I’m writing to you today from the terrace of our Airbnb here in Ulcinj with a glorious view of the Adriatic Sea spread out in front of me in sapphire blue and turquoise. I’m home, well home by the sea at least, where I feel safe and free and at peace.
We’ve been in the mountains here in Montenegro for the past two weeks, spectacular, rugged, wild, stunning and a tad scary for this coastal mermaid.
There were highs and lows emotionally and physically as I pushed beyond my comfort zone and into places these shaky legs would previously never dared go.
Poor mi amor, part mountain goat, part ox, part falcon bore the brunt of my emotional ups and downs, and there were a few days we’d rather both forget.
A new virtual contract has been drawn up about the kinds of hikes we will and will not undertake together in the future and I’ve also decided against white water rafting for the foreseeable future. To understand why you can read my Facebook post below. With hundreds of responses from readers who’ve had similar experience it feels good to know that those of us who deal with anxiety and panic are never alone.
If YOU are one of those people try to go easy on yourself. It’s a strange phenomenon we go through, sometimes disappearing and reappearing, deeply reactive in some situations and weirdly absent in others.
Not two days after my rafting decision I happily and willingly took off with Marco on a stunning but crazy narrow, high hike through the Mrtvica Canyon. A SEVEN HOUR HIKE!! Which took us through incredible moss covered enchanted forests, through open mountain orchards, past ancient stone homes and eventually onto a narrow cliffside trail with a sheer drop of 1000 metres down to the aquamarine river below that finally led to an open tunnel in the cliffside blasted out by the Yugoslavian army years back to strategically connect several villages! I DID THAT?!? Why yes I did! And look just how gorgeous it was! And hard and fricken scary and I was ok, that day.
Two days later we went for what was supposed to be a short and gentle walk up to one of the nearby peaks. The brochure mentioned meadows of wildflowers, picking wild blueberries and talking to the herds of mountain goats. How romantic!
Things started badly when we couldn’t find the trail and Marco convinced me to follow him in another direction on a small trail that didn’t look very convincing. Things went from bad to worse after half an hour or so when I found myself on the side of said mountain peak, no trail in sight, and decided I didn’t give a flying f#%k about the beautiful freaking wildflowers blowing in the wind around me, I just wanted to find the damn trail and get OFF THAT MOUNTAIN. NOW! When your legs become paralysed and then start to shake, when your man keeps walking upwards and yells for you to follow and you refuse and he keeps going anyways panic turns to rage. Later after he finally returned he told me that he had yelled out to me that he was just going up a bit further to see if he could find the trail. I didn’t hear that bit and felt abandoned and terrified.
Finally, finally we found a road and both of us stomped sullenly down it, silent and emotionally spent, and not a wild blueberry in sight. This was the day we drew up our new virtual hiking together contract. Let me know if you’d like to know the rules, you know, for a friend.
Just a quick mention of some other awesome news!
I’m thrilled to be chatting with my wonderfully talented friend Laura Horn on her fabulous arty podcast in a couple of weeks. If you haven’t yet tuned in you can do so right here. Laura has a wealth of information on the show for artists of all levels and pursuits.
I also wanted to let you know that I’ve been having serious withdrawals from my studio and painting practice!
We’re moving from place to place here in Montenegro every few days and it just doesn’t allow for setting out paints and settling into a rhythm especially when there are always new places to explore.
Today however we’ve arrived at a new place and a new apartment and we’ll be there for a whole seven days!
The paints are coming out!!
So I’ll be able to actually participate in this weeks inspiration prompt over on my Mojo Dojo alumni group on Facebook! Yay!
Will you join me? I hope so! If you’ve ever taken a class with me online or in person you’re invited to come join the community! You can request to join by clicking here.
Here is this weeks prompt for you to paint, sketch, abstract, digitally manipulate, whatever you like, however you like! Join the group for more weekly prompts and inspiration!
You have two choices, both from the beautiful terrace of our Airbnb in Florence last month! Can’t wait to see your interpretations!
Oh and DON'T FORGET that the next session of one of my most popular classes Face Fascination begins July 29 and there are only a few days left to take advantage of early bird pricing so head on over to https://tracyverdugo.com/face-
Those of you who have taken the class previously are invited to join the upcoming session too (my gift)! You should be hearing from us in your inbox!
Wishing you a meltdown free week, beautiful “flat” fields of wildflowers and a handful of wild blueberries,
Lots of love,