Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Panama | Colombia | Russia | London | Paris | Iceland | States LA | Norway | China

full updates to follow..  amazing few months of bucket list .. all about experiences …

Poker tournament Panama and Panama canal
hips don't lie .. Colombia …
F1 Sochi

Monday, 13 June 2016

When worlds collide - (the cute poppy Zara Larsson version)

what a long, but very wonderful 72 hours ....

for the poppy Zara Larsson version click here (when worlds collide), for those astute music and sport fans ... you may recognise her voice from Guettas' This One's For You UEFA ...

arrived in Borneo to find the guys waiting for me at the airport, they came in from Singapore, me from UAE through Bangkok.  The guys had hired a car, and declared me designated driver mainly due to my previous proclomations of my international driving prowess. Drove to hotel number one for our stay, met a few of the others attending the wedding, enjoyed one too many cocktails, and then came back to my little suite, and played pictionary (as most of you know my favourite party game), now introduced to many over the world, and no excuse not to play since the discovery of the pictionary app one night at Cimmaron, now makes this available whenever and wherever...

There were the usual arguments about who was going to partner who, and Max and I ended up joining forces, and dare I say, may come close to being declared my perfect pictionary partner, he does have close competition from two beautiful souls.

With a wedding a day ahead, we then started sharing stories about how we all know the bride and groom and how we all came to be in Borneo together to celebrate the guys.. 'when worlds collide'

I met (Z) many years ago sitting in Richmond Green London,  it was a beautiful day, I had just been to see a play at the Richmond Theatre, The 39 Steps, that had been adapted into a glorious musical, just at that Theatre.  (Z)  had just arrived and was working for a company in Richmond, doing a job she hated, until she could find one she loved.  I was staying in Sth Ken with Mon, it was my first two weeks in London, I fell in love with that play, and with Richmond, and decided to explore it further, I knew that day, that I would live in Richmond one day, (note here Richmond UK and Richmond Australia very very different). I bought some lunch and headed to the green, (a prawn roll, funny how I remember that so vividly now) and sat on the grass in the sun, as it happened right next to (Z), and we got chatting.  She was from Sth Africa, missing her boyfriend who was due to join her in 6 months, was not enjoying London, felt it was grey, hated her job.  I told her to quit, what she was doing she could do something more she enjoyed for the same money, we just connected, swapped details and that weekend, I hired a car and took her out of London, I had no idea where would go, I just decided to drive (a friend had once said to me, if you don't know where you are going just keep turning left) so I did, we drove to Bath, to Poole, through the New Forest one of the most magical places in the world (New Forest) ... we stopped just turning left at some point... as we had to go back to London.  I was also feeling a bit grey, at that time, and that weekend meant so much ... we have been friends since .... 

She moved back to Sth Africa a few years later, no longer with her boyfriend of the time, and I was lucky enough to work for a company in the UK that had a parent company in Sth Africa, the connections of which and my visits as a result, introduced me to many people, and after many steps ended up introducing (Z) to her now husband, and also ended up connecting me, so deeply to Singapore.... 

wow ...  that was long .... 

we all woke the next day, late and all very very hungover, with the wedding in a few hours, at the most amazing place ...  Borneo wedding venue

we arrived and went diving, now .. as you know, I love water at the best of times, even more on a hangover, this was not good ... and many of us had repercussions ....   on the boat and back on shore, despite that, we all decided to have cocktails before the ceremony ...  mmmmm ...  (Z) now a bit drunk leans over and shares that can't be arsed to 'look pretty just for everyone else' ... so I say, don't, it is your day, do what you want .... so 45 mins later, they were married, her hair wet, no makeup, no shoes, gorgeous dress, and she could not have looked more beautiful.

an amazing evening, in an amazing place with people from different worlds connecting ....  and even reconnecting .... to what individually matters ....  an electrical storm ended the night, with the biggest down pour ....  and guess what ...  my favourite thing ...  thunder, dancing lightning, and dancing in the rain ... Max did me proud x

after me screwing my flights, saint max took control, and rearranged me to Bali via Sinkers....  thank goodness, saved hours ... arrived late to hotel, airport transfer not there, found alternate ... oh my days ... not what I thought ... so, I checked out and spent an hour or so having a meal and finding a new place to stay ...

I also spent the time, tracking down my favourite person in Bali, that I have not seen 4 years, for those that know Bali, you will know how connected it is ... so after contact with some old italian friends, who got in contact with french friends, who got in contact with Irish friends ... Made was found .... 

I am now sitting in my Bali Villa, and move tomorrow to a new one, where I get to spend a few days with people I adore, (remember girlfriends, are sisters you choose), tomorrow I get to see one of my sisters.

Which brings me to today .... and brings this up to date ...

I have just spent the last 4 hours, thinking about the relationships I have, those I have been lucky enough to meet, those who touched my core, made a difference, those that matter, through worlds colliding ...  I am so bloody lucky .....

BTW - I did that, in my little private pool, completely naked except for the frangipanis in my hair ... (sorry for visuals, tres liberating) ..  beauty in simplicity - frangipani from my hair   ...    Only in Bali ....

Team V .... dying to see you ..... 

meeeeooowwwww xx  (that means I love you in kitten) ...

somewhere special from Camino, I have my eye on this (the future somewhere special)

Thursday, 9 June 2016

it's a whole new world ... (the aladdin version) .. I was in the middle east you know

it feels like a whirlwind week, even though I have been grounded, with even a few nights in the same bed, a week has passed since camino, and people ask, has it changed me.

i feel different, and more emotionally aware, I feel like I am seeing things and experiencing things more deeply than I have before, like the song, a dazzling place I never knew.

is this camino, is it meeting new friends, is it being back after a break?  My head is confused, and yet also so clear.

a wonderful couple of days with the good Sheikh, join a harem?  tempted ...

time in Sydney catching up with friends, and where I found the greatest joy in the simplest things, a song I hear, a busker, a trip to the supermarket, doing my laundry, what is happening?

heading to Borneo now, then to Bali.

more to follow

take care and just enjoy the now.

a friend shared this, and said it reminds them of mystery and discovery, and what is a life lived without mystery and discovery? How so true, it touched a nerve ... mystic

kisses CBT - x

Thursday, 2 June 2016

My heart dances - (the el dorado version)

what a funny, strange, delightful 24 hours ..  summed up by this pic ... 

Cheery Kurt and I boarded the plane to Venice, our seats were not next to eacother, despite checking in together, and I was seated next to the most delightful and interesting gent and his wife. Giovanni owns his own legal practice that specialises in patent designs, licensing and trademarks within Europe, with offices across the world, as a result he spends a few months a year in Italy, then Spain, Germany etc ..  he and Maria- Louisa were so generous sharing tales and their loves of each country, and making sure I was going to be okay in Venice, giving me tips to get me from the airport, the things I should see, and giving me his details incase I every got stuck, or wanted a job, which was gorgeous, and gave my mind a break from swirling thoughts, it made me get re-inspired about 'my pretty box'.

The journey took longer than expected, and it was late by the time we checked in, Kurt went to 'freshen up' in the anticipation of meeting a gorgeous Italian.

We headed out, and had the most amazing dinner, which enabled me to show the cheery one some some key destinations, and how the islands all link and work, the taxi system etc ..  I had forgotten how so beautiful and romantic Venice is, I had also forgotten how crowded it gets.

More than that, I had forgotton how so generous in spirit, warm, expressive, and giving of feelings, Italians are.  How everyone seems to want to bring joy, and please, how everything seems like a genuine pleasure, how everything seems to come from a place of such goodness and happiness, how everything feels musical.  It is such a feel good place, and has warmed my heart.

We met a great group of people at a bar later, 2 italians and a girl from mexico, and headed for the casino.

After a couple of rounds of texas hold em ... I decided to head back to the hotel, and leave the cheery one, to add to, and signoff on his bucket list.

I had the best night sleep, I have had for literally years.  My bed could not have been more comfortable (the most comfortable bed, I have possibly ever slept in), I had reconnected with someone now very important to me, sooo happy about being in Italy, the most wonderful meal for a month, and helping to create and share a memory for someones bucket list...  sated.

I awoke this morning, and Kurt the Cheery was not in his room, brilliant news... (he ticked his bucket list).

So I headed out to enjoy the day, with happiness in my heart, and it was bloody joyous ... I have been here twice before, but never ever appreciated it, or experienced it like I have in the last 24 hours.  Maybe it is el Camino, maybe it is because I am older, maybe it is because I finally am starting to feel, like I can give myself up and over to things, and when you do that something deeper happens.

Venice in song ...  aahh Italia   aahhh italia # 2  Music Piazza   

About to now join Kurt for dinner, he heads back to the States tomorrow, and I head to meet the Sheikh, in Abu Dhabi.

The next 24 hours, I know, will be bloomin' crazy.

Italy, Venice, Jose - thank you .... for so very very very many reasons ...

For making my heart dance ...

Water Taxi to airport (Venice) incls Marco Polos house 
Speed boat Venice
Water Taxi to airport (open water Venice)


* Maximilien ... thank you for acceptance, for silliness, for surprises, for trust ... you are the greatest being, with the greatest bones ...

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Take me to church .. (thank you Hozier)

I heard that song just after I left the pilgrims mass yesterday in Santiago, whilst I have heard it many times, it was the first time I really heard, and actually listened to the lyrics ... mmmmm

I woke in the beautiful converted monastery after another night of very little sleep, and went to the pilgrims mass at the Cathedral, it was truly moving, the cathedral is spectacular, the service was deeply impactful, the sight of people from over the world, having completed the same journey, understanding challenges overcome, people embracing, just sharing a look, squeezing a hand, just knowing.

Pilgrims mass

I checked out of the monastery hotel, I actually felt a little funny staying there, odd, and into a new one on the main plaza, where to my delight the welcome pilgrim bagpipes could be heard, which was lovely, as I took the longest bath in ages, I had forgotten what smelling so clean was like, infact I had forgotten what I smelt like !%$!

Welcome bagpipes from hotel

I thought alot in that bath, about the moments that have meant the most, the service, the people along the way, I mainly thought about the impact that a six hour conversation had on me, on my list night of my camino, which was totally unexpected, and has consumed my thinking since.  Its funny how the magic of beautiful words, stories and song (even in its simplest form) can take over ones thoughts.

Magic in simplicity

I will miss this place.


Monday, 30 May 2016

It's a beautiful day ... (thanks Bono)

Touch me
Take me to that other place

I have finally made it to Santiago  - and yes I wept. 

(writing this backwards) ..

Arrival at the Praza do Obradoiro

Full of emotion, I am not sure what has driven that, whether it was a sense of accomplishment, a feeling that it has ended and I need to think about reality, seeing the joy of others as they arrived at the front of the cathedral.  Someone had shared to listen for the bagpipes, on the approach to the maybe this is what moved me.  I heard them playing as I was walking through the old town and new I was close.  As I approached it reminded me of a mix between Edinburgh and Petra in Jordan, walking towards the treasury through buildings like Edinburgh, I was touched by the amount of pilgrims, thanking each other, cuddling those they had not even met, taking photos, removing shoes and just pausing before they entered the tunnel to the Praza do Obradoiro.

The feeling was quite euphoric, on reflection, I have been on a calm high, (if there is such a thing) since last night.

I sat, I giggled, I cried, I saw new friends and strangers reactions, reactions as they entered, and was so happy for them, and so very moved by their expressions and what this has obviously meant to them.

I think, it will take a while for me to really understand what this moment meant.

The walk today

I started early, I wanted to walk alone, to spend time reflecting on my Camino so far, questioning I guess, maybe people have more expectations of what this would mean to me rather than what it has.  Has it meant anything? have I learnt anything? Did I need to? Did I want to?  I started off at 5.30 am, after only two hours sleep, after a long chat with a new friend, that also moved me, and made me think about a lot very differently.

So tired, after the lack of sleep, but actually start the day feeling wonderfully sated, from such a lovely night, and headed out ahead of the others.

I have an app that enables a random alarm .. and I woke to Beautiful Day (U2) .. I have never considered the lyrics so seriously before ...  they had such a wonderful meaning today, and I found myself reflecting on them all day.

This walk, felt the easiest of all the stages, even after the lack of sleep.  I stopped and washed with many pilgrims as tradition, in the river at Lavacolla, I felt very strange about this, and the chance to wash away everything wicked ;-) is that possible?

The walk from there felt hard … and I made my way to the ‘mount of joy’ (Monte del Gozo), 5km to go, where I took a break, and by coincidence.. as I took my shoes off, for a little rest, I could not believe I received texts at that precise moment from people I love, the phone call that followed for the next 2kms with folk who have the greatest bones, meant the world to me, as did a little sign, that reminded me of my new friend, and our marathon chat from the night before.

The night before

A wonderful night in a tiny hostel, with new friends, sharing memories and war stories, I seem to come out of it a lot better than most, 1 tiny blister probably my biggest concern, mind you my feet have been loved along the way.  Kurt and I plotted our Venice trip, only two nights, he has never been to Europe and Venice is on his bucket list, how could he not, and well who would not be happy to show someone new to Venice.

I wanted to walk today alone, to chat with many as I passed, but to also think about the last few days, hoping for an early night, and early start.  I had heard that Santiago is quite beautiful and so I want to spend as much time as possible there before Venice. Last night consisted of almost the same group from the night before, plus another couple from the States, we have passed each other many times over the last few days, but had never really spoken. I finished up chatting with others after mmm chorizo, bread, cheese, fish soup, fries, I seriously need vegetables and not just peppers.

After saying good night and good luck to others, I meet Jose, and we chat for hours ... generous, poetic, warm.. how do strangers enable thinking to be taken to another place?

It's a beautiful day ...

Buen Camino ..
Be brave, take risks, take a chance, trust, give yourself up
Charlotte – x

Sunday, 29 May 2016

This time tomorrow ... Santiago ... (someone should write a song about that)

after a moody and sooky la la day two days ago, I got a very simple, but much needed ... put things into perspective from a 'Pink Charlie', which made me pull up and see reality ...  so whilst my last couple of days have been emotional, they have also been  more rational ....  I am definitely becoming less up tight and more relaxed doing this ...and less selfish.

crossed through from Arzua to Rua, (melide prior), I am now addicted to boiled octopus, the veggies are still lacking, but at least I feel less carb bloated.  The stay last night, was in a little village hotel with 15 rooms, of the 15 rooms, new found friends were in 6, + cheery Kurt and I with a room each, (we are walking together on and off, but we are booked into the same accomodation now through to Santiago).

It is funny how you dont see people for days, and then everyone collides.  The six included JP, and Michael the annoying Australian.  A night of sharing tales and what it has meant to us all, and how we plan on spending the next couple of days.

The way is a funny thing, no-one judges, no-one cares how old you are, what you do, what you look like, what you where, everyone is a complete equal, you kind of give yourself up to just being there for others, it was funny when we got onto a conversation about what we were carrying in our packs, most people are actually now carrying more for others, than for themselves.  It is also funny how it now seems so normal to just take someones foot, rub someones leg, pop strangers blisters, peel someones socks off, as you see them sitting with shoes off, offering and accepting now has become a norm, like offering to take a photo, (although cheery Kurt told me lastnight unless I addressed my ... 'here comes mr hairy legs', foot and shin rubs would become a thing of the past).

We walked today with a lovely Hungarian guy, whose walking partner died earlier this week while asleep in an albergue, he decided to continue, very heart warming.  (the movie the way became very real). The 'heart' brave stories you find along the way are inspirational, like blind Jamie who we also met today, completely blind and reliant on other pilgrims to guide him to Santiago, so extraordinarily courageous, both physically but more from a trust of others perspective.

I have decided to head back to Sydney for a while, I don't think what I wanted to do back in Australia is done yet, sharing thoughts with others helps brings such clarity.

One of the things, I know I need to do better, which I realised early on, and am now committed to, is staying in better contact with those that are dear to me, those that really matter, and I have been slack, I have been reconnecting with a lot of folk, funnily enough a lot through sharing these updates and looking forward to catching up with some of you over the next fornight.

This time tomorrow Santiago ...  then Kurt and I have decided to do a couple of days in Venice, before he heads back to the States ...

24 hours to go ....  20km .... 8 hours walking ...

x - be kind