Once upon a wing…

…there was a girl. She spent her days lost in daydreams of faraway magical lands. It just so happened that on a lazy Sunday morning she was out cycling on Bluebell, her bicycle, when one of her lovely friends announced that there was an exciting competition that may be of interest…Immediately she rushed home and set to work. She pondered what her theme could be, but it seemed natural really. Creativity of course! That was what she loved. And it just so happened, she won…

THE PROLOGUE:
A land of inspiration awaits…
She seemed to be floating on a cloud in the months before embarking on this extraordinary journey. She knew that it would be the most magnificent creative exploration but she didn’t quite know that, in reality, it would exceed all her expectations. She arrived in awe…She instantly felt comfortable, as if she had just arrived home. She was light, and free, and ready to bask in the wonderland that is, Taiwan!

Chapter 1- Taiwan, this is love

The girl  spent the majority of her first day being overwhelmed by the friendliness of Taiwanese people. The way in which they would go out of their way to help her and to welcome her. There was no alien feeling you sometimes get from being in a strange new city. It just felt right. She made lots of new friends and skipped along the alleyways of Shi Da, soaking up the atmosphere and embracing the local cuisine. She sped along streets on the back of a bike, and as night fell she zoomed across the city to Danshui, where she felt as if she’d entered a carnival land. With the moon out to play, and indie music in her ears, she thought to herself ‘what a perfect first day!’




Chapter 2- Taipei, the kaleidoscope dream

She arose early, and wandered along the tiny, lazy Sunday morning streets, smelling the fruits and the flowers and delighting in everything she saw. The city was at rest and people were free to relax and play as they pleased. From the Lomographystore, to HuashanCreative Park, the eclectic arty buzz was everywhere. Energy was flowing from one person to the next, from Huashanto Ximendingto Shi Da. From old theatres, to new but old movie houses, she explored. She met all kinds of lovely people along the way, and it quickly became clear how creative this city was. It excited her, and she eagerly anticipated what might lie ahead…

Chapter 3- Taipei, it’s business time

She walked and gazed and snapped photos from all kinds of cameras. She ate and sipped tea and watched people go about their day. She met more new friends and she explored even more streets and she started to feel her heart reach out and touch every corner of the city. She didn’t mind if she got lost, because in return she would only discover more hidden gems. Occasionally, she would just perch somewhere and smile. Sometimes she would pull out her notebook and pen and scribble down some new ideas or inspirations. Taiwan, the creative catalyst, was already starting to show it’s pretty head, and she could tell that it was so much more incredible than she had believed up until now.


Chapter 4- Kaohsiung, rainbow land

She departed Taipei and whizzed across the west coast, south to Kaohsiung. The sun was high in the sky and there was creativity floating around everywhere. From the hostel- Cozy Planet, to Pier 2 Art District, to Pig Dog Art Café. She explored at a leisurely pace, and the city was more peaceful than she could ever have believed. She wandered around every little corner, not wanting to miss a splash of colouror a hint of expression. She liked this place.


Chapter 5- SPRING SCREAM

It just so happened that at the exact time she was travelling on her creative journey throughout Taiwan, Spring Scream indie music festival was taking place. She decided to volunteer there. She had so much fun creating eco-art projects, watching music from all over Taiwan, and from other lands too. Dancing in the forest with new friends, bumping into an old friend…what an encounter! And basking in the nature of EluanabiNational Park. Running through fields of daisies, waking up to the birds chirping and people playing guitar. Music and happiness and creativity and fashion and fun. Not just a music festival, but a community with common interests, all coming together to create an atmosphere of inspiration. She could stay forever…



Chapter 6- a land of sand and song

Bird song, guitar song. She didn’t want to leave this passionate art forest, but there were many places to go, and so she must proceed. But not before a quick trip to a beach filled with festival-goers, filled with joy and freedom and sand between her toes. The salty ocean refreshing her mind. She danced and laughed and although sad to say goodbye to all her new friends, she knew, deep-down, she would see them again. This place is too special to only visit once. So off she sped by bus, taxi, train, taxi, until she reached Taipei, her Taiwanese home, or at least that’s what it felt like. She dropped her bags and hit dreamland instantly.


Chapter 7- Taipei, press conference and cranberries

The Artist’s Village. 5 Youth Trekker Winners and a lot of colourfulballoons. Stories and interactions and gift-exchanges and fascinating, lovely people. She felt honouredto be part of such a procession. She didn’t know how to show her appreciation for being welcomed into the most wonderful country and for being given the chance to embark on a dream journey. It was a glorious day and continued throughout the afternoon into the evening where she saw The Cranberries live, and she sang and danced and delighted at seeing such an amazing act, right here in Taipei. Everyday she feels her passion for this country growing more and more…



Chapter 8- Dulan, Sugar Factory razzles

A train ride through a green wonderland. Dramatic mountains, emerald fields, famers, fisherman, little quaint villages and the most intense coastline. That big, wide ocean dancing off into the horizon. Then, Dulan. A dreamland for artists, musicians, or anyone just looking to bask in one of the most beautiful little villages out there. She instantly fell in love with the place. The colours, the Sugar Factory, the live music, the documentary under the stars, the gentle lapping of the waves as she fell into the the comfiest sleep of the trip. A village of mountains and sculptures and eccentric wee hostels and happy people. A land of creative possibilities in the most beautiful setting. A sure-fire catalyst for that little thing we like to call, creativity!



Chapter 9- Dulan, you dreamland you

Oh, but to wake up in such a wonderland…An early morning stroll along the bridge to the land of bread. Real bread, freshly baked with love. Then off she went to meet some local people. People with innovative ideas. People who are excited and intrigued about the future of Taiwan, the possibilities. Palm trees, coconuts, rice paddies, fruit trees, the most magical hostel in the world, nestled in amongst the mountains, filled with the flapping of butterfly wings and the pastel coloursof rabbits on the walls. Then music. Hello! Taiwan, a music festival at the old railway in Taitung. The coming-together of different music styles, different countries, to create one giant jam session of melodies! She just couldn’t believe that it could get any better than this…


Chapter 10- Lazy like a Monday morning

Showering outside, the water splashing against the rocks, the rough pebbles and morning dew tickling your toes. Bright red flowers hiding your shampoo. The fresh air drying your skin naturally. An invigorating experience! She could get used to this. She appeared to have entered a magical land, where sitting upon dusty old shelves, one finds the book they’ve been searching for, for years. Fate. Then a trip to the beach to experiment with the Lomokinoand to dance and jump, high above the sand, running into the ocean and just letting the mind run free. Dulan, what a special place. Again, she didn’t want to leave, but TarokoGorge was waiting, so once again she boarded a train north, not knowing when she’d be back again. Arriving in Hualien, she immediately got lost, but this was a pleasant surprise, as it allowed her to explore this new land without even really realising. After some food and chatter, she settled down for a dreamy night’s sleep, the Gorge awaiting her arrival early the next morning.




Chapter 11- chasing butterflies…

Taroko Gorge(ous), it really was. The bluest sky of her trip, the greenest trees, the liveliest water flowing. She jumped among the rocks, and created her own art-work. She just basked in the beauty of nature and really made the most of the freshest air, the fluffiest clouds. When would she see such a spectacle again? A hikers paradise, a cyclists adrenaline, adventure land. There was something for everyone. And for her, it was the epitome of the little things in life. The natural world at it’s best. She was inspired and she started writing a story on the windy beach about a sailor escaping from pirates on the rough sea…


Chapter 12- town of cats

It was as if she’d just set foot in a HarukiMurakami novel, and well , maybe she had planned it that way! A train ride to a cat town, in the middle of no where. An entire town of cats. Dozens of feral cats hiding under random objects and sneakily weaving in between bicycle wheels, as if on an actual ‘cat’-walk, pouting and posing to the tourist’s delight. Feline friends everywhere. And cat art too! But Taipei awaits. Once again the big glittering city had her in it’s clutches. A night of catching up with her friends, eating home-made brownies that had fallen from a heaven! ‘Oh Taipei, how I’ve missed you…’ she thought as she fell into slumber.



Chapter 13-a day in the park

She awoke early and the sunlight was sparkling onto her sheets. She could feel in her heart that it was her last day in this amazing dreamland. She felt sad, and already nostalgic for the incredible adventure she had just embarked on. Had it all really happened? Everything had exceeded her expectations and she had fallen completely head-over-heels for this country. A country with so much free-expression, so much creativity and inspiration flowing through it’s land. A creator’s paradise, truly! She just sat in the grass, rested her head against the tree, and thought to herself how lucky she is to have been given the chance to experience such a journey. A journey that has rocked her creative soul to it’s very core…She  spent her last evening in Taipei surrounded by her wonderful new friends, eating delicious Taiwanese food and wandering in it’s sparkling streets…



Chapter 14- certainly not the end

She may have come to the end of this particular journey, but this is not the end of her hopefully, long and happy relationship with Taiwan. Something has cracked inside her and she knows she has found a special place. A land of opportunity for creative exploration and expression and freedom and love. She awoke early on this final day and packed up all her thoughts. No goodbyes, only farewells for now. As she sped towards the airport she found herself wishing it could last just a little bit longer. The people she’d met, the things she’d seen, the places she’d experienced…all of them were everlasting, and all contributed to her overall magical experience of 14 days in Taiwan. As she flew over the clouds, she decided this certainly wasn’t her last chapter  in Taiwan…



THE EPILOGUE:
a creative wonderland…

She was quite speechless. Taiwan had exceeded her already, sky-high expectations, and taken her ever further, to a magical land beyond the moon and the stars. Taiwan, just as she had suggested, really was a creative catalyst. From the eclectic street art, to the open-minded friendliness of everyone she met, to the chance encounters of stumbling upon fantastical musical adventures. Everything was inspiring. Her mind was bedazzled by the beauty, and her taste-buds craved-like-crazy, the food! She knew she’d come across a gem on this Earth, and she longed to immerse herself in it’s creative energy and bask for longer. She would just have to return…

my first Lomokino…Whimsical Taiwan.

This is my very first Lomokino film, yay! OK, so it’s really short and not that exciting because I haven’t got a clue how to use editing software on Mac…but it’s a start. I used X-Chrome 35mm film, and it was filmed by my friend on a beach near Dulan-Taitung, in Taiwan. I think it pretty much sums up how free and happy I felt when traveling through Taiwan. What a beautiful country!

Youth Travel in Taiwan, you know you want to!

If you’re thinking of visiting Taiwan, you should check out this site…HELLO! Not only does it offer help and advice for traveling around Taiwan, it also provides you with personal assistance, such as a digital tour buddy- a phone that in installed with all kinds of helpful numbers, such as a 24hr hotline with Chinese and English help. Also, this is the site that I found out about Taiwan 4th Youth Trekkers…so there’s always lots of exciting opportunities to be found too! Not to mention the fact that it’s full of inspiring travel spots and blogs written by people who have traveled around Taiwan and fallen in love with it as much as I have, if this is even possible…
There’s also another competition happening right now, called Miss Grape 2012…intrigued? Then check it out: