Gozo was barely on my radar a few months ago. Now it’s my home for spring 2017, and the little fishing village of Xlendi already occupies a special place in my heart. Especially the wild, rugged Xlendi cliffs, which I refer to on Instagram as ‘my current happy place’.
Xlendi sits at the end of a small bay, sandwiched between steep, craggy cliffs. There are a handful of restaurants at the tip of the bay, their waiters always busy, and a small pebble beach in one corner next to a jetty, where people dangle their legs over the water while slurping ice cream. A tiny walkway runs the length of the bay dotted with steps leading into the clear blue sea, while boats bob gently in the water and gulls soar overhead.
At the end of my working day, I slip out of my apartment and head for the cliffs, my favourite part of the island. Here I scramble around dusty trails, the grass and plants crunching under my feet as lack of rain turns them dry and brown. Overhead, swifts dance around the moon as dusk falls, their shrill screams carrying on the wind, while sparrows, warblers, wheatears and blue rock thrushes – the national bird of Malta – dart around the bushes gathering food for a night-time feed.
As I turn and walk back to Xlendi, the reddish sun is sinking into the sea at the tip of the cliffs. After moving at a snail’s pace all day, it seems to speed up as it reaches the water and quickly dips beneath the horizon, the sky turning various shades of red, pink and orange in response.
My first few weeks in Xlendi proved difficult thanks to teething troubles in my accommodation, and it took me a while to feel settled here. The intermittent wifi led to me getting further and further behind with my work and website plans, and I often found myself getting tense, reacting badly to things that wouldn’t normally affect me. Xlendi cliffs have been my saving grace. Filled with beauty and alive with bird song, every time I come here I’m reminded of why I choose this lifestyle. And I’m so grateful for the freedom I have to live as I do.
The Idea Behind My Photo Essays Feature
Travelling permanently while running a business is a balancing act. I know this only too well. At the end of January, I set some challenging but realistic goals for my business and websites. One of these was writing a fortnightly post for my travel blog. This shouldn’t have been difficult, but after one more post in February I ground to a halt once more, as I tried to juggle travel, client work, building my business, and sorting out teething troubles at my accommodation, with producing new content for The Road to Wanderland. Plus, I decided to add a blog to my business website.
I tend to write fairly lengthy posts that take me ages, but then I realised something: I have bloody thousands of photos! So I decided to try something different. Photo essays are going to be a new weekly addition to The Road to Wanderland. They will feature stories or moments from my travels, and can be anything from one to a handful of pictures along with some short, accompanying text. It’ll be a fun way to reflect on my adventures and do something useful with my photos. Plus, I love photography and am keen to improve my skills, so it will be a useful exercise. I’ll still write at least one long post for The Road to Wanderland each month, as well as maintain my business blog.
Visiting Xlendi, Gozo
I loved living in Xlendi in springtime. It was cool enough to scramble over the cliffs in the evening and warm enough to slip into the water for a swim. I found a private rental, but there’s lots of accommodation on Airbnb (if you haven’t signed up to Airbnb before, use my link for a discount off your first stay). Check Agoda for the latest hotel prices, and see TripAdvisor for the latest accommodation reviews.