Thursday, April 30, 2015

ADD Adventures to: {{ Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain }}

This past weekend, I was blessed with a chance to go to Lanzarote, one of Spain's beloved Canary Islands, and soak up some sun, embrace some sand, and attempt some surf! I had met a gal in Mallorca a couple summers back, and through some sort of conversation, she ended up extending an invite to me to go spend a weekend on their new island of residency. She said if I liked hiking and surfing, I was welcome anytime, pretty much posing me an offer I couldn't resist! And luckily, when I dropped my Integrated Kinesiology course and went crazy looking up/planning/buying cheap flights, I found a reasonable one from Sevilla, and didn't hesitate to ask first if I was still welcome. (Sometimes, you've just gotta bit the bullet!) And based on the experience I had last weekend, it was definitely a fine choice I made!

Lanzarote is the kind of place that's perfect for people who like outdoor activities and having little choice of much else to do. It's an incredibly calm place, with small towns scattered throughout the volcano-covered island, and is loaded full of aloe plants, hiking trails, and of course, coastline! I didn't get to see the whole island, but I think we made good use of the time I had there, and I certainly left wanting more!

 El Golfo and the Green Lagoon!

 Abdul, from the Sahara, whom following this photo we asked to take of him, allowed us to follow him and watch him for a good 20 minutes or more, as he de-scaled all the fish for the restaurant, then ripped their guts out, and left them on the rocks for the forming flock of seagulls to swoop down upon and consume in less than a minute. It was a perfect opportunity for Danielle, a photographer, to get some great shots! I was able to watch until he started slicing them open and emptying them of their innards, then I took a break from the brutal, and enjoyed some kind meditation on the rocks. 

On Sunday, we went on a hike up El Volcan de la Corona, with less than a 700m incline, but some pretty amazing views! It was an easy hike, until we decided to hike down into its crater, which had quite the vertical drop down. We basically ice skated our way down into it through all the volcanic rock/gravel that was there. And then we had a mini picnic! I never had "Have Lunch in a Volcano's Crater" on my Hit List before, but I guess now I can add it and check it off! 

Whilst we were hanging out on the rim, after our on-all-fours-scrambling back up and out it, we saw some people descending another part of it. We took them to be mistaken adventurers, trying to get into the crater from completely the wrong end, but when we asked if they were trying to get down, a gal informed us there's a fairly good-sized cave in that area, so of course we went to check it out! And fam_{{ily}}, it was so cool!! There were little tea candles strategically placed around it, tucked into little crevasses within the walls and on the ground, and even cooler still, there were two yoga mats chillin'! Some stretches and relaxation later, we were back to our island adventure, with the day concluding with some feet-in-the-sand dinnertime!

On Monday, my last day, Danielle and I took advantage of the morning to go surf! The last time I'd tried to surf was this past summer in Peniche (an incredible little peninsula of Portugal, where literally, there is nothing to do but surf), and it didn't go so well. So this time, I was determined to try again, and actually get up on the board, which I nearly managed! We were only out there for an hour, maybe hour and a half, but it was enough for me to get a taste of it, and realize I'm not as hopeless as my last attempt left me feeling. And truthfully, anytime I'm in the water on a board, even if just sitting or laying there, I'm perfectly content! Then before I knew it, it was time to head back to the airport, and return to the mainland! 

One of the most amazing things to me about Lanzarote had to have been the people. We didn't interact with a single person that wasn't so incredibly kind and lovely. I think it's something to do with all the nature around, and how small and quaint the island/towns on it are. I'm not really sure. I just know that I was blown away by how nice everyone was, and so, so friendly. 

Apparently, because the temperature doesn't vary much throughout the year, there is tourism on the island (on the islands) 12 months of the year. And I know I wasn't there during the high season, but in spite of the number of tourists and rental cars I noticed cruising around, I never felt it was over-crowded. Quite the opposite to be honest...

Lanzarote was a special place because of the people, it's vibe, and the fact you can't do much other than hike, swim, surf, and do sport, but it's not really the kind of place I'd choose to live. It was sooo dry, and because it's got 20+ volcanoes on it, some of the island actually existing due to eruptions, it's not very green, and I like green. I'm a huge fan of lush, green places, and while I love being 100% surrounded by water, I probably will not be moving to Lanzarote anytime in my future. Which isn't to say you shouldn't go, and I'd recommend going for more than three days!

Let me know if you go, and give me some tips for the next time I'm on the island!

Tomorrow I'm off to Rome (!!!!) for my first time ever, and so stoked to spend the weekend eating endless amounts of pasta, wandering around, and exploring the infamous Rome! I'm staying with a couch surfer I hosted in Sevilla last year, who's mum is meant to be an incredible cook, so I am pretty thrilled about the arrangement! Will be posting whilst there, maybe, and certainly after! 

Have an amazing weekend, all, I love you!

Blessings, Love, Light & Wonder,
Allie-Sun <3 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

ADD Adventures to: {{ Vienna, Austria }}

"You have to go to Vienna. If you're going to be in Bratislava, you have to go to Vienna. Vienna is beautiful."

These were the words spoken to me by a friend when she found out what my Semana Santa (Holy/Easter week) travel plans were. And she said them with such conviction, I didn't hesitate to say, "Ok, cool! I'll definitely check it out!" After all, "Vienna" is a word that we hear a lot, and an incredibly popular travel destination. So, I decided to go and check out the infamous Vienna, Austria.

Well, my friend was right, Vienna is gorgeous. It's a beautiful city, everywhere you turn your head, there's something to gawk at and fawn over. Its imperial charm and history are quite in-your-face, and I mean, it's not well-known for no reason, that's for sure. It's chalk-full of monuments, it's got the Danube running through it, and everyone I interacted with was so nice. Stumbling upon sights like this...

outside the city center, was completely normal, and I can't remember turning my head at any point without my mouth dropping at least slightly open. And yet, in spite of my jaw dropping just about every 50 seconds, I felt so completely ready to get out of Vienna. In a way, I think I felt a little disgusted by it.

The fact it's taken me three and a half weeks to even write about it is a perfect indication of the struggle I've been facing over the place/writing this. I started the post when I got back to Spain, and have come back to it at least three times to try and finish it, but I just do not want to contribute to the buzz that circles the city. But I shall, because I do want to be a [travel] writer, and this is part of it.

And truthfully, I have no clue why I feel so indifferent to Vienna, because I had really lovely couch surfing hosts, we had a really nice time, and as I said, the city is so beautiful, and the people were so helpful. I think I just, and this is going to sound strange and very "hashtag first world problems", but I think I got tired of seeing really nice things.

It all seemed so clean, perfect, and maintained from the outside, that I couldn't really feel anything there. It was kind of empty feeling. And based on the conversations I had with my hosts, both of whom are from France, the exterior isn't a very good representation of what's going on underneath. Which reigns true with so much in life, but there was just something about Vienna that felt a little pretentious and like it was putting on some major airs.

I'm quite sure I'll go back someday, probably with my family, and I'm sure we'll love it, but for me, a backpacker on a budget who would rather sleep in the sand than just about anywhere else, it wasn't my current cup of tea. However, the cup of tea I had at the Sacher Cafe, was worth the trip! (Ok, not the tea itself, but the experience of sitting in that posh cafe and having the tea.)

Naturally, the recommendation I latched onto the hardest before going, was to go to the Hotel Sacher and try the Original Sacher cake. Apparently, it's world famous (actually called the most famous cake in the world), highly coveted, and the recipe has remained top secret and locked up since its birth in 1832. I think the guys standing outside the opera house were taken aback and incredibly amused, when they were trying to sell me a seat to that night's show, and before they could finish, I was asking them about "some hotel that's behind the opera house and has some really famous cake". And I wish I had video footage of the guy's reaction when I told him, "I'll be honest, I'm way more interested in trying that cake than going to the opera. It's kind of the only reason why I came here." Priorities, kids, I've got em.

For the experience of entering the Sacher Hotel's cafe/restaurant, I'd definitely recommend going and having something. And yes, because the Original Sacher Torte is the most famous cake in the world, I'd say to go ahead and try it. However, I've gotta level with you, it was an incredibly expensive slice of cake (the unsweetened whipped cream on the side alone cost an extra 2.50+!), and I did enjoy it, the moistness of it and the hidden berry flavor that comes through, but I was also thinking, nearly the entire time, "I'm pretty sure I've had better cakes before." Welp. 

In all, the experience of going to Vienna was simply just that for me: the experience of going to, or best if I say, through, Vienna. I'd love to go back some weekend in the future when I'm very well-off, and prance around, pretending to be posh, and feeding into the pretentiousness of it all, but for now, I'm just fine hanging out on islands, smelling like a human in her natural state, and embracing dirtier places. 

I don't write any of this to try and discourage you, and truly, Vienna is worth seeing. Simply put, for me, it's not my place. Which is okay, they can't all be ;)

Thank you to Benoit and Alison for being such gracious hosts, the guy in the protein powder shop who got on his work computer to show me maps and metro routes to tourist attractions, and the church, for being so incredibly gorgeous (another thing I'd recommend visiting whilst there). And, to the city of Vienna itself, for being too perfectly appealing, visually. Also, sorry for bashing you so much. You really were lovely.

(I feel like a bipolar writer on this one. But it's just because I don't like to say things that aren't positive, but my energetic reading on the city was so bland, I just can't justify gushing over it like I will Budapest in my next post, or Lanzarote, which will be up on the blog after this weekend's adventure here.:)

Blessings, Love, Light & Wonder to all!
Alliie-Sun <3 

Friday, April 24, 2015

And I'm Off Again!

Hello, hello and happy Friday to all you amazing, beautiful Beings out there! How are you doing!?! I have missed you!! 

It's been some days since I wrote, this week has been pretty crazy for my schedule, and something else, too... I've got to be honest, it's not that I have been suffering from writer's block, I've been absent, because I know I really "need" to get up on the blog are posts about Vienna and Budapest from a few weeks back, but I am struggling so much to make sense of my feelings towards Vienna, that the nearly-finished post I've got about it is just not something I want to post. I have no idea why I feel so "whatever" about the city, because it really is gorgeous, and I had a great Couch Surfing experience, but I just didn't get any exciting energetic sense from it. Therefore, I am really pushing back energetically in regards to the place, and not in the mood to write about it. But I will, I swear. Well, after this next mini-vacation that I'm leaving for in less than an hour! And for this one, I am SO STOKED!

In a matter of 30 minutes, I will be off in a blablacar to Sevilla, where later tonight, I will catch a flight to the sure-to-be-amazing Canary Island of Lanzarote!! 

 Source: Google


Soooo up for this trip! You'll definitely want to find me on Instagram to follow along on this one! 
{{ a_fedorio }} 

It's funny that I'm bursting with excitement for this trip right now, because in my last hour of work at the high school, I really wasn't in the mood. So weird [that I wasn't up for it].

Now I've got a lovely little group of galpals here in Écija, and since I've only got 5 weeks left in Spain, I want as much time with them as possible! They are truly amazing women, and I love so much to mesh with them, so I really didn't feel like going anywhere this weekend. Especially since I'll be in Rome for five days starting next Friday, and I've got a trip back to Amsterdam planned the end of May, my chances to hang with them are literally numbered. In reality, I've got six weekends left in my Spain time, and trips to other places planned for three of them. (Technically four, but I decided to cancel my trip to Santiago so I don't have to rearrange too many days of work. Although, the closer it gets, the more I want to go and check it out. We'll see what happens. hehe) But anyways, my pack is packed, I'm taking next-to-nothing (other than the excessive weight in book/journal/devotional book-stuff I always lug around), and am planning on a full few days of facepalming in the sand, attempted surf, hikes, and checking out some of God's beautiful Earth! 

There's been so much incredible energy and emotion moving around and within me lately, and this year has truly turned out to be an incredible blessing and necessary step in my journey towards the pure, eternal Light of the Lord aka Life. I feel so blessed and happy, and cannot stop beaming out love. I just want to hug everyone of my students all the time and tell them that I love them, and am engaging in such amazing extended embraces with my galpals here, I feel too full to contain all the goodness that's multiplying inside me. (Come find me and let's huuuuugggg!!!! ***Creeps need not apply ;-) It's going to be great to spread this love all over the island!

The first and only time I've ever been to the Canary Islands was in February of 2010, when about 18 people from our USAC study abroad group went together to celebrate carnival. It was such a wild and amazing experience, and will forever be special for me, because it's where Carla and I first tanned on the beach topless (something incredibly common in Spain. So much so, that my 28-year old friend says he still sees his mom without a top on at the beach, and it's not weird at all. Try that one on for size, 'murica!)! I'm not exactly expecting to just gallivant around topless all weekend, but I am fully expecting to embrace the sun, the sand, the surf, and the souuuulll! Let's see where God takes me on this one!

It's a pretty cool story/string of events, actually, how I even ended up deciding to go there.. of course, every island on Earth is on my Hit List, and I always dream of going to island locations, but this whole trip manifested because of someone I met in Mallorca when I lived there for two months working as an au pair a couple summers back. A fellow American, Danielle, was living on the island for a while, and we met at a 4th of July BBQ that was happening. I so graciously invited myself to it, after learning a friend would be there, because let's be real... as an American, to not attend a BBQ on the 4th of July, well, that just doesn't sit well with the soul. So, I worked through my desperation to eat watermelon and smell the coals burning, found a BBQ that was happening, and went. There I ended met a huge group of Americans that had returned to live/work on the island after falling in love with it during their semester/year abroad (obviously that would happen..have you seen Mallorca!?). Not all of them sat well with me, but Danielle definitely did. I remember leaving and wishing that I'd met her sooner, because I could just tell she had good vibes and would probably be someone I'd really get along with. 

Well, I'm not sure how it came to pass, but she wrote me on Facebook some months back, and we started chatting a little bit. Then she said that she and her man moved to Lanzarote, and if I ever wanted to go for a weekend of hiking and surfing, I had a place to stay! Umm...ok! And after I dropped my Integrated Kinesiology course and started stalking down cheap flights, I found a reasonable one to Lanzarote, and decided to take her up on her offer! Now I'm ready to go, and stoked as can be! Weee! Actually, I really have to get out the door now, or I'll be late for my ride!

Life is a pretty awesome and wild thing when we stop trying to control it, live and love in the moment, and trust that God will take care of everything, and then some! I highly recommend giving it a shot. It's nice to just sit back, relax, and not try to run the show. Besides, He's bound to work things out to be waaaay better than we could try to get them anyways! ;-)

I love you Earth Fam, I hope you have a smashing weekend, full of love, smiles, and warmth in your hearts! Don't forget to let that soul soar! xxx

Blessings, Love, Light & Wonder,

Allie-Sun <3 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Excited to Be Back

Never will you catch me saying, "I wish I didn't move to Spain." Never, ever, ever. I can't even think it without starting to laugh. I mean really, it's an absurd thought/statement. The time I've spent abroad has enabled me to discover myself in so many new ways, and really step into my light as the person God and I want me to be.

Of course there have been times when I wonder if I did the right thing leaving love behind, but then a slew of images and memories start to fly through my mind, as though I'm about to die and here's the flashback of my life, and I know for sure, I'd never trade the last 2+ years. But that doesn't mean I'm not excited as hell to go home and spend some time there, too!

I've been seeing a lot of pictures on Facebook lately of my water polo friends from uni, and I've gotta say, I am so excited to go back and smash my face in between all of theirs, appear in some pictures, and have some Adventures stateside!

The last years in Spain have been everything and more I could have hoped for, dreamed of, and/or expected, but it is going to be so nice to go home and reconnect with people I'd like to see remain my friends for the duration of my life. Also, there's nothing like going home to reconnect and participate in your family-life, either! And considering how old my beloved grandmother is (93!!!), and the condition of other family members, it is definitely the right thing to do to go back and be there for a while. I wouldn't be who I am today without the experiences I've accumulated over the last 27 1/2 months, nor would I be who I am without everything that happened before them. So, even though I know my Adventure Overseas isn't anywhere near over yet, I am thrilled I decided to take it back to my home turf for a while.

I will officially land in San Francisco on July 17th, and am planning on staying home for about half a year. Of course, I could get the itch -- the travel itch, the anxious feet, the my-backpack's-been-empty-for-too-long feeling -- before six months are up and hit the road again, but my plan is to stay till after the next New Year. I'm still undecided on what route I'll take after, but the more I think about it, the more I want to return to Belize and help the people I met there make their dreams a fully-realized reality. We'll see. No matter what happens, one thing is for sure: I'm going to remain living as love and in love, and do my best to inspire all you lovely people to make your dreams a reality, too!

Life may be the longest thing we'll ever do, but it flies by, not giving us a chance to realize how fast it's going, and before we know it, we're looking at a new year, wondering what we even did in the one before it. Living on Earth and not enjoying your time here is about the worst thing you can do, it's offensive to God and all creation, because there's no way you're emitting your best energy if and when you're not doing things you love. And creating all that energetic, mental, and emotional mess in and around you is not why you've been sent! So make your life something you actually want to participate in, and wake up smiling in the morning! You literally only have one shot at this, it will never be repeated again, you're not going to be given another chance to enjoy everything we've been given, so make the effing most of it! You deserve to live a life you're in love with, and BE someone you're in love with! Just do it! :D

(Forgive me if I seem harsh, it's probably the quadruple shots of espresso I tossed back last hour flowing through me!)

Sending you strength and determination, and a spirit of conquering all fears and insecurities, so you can step into your own light, and make your own reality!

I love you Earthlings, You Are Magic

Blessings, Love, Light & Wonder,

Allie-Sun <3

Friday, April 10, 2015

ADD Adventures to: {{ Bratislava, Slovakia }}

Last week, I was lucky enough to enjoy a 10-day trip to celebrate Easter, explore my roots, and check out some new cities/countries. The adventure took me through four new cities, in three new countries, and introduced me to many new friends and family members. It was such an intense amount of stimulation and information absorption, I didn't dare write about it as I was in the midst of it all. I couldn't really begin to process what I'd seen/felt in one place, before I was already on a train to the next. But now I'm back, I've had nearly a week to process, and it's time to lay it down in writing! So without further a'due, let's begin our trip where I began abroad: Bratislava, Slovakia.

I didn't really sleep the night before I left Spain, but was lucky enough to score an empty row towards the back of the plane, so I inflated my travel pillow, pulled the eye cover down over my eyes like a lil princess, and passed out for the entire three hour flight from Málaga. It was snowing very lightly when I got there, which was quite a shock considering I'd spent the previous day at the beach. So I geared up mentally, and stepped off the plane. After waiting an absurdly long time for my bag to come out onto the belt (I boarded the plane too late for it to make it into overhead storage), I found a bus that would take me to the train station. For just one night in my entire 10 day trip, I was actually going to pay for a place to sleep, and was pretty excited to get to my hotel and see if I'd done myself as right as I thought I had. (My amazing, incredible, wild hotel, which will be written about towards the end of the post, and is worth sticking around to get to.;)

After going completely mental upon seeing it, I left my stuff, grocked out a little more on its craziness, and headed out for a full day of wandering around and exploration. I was surprisingly energized and excited, and left with the same expectation/thought I always have before I walk out the door: I wonder what adventure we'll have today! And I've gotta admit, I spent the greater part of my journey into the city center thinking, "This is probably the ugliest city I've ever intentionally visited." (Sorry to any who live/are from there. I promise this gets better.) I was so relieved I'd only be staying for one night, and was really grateful I'd been told to only spend about a day there, because it became seemingly apparent I wouldn't want or need more time. But then I entered the center, and my opinion started to change quite quickly.

I began to see why people might go to visit Bratislava, and understand why it would be considered the capital. The castle, the churches, other monuments and large squares, long stretches of pedestrian ways full of pubs, restaurants, cafes and shops -- okay, I get it now. But I wasn't really loving it either.

In spite of feeling a little agitated by the wild, cold wind that was blowing, I was a little bored by the place. It was so charming, but so incredibly quite. I'd just spent the previous day in major meditation, therapy, connection and interaction mode with someone incredibly wonderful, and arrived so full of good energy and desire to run around a new place, meet cool people, and explore, so it was hard to hold it back and feel the need to reel it in a bit. (Which you'll soon read I didn't exactly do anyways...)

The people were so kind and helpful when asked, going quite out of their way to help me, but not very smiley otherwise. And it's such a small place, I realized quite quickly there wasn't an excessive amount of stuff to do/see. It's not a bad thing, I guess I just went into it expecting it to be much louder and larger since it is the country's capital city and has been considered very important throughout the past. Which, as it would turn out, would be some things I really missed about it and longed for whilst wandering around the much larger and somewhat pretentious Vienna the next day.

Overall, I did enjoy my time in Bratislava. When I was walking around I had my earphones in and was playing The Polish Ambassador's Diplomatic Dispatch Vol. 2 mix on repeat, dancing around like I was there by myself. (Which I was, so hey, dance on!) (This is what I mean by I didn't exactly hold my energy back.;) I liked the food, prices, and people I interacted with, and it was enjoyable to be in an easy-to-navigate place. And by the time my trip finished, I loved the city and the experience I'd had there!

I spent my first and last nights in Bratislava because I was flying in/out from their airport. The first night, I booked a room at the Hotel Galería Spirit, which was fantastic! I got to sleep on an inverted pyramid, in a hotel that also doubles as an art gallery/tripadelic place (you can pay 22€ for a canvas and use all the paints/supplies they have, then take it with you. Something I would have done, but I wasn't prepared to pay to ship a canvas to California), that has a supplement company underneath it, and sells supplements in the lobby (I got a massive bottle of spirulina pills for 4€ -- 50% off for clients, and ridiculously cheap prices otherwise!!!). I mean, the place couldn't have been more perfect for me, and was the only reason I actually stayed that first night in the city. I did a Google search of Bratislava, looked at the images and saw this colorful, abstract place, to discover it was the hotel, which I knew I would have to stay in. I ended up paying less than 12€, had the entire room to myself, the gals that work there are great, and highly recommend the experience if you're in Bratislava!


The last night of my trip I couch surfed there, and scored an incredible host! He's a certified Awesome Being, whose passion is the circus, spreading smiles and love, and making people feel. He taught me a couple of juggling tricks and how to turn a plastic bag into a toy, did some much needed work on my I've-been-traveling-and-walking-with-a-pack-on-too-long sore back, I did some energy work on his broken wrist, and many bright ideas were exchanged. And I have to say, as great as the hotel experience was, sprinting circles of excitement around my pyramid bed by myself, being surrounded by different colored and shaped lights, Guillaume, his friends, and his roommates were the perfect way to finish the trip!

We went out to this amazing, literally-under-the-ground pub, and I got to talk to some locals, and get a feel for the social life in the city. And I've gotta say, I really like it!

I'm a fan of anywhere where there is a solid pub culture, and appreciate a place that doesn't have a lot to do, but can offer you really cool, unique places to go and hang out with friends. I love a good beer, but hate the affects of alcohol (one of the few, if not the only, thing(s) I will actually apply the H-word to), so I'm not big on a place that centers around going out and getting wasted. I much rather spend a little more money on one great, flavorful beer, enjoy it for an hour (or two), have some tea, and just engage in good conversations with people. (My gosh, how I've changed!! Thank You, Lord!!!) Bratislava, in the short time I was there, seemed to be able to offer all that.

So, I finished my time in Bratislava really well, and left it with incredibly positive thoughts and memories. Thank you to all who contributed :-* If you're considering going, I'd recommend it. I wouldn't say you need to spend a long time there, but spend a couple days of your holiday, and it will enable you to really relax, and just hang out in a truly charming city. :)

And if you need proof of how awesome my host, new friend, and future farm partner is, check this out (and support them!!!!)...

Pumping out major blessings, love, light, & wonder to you all!
May you have a beautiful weekend, full of play, smiles, and be surrounded be sweet souls!

Love You Family,

Allie-Sun <3

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Trusting Intuition & Bumming Rides

I have to admit, I feel quite bad that I didn't write at all in the time I was out of the country, but truly, I was taking in so much new information, I felt a little overwhelmed at the thought of stopping and slowing and trying to process anything, then write it out. So, I have spent some time only traveling around, at a fairly rapid pace it seemed, and am still trying to process and work through everything I saw, felt, tasted, and experienced in the last ten days. But don't fret fellow adventurers, posts will be coming within the week about Bratislava, Vienna, Budapest, Málaga, and much more! For now, I'm just going to write about The Adventure of the Hour.

It's quite funny, actually, because just a couple days before I came back, I was telling my parents that the trip had gone incredibly well, but was fairly tame, and nothing really radical had happened. I even said it had been kind of boring. (Only in reference to wild adventures, which I tend to expect/experience during my travels and life.) Of course, my father commented on how it wasn't such a bad thing, and enabled everyone to relax a little more. But me, I like a good story, and expect them every time I walk out the door, so I was kinda bummed nothing too nuts had gone down. And then, as an answer to my unintentional prayer, adventure was delivered to me! I had to wait till I was back on Spanish soil for it to happen, but it did, and here it goes...

I flew in and out of Málaga's airport, which means going by blablacar (ride sharing) or bus from my town to Sevilla or Córdoba, and then again by blablacar or bus to Málaga. It's not the greatest arrangement, but every once in a while, it's okay. And I got really lucky with the blablacar I'd arranged to get from Málaga to Sevilla, because they were going to be leaving from the airport, and I wouldn't have to get into town and then sort out where to meet them. This was especially good news considering the previous adventure I'd had prior to departing.

We were meant to leave the airport between 16:30 and 17h, the trip takes about 2 1/2 hours, and the last bus I know about from Sevilla to Écija leaves at 20h, meaning I'd have a perfect amount of time to arrive and catch the bus back home. It seemed like a perfect plan, until four of the five of us who were going to go in the car went to get it from the parking place, and were told it had a flat tire. The couple whose car it is had no idea how this was possible, since they'd driven it there without one, left it there without one, and supposedly the car had been in the care of the parking people for nearly a week. Immediately I knew I wouldn't be making the last bus back to my town, and that I was about to get my adventure.

Surprisingly, it only took about an hour and fifteen minutes for the guy to come (we're in Spain, so that's incredibly fast, really), and instead of taking the car to the workshop, changing the tire, then driving back like they originally planned on doing (which none of us could figure out why, but again, we're in Spain), he just put some gook in it to hold it closed till we could get to Sevilla. So it ended up being about 18:30 when we left, and I started looking for other options to get home.

I learned there might be a bus leaving from the other bus station at 22h, and was putting all my hope in it, because strangely, there were no blablacars leaving from Sevilla to Écija that night as there usually are, nor were there going to be any leaving early enough in the morning to get me back in time for my 8:15 class! Completely opposite of how it usually is. Yep, I'd landed myself right in the middle of a new adventure.

We were driving along the highway for a while, getting closer to Sevilla, and then suddenly, I saw signs for Osuna, a town that's not far from Écija. I asked if we were going to pass through/by Osuna, and we looked on the map to find we'd be going right past it! I know that a lot of people go between Osuna and Écija because the hospital is much larger there than here, and the Holy Spirit started to prompt me and give me that feeling it often does -- that nudging feeling, trying to coax me one way over another, tell me something, guide me. I knew immediately I should just ask to be dropped in Osuna when I felt my chest tightening up, the way it does when an idea that makes me nervous comes to mind, but that comes from a place I know is far Higher than my mind. So what did I do? I tried to get it to back off, suppress it, because I'd rather get to Sevilla hoping there's a bus, than stand outside the hospital in a super-small Spanish town, asking every person that passes if they're going to my town. I was nervous to have to ask so many people, put myself out there like that, and run the risk of not getting back that night.

I started praying, sending messages to people in Écija to ask if they knew anyone going from the hospital that evening, and considered my two options. I really did not want to take the Osuna option, but then I thought about how I try to promote living a life that is based on going with your inner guide, doing things that freak you out, trusting God, and all that stuff I "sell", and I knew I couldn't not take my own advice in that moment. I knew I couldn't sit here and type to you all that it is the best possible thing you can do in your life to put it in the hands of God and trust Him with it all, if I wasn't willing to trust Him as far as to sort out a good, safe, timely lift home for me. I knew exactly what I needed to do. The time had come to stop suppressing the Spirit, and watch God work in my life. So in the last possible minute, as we were about to pass the off ramp into Osuna, I blurted out in full faith, "Could you drop me off at the hospital in Osuna!?" We veered off, and within minutes I was putting on my rucksack and walking towards the doors of the hospital, prepared to face a long string of rejection, but positive it'd all turn out.

In my daily devotional book, one of the quotes I pulled from it and have stuck on my wall says, "If you live your life too safely, you will never know the thrill of seeing Me work through you." (From Jesus, of course:) I read it from time-to-time, and try to allow it to manifest in my life, using it as a sort of creed for being daringly adventurous, always trusting I'll be fine. And this moment seemed too perfect to allow it to be played out. I mean, what's the worst case scenario here? I end up having to walk the 35 kilometers to my town, with my pack on, in twelve hours, all through the night, in order to make it to work on time? God would never let that be the case... I hope. :-/

So I gear up, and get ready to face one of my worst fears and least favorite friends, over, and over, and over, and over again: rejection

I first went into the hospital to ask the receptionist if she knew anyone who was going to be leaving for Écija, and she said no, but that a lot of shifts were ending at that moment, so loads of people would be leaving. Then I took to standing outside, and asked every single person that came out the doors if they were, by any chance, going to Écija.

I've been told by every hitchhiker I know that Spain is a really hard place to hitch, and they try to avoid it at all costs, because you can lose hours trying to find a lift. So it didn't really surprise me that time after time I was told "no", especially considering what I was wearing, and the fact I looked like a proper hippie/alt-kid backpacker, and definitely smelled pretty bad.

I looked something similar to this, but with a quieter scarf and no flower in my hair, plus my backpacker's pack, which I kind of hid off to the side after a few minutes a.) to relieve my back, and b.) to appear "more normal".

One man said no because he only had room for one person and had to take his mother, one woman said no because her car was too full, one young guy said he could take me tomorrow morning, and would normally help me out in the moment, but he was there to visit his grandma and couldn't leave (kind offer, but I could sense some creepy intentions and was quite pleased he couldn't help me in my moment of need), I'd like to think no one lied when they said no, and then, after "only" 35 minutes of asking (throwing in some, "I live in Écija and work there"'s to try and convince the people I'm not just some weird traveling hippie hopping around small, Spanish towns), I got a "Yes"!!! Enter: Francisco.

Fran, as I shall call him, started by asking me a slew of rapidly delivered questions, as if I were a contestant on 20 questions and the clock was running out fast! At first I was surprised, but when I thought about it from his side, I understood all the curiosity. I mean, what is a young American gal doing standing outside a hospital asking for lifts from one random, small town to another?

He ended up being such a nice person, gave me a bunch of advice about life and traveling, and by the end of the lift, he told me he wished he was 30-years old and single, because then he'd ask me if I wanted to go have a couple beers. Haha! Fran was very kind, and delivered some beautiful words to me about the kind of person I am, that I think was God's way of smiling down on me, telling me I'd done right by trusting Him that far. It's pretty amazing the things that God (life, the Universe, yourself, whatever you choose to put your faith in, if anything/one at all) has in store for us when we just GET OUT OF THE WAY and let it happen!

Truly, there is so much good stuff that wants to happen to us, come to us, and bless us, but our fears, our doubts, our silly, limited human logic, and our inabilities to step aside prevent it all from happening. I hope this story inspires you to take some chances and let life carry you along its Grander-Than-Us Plan! To trust that all will turn out wonderfully if you let it and just trust.

Oh, and if you need some more convincing you haven't somehow gotten through any of my adventures, by taking this option, the "Scary and Uncertain One", I was walking in the door to my house at 21:05, earlier than I would have had we not have had a flat tire and I'd made the 20h bus I was originally planning on taking, and 2 1/2 hours earlier than I would have if there'd been a bus at 22h and I caught it. So really, this option, the one I could have never planned on taking or using, ended up being the best one in the end! Funny how that happens! ;)

Sending you epic amounts of love and light, and wishing you wonder and blessings!

-Allie-Sun <3