Monthly Archives: July 2013

Chez Maddy’s

It has been pouring down rain like I have never seen before. I always thought it rains a lot in London, but this kind of rain is a whole other level.
The skin feels sticky because the humidity level is extremely high.
I have been sitting with my friend Luiza from Brazil and a bunch of other buddies on the porch at Maddy’s, staring out in the sea and wondering when the rain would stop. To pass the time we ended up playing “Bullshit” and drunk Indonesian rum that tastes a bit like cherry and is absolutely not delicious.

Maddy’s is a fantastic little homestay all the way down in Padang Padang. It is hidden from all the rest and not that easy to find. After a small path on the bike you have to go down quite a view steep steps that you hate every time you have to go back up. It is extremely basic but you can’t help your self but love it!
There is something about Maddy’s that makes everyone join together and you end up being almost like a little family. You feel home at Maddy’s and you don’t want to leave Mamma Maddy’s house anymore. A view steps down and you can jump straight in to the water and go surfing. I haven’t stayed anywhere so far so long as here. And even though I decided to go with Giacomo, whom I met at Maddy’s, to go hike the Rinjani Vulcano in Lombok I already feel a bit sad by the thought of leaving this place. Uluwatu and everything down here as grown close to my heart.

I have had time to come down here at Maddy’s, the constant moving can be tiring and you can’t really process what you have experienced. Once at one place for a bit longer you come to realise how much you have seen and explored. How many interesting people you meet along the way and how much the cultures and costumes change. It is a real privilege to be able to experience all that.
My travels have thought me to be more open as a person and be a lot less judgemental towards people and their background.

The other day when I was surfing in Uluwatu I was struggling to paddle back out. Tired from the night out before I still decided to go out in the water but my body kept telling me to rest. I wouldn’t listen and paid the price. I didn’t catch any waves because I was too slow. There are always so many people in the water in Ulu that you have to be quick or you wont get a wave at all. After I decided to paddle in, the current took me out all the way and I had a long paddle in front of me. Angry and frustrated, I paddled back out convinced I could take one last good wave so I would feel good and could be content with the surf of this day. Suddenly someone paddled up next to me, quick and very easy, I got already annoyed about that, because I was so tired and nothing seemed easy to me at this moment. “Hello?” Was all he said and I wanted to response in a feisty way: “What do you want?” But in stead I turned my head and all I said was: ”Hi.” He smiled at me and I recognized him from before in the water. He caught every wave and was doing all sorts of tricks. “Long paddle, ei?” I could feel how my ambitious personality wanted to fight back and make sure I wouldn’t look like a fool, but instead I gave in and admitted totally honest: “Yes, it is not my day at all. I am so tired and I am not catching any waves.” “That’s ok, there are days like that, we all have them.” He smiled and after inviting me to have a drink later he paddled off.
I was left behind, thinking: “Was that an invitation now or what, and where and when?” I continued paddling and watched how he already caught the next wave. I tried to figure out if I do want to have a drink with him or not. I decided o go out and headed for the reef. The reef cut in to my feet while walking over it and my tempo was slower than the one of a snail.
“There you are, I thought I lost ya!” Said a very strong Australian accent behind me. I turned and there he was again walking a lot smoother over the reef than me. He offered me to carry my board but of course I wouldn’t allow that. We walked together over the reef and I accepted his help of getting my balance by holding on to his shoulder. I could feel that I liked the fact that someone was looking out for me. I noticed a bunch of stickers on his board and it was obvious that he was sponsored, but I didn’t want to ask if he was a professional surfer. He must have caught my eyes checking out the stickers but he didn’t say it yet. Instead he asked me for how long I have been surfing and I honestly told him that I have only been surfing for one month. His eyebrows went up with a slight tilt back of his head, which indicated the surprise of me surfing at this spot. I wouldn’t admit it, but that little gesture made me feel a lot better about my shitty day.

On the little hill in Uluwatu, which you walk back up along surf shops and bars, he introduced me to his friends. Never in my life I met a group of people like them. They were all Free-riders and just came back from a two-week boat trip in the Mentawi’s. They have been on that boat in the jungle away from any sort of civilisation that at first they seemed a bit rough and I felt a bit lost in their world. But shortly after I felt so welcomed and comfortable that I accepted his invitation to dinner.
He told me he will pick me up later and I tried to insist to get there with my own bike. He made me laugh when he said, that he is old-fashioned and that he is the man and will drive. He seemed to be everything but old-fashioned! I can’t remember the last time I was being picked up for a dinner. I realised I am so used to be on my own and pay for my self, that all the feelings that crumbled up inside of me, were confusing me. I decided to just go with it and enjoy the moment. It was worth letting go, the evening with him and his friends was beautiful.

Back in London I only had friends who are in the same industry as me. Never in my life I would have thought that I open up to such a different lifestyle and would feel comfortable. As for now, for the first time I can just go with the flow and see where the wind is blowing me.

The surf, the sun, the nice smell of the incense from the offerings everywhere, the people, the fact that I can get up and read a book and write – all together is magical and I sometimes can’t believe my luck!

Maddy's

Advertisements

Seminyak and the villa Paris

The moment arrived that the swell was going to be so big, that it was not possible for me to surf at Balian beach and I needed to get my visa sorted out anyway. What a perfect moment to do that.

I met Paris in Balian and she not only offered me a ride a long but also to stay at her place while I had to fix my visa situation. We got along really well from the first moment we met. It almost felt like we knew each other since many years, so I gratefully accepted her invitation.

As we got to her house I couldn’t believe my eyes. I stayed rather in very basic places while traveling through Java and there I was standing in the entrance of a fantastic villa with pool. What a luxury!

The next day we went together towards Keramas where the Oakley Pro contest took place. The chance to see Kelly Slater surf with all the other best surfers was a must for me. Finally, I could realise another dream of mine. It was mind-blowing to see what they are capable of. It certainly was a whole different category. On the second day of the contest I finally fixed my visa and left for Kuta to find my own new board. What a hustle that was. I probably went in to every surf shop there is in Kuta, but finally I found it – my own board. Happy and so excited I couldn’t wait to try it out! I went to a beach in Seminyak, which was not the best decision since the surf is not the best there and the amount of rubbish that floated by me every other minute was absolutely shocking. It is sad how people here do not have a sense of what this does to the nature. They throw everything in the sea and on the ground as if it was their bin. If they are continuing this habit, this beautiful country will soon be destroyed!

IMG_1081

Paris showed me a bit around in Seminyak and I felt a bit overwhelmed with all the people who surrounded me. Back in civilisation, back in a city, it took me a while to accumulate and I made for the first time in my life the experience that I missed the small place where there where not many people, no clubs, no big hip bars just nature. Since I didn’t bring a big wardrobe along I felt totally under dressed between all these stylish girls. I am used to live in a big city and I know that kind of live like my backhand, that being in that situation was extremely new to me. I could tell that my travels have made an impact on my personality and me.

I didn’t feel like staying at this hip fancy place and wanted to walk along the beach at sunset. Already putting my feet back in the sea calmed me down. At another beach bar that was more relaxed and less hip, started Paris to tell me about her life and I couldn’t believe her life story. What an impressive life she had and the amount of suffering she went through moved me to tears. It is funny how you attract the right person for what you have to process for yourself if you travel alone.
Traveling alone is already very intense and you get to know yourself in a way that you couldn’t imagine before.
I believe I had to meet Paris to get to the next point of my self-discovery. I wasn’t aware of it at the moment but looking back now it all makes a lot of sense to me.

It was during that time with Paris that I hit that phase where you feel extremely alone and lost. I couldn’t understand why it was happening to me at this moment. I had a new friend in my life and wasn’t actually alone. I stayed at a beautiful place and was back in an environment that I should be more used to. The fact that I have changed and was surrounded by known circumstances may be provoked all this to happen in that particular moment.

I came to realise that I am no longer just an actress or the person I thought I was. I suddenly realised that there is so much more in me. I think I wasn’t aware of my own potential before, or may be I was scared of it . . .

Paris and I decided to go to Canggu beach, which is a 20 minutes drive on the motorbike from Seminyak up northwest. I wanted to go surfing and she wanted to have a relaxing day at the beach. It was early morning, when I suddenly had a breakdown. Tears started to roll down my cheeks and I could feel the ground underneath me opening up to this big black hole. I felt like I was going to fall and I didn’t know where. Paris took me in her arms and congratulated me. I looked totally startled at her. A bit embarrassed about the fact that I was crying over something that I couldn’t really explain I asked her: “Why are you congratulating me?”
She said: “Because you are making the biggest gift to your-self. You are freeing your-self from your old box and you opening up to an even more authentic person. I call it ‘peeling an onion’! The closer you get to the centre the stronger it gets. You are getting to know yourself on whole new level. This experience will teach you more than you ever can study for your whole life and it is a gift. It is scary because you can’t yet see what’s on the other side, but give it time and be patient and the reward will be tremendous.”
Blown away by her words and her empathy I thanked her from the bottom of my heart and we left for Canggu.

As soon as I was in the water surfing my mind calmed down and I forgot my sorrows once again. I felt so much better afterwards and sank absolutely tired in to bed. It all got even better after the next day when we made a day trip to Uluwatu in the south. What an impressive sight that is. You can stand on the cliff and have the perfect view of the surf. It was too big for me so we went to Padang Padang and I surfed there and as well as at Impossibles. I got totally smashed by a couple of waves but I kept going out and wouldn’t give up. Absolutely powered-out and feeling great we ended our day with a fresh red snapper right at the beach in Bingin.

I could feel that I reached the next phase and also that it was time for me to move on. It was the perfect ending to this very intense time with Paris. I loved it so much down in the south that I decided to leave for the next view days to Uluwatu.

Seminyak was great but I couldn’t wait to leave the city again.
The next morning I packed my bag, but my board on the surf rack of the bike and with some upbeat music in my ears and a really big smile, I couldn’t help but love the feeling that I was back on the road!

IMG_1071


Balian heaven

From Pacitan I left at five in the morning to Yogykarta to catch the next bus to Bali. I felt the excitement getting bigger and bigger. I was dreaming of Bali for so long and I couldn’t wait till I finally get there.

As I arrived at the bus station in Yogykarta I felt a bit lost. There were so many buses and so many bus companies who all wanted me to go with them of course. The company I finally decided to go with convinced me with the fact that there was a toilet on the bus and no stops but one to get dinner. Looking back I still can’t explain to myself how on earth I could have thought that this toilet was even remotely neet. I must have just really wanted to get there as fast as possible. Once I saw the toilet I barely drank anything for the next 15h just to not have to go to the loo. The whole thing peaked, when a local passenger decided to not only leave the lid to the water bucket open but also the door to the toilet. Since these roads in Indonesia are not really smooth, it was only a question of time till the water would slop over and make its way with all the dirt and germs of the toilet in to the bus. I crouched my self on my seat as much as possible together and decided to ignore it and went to sleep. As I woke up we were just about to go on the ferry and the sun was about to rise. It was beautiful to be on the ferry and watch the sunrise. New day, new Island another adventure!

Ferry to Bali

Ferry to Bali

Not long after we drove off the ferry, I could see the difference in culture and land. The colours were even brighter and flowers everywhere. And since Bali is mainly a hindu culture you could see everywhere altars and the difference to Java was enormous. I fell in love with Bali immediately, but it got even stronger once I arrived in Balian.
I hopped out of the bus and there was only a small sign pointing towards Balian beach. Glad to be out of the bus and with a wide smile I made my way towards the beach.

Maddy saw me walking down the road and immediately asked me if I am looking for a place to stay. Taken in by her positive energy I said: “Yeah, actually I do!”
She owns a small surf shop where you also can buy and trade books. Maddy is from Australia and lives since forty-one years in Bali. In Balian it’s self since two years. The place she took me to was so beautiful I was lost for words. Four little bungalows and a pool, two minutes walk away to go surfing, what else can you ask for. We met friends of hers who invited us for coffee and since I didn’t have anywhere to go I gratefully accepted.

The moment I arrived in Balian I could feel this very welcoming and positive energy and whilst sipping my Balinese coffee that seemed to be even better than ever before, this feeling got only stronger.

In my own little bungalow with my own little porch I felt like my whole body started to relax. I felt home the second I arrived and the fact that I could go to the neighbours with whom I just had coffee to borrow a bucket to wash my cloth, gave the whole situation an even bigger community feeling.

Finally I walked towards the beach and there it was, the perfect spot. I just couldn’t believe what I saw and even more I couldn’t wait for the next morning to go out to surf my self. Balian is very small and quiet. It is impressive how the locals and the “tourists” make it work so that there is literally a village feeling to it and not at all like a resort or touristy place. There is not much else to do than to surf and enjoy the tranquility. You can surf almost all day long and relax at the pool from the bar in front of the beach. It is almost a bit too good to be true but it is absolutely real. Between surfing you are able to meditate at the beach, get a massage or eat superb food at the little place where you have the perfect view to the surf and meet new people.

The next day in the water there were a lot more surfers than in Pacitan or anywhere in Java before and I had to get used to it first. For the first time since I surf I met my old demon again. There were some amazing surfers and for the first time more woman, whom most of them were more experienced than me. I quickly lost my security and started to pay more attention to them and their level. Instead of enjoying the surf and being grateful for the beauty that surrounded me I only kept thinking what they must think of me and my level. The result was frustrating, I felt like I was doing worse. Later that day in the evening when I was doing Yoga and meditation in the moonlight on my porch, I came back to my self and realised what happened that day. I was rather grateful for the experience because for me it ment that I am more in touch with myself since I was aware of what was going on within my self. The next morning I actively decided to surf again because I love it and not because I want to impress someone or be the best at something. No, I just went out and surfed till I was exhausted and I felt fantastic!

In the evening I went with some new friends from New Zealand to the street market for dinner. I tried all sorts of things I never had before. Like the green balls who look like they are made out of that gel we used to play with when we were kids. I had absolutely no clue what I was eating and nether was I sure if I liked it. It had a strange texture to it so I took another one of these super sweet thingies. The second one I started to like so I took a third one which then made me feel almost sick because it is so sweet. Turned out it was green coloured rice flour with sugar inside – healthy – I could feel like every one of them said hello to my hips! But I didn’t care, I wanted to try all these new things and it was delicious!

It was a full moon that night and whilst watching some of the guys go for a midnight surf I enjoyed with some people a Bintang at the beach.

On my little porch I got to write in tranquility and let my thoughts go where ever they felt like going. I thought of everything I was able to experience so far and a feeling of gratitude came over me. I was finally able to be in the present. It felt like there was no past and no tomorrow. I was simply just there and happy.

I lost my heart to Balian beach and will definitely go back soon!

IMG_1056


%d bloggers like this: