Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

Ponderings: Some more fairies…

Posted on: February 27th, 2017 by samdrawsthings No Comments

ponderings banner by Sam Goodlet -

After my last post, I thought I would upload the rest of the fairies I’ve been sharing on social media so that they have a more permanent home over here.

They’re all qualities and things I have been thinking about bringing into my life the beginning of 2017, when things in the wider world have been feeling a bit less than magical…

The Adventure Fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Adventure Fairy⭐️

Pack your bag. Just a small one. Travelling light is the best way to go. Follow your heart and open your eyes to all the magical sights the world has to show you. This fairy calls you to take a new path, both close to home by being a tourist in your familiar haunts and by wondering far and wide. Get a little dusty. Try something new. Engage your senses and reinvigorate yourself….

Solace in Grief Fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Solace in Grief Fairy⭐️

When you are heartbroken, numb, grieving. When you are in shock. This small and gentle fairy brings comfort through moments of sleep, the kindness of others, the beauty of nature. She cannot interfere with the process of grief, but she can soften and ease, inspire you to ask for help and bring people to your door unbidden. Her heart hurts with yours. You are never alone. She holds the knowledge that you can survive with your scars, even when you forget. She holds the magic of the life-death-life cycle and asks you to remember that there nothing ends; but everything changes…

Hard work fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Hard Work Fairy⭐️

Sometimes you need a bit of grrrrr. Sometimes you just need to graft. Get stuff done. This amiable fairy thrives on sleeves-rolled-up vibes. He’s at your side whenever you slog or sweat, doing it cheerfully with a glint in his eye for he loves to earn his rest. He loves to get muddy so he can get clean. Sweaty so he can sip a cold cider that’s all the sweeter. He brings strength and resolve when you have to dig deep…

Sleep fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Sleep Fairy⭐️

Oh how I miss this fairy. She can be elusive, especially for parents of young people. She can also fly away in times of stress or upheaval. But. She *can* be tempted back. She loves ritual, hates caffeine. She likes meditation and mindfulness, and of course exercise. She asks if you have checked your sleep hygiene before you wonder where she has gone… She wants your brain and heart to be quiet so that she can make her home there. And if you are a parent… she hopes to see you again soon, in the moments you can steal to let her in…and on that note, I must go to bed…

Warm water fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Warm Water Fairy⭐️

Hot water is magic, you know that right? This mini mermaid haunts natural sources like hot springs but she can be found anywhere there’s a hot tap. She has lazed in Roman baths and Icelandic lagoons. She is drawn to the power of warm water to cleanse, restore, heal and invigorate. Those of us lucky enough to have boilers, showers, sinks and bathtubs experience her magic regularly. She also loves human ingenuity-solar showers, old fashioned fire and steam, any creative solution to summon her magic. Guardian of copper pipes and thermostats. Make sure your plumber treats her with respect…

Small celebration fairies by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️Small Celebration Fairies⭐️

Sometimes you need a fanfare to accompany something that may seem little to others but is in fact a huge thing. It could be getting out of bed today, having a shower, achieving something despite a phobia or anxiety making your heart race. Sometimes the seemingly easy, everyday things are hard, hard work. These small but powerful fairies get it. They see your awesomeness. They squeak with joy, throw confetti, shake pom-poms and blow trumpets. They give tiny high fives. Go you. You rock.

Naive optimism fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Naive Optimism Fairy⭐️

This little guy has been hovering around my sketchbook for a few days before I realised who he was. He’s actually been pretty much a lifelong companion of mine… the voice that says: try it, it will be ok, why not do something new? And I’ve had all sorts of adventures with him at my side and his voice in my ear. Life would be tidier, less chaotic, and a whole lot more boring without this little fairy. I promise to keep listening.

Witness fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Witness Fairy⭐️

This super cool character has a number of names from different spiritual and psychological practises that aim to entice him in. He is very helpful to call on when The Mirror Fairy is playing tricks on you. He helps you to take that all important step back, to see and notice your thoughts and feeling as they arrive and ideally before you act on them. Friendly and helpful, he can be evasive, but so worth courting and looking for again. He calls on you to put on your own fairy wings and be your own witness fairy.

Impermanence fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Impermanence Fairy⭐️

Oh this fairy can seem cruel sometimes. And then kind at others. Really tho, she is neither…she just *is*. 🌸Queen of ‘this too shall pass.’ Cherry blossom goddess. She is the beauty in both birth and decay. The wondrous newness of spring and the rich beautiful mutability of autumn. If we can bear to listen, her message is that everything changes, but nothing ends. It’s just change. Don’t hold on too tightly, but love the things in your world while you have them.

Get up and do it fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Get Up & Do It Fairy⭐️

Sometimes you just need someone to poke you with a stick and tell you to pull your socks up. And he has spectacular long luxurious socks. Lover of To Do Lists and Important Jobs. He knows when you are procrastinating. Strangely enough, he is good friends with the Sleep Fairy, for although he is often the one to rouse you to get to work in the morning, he can also help you do The One Important Thing that is playing on your mind so that, afterwards, you can sleep. He may seem a little cruel at times, but this spiky fairy has your best interests at heart…

Sleep deprivation fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Sleep Deprivation Fairy⭐️

Unlike the other fairies, this sketchy being isn’t one you really invite into your life (although sometimes she turns up as part of the fun after an amazing party or night of dancing)…she more just kind of…appears. Bleary eyed she blinks from her owl mug. And she doesn’t really do much, other than keep you company when the sleep fairy has abandoned you. She might be at your side on a long dark night of soul searching, or sit with you in a too early morning and recommend more tea/coffee. She is definitely responsible for that slightly spaced out feeling during daylight hours when you haven’t slept… She and I are firm friends right now due to a teething little boy, and every so often she pats me on the shoulder and tells me it’ll be ok…

Go slow fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Go Slow Fairy⭐️

Sometimes you need to move fast, and sometimes you really don’t, or can’t, and that’s ok. This fairy and her companion remind us that Slow and Steady can win the race, but often there is no race and we can just calm down and do things at our own pace. Patron of the Slow Food movement. Savourer of tastes and experiences. Owner of her own destiny. You can’t rush this one…

Magical snapshot fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Magical Snapshot Fairy⭐️

I was sitting in the car in the drive waiting for the baby to wake up when I spotted this really lovely branch with illuminated leaves catching the setting sun behind them. I grabbed my sketchbook but couldn’t do them justice. But later I realised this fairy was dancing around them, and he dances around all sorts of small beautiful moments during our days, catching our attention and encouraging us to notice. Sometimes this can be at the strangest of moments, when we are busy or bored, or even when we are unbelievably sad or stressed or struggling. He sparkles in the corner of our vision and helps us capture a snapshot of loveliness.

Resist fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Resist Fairy⭐️

2017 on the micro scale has been overtaken by that pesky sleep deprivation fairy. She makes it hard to focus on other fairies, the bigger picture or anything other than getting through the day. On the macro scale tho, 2017 seems to need a lot of this. Resistance. Protest. Challenge. So I’m pondering what I can do to help #bethechange. And I might need to focus on the micro right now, but I’m sure there are things I can do to make a difference.







Drawing Inspiration: Cherry Blossom Hunt Part 4

Posted on: April 11th, 2015 by samdrawsthings No Comments

drawing inspiration by Sam Goodlet -

I got back from my holiday on Tuesday, and after downloading all my pictures and unpacking, I thought I would do one final blog entry to share my last couple of days in Japan.

I had hoped to catch the cherry blossom in Nikkō (where I was staying to the north of Tokyo) but I left just before it really started with only a few trees starting to bloom.  My last day there was a misty, rainy one, with the clouds almost coming down the mountains to swallow the town whole.  It was very beautiful and added an extra sense of mystery to the shrines and temples.

Nikko in the mist by Sam Goodlet


Nikko in the mist illustration by Sam Goodlet

Nikko shrine in the mist by Sam Goodlet

The next day was the final one of my trip, and a late flight meant the opportunity for a last bit of cherry blossom spotting in Tokyo.  It was sunny and lovely and after my getting lost a lot on my second mission, I decided to brave Shinjuku again and head for Shinjuku Gyoen via Sedayaga – a station that’s right next door to this large park, hopefully making things easier on my terrible navigation skills.  And my luck was in!

The Sendayaga entrance to the park took me straight into a grove of different types of cherry trees, some that were losing their petals and some that were just coming into bloom.

The falling petals drifted like snow in the sunshine and people were walking in and around the trees in a state of wonder, sitting underneath them and posing for photos.  The atmosphere was really relaxed and friendly.  I sat under a tree for a while with petals falling on me and pretty much felt like I was in heaven…

Shinjuku Gyoen by Sam Goodlet DSC_0432

I explored the rest of the park, which was much busier in some areas – but even then it was so big it never felt crowded.  It has to be one of the most lovely spots in Tokyo to see the blossom.  There’s lots of space, and plenty of opportunities to get up close, sit under a tree and relax.  It was also the first time on the trip I really could smell the sakura.  I guess all the petals on the ground brought it closer – it’s a very subtle scent, but pretty well captured in the Sakura ball ballistic from Lush!

The different types of trees also meant that there was plenty to see, despite coming to the end of peak blossom time in Tokyo (I guess the park will have been busier the week before, during peak blossom).

The day was a perfect and gorgeous end to my trip.

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Quite a few people have said that going to Japan for the cherry blossom is something that they have always wanted to do, and I can’t recommend it highly enough as a completely amazing and wonderful experience.  It really was beyond what I expected, and the blossom in the big parks and areas with thousands of trees was spectacular.

For those planning a similar adventure, I here are a few tips and things that I learnt along the way…

Sam’s cherry blossom spotting tips:

  • Here’s the 10 rookies mistakes to avoid link again.
  • It is possible to wing it and go at the last minute to see the sakura in Japan, but it did limit where I could stay and made planning things a bit chaotic!  I kept an eye on the cherry blossom forecast website, and when I saw that it looked like it would happen in Tokyo on the predicted dates, I just tried whatever I could to get there.  However, there was no availability by then on organised tours, and finding hotel rooms in any of the big cities was pretty much impossible.  When I saw that the blossom had started to open, I looked again and found a package to Nikkō with Low Cost Holidays  – but the hotel I had wanted was full, so this ended up just being a flight with them and accomodation that I found myself through TripAdvisor.
  • Nikkō worked pretty well as a base.  It’s relaxing and a gorgeous place in its own right with some lovely areas to explore.  Getting to Tokyo takes a couple of hours on the train (all being well!).  If I was to do it again, I would perhaps either stay a bit longer in Nikkō so that I could enjoy the blossom up there, or move around more as Nikko isn’t all that big – the last minute booking made looking for more than one room a bit tricky, but I’m sure it would have been possible to find a couple of other interesting places to stay.
  • Staying in Tokyo would probably have been a more sensible option if I had been able to find a room there, and Asakusa would be a great base in Tokyo I think – it’s easily accessible by train from Narita airport, feels pretty chilled and has some great sights including Sensoji temple and a lot of cherry blossom around the river.  You can also do some really cool boat trips from there to see the trees.  You can easily get out to explore places like Nikkō, Tochigi and Mashiko (see my last blog post) from Asakusa on the train.
  • If you do end up being a bit late and catching the tail end of the blossom, it can still be spectacular – as the pics above from Shinjuku Gyoen show, the falling petals are an amazing sight.  With blossom happening at different times all over the country, you have a good chance of catching it somewhere if you are able to move around and explore.
  • You can find links and things for tours and package ideas on my Escape Dreams Pinterest Board here.  There are loads of websites giving hints and tips on where and when to go – it’s certainly not all about Tokyo, there are some other really wonderful looking places to go and explore.

Cherry Blossom Tea by Sam Goodlet

Some great places to see blossom in Tokyo include:

  • Ueno Park – follow the crowds from the station to a busy park packed with people enjoying the blossom.  Kind of a must see I think for how busy it is.
  • Asakusa – There are trees on both sides of the river, and if you cross over from the side that the station is on, there is a nice little park that’s pretty quiet where you can sit on a bench and contemplate the blossom in relative tranquility.
  • Chiyoda – You can get there on a nice walk via the Imperial palace gardens, through Kitanamaru park to the spectacular Chidorigafuchi moat with weeping willow trees.  Join the crowds of people walking along the side of the water taking it all in.  You can also hire a boat to row under the blossom and get lost in the petals…  There’s then a market with a great festival atmosphere on the other side of the road on the walk up to the beautiful Yasukuni shrine, where you can see more trees.
  • Rippongi – Visit the trees around the super slick Tokyo Midtown mall at night for a stunning spectacle of glowing pink illuminated trees.  Quite a few of the cherry blossom sites are lit at night, but I don’t think they do it quite as well as this -with each tree lit individually from below to glow like a pink firework display.
  • Shinjuku Gyoen – I recommend getting off at Sendayaga to access this huge and wonderful park, where you can easily spend a few hours getting rained on by petals whilst relaxing under a tree.

And finally, here’s a really interesting article from The Smithsonian covering some of the science behind cherry blossom and the Japanese trees in Washington, DC.  Hmmm…maybe a trip to the states next spring then…?

Cherry blossom words by Sam Goodlet


Drawing Inspiration: Cherry Blossom Hunt Part 3

Posted on: April 8th, 2015 by samdrawsthings No Comments

drawing inspiration by Sam Goodlet -

To take a break and be a bit more rural in my blossom spotting after my last two ventures into Tokyo, I decided to explore the area around Nikkō a bit more.

On the recommendation of the tourist information office, I pottered off on the train to Tochigi, a small-ish town on the line between Nikkō and Tokyo.  There were a few trees to spot, including some in and around the shrine area in a gorgeous little garden.

shrine sakura by Sam Goodlet

The most exciting thing about Tochigi though was the fish! The river is full of large, dark carp and above one stretch of it are strung hundreds of multi-coloured fish windsocks/flags.  The effect is really arresting and was a really lovely thing to come across.

tochigi by Sam Goodlet Tochigi fish by Sam Goodlet

I also went on a little mission on the bus and train to Mashiko, a town home to a pottery museum and more shops selling wabi sabi/rustic folk style pottery than you could possibly imagine.  There were a few cherry trees around and on the way, and quite a few of the pottery pieces featured gorgeous sakura flowers or petals designs.

Wabi sabi cup by Sam Goodlet

Having recharged my batteries a bit, I headed back to Tokyo for more of the big parks and the more spectacular cherry blossom sites.

This turned into one of the most incredible days of the trip (and quite possibly my life…)  and I really can’t find enough words to express how completely beautiful it all was…. so many trees!  Petals everywhere…

I started at the Imperial Palace gardens, which had quite a few trees and some lovely wide open spaces for playing and pic nics. It was pretty quiet and felt very relaxed.

Imperial gardens by Sam Goodlet

I then walked through another park to the super busy Chiyoda area, where there are hundreds of trees along the river and a huge festival on the way to the Yasukuni Shrine, where there was also a grove of cherry trees.  The petals were just starting to fall, and the river in some areas was a sea of pink, as people rowed under the trees…

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To wrap up the day, I then went to Roppongi to see the Midtown Blossom.  This very slick and modern area was transformed into a magical sight as evening fell and the blossoming trees were each individually illuminated with pink light….

Midtown blossom by Sam Goodlet

I was so excited on the train into Tokyo in the morning my inner labrador dog was very much in action!  And after such a stunningly wonderful day I was in something of a post cherry blossom glow on the way back… The day exceeded my dreams.

Tokyo exploring by Sam Goodlet Sakura labrador by Sam Goodlet

I keep trying to find ways to explain or capture how the blossom looked (and failing miserably) but that day they made me think of soft pink explosions…

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