The Divine. Palawan. Philippines.

The part of my four week trip that I was most excited for, not only did it take a good portion of days, time and energy to get here; I could not help but day dream and anticipate what adventures I would seek, humans I would fall in love with and the pristine beauty and hidden gems that were so highly spoken about in conversations and greetings along my previous two weeks of travel around the Visaya’s of The Philippines. 
It began in the city of Puerto Princesa, where the markets are spread all over a good portion of the main town, stalls filled with fresh vegetables and fruit, countless variates of rice on offer, sweet delicacies and deserts, (one of my favourites Taron – sweet banana fried), fresh buka’s (coconut), you name it these markets had it and it was a place where I wanted to get fully immersed in, finally fresh produce and don’t even get me started on the mangoes. I can officially say to this date the best mangoes I have had in the world are right here in the Philippines and Puerto filled me with many and I was so thankful to chill in my hammock back at our guesthouse day dreaming, giggling and munching on the sweet goodness of them.
We stayed here in the small, smiling city for a few days and re-grounded our souls, minds and now full stomachs and felt ready to hop on another bumpy, bum numbing bus ride up to a tiny, beach town called Port Barton. They say its a spot where the pace of life is so slow; you can truly forget about the meaning of time and days, where many people come to find peace and serenity within themselves, daze off into the sunsets that are so bright and full of saturation, to discover the infectious smiles of the Filipinos where every single person will fill you with a sense of hope, unity within the communities and not just what true happiness looks like, but an invitation into the lives of a society where life really can be as simple as you want it to be.
Y
ou can find whatever it is you may be in search for; because not just the locals, but the people that I was blessed to find here had a similar mentality; where we all just wanted to find a little hope, calmness and slower pace to restore, regroup and take a second to learn from the Filipino’s way of life; because they are simply some of the happiest people I have ever met. Its all just really simple and extremely momentary, living one step at a time. So with all that said, I jumped straight on that bus with the Bob Marley tunes playing through the bus speakers and was ready to hit the Go button.



I’m very much so a believer in the beautiful ways of which the universe works; that what you give out in life, you get back in time and the reasons of why you meet certain people and the gift of incredible meaningful conversation, connection and guidance. To listen to your intuitions and let it guide you through different realms of life and just simply learn to listen a little more; for it is the greatest healer and teacher. There is nothing better, than to sit down with someone a little older, who has seen a lot, experienced a lot of the world, and for that is the greatest story teller. I felt fortunate enough to meet a lovely older guy named Marc, we stumbled across him on our bus ride up to Port Barton, he had this incredible ora about him and certainly looked like he could tell a bloody funny story. And in fact he was full of endless amounts of tales, some of which I would never be able to describe. I ended up spending a lot of time with him, taking long walks to untouched beaches; which I have been in search for and sat for hours in awe of the beauty that I was amongst and in great company of conversation and deep thoughts. He re-inspired me for many reasons; he reminded me that the greatest lessons in life is to continue to travel this incredible earth that we live on, for it is the greatest teacher and some of the best education you will ever have, he taught me to listen harder, and continue to be curious and ask questions, he reminded me which is a feeling that is stronger than ever in my early years of 24, that you will only ever have one set of parents and you will miss them when they are gone, so create memories with them, love them and cherish them for everything that they are; because they are the very creators of your being and he told me I am a pretty special human, so congratulations to them I guess. 🙂 I fell into so many ‘Marc’s’ in Port Barton and I knew it was a place I was destined for and for that reason I stayed longer than intended, in a tent on the beach, waking up to the tides of the oceans and every morning, having a little pinch and a smile to reconnect that; yes, I really am here and I have every appreciation and more for it.

I left Port Barton, after finding so much beauty that was untouched in my surroundings, and people. I found peace and a different feeling of faith in people and the desire to continue the search and remember to always stay grounded and connected within myself. It reminded me that as nomads we are in this head space where we yearn for the best of both worlds sometimes when we travel. We want to feel free forever, freedom as we know it, is one of the most powerful feelings in the world. That we have felt what being tied down and oppressed is like and we never want to feel like we are being controlled, but you hold power for discovering and moving on and off this path, where you have no real idea where its leading, but all your hope is, is that you’ll find another endearing human at the end of it, another hill top, ocean view filled with the purest air, another moment where you’re lost in time, and time does not mean anything, days roll into weeks, and days of the week have no meaning or existence anymore. And over time you find that the more you go, the less you have on the way, and the less you have the further you can go. And when you do finally come off that nomadic path (if you ever do) and the other humans back in the land where we call society, ask you at the end of it all; so tell me where you went. You do not have a clear enough answer to not only be able to explain even half, but to be able to talk to someone who has not a single idea. Because you just went and you were moving with the guidance of the universe. And at times you were lost but the places you were lost in helped you to become more grounded than you ever have been. And i’ll always know that along the way we all have something truly in common and it is; 

“That we are torn between nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.”

As difficult as it was, leaving my simple, happy, hippy tent life; we moved on up to El Nido, where the epitome of contrast between people and environment from where we had been and where we were going was truer than ever; but that being said, as busy and packed as it was, we found a little slice of solitude just outside of the busy town. We took a tricycle and headed for Las Cabanas beach and we walked for a while to find a spot where the sand was empty and we could truly be in awe of how pristine the beach was and the incredible view of limestone islands that radiated out of the ocean; hundreds of them. As the day fell from the brightest of blue skies, we walked to find a peaceful spot to watch the sunset and we stared off into the abyss of how the colours slowly changed the further the sun set behind the rock formations. Gazing watching the many children laughing and screaming, playing on the sands of their very own back yard; it was quite a humbling, satisfying moment knowing that once again I have found a spot in the world that is surrounded by happiness, hope and unity; where there does not need to be a single care in the world, because the universe brought me to this very moment.

When we move in and out of different towns; winding our way through small populations and larger ones. We like to scrape away the surface of what a town may look like and really get beneath the realities of truly how the lives are lived in these places; connect with the families and the locals who grew up in the very villages that we step foot in. It is so easy to almost get sucked into the way a town has been established over the years for tourists and profit; so the more I travel the more I try to seek out the rawness in its people, culture and history, because theres always so much of it to discover; let your initiative lead the way sometimes and the rest just unravels.
So our last tick of El Nido; was to rent some kayaks and get lost amongst the limestone rock formations for a while and just paddle out and see where the winds and our strength takes us. So a group of
three of us set off; and it was one of the most happiest, freeing days I have had, we found isolated, pristine beaches; with abandoned properties that had been left to rust and decay away over the years. The softest, whitest sands I have ever walked upon. We kayaked in and out of the cove’s of the limestone islands and the more time went on, the more we got lost in the beauty of El Nido’s horizons and in the company of each other. It was the perfect way to end our short stint in El Nido and see the beauty of the islands and the clear oceans at our own pace and time; before we knew it the backpacks were being thrown on again and we hiked our way back on a long, exerting walk to the bus stop to find once again an off the beaten track location in the hills of San Fernando.




Locals smile here and kids have all the energy in the world, playing for hours and chasing after you to ask; “Whats your name, maam?” shortly after the response; hysterically giggling and running away. There is one local warung; with minimal food to offer and if your lucky and the locals have not rolled through before you, you might be in for a chance of some ‘Tortang Talong’ (eggplant omelette) the one vegetarian dish that has been our absolute godsend here in The Philippines and most local towns have it to offer. Other than that our vegetarian needs our well out of luck; so its rice, rice and a whole lot more rice. Nothing were not fully used to by now though and I do have a new un-profound love for you guessed it rice; I’ll never be able to thank it enough for supporting my well-being for the duration of my stay here. The town is not established for tourism yet; its just locals who live here and you can take a bus from El Nido; it takes a little under 2 hours. We made a connection at the start of our trip that led us to making our last stop right here; and once again I find myself thanking the universe for bringing the owner of the guesthouse to my calling. We stayed up in the hills, on a beautiful cashew farm; filled with baby chickens roaming around freely, and a few guest-homes that have been newly built; we chose the most rustic, outdoor way to stay as we possibly could; in a hut. We were situated at the edge of the property; high up, over looking the town of San Fernando and the surreal views of the ocean. It was simply perfect. We spent our days by the 2km stretch of beach; filled with absolutely no one but us. Meditating in the serenity of the property, eating beautifully home cooked meals made by the owners Luke and Dana, playing hilarious card games, and drinking up plenty of San Miguels.

It was time for us to almost start our journey back-tracking on ourselves, heading down south to Puerto Princesa again; where we had another two day lay over awaiting the next point of call; Cambodia. We always like to make our trips a little interesting and somehow we never make it too easy for ourselves. We ended up having very little funds towards the last few days of our trip due to my bank declining the request for funds just minutes before leaving Puerto. And as a friendly warning. There are absolutely NO ATM’s or BANKS the entire way up the island of Palawan. Which is pretty hard to believe as it is one of the most popular destinations in the Philippines. So it left me moneyless prior to our last two stops, which made Paris my sugar mumma. I can safely safe we had drastically limited funds to support the both of us for the last 5 days of our trip and return journey back to Puerto. This led to a pretty hilarious, malnourished team of warriors that we are. We managed somehow to survive off rice and soy sauce for yes; you guessed it Breakfast, lunch and dinner, we got 2 bus rides and 3 connections back to Puerto (one we blagged our way out of for free as the limited budget dropped to 700P to spare and still 10 hours left of travel) jumped on a Jeepney for half the price and made it back to our Puerto guesthouse for the night with just 3 Pesos left in the pocket and a team of hungry, exhausted, dusty, moneyless gypsies.

So it leaves me to tell you; There was every reason to have an expectation on the island of Palawan. I felt its calling and could not wait to step foot on it and immerse myself deeply into everything that I had painted it to be. I took myself away from the crowds to find locations that were quiet; but full of beauty in the views and the people that lived there. I found myself unwinding in my mind and appreciating the connections with people again. Being in my elements of the ocean and moving at the pace of the Filipino’s. Which let me tell you, is pretty damn slow; and I secretly like it. Why do we all have to move so quickly for anyway, wheres everyone trying to get too? I could easily stay a lot longer here and keep hopping from island to island; 7,000 is an incredible amount; I thought Indonesia was overwhelming. I must say though I do miss my variety in vegetarian dishes and the spices of life from Indonesia; theres only so much rice one can eat with no spice or kick to it and my taste buds are yearning for something a little more. So The Philippines has been ticked off; but not fully. I’ll be back one day soon to plan my big dive trip here and find the gems in the beautiful oceans which surround this incredible country. Until next time though. Theres some more planes, bus’s and tricycle’s to catch. Its onwards and upwards to Cambodia.

USEFUL CONTACTS:

Puerto Princesa – Dallas Inn – 11 Carandang Street, Puerto Princesa, 5300+63 946 392 8818

Owner is Rusty; pleasant, very helpful and loyal to his guests, he has a beautiful young daughter who shows her face from time to time and is always a joy to be around. This guesthouse is peaceful and small, there are a few hammocks to chill out in, its off the main road and a short walking distance to all the markets and local produce. I have stayed here a couple of times and have always had such an easy, enjoyable time. 

Port Barton – El Dorado Sunset Resort

Owner’s are a small family – we directed ourselves for any questions or problems to a woman named Lucy, she’s friendly and chilled and knew we wanted a cheap and unique stay; so she offered a tent on the beach which was around 150Pesos/$4 per night for the both of us. Was comfortable and clean.


El Nido – The Alternative

A little run down and was slightly abandoned but it was a beach front location and we managed to bartor the local money collector guy down to a good price for the location (not sure if there even was an owner) we paid around 250Pesos PP/P night

San Fernando – Santeria – Dana and Luke are the couple who run and own the guesthouse, Dana’s contact to book is; stay@santeria-elnido.com

Off the beaten track, up in the hills about 2 hours north of El Nido – the most peaceful place you will find. A little expensive in comparison to other places we visited, but it is rural and unique and everything they cook and provide has travelled very far and the prices are set to the transportation routes. They have two guesthouses and a hut which is a slightly cheaper option which is around 400P a night, so split between two is a reasonable price. The internet is nil at the guesthouse which is the most exciting, comforting part about venturing here. Surround yourself in serenity for a little while.

 

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How.Bad.Do.You.Want.It?

Its all about just testing your patience right? All these emotions and feelings are raw, present and just temporary right? The way you feel and act upon situations, do not define you, they help build and mould your being, timeline and reality. If you can get so intuitively in touch with the channels of emotions and thoughts that run through the mind that are so heightened and broadened through the realms of new surroundings then your testing life’s questions and more so, life’s existence, most people do not even get outside of the box to begin to attempt it. 
What am I getting at here; well I am on this journey of getting a little lost, finding some new, unique existences down routes and paths that I did not even know were possible to take. The true test, is the very test of yourself. How far can you push, how willing are you prepared to go, how crazy or intense do you want to experience? What questions are you prepared to ask to get the answers that scare you the most? Do you want to fly or fall, jump or leap as far as you can. Or perhaps both. 
I have so many outlooks, so many visions and dreams; enough sometimes to make me feel like i’m going to explode. “Very few know how many woman there are in me”. One very inspiring, true goddess of a woman told me that once and in how many ways can I scream that, it stands for more than I could even begin to explain.
These travel routes, the diversions I put myself through to save the most dollars, cents, pennies. The crazy 3-4 day stints, the sleeping in airports, the most horrendous hostels, taking ferries for days; stop overs, layovers in the most bleak, sometimes a little terrifying places, that are unpleasant to say the least. The long drawn out, claustrophobic, humid environments that you put yourself in and means of transport that you take is just another step and almost test of how much you can endure sometimes as a human. Theres moments where I feel like I have done it all; until another situation arises, that I happen to sign myself up for and its 2 days in on a 5 day divergent, to get to the destination that you have dreamt so hard about. Iv’e done it once, sometimes twice, but I would do it again, and I will keep doing it, until it
s not fun or enticing anymore; anything for some memories to put on the life plaque, right. 

I tested myself. I tried to stay patient, present and in control of my current, wired out of control thoughts that were on frequencies I have never absorbed before. I signed myself up because I wanted to do it the different way out, not the easy, simple, direct route. Why not just catch a plane and couple of taxi’s; you’ll be there in a few hours kind of route. Well all of that is simple and effective and did I also mention, EXPENSIVE! 
So instead a couple of weeks ago, I set off in sight of one of the most beautiful, greenest most pristine islands in The Philippines, but the journey got a little back tracked mainly due to a slight lack of clear, research and slightly misleading information and the result was a pretty stale, prolonged, uninspiring stay in a place called Iloilo City. 

The journey logged goes a little something like this;
– Siquijor fast-craft ferry to Dumaguett
e
– Jeepeney (these are motorcycles with carriages on the side) from port to Ceres bus liner station
– Ceres bus terminal departure for Bacolod City
– Arrival at Bacolod City (side street)
– Jeepeney to Bacolod City port
– Fast craft ferry from Bacolod City to Iloilo City
– Arrival Iloilo City port – taxi to Ong Bun Pension House 

After arriving in the evening at Iloilo City, we realised that we missed the Milagrosa shipping ferry that leaves twice a week at 7pm. So fortunately we bumped into some young Filipinos, who managed to direct us to a standard, cheap pension house in the city where we could at least rest our heads until we could figure things out in the morning. Ong Bun Pension House (OBPH) it was called. The feeling and general ora of this hostel was extremely grimy, dark and pretty unwelcoming, which is everything I wasn’t too keen for, but as I always do, suck it up and appreciate a place to rest for a second. Iloilo City is not the most cleansing, soul enlightening place to wake up too. We got on with our days ahead, in high anticipation that it was going to go by faster than we knew and we’d be on the ferry heading for a new horizon. Iloilo was a tough 3 days, I suppressed a lot of feelings due to many reasons. The people of Iloilo stared a lot, and the stares that I experienced were dark, fiery curious stares; which left you feeling very un-welcomed and a little angry inside after a while. We both felt alone in ourselves and wanted time to move quicker; which is something I never want to wish for with my days. We struggled to find healthy, fresh food; its a place where the majority of produce is packaged in large quantities and sold in big, corporate supermarkets. The restaurants on offer are mostly fast food chains and full of meat and food that looked so un-appetising. And in my eyes of how I view food and health some of it looked pretty unfit for human consumption. It was a place that made me feel a little confused and sad that the society that lives there, isn’t supplied with the fresh, vibrant healthy produce that every human should be able to purchase at a reasonable cost and consume. Amongst the exhaustion of being an observer of a society that lives this way, we survived the 3 days; not so energetic or too enthused but aside the small mishap of having to stay a little longer than expected, we booked onto the second and last ferry leaving for Palawan on the Thursday and boarded, with as much enthusiasm and relief at 7pm and the next big stint of finding a new horizon and island hopping in The Philippines, was well on its way.

So perhaps the questions I ask aloud, to you the reader are the questions I subconsciously ask myself along my way off and on the beaten path. Take yourself outside of the box, the one that society tells you is the way it is supposed to be, the one where they feed you the life that suppresses you and controls the frequencies of your thoughts and desires to be free and feel spiritually awake and alive to live in a world where there is compassion, laughter and love between cultures and humans. 




“Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you previously never have thought of doing, or been to hesitant to attempt. So many people live within un-happy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man or woman than a secure future. The very basic core of a mans living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a simple, more freeing style of life, that will at first appear to you to be crazy, but once you become accustomed to such a lifestyle you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.”   

John Krakauer.

Useful contacts:

Milagrosa Shipping lines information – Cargo ferries that run from Iloilo City
http://www.milagrosa-jshipping.com/trip-schedule/

 

Tribe Life. Sumba

To imagine a place, a tiny island with real tribes, that live in ancient traditional houses made from bamboo and grass in tiny villages where they live off of the land, harvest their own crops, sell their crafts of intricately and unhurried hand-woven items textiles. Additionally they have annual deeply rooted traditions such as funerals and Pasola in the months of Feb and March which I witnessed with my own eyes and heart. Here is the experience of such a place that I not only visited but lived, as one of them, a member of the Waikabubak Tribe.

There are times throughout my travels where in the moment I have small monologues in my head where I’m giggling at the situations I am in and how on earth I’m even going to begin to describe this in written words to others, where I can really captivate the audience to feel and visualise how it was through my eyes, so initially writing this I felt like perhaps I would explain a little bit more through imagery and immerse the readers through my photography. So I’ll try my best to do a little bit of both as this 4 day stint was one of my rawest and soul shocking experiences I have entered into for a while.

I like to think after four years of being on the road, I’ve grown as a person and see the world with a diverse eye within cultures, humans and lifestyles throughout countries. Well this path of Sumba was a whole new disparate one, a plane ride, where I didn’t really have a clear idea or sense of what I was entering into, which sent my stomach into swirling nervous, spiralling knots. The plan began at the end of a humbling, heart melting week in Ubud and already having travelled a couple of times in Indonesia, I wanted the next point of call to be somewhere that was off the beaten track. So doing a little research, and by little I mean a few solid hours, we came to the conclusion that being in the perfect months to visit with the Pasola Festival and the famous funerals to attend, we packed up our bags and headed for the island of Sumba.

There a two main airports that you can fly into on the island; Tambolak and Waingapu. We wanted to start with the west side of the island as we found a reasonably reliable source on a couple of previous blog posts,  to stay with a woman who lives within a village that consists of 7 tribes. Yuli was her name. She lived in Waikabubak and her tribe was the Merapu tribe. We had no idea what to even think when we were on the hour’s long ride in the Jeep that picked us up; a couple glances at each other back and forth as we were passing some of the poorest shanty towns I have ever seen. Dogs and cats roaming the streets aimlessly, just skin and bones, and generally just a lot of chaos, people trying to survive from the littlest means possible from an island far from thriving in economy or tourism. My first sightings and thoughts was an overwhelming amount of empathy, wanting to be able to be a part of understanding a way I could help. 

Yuli spoke very good English, which was very comforting and put me a little more at ease, as very few people on the island cannot say anything more than a hello. We arrived in her village and walked up the hill to these beautifully peaked bamboo, grass thatched, traditional houses. With families and children who flocked to us. These radiant, unique looking beings, with enticing bold, brown eyes, held onto us with strong, deep curious stares. I think that’s the first time I can say I felt like a celebrity. We settled into the evening pretty quickly and Yuli walked us round her village and she explained a lot about the array of different tribes and their way of life.
Continue reading Tribe Life. Sumba

Just To Be. Heal In Ubud.

I want to start off on a note that is as clear, pure and raw as my life officially leads. Today was a day that I mark down as one of the most purifying, blissful moments, I have had in a long time. That spoke to me from the existing frequency of consciousness within, carried through the channel of tears that dripped down my face. There was a moment where time stood still. Where I felt connected, alive and my heart flooded with love and was beating a little faster. I’m about to share with you the real Ubud, the real Balinese people and the real culture that lives inside of these magnificent spirits. The very forefront of my being was blessed today to feel something that I wasn’t so sure how to even start writing down. However, once I digested and reflected on these experiences as my reality, I put my fingers to the keyboard and started to paint this canvas of consciousness and truth.

Wednesday the 5th of March 2015, I’ve been pinching myself since I arrived in Ubud just two days ago from a rather large stint of a beautiful but powerful hustle in the land they call down under; Australia. I came to continue a journey of what has been an incredible four years on the road. I continue the path of travel and this nomadic lifestyle on the road that I call home, yearning for the foreign and strange, and to be immersed into the people, religions, stories and ways of life that you know your destined to find. Simply to change the ways you view things and to fall in love with the love that this world has to offer; to do something that scares you every single day. To feel sparks of enlightenment and to be awoken just from one person in one tiny little village, not just trying but doing his/hers part to fill the world with a little more hope and compassion. To fall in love with yourself and surprise your soul at how you handle situations, experiences and to have the opportunities to answer questions that the norm of society wouldn’t necessarily bring awareness to. And of corse for you to ask questions and receive a response that leaves the biggest grin across your face for hours. To breath in a different air and to listen to the sounds of the locals, who build their incredible empire in villages that some people on this earth don’t even know exist. Women building homes, men carving and sculpting their craftsmanship to sell to the hustling and bustling tourists that flee past their stalls everyday. My goodness it’s a sight to paint.

You know, you walk down side streets here that lead to alleyways where groups of woman are huddled together lifting huge piles of rocks and building components on each others heads; passing them along the chain to the next power master who follows the 15-20 step path, balancing the act of strength and focus. Its one of the most incredible sights to see, and even when you stand to stare and admire their strength and peaceful way of work even when it can be made to look so strenuous and back braking they smile and wave. In fact they smile and wave at everything, there is not a single moment that has gone by where they do not share an acknowledgment or silly joke with you. That smile is not your normal western world smile as I like to view it. Its love to be shared from a race of people who ‘get it’ and by get it I don’t think I could begin to explain that concept if I tried. It’s almost like you have been let it on a secret; their secret. Like I said in the beginning, its a piece of heaven on earth, and its a way of life; you choose your way of life and you choose how you want your days to be and what you would like them to consist of. To see with your own very eyes what community and unity looks like, laughing, ‘shooting the shit’ (a great Balinese friend of mine named Ben says) and smiling from the inside out.

Its been an incredible four years on the road, and every time I save up enough from a working visa stint in some meaningless job (not all of them) just to hold on so tightly to that vision that you will always stay true too; to keep discovering and surprising yourself. You cannot wait to jump on that plane again, into the unknown; we nomads like to call it. To know that you have no idea what is on the other side, but your more ready than you’ve ever been, all over again. It’s a feeling that I don’t think any traveller could ever explain. To literally be ready to jump off the fringes of life again and trust your path, movements and gut instincts, that what your about to embark upon is something beyond extraordinary; your ready to be set free.
Life is a continual journey, full of bumps, edges and never-ending surprises. We have to remember as human-beings that we get one shot and this existence is temporary. What do you want to feel, how do you want to envision your days to be, how do you want to be fulfilled, not only within yourself but spiritually the channels that run through us all. To feel connected with this earth, from nature, your body, your soul, to connecting to humans, using every tool that we have. We are powerful beyond measures and when we take a leap of faith sometimes, we soon learn that it’s the best thing we could have ever done.

“People will always try to change the way you see things” – The Mind Unleashed


Imagine your days full of love, light, and never-ending horizons. To view and touch every element through your own self-being and not through the story, or journey of someone else. So if you are a first time traveller awaiting or procrastinating about leaving home, or quitting a job or starting a fresh somewhere new because of whatever event that has happened in your life, do not think things over too much or over analyse, trust your intuitions and your heart they are powerful tools that we must keep in tune with. If you’re asking yourself these questions, that’s normally a beautiful sign within that you are ready to set yourself free. So run, leap and jump; because remember to be old and wise, we must first learn to be young and foolish. I know there’s one thing that I am sure of and that’s if I am ever-blessed enough to live to an old age, it’s for damn sure I’m going to have some mighty good stories to tell.

 

So I’m here and I’m roaring (in fact on International Women’s Day) sitting on top of a hill at an incredible home-stay in Ubud owned and ran by beautiful, pure, strong empowering Balinese woman. Ubud is truly a gift, a small piece of heaven on earth. They say that “whether you like it or not, Ubud changes you for the better.” Many travellers will speak out when there on the road and agree by me saying that; all your days slowly end up meshing into weeks and months, where you cannot truly remember whether one event happened that day or the previous. With that sense of time, brings me a feeling of transience that is indescribable and eternal. Its a place where from what I see and am led to believe from what I have taken in over the past few days is that, its a place where people come from all walks of life. There are young travellers here, couples getaways, honeymooners, families, yoga teachers/students, meditation seekers, holistic healers, guru’s from all trademarks and gifts that they just want to share with the world. There are people here who are allowing and giving themselves time to be open to the healing and teaching process that Ubud just does. Heal and time are both concepts that are so vast and we learn through experiences and spiritual enlightenment. People who have come to find peace within themselves, open their hearts, their soul and their minds again, it’s simply the gift of magic from the Balinese. These people choose their days to consist of many, many laughs, endless smiles, a sense of community, wholesomeness, unity, love, to deliver strength in numbers and not stand alone, to give back to the earth that we’re slowly bit by bit destroying, to believe in something larger than any existence you’ve ever felt before and to them that is their religion and this is their world. If you are lucky enough to visit or even live here for a while, they are proud and welcome you with open arms to share something they call the secret to happiness.


I wanted to share one of the most touching stories I have yet to date, journal and blog with you. I was slowly wandering down a slightly more quiet street of Ubud on just my second day of being here. Taking it all in still, smiling and laughing with all the locals. There was a gorgeous, tiny white cottage style building just on the left hand side that had the most beautiful logo and quote on the wall. A young, Balinese man stood hand in hand, tall and proud just outside and smiled through his gorgeous eyes, he did not even try to wean us in; like the rare bundle of them that do. I’m a coffee lover and wanted to chat and just connect with him for a second and he allowed me to do just that. And I quickly discovered from his kind heart and explanation that the coffee shop just had its soft opening the day before and was brand new to this quiet lane way of Ubud. I had gone way over my budget for the day; as some days you do. But he got my heart which is never too hard. Agus his name was the barista of the cafe. This beautiful shop was called Juria Coffee they have the most magnificent vision, story and deliverance to which made this coffee not only one of the best coffee’s I have ever had, but to make this coffee one that I drank slowly, with care and before I knew it had dazed off into subdue deep thought.

This was one of those few moments that I was explaining earlier where time literally stood still and tears ran down my face sitting next to my soul sister who then caught onto the tears and we were sitting in Juria coffee sharing a defining moment at the start of this incredible journey of Asia. Juria Coffee is the first single variety coffee from Flores, Indonesia; another one of the magnificent parts of what makes up Indonesia’s’ 17,000 islands. The Juria Coffee’s vision is to be able to deliver two things; to provide a different taste and experience in their eyes, of a coffee bean that comes from the heart of Colon in Flores, where Juria is only harvested during the peak of the season, and the best tasting mature coffee cherries will be finely selected by hand. And the second is to give back to the Balinese farmers and this beautiful earth that we live on. The farmers who grow Juria lead a very simple and poor life. Until this very point of Juria coffee production. And just one mans vision which has now led to Juria Coffee being the only organisation in Indonesia offering micro-credit support to the farms cooperative. Taman Sari simply wants to share his passion and vision of food is life, without food we have no life. So the tears that fell down my cheeks in this tiny little inlet of a cafe was a moment that I will never forget, just one man with a vision who is giving back to the earth and its people. He is just one tiny dot on this globe that is doing his bit, sharing his vision and to feel the love and rawness behind his eyes is something I feel I am on a never-ending mission to seek out and immerse myself in. It was an ache from within almost a sigh of a relief that those tiny dots on this earth that from time to time we forget exist; are the ones who are creating great change and a revolution of their own. This light and raw love the Balinese have is truly something you have to feel and see for yourself, and that’s travel. To see things the way they are and not through the eyes or the perceptions of anyone else. Those very defining moments that make you think twice and turn a switch inside of you that allows you to remember why were here are the things that make me tick and stay hungry for.


The Balinese culture here live a simple life but full of compassion, intelligence and happiness. They pride themselves, especially the older generation, to give back to the earth that we feel we can take so much from. They are a rare breed of souls that want to share life’s gift to whoever will listen, and to teach to whoever wants to learn, “As passing the knowledge along to future generations is all we have” they say. And finally the real question to you is; why are you here, what are you in search for, what makes you tick and get up every single day, what are you chasing and in search for? I know I am in search of a never-ending journey, with a destination I have no idea of, but I am going and discovering and I finally feel like there’s some answers to the puzzle and some real, raw, loving, heart warming people who are doing good in this world and I want to be apart of that story.

 

So if you want to discover Ubud for the better you, the better world and the better humans that grace it…then come heal yourself in whatever form, shape or scope you need. And if perhaps you can’t answer the questions of today, then may I take a moment and guide you through many feelings, emotions memories and enlightenment of a journey through my eyes. It is here whenever you are ready to jump in and see whats on the other side.

I’m right here with you and remember the Universe has got your back, ok.