A beautiful Friday in Bali life…

26 May

So yesterday morning, we jumped on my Scooter, “Florence”, met friends and then headed towards the East coast of Bali in search of the ocean. 

The creators of this world were tremendously talented Artists. And I honour them. The islands of Indonesia are nothing short of magic and we are met daily with visions that the Gods have provided. Each day bestows more inspiration, more disbelief regarding just how privileged we are and more evidence that I am where I need to be, at this stage of my journey. 

I could tell you all about yesterday’s adventure, but would rather include a few pictures that will speak more truth than my words could even begin to provide. 

This is living. 

Gypsy X

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Image 23 May

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Loving what is..

23 May

Ubud, Bali. Overcast day, sun attempting to peep through the clouds.

9.30am. 25°C.

Balinese black coffee with raw palm sugar in a blue mug.

Books. Journals. Planner. Oracle Cards. Mac book Pro, 13”.

Ben Harper. Birds, bugs and distant farming equipment.

As I again find myself in a place of transition, I woke this morning and felt compelled to open the computer, log in to Word Press and get my little fingers typing into this tool of self-expression.  It has been a long time between visits. And as of today, rather than only inform a select group of people who I am guaranteed will love and adore me regardless of what or how I write, I endeavour to allow the world to meet my inside. My real self, the authentic Alex – freckles, spelling mistakes, confusion, imperfections and all.

I read a beautiful little quote, or rather a prayer in a book that I am enthralled in at the moment called “Loving What Is” by the interesting American author Byron Katie and it read a little somethin’ like this:

“If I had a prayer, it would be this: God/Universe, spare me from the desire for love, approval, or appreciation. Amen”

I invite you to take a moment to really think about these words, feel it.  Explore yourself.

I know that when I turned to this page, I really connected with this statement. Perhaps it was this short sentence that has provided the inspiration for me to be more open and not as guarded?

All sorts of questions flooded my overactive mind. These included:

–       At what point did we decide that it was not okay to show the world who we really are? Is it because our vulnerabilities make us feel weak, or less of a person?

–       Why do we pretend to be something that we are not a large majority of our life? In social situations, at work, online, on the phone..

–       Is it the fear of not obtaining acceptance, approval and love from others and/or society that keep us in a continuous pattern of inauthenticity?

–       How did we get so disconnected? 

–       Is it this specific desire for approval that keeps us from living the life we truly want? Why is it so difficult to admit what we really want?

–       Are most people fearful of being ‘different’, of going against the regular grain, or is self discovery/exploration just too much work?

–       Imagine what we could achieve if love, approval and appreciation were absent from our awareness..

Hmm… My brain ticks.  Tick. Tick. Tick. 

So if you are looking for airbrushed Facebook photos of myself, where I only look slim and freckle-less, oh and popular, abort reading now. I repeat. Abort mission. But if you embrace the opposite, I encourage you to come along for one girls journey of self discovery.  I aim to provide the opposite. A truth and honesty that perhaps you can relate to. Maybe I won’t appear as pretty, but I surely will be painting a more truthful picture of who I really am.

I really do believe that laughing is as good for you as smiling, so here we go… My journey of attempting to expose all of myself in a bid to get to know myself on a deeper level and discover what it is that I really do want from this lifetime..

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Let the ride continue..

Gypsy xx 

Strawberry sensation..

8 Jun

Once upon a time there was a little old man, say in his early 70’s who we would refer to as “Bon Dia”. Every chilly winter morning, Bon Dia with his grey scraggly hair, gappy grin and long worn trench coat would stand in front of the shipyard in the car park and direct drivers into vacant spots. Of course, in return, a generous tip of a single euro or two was given (or expected); if he was lucky. As our yacht crew would walk past each day, he would kindly look up and announce “Bon Dia”, a Mallorqui phrase that translates to “Good Day”. Hands in pockets, he would then continue to wait; his facial expression always portrayed one of hope. Without this income, Bon Dia had nothing.

Alex soon discovered his “home”; in the glass entrance of a nearby building. A short mat was rolled out to the width of just over a metre and his small body when curled up, fit snug into this space. Something about Bon Dia from the very first time she saw him touched Alex’s heart deeply, and for that matter, the sight of all homeless folk.

One day, whilst out grocery shopping for crew food, she got to thinking about Bon Dia and what he ate on a daily basis, if anything.. or maybe he ate a lot. Who knew. Language barriers halted any form of communication, so she decided to buy him a little something, a gift… She considered a product of sustenance, nutrition, or longevity, but that could come in time. This first gift would be one of indulgence; a flavour sensation. An explosive taste… and with that, a punnet of beautifully ripe strawberries was purchased with Bon Dia’s name all over it!

That very night, Mike and Alex walked down to his home, strawberries in hand. He was sleeping in his space, so she tapped his shoulder lightly and in her basic spanish smiling, said “para tu” (for you). With that he sat upright, his eyes widened, he thanked her continuously and immediately tore open the packet gobbling down a few of the juicy red delights. Alex and Mike walked away smiling, and looked forward to the next gift that they could offer the kind faced man only known as Bon Dia.

The End.
Or, the beginning?

Now I don’t know Bon Dia well nor pretend to. I have no idea of his story, his real name, his passions, his aspirations, where he his life has taken him, whether he is happy and ultimately, why he lives on the street in Mallorca. Maybe he chooses to? Again, who knows. But what I recognise is that to feel pity or judge him based on his apparent situation would be to make assumptions. However, I do feel compassion when I see another human being sleeping on a mat, unwashed and alone. I know that a punnet of strawberries will not solve the world’s homeless issues, nor am I naïve enough to think that it will drastically change Bon Dia’s individual situation. I did not perform this act for external recognition or to be a “hero”, but rather because no act of kindness no matter how small is ever wasted (Aesop, The Lion and the Mouse). If you could perform one selfless act every single day, imagine the quality of your life? The increased level of fulfilment? Give it a go, I know I sure am going to. Donate your unwanted items, volunteer with a local non-profit organisation, do something nice, be courteous or simply lend an ear to someone in need.

So often we lose sight of the bigger picture, the world outside of ourselves. We get caught up in the day-to-day but to do something nice, without the expectation of getting anything in return can be a good reminder that it’s the little, simple and inexpensive things that sometimes leave the biggest impact..

Restore a little faith in humanity!!

Until next time, remind me to tell you the story of Ellen, middle-aged German women that lives by the fountain in Palma. Or the ridiculously cute and spirited little homeless black fluff-ball (dog) running the streets of Sardinia with me this morning..

Spreading the love

Gypsy xx

Oh how I have missed thee..

7 Jun

It's not all beautiful sunsets and smooth seas

Gosh, just let me start by saying, or rather shouting at the top of my lungs, I am SO HAPPY to have a night off work to sit down with a glass of vino blanco in my hand, ben harper in my ears and type away freely. Blog, I have missed you. Like I would miss my index finger if it was to suddenly drop off my hand. I have honestly felt like something has been missing from my life the last few months, its been like a underlying frustration and I think that to say that this missing “something” has been all forms of creative expression would be hitting the nail directly, smack-bang on the head.

Yes I work on a yacht, a brand spanking new shiny one at that. She even smells new. I am in Sardinia, where the deep green hills roll effortlessly and the neutral coloured stone homes melt into the landscape. They are apart of it, not separate from it. And the beauty leaves me speechless on an early morning run. I am extremely blessed and I realise this… but it is not all rolling hills, moet and basking in the mediterranean sunshine. In fact, almost the opposite. The summer is all about work. 18 hour days are the norm when the boss is on board and as a stewardess, ones life consists of cleaning products, ironing, setting a table in the prettiest fashion and well, being able to smile in the midst of exhaustion. Did I mention starvation of the soul and creative self? No? Well, there it is.

So I hear you ask, well, why would you do it? Why? And I can honestly tell you that I ask myself this question almost daily the moment. I sigh as I respond with an answer that I detest, and this answer is one that is focused around the dollar sign. But you know when I detach from the ego and change my perspective, I can see that this is not entirely true, but rather an excuse for my moments of unhappiness.

Yes I am here, until the end of October to earn enough money to set myself up. To re-enter a world of freedom, travel through India with my amazing boyfriend, then move to Indonesia and reopen the Jewellery business that sits so patiently on hold. Through being a Stewardess and what can seem like torture at times, this experience is teaching me invaluable lessons. I am practising resilience, patience, having to work hard and remain focused for a bigger picture/purpose, rather than the present moment. This takes discipline, tolerance, compassion, choice and a positive attitude. Right now I am doing a job that is not ideal for me personally, but one that will give me the opportunity to fund a venture that is my ultimate. Lucky, right? Plus, I do travel, eat amazing food, have the opportunity to save most of what I earn and interact with many interesting others..

So beautiful friends at home, sleep easy knowing that no, I am not just relaxing on a luxury yacht day in, day out… but rather cleaning showers and pouring wine… for others! Truth be known, although I moan and whinge at times, I wouldn’t have it any other way! And as I spend my days sailing the seas (folding towels) the dream of my future and a time where creativity is my number one priority, just becomes stronger and more important to me.

Inshallah….

Gypsy x

Mt Warning LOVE..

13 Feb

So it has been a few weeks since my last post, I can’t be this slack already, surely?! Gosh, Queen Procrastinator!

Life has been busy and it is only about to get more hectic as the weeks tick by. We set sail early March so there is a lot of preparation that needs to occur before our departure into the sparkling mediterranean seas. Exciting!! In saying this, my yearning for a home visit still continues to increase at exponential speeds. While browsing the web tonight I found an article that I had written for a Gold Coast travel magazine back in October 2009.

Reading over it took me back to that exact moment and also made me appreciate my beautiful motherland even more. It is such a special place and ever so close to my heart. Always and Forever.

Have a read, maybe it will inspire you to tackle the climb. I cannot wait to revisit this special mountain in the near future.

Inshallah…..

Gypsy xx

Australia’s Green Cauldron

DESTINATION MT WARNING – CALDERA (NSW)

HIKING ADVENTURE

FACTS:
Duration: 3-5 hours return
Degree of Difficulty: Strenuous in some areas – final climb requires a vertical rock scramble
Track Condition: Steep and rocky

The morning sun streams through my blinds, it’s 5.45 and my eyes are glued open with stimulation. Today is the day that I have planned a solo climb up Mount Warning, and just ask me, I am damn proud of myself for this endeavor. When my internal batteries need recharging, I have found no superior power source than the laborious trek to the summit. This is my third trip up the illustrious mountain, and the feeling of sitting on a mountain peak 1157 metres above sea level has become an addiction that like any other keeps the addict coming back for more. With no pun intended, on this particular morning I bounced into my car with my hat on, the sunscreen applied thick and a backpack full of hiking essentials, only to find that my car had a flat battery! What are the odds?

RACQ arrives and in no time the battery is pumped full of power and albeit later than desired, I am on my way.

From Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast, to the Mount Warning National Park in Northern NSW, it is an easy 45-minute cruise. With the once -congested Pacific Highway now revamped, the Tugun Bypass is nothing short of a dream to travel along. I veer off the highway at Exit 40 with the route then taking me through the art-deco town of Murwillumbah, which is full of historic buildings and quaint houses. As I meander around the base of the mountain and peer out, there are rolling green hills, gently flowing rivers, roadside stalls selling organic produce and an air so fresh I want to eat it up and keep it inside me for ever.

As the mountain base approaches the winding roads become narrower and sky-high trees form an almost-complete rooftop canopy. The scenery is so magical that as I drive along Mt Warning Road I feel like I am being led to an undiscovered enchanted castle. Now truthfully there isn’t a castle, but instead, a rainforest that will evoke sensations alike and far beyond.

Mt Warning is known by the Aboriginal people as Wollumbin, meaning cloud catcher, and its caldera was formed more than 20 million years ago after a mammoth eruption caused the walls of this now-extinct volcano to subside. The soaring, cone-shaped peak of the mountain dominates Australia’s Green Cauldron, which extends from Byron Bay to Queensland’s Gold Coast, and west towards the Great Dividing Range.

It is known that Wollumbin has been a place of great importance to the people of Bundjalung since time immemorial, and under their law, only chosen people are allowed on this mountain. Climbing to the summit is against the wishes of Bundjalung Elders, therefore visitors are asked to respect the cultural and historical significance of the mountain at all times. With this in mind, I exercise great appreciation towards this cultural treasure.

With an 8.8km walk ahead of me, I begin to trace up the paths of rich alluvial-like soil and timber-ledged stairs. This first stage of the summit trail is the ultimate test. Beat the stairs and you’ll most likely be able to dominate the mountain. Although these damn stairs appear endless and my leg muscles began to transform to jelly, I smiled and silently declared that this feeling is one of being truly alive! If my muscles could talk at this point obscenities would have been violently cursed at me, but as I continue to climb I transfer my focus from my legs to the surrounding subtropical environment and relish in the pain.

This part of the rainforest is dominated by bungalow palms and figs. The trees are tall, old and overwhelming. Boulders covered in luminescent green moss are the size of a small car and the ground is moist and sheltered. Hundreds of vines cling to host trees and spiral up towards the sunlight. As your eye follows their path, the different shades of vibrant green from the overhead trees contrast with the gaps of crystal-blue sky and provide what could be awe-inspiring photographs.

I looked to the left and observed two birds either fighting or, alternatively, mating. Either way, there was lots of flapping and loud noises coming from the sky! Apart from this possible mating cry, if you listen carefully you may hear the high-pitched wailing “cat call” of the green catbird, the amazing mimicry of Albert’s lyrebird or the call of the male and female whipbird, whose calls combined make a whip-cracking sound that shakes through the whole forest.

Sections of the track transform constantly from crushed green/brown leaf coverage and scattered rocks to boulders and flat-rock stairs, therefore concentration at all times is a must! The air goes from a crisp chill to warmth, depending on how much sunlight is sneaking though the overhead branches. I passed many groups of fellow hikers, of all ages. All are speedy to say hello and offer encouragement. It is like there is a sense of unity that each share with others who are also attempting to conquer this almighty land mass.

As I hit the final rock scramble, I knew it was the final test of strength before the summit. The climb is quite steep and another 70-year-old hiker and I managed to reach the top at around the same time. Breathless, yet smiling. There was a silent moment and unspoken sense of accomplishment that we shared. It is the serenity, the peacefulness of being immersed by clouds and the inexpressible views that make such a breath-taking moment (plus the exhaustion).

While my climb may have been tough, it was seemingly uncomplicated compared to early ascents. In 1871, botanist Michael Guilfoyle and his team took three and a half days to reach the top. Like my own, their effort was well worthwhile.

While climbing back down, the adrenalin consumed my body and I felt like running. I was smiling from one side of my face to the other, and as I passed a few fellow hikers they remarked “you look a bit fresh for on the way down”. I smiled politely and thought, if only they knew. The walk back down is much easier than up and one that can be taken at a casual pace. As I eventually returned back to my car I laughed and realised that now we both had recharged batteries. I drove away with a feeling of self-satisfaction comparable with a warm bath. Heaven!

HINTS & TIPS

Do not begin the walk to the summit after 12 midday in winter months, due to lack of sunlight.
Wear suitable footwear/clothing; take lots of water, a jumper and as a precaution, a torch.
Keep to designated waling tracks as short cuts cause erosion and plant damage.
DO NOT walk to the summit in the event of a thunderstorm.
Do not leave litter in park. Help minimise the impact of our travels!
Toilets are only available at the base of the mountain.

Happy Australia Day

26 Jan


So today is Australia Day and even though I am not in the country, I still feel a little excited! To celebrate, I decided to bake.. Anzac Cookies and Lamingtons for the crew! I tell you.. Sponge cake is much harder to master than I imagined and these little squares of goodness turned out more chewy and flat than I had hoped for. BUT, my audience are not of Australian nationality (Kiwi’s, South African and Canadian) therefore I dipped them in excess chocolate and coconut and they were delighted with the afternoon treat!

I love to bake and below is the trusty Anzac Cookie recipe that I always go back to (provided by my beautiful friend Hayley, a wonderful chef over here on the yachts).

Proud to be an Aussie!

ANZAC COOKIES

You will need:-
– 1 cup rolled oats
– 1 cup flour
– 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
– 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
– 125g butter
– 2 tbl golden syrup
– 1 tbl water
– 1/2 tsp bicarb soda

1. Preheat oven to 140C
2. Splash a little bit of water on a tray and line with baking paper.
2. Mix the rolled oats, flour and sugar together in a large bowl.
3. Melt the butter and golden syrup in a small saucepan on low heat until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the bicarb soda.
4. Mix both together, roll into tsp heaped balls and flatten lightly.
5. Cook for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Remove off tray and place on a cooling rack.
7. Eat. Enjoy. Eat more!

Gypsy xx