I hope you all had a wonderful bank holiday weekend! I took advantage of the occasion to finally give my blog a new facelift and I am so, so happy with the new look! I just felt like my last blog layout didn't really represent me and my blog anymore and so it was time for a change again. I toyed around with the idea of switching blogging platforms as well, but in the end decided that I'd rather save the money for hosting for something else and didn't feel like messing with Wordpress anyway and so I decided to stay on Blogger, at least for now. I hope you're enjoying the new look as much as I do!
Back in January, I wrote a post on how I was feeling stuck in a bit of an existential crisis: In the second half of 2014 I felt seriously drained of energy, inspiration and motivation. I wasn't sure what I wanted from life, doubted my ability to amount to anything anyway and I only seemed to be going through the motions, grey day after grey day. School was incredibly stressful and I was missing my life studying abroad in Norway and in some ways it really felt like the joy had been sucked out of my life.
But now - five months down the line - it's crazy to see how much things have changed for the better. It started right after publishing that post, to be honest, which really just proves that writing is a good way to get things off your chest, but some time over the last couple of months and the arrival of spring , my mood brightened again and now even mundane things have a tendency to make me feel ludicrously content with life.
The funny thing is that nothing has changed on paper: School is still stressful. And I definitely still have no clue what the future is going to bring or even what I want my future to look like ideally. But while these kind of thoughts made me feel aimless last November, they now not only don't bother me anymore, but actually invigorate me. I sometimes just kind of want to grow up too fast, instead of savoring this exciting time in my life where I don't have serious obligations like children or a mortgage and all doors and sorts of possibilities are still - theoretically, at least - whole wide open, but I have been getting better at living and loving the moment.
And I think the one thing I can really attribute this to is acceptance: When I came back to Germany from Norway, there seemed to be many things I'd rather be doing - never mind that I actually didn't know what exactly it was that I wanted to do instead - and that definitely held me back: How can you enjoy life in a place when you're constantly wishing you were somewhere else? But as time went on and I got used to this new chapter in my life again, I finally started to accept - not just rationally, but deep down in my heart - that Heidelberg was where I needed to be at this time and this change in attitude really made all the difference.
This new-found sense of serenity - coupled with the fact that we can actually stay outside all day now without freezing our tails off - has also made me very, very eager for some more backyard exploring. All the pictures in this post were taken on a hiking trip along the river Neckar a few weeks ago and it was definitely one of the most beautiful days of the year so far: With perfectly blue skies and little puffy clouds, not to mention the vibrant greenery that slowly started to fill in the trees, it was all I needed to be ready for the warm seasons of the year.
Our hiking tour had been a part of a long distance hike along the Neckar called Neckarsteig that I had randomly learned about through an article in the travel section of a large German newspaper a few months prior. It's one of my goals for the summer now to hike the different stages of this 126-kilometre-hike on separate day trips - they're so easy to reach with Public Transportation - and if the rest of the path is as beautiful as the stage from Neckargemünd to Neckarsteinach, I am sure the boyfriend and me are going to be in for a treat.
The highlight of this trip was stumbling across the cutest little village called Dilsberg. I try to not use words of endearment to describe places too often because I feel it can take away from the fact that most towns aren't just picture book locations, but places where regular people actually live and work, but in this particular case adorable really is the most appropriate word that comes to my mind. It's a really small and quiet village, but with a lot of charm, and - in my opinion - the views of the Neckar almost rival those in the Rhine Valley.
When we first spotted Dilsberg in the distance - sitting majestically on top of a hill and overlooking its surroundings like a proper medieval castle town - at the beginning of our hike, it almost looked too picturesque a place to be real and I couldn't believe that a place that enchanting had been lurking just a stone's throw away from Heidelberg without me knowing about it for years. There really couldn't be a better example of the benefits of backyard exploring!
In other words, I'm pretty excited for the months to come! Life isn't perfect, but I haven't felt as content as I do now in a long time and I certainly hope I can keep this positive attitude going, even when the days will get shorter eventually. In the meantime, though, I'm looking forward to doing some more hikes, doing a few bike tours and maybe even going on a few other fun trips: Spring and summer - I'm ready for you!
What is one place in your backyard you want to visit this summer?