I took photos of the view from the terrace (almost) every day, just like I do with the oak tree outside the windows of my home.
As I unpack my lime green suitcase I find a mind map for creative ideas and inspirations, a few watercolours, a heavy stack of books, photos taken with my iPhone, a poem I wrote on the back of a napkin, some sketches I made on my iPad, a bag of saffron and almond rusks, jars of honey and Ramsons (wild garlic) pesto from Gotland and a gigantic pile of dirty laundry.
I feel so grateful and energized from this trip. Relaxed. Determined to find a new way to continue to live a slow life, staying on a Slow Media Diet. I feel inspired. And then I think about how I feel it's so vital to travel. A change of scenery, however small or big the change may be. It can be something as simple as making the wrong turn when you step off the bus, or opening yourself up to an impulse to take a peek at what's behind that building you always pass by on your way to something else.
And as I sit here typing this post, just about to write something about how our inner journey is as important as our outer journey, I hear the sound of a massive fireworks display. And I by that, I mean really impressive and orchestral, symphonic and majestic. I go out on the balcony to see if I can catch a glimpse of the fireworks, but I can't, I can just hear the sounds... I'll use my creative license to interpret the fireworks as a celebration for travel, for getting off the beaten track, for newfound inspiration, for growth, for rest and for fun and playful creativity.