Lessons from a seaside village in Germany

SEEKER, WANDERER

Fresh back from 12 days in Germany I’ve been reflecting on my time spent there; the people I met, the places I visited and the experiences I had. This caused me to think about some of my observations and prompted me to share some of the lessons I learnt from my time there…

I was based in Strande, a seaside village just north of Kiel in the North East of Germany on the Baltic Sea. It was summer time and the weather glorious. Roses were blooming everywhere and the birds were tweeting. People were happy and friendly and my lack of knowledge with the German language was no barrier.

After hiring a bicycle on the first day I set about exploring the surrounding countryside and coastline and this is what I found…

A Little Kindness Goes A Long Way…

One morning while peddling along the bike path I came upon a lighthouse with a little cafe nestled at it’s base. Brightly coloured flowers bloomed in pots and stripes deck chairs were arranged comfortably in the garden. The owner was a cheery lady who was happy to speak in English thankfully as it put me out of my misery of not having a grasp on the German language. We struck up a conversation and she told me of how she had started her little business, some of the history about the lighthouse and some stories of some of her visitors. She asked where I came from and I shared stories of my home and family and my plans to go exploring on my bike. Before long we were having a good old laugh, she pointed out a few bike paths and I left feeling rather buoyed by our spirited conversation. I guess it goes to show that if you greet people with a smile they are more often than not willing to respond with mutual respect and kindness.

Meaningful Connection Is The Key To Happiness...

My home away from home was right on the promenade across from the beach which had a great vantage point for people watching. It’s fun to see how people interact and I love watching the subtle differences you see in other cultures. One of the most significant things I saw was the connections people had with one another. They took the time to stop and chat, maybe a touch to the arm and a smile before moving on. Fathers playing with children, elderly people strolling arm in arm and almost everybody had a dog that was also making connections! Everybody it seemed was happy and content just being. Sometimes people would be engaged in conversation for ages with seemingly no rush. Just being in the moment, and each moment was important. Maybe being a small village had something to do with it but it made me think how nice it was that everyone was connected in some way. How are your connections with the people you see everyday? Do you know your neighbour? Do you chat to the cashier at the checkout? What about your partner and you children? Do you take the time each day to truly connect on a deep level?

A Dip In The Sea Sets You Up For The Day…

Early each morning I noticed people dressed in their robes make their way down to the sea for a dip. It seemed rather a reverent affair, more like a ritual, as they disrobed and made their was across the stoney shoreline and out into the water. Now it may have been summer but the water was still cold and I personally couldn’t come to terms with it but I am in awe and have total respect and hope that now I’m home I may well take it up as part of my morning routine come summer. Until I’m brave enough I’m going to try turning the hot tap off first in my morning shower and having a quick rinse under the cold water to get the heart pumping for the day. There is scientific evidence that such practice can activate the immune system and help with removal of accumulated waste! Ah… those Germans. I think they’re onto something.

Contemplation Brings Peace and Perspective…

The other thing I noticed was that people would often sit quietly on a bench seat and look out over the sea. Sometimes they were alone but more often than not they were with someone else. Perhaps they had said all they needed to say but it struck me as a beautiful thing that you could sit in silence and be comfortable with one another without feeling the need to keep talking to fill the space. I spent quite a lot of my time alone and so found myself in contemplation much of the time as well. It was good. And like a meditation there was time for ideas to drop in, time for rumination of thoughts and then just time for stillness…

Move Your Body Everyday! Have More Fun and Spend Time In Nature…

I didn’t see a lot of fat people over there. I mean some people had a stocky build but you didn’t see overweight or obese people. Partly due to the fact I guess that everyone seemed so active. Every day I saw a lot of people out walking and cycling. I found myself checking out calf muscles and ankles and it was apparent that the fitness levels in even the elderly was impressive. And speaking of the elderly they all seemed quite spritely. One day I saw a lady of 60 or so out with what seemed to be her mother, both enjoying a beer and a laugh! There were happy people out and about everywhere and it really was the most wonderful feeling to be surrounded by happy people out in Nature enjoying life!

These were the lessons that I learned in a seaside village of Germany… I hope you enjoy them…

Bushflowergirl xox

Embrace Life with the Power of Nature

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One Hundred Years From Today

DREAMER, SEEKER, WANDERER

FRIDAY 25/11/16:

I’m in Byron Bay tonight and for those that have been here before you understand that the town has a heartbeat that beats to the sound of a bongo. Heck the welcome sign as you enter this laid back beach town even invites you to join it’s rhythm…

– Slow Down – Chill Out – Relax –

Young people in particular are drawn to this area. They mingle in small groups and straggle across the roads linked arm in arm from one happy place to the next; they sprawl out on the lawn that flows down to the beach past pandanus and seagulls; they stuff themselves into cafes and little restaurants along Bay Lane wedged in elbow to elbow. All smiling. All beautifully in touch with the moment. That moment of just being. Carefree. That moment of endless possibility. And they all seem so happy and beautiful. Not just in the physical sense but in that most contented phase of bliss where they are just enjoying life and seeing what it has to throw at them.

It’s a very nice feeling and the higher vibration soon imbues itself on all those that come to visit the area.

The moment I arrive in town I head straight up to the lighthouse on the point. The most Easterly point of mainland Australia. Somewhat an icon in this area and I must visit for tourists the imposing white tower juts up into a ridiculously blue sky warning all seafarers of the dangers that lurk below her headland. Sea birds drift on the up currents winging their way this way and that and the waves roll gently onto rocks below churning up the clear water. As I’d been driving for nearly four hours I just pay the $8 bucks to the friendly park ranger to park my car in the National Park grounds. I didn’t even blink an eye. Clearly the vibe had already entered my subconscious. Maybe because I had the windows down as I drove through town I mused. Ah, what the heck… the path of least resistance and is it really going to matter next week, next month, next year?

The coffee machine has made it’s last shot for the day so I celebrate with a decadent chocolate ice cream instead. I forgot that NSW operates on Daylight Savings Time during the summer months so I’m an hour later than I thought I was. (Although not technically – it’s just they like to think so!) Which also means I have less than an hour to view the lighthouse, check into my digs and get to the bookshop for an author talk I thought would be fun to go to. Easy. Remember, I’m just going with the flow…

The first person I see as I approach the corner bookshop with it’s white timber verandah and Illawarra flame tree spreading out a flowery red carpet is no other an William McInnes himself. The author I’ve come to hear speak. He’s quite tall and somewhat older than I remember although still handsome and charming.  I recognise that familiar Queensland sarcasm and wit which makes Queenslanders so endearing. He seems like a fun bloke, perhaps a bit of a larrikin and we exchange a little chit chat and share a laugh or two before he is set upon by some eager fans who have also forgotten the time difference and are in a flap to spend as much time as possible in his company. I smile as I make my exit to mingle with some friendly looking locals.
Margaret is a vision in her buttery yellow nylon outfit with the flower in her hair the only give away  of her kindness which is masked by her cynicism and dry sense of humour. Nick and his wife are along for a laugh (and a free glass of bubbles or two) before they head off to The Green as they affectionately call the Bowls Club for dinner, presumably crumbed chops with mash and veg.
The talk gets underway and we are soon swept along for a rollicking ride with tales of growing up and the little things that we remember, the people we rub shoulders with and the funny things they did, the mischief we get up to. All the flotsam and jetsam that fill the gaps and the spaces in-between the major milestones of life, the meaningless things, the seemly unimportant things until we muse upon them and then realise that they are the things that ultimately weave their golden threads throughout our lives and hold it all together. He speaks fondly of his parents and how they are no longer with him. He reminisces and can hear the sound of their voices in his mind as he recalls how their own unique quirky ways shape and mould us into the people we are today. And it’s the everyday things. Habits, sayings and mannerisms. It gets me to thinking about my own life and what we will be remembered for. Chances are it won’t be for money, fame or fortune so it’s time to make every day count. Slow down but also enjoy more. More of the little things. And to have a crack at a few new things too. Enjoy every moment and realise that this is your life.

The night ends with a short rendition of Dean Martin’s 100 Years From Today and as I stumble out into the night rubbing shoulders with the young beautiful people I somehow think they already have it all worked out.

Live a full life for one day all you will have will be your memories and the legacy you leave behind… Let’s make it a good one.

William Mcinnes’ latest book FULL BORE is available at good bookshops now

The Byron Bay Lighthouse is open 365 days of the year and is operated by National Parks

For a pleasant stay in Byron I recommend BYRON SPRINGS guesthouse.

Listen to Dean Martin 100 Years From Today for some inspiration xxx

(This is a personal account of a night in Byron Bay. I have no affiliates with any of the above mentioned links.)

Sunset over Fannie Bay

WANDERER

I’m traveling light this week with just my smartphone and a few changes of clothes. I’m in Darwin, the most Northern city in Australia and enjoying the warm weather. Such a contrast from from the cold rainy wet weather I left behind yesterday! So here are a few images to show how I spent my first day…

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New York City

WANDERER

New York City

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to travel to New York City. I swapped rolling hills for skyscrapers, the sound of the sea for honking yellow cabs and possums for squirrels. Layers of concrete and metal, plastic and glass teamed with the glamorous, wild and wacky or just down and out homeless. It is definitely a living breathing beast. The city that never sleeps.
Around every turn, on every corner it was a visual feast for the senses. And in the least expected places I found beauty, whether in design or form or just the cityscape that presented itself before me, it was there. What a wonderful experience!