You Are All Invited… Guajar Alto, Andalusia

…To my new home. Yes home, house, dwelling, abode, crib even. As of yesterday around 11.23 a.m I am no longer ‘homeless’ (apologies to parents as this was technically never true). My suitcase and backpack are unpacked and for 8 weeks (apart from a short trip back to England) I will be in only one place – MY place.

THE Moment... Entering Number 44

THE Moment… Entering Number 44

Herman Hesse said; one never reaches home, but where friendly paths intersect the whole world looks like home for a time. I have certainly taken advantage of many a friendly path over the past 15 years, my time working as a guide. I’m so often told I ‘have the best life’ – best JOB I often try to correct my judges.

Last year the total number of beds in which I slept was 187 which always somehow sounds dodgy. I can assure you these were solitary experiences, taking place in more than 21 countries – still talking only last year. I certainly don’t plan to retire just yet, but lets just say the prospect of stringing together more than 30 consecutive nights in one bed holds more than a little appeal.

So where? Well those who know me will not be surprised to hear in the end I chose somewhere surrounded by beautiful countryside and remoteness; steeped in history; close to hiking and skiing – as well as close to beaches; a land of delicious food and of course (again if you know me); wine. Italy holds a few too many painful memories, so sticking to my beloved Mediterranean; I’m writing to you from Andalusia, Spain.

Welcome to Guajar Alto. Guajar what?! Yes, ‘alto’ the ‘high’ one – as there are three. Needless to say of these three serene whitewashed, once moorish, villages I picked the one at the end of the road – furthest from internet, telephones, televisions, motorways, but closest to miles of mountain paths, a local Spanish dialect I am struggling to comprehend and surrounded by 150 or so souls most of whom I am sure do not visit in a lifetime as many countries as I do in a season (this is not boasting) – just the perfect antidote to my normal ‘life’.



He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home – Goethe. For too many years now I have found peace in other people’s homes. Travelling has never been a chore for me, only the sacrifices it has brought. People often ask me why ‘second cup of tea’ and my response is always – ‘read the site and you will see’. The truth is that the inspiration comes from a remote mountain people, obliged by customs of hospitality to offer visitors at least one cup of tea. If you are offered a second you a friend for life, a third; family.

As I have crossed the world I have notched up a long list of people who have offered me not only several cups of tea, but beds, couches, mattresses, floor space to bed down for the night, week, month even. Part of my buying this small 87m2 house in Royal Street ‘Calle Real’, lies in the expectant joy of being able to return the favour – the living room has a very large and comfortable sofa bed and the terrace – onto which a mattress is easily placed offers incredible views of nothing but stars, so close…

Guajar Alto - My New Home...

Guajar Alto – My New Home…

As the title of this rather different post goes – you are all invited. Cups of tea; first, second and thirds, await. The log fire will be lit and bottles of wine opened. I have worked non stop for two years, saving every single penny that came my way to achieve to be at that signing yesterday. A ‘home’ has been such a goal for me. Though last night – the first surrounded by my own walls was special – I have realised I have not bought a ‘home’, but a house.

Le Corbusier one of the pioneers of modern architecture said; The home should be the treasure chest of living. Though these walls have been lived in, not yet by me. What will turn it into a home is not least you – come, visit, stay (even when I am not there) you are my friends; you know who you are and I owe you so much – come and help me fill that treasure chest with new memories.

Someone whose opinion I respect more than most, recently told me – not intended as a compliment – that it is ‘a shame I don’t know the value of money’. She may well be right. This was in response to a rather pricey present I bought in the midst of all this saving. She is certainly one person I tried to show what does matter to me, but it is true I have never really learned to understand money. I am grateful to it for in the end providing me with a roof over my head of course, but the truth is, money means very little to me. I have not bought happiness yesterday.

Yesterday I moved in with one suitcase and a backpack, not far from the sum total of my belongings. As I unpacked into a small house – that I can in no way fill (yet), it provided food for thought that at age 38 this ‘hoard’ amounts to what I have accumulated. Not much. I always dreamt (and got close I think) that one day rather than a suitcase it would be a partner I’d bring over the doorstep into ‘my’ house. I struck out a few times, but that’s life.

I have not posted anything to my site for awhile as I wanted to ‘return’ with this news, which I hoped would happen. As I waited to write, I came across several quotes about homes and houses and what they mean to people, trying to understand what one might one day do to me. In the end, the one I liked the most, that seemed to sum the last years up for me – was one that simply contained the word ‘home’ and as such appeared in a google search – though unrelated. So, rather unusually, after repeating one final time; please come and visit – the last word goes to Babe Ruth of all people;

Every strike brings me closer to the next home run

If At First You Fail...

If At First You Fail…

~ by 2ndcupoftea on November 22, 2014.

48 Responses to “You Are All Invited… Guajar Alto, Andalusia”

  1. Oh Thomas, How absolutely wonderful. We are so happy happy for you and hope that you will spend many wonderful nights, and days, in your new home. But remember, we still hope for a visit from you in Boulder one day….a small wooden piece for your home awaits you here. Dave and Dorothy

    • Hello you two – thanks so much for your kind comments. I am indeed looking forward to it becoming a home. However I’d love to visit you one day and all you said about Boulder sounds fantastic – vine news? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. So happy to get the news that you have a place of your own in a beautiful part of Spain. Sending warm wishes for your new home. May it be filled with many wonderful memories and visitors over the years. Happy holidays and hope our paths cross again.

    • Hey there! THANKS so much. I really hope we meet up again too – remember when you are next in Luton; let me know. Many many hugs to you and Karl from Spain… ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • We are definitely coming over to London-Luton around August 20-30. Karl’s brother in Luton offered us his home to stay this time. I want to visit Norwich and Rackhealth (where my uncle died in a plane crash on July 11, 1944 coming back from a bombing mission to Munich). He was buried for several years at the Cambridge Cemetery so I need to see this place. Karl has a brother living in Baldock. Also I want to see the south-western coast of England. I may need some ideas for where to stay if we are able to stay longer. We think if you often and appreciated all you did to educate us in France. What a wonderful trip. Happy holidays and enjoy your new home.

      • I used to the visit that very cemetery often with my parents… Very beautiful place it is. I think I am not working during that period so hopefully will be in the UK for a little of it. Anyway when you know more, email and I can send you tips… hasta siempre…

  3. Wishing you much happiness and wonderful memories in your new dwelling. I thought for sure it would be in Denmark. Kat and I still reminisce about our trip to Italy. You were a big part in making those great memories that we will always treasure. Rose and Kat Lantz

    • Ahhh thanks to you – BOTH. Yes Denmark was on the cards for a long time. Very tempted but in the end it was the winters (here lovely – there not) that swung it… Hope to see you again sometime on the road. Many many hugs

  4. Best wishes for many, many happy years in your new home. If I may offer an observation, the important things you have accumulated in your life are in your head and heart–what’s in the suitcase is just stuff. Your shared knowledge was such a gift on our memorable trip to France. Blessings.

    • Hi Helen… thank you, thank you. You are right – everything else is ‘stuff’. I literally own two suitcases worth of such at the time of moving in and have no great plans to change this… Hope to see you again on another trip someday. Hugs

  5. Congratulations to you Thomas!!! I hope that you find nothing but happiness in your new home.
    You helped to provide us with lifelong memories of Italy on our tour last April and you are the best at what you do.
    If you ever make it to the east coast of America you will always be welcome in our home.


    Jeff Kern

    • Hey Jeff- thanks for the invite ๐Ÿ˜‰ You too – come to Spain eh? Very nice I can assure you and mi casa es su casa (as I think they say). Thanks for reading and the really kind comments. See you some day…

  6. Wonderful news. Someone will cross your path, doorstep and stay a while or forever. Enjoy the moments that lead up to that too!

    • You are always very wise – always. I hope you are both well. If you come this way again – either of you – please look me up. It would be an honour to host you. Many many hugs…

      • I might take you up on that. Chicago/Galena has a bed for you too!

      • It’s a real genuine offer I can assure you… Whether I am here or not, come and enjoy Spain…ciao ciao

  7. Congratulations on such a milestone in your life!! May this home be a blessing to you. I’m sure you touch each and every person you encounter in some way, as you did our group from Indianapolis!! As you make memories, it will become a home rather than just a house. Here’s to making infinite memories!!!

    • Hi Sarah… Thank you – for reading and for your comments, which make such a difference to me and what I do. Next trip to Europe all the way from Indianapolis, make it Spain and come hide out in the hills for awhile… Many hugs ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Well now Thomas, you have finally surfaced. I wondered just where you were in the world, wondering whether a nemesis had got you, etc. Glad to read that things are slowly falling into place. I’m off to Australia and NZ next April but who knows maybe next Christmas (ish) you will get a message “Oi, where are you. Fancy a glass or two of Sangria?” Although last time I was in Spain I managed to destroy my brain, liver and kidneys in one night on the damn stuff. Perhaps a nice Rioja instead. Stay well buddy. Cats say hi. Colin

    • Ah yes my friend – I suppose it could have been anywhere. I would have loved your ‘little’ island I tell you – such find memories, but that country of ours, to which you still belong is just TOO pricey… Have a GREAT trip down under – haven’t been there in ages and love that part of the world too. PLEASE do come – can’t guarantee your liver, but we could maybe go out on nice wine instead? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Much love to the cats – hope you’ve got a good ‘sitter’. Take care, Thomas

  9. YES! Great news. I’m so happy for you Thomas. Your new home and surroundings sound (and look) wonderful. Sleep, eat, and drink well!

    • Hey Erikka – Now you are ONE person I am counting on seeing over here. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if you never did board that plane back to Texas. So, when you get round to it, you know where to find me… Many many hugs and SEE you ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. We are planning a trip to Andalucia next year with our new little baby daughter! So see you then!!!!!

    • Yes? WOW!!!! Fantastic news – all round. Do you have dates – email me and I will make sure I am around. I can suggest lots of things to do and see – this is THE best news. Much love to you AND the family… besos

      • Hey. I emailed you but not sure if you are still using the same address. Let me know if you didn’t get it!

  11. Enjoy Tom Tom! Your new home/house sounds like bliss x

    • Thank you Emma – I will make it bliss for sure, one day… Thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs from Spain…

  12. Thomas, so glad your dream has finally been realized! It sounds like the perfect place for you to unwind, recharge, and restore yourself after a long time traveling on the road, the perfect, maison serenetie. (Please forgive the lack of the appropriate accent marks. My computer is not as language-savvy as it might be.)

    In any event, I know that you will enjoy your time in your new home, making it your own, and filling it with many happy new memories. And, who knows, perhaps one day, someone with whom to share it. In the meantime, Happy holidays, and we’ll plan on seeing you in Venice next October!

    • Dear Sue – thank you so much! You knew it was on the cards when we met in Paris, but to finally be living there is amazing. You are dead set on Venice for October – really looking forward to that. See if you can get any of the ‘old’ Mediterranean cruise gang to sign up again – would be fantastic to see them too… Many hugs from Spain ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. Congratulations Thomas! Although I’ve not yet been to that particular part of Andalucia, from the areas I’ve been lucky enough to visit, I can definitely see why you chose it for a place to make a home. Hopefully you’ll post lots of pictures and updates so we can live vicariously through your adventure. -Kerry

    • Ahhh Kezzarooo… Come back over here and I’ll get to guide you around this part of stunning Andalusia also. Have another post coming up for sure, but will try not to bore people with Spanish village life… bit quiet me thinks. Hugs and kisses ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. I hope that 44 will now be your home for a long time… Hope you’re okay. Enjoy your new house and your holiday ๐Ÿ˜‰ let me know when you will be in Avignon again for your รฎle flotante ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Ahh Louise – who needs Avignon when one can visit Barbentane – much better no? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for your comments – come visit Spain sometime and surely next time I am near you I will take you up on the floating island offer – yum yum. Hugs x

  15. Hi Thomas
    Nice to read your blog! I hope to meet you at some time, which probably wont be to difficult as we are neibours in guajar fondon. Fell in love with the village and the people, at the moment we are there only part time but one day!!!! amazing place…..enjoy.
    Chris and,

    • Hello Chris and Jean – how nice to ‘meet’ you ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for reading and glad you too love the area. I am back out soon – for a month or so, then again in Feb I think – send me an email some time and I’ll come down – be fun… Regards

  16. Ha congratulations Tom! I hope you find turning your house into a home enjoyable! I have been West of Malaga but never East, so once we finally leave South Africa a trip to Spain will hopefully be on the cards… I hope you have plenty of visitors before then, however!!

    • Hello my friends! Wonderful to hear from you…really. You will be ever so welcome… much love to you all from Spain… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. Thomas, Elliot and I think of you often and treasure the wonderful memories we have from our delightful, albeit short, trip to Italy. You were a marvelous guide and hopefully some day our paths will cross again. We have enjoyed the stunning photos you have posted and can only dream, at least me. May love and happiness surround you in your new abode. God bless always, Anne & Elliot Knapp.

    • Dear Anne and Elliot – thanks, really so much for reading and your kind words in response. It was an honour and a pleasure to reveal a little of fantastic Italy to you… I’m always around if you fancy another destination… Thanks again SO much for the blessing… many many hugs to you both ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. Tom – old friend!! – this sounds amazing!!

    I was wondering where you were these days until a chance meet up with Rob G reminded me of your blog.

    I can’t believe that you are putting down roots!… but not surprised that you’ve chosen to do it in a beautiful, remote area.

    let’s try to get back in touch over the next few months…it’s been too long


    • Jeremy! Wow this really is the best Xmas present. Wonderful to wake up to. Yes let’s try to meet up when we can – not even sure where in the world you are… email me So good to hear from you… See you SOON I really hope… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. Thomas! I was just thinking about you today and wondering whatever happened to that home you placed a bid on while we were in Italy. Looks like you went with a different place…and different country! So happy for you. Congratulations!! Erin

    • Hey Erin, yes indeed things changed a bit ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think they always tend to with me… Thanks so much – well, what can I say, if you ever fancy visiting Andalusia, let me know… ciao ciao

  20. Hi Thomas
    Just come your Web page and wanted to say i hope you are settling in in Alto.
    I have a property in Velez de Benaudalla and when there one of my favourite things is to visit alto for early morning coffee at bar Olivia.
    Such a simple pleasure

    • Hi Edward – thanks for your comment. yes loving it here… At the moment I go more often to Carmen’s, but the Oliva has better coffee and in the morning is a wonderful suntrap ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. We are BOOKED! I don’t know if you get my emails. We’d love to see you!

    • Hmm, didn’t see it – will search through them again. Would be GREAT to meet up ๐Ÿ˜‰

  22. fantastic ๐Ÿ˜€

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