Tag Archives: Backpacking

Old Demons

Have you ever had these moments where you are simply overwhelmed with what you are feeling and what is happening in your life? Those moments you could jump in the air because you literally can feel in every part in your body that you are alive?
You are happy and at the same time almost sad because you feel all these different emotions that are too much for you? You wish you could cut your self in half so you could be in two places at the same time?

I have reached that moment in Australia. I am so happy and at the same time I have this urge to go home. Why wouldn’t I be happy? If you have ever been here you know what I am talking about and if not put that country on the top of your ‘countries to visit’ list. It has something magical. I for one have never seen such beautiful beaches and landscape. You tend to forget what you have to do during the day because it is simply tempting to just get up in the morning go for a surf then drive to the fruit-shop have a healthy fruit-shake, then you may be go to a different beach or the house have a rest and tan a little with your friend, read or write or do both and then go for another surf. And before you can blink, that day is over.

I was conflicted between two worlds. I love surfing and the beach. I have found such great friends here and the sister I never had, but I also love my work and miss London and my friends over there. I miss the fast pace of the multicultural city like London from what I get so much inspiration of. I could sense that I was close to go home but not yet, there was something I had to overcome first. I just wasn’t sure exactly what it was, but deep down I could feel it.

Not knowing but slightly having a suspicion of what I had to finally accept I went on a camping trip with my friend Kat. Even though my bank account resembled ground zero I went anyway because she wanted me to, and invited me for the whole trip. What a lucky girl I am! So we packed the car to the limit. It seemed to quill out of the windows but Kat wanted to be sure she had everything she possibly could need whilst camping. I jugged my backpack in the front seat my surfboard on top of the roof and I was ready. Kira and her friend were in the backseat and off we went. Two women and two teenage girls – that sure was a lot of oestrogen in one car!

As if men do not already have enough ‘wrong’ opinions about women and cars we made sure that we gave that stereo type picture fully it’s value ten minutes in to the drive. I really needed my coffee and so we stopped in Thirroul at the one coffee shop that you can sit out side. As we hopped back in the car and ready to go, the car would not start anymore! We turned the engine over and over, embarrassed about not being able to start the car we of course got more and more nervous that someone (a man) would come over and tell us what to do. Of course there was someone coming over – a man – and said: ‘Emm…I think your car is broken and you should probably call for help or at least stop doing what you are doing right now because you are gassing us all out here!!’ Four pares of eyes and stared at him, we nodded with our heads and then we just burst out in laughter. What a start, we thought! So I had the glorious idea of getting an ice cream while we give the car a rest. See, what that man didn’t know was that Kat’s car is a bit moody. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. After the ice cream we hopped back in the car and there you go, off we drove towards Jervis Bay – Green Patch, to the national park further down south next to the Ozzie pipe.

I loved it! Being in the nature putting up a tent and getting that camping feeling going. I saw my kangaroos and wallabies, birds I have never seen before and the whites sand beach ever! It was so beautiful I had to run in the clear water even though it was not so warm – Kira and I loved it!

In the evening Kat and I sat in front of the tent, had a beer and with our small oil lamp that gave the whole setting a nostalgic feeling, we started to talk about all sorts of things from our life’s. We started to do the angel cards and we were blown away how accurate they were. I kept getting the card ‘acceptance’ and tried to figure out what it was I had to accept?! I went through so much of my past that at first I couldn’t think of what it was. Then it dawned on me. There was something in my past and current life that always left a big grey cloud around my aura and I tended to make a big forgo around it. I convinced my self that if I do not talk about it and keep hoping it will eventually vanish or turn it to the good thing I was hoping for. But there comes a time in life that we all know certain things you cant change and it takes away all your energy and positivity if you keep trying to change them. It is a big step to come to the point where you accept this fact that it will not change and that the best thing might be to detach your self from it.
I knew I had this in front of me but at the same time I had no clue how!
So for the very first time I told someone, my friend, the whole story. I immediately saw patterns I never saw and I was able to be far more honest to my self about it all. Kat of course made her comments to the problem, and her outside opinion helped me see it clearer. May be it was the night that was clear and fresh or the oil lamp combined with the beer or may be it was everything, but I felt that this was the beginning of a big turning point in my life.

A view weeks ago, someone I feel very connected to, mentioned that it is easier to detach your self from your present ravages when you are in a different country away from your known environment.
I started to think about that. Is it true that it is easier when you are further away? Is it even possible to detach your self from your ravages totally in a different place or would they catch up with you as soon as you go back?

I would soon know the answer to this question.

It all started when I had one week left before I would make my way back to Europe. My childhood friend’s wedding was the main reason for my leaving Australia. And even though I wanted to go home since a while I kept waiting for the sign to let me know now when it is the right moment.

All the sudden in that one-week before I left I felt like old demons tried to make their way back in to my life. How is this possible after all I learned, overcame and made peace with? I started to fear that day of the departure due to not really knowing what is going to be on the other side. And since I have changed and grown in a different direction will the people back home accept and support that change or have their issues with it? I started to ask my self if I really do not have expectations from a certain someone and realised that there are going to be all sorts of new confrontations back home, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready for it.

As soon as I picked the date to leave I started to reminisce about everything in Australia. I was tempted to stay! And then the universe gave me my last test for this journey. That one thing I ran away from.
For the last time I did again something for my family and not for my self and when I received the answer you can literally say the ‘shit hit the fan’! I felt like a big wave crushed over me took me under and the weight of the water was crushing me down. Trying to get back up, this feeling of trying to swim towards the light while the air in your body gets smaller and smaller and you fear about to drown. I cried for hours not understanding what is happening, why is this keep happening, what did I do wrong? And then I reached the surface I made it back up towards the light and took a big breath. I finally got it. It is time to let go, to accept the fact of that certain things in life will not change and you can’t change them! Yes, it means probably that you will have to accept a loss of certain people in your life and that you have to accept that this picture you made in your mind, this picture of that family you so wanted to have will eventually fade. And you might wonder if your future path is going to be lonely since you know they wont be part of it anymore but then ask your self how much were they really there for you before?
When I finally came to terms with it and made the active decision to accept that it will not change and that I do not want this in my future anymore, I felt a tremendous relief. I knew right there that this was one of the last things on my journey I needed to learn and that now I am ready to start my new life.

Still nervous about going back and so sad to leave Australia and my friends I was looking forward to my friends wedding in the Swiss Alps!

Green Patch


The magical red sand

As I sit in the garden of my friend’s house, the sun is shining, Rachmaninov is playing on my computer in the back ground, I look out to the sea and I finally write again. The sea is calm today and so am I. I have left for this journey not only to come closer to my self, to reflect upon my life and my doing, but also to finally write.
In the last four weeks, ever since I arrived in Australia I had the hardest time to write. My writing was all over the place and it didn’t seem like I could bring order in to my thoughts.

After Indonesia and my trip to the volcano I felt connected to my self like never before in my life. I could feel that I was coming closer and closer to the transformation that I aspired yet not completely achieved. Happy within my self but also with a feeling that was simmering deep down in side of me, which I couldn’t yet name exactly what it was, I arrived in Australia with mixed emotions. I remember staying on top of Gungung Agung and feel that my life will soon take a major turn not knowing how or in what way exactly. And it did! As time went by I finally found a feeling inside of me that I have been looking for since the age of fifteen. I didn’t even look for it anymore it simply was a result from my transformation and connection to my self. Day by day the feeling of missing ‘home’ grew stronger. I came to the point where I knew I want to go home to London and that I want to live there, regardless of another person, friends or family, but because I want to and for me it is my place of home. Never before in my life I have come to this point that I feel like going home. When I left I didn’t know for how long or where exactly I was going. All I knew was that I had to take the time to listen to my own voice. For that I had to be as far away as possible from my known environment. I had to leave my comfort zone to be able to confront my self with my past and my doing.

My start in Australia was everything but rosy. Stuck in a situation that I no longer defined as healthy for me, I went to stay at my friend’s house and found my self in a small place called Stanwell Park in NSW, a beautiful spot right at a beach and next to the national park.

I could feel that my body and mind was exhausted from traveling and the reflections about my life. All I wanted was a break, but the interesting thing about going on a journey like this is, once you have opened that door to your self there is no turning back anymore. Your subconscious mind keeps working, if you like it or not. I am grateful for having reached that point where I can listen to my own voice and stay true to my self, regardless of how uncomfortable it can make you feel in certain moments.

The days passed and my heart felt heavier and heavier. Surrounded by pure beauty of this country an amazing new friend and feeling happy I couldn’t help but notice this feeling of longing in my heart. I started to miss London every day more and more. Long walks along the empty beach with my friends dog just intensified this longing.

The other day I was sitting in the train back from Sydney to Stanwell Park, when tears suddenly rolled down my cheeks. I was rather confused about my state of being since I have finally reached that level of being happy within my self regardless of the ‘where’ and with ‘whom’. But nevertheless, I am far more connected to my self that I therefore feel a new level of emotions that were hidden inside of me. I became aware of a feeling, a longing deep down in my heart for a very special person that I tried hard to neglect. Not only did I walk actively away from it and left London, I convinced my self that it is not true to the point that I started to believe it. I put my focus on purpose on something else.

So I started to think about when do we ‘know’ that we really feel something and when do we ‘think’ that we feel something? Or is it the ‘think’ that leads to the ‘know’?

As I looked out of the window and see the scenery pass me by I realised that the motion of the train helped me to bring motion in to my thoughts. I believe if you are really connected with your self and honest, a true connection will eventually come back around no matter how hard you try to neglect it or walk away from it. But we can certainly make our selves believe that we feel something to a certain degree.

I for one went out on a loop on purpose from the first moment I left London. I wanted to find out what I feel, how I feel towards me and people. I pushed my self in to new unknown circumstances that helped me develop an even more heightened understanding of my emotions. Eventually I did come to the point where I was able to differentiate between the ‘think’ and the ‘know’. Looking back to all theses different emotions, I can say that I did feel all of them, but they might have just been right for a specific time to get to the more important one. I am grateful for all of them, then without the experience I wouldn’t have suddenly realized that I can be on the other side of the world and it is still not far enough.

It is like Carl Jung said: “What you resist persists!”

What I resisted the most ever since my father passed away four and a half years ago, and may be it was even before then as well but certainly since then, was to be able to have a true connection to another person.
I often wondered why I kept going in a circle with my life and it was just recently that I realised that one of the reasons was that I resisted my true self. Therefore I kept attracting or putting my self in situations that were clearly not what I really wanted, but I made my self believe they could turn in to what I wanted. To a certain degree I fooled my self. I did not challenge my self nor was I honest. It was always very clear to me that I had one foot out the door the whole time.
Only ever since I started to reflect on the ravages from my past and present and trying to detach my self from them to look for a deeper connection with my self I was able to understand that.

A big thing these travels thought me, is patience, something that I would not have praised my self with in the past. But I learned to believe and trust again. And I started to trust in time and my transformation that the unconscious ‘me’ reveals what needs to be revealed at the right time.
It is almost like a little bit of magic! Something the thirteen-year-old daughter of my friend reminded me of.
For me the magic is in you and trusting yourself! Regardless of what others think of you, judge what you do or feel. If you are connected with yourself, you know what you feel and it is right at that time in your life.
May be it is the land of the red sand and it’s magic who has let me come another step closer to my transformation, or the full moon that was shining bright that night when I walked out of the train. What better sign from the universe for a new beginning than a bright full moon.

Stanwell Park


A thousand and more steps…

My mother always used to say that you can ‘walk off’ your sorrows. When I was angry or agitated she would tell me to go for a walk or a run because it would clear my mind.

I hiked up 3142 meters to the top of the Gungung Agung volcano in Bali and I sure had many steps in front of me to put order in to my thoughts. After the last, very intense 3 month in Indonesia, I had a lot that was going through my mind.

My guide, ‘Madé’, picked me up at ten o’clock in the evening and at eleven pm after signing in with the police (something that you have to do when you go on this route), we were standing on the bottom of the holy volcano. ‘Madé’, a local from the small village Besakih, looked exactly like I pictured a man from the mountains in Indonesia. His skin was wrinkled and dark from the cold air and the sun from the mountains and he was rather skinny. It was dark and all I could see would be my next step that the light of my head torch lit up for me. I have never been hiking in the dark and since in Indonesia the tracks are not loops like in Europe but more a vertical straight line to the top, you are forced to trust your guide a 100% and go literally one step at a time. You wont be able to look 3 steps a head of you nor can you see the top of the mountain, all you see is your next step and knowing that eventually if you keep going you will get on top!

I thought about this while I was taking my next step, how wonderful it would be if it would be so easy to apply in your life. But often we see the whole picture and not only the next step. We stress our selves out and we get frustrated with the current situation.
The path became quickly quite steep and I had to concentrate not to take a wrong step or I would have fallen in to the deep dark. Questioning the security and yet not surprised about it in Indonesia, I did wish at times that there would have been a rope to secure me to my guide. Putting aside this thought very quickly I put my focus back on my next step and ‘Madé’ and his life. I was amazed how many times a week he is doing this hike. Three to four times a week he is hiking up 3142 meters while smoking the strongest unfiltered cigarettes I have ever smelled in my life.

We took a break and he handed me half a clementine with a chocolate bar. ‘Madé’ asked me where I was staying in Bali and I replied – in Uluwatu. He lifted his eyebrow to a very specific expression that in my eyes was a bit belittling. He thought that I was doing the right thing by coming to the mountains then in his eyes the true Balinese people are in the small mountain villages. He started to explain to me that the people in the bigger areas or the cities have become greedy and lost track of what is important in life. “Here in the mountains people are genuine and polite.” – He said. And it was true. At the bottom temple where he worshipped his god and the mountain we met a group of men who were just about to enter the temple. The way they were greeting each other was so beautiful genuinely honest, that I couldn’t stop staring. Their voices were warm and kind and their faces seemed open in a way that you could see all the way down in to their souls. I have never witnessed anything like it. I was surrounded from this bubble of pure peace. It was beautiful.

Meanwhile the route has become quite hard and we reached already 2500 meters. Going from sea-level to 3142 meters is noticeable on your lungs. I started to breathe more heavily and kept wishing I was more in form. On the other hand it cleared my system, my over active brain started to slow down and listen to the breathing and my footsteps. It was calming and it almost had something meditative to it. Suddenly it felt like I was walking off everything that happened in my last four and a half years. I went back to the day my father passed away and never before I saw that day so clear as on that night on the holy mountain. At some stage it felt like my feet were moving by it’s self and I had time to focus on my thoughts. Step by step I walked through that horrible day and tried to come to peace with it. I saw myself standing next to that hospital bed again and I believed to hear the machine that helped my father to breath. I remember how cold and dark everything around me felt that day, but then something changed – I used to see my father lying there in pain but this time I saw him there sleeping and thankful for not having any more pain. Even though there has not one day gone by that I haven’t missed him dearly in my life, my heart started to relax . As if I could feel his presence on this holy mountain, I felt that he was with me every step of the way. He was an optimistic human being and had the ability to always see the positive. And there I was walking, my steps became heavier and slower, and I almost wanted to give up and turn around as I heard my dad say: “You can do it Sarah, you are going to regret it if you turn around now!” And he was of course right!

I thought about my past relationship, about that man I spent many years of my life with. I started to see the good and was thankful for what we had, but it also made a lot of sense to me that our paths have gone in different directions. I never held a grudge against him or towards what happened but I used to think I wasted my best years staying with and holding back for man who in the end betrayed my believes. Now it all started to make sense to me. I wouldn’t be here today if I wouldn’t have gone through all of these experiences in my life and I wouldn’t have the knowledge that I have today.

We got higher and it was freezing. The three sweaters that I was wearing clearly were not the right choice for these conditions. By now we were somewhere close to 3000 meters as ‘Madé’ suddenly decided to take a break and have a rest. I thought he meant a five-minute break but he had more a 30 min nap in mind. He packed out another jacket, thick and warm, a cap and gloves, and lied down in the corner of a little cave and went to sleep. Jealous of his jacket I stared at him, shivering on every single part of my body, thinking ‘you must be joking’! Since he took the whole space that you would be hidden from the freezing wind I didn’t have much more of a choice than to huddle down and trying to give my body parts as much heat from my own body as possible. I learned my lesson to never go so unprepared on a hike like this again. The alarm went off and ‘Madé’ got up and asked me if I was ready to go up the last part. Believe me – I was ready!

The last part was very steep and slippery. The sun was about to come out any second and I was able to see the top summit. It seemed so close and yet it didn’t seem like we were getting any closer! How much I know this feeling from my life and my work! If you keep working for a goal and it seems to be right there in front of you, you can almost reach it but just not yet, it can be frustrating. Having this thought I wanted to get on top of Gungung Agung like nothing else!

And there it was – my reward – the sky started to lid up red, purple, orange and blue. The deep colours got stronger and stronger the higher we got. I almost started to run up at the end because I was afraid I couldn’t see the full sunrise. Again I was afraid I could be missing out or late. But the conditions of the mountain forced me to go at my guides pace and so I followed him step by step, taking the time to let this magical view that nature has given me, sink in. As we reached the top I was speechless! I have never seen such a view – such a sky – such colours in my life! I forgot about being cold and tired, it was like I was revitalised by nature and its beauty.
‘Madé’ brewed me a coffee and offered me Balinese biscuits that his wife made for me and I gratefully slurped my hot coffee with a huge smile on my face.

As I stood alone with ‘Madé’ on top of Gungung Agung, watching the sunrise and being totally at peace, I felt like someone pushed the ‘hold’ button. Time seemed to stand still and it was like the universe gave me the chance to make a choice right here right now about my self and my life and in which direction I want to go. I waited a while with releasing the ‘pause’ button – I wasn’t ready yet. I still had a view thoughts running through my mind and I felt that this was one of these moments where you can get a major insight about who you are and what you want for your self.

After leaving my known life behind me, and going on this journey, I went through many stages. Doing things I have never done before, interact with completely different people and living life from one day to the other I did find out a tremendous amount about my self. I started to respect my self again and more importantly love my self again. I had moments where I thought I will change my life completely, live in the wild away from everyone and everything known to me. But the funny thing about finding yourself is that sooner or later you understand who you are and you come to terms with your past and it all seems to make sense. As much as I loved my time living from one day to the other I knew right there, that I had a purpose and that it was time for me to get back on it. The theatre, the literature and the arts as well as the interaction with people who want to make a difference were calling me. I knew more than ever ‘who’ I was and that I want to go back to the theatre, writing and work. I knew that I want to become a mother one day and show my children that where there is a will there is a way. Anything is possible!

Away from everything and everyone I was happy and I knew that I have learned from my mistakes and experiences in the past. Often we try to be someone else for a loved one or we hold back on our own potential to fit in, to make it work, or to make someone else feel better about them selves. We all know that we can always change to become the best of what we can be, but it has to come from your own within and because YOU want that change.
Right there, I saw my potential and I knew that I will never hold back or be someone I am not for anyone anymore!

I have been told a couple of times in my life that my expectations are enormously high and that it is impossible to live up to them. Well I believe that many people do not out live their potential and settle for less. But are they really happy? Scared of ending up alone or out of the ‘group’ which gives them security, they try to hold on to something that often holds them back. I love people and I believe that we all are beautiful individuals with a positive centre and the capacity to make a difference in this world no matter in what way. It is only the question if you have the guts to go against the stream or if you want to flow with all the other fish in the river so-called life.

I released the ‘pause’ button and the sun fully came out and lid up the whole sky with light. It was a new day, a new beginning. I knew in that moment that my life will take a major turn soon. Not sure how or in what way exactly, but I knew that as long as I will stay true to myself and my values I will be happy and on the right track.

It was the perfect ending to my time in Indonesia and the start of a new chapter in my life. I was ready to descend Gunung Agung. I took one last look over Bali to Lombok and even Java and said goodbye for now.
Walking down in full day light I caught my self looking too far a head of the track and I stumbled because I was rushing. I tried to remember what great lesson I just learned a couple of hours ago. Step by step and with patience having the big picture in your mind and you will eventually get there!

Sunrise on top of Gungung Agung

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Desert Point

The road was tricky to get through with the car and it seemed there was not going to be anything at the end. Here and there was a little hut with kids who played in front of it. I thought I saw the raw Indonesia when I was in Java but Lombok thought me different. There was absolutely nothing here and it was beautiful! The further we got, people started to recognize the guys since they have been here many times.

Hendra sat on the back of the bike of his dad on his way to school, when he recognized Ed who drove the car. He loves Eddy so much that a couple of years a go, Eddy would always find Hendra sleeping next to him in the morning when he was waking up. He is a remarkable boy. Five years ago his foot got stock in the motorbike and ripped almost the whole foot apart. He lost a view toes and a massive scar with a big pump has left a trade mark on his foot now. But today Hendra is walking and surfing as if nothing happened. When I saw his foot and looked around me I started to think where on earth they took him back then. There was no real doctor here and the nearest hospital must be hours away.

We finally made it and arrived in Desert Point. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life! There is nothing but may be five to six huts and the beach. Jay and Ed know them since years and are very good friends with the people who live here and host the huts. We were lucky and got one of the rooms right in the front.

I could feel how my lungs opened up and were able to breath deeply. After the hustling ferry-ride through the night and the last view weeks in Uluwatu it was such a big relieve to be out here in the nature surrounded by nothing but beauty. Bali has become such a hip place and has grown immensely through the last view years that it is no longer the peaceful place that it used to be. The locals started to smell the money and keep building hotel after hotel for more tourism without the thought of the future and what will be left for their children. Never the less, Bali is amazing and still beautiful. You just have to know where to go.

It was hide tide when we arrived and perfect for me to go surfing. The reef here in Desert Point is crazy. When it is low tide you can walk out all the way and the big waves break right in front of you. It is quite dangerous and you need a certain level to be able to surf it. For me the only chance to surf was when it is high tide.
I paddled out and still saw the reef below me it was so shallow. But I was taken in by the share beauty of the clear blue water, the sun and everything that surrounded me that I didn’t pay to much attention to the reef.
Jay came out and gave me some more instructions on my surfing and I started to improve on every wave I took. He pushed me harder and kept saying: “Come on hurry up get back on the board there is another wave. Paddle – paddle harder – NOW get up – look up not down!” I wouldn’t say it, but I really liked the fact that he cared and pushed me so much. I couldn’t believe my life, my heart was literally jumping up and down of happiness. Here I was in one of the most amazing places I have ever been with a man I meet out of the blue who seemed to love me for just the way I am. A man who couldn’t be more different to me than anyone I met so far and still it felt like to souls that have been looking for each other all this time have found one-another.
His face lit up in a way that I haven’t seen before once we were at Desert’s. He got so relaxed and excited at the same time knowing that soon he will be able to finally ride some big waves again. It was like a kid in a candy store, who just got told you ‘can eat whatever you would like’. When he asked me if I like it here and if I am happy his smile got even bigger after he heard my joyful yes!
The boys were surprised that I liked it so much and they also were scared that after a day or two I would be bored to death because there is nothing here but nature and no luxury at all. Apparently most women wouldn’t like it here and would never join them on a trip to Desert Point, which I couldn’t understand at all. From all my travels this is exactly what I have been waiting for!

Sidi is one of the women who lives here at the huts we stayed at and she is also one of the best cooks I have encountered so far. Her and Ratni, which is her sister in law cooked for us everyday and made us feel home form the first second we arrived. Ratni who speaks more or less no English at all seemed to like me for some reason. She would always say Saraaaahhh whit a big smile when I walked by or asked her for something. I wished I could speak her language then I wanted to know so much more about her life here in Deserts. For us having the luxury to come and surf, enjoy life and go again when ever it pleases us is something else but for them to be born here and life here all their life must be a totally different story. And I was determined to find out more about it!

I was sitting on the bench, relaxing and happy after my surf which was fantastic –looking out in the ocean and when little Hendra crused by on his bike. The pure joy of life that Hendra carries in his eyes showed me again what I was looking for, ever since I left London. Gratitude for being alive and what you have! That little boy is ten years old now, survived a massif accident in the desert where you get boils so easily due to the fact that you are in the tropics. He has two books that he keeps reading over and over and it made me think of all the kids I know back home and the amount of toys and cloth they have and still need more. He learned surfing on have of a surfboard and now has one Karne, the son of Eddy gave to him. Karne who is eleven and Hendra surfed every day together. Karne who is already a top-notch surfer, finally became a kid again once he had some other kids around him. Since he is often just with the boys he forgets sometimes that he is only eleven years old.

I was so thankful to be able to experience all of this, especially after last week when my old life seemed to creep back in to my present. I was frustrated that I left so far and yet still I felt haunted by the things I left on purpose behind me. I had good reasons for leaving even though there might be people who don’t understand my point of view or my actions. I didn’t come so far to be back in the same boat. I wanted to find my own way regardless of how I was brought up or what I was used to. Regardless of what may be my family members think I should be doing in my life. It is harder than one thinks to go out in the world and find your own way that makes you happy. Often we are marked by what we know since we were little and the people that surround us that we think we have to continue life exactly the same way. We don’t take a second thought or better the risk of finding out what sort of life would fit perfectly for one self.
Hendra reminded me with his smile on my luck.
It is like in Gregory David Roberts wrote in his book ‘Shantaram’:” …try to relax completely, and go with the experience. Just … let yourself go. Sometimes, in India, you need to surrender before you win.” I believe this sentence is not only true for India but for your whole life. At first it was hard to let go of my old habits and known circumstances. And it is funny how long one tries to hold on to them. Almost feeling guilty of liking the new life you catch yourself bringing back up the past, which evidentially will bring back those thoughts and fears in to the present. But if you let go you will change too and you will never be the same person that you used to be. Which can be scary and liberating at the same time.
I had it the other night when I took a walk at night at the beach. Millions of stars were shining bright and with the milky-way the universe created a marvellous painting in the sky. I sat down and looked at it for a while. I could feel that my feelings were all over the place. I didn’t yet surrender, forcefully I tried the last couple of days to control my feelings again. I caught my self how I started to relive habits from my past relationship and of course I wasn’t happy with it. I didn’t want to do it but for some reason my body and mind were acting on its own. While looking at the stars I realised that ever since my father passed away I fear I could get too attached to someone, and so I looked for things that could cause a problem or I manipulated the current situation unaware of that I was doing it. I decided to walk back to the huts and find Jay. I had the sudden urge to tell him what was going on with me. As I came back, he just got massaged by Amad, who is a medical healer in his own way. His treatment is not pleasant, but he finds the cause of your pain and relieves it. Underneath the pain from Amad’s massage, Jay asked me if I no longer show him the cold shoulder. I was quite surprised that he noticed it so quickly. He pulled me down next to the floor and asked me how my walk was. My words seemed stuck in my mouth they didn’t want to come out even though my heart wanted nothing more than to tell him all of what I just realised. All I could say was a whispering ‘yes’. When Amad was done with his work he jumped up with his fit body of his and lit up a cigarette. There is not one gram of fat on him. We call him the Bruce Lee of Lombok. Jay and I went outside with him and Jay pulled me to the side and asked me what was going on. My words were still tangled in my mouth and I couldn’t find a way to put them in order. He lifted up my head with his hand and said: “Look me in the eyes.” I could feel that he was looking right through me in to the deepest corner of my heart that I have been trying to hide and before I could say it he said: “Are you afraid you could get too attached to me?” “Yes” I said with a crack in my voice. And I told him all about my fears, about my Dad and how I didn’t want to have the same relationship like my last one. And he said. “ You gotta let go of the past. It is no longer here I am your present and future now.” It was in that moment that I let go and I just gave in. I opened up my heart even more to myself to him and to the present.
The next day I woke up more at peace with my self than I can put in words. I realised that I took a huge step and that I was ready to go further. Ready to live my life my way and stop forcing a life that others want me to live.

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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


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!

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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!

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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!

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A breakthrough moment in Pacitan

Pacitan what a great place! I was in heaven once I arrived and was able to go to bed with the sound oft the waves. I slept like a baby and left the city smog behind me.

At Harry’s Ocean House you get invited quickly in to a community, I loved it straight away. I also got to cook for the first time in Indonesia my self and really enjoyed going to the market and buy fresh vegetables and tofu with a lot of chillies of course.

Pacitan is rather small and there isn’t much going on. You won’t find any touristy things and I really appreciated that fact a lot. You go there because you love the nature and you surf. There is not much else to do.

Getting up in the morning and having at first a look at the surf then jump on your motorbike and off you go to one of the three main surf spots in the area. There is also one spot that I call “my secret beach”. To get there it is quite an adventure. After a drive on the motorbike in the hills on a road that requires a certain driving skill, you have to put your motorbike on hold and hike the rest. It was burning hot on that day as I made my way to the secret beach. On the way I came across an older Javanese man, who decided to walk me to the beach. He spoke not a word of English and we walked rather quietly side by side. We came across farmers in the hills and I was amazed how they live and work up there. It seemed like a different world.
They road made it’s way downhill and suddenly I saw beautiful rice fields just like I pictured them before coming to this country. I could hear the waves a bit further a way and I knew I couldn’t be too far away. And there, peeking out between the palm trees and rice fields was a cove like I have never seen before in my life. As I reached the beach with the old man I was lost for words. The pure beauty of nature was mind-blowing. The water was turquoise and blue, the sand white with palm trees greener than green. Not a single other human being was on the beach. I sat down and just looked out in the sea and enjoyed the beauty. The old man sat next to me and he kept pointing to my board that I carried with me with the hope to be able to surf. I smiled and tried to explain to him that the current was to big for me to go out alone. He smiled and I wasn’t sure if he understood what I was trying to say. We sat a bit longer underneath a palm tree and later made our way back towards the bikes.
He seemed to have known every farmer we came across and eager with a big smile pointed towards me. I figured he said he brought me to the beach but wasn’t sure what he really said to them. As we reached the motorbikes I tried to give him a little bit of money as a thank you but he refused it and I finally gave in. I thanked him gratefully and we tried to get back with our bikes, which was harder than I thought.
It was a beautiful day and I was thankful to have met such a wonderful man.

In Pacitan I finally got my answer from RADA. I was waiting for this now since Mai. All this time whilst traveling I asked my self “what if” I get in “what if” I don’t get in. The funny thing was the longer I travelled the more I kept thinking that I get in and that it would be a nice way of knowing which direction my life would go. I would sort of have something to return to, something that defines a plan.

I have experienced so many wonderful and beautiful things so far on my journey, and there hasn’t been a moment in which I was bored or didn’t know what to do. Nevertheless you live day by day, not knowing what will be tomorrow. For me something I am not used to. It needs a lot of confidence to trust your self to know that it will all be just fine. I think the reason why we all make these plans and put our self’s in to these boxes, so-called career or social agendas, is because we are scared of the unknown. It is ten times easier to make a full worked out life plan by what time you have which degree ad which job title, when you want to get married and have children than just live your life. I have always admired people who are able to do that. I am someone who always had a plan. I always knew what I wanted to do with my life.

Here I was about to open that certain message that again is putting me in that box that I was not that happy to be in anymore and all I could think was: I hope I got in! I have to admit that the last few days I got a little scared of not knowing exactly how my journey is going to continue. By the fact of a “yes” from this school I could plan out the whole next few month till I would have to go back to London.

I opened the message and I couldn’t believe the word that stuck out to me in huge letters. “Unfortunately”! I didn’t even have to read on, I knew in that moment it is a “no”!
I got so angry, frustrated and also sad. Why didn’t they want me? Why didn’t they accept me? I had a “kitchen floor melt down “ moment. I could feel how my whole world collapsed. What was I going to do now? I suddenly realized that I fooled my self. I did say I wanted to go on this journey to find out what I really wanted to do. And there I got exactly what I asked for only that I didn’t count with the possibility to be literally so exposed to it and that in the middle of nowhere in Indonesia. In a way I think I never even considered not doing it or doing something else. The share amount of possibilities what I could do now was suddenly frightening to me. I could travel everywhere and I could work anything. What am I going to do? What is my purpose now? That was the question!

That night I went to bed with tears rolling down my cheeks. I tried to be quiet since I was sleeping in a dorm and didn’t want anyone to know that I was crying because I got rejected from RADA.
I got up very early and went straight to the beach, jumped on my board and started to paddle out all my anger. It felt good that I could feel my body, but I wasn’t there. My thoughts were still circling around that letter and my situation. Therefore I didn’t surf well because I wasn’t in the here and now, which then of course frustrated me even more. I felt like I was doing worse than before.

Actively I reminded my self why I love surfing so much. That moment you connect with the nature and you feel your body. You put your self in the here and now and it is almost like a way of meditation. In that moment it seems there is nothing else that matters. And it worked! My heart relaxed my brain stopped running in high-speed motion and I felt happy. In that moment I took my best wave so far and the feeling was extraordinary!! I was filled with joy and all I could think of was that I was thankful for being in this beautiful country and get to live an amazing life!

I didn’t spend one more negative thought on RADA and the whole story. I understood why it had to happen like this. And even though it is scary and unknown what will happen in my life, one thing I was certain of: I was one more step closer to my true self because I put my self for the very first time in the present. There was no plan that I could think about there was no past that I was missing, there was just the now. And in that particular “now” I was just happy and that felt great!

Pacitan

Pacitan


My little secret of Yogykarta

Lock in Yogykarta

As I walked trough the Sultan Palace in Yogykarta I suddenly realised that my Star of David is no longer around my neck. I lost my necklace that I carried everyday because it reminded me of my father. The first one that I received from my dad, got stolen while I was on a shoot for a Film. Now the second one that I specifically bought to remember him is gone as well. I didn’t even flip out or got really sad or mad. I only said to Emily, with whom I made the trip that I could use a drink now. As we were walking through the market, the sun was burning down and I felt like I was about to melt, I thought about my necklace and what it represented for me.

Did my necklace represent another box, a box that I have to leave as well? Was this meant to happen because I am on this journey? I never wore it because I felt that I was very religious not at all, but it was always very important to me to connect it to my father. Since my father was an orphan from the Second World War and he never really knew where exactly he was from, this was what was left in terms of roots. He wasn’t religious ether but the only thing he would say was: “I am Jewish”. I always wanted to know where I was from and it is still a desire I carry around with me. So in a way I continued what my father did.

I had a big sip from my beer and I could feel that through the heat it went faster in my bloodstream than usually.

Who am I without my necklace, my father, my job, the theatre and my comfort zone?
It made me think of the Sultan Palace I just saw. All these pictures of the whole monarchy, that went back over generations. The whole palace and even the water palace, which was the Sultans bath, made him in a way immortal.
Did I really need a necklace to make my father immortal for myself? No, I don’t even need him to be immortal. I loved my father more than anything and no matter if I carry a necklace to remember him or not, I will never forget him and nether my roots. In a way I felt lighter. Unusual and constantly with the feeling of that my neck felt very naked, I decided to embrace this new opportunity.

And then something interesting happened. Since my dad was a big fan of culture, travel and art and as a child we would always have to go see every temple, monument and museum etc. as soon as we were on a trip, I started to look out for things he would have liked or we would have talked about. I suddenly started to look at everything with him in my mind and I saw things that I would have like better and things that he would have found more interesting. Ever since he passed that was the moment I felt my roots the most. My father thought me so much through his work, his interests, and his travels that “this” was in a way him. I carry on what he thought me, how much more can you ask for when it comes to roots. Yes, I might not know exactly which country and what cultural influence I carry in me but I know where I am from. From my father!

In a way Yogykarta showed me a hidden secret about my self almost like it’s hidden street art, which is also my favourite thing of Yogykarta. If you look for it you can build your own city map just with the street art and you will know where to go. On my way back from Pacitan to Yogy I found myself being pretty secure with directions due to my own “city map”.

Another very impressive moment was when Emily and I went to go see how they built the Shadow puppets. It is fascinating how delicate this work is. To finish one of the puppets it takes one week and that is without colouring it. The artist who explained to us where the puppets come from and what their meaning is had a so much passion whilst talking about it, that I was totally captured by him and the whole art. I wanted to know everything. Every figure has its own story and in the whole design you can find their power and purpose. Very Impressive! One of them stuck to me, it was the one with a big bum. And if you looked closely you saw three major circles in the figure. One was the bum, one the stomach area and one the head. The three represent the three centers in the body:
Mind – feeling – instinct.
He explained to us that there must be a balance between all three of them otherwise it wouldn’t be healthy. I had to smile a bit, then he was so right. How often do we not succeed in finding the balance between all three of them! Often in the Western civilisation we are more mind oriented. We believe we can control everything with our thoughts and it will all work out. We have fix plans on how things have to turn out and by what time we have to have accomplished certain things. It made a lot of sense to me what he said, but I also thought it is easier said than done.

He saw my temporary tattoo on my wrist, which represented for me the waves, life, vitality and creativity. He looked at my tattoo and said: “This is very you. You are a very passionate woman and you care more for others than your self. You have a very deep character and you take a long time to decide. You think about it for a while and once you know you want it, you go for it. You connect quickly to people and you give them your trust. But often you don’t stay true to your self. You let other people influence you. You have to trust more your heart!”

I stared at him and at first I couldn’t say anything. How right the man was! One of the reasons I left was exactly that I wanted to learn to listen to my heart and not be influenced by others. And still on my journey when I spend a few days with someone, I always want to make sure they are happy. Day by day I am learning more to do what I want to do, regardless of what others think or want to do. And it gives an inner peace to your heart, because you can feel that the decision was the right one.

The next day Emily and I took a trip to Borobodur. It is Javas biggest Buddhist Temple. We rented a motorbike and I enjoyed that part very much. Driving in the city with the locals, surrounded by thousands of motorbikes, I was finally part of the “honey bees”. I was happy to see that Emily trusted my driving style and I trusted her with finding the way to the temple. We made a pretty good team. Once we arrived at Borobodur, we had to see that this place is a massive tourist attraction. Nevertheless I wanted to see it. We put on our sarong’s and made our way to the top. Pretty quickly we had to realize that not the temple was the main attraction, we were. All the Indonesian tourists asked all the Western tourists if they can take a picture with them. We were literally followed around the whole temple. I didn’t like this at all. I wanted to get a feeling of the temple and its history. Emily and I started to hide in places where they wouldn’t go. Once there, we realised what an incredible place this actually is. The enormity of the whole temple is incredible and beautiful.

On our way back we not only had to get the tire fixed but almost back in Yogykarta we ran out of gas in the middle of the highway. So I started to pull to the side and saw across the street a little place who would sell gas. I started to talk to them and they were laughing so much, but a split second later the older man ran across the street and filled our bike back up with gas. I couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t a problem for anyone. No one honked the horn no one screamed: “Get out-of-the-way”.

I learned in this country that the people here always see a solution when there seems to be a little problem. For them it is more about finding another way to solve the situation. They don’t seem to get stressed out that quickly at all. I am so grateful I get to experience this culture and I have learned so much from them already.

street art in Yogykarta


Cimaja – Pelabuhan Ratu – Sukabumi – Bandung – Pangandaran

I left at 5.30 in the morning to catch the first bus towards Sukabumi. As I left Leo’s little paradise I felt almost a little wistful about leaving Cimaja. This place really has grown close to my heart in only this short period. But I was also excited to see more of Java.

With the little ankot to Pelabuhan Ratu from there with the bus to Sukabumi. Change the bus in Sukabumi and go to Bandung, from there one more change and off to Pangandaran.

I had about a 12 hour journey in front of me. In Pelabuhan Ratu was my bus already waiting and it also left right away once I was on the bus. Strange, I thought, since when do these buses actually leave on time!? I said to my self, it must be the early hour. I was still very tired and felt safe enough to fall asleep in the bus. I read and heard everywhere that if you travel alone you shouldn’t sleep on the bus because your stuff will be gone. Also, my friend Walet told me the story that on this particular way people try to sell you rings in the bus and if you put it on your finger you will be falling asleep. Once you wake up all your stuff will be gone. I even saw the rings so I can assure that it isn’t a fake story. Never the less, I didn’t have any problems so far and I always fall asleep in these buses. Since the roads are so bad and it is extremely bumpy and wiggles you around like a baby in a crib. Just not as soft. But for me it works like a charm.

We arrived in Sukabumi and again there was my next Bus waiting for me and again left within the next five minutes.
This time I wasn’t as comfortable as before. The bus was so full that people had to stand. I was sitting with one buttcheek on the seat and with the other one in the air, because I squished my backpack on the same seat. I didn’t think that I was going to sit like this for the next 3 hours but I actually had to.

The bus stopped and a young woman came on and sat next to me. She looked like she was fifteen years old but as we started to talk later on, it turned out she is twenty. She also, like many others, works in a bigger city during the week and then goes back home on the weekends. Her mother was with her, and for almost everything she wanted, like for example food in the bus, she asked for permission. It made me think how I was with twenty or how the twenty something ones are in London. I don’t think any of them are asking for permission anymore.

We were getting closer to Bandung and I was expecting a huge city. As I was looking out the window and realised due to the traffic that we must be in the city, I couldn’t see that “huge” city that I was expecting. Shortly after we already stopped at the bus station and I realised I never really made it in the centre. I got out of the bus and stood in the middle of all these buses of which most of them were about to drive of. Everything around me was moving and I had trouble finding the name Pangandaran on any of the buses. After walking in a circle and asking people who seemed to keep pointing towards all the buses I decided to stand in the middle of the square and shout loud “Pangandaran”. A man in a bus on the left hand side already on the move, shouted back: “Here Miss, here Miss – Going to Pangandaran!!” I ran after the bus and while I was running I kept asking if he is going to Pangandaran. His answer was rather wage but I had to decide in a split second and jumped on the bus.

Once on the bus I realised that I was in an economic bus. Packed and full of men who were staring at me I tried to find a free seat. No luck! I had to stand for three hours straight and I definitely reached the moment where I left my comfort zone. Judged and stared at, I couldn’t help but think that every single person in this bus was thinking: “Ah god another traveler! Another Backpacker!” I tried to smile my way in to their approval but never ever did it take me so long.
I had to change bus again and finally I was on the one to Pangandaran.

After twelve hours of travel, I finally arrived in Pangandaran and made my way to find a hostel.

Pangadaran beach

Panorama guesthouse it was!
A little guesthouse more or less right at the beach run by Tika, a lovely local lady. It is a cute little guesthouse that is very simple but has a lot of charm and so far the best banana pancakes I had in my life!

Pangandaran is a village that has become a holiday resort for locals from Bandung or Jakarta. You can tell when walking through the village that tourism has taken over. Unlike Cimaja it is not rural anymore and the moment you arrive and step out of the bus you will be asked by plenty of men on their motorbikes if you need a ride. I was in the mood for walking after twelve hours of sitting on my bum, and it was quite a task to full fill, believe me!

The beach is a beautiful sand beach with great waves i the morning. If you get up early enough you will have the perfect break. After twelve noon it will be flat and you will have to wait till around five and if you are lucky you can have a late surf again. There are a lot of locals who have surf shops a long the beach and so I was fortunate to get again tips after tips. I had an amazing time with them and all I wanted to do was to get better. The feeling I had ever since the first moment I started surfing got stronger and stronger. There is only one place I can turn of my brain (which is kind of hard for me), be in the moment and feel that I am alive. I have absolutely no sorrows once I am in the water.

There is something about Pangandaran that is capturing even though it is not as beautiful as Cimaja in my opinion.
You can take day trips to the green canyon and green valley. Or you can go to paradise island and see amazing animals and a beautiful white beach. But right here is the thing about Pangandaran. All those places lose their appeal, in my opinion, because all the local tour guides ruin them with their trips. It is all about money! Of course I understand that this is the way they are making their living but it is also them who don’t take care of their own land. The amount of trash that they are throwing on the ground is shocking!

I wanted to go by my self but it is not so easy to do, because faster than you can blink you have one of them on your side and they wont leave till you paid them. I still went for one trip and decided I wanted to go see the waterfalls in green valley. I expected a hike and huge waterfalls, but as we got there the way was plastered with stones so that every one, no matter how out of shape, will eventually get there. When I wanted to walk to the second waterfall a bit further away, it was more of a hike and my tour guide was the one who was out of breath.
Even though I was a bit disappointed, it was still very beautiful and worth my trip!

One thing that impressed me in Pangandaran was how much the locals love their village. The ones I met and surfed with all worked in Bali for sometime or still do. But all of them every single one, said they want to come back and live here in Pangadaran. For them it is the best place to be.

All my live it impresses me when I meet people who love their home town so much that no matter where they go in the world, they know they will eventually come back home. I never had that feeling to the place I spent my childhood. It was beautiful for sure, but I know for a fact that I will never go back there. On the other hand I have learned that home can also be in one self. If you are happy and content with yourself and you know who you are, you are basically home everywhere you go.
Nevertheless, I think we all search for that place and person that we can call home. For some it is where they grew up for some it is a new place and for some it is a person. More importantly it is the ride that counts and that makes us appreciate “home”. Without the ride we wouldn’t know what we miss, love or want.

The stories of those guys reminded me on my ride and how grateful I am for being able to do this. Little by little I know more what it is I want for my home!

I spent a memorable time there. Meet amazing people, learned a lot about my self and surfed for the first time a 6ft short bord.
Thank you Pangandaran!

Beautiful wave in Pangandaran


Little Cimaja

Cimaja is a little village 30 minutes outside of Pelabuhan Ratu right at the beach. It is quite small and the people are very friendly. They welcome you with everything they have. Almost the whole village felt like it was a big family. Everyone knows everyone and of course everything about everyone!

The first morning I went straight to the food market in Pelabuhan Ratu with Ben, whom I met at Leo’s little paradise. It was raining so once we arrived there at the market we walked ankle-deep through mud along all sort of things. From clothes to shoes and finally to my fruits. I was longing for this the whole time ever since I arrived. I have heard so many of my friends talk about the fruits in Asia and how different they are. I wanted to walk through the whole market and we came across the most interesting food I have ever seen. The way they preserve the fish was incredible. They put it in a lot of salt to preserve it and never before have I seen so much tofu. There were these chillies everywhere and I was allowed to try one. Knowing a little bit that they are very spicy I thought I just go for it and took a bite. Wow, not only did I think my mouth was burning but I couldn’t stop crying. So there I was laughing at crying at the same time. Of course all the locals at the market had a good laugh about the whole situation.

I wanted to buy so many different fruits just to try them, but I could never eat all of them, so I thought I bring some to the people at the hostel and share them. Who doesn’t like fruit, right? After bargaining down the prizes with Ben who speaks Indonesian we enjoyed our fruity breakfast back at the hostel. My friends were right, I have never tasted such a good mango and pineapple before. We enjoyed fresh coconut and dragon fruit, watermelon and matakucing – it was wonderful.

Ready and energized, we went to the beach and I had my first try at surfing. Since I windsurf and snowboard I thought I must get the hang of this pretty quickly, but once in the water I realized it is quite different. I am really ambitious when it comes to sports I won’t stop until I can do it. The feeling I had when I stood up on my first wave that day was incredible. There are no words to describe this feeling! I was hocked immediately. From that moment on I knew this is what I want to do everyday and become better and better. So the next day I was up at six am, ready to go see how the surf was. The locals were amazing, giving me tips and kept shouting: “Now, this one – go, go, go!” So, day by day, I could tell I was improving and the feeling kept getting better. But I wanted more. I didn’t care how much my board rashes that I meanwhile got on my legs and chest, were hurting. The bare feeling of freedom on that board and the absolute peace I felt in the water, were much stronger than the pain.

I believe I never had a feeling like this before in a sport and I was always very sporty. Already back in high school, I went to a sports school and the passion for sports is not new to me at all. Still, I reached a totally different level with surfing. I want to get up at 5.30 in the morning for it and I already missed the feeling that one day I was back in the bus to continue my travels.

A few days later a French couple joined us in the hostel and Vincent, what a coincidence, happened to be a surf instructor in France. I took my chance and asked him if he could give me later a few tips and therefore could improve my surfing. He wanted to go in first him self and then he would give me some tips. I wasn’t going to wait and went in with him straight to the big waves. He was quite surprised after I told him that it was my third day and said: “One thing is very good, you are not scared of going in to the big waves.”
I didn’t even realize it, all I did was I followed the locals. I kept watching them how they did everything, started to talk to them and simply believed they must know where it is good. Was my thinking naive? Was I without caution? No, I don’t believe so. I gave them my trust and they felt it. They always watched if I was doing O.K. and I felt safe.
That day I had a few acid drops (When you take off on a wave and have the bottom suddenly fall out as you free fall down the face), but I went back out every time. Vincent gave me the tip to go practice in the white swell. If I can manage to get up there, it would help me to get a better balance and control in the wave.
Immediately I went closer to the beach and I literally wouldn’t leave the water until I had it down! I just kept doing it over and over and wouldn’t give up. Eventually I got the hang of it and started to feel the movement.

That day a wind suddenly came up and the waves started to be flat. No chance you could surf. I found my self at the beach with no book no paper to write on – nothing! And for the first time I realized that I had a big problem with just being there and doing nothing. I was talking about this in my first post, that I wanted to go to Bali, learn how to surf, meditate and do nothing – just be. Well it turned out I wasn’t so good at the “just be” part!

I sat at the beach looked out in to the sea and could feel how my brain started to run in high motion. What was that? Why could I meditate and get to a state of not thinking and being absolutely in the moment but not while sitting at the beach? Did it have something to do with the fact that meditating is also doing something?
I believe that it is a something very healthy when you can manage to come down and just be in the moment. It is important to give your brain and body a break so you can recapture your energy.
The reason I think many people struggle with this is, because if you keep being in action and doing something you don’t have to confront yourself with certain feelings and thoughts.
I also found out that many of these backpackers don’t have that tranquillity. Even if you put in a day of relaxation and you “chill” there are always other people around. It is harder that one can imagine to end up alone and really be with yourself. There is always something happening and you always meet someone new. Plus most of them don’t travel alone. But may be not all of them have that desire like me to come closer to your self and really get to know who you are. Which is absolutely reasonable too.

I was still looking out in the sea and thought about my journey. I am extremely thankful for what I have been able to experience so far. It was full of excitement and new things that I forgot a little about what was missing in my life in London and why I went on this journey. On the right hand side was a couple in the water taking a swim. They were adorable how they forgot everything around them. The share amount of love between them was blowing in my direction and therefore evoke the feeling of love inside of me. It has been a long time that I felt that way and was able to share it with a special someone. I had to smile and while watching them and it made me think of one of my favourite quotes:

“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you desire, and at last you create what you will.”
George Bernard Shaw – Playwright

I absolutely live after this and I believe it works. I imagined my self on this trip far before I thought that I actually will be able to do it. But every day while meditating, at work, in the tube or in the shower, I would imagine my self in Bali. Sometimes still can’t believe that I am actually on my way there right now.

Suddenly a voice behind me took me out of my thoughts. Rudi, or Walet as the locals call him, asked me if I am interested in going to the hot springs. Of course I was! I read about them before and wanted to go see them anyway. Quickly I hoped on the back of his motorbike and off we drove up the hill to the hot springs.
Directly from the lava underneath the ground comes hot water up in the air and drizzles down in the little river that is cold. The perfect spa session in pure nature right in front of me! Amazed by what I saw I walked behind Walet in the river and stood underneath the hot water. That was perfect after the surf this morning. I could feel how my skin and my muscles enjoyed the hot water. The locals take a lava stone from the river and rub their skin with it. Your dead skin gets rubbed off and it becomes super soft.
We laughed and talked with a mixture of English and Indonesian till our hands and feet looked like “grandma-skin”. It was the perfect day.

Another moment that I will keep dearly in my heart from Ciamja was, when I was on my way with Ben and Peter to sunset beach. They wanted to stop to have some soup. At a small place right next to the road we made a quick stop. Suddenly there were all these school girls around the age of 16 on motorbikes giggling and looking at us. Finally they came over and with all their courage they asked us if they could interview us for a school project. We were happy to help them in any way.
The group leader (at least that is what I sensed) kept apologizing for her English. And when I told her that her English perfect and she is doing a fabulous job she blushed and hid with a big smile behind her hand.
They asked us all sorts of questions about where we were from, what we are doing here and what we think of Cimaja and Indonesia. They also asked us what our profession is and Peter responded and said: “ I am a medical student.” They only understood student and nodded with their heads, so I quickly jumped in and said that he is a doctor. And there they was their big “Awww’s” and impressed eyes.
It was my turn and I told them that I am an actress and a writer. Risa, the leader, couldn’t believe what she heard and kept asking me if I am an actress and I kept saying yes. Once she translated it to her friends, they all started to laugh, jump around and scream as if I was someone known. For them this was a big deal and the girl immediately wanted to know everything about me. Moved by their reaction I asked Risa what she wants to become one day and she told us that she wants to be a teacher. I told her that this is a very good and important profession and she was thrilled to hear that. The last question was what is you most memorable moment in Cimaja and we all said: “This interview!”
After our short photo session we hoped in the next ankot to sunset beach. We were talking in the bus about the girls and how wonderful it is to see that a teacher here encourages their students to practise English and be courageous and interact with other people.
I only learned later that it is not obvious that every child can go to school here. The government won’t change that on purpose and I think it is so sad to see that a change in that matter will still take many years!

I had such an amazing time in Cimaja that I decided to stay one more night and will enjoy the surf the next day.
For my last evening I went with young Mr. E (That is how he calls him self because it is more simple, he said.), a local from Cimaja, to get some traditional food. I was in the mood for fish and he took me to a cute little place where they literally fished the fish out of the water killed it and grilled it! I would say it doesn’t get much fresher than that!

Cimaja is a must in my opinion if you travel through West Java. It’s charm will take you in immediately.
A place of tranquility and fun with locals – a place that I can only recommend!

School girls who interviewed Peter, Ben and me


Jakarta – Bogor – Pelbuhan Ratu – Cimaja

It was a bit before noon when I finally left the hostel and made my way to the train station. It was warm, humid and all the motorbikes on the street gave the city a sound to it as if it was a huge “honeybee farm”.

At the train station I decided to buy an economic train ticket not because I wanted to spend less money but because I wanted to travel like everyone else. So I thought! As I was waiting on the platform I quickly had to realize that there is no chance I could understand which train is the one I am supposed to take. I turned around and asked the women next to me if she speaks English. With a very big smile she answered with a no! I took out my Lonely Planet and went all the way in the back to the very small phrasebook part. I mumbled a few broken Indonesian words: “Di mana kereta api Bogor? Jam berapa berangat?” The face of that woman lid up and she started to talk as if I understood every word. Not only Mary did, but also the man sitting next to her started to jump in and took great pleasure in talking to me. I tried to follow and flipped through the book as quickly as I could. Finally I got at least that the trains here don’t have different wagons with the different class it is an entire train that defines the class separation. Business class is faster and has air condition, plus the doors close. While on the other hand an economic class train has no air condition and the people sit and stand everywhere plus on top of each other and there are no doors.
Mary pointed to the train that was like mine for another direction and said: This is you, you bought an economic class thicket. Are you sure you want to go on this train?
I looked at the train, then back at her and then back at the train and mumbled out a very vague, yeah!
Another business class train to Bogor arrived, by now it was the second and I couldn’t go on it. Mary got up because she had a Business class thicket, waved me goodbye and left with the train. As I watched the train disappear I realized that Mary is like everyone else here and despite me on the train to Bogor. I ran downstairs back to the thicket office and asked if I can change my thicket back. The man behind the window started to laugh when he saw me and handed me quickly the money back I spent and gave me a business class thicket, which I gladly paid. I ran back up and there it was my train to Bogor. I was finally after one hour and a half on the train.

In the train I met Buriman, a cook who works 3 days a week in Bogor. So far I recognized that Indonesian people are very open and want to get to know you. He asked me the same questions I get asked all the time when I meet somebody here. Where are you from? Are you traveling alone? Are you married? I told him I am traveling alone and because I didn’t want to get back in to the conversation of why I am not married I invented a husband. I came up with a whole story. Where he is and what he works and why we are not together on this journey. I did feel a bit bad but I couldn’t bare that look again as if I am damaged goods or something. After that story he was pleased and told me he would make sure I would get to the bus station in Bogor so no one would rip me off with the ticket. I was really happy for his help and I quickly followed his lead once we arrived. We jumped in one of these ankot buses. They are quite small and always have one direction. So you can hop on and then once you want to get off you just tell the driver, pay him and jump out. I really like that system, how practical is that!
In the ankot Buriman asked me if I had lunch or if I was thirsty. I could use something to drink, I thought. A bit worried to say yes I trusted my cut and said: “Yes why not. I am very thirsty!” He smiled stopped and paid the bus and we jumped out. At the restaurant he offered me a coke and I drunk it as if I passed the Sahara. Soon we went our way, with his friend joining us because apparently he knew more about the buses to Pelabuhan Ratu. Once we left to the next ankot we walked towards a bus station that looked rather shady. I saw nowhere even one backpacker or tourist. But I wanted to get to Cimaja and so I went along with my two new friends. Finally we found the Bus and there was also Andrew who was in charge of the bus. A very skinny local who had an extremely long and strange nail on his left pinkie. Buriman made sure I had not to pay too much and that Andrew would make sure I get to the right bus to get to Cimaja in Pelabuhan Ratu. I thought it was so adorable how they took care of me I couldn’t believe it. After a quick photo session, they left and I went on the bus. Turned out I was the only person on that bus so far. So I waited a while to see if there are more people coming or if we would leave soon. After a while finally some people came and I asked someone when the bus would leave. They answered with the head tipping to the side: “In have an hour.” OK, I thought, that is perfect. After a have an hour we didn’t leave and so I asked again. “In have an hour”, said Andrew. I didn’t say anything and thought you can’t change it Sarah you might as well go with the flow. Another have an hour later we still haven’t left and once I asked again he said: “We are just waiting till the bus is full!” Fantastic! I feared to be sitting at this bus station till the next day. But out of the blue suddenly people ran in that bus and we were ready to leave!

The drive was nothing like I expected. The roads were so small and so terrible. Sometimes the wholes were so deep I flew through the whole bus. But here and there suddenly someone jumped on the bus and sold fruits or something to drink and then jumped back out. That was so great even the food was coming to you! It started to rain and the ride was long and slow due to traffic.

I had enough time to look out the window and let my thoughts go. Suddenly I had to think of John and how crazy this whole thing was. I realized that I literally took a plane and a train to go see a man I barely know to spend with him an evening!! That is not nothing I would say!
It was getting dark outside and I started to feel a bit lost in the middle of nowhere in West Java in that bus, in which no one really spoke my language.
What was I actually expecting from John? Was I fooling my self by pure romanticism that this was supposed to evoke a reaction out of him?

There it was my first movie moment that I was talking about in the beginning and not like in a big picture but rather very much like ordinary life it is not as romantic or dramatic. There is no one running across the big screen because he just had an epiphany moment when he realised that he actually does like you.
Fact is when I met John I was attracted to his energy. It was so positive and full of life. The way he talked about his travels and surfing involved so much passion, that I wanted to find more out about it my self. In a way I guess, I should thank him. Because I could have also been jealous and negative about the whole thing since I was working almost everyday in rainy London. It pushed me in a way and here I am today traveling alone through Indonesia, getting to know an entire new culture, country and beautiful people. I am finally surfing and writing. Happier than ever I’m doing everything I love.
So I guess I don’t have to expect anything from John. I want to thank him. Even if I will never see him again, and I hope that wont happen, I will never forget him.

Two month before I left London I changed something essential in my life. My attitude! I decided to be happy. This may sound silly and strange but it literally was that simple. The grey, cold and rainy London made me see the things more deconstructing than they were. Finally I got so sick of my own feelings, that I decided: “Enough with this I want to be happy!I want to do what makes me happy. I want to be with people who inspire me, who think positive like me. I want to earn my money through work that I love.”
I started to listen to upbeat music that put me in a sunny, shiny and happy mood. And it worked!
If you would have asked me 5 month ago if I think I would be here in Indonesia, I would have probably said no. Everyday I learn new things about my self. Like for example that I can be patient. I learned that through the bus rides here in Indo. You never really know how long they are going to be and take once you are on them and since I don’t have to be anywhere at a specific time I learned to just – sit!
It can happen that your thoughts wander off in to the negative when you sit in a bus for 12 hours.And I think that is absolutely O.K. The one thing I learned in these moment was, do I want them or not!

No, I don’t know what John feels and if it evoked anything. In the end if we are meant to meet again we will. It would be absolutely fantastic, but until then all I can do is trust, believe and be patient!

Those three words: Trust, believe and patience, are big words that we sometimes underestimate. I think if you can manage to really truly live them in everything in your life, you will eventually get what you want. You must only know what you want!

Finally in Pelbuhan Ratu I was lucky enough that Andrew told his driver that they were going to drop me off directly at my hostel in Cimaja. Thankful that he held his word I sat in the front with them and they started to smoke. Never in my life have I seen people smoke so much like the Indonesian men.
Twenty minutes later we reached Leo’s little paradise and I was finally in Cimaja.

Sunset at Sunset Beach in Cimaja


Pipit – 4.6.2013

I met Pipit in the plane to Jakarta. Only at the end we started talking and he seemed very nice and welcoming. As I passed immigration and made my way out there he was again asking me where I am going. I told him I am looking for the bus to Gambir. It took him not even a second and he offered me to help me to find my bus. Gladly I accepted his help. As we were walking towards the bus station we started talking and he told me that he is on vacation here in Jakarta.

Pipit was born and raised in Jakarta and is working at the moment in Helsinki in a hotel. The reason for that is, that he makes approximately $1000 a month in Helsinki, while he would only earn $150 a month here in Jakarta. I was shocked by the number, thinking that $150 would not get me very far in England. He told me that he is very excited to go home because he will finally see his baby son again. After he was born he soon left for work to Helsinki to be able to support his family better. Now his son is more than one year old and has not seen his father since he was born.

Of course he asked me if I am married and I had to say no. He was a little surprised but I quickly changed the focus through asking since when he was married. Then he started to tell me how that works here in Jakarta: You meet a girl, you like her, you start to date her, then you bring her home and if your parents like her and her parents like you, you get married. And all that happens within one month!! Wow, I couldn’t believe it! Of course this is a completely different culture but nevertheless one month was unbelievable for me! I was very moved by his story. I had to think about if a man in England or lets say Switzerland would even consider going so far away for his family so they have a better life! Or even commit in that way. I wasn’t sure…
Pipit waited with me till my bus arrived. He gave me his number and email and said if I ever need something in Jakarta I should call him or his family.

In the huge traffic jam I thought about Pipit and my very first moment in Indonesia. What a warm and lovely welcome. I would say this was the perfect start!

Once I arrived in Gambir I wanted to hire one of these motorbikes but then these two Dutch guys wanted to share a cab, which of course was a lot cheaper, and so we hoped in the cab and drove towards my hostel.

The hostel is run by two twin sisters with their husbands, whom are from England and Ireland. Very quickly I felt a bit back in London. It was a funny feeling sitting with them on the rooftop drinking a Indonesian beer and making jokes while looking at the skyline from Jakarta.
But before that I went across the street, which is an adventure for it’s self, and tried for the first time in my life authentic Indonesian Bakmie Goreng. I love this food, the people and the vibe.

On the rooftop we were people from all around the world. I was amazed by how quickly you built a connection whilst traveling alone. The next day I almost considered staying a night more because I had such a great start. But I wanted to get to the beach and therefore towards Cimaja!


Indonesia here I come

I have decided what my next big destination will be – Indonesia!

I did figure out where I want to go next through one of my meditations sessions.
Once I came out of it I really loved the idea of flying to Jakarta and travel inland and along the coast to Bali! I got really excited about this journey but I also thought about going towards John. I caught my self loosing my confidence about going towards France first.
I did find my balance through the last months and feared, that if I go there I might loose it again?!

Putting away that thought, I hopped on the train early in the morning towards Zurich.

I worked in Zurich for three days. Like I said in my first post, I want to work along my journey also things I have never done before. In these three days I was supposed to work in promotion, and I have done that many times before, but on the second day something with the giveaways went wrong and suddenly I had to jump in as a personal shopper for Chinese customers at this house of brands that I was working at. So there I was with these Chinese Ladies trying to make my sudden new job right, as I was confronted with cultural differences.
I had to get used to the fact that they are treating employees very different and not very respectful. I have heard of this before but I didn’t want to believe that all of them are like this. So I decided to be respectful and tried to show them that we are equals. As I lost most of my clients in this big shopping center, I ended up with one woman alone. In the beginning she literally made me run from one rack to the other. And I cursed Ralph Lauren for not making smaller skirts! I got a bit frustrated with the whole situation and still I didn’t want to believe that this is going to end like this. So I started to ask her all kinds of questions about her travels and her plans. As she started to talk about it she became a lot softer. I even believe that she wasn’t aware of what was happening, but on our way to the wine store we were two women talking together normally and friendly. I tried to tell her something about wine ( of which I have not that much knowledge) and we talked so much that I forgot to tell the cashier that she has a 15% discount. The whole thing ended in me running around the whole building to get her money back and be fast enough so she wouldn’t miss her connecting train.
Sweaty and out of breath I didn’t mind, because she proved to me that she left her box that she was put in.
I really appreciated this new experience and it shows me that we all have this potential of change.

Later I went to my friend Nyima’s house. I stayed with her during this time and she is one of the warmest and most giving hosts I have encountered in my life! One of my dearest friends, Martina, joined us for dinner and over fish, asparagus and salad we spent a lovely evening together talking about life and traveling.

Nyima has been traveling alone as well and this at a much younger age than me. She has not only made a similar experience but she’s awesome at something I am not at all – planing!!
On the first night at her house I slightly became anxious because I had no clue were I would go first once I will arrive in Jakarta. Reading a bit about Jakarta it is not the most beautiful city that you want to spend too much time in. I was hoping that Nyima would give me some tips and may be helping me out with planing the start a bit.
She must have read my mind or sensed my wish, because it didn’t take her long to offer me her help. I was so grateful and could tell that she got excited because she loves doing this.

Planing arrival in Jakarta Planing arrival in Jakarta

I talked to Nyima about my decision of not going towards France first. She was really surprised, because she knew how much I wanted to do that in the first place. I told her about my fear of loosing my balance, and she mentioned to me a passage from an unknown other:

To let go isn’t to forget, not to think about, or ignore. It doesn’t
leave feelings of anger, jealousy, or regret. Letting go isn’t about
winning or losing. It’s not about pride and it’s not about how you
appear, and it’s not obsessing or dwelling on the past. Letting go
isn’t blocking memories or thinking sad thoughts, and it doesn’t leave
emptiness, hurt, or sadness. It’s not about giving in or giving up.
Letting go isn’t about loss and it’s not about defeat. To let go is
to cherish the memories, but to overcome and move on. It is having
an open mind and confidence in the future. Letting go is learning
and experiencing and growing. To let go is to be thankful for the
experiences that made you laugh, made you cry, and made you grow.
It’s about all that you have, all that you had, and all that you will
soon gain. Letting go is having the courage to accept change,
and the strength to keep moving. Letting go is growing up. It is
realizing that the heart can sometimes be the most potent remedy.
To let go is to open a door, and to clear a path and set yourself free.

I thought about it and came to the conclusion that my fear of loosing my balance is again my fear of loosing control. This journey is supposed to be about listening to my heart and doing what feels right in that moment.
I realized I had to let go.
I didn’t have to dig deep to know that I do want to see him before I go to Indonesia. All the reasons I gave my self for not going were far more excuses.
Life is too short to wait – I picked up my phone and asked him where he will be on the following Thursday!
And it looks like I might be going for a short trip to France. We’ll see…I have one week left till I leave for Indonesia and I am excited to see what will happen till then!

As I reached Thun on my way back from Zurich I couldn’t believe my eyes. It is the end of May, officially summer, and there I looked out the window and saw snow on the hills over Thun!
But if you ever go to Thun, I would recommend it in the “normal” summer, it is a lovely town with lots of “charm” and a beautiful lake with an amazing view over the mountain range.

Thun


19 – 5 – 2013 Off to Paris – Bern

As I’m sitting in the TGV and looking out the window I start to think about my last week in London. The whole week was just beautiful. I must say as the flowers slowly (even if it is a bit late for my taste) start to peek out of the ground with their beauty, London became more and more exciting. You find a lot more markets outside with fresh food. Yesterday I even came a cross a baker who sold fresh “Challa” (which is a Jewish bread)! It looked so yummy, and I love fresh Challa, that I bought a big one for everyone at the house that I was staying at.

It got finally a bit warmer and cycling becomes more fun. It felt like the whole city woke up from the “winter-sleep”.

I think about my final audition at RADA and how glad I am that I didn’t chicken out! It was a great experience and I haven’t sweated so much in a long time. The next day I was sore on every inch on my body. It reminded me why I love my profession so much. The theater does simply have something magical!
Somewhere on the way this magic just disappeared a bit and for that I also want to go on this journey. I will know in June if I got in or not, and till then I have time to find out what I would do if I get in. In a way it made me think of when I started with my studies thirteen years ago in Paris. I am grateful for it, because it reminded me of that person who had something to say. Why I wanted to work in the theater. For me it was never about becoming a famous actress, but through the years it became a “job” and society puts that believe on you that you have to move up that ladder otherwise you failed. The pressure from outside, this expectation that I have to “make it” robed my creativity and killed that dream of that girl who had something to say. I let others take the magic away. That day I found a spark!

How I said goodbye to my dear friend Ikuyo, whom I miss already. As she said goodbye to me she started to tear up and of course as a result of that, so did I. In that moment I finally realized what I am about to do and I got suddenly scared like hell. I kept thinking; What am I doing? I have not thought this through! Where am I going? I know that I will go eventually to Bali, but I have not even thought that through and right there I realized that I am leaving for the first time my comfort zone.

It is an interesting thing this comfort zone. Even when we think we are leaving it, we trick our self’s and we keep sailing in known waters. To really go out in to the blue is a different feeling. Of course this is for everyone something else. As for me, this is it! I have never just left without a plan. As liberating as it is, it is very scary! You could say I always was in control of everything I would do. Giving up that control suddenly opens up all these possibilities. Suddenly life seems to be full of different colors and I can paint my picture the way I want and feel. I am so grateful for that I keep getting in touch with my self and start to listen to what I want and really feel.

The closer the train gets to Switzerland the more I feel that I don’t want to stay there long. I am so happy to see my mother, family and friends but it also represents one part of that comfort zone and I do not want to fall back in to it.

As much as I love my family and my friends I also believe that sometimes you have to cut yourself loose from them so you can find your true self and find out what YOU want.
Some people don’t understand why I am living my life the way I am. I have no security or a career plan. I am single and only intend on changing this for the right person. If people would force their opinion about “how or what I should be doing” on me, I would many times end up making decisions that would not really make me happy, but I would think that way they are happy with me! If I please them they will be satisfied, happy, shut up and love me! I had to turn 29 to finally wake up and realize that it is my life and I only have that one! So why waste my time pleasing everyone else but me? I finally understood that I have to love myself first!
Yes, there will be people who will not like what I do or wont understand it and try to talk me in to making safe and well thought through decisions. But I have to thank Ikuyo for giving me one of the best advises in a long time. She said every time someone would not shut up and trying to talk me in to thinking this is a bad idea even though I know this is what I want to do I should say: “I am really grateful you care so much but I will still do this!”
What an amazing sentence! It incorporates not only gratitude but you also state again that you stay true to yourself.

I look out the window and see large fields of rapeseed flowers. The bright yellow is popping out of the green. It looks vivid and full of life. With a smile on my face I am ready to start this journey!

Rapeseed Fields


I sold my guitar….

Yesterday I went to Denmark street and sold my guitar. My beautiful acoustic Washburn!

I already went the day before and as I was walking in the rain (This has become a normal condition for me here in London, and still not loving it!), I kept walking circles around that shop where I was going to sell my guitar. And as I was walking I kept coming up with new reasons why I shouldn’t sell my guitar. The longer I took the more reasonable they seemed. Finally I went in to the shop and asked if they want to buy my guitar. Now the funny thing is, I went in to sell my guitar, but the first thing I said was: “I don’t really want to sell my guitar!” It turned out that they had now cash and I needed to come back the next day. So I walked out and kept walking. I rented one of these Barclays bikes and went home. As I was riding home it dawned on me that this is exactly my problem! I want to do something but what I say is something completely different. The actions contradict each other and then we are surprised by the unpleasant outcome. But how should the result be what we want, if we don’t do what we want? Or we fool our self in believing that this is what we want.

Well me personally, I think we often confuse the “want” with “should”! And so there I was on the bike realizing this, and I asked my self do I want to sell my guitar or should I sell my guitar because I can use the money? Of course I can use the money but is this why I am doing it, or can I go on my journey without the money I will get for my guitar?
And the answer is – yes, I will go on this journey anyway!

I want to sell it because I want someone else to enjoy my guitar because I don’t want to take it on my trip!

As soon as I said it out loud and truthfully meant it, all these excuses vanished. The next day I took the bike again and went straight to the shop. I was grateful for the offer that they made me and I left with a smile.

As simply as this realisation with my guitar I think that this is one of the main issues in our society. We live in a generation that lives for the moment. We are addicted to living it to its highest potential. And still we manage to be so unhappy! Now why is that? I believe it is because we are not honest to our self’s! If we would really ask what we want and then also do the things to get want we want, no matter how scary it is, no matter how silly we might look, we would be a lot more content with who we are and therefore even more happy!

I really enjoyed my ride back home. And I started to see things I wasn’t aware. London is a great city and absolutely worth traveling to! If you do, rent one of these bikes.
London is a lot smaller when you go by bike and you can explore it a lot more independently. There are many parks that are so lovely. You can make a stop and eat an ice cream from one of these ice cream buses or you can go through the busiest street and people seem to be totally ok with you riding on a bike. Which I think, is a great attitude from the Londoners.

Here a picture of the famous St. Pauls Cathedral that I passed on my way back.

St. Pauls Cathedral London


First ticket booked!

I decided to do it! I gave my one week notice last week and bought a one way ticket to the first destination.

On the 19th of May I will be jumping on a train from London to Paris and from Paris to Bern.

I promised my mother I will come fix her terrace first, since she of course came up with all sorts of things that need help around the house so I will stop at hers first. I love my mother with all of my heart and absolutely understand where she is coming from. And I can’t wait to finally hug her again!

As for my audition at RADA – I have 3 more days to study and get rid of my horrible flu that I caught. At the moment I have a voice that is the deeper version of Brigitte Bardot! So let’s drink some lavender tea and hope that it will stop raining for a change.

The closer my leaving date comes the more scared I get. But I guess it is a good thing to be scared a little. I do have to admit that there are moments where I am asking my self: “What are you doing Sarah?” But then I have suddenly a smile on my face and my answer is always the same; “I am going on a journey.” Every time it calms me down because it doesn’t imply in any way how this is supposed to be turning out. I am giving my self the liberty of living in the moment. Scary? – Yes! Exciting? – Absolutely!
I have heard from quite a lot of people in the last week that they wish they could do something like this too. Every time I said; “You can!” I hope that may be this blog can inspire some people to do what they want to do. No matter how scary it is or how unrealistic. And that they get inspired like I did when I hear from people who did something like this.

I wrote to John that I will be soon starting my journey and that I have been thinking about him and thought about what could be. So I told him that I have been thinking about going towards his direction first. If he wants to spend some time with me and see what this could be and if not, he could just tell me. I don’t mind. The response was surprising to me because a little part in me thought that he might think I am a bit crazy. But instead he said that it would be great to see me again. It is just a bit tricky because he will be working on a Yacht soon and therefore not always at the same place.
For a whole week I was on a high from my decision and that response. But as always that doesn’t last forever. And as soon as there was no response after a second message I started to question my whole idea. “What am I doing?” – “I am going on a journey!” And there it was again, that smile on my face and in my heart. I am doing this for me and not for anyone else. So what could I loose? Nothing!
I don’t know why I know it, but I am pretty sure I will see him again soon. And till then I will enjoy my journey with all that comes with it.


Let’s start…1st of May…

We all love them. Those movies where we sit and say “ I wish this would happen to me in real life” or “I wish I had the cuts to do that”! But in real life we are too scared of the unknown outcome.

Imagine something simple like, you met without any expectations someone on a breezy night, it was chilly and you were talking with your friends over a drink outside a bar. Suddenly this person stands next to you out of the blue, the moment where you catch each others attention is immediate and you start talking. You talk, talk and keep talking till you realize that most of your friends are leaving. You spend an amazing night with this person and the next day he has to take the next plane and he is gone.

Would you fly across the globe to go see this person just because you want to see him again? Get to know him and find out what this is? Even though you barely know each other, you felt this connection that is worth giving it a shot?
No, you wouldn’t! Because, in real life, we think to quickly about the consequences, how stupid you could look or you could get rejected. He could literally think that you are a stalker or just insane for doing something like this. The chances that he could think this is romantic or courageous and it could actually be that he would be impressed and blown away, does not really cross your mind. We watch those actions in movies. That’s why there are film scripts where we write all our hopes and wishes down and we make actors act them out!

So – I thought about doing exactly those things in real life and write about it while I do them. I will see where it will take me and what comes out of it.

But to make you understand how I came to this point let me back up a little bit before I go on this journey!

I am an actress and came to London a bit more than 3 month ago to pursue my career and get it to the next level. One of the mile stones was to get in to RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts) and get my Masters in Theater Lab. Ever since I started studying Theater in Paris, which is now 13 years ago, I wanted to go to a school like RADA. All I could think of was that if I make it there I would be a respected actress.

The funny part is, now that I am here and it is right in front of me and seems so possible I start to question if this is really what I want in my life?

It all started about a year and a half ago when my ex-boyfriend of more than six years suddenly decided he had no longer feelings for me. (And I am not even exaggerating) I myself was at the time in a national Theater tour in Switzerland and performed five to six times a week all over Switzerland. I had no time to fall apart because I simply needed to function. But I have to say that the Theater saved me during this time. For the next six month I toured with this production and earned really good money.
And then it quietly started, this process of questioning: “Is this really what I want?”. As long as I can think back, I wanted to become an actress, and I did. I studied, I worked and I put up with the whole hustle of this industry. I studied and worked in France, Switzerland, Spain, New York, LA, Germany and now London. Jobs kept coming in after this tour, and when I finally reached that moment 4 month ago, and I said “I am moving to London”, no one really could understand why I would do that at this point in my career. Because it was just about to start. But for me there was something missing.

Of course I got to hear a lot of comments about that this is normal at this age. When you are between 28 and 32 you go through a big transition in your life. I didn’t really care about all these things but I have to admit that, I my self could feel that there was something that simmered deep down in myself. I just couldn’t figure out what it was. This urge to live my life and to just leave! Even though I left home when I was 15 years old and ever since then I basically traveled from one city to another and studied and worked there. But it was different!
So, I decided to come to London within 3 days. I checked out RADA fell in love with this course and applied for the MA. Moved with one suitcase to London in the month of February, which I sincerely don’t recommend to any new bees to this city, because it is one cold, dark and rainy metro-pole. Which of course is still a fantastic city to live in!
The first week was almost not believable. Everything seemed to work out too well. I even got an agent who wanted to bring me in and already submitted me for a part in my first week here. “Strange” – I thought! “This can’t be true.” And well it was and it wasn’t. She is still writing me every week that she does want to bring me in, but she still hasn’t!

And then something strange happened. My 29th Birthday was around the corner and I started to reflect on my life. The result of that was that I had a major crisis. I said to my self: Bravo Sarah you are soon 29, you work in a bar (another cliche), your career is going absolutely south, you don’t really have an apartment, you have no money, no partner, no children …… and then my much younger flatmate Jendrek from Poland made me realize what I did up to this moment in my life. And suddenly I became really grateful for my life and for all the experiences I was able to make so far.
I restarted meditating everyday like I used to a couple of years ago, and more and more I came at peace with my self and the fact that I am going to be 29. I decided to be the positive person again that I used to be. And I changed the way of looking at things and started to like working at the bar again and just became really grateful for all that was going on in my life.
The meditating had one side effect. It brought me the first time in my life closer to my self so that I asked in an honest way “ What do you want”! And my answer was ; “I want to go to Bali”!

My birthday was beautiful and the next day I was happier than ever before. I was content with my self. And for the first time I realized that I don’t have the need to prove to anyone what I can achieve or do. I simply didn’t care. I felt so good – I was just happy!

And there it is. I came to London 3 Month ago with the strong believe that I have to get my career to the next level. I have to get somewhere in life. It took me more or less a year and a half to get over my last relationship and exactly four years till I finally came back to life after the death of my father.
Now that I got to the last stage and I have exactly 11 days left till my final big Audition at RADA. I suddenly am not so sure anymore if I want to do it – even if I get in!

What I really want to do is to travel and see the world. Live the moment and allow my self for the first time to just be! With no expectations!
I think I call that definitely the next level! It’s just a matter of defining that level!!

I have exactly 11 days, because I will take this exam and then – the world will be my oyster! I have not decided what exactly will happen after that day. But for now I know that I will have a place to crash exactly till then.

So what if I am gonna drop off my stuff at my mother’s place in Switzerland pack my backpack and with only very little money in my bank account I decide the next destination?

And what if my first destination is going in the direction of John?

Who is John? Well John is that movie moment. Four days before my birthday I met him here in London and no matter what it is or what it will be, there is something about him that makes me want to see him again and find out who he is. May be he is the trigger I need, to do this, and may be we will become good friends or may be this will be a lot more!

Then from there finally learn really how to surf. Since this is one of the biggest things I put aside all these years!
There are many things I have never done and would love to learn or have the privilege to experience. I have for example never sailed in my life before and I imagine it to be magical. I always wanted to work in a orphanage for children and help to improve their possibilities in life.

Now I have the time to explore all these things. I have not made a plan but I do know that I eventually want to go to Bali, Australia and New Zealand.
And who knows may be there are going to be less destinations and may be more. It doesn’t matter.

I will leave and go meditate and just leave with no plan for the first time in my life.


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