My wonderful life, an ode to Freya

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Old woman taking a moment to bask in the silence of a Spanish Plaza. Grenada, November 2018

I am in Granada, staying close to the Alhambra in the Realjo district just down the hill from that magnificent Moorish castle, and I don’t want to go home.

I want to be on the road forever, with every day a mystery of joy, new languages to discover, new scents and sights. It’s ecstasy all this.

I am getting better at Spanish and can now string a few sentences together without too much embarrassment. The Spaniards are such a gentle and patient race; they don’t care about my accent or me making stupid mistakes.

Every now and again they correct me but mostly they just smile at my attempts. I love Spanish, love the guttural force of it, the wild undulations of tone, the breathless eruptions of passion and I am so jealous, jealous of their fluency which is normal; after all it is their langue maternal.

Many decades ago I discovered the writings of Ms. Freya Stark, explorer and I got to thinking that I wanted to follow in her footsteps. My life has taken many years to get to the point where I now think I can ‘be her’, follow her example.

I have in my possession one small travel bag as well as a foldable storeable rucksack bag and my passport bag that I use to store things like a water bottle, my wallet, sunscreen and other female essentials.

I have been in Spain for three weeks and am used to this way of living now. It’s actually a rather simple and beautiful way to live. It’s not as expensive as it appears, living in hotels. There are some amazing bargains to be found and watching the rise and fall of hotel prices is like watching stocks and shares; it keeps the brain sharp and ticking over.

The cost of food – essentials in Spain – is still cheap compared to Edinburgh and Scotland, and the price varies according to the town or the city here. In Granada things are cheaper than in Sevilla and on the Costas. And when you live in hotels and out of a small bag you crave nothing other than a nice glass of Rioja, some tapas, a good pair of walking shoes and your phone.

Today, I walked the Albaizin in the blazing Autumn sunshine and felt this sense of joy at the beauty of life – even during these dark political times – how simple everything is – and how the only thing that matters is love and freedom to be oneself. I choose to be Freya because I loved her sense of adventure and I loved that she roamed the earth unencumbered by ‘stuff’, the possessions that are so toxic to one’s being.

Having said that today I couldn’t resist buying a beautiful book on this city called Granada and the Alhambra Art: Architecture: History by Rafael Hierro Calleja.  I also bought some olive oil soap – a small bar – because I left my olive oil soap bar which I use to wash my hair, back in Edinburgh. I also couldn’t resist buying some hand-made soap from Syria made from laurel, its artisan beauty and scent was so heavenly.

Walking the Albaizin I felt at peace with the world, so happy. This travel thing is freedom to be deeply oneself and it’s like a drug, this freedom to be deeply myself after so many decades of looking after others. Happy Saturday. Jo xx

 

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