westmere or bestmere? (reflections from waiheke)

hello everyone,

hope february finds you well. i am now on waiheke island, where i've come for further introspection, going deeper, and spending a lot of time reading, observing, reflecting. effortless really as i am in a tranquil spot with magnificent views of the ocean, epic sunrises and sunsets.

this morning, i find myself thinking about my time in westmere and wondering what made that time so special. seventeen days sped by ridiculously fast, and i felt sad to leave when it was time to go.

one reason was the gorgeous quarters i stayed in, virtually hand-made by my host, helen, who is a remarkable woman. she managed to take a broken down house and re-imagine it into separate spaces, each different, each with her unique sense of style. she is not just inventive and resourceful, she is generous with her home, her books, and her creative energy.

another reason, the location with easy access to whatever struck my mood. cox's bay and reserve, just down the street, where you can lose yourself in beauty and nature; grey lynn, with a lovely community center, that hosts events, classes and a weekly market; ponsonby, with block after block of indy shops, restaurants, pubs, and interesting offerings; point chevalier, where i had the privilege of meeting and working with locals in their community garden. 

food here is exceptional and caters to every type of diet or hankering. not necessarily a good thing as i felt my clothes getting tighter each day. whether eating in or going out, it was easy. Maybe too easy, if you know what i mean.

a day spent at mount eden, the highest volcano in auckland, was one of the best in recent memory. with 360 degree views from the top, i felt a sense of space like no other. despite it being a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, there are multiple paths to explore so once i got off the beaten one, i felt completely alone, at ease, as i laid in the grass and took in the sky, watched the clouds go by. glorious.

my final evening was spent with helen, and three of her other guests, martin, paul and greg, up in helen's fairytale room. we gathered as strangers and several hours later, left as friends, after having shared food, drink, and a little bit about ourselves. we also shared a perfect crescent moon smiling on us with jupiter beaming her approval too.

do you see why it was hard to leave? the words "ease," "easy," and "effortless" keep popping into my head to describe the experience. was it the place? the people? the coffee (which, by the way, is some of the best i've ever had)? or am i feeling more at ease within myself?

how about you? what have you been up to?

xo talor

p.s., please click here for visuals.

p.p.s., apologies if i haven't replied to an email or facebook. been spending more time off-line than on. finding books and music to be better travel companions than the internet these days.