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Hi I'm Hannah!

Welcome to Horizon Hoppers. I document my adventures on all things travel related. Hope you have a nice stay!

I found my Spirit Animal in Croatia

I found my Spirit Animal in Croatia

In the first week of July my friends and I made our way to the magical island of Obonjan to spend our days swimming in the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic sea, and our nights drinking and dancing under the stars. I was expecting to come back home from a week at Electric Elephant Festival with a three day hangover, a golden glow and a craving for a bowl full of my five a day, but instead I came back with a Spirit Animal.

Before I left for Croatia I had seen that Electric Elephant had posted the line up on their Facebook page which included a 'rejuvenation' timetable. Yoga and meditation classes were there as to be expected, but there was also the intriguing Saturday 3.30pm-5.00pm slot titled 'Spirit Animal Journey'. A huge smile spread across my face and I reached for my phone and sent a message to our WhatsApp group (aptly named Cro-Cro)... "Girls we have to go to this Spirit Animal class!'"

On the Saturday of the festival we walked over to the Sound Sanctuary and were met by a Daisy Lowe-esque beauty who introduced herself as a Witch named Wolf Sister. She explained how we all have a Spirit Animal, and that all animals however big or small are of equal importance in the spirit world, and each carry their own meaning. Wolf Sister expressed that we may be more in tune with the Spirit Animal world if we met our own, and to look out for messages from different animals in the future. She then told us that she would guide us to a place where we would be able to invite our Spirit Animal to become known to us; I'd always viewed the idea of a Spirit Animal as a novelty concept, I'd often seen it depicted in films focusing on Native American culture, or used for comedic affect in memes, allowing myself to relate to a big fluffy kitten asleep on the sofa. I had never thought before this moment, that spirit animals actually exist.

My friends and I aren't religious, and had never delved into spiritualism before this point. However we went into the class open-minded, and within a few minutes of Wolf Sister slowly cushioning us into a mediative state we began our Spirit Animal journey. I had zoned in on Wolf Sister's voice, and as she spoke, my mind felt like it was filled with images that were coming to me, not from me. At one point along the journey she asked us to tie the boat we had been travelling on to the shoreline, and as I imagined a small jetty, a Mountain Goat appeared at the end of it. I inwardly giggled to myself and thought nope this Mountain Goat cannot be my spirit animal?! I actively pushed it away and carried on listening to her words until we reached a cave. At this point on our spiritual quest Wolf Sister asked us to sit down and invite our Spirit Animal in. I waited in the darkness for a minute or two with my mind open and my heart exposed. And then there he was again, erratically clip-clopping down the right-hand side of the cave. My Mountain Goat.

I didn't resist him this time, I smiled as he came towards me and a feeling of familiarity and warmth spread across my whole body like I was greeting an old friend. He sat beside me, and Wolf Sister directed us to ask our Spirit Animal why they were here. I reached out and began to stroke the hair on his back, "Why are you here for me?'  I asked. Silence. I carried on looking at him. His presence felt so so real. Then out of stillness he said, "resilience and humour". His words stunned me and then hot tears began to stream down my face. All of a sudden I felt confronted by past pain from health issues I'd suppressed for a good few years. The emotion was overwhelming. What carried me through those times? Externally? My incredible friends and family. And from myself? Resilience and humour. It felt like my Mountain Goat was giving me a little nod, like hey I've always been in there. What I've found out since is that your Spirit Animal is not separate from you, its energy and spirit is now and has always been part of you – of your basic nature. 

During the meeting with our Spirit Animal, Wolf Sister suggested we ask its name and what it was here to help us with at this moment in our lives. I found out my Mountain Goat was called Baltimore and that he was here to give me a push: The question of what I wanted to do career-wise had been pressing heavily on me in the months leading up to meeting my Spirit Animal. I'd spent the four years since university living abroad and then coming home and happily spending my pay cheques on exploring the globe. Travelling has always been my biggest passion, and so I have created a life for myself that allows me to jump on a plane with a weeks' notice. But in recent months, I wanted more from it. And so when my Mountain Goat told me he was here to give me a push, I instantly envisioned setting up my travel website. It was an idea I had been toying with for a while which stemmed from feeling disillusioned with current political events. I wanted to help expose people to different cultures and build a positive message focusing on expanding perspectives. 

 'A Mountain Goat appearing at a certain point in your life symbolises new beginnings and new heights you can reach. Seeing a Mountain Goat means there are many opportunities in front of you, and you just need to believe in yourself and your own abilities to have great success.'                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Wolf Sister slowly brought us out of our guided meditation, and as I looked around people were sobbing. We exchanged stories. Three of my best friends spoke of their similar vivid and powerful experiences, one was a Great White Shark, one a Mother Pig and one a Wild Dog. With the power of the internet we looked into our spirit animals and we all got goosebumps as we read aloud the characteristics of the person with the corresponding Spirit Animal. For each of us it was as if it was a thorough and intimate description of ourselves, from our personalities, our relationships and the way in which we respond to others and the world around us. In the words of my friends, "Oh my god Hannah you couldn't be more of a Mountain Goat if you tried!"

We ended the spiritual session with Wolf Sister spreading out Oracle Cards (again something I'd never done before). She directed us to hold an intention in our heart and ask a question. Internally, but directed out into the world, I asked what would give me the confidence to start travel writing. I got drawn to a card and turned it over: Leap of Faith: Trust that the Universe will support you in all ways. Trust that your intention is clear and right for you. And then take a leap of faith and jump fully and squarely into the midst of putting your dreams into action. Do not hesitate or delay a moment longer!

A week later when I was back home from the festival, I woke up cold and clammy from a dream where the last image was a spider hovering over a grasshopper. I didn't think much of it in the moment, only that it was very vivid. I got up and went to work and spent the whole day in my own little think-tank, brainstorming ideas for my travel blog. I finished my work day and cycled to my family home and joined them in the garden for a barbecue. As I was sitting down on a blanket something caught my eye, I looked down at the grass, and there was the same spider, and next to it the grasshopper. It felt like an exact imprint from my dream. "Wohhhhhhh spooky" I exclaimed to my sister,  "I feel like I've got Deja-vu but I know I saw these two in my dream this morning!" My family found my Spirit Animal story amusing, and jokingly suggested that maybe I'd opened myself up to the Spirit Animal world in Croatia.

Jokes aside, the little critters left an impression on me and so that evening I went home and went deep into the spiritual realm of Google. I found out that in the Spirit Animal world the spider is a figure of feminine energy and creativity. And the symbolism of seeing a grasshopper? You are being asked to take a leap of faith, just go ahead and do it without knowing the outcome. The next morning I published my first Instagram post on @horizon_hoppers. The spider and grasshopper were the final push (I'm a serious procrastinator I needed a spiritual awakening to launch a website ffs.)

Overall I took a lot more from the island of Obonjan than I could ever imagine. Taking part in a Spirit Animal journey was a moving and profound experience, not only for myself but for some of my best friends. We're now more open to exposing ourselves to different energies, mainly from the natural world itself (find us huddled in a group staring into the full moon every month). A few other things happened on the island which made us suddenly feel more receptive to messages coming from the cosmos, but we agreed even if it was just us unlocking our subconscious minds it can only be a good thing as we've all come back refreshed, reset and in the words of the Kardashians, ready to live by our authentic true nature. 

For more info on the beautiful island of Obonjan go to https://obonjan-island.com/

You can follow Wolf Sister on Instagram @_wolfsister or go to http://www.wolfsister.com/

For more info on Electric Elephant Festival go to http://electricelephant.co.uk/

Photos taken from: https://www.facebook.com/pg/electricelephant/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10155388862402696

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What happens when National Geographic Traveller create a festival?

What happens when National Geographic Traveller create a festival?