Life Lessons

Life is very unpredictable, but there seem to be certain things in life that are forever constant.

One is the law of Karma which I wrote about not so long ago.

But recent events have shown me once again how powerful it is.

Two years ago, a friend of mine called Bonnie invited me to her house in Devon for a long weekend. She knew I was passionate about sailing and had recently moved in with her boyfriend who owned a yacht. She said I had to come down and go sailing with them for a couple of days and so, after very little persuasion, we arranged a weekend and off I went.

I was naturally excited and looking forward to my long weekend away. The summer had been amazing so far, 4 weeks of solid sunshine so I had high expectations. However, as I got closer to South Devon, I noticed clouds beginning to appear.

“That’s OK”, I thought to myself, “Probably just some light drizzle. It’ll pass”.

I left the motorway, then the dual carriageway, the A road and eventually found myself driving down small lanes just enough for one car to pass at a time.

I noticed the rain wasn’t easing off and in fact, the skies had become greyer and the rain heavier.

At last, I saw the sign, Bantham, and knew I was nearly there.

As I arrived into her driveway, I beeped the horn and Bonnie came to the door.

She gave me a big hug.

“Great to see you. You didn’t bring the tropical weather with you I see”, she laughed. “Unfortunately, the weather is not going to be great this weekend, but hopefully, it will clear at some point and we can go out for a sail”.

I hoped she was right.

“Oh, and just another thing. Most of my belongings are arriving from Bristol tomorrow and unfortunately so is the man to do the carpets. I’m afraid you might have to get up early to let him in your room”.

“That’s OK, no problem”, I said politely, wondering how she defined the word ‘early’.

She introduced me to her boyfriend, a lovely guy called Will, sat me down with a glass of wine and for dinner served me the best fish I think I have ever tasted, caught fresh that very morning. By 11 pm the journey had caught up with me and I retired to bed.

At 6 am the following morning, Bonnie was up and rushing around the house. I popped my head out of the door to see what she was doing.

“Oh good, you’re up. Can you give me a hand moving the sofa downstairs?” she asked.

And so the day began….

I was out of bed and moving everything in her house from one room to the other. Not quite the weekend away I was expecting, but the weather was terrible and to be honest, it was just nice to see and spend time with her.

There was a lot more to do than either of us expected and I seem to remember working solidly from 6 am to about 7 pm, barely for a break, helping her move all of her stuff into her boyfriend’s house and even helping the carpet fitter! I didn’t complain, I just got on with it. After all, she was a friend and what are friends for?

Unfortunately, the weather remained terrible for my entire stay and I think the only time we managed to get out was for a few hours in the car where we drove down and stared at the yacht through the mist from the shore. However, luckily Bonnie and Will were not only great company but also great cooks! So my stay there was still enjoyable.

As I left on Sunday evening, I remember a rainbow appearing just as I left their driveway and the sun coming out. It remained hot for the next 4 weeks!! In the two months I was back in the UK that summer, those were the only 3 days that it rained!!

Bonnie always told me the beach was stunning, but I never got to see it….. ……Until now!

And it is stunning!

Because after 2 years, I am back and have been living with Bonnie and Will for the last 4 weeks.

I think my hard day of work those two years ago has somehow been rewarded with a job for the summer down here in Bantham, Devon. And once again, I always feel that whenever we help people out, it just always seems to come back to us in ways we are not expecting.

Last year, Bonnie set up a holiday home rental business called Compass Quay and knowing that my work in the Spa world had dried up, kindly invited me to help her out for the summer. And it has been a lot of fun.

What goes around always seems to come around.

The other lesson that I have learned through all of this is that having spent the last 22 years travelling the world looking for beautiful places to stay, that the most beautiful place of all was in my own back yard……..sweet little England.

This reminds me of an ancient Buddhist teaching about a man who travelled the world seeking out the greatest Buddhist teachers in his search to find peace of mind and spiritual enlightenment. But after many years of failing to find it, he gave up and decided to return home.

As he returned to his village, he saw his ageing mother who he had not seen for more than 10 years. A deep sense of inner happiness moved him so deeply and he finally realized that what he had been looking for was there within him all along.

Bantham and the coastline here in south Devon is stunning. If you love the sea or hiking I really cannot recommend it enough. As they say, a picture says a thousand words and I hope these photos give you some idea as to what I mean.

For me, hiking is my number one passion and what I love about the UK is that the weather is perfect for those long evening strolls and all day Sunday walks. The last hike I did was in Krabi, Thailand which although beautiful started at 4.30 in the morning and was somewhat rushed to avoid the midday sun. The heat becomes unbearable to walk in for most of the day in the tropics.

But the temperature in the UK is just right in the summer. Even hot days tend to have a slight breeze to cool the humidity.

The temperature and the coastline make this part of the country truly unique and quite honestly, each walk I do has something special to see that takes my breath away. There is something truly calming about a long walk in nature. Whenever you feel stressed, down or depressed, go out in nature. It reminds you that at the end of the day, you are just a tiny part of this thing called ‘life’ and that the worries, stresses and strains are just a tiny, unimportant part of it.

The houses that Compass Quays rents out are stunning properties. Bantham House and Whitehorses are minutes to the beach and both overlook the Bantham estuary. As well as being an ideal location for surfing, there is also a great deal of sailing and fishing to be done here too. Our neighbours often return from a day out on their boat and drop us off some freshly caught fish for dinner.


In addition to houses in Bantham, Compass Quays also has smaller 2-3 bedroom properties dotted around the local areas, from small country cottages to apartments and houses suitable for both large and small families.

And of course, there is a bonus of a very good holistic therapist, meditation and Qi Gong instructor who will e there for the summer 😉.

So if you are looking for a holiday with a difference, please take a look at her website:

www.compassquay.uk

Toby has been practising the healing arts of the East for nearly twenty years and spent 13 years living in South East Asia where he studied meditation, Asian philosophy and Chinese medicine whilst working in Health and Wellness resorts around South East Asia.

Working as both a health and wellness consultant and practitioner at some of the top destination spas in the world means Toby has a wealth of knowledge.

YOU can access Toby's vast experience... CLICK HERE to discover how.

Comments 3

  • Hi Toby, I’m so pleased you have found the heaven that is Devon! My parents introduced me to it donkeys years ago and here I am now with all my 3children and 5 grandchildren enjoying it as much as I have always done! We are the other side of Salcombe between Start Point and Prawle Point, a stunning coastline for walks and swimming and occasionally surfing, though we know Bantham has the best! (So we might come & find you!)

  • You are doing a great job! So extremely sympathetic! Congratulations!

  • Always a pleasure to read your missives Toby, they are always inspiring. And you are soooo right, you can’t beat the UK even when the weather is not so nice!!

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