Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

Mar 06, 2023
Short-toed snake eagle in flight

So there I was on Saturday, sitting in a meadow, surrounded by pigs, goats and cow shit.

Overlooking the Straits of Gibraltar and North Africa, we were watching the struggle of Eagles, Vultures and Kites as they migrated across this short but massively important stretch of water.

As our guide Simon set up a feast of a picnic of exquisite, local ingredients, he explained that each and every one of those birds (there had been 4,000 of them yesterday) crossing the water was in a battle for survival.

After flying thousands of miles north across Africa, this short 14km stretch was their biggest challenge yet.

He explained how they used the thermals to ascend as high as possible before setting out over the water, at which point they began descending towards the surface.

These birds are designed for soaring, not flapping. And we watched as those who hadn’t quite judged the wind, drop perilously close to the water.

If they crashed, they wouldn’t have the strength to take off again and would drown before they made landfall.

It was captivating. The 3 of us sat there with our binoculars (who’d have thought we’d ever try ‘twitching’) and willed and cheered each and every one of those beautiful birds across to safety.

After lunch, Simon took us to a secret nesting colony of Griffon Vultures. We stood and watched as these amazing birds (with wingspans of nearly 2 meters) flew low overhead with a ‘whoosh’ of air as they landed on a rock face right in front of us.

This weekend was a belated birthday present, and quite likely, around 5 years ago at this time, I’d have been camped out in a 5 Star Hotel somewhere in a major city.

But this was one of the most straightforward and rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.

Of course, it’s not for everyone, some of our friends gave us strange looks and polite smiles when we told them what we were doing. But the key takeaway is that we often forget what simple beauty is all around us if we look for it.

As the great Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

What about you? What simple things can you do to disconnect from this ‘always on’ culture? You might be surprised at what’s just outside your door.

A huge thanks to Simon and Niki of Inglorious Bustards -



About the Author

Jules is the Co-Founder of ONE LIFE

Having spent most of my working life in the corporate sector, I hit massive burnout in 2020.

With my blood pressure through the roof, the doctor told me that if I didn’t make huge changes I was on track for a heart attack or stroke.

I’d been stuck in the salary trap for so long that I couldn’t see my life’s spiral descent. I was living for the weekends and 4 weeks of annual leave each year. I had no purpose and I was stumbling through life trying to hang on…

But I couldn’t go on any longer, so at the end of 2020 I gave in my notice, we packed up our things and moved to a new life in Spain.

And I’ve never looked back. My only regret? I should have done it years ago when Andy was asking me too. So now we’re on a mission to help you find your purpose and create a truly happy life, just like we’re living…

So join us for our ONE LIFE Coaching and see just how amazing YOUR life can be when you find clarity and purpose.

Jules x

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