Bali – Jan to March 2019
It’s been raining all day. And it’s fitting. That I sit here on my 2nd last day of my 2 month Nomadness in Bali during Nyepi (that’s like Chinese New Year but Bali style) which means 24 hours shut down, total silence as in no speaking, no leaving the grounds of where you live/stay, airport closed, no internet, no one allowed on the roads, no lights on – you get the picture.
So on this day of total silence (all 24 hours of it!) it’s fitting that it’s raining. Slow and steady. Calming. I feel like it’s cleansing us all – humans and nature alike. A fresh, clean start. All you can hear is the rain and the birds twittering. I’ve decided I want to come back in my next life as a bird. They always seem so happy and can just flit from one place to the next in moments. That would suit my Nomadness don’t you think?
Apart from that, it’s said that all birds are little Angels. And I like that. I had one come and visit me early this morning. A tiny, little, sulphur bellied bird (whistler I think). I think it had stunned itself flying into the glass and I saw it in the kitchen sink, by the scrubbing brush. I thought it was an avocado pip! When I moved the brush it nearly scared the bejeezus out of me as it flew up and sat on top of the kitchen lamp.
It’s little chest was going a hundred miles an hour. Poor little love. Sat there for at least 20 minutes or more. I like to think it was there for me – for both of us. To give a little mutual healing. He for having stunned himself and me recovering from a 3 night stint in hospital (a first in my life!). Pesky little amoebas – or amoebic dysentery. I don’t recommend it. I’m on day 5 of recovery and that’s after leaving the hospital. I never get sick! Nomadness indeed!!
Anyhoo, back to the cute little hummingbird. He still chirped away though didn’t move his tiny feet so I stood there and had a little chat with him, saying I’ll give you some healing if you give me some. And I think we did. I was terrified he’d fall over and die but he got perkier and perkier, started looking around as though for a direction to take off. You could just see it. And then in the next second, off he went. That’s me too I thought, I’ve turned a corner now from this dark, danky, horrid space I’ve been in and nothing is going to keep this warrior woman down!
Travelling solo is not easy despite how exotic and wonderful my Nomadness may sound and look to others. It has its moments like anything in life. Especially when you’re ill far away from home and friends, in another country, travelling in between destinations.
Picture this: you’re lying down in the car passenger seat. Your driver has decided he’s taking you to hospital instead of your next accommodation. He’s got his foot flat on the accelerator with his hazard lights on non-freaking-stop and using his horn and indicators non-freaking-stop (I’m just so glad I’m lying down and can’t see a thing from where I am!).
Without any warning it’s going to happen, I shout ‘I’m going to be sick!’ and with BatWoman lightning speed he’s got that finger of his on the electric window as I rise up and just manage to projectile vomit out the window of the moving car, managing pretty much to avoid the inside of the car. Impressive! I’d be pleased with myself if I wasn’t feeling so sick! And for the poor motorbike rider I catch a glimpse of who’s coming up on the inside and has to slam his brakes on to avoid my last few meals, I’m sorry, I hope I missed you!
I believe this ‘illness’ was a wake-up call. No, more than that – I could FEEL it was. Something bigger than me had taken hold of me and I needed to be shaken up to be able to face it and get going on some inner work to rid it (thank you to my whacky friends who supported me during this). There is always a journey to be taken, in my case a Nomadness one! That is, if we’re brave and bold enough to follow it to wherever it’ll lead. If I’m really honest, I knew this had been coming for a year or two at least. I just didn’t know it would be like this, hitting me with me weakest point – nausea and vomiting!
But life is like that. And I’ve always said that when Universe really wants you to listen – and you’re not – they will hit you over the head with a rubber mallet until you do. And then DO something about it. I have some serious shite and fears to smack in the face and out of my life! I will not let fear drive my world in any way, shape or form. ¡BASTA YA!
So the Nomadness journey moves on from beautiful green, lush, Bali with its kind and gentle people and the new and old friends here. It’s been an interesting stop, one I probably in reality could have done with less time in.
You see, I think I’ve learnt something about myself already on this Nomadness trip (I should bloody hope so!) And that is that whilst the travelling is great, I need to have more of a purpose during it. Like when I was in Cambodia and Viet Nam for 9 months, I was volunteering. Or in 2017 when I was travelling for most of the year, it was mainly for a ceramic residency.
I’ve also learnt ‘never say never’, ‘don’t make plans’ (because you know if you do God will laugh and she’ll tell you ‘that’s what YOU think you’re doing, I’ve got other plans for you!) and to just go with the flow, or my favourite saying – #LetGoToLetFlow – and see what happens.
And speaking of me having a purpose during my Nomadness travels, I’ve applied for something BIG! Something HUGE! Something I would love with all my heart to be a part of and that (if I do say so myself) I’m a perfect fit for. Hundreds of people have applied and they will choose just 4. Well, 3 as I’m assuming I’m already in! I’ll know at the end of March so watch this space.
Oman – here we come, Thelma and Louise (hope there is a Brad Pitt or two for us there!) I’ll tell you about that bit of Nomadness in the next blog.
I send you love, hugs and blessings. Be good, kind and gentle with yourself. If you want to get these blogs automatically, just sign up here.
I leave you with these snippets which I hope you can find your own wisdom through and add your own in the comments:
Things I have learnt and am learning:
- When you think the odds are stacked against you, the Universe is working out a plan for you
- When you’re in a ‘holding’ or ‘waiting’ pattern it’s for a reason, usually the Universe is lining something up for you
- Support and encouragement often come not from where you think or would like it but totally left field
- It never pays to cross, be angry, unkind or dismiss anyone. You never know when or where they’ll pop up again in your life
- When you’re at your lowest or feel most lost is usually when most learning and growth is happening
- When someone keeps you unexpectedly waiting, use the time creatively – like I’m doing now!
- Always, always trust yourself and your intuition, even and especially when everything on the surface indicates otherwise
- It’s really very simple. Ask yourself ‘does this make me feel good or does it make me feel bad? Always move to what is going to make you feel good
- The difference between what you think you want and what’s meant to be is in the feeling. The latter will give you a spark of excitement or current of electricity
- When you think you know someone, you don’t. And when you think you don’t know someone, you do – including yourself!
- From a low, comes a high and often clarity of why we needed to have that dip
- When you feel as though everything is crashing down around you, know that room is being made for something new, something bigger and better. Trust it!
- You are usually the only one you can really rely on so learn independence and make best friends with yourself
- My most wonderful moments have been to do with people and nature.
- I feel most liberated when I’m creating something and walking in nature
- Things are never as they seem and there is always, always a bigger picture which we are not aware of but have to trust. It is all for our own highest good
- We do not ‘pass away’ but rather ‘pass over’ to perfect light, love and happiness. And if we can believe this, death whether our own or loved ones holds no fear
- To ask yourself when in doubt or fear, What If? What If I CAN be better? What if I can do this job or be healthier or live the life I dream instead of just dreaming it? Just What If I CAN? And feel the shift inside you at the enormous possibilities open to you
- There (usually) isn’t anyone who can help you as much as you can help yourself
- Say less, listen more – much more
- Trust, Trust and then Trust some more
- We mostly are oblivious to the impact we have on others by our words and actions, how little support and encouragement is needed to lift someone to new heights
Toorbul, Queensland and Eungai Creek, mid north coast NSW
For those of you who know me very well, you know that I’m just plain and simple a nomad. Always have been since I was 17 and before that, through my parents, and I suspect I always will be. I used to think there was something wrong with me (well there probably is but not what I initially thought) as I couldn’t settle for more than a few years in one place. As far back as I can remember I had this thirst to go into unexplored territory whether at home in Aus or away from our shores.
It wasn’t until the last 10 odd years that I realised that change is a huge part of me. I absolutely embrace it and even think it’s part of my DNA! I loathe most types of routine. Except maybe for my glass of bubbles or two in the evenings. And chocolate, dark of course with sea salt and caramel, after dinner. But apart from that I mean. I thrive on change, new places, peoples, food and experiences. It so totally feeds and nourishes me. And I’m grateful that I’ve finally in my later years accepted and love that part of myself. It pushes me out on a limb and onwards and upwards and backwards and tests me, tires me but I’m rarely standing still.
In these last months many a friend has told me I’m brave for doing what I’m doing and I suspect they’re thinking especially at my age (I don’t think 41 is that old, is it??). Either way, I’ve been doing this all my life so to me it’s not at all brave. But that’s the same for anyone we admire who are doing something we ourselves fear. So if I manage to inspire one person to go out and do what they dream of and kicking any fears aside, then I’ve been rewarded tenfold.
So now, another adventure to add to my collection. And there have been a few in the past 7 years since coming back from southern Spain and living in Noosa. There were the unforgettable 9 months volunteering in Viet Nam and Cambodia with a trip to South America and Denmark in the middle during 2014. Then the start of 2017 taking a ceramic residency in Tuscany, visiting my beloved Spain, then on to Denmark via Germany visiting special friends all along the way. And later the same year a wonderful trip down memory lane back in WA (where I hadn’t been for 20 years) seeing old long lost friends, and then over to Bali to visit more friends. And finally a bit of an unplanned trip back to Malaga Spain to sort out a flat I acquired.
I spent all of this year home Airbnb hosting again, did well with it and toboot met many wonderful people some who have become good friends. But my wings did not enjoy being clipped and my nature is not one of having no freedom to take flight at a whim. Hence the decision to sell my home, which was absolutely the right one, sell off half my furniture (the trusty steed has just gone on Gum Tree) and put the rest into storage and bless myself with no ties. When we finally settled and I left Noosa in my rear-view mirror I felt an insane sense of freedom, relief and excitement of what lies in store on this new journey.
I set off the day before we settled in the direction of Toorbul and my dear friends Bron and Johnny. Always great company, fabulous food thanks mostly to chef Johnny, great conversation and laughs. I’ve known Bron for 30 odd years so it was a blessing to find when I decided to make Noosa my home that she was just down the road.
After Toorbul, I pointed my steed south again and kept going until I got to my sister and BIL’s (BrotherInLaw) at Eungai Creek. My BIL has had a two brain tumour ops in as many months which has left him legally blind – we hope only for now. Life has changed enormously for them both and whilst unimaginably challenging, they are both coping mostly and getting some great support from their community. We seriously don’t know what at any given moment life is going to throw our way, which is why I’m doing what I’m doing – and what I want.
Unlike most other journeys on this one I have very few plans. I don’t do well with planning far in advance except when I have to. So apart from leaving from Sydney 11 January for Bali where I’ll spend the first couple of months and a possible trip to Oman, my thoughts are to hit Europe for their spring around April and do a combination of house-sitting, workaway and visiting dear friends. I want to stay at least a month to 3 in each place so I really get immersed in the culture, people and community of wherever I’ve chosen.
The bucket list is very very long! Italy, Greece and France are fairly high on my list with many other places also – the 5 Blue Zones in the world (starting with Ikaria thanks to my Kiwi friend Bec). I may never come back!
But you’ll have to wait and see where the wind blows me because it can notoriously change direction at any given moment.
With that, I wish you a happy, safe, fun and healthy festive season and right through 2019. See you – somewhere!
With love and blessings Glen
The Road to Sticciano – My Tuscan Story
About 20 odd years ago when I became fed up with the corporate jungle in Sydney, I took off for southern Spain to stay for a year…which turned into 15. On a whim one day I heard about a woman who did pottery classes out in the campo (bush to us Aussies) and so I thought I’d give it a shot. Little did I know that this would become a lifelong addiction!
Since then I’ve worked out of many studios and had many tutors but it’s only been in the last 18 months that I’ve finally been able to build a dedicated workshop complete with wheel, kiln and everything else that goes with it. The learning curve went from a gentle one to an exceedingly steep one. All good, keeps the grey cells going – along with sleepless nights thinking of glazes and blending them and ‘what if’ on this or that clay body, etc. You get the idea.
So I thought, I need to fast forward this a tad at my st(age) in life. Enter Italy. I won’t go into detail about how I ended up at Sticciano, a stunning Agri Turismo deep in the stunning Tuscan countryside because that’s another story on its own. But end up there I did and for a wonderful 5 weeks during March/April 2017.
The ‘Sticciano Tuscan Collection’ of Japanese Tea Bowls you see now were created there and most lovingly carried by hand through Italy, Spain, Germany, Denmark and back here to Noosa. Probably some of the most well-travelled Tea Bowls around!
These are totally unique, as indeed are most ceramic pieces anywhere, and I cannot replicate them due to may various reasons. I can – and have begun – however, to recreate using some of the same principles since I returned home a month ago.
The ‘Sticciano Tuscan Collection’ were created from stoneware and fired in gas reduction and salt kilns. They were painted first with coloured slip on the greenware (pre any firing) and then with glaze after the first bisque firing. A second glaze firing resulted in what you see here.
You can use them for coffee, tea, nut bowls – whatever you like! People collect these and in Europe and ceramic artists swap with each other. My tutor, Terry Davis (a very accomplished UK potter living in Tuscany) has a cupboard full and when you go there for coffee, you get to choose which Teal Bowl you want.
Love and blessings
Glen (0459 343 828)
My passion for travel I blame on (or should I say am inspired by) my father! And I’ve told him that too. When he sees pictures of me in various corners of the world he just smiles and says to his girlfriend (of an impressive 83, ten years younger than his even more impressive 93) “I wonder where she got that from?”
For as long as I can remember I’ve had the ‘travel bug’. And before that when I wasn’t old enough to decide, Dad did. He was a ‘nomad’, as was his father when folks back then didn’t even travel, at least not very far, far being places like Turkey from Denmark when they barely had cars.
So it was inevitable that I would get that insatiable thirst and restless feet syndrome. I know that many of my buddies are similar. Travel broadens our horizons and puts us in touch with different types of people, cultures, architecture, landscape, animals and a myriad of other things. It challenges us, pushes us beyond our self imposed limits.
It makes us live a REAL life instead of a virtual one. For me, I’ve come to realise (only over the last years) that I need travel – it feeds and nourishes my soul, it fulfills my sense of adventure, exploring and getting new experiences.
My other passion is Mentor Coaching – supporting, encouraging, inspiring and boosting you during one2one mentoring sessions or group workshops. How lucky am I – because I can do this on the hop too!
Love and blessings Glen
PS: Keep an open mind – “things are never what they seem” (they’re usually heaps better).
VolunTourism and Orphanage Tourism are NOT OK!
This is an excerpt of a blog I wrote last year when I was in Siem Reap, Cambodia whilst working for founder Billy Gorter of This Life Cambodia.
Thanks to Billy and his integrity, passionate and deep knowledge of orphans and children in Cambodia, I learnt so much. The biggest and most important is about the Voluntourism and Orphan ‘industries’ that are sweeping third world countries with a front of ‘helping’. I see it as a licence to print money these days.
Not all of them are bad of course but sadly, many are not kosher.
YOU can help by educating yourself and learning what the difference is so you can share and spread your knowledge and in the process, help save some children’s lives. Remember…
Children are NOT tourist attractions!
Voluntourism and Orphanages
There are 1000’s of charities or NGO’s in Siem Reap alone, never mind the rest of Cambodia. I’ve learnt a lot these past 4 months being here and in Viet Nam, that just because it’s a charity doesn’t mean it’s good. Not all NGO’s are kosher sadly. Children have become a commodity in the growing Voluntourism industry.
Over 70% of children in orphanages in Cambodia are NOT ORPHANS!
If you’re reading this and considering paying some company to volunteer, ESPECIALLY if it’s a so-called orphanage or children’s shelter, PLEASE RECONSIDER.
Because of the rising number of people in the world wanting to help and make a difference, just like I did when I began this journey, children are being put at risk. Distressingly, many orphanages are keeping children who are not orphans and have a parent alive, ensuring they look scruffy and dirty, even teaching them to beg or perform for tourists just to get more money (not necessarily money that’s used within the charities or for the good of the children). This has lead to the horribly growing industry of Voluntourism.
There are several previous NGO heads now in jail in various parts of the world for paedophilia. Children who were given up by their parents thinking they’d have a better life in a shelter, now can’t get them back – and so it goes on.
I’m not going to bang on about it, there are some responsible and ethical links below that tell it how it is so educate yourself and please, please for the sake of the children, share and spread this.
The BEST place for children whether orphaned or ortherwise is in a family environment and getting an education.
Read rest of the blog here
With love and blessings Glen