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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

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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


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


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