Last week i went away on a spontaneous trip to Menorca. My friend Kathryn had booked into a 4 day long kayaking trip with guide and sleeping on the beach.
I was deluded as to how difficult it was going to be, it was not impossible but i definitely pushed my Cancer ridden body to the limit.
This was a lighthouse on the tiny island off Menorca (and island off an island) and there is no one who lives on the island, there is just a lot of wildlife and a beautiful black and white graphic lighthouse that looks like it it out of a kids story book. Here is the Billow, the bag-pillow that i brought with me on the trip with the idea that i would use it as a pillow when sleeping on the beach It sort of worked , i also used it as a padding for my seat in the kayak, making it a bit softer on my bum.
My friend Kathryn took a few photos of me showing off the neon range of bags, mainly so i didn't feel so guilty about going on holidays whilst i should probably have been working on my flailing business.
The water was so changeable, sometimes it was smooth as a bathtub and sometimes it was like surfing. Just before i took this photo, i slipped on slimly rocks covered with moss.
This above is a double kayak that i started out on, the person on the back steers with foot pedals and the person at the front generally sets the pace with the rowing.
There were some absolutely dreamy stops. This one is called Es Mesquita, Google translate says it means 'Mosque' so maybe there is a history of Arabic culture around this area. Either way, the white buildings were a great backdrop to some photos featuring our neon bags - the neon pink rolltop backpack and the neon pink rolltop handlebar bar bag.
Here for context, is the whole island, the company that we used called Menora En Kayak is the oldest kayaking company in the island (i think) and they also offer an 8 day guided trip where you go around the whole island. Kathryn, my friend did this trip the previous year.
At the time i didn't really know exactly where were were going, the guide based our trip on the progress we made each day, if we were a slow group maybe we would have covered less distance and a stronger group may have covered more distance. I think this is a good idea as it really makes the trip a bit more relaxing and less frantic if we did have to reach a certain point at the end of each day, despite things like ability, weather, etc.
The original idea was that i would like nice pretty photos at all the stops but it was lucky we took these nice pictures at our very first stop because after this, everything was a bit grubbier, people were a bit tired-er and in general there was less focus on getting pretty pictures and more focus on resting, drying clothes and setting up camp.
One of the bright ideas i had when i landed in Menorca and headed to the capital Mahon. I got my hair braided on the street which kept it out of the way of my eyes and kept it relatively clean and tidy.
The flip flops that i bought minutes before the trip were also a great idea. I used them when i wanted dry feet when i wasn't wearing my neoprene water shoes. Even though your feet don't do alot of the work, they are resting against pedals and the floor so you can get blisters on the heels of your feet if you have fully open shoes. I left my trainers at the hotel and these blue flip flops became my main footwear when i was on dry land.
This location is called S'Algar, it was a little fishing port with a hotel. We had a drink there as a the sun set, it was truly a happy moment pulling in after kayaking for 5 + hours that day. There was a little football pitch at the back part of the beach and we camped on the left side shown in the photo below. Some of the other 7 people in the group slept in the arch ways. I had a very COLD sleep that night and woke up several times that night.
I should not be drinking alcohol these days with my cancer trying to overtake my body. However sometimes it is hard not to join in for a social drink. During this trip, i did have a couple, which was so welcomed after a full day in the sun kayaking. I absolutely loved the monotony and simplicity of the paddling when i would get into a nice rhythm. There was something very meditative about the experience.
I didn't realise that Menorca is quite an eco conscious island. From Trip Savvy "
While the other Balariac islands (Ibiza and Mallorca) spent decades catering to big resorts and tourists, Menorca did just the opposite, opting to keep hotels off its beaches and curtailing development. Now, the results are paying off.
The entire island was recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1993 for its commitment to sustainability, protecting large parts of the island from being built on.1 For years, Menorca has mostly been visited by in-the-know Brits and Germans, but a hidden gem can only stay hidden for so long. As travelers continue to discover the island's unspoiled beauty, it’s gained a reputation as an off-the-radar alternative to Mallorca or Ibiza."
In this case it makes sense that my eco bags made from recycled nylon be associated and shot here on this beautiful island. I was so proud to be able to create all my bags going forward from recycled materials, its not much but it is something that i am proud of.
The trip came out of nowhere, and was certainly not planned, especially when the end of summer was drawing near and i fully thought that was it of sunshine until the next year. Coming from Australia, i must be deep down dependent on the sunshine. But i realise that the depression sets in when the sun starts going down and when it starts to get very chilly. One would ask the question - why the hell am i living in the UK?
Staring out to the ocean on the off chances that i had was so therapeutic for me. I had time to work through some thoughts that i have been having. I try not to be too deep about everything in my life as i know that i can be prone to be over thinking. However, sometimes its really important to step back from the daily grind of life and think about priorities from a different angle.
I had never really considered going to spain before. I had been to Barcelona before as a city break. The world is full of so many beautiful places that i can really understand why it was not on my radar. The previous summers i had been visiting Sweden (my wife's family) and also italy. Until this trip i had no idea how much i missed the actual ocean and forgot how beautiful it is to fall into warm water that is sparkling with turquoise. There were moments that i was looking at the water and thinking, 'oh my god, this is actual paradise'.
This stripey towel / scarf things i am wearing as a wrap around in the picture above (and many of the other pictures)
The rolltop satchel (bicycle handlebar bag) shown here is a design based on the waterproof requirements in the nautical world.
The trip that i went on was exhausting and in many ways i was ruined physically when it was finished However, for my mind, i did come back somewhat refreshed and maybe clear headed, the result is yet to be revealed. Sometimes you go on a trip almost expecting or wanting it to change you but in the end all it really does is give you a little space, a little break and recharging of the batteries.
Look at the colour of the water here. It is actually unbelievable! Kathryn was my captain on this double kayak here. We had things like water bottles and hats handing off the top of the boat, sunscreen and hats were definitely a must, being in the hot sun for most of the day.
Sometimes the water was very shallow, there were rocks and reefs especially when we were close to the coast. I really loved this part the best when you could see things like jellyfish and fish swimming around near the boat.
The trip was not without mishap, on night 2 i think i got bitten by some kind of giant menoran fly, (horse fly?) after a few antihistamine tablets and a few paracetamols and lots of sun screen, i got it more of less under control. My eye was swollen for a few days even after the trip so my take away for this is to bring a fly net for sleeping!
I woke up in the morning for a toilet break on the last night, finally i got some warmth after wearing all my clothes and snuggling up to Kathryn for some body warmth.
The meditative strokes of the paddles hitting the water really made me think about how important it is to keep momentum when rowing and also rowing.
I am really proud of myself that i survived the trip, i felt like i needed to push myself and try to cram in experiences into my life, given it might be limited in time compared to most other people. I am settling into normal life now in the UK with my kids and our routines, but i will always be able to look back on my photos in my phone to see the amazing time i had in Menorca in September 2023.