And Winter came…the winter has been very kind to us this winter. It has been the most snow I have experienced here in the past years. It has been only time I have experienced snow here in Christmas time. It is almost as a nature would give us a little present a reward for times spent at home, not travelling, not meeting friends and family or going to life music or other inside winter time events. Snow came unexpectedly and brought a joy to (for many) more and more grey days. I certainly felt a joy of a child when snow came. There were people playing snowball fights on streets in early morning hours, just enjoying the moment, the present. Joy of being allowed to experience cold white snowflakes on the cheeks. Going to snowy hills was certainly a little miracle of this Christmas. Beautiful sunsets and beautiful sunrises. People enjoying themselves in the safe hug of the nature.
Not long ago I was worried how these winter months will be. I promised myself to find something nice about them, because they can be here quite dark, sad and difficult. And this year without possibility to meet much or go visit family they could be even more difficult. But I was wrong. This winter is one of the happiest I have ever had. Very different, yet that makes it special I guess. So many surprising and unexpected beautiful moments and joy in little simple things. Come with me to have a look how the winter in Scotland can look like.
I can´t count how many sunsets I have seen in my life. Yet this year they happened to be even more special. As November comes sun is getting lower and lower. We are in the time of the year when days are the shortest. Sun rises at 8.30 and sets at 3.30. We are still lucky, as it is not as dark as in the very North, but comparing to Slovakia one can feel it quite a bit.
When I walk during the day I see the sun being low all day not reaching very high. There is a beauty in it as it covers the city in the warm light. One day I got an inspiration to go chase the sun. My dad would often tell me a story how he as a little child always wanted to walk towards the sun and reach it. Innocent little soul not understanding that it is not possible.
For few weeks I have been going to close by hills even if for couple of hours in busy weekends, just to catch last bits of the daylight. Thanks to this project my November happened to be so beautiful. Every weekend I was looking forward to go to mountains and watch this beautiful scenery which happens every day again and again and we miss so many days of our lives not seeing this miracle.
I certainly felt every single time as the sun gave me energy for another week. I would go on my own or with friends I would go in advance or even missed the sunset. Yet every time it was a special occasion, special moment and special day. Usually November is a little sad month because winter is inevitable. This year I enjoyed the November probably the most in my entire life just because I went to see something what is here every single day yet we just often don´t see its beauty.
Leaves from trees are slowly changing into mush-mash of wet slippery cover on the path walks and trees appear to be more and more naked. I guess I am ready for winter as well.
Tiredness is most present every day, as my body would like to tell me to slow down, reflect.
I have been very busy lately, trying to balance all present in my life. I enjoy all, but I am learning to do just as much I can in a day.
Pandemic times don´t add much.
Do you find yourself sometimes creatively drained?
I do. Days even months of not picking up the pencil. Is it for us to push through or just let it go itself? In my own experience the answer is somewhere in the middle.
My creativity heightened lately and I made myself a promise of drawing every day for one month. It is not easy task to accomplish and as I am writing this story I have already slipped few days trying to catch up now.
Have you ever heard of Ink October Challenge? I am doing it now in November. Hoping to continue on everyday quick sketches even after the challenge. That is for another story though.
As I look out of my window weather is less promising every day. Yet we had quite few beautiful days even little inversion, which I am hoping to experience again. Edinburgh covered in cloud, one suddenly felt as being in the part of Harry Potter Books or Sherlock Holmes stories.
Picking up leaves on the way home, creating fall inside of the flat. Enjoying times with friends. Experiencing that even in times as we live at now there is still a lot to see and experience. I guess we learnt to live with virus, there are restrictions present in the past half of the year and I only can conclude that this time brought a lot of positives into my life as well.
Nature become more important than ever, appreciating every new day being healthy, every meeting with friends. Being grateful for the job I have which allows me get away from not only isolation, but as well away from the fear of the virus, which many experience nowadays.
But enough of talking, let me show you little things which make life so special even in times of pandemics.
What is it you enjoy at the moment? What makes you happy?
Oh no Christmas is coming, what will I get to my family?
I barely earn for living how am I going to afford Christmas this year?´
These were my thoughts last year about this time of the year.
Christmas can be a struggle, when comes to presents for our loved ones. We want them to be useful, meaningful and personal, but sometimes we just run out of ideas. Last year I was fairly worried about Christmas, because I didn´t have much money so there was a limitation what to get them. But I hate giving people staff they don´t need just out of giving them something. I had those experiences when I just had no idea or no money and I usually wanted to dig a hole in the sand and put my head in it when I could feel disappointment in eyes of my loved ones. Maybe it is my fault that they got used to how ´perfect´ and meaningful gifts I always try to give them.
I had to find a way how to make them happy but won´t cost me fortune or better almost nothing as I could barely afford living. Something what I will feel as I found a way how to give them something meaningful as well.
So I dived into memories of conversations we had lately.
What did they say they like or wanted?
My mum was talking about how she struggles to find inspirational pictures for her paintings. Her eye doesn´t let her watch for too long into the computer monitor and she doesn´t know where to find something nice.
There it hit me. I could make her an inspirational book with some pictures which she could draw and paint. I bought blank notepad and few magazines in the charity shop and started looking through them for some nice pictures.
Faces. Nature. Paintings.
Something she could paint and learn from.
Just sticking pictures felt empty. What could I fill it with?
Recently I got an ink and old-fashioned ink pen. Perfect. I can write some meaningful quotes inside and make a book out of it. Very personal book for my mum, that every time she opens it some inspiration comes out for her.
It was very enjoyable creative process, even though it took me very long time to finish it. Finding pictures, drawing some backgrounds, searching and writing quotes according to theme of the pictures…
I guess it will be better seen what I have done in visual.
So if you struggle financially or with ideas what to give to your close people, maybe this can be an inspiration.
It can be a great gift for someone creative you care about. Have a look inside this personal book and maybe it will be inspiration for your Christmas present :).
So we went on a journey of adventure, the journey I had in mind for about a year. Finally, I packed my backpack and we set on to walk ´Pentlands Way´ in Scotland. Not many people walk this path it isn´t even very famous, but everyone in the area knows it and walked at least parts of it if being ever in Pentlands. I do love these hills. Sanctuary from busy and noisy city not far from Edinburgh.
Determined to walk the path despite bad forecast so much in need of nature and break out of Edinburgh after so many months spend here in this year better said only here.
The journey was amazing but wasn´t easy. Nature showed us its very best and nicest the first day yet its worst the second one. I came back home sore from blisters and heavy backpack yet so happy inside smiling energy into the world. We had to cut our journey short because weather conditions were too rough and difficult at the end.
Come with me to walk this path together and maybe you set on your own one day. Maybe we will manage to walk it till the end next time.
It was sunny outside, but as soon I stepped out I knew something is different. The air was cold and had this smell which can only mean one thing.
Autumn is here.
Season which covers land in colourful blanket. Fall as they call it in English. Time when we start getting ready for winter. Summer is gone, but not quite just yet. Last bits of sunshine warm soft light early sunsets. Everything is telling me that inevitable is coming.
This is time to enjoy and take in all what is left from warmth and light.
Autumn brought me back to life. With all news and restrictions, I felt somewhat drained and influenced more than I would like to be.
I forced myself one day to get to see a sunset here in Edinburgh from the hill Arthur Seat. That was a day everything has changed and finally energies started moving different directions.
I threw my jacket and backpack into the grass set the tripod and filmed the sunset. Suddenly I saw inspiration again I felt as energy is moving inside my body and inspiration is rushing into my mind, into my heart.
Still tired I knew that this is turning point. As I watched the sun fall behind the Calton Hill I just wanted to stay in this moment forever.
Yet I packed all again and made my way towards trees where I left my bike waiting quietly for my arrival. Suddenly my heart skipped and I stopped in silent awww. Large ginger creature crossed my path in most gentle way as the animal can do.
´Fox, ´ crossed my mind.
In split second she was gone in the trees where my bike was waiting. I smiled and stood there for a little while longer.
Was it just a dream or did it just happen?
Many years ago when I moved to Edinburgh I used to see foxes for about a year or two. I didn´t understand it back then, thinking it is just many of them here. Which is true as well, but it was as well time when I changed everything, when I let inspiration lead me where I am supposed to go. It was a time, when I fell in love, when I understood more about life than ever before, when I heard my inner calling the loudest. Time when everything shifted.
That time is here again.
I am finding my inspiration, the feeling that this is it I just need to keep going and find the way how to take this inspiration out there. The fox was always a sign of something changing and new exiting beginnings lieng ahead, even though accompanied with possible pain of letting go of old.
I guess that is exactly time I am entering just now and am more curious then ever what does it have in its cards this time.
That was my beginning of the autumn this year. Shift from sadness to inspiration and excitement. After the day I met the fox and watched the sunset colours started appearing in the trees, leafs would dance in the wind and I would see ideas and inspiration absolutely everywhere. I went to explore the old forest were I would just experience these magical moments of connection with nature. I haven´t explored it all yet. It is going to be even more colourful now.
It´s been about a year ago when I have started my collage book of places which I have visited in Scotland. Each place is special and talks its own story. It is hard to capture feeling by a photo or only words. Art expression is getting closer to the feeling yet still it is not enough. I guess that´s why I have started making videos, to capture the feeling of this country.
Scotland is a magical country. I believe that there is beauty everywhere and I consider my own birth country to be one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. It is true though, that there is something about Scotland. It not only has been tested country throughout centuries but it is very proud country too. Full of stories and dramatic landscape, which makes one’s imagination go wild. No wonder so many writers and artists found their inspiration exactly here.
J.K. Rowling saw Harry Potter behind Edinburgh’s walls. Arthur Conan Doyle saw his Sherlock Holmes solving crimes in dark Edinburgh’s streets. Many artists roamed Scotland for inspiration. Neither science overlooked Scottish potential. Alexander Graham Bell or Alexander Fleming were few important people in history who moved society forward and were raised to their own potential exactly here.
My own experience is that I didn’t know much about Scotland before coming here. I guess that’s a little bit of continental ignorance in me as I would consider UK to be one country even though at school we would learn about centuries hunted and pushed Scottish people by the English crown. It´s all in the past, yet when one lives here long enough there are some differences and tensions still present. Maybe that is for another story.
Today is all about feeling which Scotland can trigger in us. Get a little glimpse of this country and let me take you to places which not only inspired me but left my heart full of joy and excitement. I processed all these feelings through collage book which I am intended continue creating as more I explore around here. It is a great way how to keep my little sketches together as well or capture some thought which the place provoked in me. Enough talking for today, come with me and let me show you a bit of Scotland.
Little Scottish town on the east coast called North Berwick holds special place in my heart. When you travel there by train you basically end up on the very end of the world because train rails don´t continue anywhere else.
When I have seen these kind of ´ends of the world´ around Scotland for a first time I was fascinated by them, because in Europe there is always somewhere to continue and very rarely you get ´end of the rail´ station.
At least certainly not in Central Europe.
So very first thing one is exposed to is ´end of the world´ train station.
North Berwick is a beautiful place to visit once being in Scotland. It is tiny town with very atmospheric vibe, because on one main street you get a lot of tiny cute coffee shops and galleries, which create cosy feeling that one would love to live exactly here.
Then you pass through few houses and sea opens up in front of you.
Beautiful long beach with view on two islands, which one of them is very iconic ´Bass Rock´. This island happened to be inspiration for many artists who found themselves in Scotland.
When I was just getting to know arty world it was exactly here when I tried painting real outside object into my sketchbook.
It was my birthday and I had wonderful day in this little town.
Thanks to the painting I made (which wasn´t nothing that special yet special for me) I will always remember the feeling of that day.
Sitting on the beach and painting for a fist time with watercolours outside. I felt very anxious, because my skills weren´t very good and I was just very self-aware of my surroundings not wanting anyone to see what I am painting.
Probably here for a first time I have let go of my fears not caring what the outcome will be. There were very little people around and I had pretty much the place for myself.
It was strange feeling as almost connecting with other artists who sat on that beach and painted very same island in the past.
I think that was a time, when I decided to do whatever I can and continue this new journey which somehow happened to be present in my life.
Artistic journey of self- expression buried deep inside and waiting to be found one day. It was almost symbolic and I perceived that day sitting on the beach in North Berwick as a sign for me to continue besides my anxieties and uneasy feelings of self-doubt, comparing and not understanding why was I even brought on the journey with brush in my hand.
Trying to capture the sea, the colours with very limiting skills of someone who doesn´t even know how to paint. But inner drive and need to capture somehow this moment was much stronger than self-doubt about my artistic skills.
Come have a look with me and visit this tiny little Scottish town which is just so special and if you ever are visiting Scotland – North Berwick should be on your list.
Not long ago I was trying to capture our herbs picking with my family. The same day we went for mushroom picking, which wasn´t that successful 😀
Yet it was an amazing day outside in the forests very dear to me. I have seen my first deer running through the path at the early morning here, when all I could hear was stamping noise. I learnt here to recognise which mushrooms are good to eat and which ones are better left behind.
As a child I was aware of beauty surrounding me and felt that nature and forests are these magical places where everything is possible and everything is somehow beautiful. That´s not what always nature is though. It has its way to teach us often difficult and challenging bits about life and what does it mean to be a human as well.
After years coming back felt as a pathway to past memories which rushed through my head as we walked. Again I wanted to capture this old memory and this present moment which possibly could be source of inspiration for finding beauty in simple things for someone else.
I don´t know about you, but I just love walking through any kind of the forest, especially when it is nice and easy to walk around and ground is covered in fresh grass. That was exactly how morning would welcome us fresh dew on the grass and smell of the forest in the air.
As we entered the forest we were lucky to find a mushroom and it gave us hope for a successful day, but unfortunately few more we found and that was all for that day.
It hasn´t disappointed me though, because I again found some inspiration inside in between those trees.
Small things came my way as fallen bird nest, colourful bug trying to get his way or deer running in the distance. It was a time when I have started recording small bits of these beautiful moments and thinking about the way how could I capture the feeling and the memory I got here. I guess it was the beginning of my video editing journey as a way to be creative yet make sense of the experience as well.
Everything is always happening for its reason, so the fact we haven´t found any mushrooms that day had its purpose as well.
That was a special day spent with my parents, remembering times we used to go there when I was a child. Admiring hard work of ants who tried to steal every small bit of our sandwiches which fell on the ground and creating new memories together to hold on for later when we will be apart once again.
People sometimes ask and wander why would I live so far away. Maybe there will come a time I will feel a need to move closer but so far the fact not being close taught all of us to value even more greatly than before our relationship which is certainly valuable lesson having.
I hope and believe there will come a time that I will be allowed spend maybe more time with them but not losing the life here in order to do so.
Come with me then for this little poetic forest walk which can maybe inspire you as well to find your own inspiration in small things life have to offer.
Deliveroo sounded as a great option to get some income as because of decision studying again has prevented me doing full time job. But honestly having full time job in only one field never has been my domain because with routine I quickly loose motivation and inspiration. Path I have chosen determined by artistic journey and self-awareness is very often about experiencing insecurities and being unconsciously put into situations which test my limits bringing up old not useful patterns and test me in many ways how do I face them. I love this way of living even though it can be very challenging at times.
But back to Deliveroo.
I have always loved sports but as years passed I became less and less fit. I would do some hiking I have never minded walking but that would be it.
But then would come walking into stairs.
Oh my god living on the top floor was truly a nightmare and since I moved not only I live on the top floor but even higher than before. Maybe because of my luck of fitness maybe because of stress of the past and its toll on my thyroid stairs became at times my enemy.
Often I would think about my past younger times when I would exercise 5 days a week which I have never been able coming back to.
My financial situation pushed me to find suitable options which would allow me at least to certain extend manage my time and not exhaust myself to the point where there is no creativity left or strength to study mentaly fairly difficult and challenging topic based on a lot of inner work.
Again back to Deliveroo.
So apart of part-time job at school I have started riding. It was a huge challenge specially at the beginnings, because Edinburgh is not flat. I grew up on a flat land, where it would be easy get anywhere by bike, because there were no hills. I hated cycling hills I would never manage with my breath and it felt as literally dying. So being forced to be quick with deliveries and go constantly up the hill (because where I lived before was close to the sea) was a huge challenge which took me months of trying one or two deliveries at a time in order to get better.
Slowly I would see some progress and then lockdown hit.
I haven´t done almost any deliveries in that time as the focus went into my studies, some online work, art, creative projects meeting as little people as possible because we already lived four pretty much strangers in the flat and specially at the beginning no one really knew how things are going to be. Looking back, it wasn´t the greatest decision because I lost all my little fitness I have gained until then so coming back to it after months of being pretty much home was as starting from the point zero.
So I started cycling around to places, running and again slowly gaining some fitness. Riding felt difficult at the beginning I would make one order and I was just ready going home. Mentally this wasn´t helping, because my mind wouldn´t see the point of doing so.
So again finances forced me to keep going.
I have started doing one or two orders per day and slowly getting better and better.
One day I went for a trip with a friend and there was an older man watching as I was unlocking my bike. He shown some light onto my bike struggles because he said that the bike I have he remembers from his younger times about 20 years ago. All of a sudden it made sense why it does always feel so hard riding it.
The bike has started squeaking as to let me know how old it is and I have realised that since I got it about 6 years ago as a second hand bike I have never done any maintenance with it and took it very much for granted.
So I bought at least some oil because obviously the bike was telling me to do something.
I love my bike, but it is truly an old lady.
Today was a first day riding on well-oiled bike and oh my gosh what a difference. I think I had to use twice of the effort before.
Another huge struggle and coming out of my comfort zone was facing amount of people and traffic specially at evenings. I felt as everyone is watching me, which often for some reason I would drive attention of people passing by at me. Maybe it is the fact I am a woman rider, which I do meet very rarely other woman or it´s so obvious that I just often struggle to the hill and am catching my breath. Whatever it is I prefer less crowded times during mornings maybe lunch time even if that means I earn less money.
People seem to be kinder at mornings too, maybe it´s because new day has started and there is no stress of the day present upon them yet.
At the moment of writing this 6 days in the row of riding is behind me. It is still nothing much just about two hours a day, but I am proud of myself, because it feels as with running when you pass certain point until when it feels super difficult suddenly it becomes freeing and nice experience. I believe I am getting there with my bike too. My dad has grown up in very hilly town in the mountains always riding bike, even my grandad would ride the bike around everywhere on those hills to very old age. So I have a strong believe there are genes inside which can find beauty and likeness in riding bike in hilly places.
I am growing to liking this new routine on the bike driving to different places, getting to know my new neighbourhood and enjoying new experience life brought me.
Are you a woman rider yourself or would like to become one? If so and you would like to support me feel free to use my code while registering to become a rider – roo.it/EV346289
Let me know what are your experiences riding for company as Deliveroo if you have some? Are you a fellow woman rider – what are your experiences?