Tag Archives: little paradise

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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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


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