Posted in Adventure, Europe

Boat return – Bodensee 

We made it back to St. Bartholomä in time to look around and scout out the souvenir shop. It was stuffed full to the brim with little trinkets, maps, patches, miniature cowbells and other memorabilia. The eye couldn’t figure where to wander first or on what to settle. Of course it was the maps that seemed most practical as we explored a few cool hiking trails of the surrounding area. Today was not the day to purchase this map, but already it was the pre homework for a future trip. This trip was short and we knew it, nor would it allow enough time to do such a hiking exploration. It was stolen time, as I left Mom behind in the hospital. It was time to give myself a short break from everything, but it was also the beginning of the groundwork, the birth of an idea which would inspire a future trip. The day of return would come, with more time at hand and perhaps different circumstances, I just knew it right then.The boat tour at Bodensee offers two different routes. One that docks at St. Bartholomä, and the other that continues on further to the end of the lake. The later one offers a hike to a waterfall and to a hut above the lake. You could spend weeks just hiking from hut to hut, find modest accommodations, a roof over your head, with the atmosphere and feel of a simple existence, a life less complicated while food was all included. We were undecided of which one to take and in the end we choose the one to St. Bartholomä. Leaving the boat, after getting there, I immediately felt as if we made a mistake and I wished we could continue on. In hindsight I think it was the right choice and it leaves a yearning in my heart to return and to explore the second option when time is not such a big issue. I imagine myself up on the mountain, hiking the green pasture, smelling the wildflowers amongst the wild peaks, watching chamois and other wildlife in the distance while hearing the rhythmic sound of cowbells, enjoying the bliss, while taking a nap and feeling the sunshine on my face. It has to happen in the summer when the days are long, so this wonder can be enjoyed as long as possible. The future was already unfolding in my mind and I understood as to why our initial choice felt like a mistake. But for time sake and for making the most out of what we had, I know that our decision was perfect. Our hiking excursion to Eis Kapelle, the ice cave with the chamois was nothing to complain about and I’m glad we saw it. 

We boarded one of the last boats that would leave St. Bartholomä this evening. A growling noise from my stomach came as a reminder that we really didn’t eat all that much. We noticed a few places that offered food along the way, and they were typical of the touristy feel of the area, as well as the price point that came with them. We decided to push on and it was getting late, we still had no place to stay for the night and this became a priority. It was no big deal and in the worst case scenario we would sleep in the rental car. The mid-size, compact car I had reserved for this trip, turned out to be a touring van that provided enough seating for seven people. You should have seen my eyes as I first saw it. If that was what “compact” looked like, I’d be curious to see what “big” looked like. I never experienced a van with so much power, driving this fast and gliding over the road with such ease. Not that I have experience with such a thing, but I was impressed and it quickly grew on me. Now, on top of it, it might just become the perfect solution in case we got stranded and found no place to stay that late. It was getting dark already as we arrived at a place near Ramsau, and the only thing that was still available was a whole apartment flat. It was perfect and we took it. The night was saved with a hot shower and a hot meal in the accompanying restaurant. The balcony would be awesome in the morning to enjoy the surrounding views, and we knew right then, that we wouldn’t leave a minute earlier as we were required to. We would soak up one moment at a time and it is something that I have come to enjoy and value these days. The awareness that I have gained over the years, to make the most out of these moments, to be still, without rushing through them, the ability to realize that every one moment, every one experience only comes ones in a lifetime, allows me to slow down and pause for awhile. It is very satisfying and I find a lot of gratification in those adventures. 

In the end, the apartment was wonderful, but either way it would have been fine. I would tell you that if you find yourself on an adventure, and if you can stay flexible and limit your expectations, every outcome will be perfect. You might find yourself surprised about the simple things, and the moments that will hold the highest meaning. Your time will be free of disappointments, with more moments to enjoy what truly matters. 

Still, the comfort and the beauty of this spot, the views and the feel of being surrounded by Germany’s mountains was hard to beat. Everything was exactly how it was meant to be.

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Posted in Adventure, Humor

MAYBE California 

I’ve driven by here a thousand times and today we finally stopped. I’ve been wanting to stop and what can I say, my mind is easily amused and it doesn’t take much. It could come in the simplest of forms such as this sign that always makes me smile in a big way.

If you pass through here, you maybe find yourself in Maybe, and maybe Maybe is located in California. Maybe not, and maybe it could be that maybe the sign of Maybe California is just located on a quiet stretch along the road. It is definitely real, and if you blink, then without a doubt and without a maybe, you will miss the sign of Maybe California. 

What just happened here, I should get some rest….I’m delirious.

Posted in Adventure, Inspiration

Quality of Life

 

How would you define the quality of your life?

Q: They say money talks, but is it really true that having enough money increases our quality of life?

A: Personally I would have to disagree. Sure it can make things easier, buy you stuff and status if that is what you are after. For me it is simply that I used to run my own store, made great money, never had to turn a penny twice, but also paid the prize of having zero quality of life. There was no life other than work left to enjoy the hard earned pennies. I had no time to live.

Q: Does it depend on finding your soulmate and therefore happiness?

A: A significant other can definitely improve your quality of life, but it can’t be dependent on that. You are the creator of your own life and the quality of it depends on you and no one else. Many are afraid to be alone and settle. You might be surprised about enjoying your own company.

Q: Is it dependent on all things going smoothly in your life, free from hardship, tough breaks, unfortunate events, heartbreak and disappointments. Do you have to be the center of attention, be well liked to the point of being spoiled and stubborn? Perhaps owning a sense of entitlement?

A: I would tell you that some of my most profound lessons were learned during times of extreme hardship and adversity. Standing on my own and being dependent on nobody but myself. It is those times that mold us into who we are meant to be and it is then that we grow the most. I wouldn’t change a thing, regardless of how painful the lesson was.

Q: Do you have to win all the time and be in control? Used to having things go your way?

A: The most beautiful things are experienced in moments of vulnerability and being humble. Surrendering to what is and accepting the things you can’t control. Finding the silver lining even in the things we can’t understand and letting it unfold without bitterness and hostile feelings.

And while the list could go on and on, from person to person, I gave you enough to ponder. Only you can decide what contributes to our own quality of life. It might change over time and requires you to stay flexible, to make adjustments as needed and bend with the twists and turns on the path of life. I have come to enjoy the journey and I’m more in tune with myself than ever. I know who I am, what I want and what I won’t compromise on. One thing hasn’t changed and I have always been a dreamer. Today I dream bigger than ever and it brings me great joy to envision a higher quality of life, such as living in a school-bus. To ditch the mortgage and responsibilities, have less obligations but more freedom and create and pursue a life of higher quality. There is no doubt in my mind that I will do it and the time is near.

What needs to change in your life and are you happy with the quality of your life?

 

 

Posted in Adventure, Animals

A swim with man’s best friend 

Earlier this week I got to witness two different occasions of man diving in and going for a swim with man’s best friend. The water of the lake was still frigid and snowmelt is still entering from the mountains, but that didn’t stop this ambitious duo. I got busted taking the picture, and the pooch stared right back at me while his master was soaking up some rays to warm up after the swim. 

The second picture was taken in a little seasonal pool near the lake, which I’m sure was much warmer. Sorry for the poor quality on the second picture due to having to zoom from far far far away. Still cute to see these bonds healthy and well. 🐕💙

Posted in Adventure, Inspiration, Life

A matter of when

Three spiders crossed my path early this morning today and though not my favorite, I understand their spiritual meaning and I’m not in the least bit surprised that they appeared. Just like a spider weaves her net, I’m weaving my own future and I’m excited about the process. I truly enjoy it and I’m not worried of not being fully there yet. All that matters is that I’m on my way and that I keep moving into a direction that brings joy and fulfillment. The journey is the destination and if you don’t enjoy the process of getting there, you might have to reconsider your direction. 

I stopped at the school bus on my way to work today. I forgotten that this was the original plan and therefore I really didn’t have a lot of extra time to spare. Coming down the hill, I saw it from a distance and for a brief moment I considered to keep going, like all the other times. Extra time or not, it wasn’t optional to pass it by again and off the freeway I went to park right next to it. I saw the rows of seats through the windows and the outside looked pretty clean and newer. I snapped a few pictures and on to work I went. The bus long stayed in the back of my mind and I felt a connection that it should be mine. I felt drawn to it somehow and it looked perfect already. I could already smell the adventure and what a sweet smell it was. 

I looked at the pictures at work again and there was no doubt, no questions of “what if”, “could this happen”, or the famous “maybe’s”, I knew that this could very well be my home, no doubt. Would it be forever? Who knows until you try it and I don’t get consumed too much with the future and the forever’s. What I have is today and the current moment. It seemed ideal for this point of my life and when it finally happens, I can’t envision myself growing tired of this kind of lifestyle anytime soon. The freedom it provides and the vagabonding adventure would be priceless. What I learned today is that my tiny home is no longer a question of IF but a matter of WHEN it will be happening. I’m excited…

Specs: Year 2005, 63.000 miles, $10.000, prior college shuttle bus. I could have bought it today, but timing is everything and I’m not quite there yet. What I can do in the meantime, is to work towards the moment of “When” I can make it happen. Hopefully sooner rather than later, it’s up to me…..

Posted in Adventure, Life

Going tiny in a huge way

For the third week in a row now, have I seen the white school bus sitting next to the freeway. Each time I have been either on my way to work, or I spotted too late coming back from work. Big white numbers are painted on the windows, the sellers phone number and my curiosity is peaked. Later on today, I will look for the bus on my way to work and I will stop.

I just recently wrote about all the “Stuff” (material things) that seems to tie me down. The things I feel I have to let go and course it’s more then that, but it is a major part. I’m fascinated by watching the TV show “Tiny Homes” and somehow I feel a calling that this kind of lifestyle could nourish my vagabonding spirit. My life continuous to change as I evolve, ready to make a major change that would ultimately result in a much tinier home.

The school bus vision came into the picture as a random video flashed during a YouTube recommendation. The thought of this subject is rather young, but just like the “Tiny Homes” show, I’m now obsessed watching video’s, learning what it would entail to convert a bus and saving pins on Pinterest for inspiration. Just in case. I am a dreamer, and dreams do come true. The timing is off right now as other things need to be handled and taken care of, but one can always imagine and dream, right? It is where reality manifests, as all has to begin somewhere and starts with a dream. I find it amazing to think of how many school buses have crossed my path since the first thought of it was born. They show up in numbers, more than one, in the parking lot at my work, which has never happened before, they line up next to the freeway, for sale or stored, waiting for an interested buyer, they appear in videos and probably in my dreams. What I love about it, is that a school bus would be home and transportation combined. This could cut additional expenses and allow more freedom. Freedom is what it seems to be all about these days for me and one of the biggest bonuses would be the freedom to travel and take your home on the road.

Shortly after the idea originated, I stumbled across another video to spark my imagination. “Expedition Happiness” entails a German couple who embraced the school bus life. Buying and converting their school bus, they travel from Alaska to Mexico and it looks their adventure hit the silver screen in Germany. You can subscribe to their You Tube channel to watch various videos of the process and how amazing is this? The adventure bug has bitten me good this time and I see many changes coming me way.

Most likely it will include going tiny in a huge way 🙂

 

Posted in Adventure, Inspiration

Capitola 

Arriving at our final campsite, we found a beautiful spot on the beach. We spread our towels to plump ourselves in the sand to soak up the rays. From time to time when it hit too hot I put my feet into the still frigid Pacific Ocean and it was enough to cool off in a heartbeat. I never mustered up more courage to go further into the deep or allow the rushing ashore waters to emerge my feet above my ankles. To me personally the water was freezing, despite seeing several people swimming without any bodysuits. I am a bit of a pansy with cold water and it takes me awhile to adjust to the cold, wading in inch by inch before I’m fully submerged. As if the shock would make my heart stop and I’m sure it could very well do so. And besides, maybe the people swimming were more hardcore and members of the polar bear club. I was not going to be the newest member, not now and most likely, not ever. Brrrrr….. A flock of brown pelicans was nearby, scouring the water surface and diving head first from the sky to catch their meal. It was funny and amusing to watch as one by one would fall to make their splash that was dotting across the water surface. I knew that they were fishing but it looked playful to me as one reversed cannonball (head first) after another appeared in front of my eyes. It was Saturday and the beach was starting to get crowded. Families and couples, children and single people, everybody was out to enjoy a little ocean breeze. We started walking around the shore and decided on a little stroll along the cliffs that looked like a weeping walls. Water was slowly running over the steep face, turning parts of the wall into a lush moss cover. It was neat looking and beautiful. Along the shore was an unusual rock never before seen that consisted of seashells that had collided with the rocks and became fossilized. Fused together and shaped over time into a unique, beautiful treasure of their own. Some left their shapes in the rock, while others became one with the rock. It was strange and beautiful and after renaming it this stretch will be known to us as fossil beach. I had to have one as a keepsake and the search began. I found a few worth keeping, only to leave each behind after finding another one that spoke to me even more. In the end we determined that we had found the best one. 

This part of the area was secluded and it was mainly due to the rocks and the little sand that actually offered a beach. The ocean was closer on the narrow stretch and we had it mostly to ourselves while leaving the crowds behind at the main beach. I didn’t know how serene these moments were until we came around one of the cliffs and hit party town Capitola. It was very crowded with some sort of event going on and within a few feet the scenery turned from one extreme to the other. The quiet, peaceful solitude turned into people sitting on top of each other like ants with little space to themselves and definitely no privacy at all. Not that it bothered anybody and the people visiting to join the others on that beach didn’t mind, perhaps even enjoyed the packed atmosphere. It was not my cup of tea. I deal with crowds on a daily basis and to recharge my batteries my adventures usually consist of escaping the crowds. But we were also hungry and it was time to scour the area for something decent to eat. The restaurants were equally packed and we decided on a little corner stand serving hotdogs and polishes, as well as a dog called the “Cheesy Bavarian”. Bavaria is my home, but now, and unable to tell you what a cheese Bavarian was, I was intrigued to order one. Obviously it had to do with cheese but I never did find out how the cheese made the correlation to Bavaria, hahaha. 

On the way back to the beach, we spotted the ice cream parlor down the road and what better way to finish off the meal with a little dessert on the side. It was busy and the place was hopping. The employees clearly overwhelmed by the hectic gave a grumpy impression and were quick to shove you out the door. It was business, a job that wasn’t enjoyed and it was clearly felt as such. It almost dampened the whole experience as it made me think of how many people are stuck doing the things they have to do vs. being able to do the things they love to do. However, the ice cream was delicious as we sat in front of the parlor and a little boy to the left of me took my mind off quickly. Without a doubt and only one look at him you were able to tell of the huge sweet tooth that little one had. Ice cream cone in hand, he turned is face towards me in the most serious, meaning business kind of way. But that was not the point and I could only imagine where his mouth must be as this entire region of his face, including parts of his nose and cheeks were covered in ice cream as if he had dove in and just smashed the cone into his face. Mixed with the serious look on his face that said something like “What are you looking at” I couldn’t help but laugh out before I had the chance to consider my reaction. It was a priceless moment and the combination of his love for ice cream and meaning business took me by surprise and offset the prior grumpy moments inside the shop. 

We made our way back to the beach, through the crowds, carefully placing our footing not to step on anyone. Finally we found ourselves on that narrow little strip between the weeping wall and the ocean that had shrunken down even more due to the tide coming in. In the nick of time and not a moment too soon we crossed this section and made it back to the main beach. Unaware, the tide never even crossed our mind, nor did we expect to find another town around the cliff, we could have easily gotten stuck there, being separated from our campsite. But we didn’t and I’m glad as this would have meant to miss out on the beautiful campfire on the beach. Yet again and once more it is something a little bit wild and dangerous that sticks out in our memory and will stay with us forever. I can already hear one of us saying “Remember that one time as we walked over to Capitola and nearly got stuck there because of Tide?” The whole scene already plays out in my mind as if I’m looking through the all telling crystal ball to reveal the future or to look back into time. One little sentence to revisit the moment that will trigger a smile and a wish for more memories to be like this.

Posted in Adventure, Mother nature

High Tide

This picture was taken the same night we enjoyed that beautiful fire at the beach. We walked along the cliffs earlier in the day, unexpecting and enjoying the view. That was before the tide came in and swallowed the passage to Capitola, CA. With no sign left, the beach was submerged and took on an entirely different feel with the fog. Beautiful, mysterious with just the right amount of leaving a haunting memory planted deep within. 

Posted in Adventure, Hiking, Inspiration

Light it up 

Moving on from the foggy woods, the short trail was slightly descending downhill towards the beach. With the trees and brush behind us, we quickly conquered a few short staircases and were greeted by the wide open spaces, ready for our feet to hit the sand. It was late already as dusk set in with little daylight left, but who would resist a short stroll along the beach, right? It was priceless to hear the waves crash ashore and I would love to add that we were watching the sunset, but the foggy conditions were hiding the rays within its thick, opaque cloud of mystery. The picture perfect sunset with the romantic views (did I mentioned before that I’m a hopeless romantic?) of the sun disappearing into the ocean were replaced with a mystical feel of serenity and peace. It was perfect even without the warm fireball that was hiding from us.

I scoured the area for treasure, such as rocks, driftwood, fossils, leaves and seashells. Whatever I could find that evoked some kind of emotion while speaking to my heart. Of course time went by even faster and somehow it always seems to do so when we enjoy ourselves in whatever it is that we are doing. We didn’t get very far as we decided that we better turn around and head back. Snapping a few more pictures at the wooden tepee that almost knocked me out earlier with a plank coming loose and landing straight on my forehead (well, yeah I had to check the inside and yeah, I did feel that one as it would leave my forehead sore to the touch for days), we came across a group of people that were in the process of leaving the beach. “Enjoy our fire if you want to” we heard them call towards us as one by one made their way up the stairs. Within close proximity was a decent fire (actually it was pretty good size) and we couldn’t believe that it was left behind with nobody tending to it or putting it out to prevent the escaping embers to set a fire. The initial plan was to put it out, but I have to admit that I’m a sucker for campfires and I love sitting around that glowing ring of fire while letting its warmth’s hug my soul. Plus I never knew that you could have fires (where have I been) at the beach and it’s hard to believe that in all my years this has finally been a first. I can’t believe what I missed in all my hiking years, but like they say “Better late then never” and I’m sure it won’t be the last fire of this sort.

We stayed and sat next to the fire, rearranging the burning logs and keeping the fire fed with what was already within the built stone fire ring. I didn’t want to leave and I know that I could have easily slept next to fire all night. I’m sure the thought crossed my mind as I wondered why we paid for our campsite as the beach was free. Surely, I would have gotten cold at some point during the night, unless I kept the fire going, but I didn’t cared much and maybe it was then that a plan was born to cowboy camp in the soft sand next to ocean some day. It got darker and darker and the shoreline on either side of us was lit with fires that was dotting the beaches. I saw a young group carrying their musical instruments make their way to the right of us and shortly afterwards a new fire was born. I couldn’t help but think about how cool it would be to make a little video of them around the fire, playing their music to the background of the ocean. I was close and I was contemplating to ask, but in the end I respected their privacy and let them enjoy themselves among each other. There was something primal about all the fires lighting up, something you don’t see every day. It felt wild and you know how much I love the word “Wild” as I associate it with the memories that stay with us through thick and thin. The memories that stand out and translate into the wild moments of our life that we remember. The moments of our life when we “Light it up” in whatever form possible.

I would have to lie if I said that I wasn’t a bit nervous of walking up the hillside, through the brush and the woods in the dark, and yet I couldn’t tear myself away from the fire. I was mesmerized and it was the best campfire of the trip, plus it was inherited on top of it. We left eventually and I found that the worries of the dark were no worries at all. I even preferred to lead us up the trail which is a bit unusual for me since I’m usually the tail-light and don’t mind letting somebody else safe guard the path for me in the form of giving slithering reptiles (snakes) a chance to get away by the time I make it through. I had no problem at all that night and the half moon provided enough light to make out the path. Worries were replaced with a sense of adventure and some sort of adrenaline rush that had me enjoy every moment. I loved it and I’m sure that this experience was wild enough to stay with me forever. Definitely a must do if you visit the ocean.