Category Archives: Travel

LIEBSTER AWARD – Thank You Gloria

I’d like to thank Gloria Mc Breen of We Are Holistic (Blog) for nominating me for this esteemed Blogging Award!

I started blogging in August of 2013 while I was travelling in Peru. Gloria was one of the first people to ‘follow’ my blog.

In recent years we discovered each other in other social networks. Gloria has since reviewed my first published book (poetry) on her blog and has also purchased my art work for her home.

I am honoured that she has now included me for this Liebster Award. 

Visit Gloria’s We Are Holistic Blog when you are finished here.

Liebster Award Image

AS PART OF MY LIEBSTER AWARD ACCEPTANCE I AGREED TO ANSWER MY NOMINATORS QUESTIONS

1. When are you at your happiest?

I’m at my happiest when I am on an adventure, revelling in the experience of new cultures and the freedom of wide open spaces and wilderness. I’m at my second happiest when sharing those experiences with others through my writing and other art forms, especially through song.

2. If you were to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, whose would it be?

I’d be interested to walk a mile in the shoes of one of our international space stations astronauts. I imagine that seeing our planet from a distance, would significantly boost my awareness and desire to improve life on earth.  Alternatively, I would be interested to walk in the path of a Sadhu priest in India.

3. What’s usually the first thing to pop into your mind when you wake up each morning?

Waking up in morning, I like to listen to the birds for a while. As I love my work, I am usually excited about the opportunity to create and connect with others.

4. What’s your biggest regret in life? If any!

I think regret is a waste of time. I say with compassion, ‘I could not have learned any faster, the things I needed to understand in order to overcome the impact of negative experiences in my life’.

5. If you were to be reincarnated as an animal, what animal would you like to be and why?

I’d love to be a humming-bird living in the tropics. I saw one once, before my eyes, in Peru, and it was magical.

Humming Bird copyright Johnlric dreamtime.com

6. What’s your favourite smell and why?

I love the smell of the earth after heavy rain. It just feels good and reminds me that I am part of that same earth. I also love the smell of freshly ground coffee the warm cotton air of laundrettes and the salt water effects of ocean connecting with rocks.

7. Are you a slow writer or can you whip up a good post in a couple of hours?

I’m an agitated writer. I sometimes feel that I am being instructed to write and I don’t rest until it’s done. Often I cannot get the words out fast enough. It’s a wonderful feeling to communicate creativity.

8. What household chore do you hate doing most? Or is there one you actually enjoy? 

It’s probably the one I do the least, cleaning windows.

9. What colour dominates your wardrobe?

I go through colour phases. Purple has been completed and I think I’ve entered the amber phase but turquoise is a constant and naturally it is linked with throat/communications chakra.

10. What’s your laugh type? Quiet & Polite, loud & boisterous, more of a chuckle, or a musical ha ha ha ha?

I’m the musical laugh for sure. In the past my laugh was loud and suggestive. I’ve since changed my ways towards being truer to myself. I have more appreciation for creativity and knowledge now and nothing to prove to anyone except myself.

11. Are you a romantic?

Through to my blood and bones and all my atoms and quarks, I am seriously and fantastically romantic!

Journey In Peru – Wild Star Landing

ABOUT LIEBSTER AWARD:

The Liebster award is given to bloggers by other bloggers. The idea is to welcome new bloggers into the blogging world and help them to get noticed. However, it seems that anyone, established or starting, out can be nominated.

The word “liebster” originates from Germany and has several meanings:

 welcome, sweetest, pleasant, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, valued, cute, kindest and endearing

The blogger who nominates you asks 11 questions of their choice. In return you nominate 5-11 bloggers with your own 11 questions.

There is no obligation to accept, but since it’s nice to be asked, it’s nice to keep it going.

THE RULES OF LIEBSTER AWARD:

I’ve found that the rules vary slightly but they’re all similar!

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the person asked you.
  • Nominate 5-11 people (comment on their blog to let them know).
  • Ask the people you have nominated 11 questions.
  • List these rules in your post.
  • And most importantly……. Have fun!

It is my pleasure to nominate the following bloggers for Liebster Award:

Sarah Vernon – First Night Design

Janet Weight Reed – My Life as an Artist

Pat O’Carroll – Art In Many Forms

Deborah Byrne – DB Psychology

Krystal Long – Krystal’s Journal

Brenda Bergin – Digigran Biz

Miriam Mc Guirk – Miriams Blog

Kerry Manning – Fabulicious Fifty

Caroline’s 11 Questions to nominated bloggers:

  1. What inspired you to start your very first blog?
  2. If you could live in another country where would you live and why?
  3. What historical or living female (non-relative) has inspired you (same question to male and female bloggers) ?
  4. What was the scariest experience you ever had?
  5. If you are a coffee, tea or red wine drinker what country origin of any of these do you prefer and why ?
  6. Did you ever own a goldfish and have you a funny story to share about that goldfish?
  7. What is your favourite fairytale and why?
  8. Who is your favourite visual artist and why?
  9. What is your favourite romantic song in terms of lyrics?
  10. What life achievement are you most proud of so far?
  11. If you won one million in the lotto tomorrow what one purchased gift would you give yourself (not charity)?

Thank you again to Gloria Mc Breen for this award – We Are Holistic Blog

Thank you for reading!

What answers would you give to my questions to award nominees?

Caroline Cunningham

Author, Artist, Blogger, Authentic Reflexology Therapist.

Books by Caroline Cunningham (Indie Author):

The Whisperings of Nature (Poetry)

Seven C’s to Calm – Reclaiming your Anxiety Free Self (Wellness)

Free eBook – Preparing for Calm

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Mansion House Celebrating Peru In Ireland 

I feel honoured to have been invited to this special celebration in The Mansion House Dublin, Ireland (during August 2017).

Casa Ireland in Peru with Erica Pena as it’s chief organiser, are the group who have made all of this happen. The efforts of the group, which brings together a community of Peruvians living in Ireland, are gaining momentum. 

At this most recent celebration in the residency of Dublins Lord Mayor, the Cuban Ambassador, as a representative of Latin America, addressed the invited guests. 

It was announced that Peruvians will soon have Embassy representation in Ireland. Presently London is the closest embassy as their point of contact. 

Mexico is the location of the Irish embassy which caters for Peru. Thanks to Irish President Michael Higgins visit to Peru earlier this year, relations between the two countries have strengthened. 

Peru is a country with a growing economy, rich in culture which in many ways matches that of the Irish in terms of its passion for music, dance and food. The people are equally friendly and fun-loving. 

Ireland Celebrates Peru

I’ve been invited to the Mansion House! Dublin’s cities residence of The Lord Mayor is the venue for a special celebration of Peruvian culture in Ireland soon. I have, in recent months, connected with a vibrant group of Peruvians living in Ireland.

In June 2017, I attended dance rehearsals with members of the facebook group ‘Casa Peru in Ireland’. At the end of that month we performed on the streets of Dublin, show-casing the traditional dances of Peru.

This was also a way for me to show my friends back in Peru that my time spent amongst them, as an adventurer and writer, has not been forgotten.

‘Stories are my thing and I seek the positive and beautiful even in the darkest of places.’

In fact, it is my wish to publish my travel memoir from that time. I refer to it as my ‘Journey in Peru’ story. It has been featured on this blog ‘Wild Star Landing’ and has also been listed in Ireland Blog Awards in the last few years running. Take note if indeed you are a publisher or agent, we could be a team! (:

‘I was always writing but I could say I ‘BECAME’  a writer when I landed in Peru.’

Flashmob 2

Peru is the country that propelled me into the world of writing. I was always writing but I could say I ‘BECAME’  a writer when I landed in Peru. I have been twice to that magnificent land as a result of this writng ‘fire-spur’.

I would love to return andI would relish any form of sponsorship that would return me there a while longer. I write lovingly about genuine stuff, people, places and culture. Stories are my thing and I seek the positive and beautiful even in the darkest of places.

Fly me  to Peru? Have a heart (:

Can’t wait to visit the Mansion House for celebrations. Will keep you posted!

Thanks for stopping by! Do say hello!

©Caroline Cunningham

Author, Blogger, Artist

For amazing, thoughtful gift ideas for yourself and loved ones visit Carolines bookstore and gallery – go shopping!

Do you agree?

Itching to write! But something’s stopping me. I’ve worked too long and hard on other stuff (other writing projects, paintings, promoting my work, providing therapy, networking). My brain is saying ‘Stop! Take a break’ and another part is saying ‘Get on with it, you’re not going to survive if you sit still!’.

When it comes to creativity, timing is everything. You create the right space by taking care of yourself. Do you agree?

I’m just writing out loud here in an effort to clear the decks. The thing I love most about writing is the connection it allows me to have with the wider world. That connection is a very special thing. We share so much even though we may be oceans apart. Do you agree?

I am always going to assume from now on that you may be the person who does not agree so fire ahead and rant and rave, just on this post, leave the others alone hahaha! Selective ranting and raving. Do you agree?

So its Friday, I have not co-ordinated a plan yet but I am going to unwind ever so slowly. A break is indeed necessary. It’s Bank Holiday here in Ireland (meaning most people get an extra day off work just because).

August is for me, like an end of year thing, because I am actually a student and have been for many years. September to July are the months of my studies which have transformed me to what you see today. Not like that ‘wan’ years ago, who would hide under a bed so that the world would not see her in anyway good.

Elton Caroline

Now, is a time for reflection. So much has happened in this last 11 months. My sphere has broadened, I’m on the up in lots of ways. I still need more sales to bring more dignity to my efforts but if you are serious about helping in that area I provide excellent value in all my art works and books and its very easy to use my on-line shop.  Do you agree?

I look forward to keeping you posted on the next big news stuff for my creative works.

Have fun everyone. Thank you for stopping by! Do you agree?

© Caroline Cunningham

Support my creative endeavours – books – artwork – therapy

The Whisperings of Nature – Book

Seven Cs to Calm – Book

Preparing for Calm (Free eBook)

The Sacred Lives of Trees – Artwork

Even more affordable artwork options – Art Prints

Dancing in the Street! Peru Style

Now at least I can say I have something in common with Mick Jagger and the great David Bowie! Only a week ago I was ‘Dancing in the Street’!! Want to know how that feels? Feckin’ amazing! (;

No other words for it really! I answered the call – Casa Peru Ireland – a group of Peruanos living in Ireland, put a call out via their face book page. Flash mob! Rehearsals in June! All welcome!

Flashmob 2

Flash Mob Casa Peru in Ireland!

How could I resist? As someone who wrote continuously about my Journey in Peru over a period of 30 months on my Wild Star Landing blog, I was eager to strengthen my links with this country by taking part in this fun event.

During my time in Peru, I had observed the many festivals in the plazas and on the streets where dancing is central to the celebration. I had even given it a go myself ‘Dancing around the Coffee Tree’ and ‘Waino Dancing by the River’ but I had not properly learned the steps and sequences.

Flashmob 1

Peru Ireland Connections

So in June 2017 in Dublin city centre, I joined this festive group to partake in a sequence of dances representing the three main regions of Peru, Coast, Mountain and Jungle.

We rehearsed over a period of three weeks. I really enjoyed the gatherings and met people not just from Peru but countries such as Mexico, Bolivia, Italy and Romania.

When it came to our street performance, some were understandably nervous and certainly there was much anticipation. None of us had quite done anything like this before.

Dublin was strangely quiet that evening and rain was upon us too. Nonetheless, we followed through with the joyful action and all our steps were carried out.

Flashmob 4

Wild Star Landing – Dancing in the Street

I am proud to say I danced the Peruvian dances. My friends in my Peru can see me in the videos and I know my bonds have been strengthened even though the miles between us are many.

Take a look at our ‘Dancing in the Street ‘Peruvian flash mob style!

Have you been to Peru? What was your favourite spot?

© Caroline Cunningham

Author of Wild Star Landing

Books by Caroline Cunningham – Go Shopping !

Writing letters all of their days – Travel Tale

Up until then they were just two older men meeting for dinner. Then they ordered desert!

I was tempted, as one of the deserts looked particularly elaborate. I had to ask them what it was. That was the start of our conversation.

Beneath the canapé of the restaurant with candle lights dancing in table top lanterns, the waiter presented me with the delicious Hungarian delight. The gentlemen saluted me as I dipped my spoon into the chocolate dreamy folds of cake.

 

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Budapest

 

Now we were in unison, enjoying treats and absorbing the magic of lapsing twilight into deeper night time sky. I settled back in my seat for a moment, observing the city passersby and raised my eyes to the roof tops of stately buildings. I had found rest after my hours of walking and deciphering of maps and streets, this moment felt like my reward.

‘Is it your first time to Budapest?’ He addressed me in English but German was his first language. His friend smiled at me. ‘Yes,’ I replied. ‘And you travel alone?’ he enquired. ‘I’m going to a wedding in a Slovakia in a few days,’ I added. They both seemed very pleased with this response and as we had now moved to coffees they saluted me again.

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The Danube

Our tables were close enough for comfortable communication although, I had to pay close attention because the other gentleman spoke with a French accent and his English was not as coherent as that of his German friend.

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Budapest

They enquired about my homeland of Ireland, saying that they had visited some years ago and had enjoyed the beautiful landscape. Ireland had been in the news a lot that week, as the American President had paid a stately visit. The German man being, more chatty, made a reference to our famous USA visitor. I told him my tale of how I had seen Barak Obama twice in one day, as his car drove past and he had waved at me both times!

And I couldn’t stop myself from telling the story about his ‘stately tank of a car’ getting stuck in the hollow of the Embassy gates in Dublin and how they had to get a crane to lift it out. As we erupted into laughter, so too did the diners at the next tables. They were American!

Car Budapest

Budapest – Wild Star Landing

I decided it was time to find out more about my new friends. Their story touched my heart. Here we had two men in their seventies who had maintained a friendship since they were schoolboys. One grew up in Germany and the other in France. And how their friendship grew? They were pen-pals!

It was explained to me that this was an initiative instigated between schools after World War 2 with the intention of establishing good relations between future generations of the two countries. What a genius idea! As young boys they had shared their stories with each other, letter by letter, each building a sense of what life was like for the other. I imagined how it must have been so exciting receiving those letters and how their imaginations must have been set alight.

 

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Budapest – Wild Star Landing

 

There was thoughtfulness between them as they recounted their story in turns. They both had families of their own now, all grown up and there were grandchildren too. Throughout all the other events of life they had maintained this special bond.

In later years, they decided that every year they would meet in a European city and spend a few days together, which is how I found myself sitting next to them on this very night. Such a story warranted an additional salute. We continued our conversations while enjoying a nightcap of red wine.

Car Budapest

Budapest – Wild Star Landing

They wanted to know about my friends who were to be married and my plans for getting to Slovakia. I thanked them for sharing their story which was so inspiring.

People seldom write letters anymore. My mother writes them to her friends in sympathy when they have lost someone close. I recalled how, as back-packers in Australia in the 90’s, fellow travellers sometimes sent each other letters to say ‘I made it home’ or ‘it was lovely to meet you’, even if the meeting was just for one day. This was before things like email and mobile phones were all the rage. I still have a stash of those letters saved, promising myself I’ll read them when I’m 80 or if I ever get incapacitated.

It was time to say goodnight. We paid our bills and walked together to the train station. We embraced, kissing each other from side to side, then waved goodbye.

And that was my first night in Budapest.

car-budapest-3.jpg

Budapest – Wild Star Landing

This article is dedicated to a group of twitter pals of mine who instigated a chat around the topic of letter writing. I remembered this story and a few of our group made me promise to share it once I added the story to my blog. I hope you enjoyed the tale.

Do leave a comment to let me know if you still write letters or have some stashed away too. Or maybe you had a special trip to Budapest too?

© Caroline Cunningham

Inca Trail – To Do Or Not To Do? – Journey In Peru

Deciding to travel to Peru from Ireland or Europe can be a big deal especially as the price of the flight is often quite staggering and especially so during peak season. The lure of Machu Picchu, now a World Wonder and famous UNESCO heritage site of the lost Inca civilisation, captures the imagination to the extent that travellers often sign up for the Inca Trail that leads there without ever having done this type of thing before.

There are some important factors to consider before signing up to undertake some days of trekking in Peru. Firstly, I will outline, I have been to Peru twice and have even lived quite close to the Inca Trail but have not done the hike itself. I had my own reasons for this.

Two important factors to consider are, your fitness level and your adjustment to being at higher altitude than usual.

If you excersise a lot, have good stamina, are used to hiking, especially for long durations then possibly you will be more equipped for spending a couple of days of hiking the Inca Trail. If you have not experienced the thrill of hiking in hills and mountains why not join a group in your local area, who are skilled in guiding you and see if you enjoy the experience. Your expensive holiday should definitely be one that you fully enjoy.

If you have already lived in high altitude environments then you will know your bodies adjustment and reaction to this. If you have not experienced being at high altitude it is very important to educate yourself on the symptoms and effects that can occur. You really don’t know until you go, how this will effect you. It has no bearing on age or fitness level.

Machu Picchu (2430m asl) is actually at a much lower altitude level than cities such as Cuzco and Puno for example. It is best to acclimatise slowly by spending a few days in high altitude before attempting hiking treks that take you further away from access to medical care.

Always heed the signs of altitude sickness and report to your guide if travelling in a group. Guides should be trained in health and safety. Tour companies usually have these saftey guidelines well out-lined for their clients.

Peru is an amazing country with so much to offer. Machu Picchu may be its crowning glory for tourists but there is so much more to discover such as the Amazon area, Lake Titicaca and its floating reed islands and Uros civilisation, Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, Cuzco City once the capital of the Incas and Arequipa’s volcanoes and architecture.

Floating Reed Islands and Uros People on Lake Titicaca

Floating Reed Islands and Uros People on Lake Titicaca

Many people travel solo and do the back-packer thing which can be less luxurious and less expensive, while many others take advantage of an organised tour which take you much more quickly around the vast circuit of treasures in a shorter space of time.

Arequipa Peru Volcano

Arequipa Peru Volcano

Trekking and hiking can be a lot of fun and brings a sense of achievement and opportunity for bonding with fellow trekkers. Whatever you decide, be safe, be well and choose the option that will make your travel experience the most enjoyable for you.

If you do consider trekking the Inca Trail have some consideration for the ones dedicated to carrying your back-pack. This is a service that is provided for travellers within tour groups. I have spoken with one young man who did this work for a while before he studied for the hospitality industry. His recollection of carrying the heavy back-packs of travellers was not the most joyous. So put yourself in the shoes of others and pack as lightly as possible.

Enjoy your trip. If you have enjoyed my blog and this post and found it particularly useful why not repay me by sharing the post or leaving a comment.

© Caroline Cunningham – Author of Wild Star Landing and Journey In Peru