Women of the world: Made

A week or two ago I interviewed a woman who runs a small warung just a short 30 second walk down the road from where I live. Her name is Made Sriasih and she is one of the kindest Indonesian women I have met during my time here in Nyuh Kuning.

I wanted to interview her because I am interested in how villages work in regards to ceremonies and leaders. When I asked my partner Kadek about interviewing her he said that it would be a good idea because I could learn a lot from her since she is the wife of the leader here in Nyuh Kuning.

I was so excited! Here I had been talking to this woman for over a month – getting juice from her everyday, waving and speaking random bits of Indonesian to make her laugh and I had absolutely no idea she helps run this village.

So five minutes later Kadek and I walked down the road and asked if I could interview her. She said yes but that my partner Kadek would have to translate because her english is not that great.

I went back the next day for two hours sitting on the porch of her warung as women from the village came and went grabbing items for offerings or various fruit/veg. In between her servicing the people of her village we were able to speak about everything from the responsibilities she has to the hospital that offers FREE healthcare to all people in Nyuh Kuning Village!

Made moved to Nyuh Kuning in 1993 when she married her husband. She has two children and married to the leader of Nyuh Kuning. I asked how long her husband has been leader of the village and she said three years. The leader is voted in by the people of the village every five years, which is how long leaders typically serve. Her husband was voted into this position because he was previously an accountant for over ten years and the people believed that he would be a good fit because of his history in accounting.

You cannot become leader of any village if you are not originally from the village. The leader position is important because they decide on everything from paving roads to ceremony agendas. When asked if she helps decide on any of these things her response was “Yes. My husband comes to me with anything that is brought up amongst the people in this village and we decide together on what the best thing to do would be.”

Kadek describes the leader and his wife as a “Power couple” and they certainly seem to be the more I watch the daily interactions of the people here.

I asked Made if the leader position could be passed down to her children and she said no. The leader can only get voted in, it never gets passed on. She laughed and said neither of her children had interest in being leader anyways.

Her children are fourteen and twenty three. She told me that things are much different now a days than they were when she was a child. Apparently it’s common for the younger generations to want all the newest smart phone and tech. However, when she was a child many children felt bad for their parents because making money was much harder. Kids were mostly outside or helping their parents with various work back then but according to Made now children know that tourism has brought new opportunity for people to make money and they are more likely to always want “more, more and more”.

Made said that Bali used to be all rice fields. Now most of the rice fields are actually gone, only a few remain. The rice fields have been replaced by villas and restaurants for tourists. There is less traditional architecture and more modern westernized structures, even in traditional balinese family houses you will see two story buildings which is not normal. Most family houses are an open concept with single rooms spread throughout the family lot.

When asked how she felt about the tourism here she said that she is happy about it. Her village is now famous and she likes meeting new people from around the world. She has two guest rooms in her family house that are usually full and it helps her improve her english. It has also increased financial security for her family and provided new business opportunities for them. Because of this she was able to open her warung right outside her family house which is now very successful after only being open for a few months.

It is here at this warung where I first met Made. Her warung is a huge deal here I believe for a few reasons, one of which is that is helps her maintain a strong presence amongst the villagers and has offered a new space for community. I see women hanging out at her warung everyday, stopping by to chat while picking up food for their family. There are a few tourists that stop by her warung for juice and fruit but mostly she services locals. When asked what inspired her to open up the warung she responded that it is her hobby. She likes to sell things and interact with her community in a different way!

She is very involved here and it makes me happy to see how much people look to her for everything from food to advice on family/village matters.

Community is very important here in Nyuh Kuning and everyone knows everyone which is one of the reasons I like living here!

I asked her if there was anything else she liked about the tourism and she said she was happy that it brought the woman from California here who founded the local hospital right down the road. This hospital opened up many jobs for the villagers and also provides free healthcare to every local who lives in Nyuh Kuning.

I was blown away when I heard this. Free healthcare is so important in any society and especially here because locals do not make very much money.

Interviewing Made was such a lovely and insightful experience. I was glad to have the opportunity to sit down with her, talk about Nyuh Kuning and get to know her a little bit more!

I asked her why she let me interview her and she said because I was nice and she likes when I come buy juice. She even told Kadek that she gives me the local price on juice because she thinks I am “good people”. This warmed my heart so much and when I left we exchanged hugs and I told her I would probably see her later that day!


(Yummy avocado juice)

I have had such an awesome time getting to know the people here.

I will be doing another interview on a woman who has built her own restaurant down the road that serves the most delicious food at the best prices!

Stay tuned for more local interviews to come!

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2016

2016

What a year!

2016 has been the beginning of what one of my favorite authors and humans to follow on instagram Janne Robinson says “Stop playing small”. My year started off with the promise that I would leave the country and break old habits. I had been on a continuous downhill of weight gain, manic depression and managing my new found diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

In March I had a massive blow out in my brain and was left with an emotional anchor tied to my ankle dragging me into the depths of my own mind. I fell in lust rather rapidly with a man named Tristan who I had so much in common with that it felt like fate.

I am a devoted believer in fate and my emotional body was so confused and unwound that I couldn’t help myself. I had a manic episode in which I exposed the gnarly side of the disorder I dealt with in front of Tristan, a client and my mom. Even though I was in another state at the time it’s hard to climb out of the hole you put yourself in when it’s basically a trench at the bottom of the ocean.

I started seeing a therapist regularly in LA and after a few months things started to get a lot better. I loved my therapist so much. Suzanne really inspired me and gave me tools to help keep me grounded in ways I never knew I could. She was my rock and an incredible support system. She saw me through the highs and the lows and always knew when I needed to come back down to earth. I am such a cloud walker, I like to live up there in the sky and float around in my own little world – away from the bullshit that reality brings at times.

In the last few months of 2014 I had signed onto a yoga retreat for October of 2015. My good friend Kayla who started a non profit called Go Light Our World invited me onto a team of 3 teachers to lead and guide students through a week of yoga, workshops and healing.

As I was going through work stress, manic stress, and just overall saddness I became constantly worried in the beginning of the year if I was good enough and if I would be in an okay mental state to guide the retreat. In the back of my mind it was always a worry, yet I still pursued it and kept planning and working on things in my classes that I wanted to implement and use during the retreat.

I started taking yoga at a place called RA in Costa Mesa where I found my girl crush Madison Canary. I began attending her classes Tuesday evenings and even called out of work sometimes so I could go to her Friday morning classes. I re discovered my own yoga practice at RA and was getting into a really good place once again.

However the way I looked at myself in the mirror some days just brought me to my knees.

In this past year I gained a lot of weight and am currently the heaviest I have ever been in my entire life. I have been learning a valuable lesson in this. Some days I feel so confident and others I feel like I am the weight of the world even though my size remains the same. I was working out and going to yoga – so why was my size the same?

Binging during the sadness… that will get you everytime.

It’s hard to understand the mental state of a depressed person. When I was down it was so hard to bring myself to yoga and bring me back to…well, me. I became constantly distraught over the littlest of things and it was a big problem. So again, I hit another swing of sadness and through it all I was working Monday – Friday from 5:30am-2pm at a vegetarian restaurant and teaching doubles in the evenings after my day shifts.

One day I received a text from my friend Kayla in regards to a vision she had of me in Bali. It was on one of my low days and it gave me hope for the future and for myself. I decided in that moment I was leaving the country and not coming back. I had this idea that once I left everything would be better.

So I signed on for the 3rd GLOW retreat that would bring me to the Philippines to cook for 16 yogis.

I was officially on board for two yoga retreats, one in October & one in November. It made sense in my mind to just leave. I had been dreaming for 3 years at that point of leaving the country and seeking home in another place that would be more beneficial to my well being. I just didn’t want to be unhappy anymore, so I made the decision to not be.

A few months later there I was not prepared at all to leave but doing so anyways. I was on the plane, sick as a dog and snotting everywhere en route to Taiwan for my first layover before arriving in Bali.

Two flights and twenty four hours later I landed in Bali. I was traveling with my friend Annie who was documenting our retreats. She had arranged a car for us and a few minutes later I found myself enroute to Bingin Beach. Two days later we checked into our Teacher Villa with the other two teachers Kayla & Cait. As we were parking our bikes and began carrying our bags inside I had a run in with Annie’s bike and got a nasty exhaust burn that apparently is quite common here. The locals here call it the Bali Tag, Kayla also got a nice burn as well. We had a nice laugh of how we were burn sisters which made the pain lessen.

To be honest it was really hard some of the days to teach with the burn as infection crept in and my left leg got swollen. Other than that though the yoga retreat was the most amazing experience of my life. It was there that I realized my dreams can come true and anything that I want in life was and is possible. We spent a week with ten amazing humans. I connected deeply with each and everyone of them. It inspired me to focus more on my next dream – a yoga retreat emphasized on women and healing. I just recently released the information on my website and social medias for the Women, Wanderlust & Yoga retreat in Ubud, Bali next May. I am insanely excited for the magic and elated to connect with more beautiful souls.

After the October retreat for Go Light Our World (the nonprofit the retreat benefited) I spent the next 4 weeks in Ubud with my best friend Dom, her boyfriend Adam and my sister Dev who came on the yoga retreat with me. Dev had made the decision when signing up for the retreat to continue her travels and stay with me in Ubud until the 27th of October!

Those four weeks were incredibly amazing and I was able to meet so many new people who became my family here abroad. I spent most of my days, adventuring to various waterfalls, beaches, temples and coffee plantations!

Early November I went off to the Philippines to cook for the second Yoga Retreat on Puerto Galera. The journey there was anything but smooth. It was two in the morning before I got my bag and made it to the place where my ride was supposed to pick me up. To my surprise my ride was a no show. So there I was at the Manila airport running around trying to figure out a way of transportation that wasn’t a taxi. My reason for not finding a taxi was because most Taxi drivers there are corrupt and will rob you once you situate yourself in their cab. I was scared and so fucking nervous for how I was going to get myself to the hotel I booked.

I asked a dozen people at the airport if they knew where I was supposed to go. I felt like a crazy person. It also did not help that two days before I left Bali a bug bit me causing an irritable, nasty, bumpy rash that covered me from head to toe.

With all that being said, I made the decision to open my google maps and see how far it would be to walk to my hotel. Good news! It was only a mile from my location.

Then my phone died.

So there I was, this crazy American girl walking out of the airport in search for her hotel at 2:30AM. I pushed my way past all the taxi drivers who were hounding me, made my way across the parking lot up some stairs and directly into the arms of some police officers. I asked if they knew which direction to go and their english was not that great so the translation was a bit confusing. One officer finally pointed in a certain direction while rolling his eyes. I felt it was best to follow that direction and made my way across the street. I walked in the dark for what seemed like ages and away from where I remembered my maps telling me to go.

I found another man who was wearing a parking garage uniform who told me to go in a different direction. I exited the parking garage and another guy asked me where I was trying to go. For some reason I felt that he must know, so I put all my faith in his response. “Just walk down this road and make your 2nd right, your hotel is there.” The road however looked like an alley in which all movies the woman usually gets robbed and taken somewhere scary with no hope of return.

I thought to myself “Okay Shannen you are close just walk fast and make the trek, you will be fine”. I walked (ran) down the road and ignored all the people staring at me and shouting things I couldn’t understand. I turned at the second right and lone behold my beautiful big hotel with bright lights was there. The doorman greeted me with a confused look and a smile, I clearly looked like I couldn’t afford the place. Oh yeah I forgot to mention that I had accidentally booked myself a sweet ass room at a swanky hotel because I miscalculated the conversion rates and paid with Philippine peso, not USD.

I checked in at the front desk and was shown to my room. Leaning my tired body against the mirrored walls I thought to myself “Eleventh floor…nice”. It felt like forever as the elevator music floated in and out of my ears. It was like the hangover movie except I wasn’t hungover, just fucking exhausted.

I finally got to my room and could barely open the door. The doorman who was showing me to my room set my bag down and told me to get some rest. I thanked him and immediately went to the bathroom. The shower knobs were confusing to me and after about five minutes of failed attempts I gave up on the shower head and just let the water run from the other bath knob. I sat on the ground and cried as the water poured over my head.

I fucking made it.

I cried until my body fatigued and I layed there in my little shower square on the cold tile while the hot water covered my body as if it was trying to blanket my sadness. I laid there for about a half hour, sometimes you just need to surrender and sit with whatever is taking over your body.

When I finally got up I put the plush robe on that was hanging in the closet and fell onto the bed. I rolled over to put my phone in the charger and immediately called my mom. She offered me kind words and so much support, all I wanted was for her to fly there and spend a few days with me before heading to the retreat. I love my mom so much and it is really hard for me to be so far away from her.

When we got off the phone it was maybe 4am. I couldn’t sleep so I turned on the TV and watched some random show until the words lulled me to sleep.

I woke up at 1pm the next morning (afternoon). I missed my free breakfast but I got some solid sleep. I went to venture out to get cream that would help heal my rash. My mission was a success and with heaps of cream, antihistamine, and 3 nights in a luxury hotel robe and room my rash was almost gone and my mental state was back.

I decided that day that I wanted to return to Bali and not stay in the Philippines, so I changed my flight and after the yoga retreat I flew back to my beloved island that I was about to make home.

In the month of November I fell deeply in love with my island and with a man.

In the month of December there were many ups and downs.

Here are the highlights:

I have quite the adventurous spirit and as I was chasing waterfalls I ended up landing on a giant boulder which put me in the hospital for some stitches. (First time ever getting stitches!)

I moved into a new room that was much safer than where I was staying in November.

I celebrated Christmas with two Germans, a Brazilian, a Italian, a Indonesian and one fellow American. It was awesome as we played cards, ate great food and drank the night away.

I went to north of Bali to get my stitches out and watch fireworks with my boyfriend. I was welcomed with a bottle of Arac (a classic indonesian spirit) from the homestay I booked through Airbnb and on NYE I watched fireworks light up the sky AND my hair.

Yes, I lost some hair due to zero safety precautions for fireworks here but hey, I needed a little excitement after being put on bed rest from my leg injury.

And now here we are, It’s January fourth and I am back in Ubud sitting at a quaint cafe on my second cup of coffee typing my 2016 away.

There has been so much going on. I can’t even imagine what this 2017 will bring me! My resolution this year is to remain open to all the lessons that life brings me and to keep doing what I am doing.

Life is such a ride!

I prayed for a life of adventure and it is certainly what I got.

I hope you’re 2017 is everything that you want it to be. We deserve it damnit!!

For more stories, Yoga tips and retreat information please sign up for my newletter.

Sending infinite love from Bali.

xo

 

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Hamsa Resort and Spa

Nestled in the hills overlooking Lovina Beach in the northern part of Bali island lays a beautiful jungle escape called Hamsa Resort. I had the pleasure of staying here for a night this past Sunday and found myself absolutely delighted with the beauty of this lovely lodging.

I booked this place on Airbnb for a reasonable USD $31.00 I anticipated a pretty basic room, however imagine my surprise when I pulled up to the property on my motorbike to a gate with a lovely dark green symbol comprised of three swirls fused together and a security guard with a warm smile. He told me where to go to find reception and I honestly thought I was in the wrong place! However, I recognized the symbol from the Airbnb page so I knew I had to be at least somewhere close to the place I booked.

Picture taken from Hamsa website

 

I checked in and the owner Stephane, who is from France who began chatting with us straight away. He was very kind and gave us a warm welcome into the resort. I explained how impressed I was with the facilities. He seemed very passionate about the creation of Hamsa.

Another man who was working at reception took us through a mango forest down a lovely stone pathway to our room. Our room, although quite simple was absolutely beautiful. Right when I walked in I was blown away. The king size bed was adorned in flowers and there were two neatly wrapped towels nearby. All the furnishings were made of bamboo and they had space for our clothes, a work desk, the bed and a separarate door that leads you to the bathroom.

In the bathroom you are given a large stone sink with a shower and toilet. It is open air and during my afternoon shower I could hear the birds singing in the trees. It made for a lovely ambiance and I couldn’t help but sing along in delight.

Hamsa Resort offers a free open air yoga class every morning at 6:45am on top of the restaurant which includes incredible views of the ocean and jungle. The class size and space is favorable for those who like a more quiet area to dive deeper into their own practice.

When you walk out of the yoga class you have a choice of taking a dip in two different pools, either the infinity pool or the more secluded pool located near the private apartments and villas.

When you book you also receive a complimentary buffet breakfast from 7am – 10:30am that is so yummy! They offer a variety of toast, juice, tea/coffee, eggs any style, fresh fruit, and an option for a more traditional Indonesian style brekkie (mie goreng). There are plenty of places to sit around the pool and near the restaurant complete with lovely chairs and candles that provide a pleasant aroma for your dining experience.

After we finished eating, we took a walk back through the mango forest and relaxed on our nice patio in front of our room where my boyfriend played guitar while I got some writing done (excellent wifi). From every room you can gaze at the ocean and enjoy a nice breeze which helps keep you cool in the Bali heat.

I was going to book an Ayurvedic massage, but they were in the middle of remodeling and revamping a new spa space which will – when completed – offer a few different spa services that I am so excited for when I do return.

We ended up checking out around 11am and as we were leaving I found myself wishing I had booked a few more nights.

I highly recommend this enchanting little spot to anyone who is looking for a hidden and reasonably priced getaway!

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The Bali Bike Chronicles

beach, whitesands, babes, bali, indonesia, bikes

beach, whitesands, babes, bali, indonesia, bikes

My mind just keeps dancing in and out of the memories I have cultivated this last month here that I’ve spent in Bali. I have run into some interesting motor bike circumstances, enough of them in fact that I decided they must be shared.

Instance number one: The Beloved Bali Tag

The girls and I got together on October 1st to move into our teacher villa before the retreat began for GLOW (A non profit that provides solar powered lights for small villages and eradicates kerosene lamps).

We went to park our bikes in the mini driveway at the front of our new home for the next few days and one of the girls parked quite close to the enterence. As we all shuffled around the bike carrying our 50lb packs my leg got caught on the exhaust of the bike and immediately my body was engulfed in adrenaline, I couldn’t feel pain in that moment but as the days went on my leg got worse and worse so much so one of our retreat guests who is a nurse told me that I might have a tissue infection and if not treated in a hospital I would have to amputate. It freaked me the fuck out.

I walked back to the car on the 4th day of our retreat when she made that comment to me and I felt stress wash over my body. I was in agony on the drive from the Bukit to Bondalem and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to leave the retreaters, so I chose to not listen to Melody the nurse and I stayed.

Matt, the owner of Villa Selina looked at my leg that night and if I could paint an accurate picture it would be as if I had a nasty gooey circle of hummus sitting on my leg, with orange colored liquid oozing towards my ankle like the oil that sits on top of a new sabra hummus package before you stir.

Matt decided the best course of action for my leg would be to put tea tree oil on it which is a natural antiseptic and then top it off with pawpaw to seal it and keep the dirt out.

My friend Annie then gave me some sort of pain reliever which helped and I kept it elevated.

However, the throbbing didn’t stop for 3 more days.

I kept going, I had to! Our beautiful yogis paid to be there and my fellow instructors were counting on me, there was no option but to press on!

Though I woke up stressed every morning about my leg, I had to shut it off somehow and let it go.

It was an interesting experiment to detach from my pain body, I wavered at times but felt over all I was prevailing despite the nastiness that sat on my calf.

I continued with the tea tree oil and pawpaw treatment for the duration of my stay at Villa Selina, slowly getting better and better.

However, it wasn’t until I got back to Ubud to my new villa to meet up with a few friends from California that my leg actually started to scab and get better.

I can now go in the water and I no longer have a scab or in horrendous pain but I can still feel it, it’s weird but I look back and laugh because would it really have been a true Bali experience if not for my Bali tag?

Instance number two: Indiana Shan

It was the second night after our retreat as Dev and I settled into our new Villa before heading up to Ubud to meet up with some friends. Eric the owner of the villa had rented us a motorbike and we’d been exploring during the day but hadn’t yet driven at night.

After hanging with our friends in Bingin Beach that evening, we decided to drive back home around 10pm or so towards Padang Padang. As we were driving the road was lit by lamps from outside other homestays so at first I didn’t notice, it wasn’t until we started heading in the more jungle-y areas that it became quite apparent the headlights DID NOT WORK. I quickly handed Dev my phone and she turned both of our flashlights on from our iphones to use as head lights.

It was fucking scary.

To get back to our villa we had to drive through very hilly roads that were only wide enough to fit scooters.

You know on that Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland where you drop before the giant ball comes crashing your way? Yeah that was our experience in a nutshell. I was about to shit my pants as we rode through the night with no light. I literally prayed for our safety and then started giggling out of control because for some reason this was supposed to happen to us, we were meant to experience this for one reason or another.

I felt like a true jungle adventurer as we continued our ride for the next 15 minutes through the pitch black roads, every 3 minutes or so seeing a random shop with people outside who bore perplexed expressions and laughter directed at us.

Our own laughter rang through the trees and became the soundtrack on our ride home.

Nothing could stop us, we were going to get back one way or another.

And you know what? We did.

Incident number three: Dude, where’s my bike?

I got a call last week from a friend at Lagas hostel where I had rented my bike from letting me know I had the WRONG bike.

“What the fuck?” I said

How does one accidentally get a bike confused and furthermore why would the key fit a different bike?

I had had dinner the night before at Earth Cafe in Ubud with a friend and parked my bike on the street parallel to the restaurant.

I spent an hour or two at dinner and walked down the road after to retrieve my bike.

The bike that I thought was mine was parked exactly where I had left it and the key fit perfectly, so I had driven off.

When I received that phone call we went immediately to the street where I had parked the bike and I walked up and down the road with no luck on finding my actual bike.

I kept wondering how in the hell did this happen and whose bike have I been driving around?

We gave up and went to lunch because hello we waited 2 freaking hours to eat in search of this bike and I was getting HANGRY.

I went back to Lagas after lunch and Gade who is in charge of the bikes gave me a weird response as to where the bike was and who had it – I literally could not get a straight answer out of him.

A few minutes later he asked for my keys, started the bike that I’d been driving and came back 20 minutes later smiling and said “Shan this is your bike”.

I felt so bad because …

  1. I was not in a position to pay for a new bike.
  2. He looked very stressed out when we first were talking about where the bike was. 
  3. I thought he was going to take away my bike privileges and that just wouldn’t be okay because I am thoroughly obsessed with the motorbikes here.

It turned out that someone mistook my bike for theirs and when they went to return it to their bike place they realized it was the wrong one, so their bike place called Lagas and from there on the story unfolds.

So I got my bike back thank goodness, and no one was injured financially in the process!

I would call that a solid win!

Incident number four: That damn magenta bike

That same bike I lost? Yeah it stopped working 2 days later.

I never wanted the magenta bike anyways, clearly the signs were all there in me losing it and my distaste for it’s horrid color.

I was never meant to be on that bike, it was also quite slow and I was over it.

We were outside of Coco Mart and I went to start the bike and it would not do anything. It was a dud, a fucking DUD.

We were with Dom and Adam who have thankfully experienced this stuff before because 5 minutes later after Adam was able to start it manually so we were able to make it home!

The next morning I went to have brekkie with a friend and the bike wouldn’t start AGAIN. I got so flustered until the man who was managing our villa came outside and saw me attempting to start it manually like Adam did with no luck. He was able to start my bike and I drove it immediately to Lagas to wake up Gade and help me exchange the bike. Unfortunately there were no more bikes to rent so Gade gave me his personal bike to use for the rest of my time here.

Gade’s bike is much more powerful than the bikes I had been renting out and it’s fucking awesome. I was shocked when I turned it on and there wasn’t any hesitation, just an engine roaring with power. I said thank you to the reluctant Gade and winked as I sped off onto the main road . Gade’s bike is the best bike I have had since being in Bali, and holy shit do I need me one of these!

If it weren’t for the new bike I probably wouldn’t have had much luck in my next story…

Incident number five: 3 babes, 1 bike.

One afternoon Dom, Dev & I walked to the coffee shop Uma Mandi located down the road from our villa to get some work done and we ended up getting stuck there about an hour later as the torrential downpour began.

We sat us girls talking about life, love and everything in between. I drank 4 cups of coffee within the 3 hours we were stuck there in the pouring rain and we made a new friend, Made. He spoke to us about yoga and his life here and was curious about us and where we were from. That is one thing about Bali I truly enjoy – the people! Everyone is very friendly and I can’t help but smile at strangers that turn to friends!

After we left Uma Mandi we walked back to our Villa and noticed Adam was still gone which meant we only had one bike! We contemplated for a few minutes or so about if Adam should drive back or not to pick up one of us but he said he had just cracked open a new Bintang which prompted me to suggest I drive all 3 of us over to Lagas to meet them.

Now I had only ever driven with two of us on a bike and even though I am pretty savvy on a motorbike driving three people is a whole new experience. It was nighttime so everything was a little more intense visibility wise, but there was less traffic which was a HUGE plus.

We crammed onto the bike, my ass was barely on the seat and we headed out. Dev was sitting right behind me, and Dom was in the back barely hanging on…ah this story just makes me laugh even as I am typing it out. It was a bit shaky at first but quickly we got the hang of it!

We were almost off of our road and about to hit the main drag where we turn left to head towards Lagas when Dom stubbed her toe on an extra long driveway. I had no idea it was there but they were doing a lot of construction and some of the driveways were a bit higher than the actual road so even though I didn’t go over the driveway because Dom didn’t have anywhere to put her feet it nicked her big toe!

We didn’t stop, we kept going until we got to Lagas where I almost crashed us into the side building because I couldn’t stop laughing and was trying to avoid a giant pothole. Our laughter rang through Lagas as we got in and parked next to the pool.

Everyone saw us and was baffled by how we did it but fuck it, WE MADE IT!

Dom immediately checked her toe out and yeah, shit was slightly nasty but hey she got some antiseptic and a band aid which made it good as new within the next couple of days following.

I thoroughly love these motorbikes, they have made life very interesting and absolutely hilarious!

I can’t wait to return to Bali next week so I can get back on a bike!

Want to read more hilarious bike stories? Sign up for my newsletter to get the latest info on my next blog!

xo

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WA Yogis, I’m coming to you!

(Photo taken by Jess Moody of JessLeigh Creative)

I am on the road again! Come play with me Friday October 30th 5:30 – 6:30pm at Sanctuary Yoga in Pullman, WA! We will be tapping into the heart space and igniting the fire within our bodies. This deep flow will be focused on the shoulders, heart, and hips. In this Vinyasa style practice you will set intentions, strengthen your spine, and peel your heart wide open. The flow is designed as a level two vinyasa practice! However, variations & adjustments for most postures will be offered, including inversions to allow every yogi to experience a practice that is authentic to them.

My heart is bursting with love and excitement!

Questions? Email me gypseayogi@gmail.com

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Surfing & I

Gypsea Yogi goes surfing at San Onofre State Beach

To surf is to feel the ocean accept you into her arms ~

Last Thursday I was given the opportunity to learn to surf! One of my co workers took me out to San Onofre or ‘Sano’ and we headed down Trail six. I was tired after opening at my job the morning before and then to wake up around 5am again was bloody hard. None the less, last Thursday morning I found myself scaling down a cliff the “fun and adventurous way” I believe is how my co worker described it. I am always down for the word adventure so there I was, on the side of this cliff balancing a long board on my head with my giant beach bag on my left shoulder trying to make my way down without plummeting to my doom. The view was incredible, once we made our way to the beach, landing on solid ground I gazed back up to where we initially started our journey and felt energized. I mean it was only 6:45 am and I had already scaled a cliff and was about to learn to surf, my day was off to a great start!

Devin knew that I am into SUP yoga, so he wasn’t afraid to just throw me into the water after a short mini lesson. Apparently surfing is like learning to ride a bike, the training wheels are not there for a long amount of time before your parent or in this case my co worker just throws you into the waves and takes the training wheels away from you. I have to say I would rather learn this way than to be given a long session of explanation prior to getting into the water, my attention span has a habit of getting away from me and wandering off.

Similar to a Stand Up Paddle board, it is important to keep the fin off of the sand, and once you’re about waist deep into the water you need to climb onto the board and begin to paddle. Now I am used to a wider board – one that I float on top of the water with – I am not immersed in the ocean whatsoever. Surf boards are not like that, they are much thinner and require you to find balance before you paddle, if you paddle with your body positioned in an awkward place then you will not get very far…trust me. After Devin told me that my chin should go right behind the logo on the board I was able to figure out how to position my body. You must paddle out quite a ways while battling the incoming white water, it was slightly concerning to me at first after getting knocked over the first time but after that it became almost second nature in how to work with the ocean and get over the waves without getting totally fucked up.

I began to find some connections with yoga and surfing. I noticed that when the white water was coming my way I could stabilize myself by going into Crocodile pose, similar to Up dog but with my toes tucked on the tail end of the board. I had a flashback to my Stoked Yogi SUP teacher training when one of the girls – Amber who was in training with me – would get up onto the board and sing ‘I am a little mermaid’. I began to visualize myself as Ariel as I went over the waves; it helped quite a bit!

Now when you are paddling over the white water you are expelling a lot of energy, it is important to notice when you need to reserve that energy and when you have to use it to propel yourself further out. Paddling requires you to know your body and its limits quite well. Once we got out a bit Devin said I could rest before we kept paddling, the sea was semi calm for about 5 minutes while Devin tried explaining to me how to turn and when I needed to start paddling to catch a wave. I also learned how to sit on the board, but when I tried sitting on my knees…whelp I fell right in! No surprise there folks.

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Suddenly, after I fell a huge wave appeared and was coming quite fast. We were not going to catch it at all, he was stressing that I needed to hurry back onto my board and start paddling immediately. I tried my best but it was still my first time out there so I was behind him paddling as this wave was starting to tower over us, he was able to get over it but since I was behind him I knew it wasn’t going to be a breeze. I prepared myself for the wave but was startled when out of nowhere two dolphins appeared right in front of me. If I had reached out I could have touched them they were so close, I was with them watching them dance in the wave, mesmerized, and enthralled with them and this experience I was having. So much so I wasn’t paying attention and the wave killed me, not literally but I spent about 30 seconds or so getting fucked up by the wave and getting dragged around. As I popped back up Devin looked very concerned but all I had was a smile on my face laughing because the Dolphins were so amazing!! I couldn’t believe it, how close they were, how much they didn’t mind my presence, how they danced in front of me playing in the wave. It was all just beautiful, so beautiful. I paddled back out to him and told him I was fine and gave him the recap of my exciting moment with these dolphins and he just laughed at me, and was glad I came out alive. The wave was pretty intense I have to admit, if there weren’t dolphins I really don’t know how I would have felt after being dragged under.

Anyways, back to surfing! We paddled out a little bit further and Devin pushed me into my first wave, I had a little trouble knowing when to keep paddling and when I could stop but damn, I rode that baby in the whole way to shore, I was flying!! It was one of the best experiences I have ever had, that first wave. I knew as I got into shore I was hooked. The ocean already has my heart; I felt that the next step was naturally for me to be here, in this moment allowing her to let me experience this wave of emotion from surfing.

I paddled back out and as soon as I got out there Devin goes “I’ll see you in a bit” and then I look in front of me and notice that a huge wave was coming, I just paddled out further as Devin turned to catch the wave, I didn’t mind at all, it was awesome to watch someone who has been surfing since they were a kid catch a wave! I tried to watch every time he was going for a wave so I could understand his timing on when to paddle, and when to not. Learning as you go I have to say is the best way, because you are thrown into the experience fully, and can learn how everything works best for your body and the board!

As Devin caught another wave and rode in to grab the GoPro, I was wondering if I would be able to grab a wave and get one on my own. As I was out there floating with the ocean, just sitting and dangling my feet in the water I tried watching for the waves, anticipating when one would come and vibing with the ocean to get a good sense on what would be an indicator if the wave was going to be a big one or not. I thought I noticed a wave starting to form in the distance; I began to turn around because it takes me a little while to orient myself in the opposite direction. I started paddling immediately as the wave kept growing, and what do you know, there I was out of nowhere riding this awesome wave that I caught by myself, laughing of pure joy. Happiness engulfed me, and all I could wear was a smile. The experience of reading the ocean and being able to catch a wave on your own is so amazing. I was jumping up and down yelling to Devin “Did you see? Did you see that? I caught it!!! I did it!!” I was so happy in that moment and the happiness kept going for the next few hours. My friend Ashley came to join us and we all surfed together, we even caught a party wave! Good friends, good times, and lots of laughter. I felt so at peace, and so good, like really really good.

I didn’t stand up that day but I was able to belly down surf until 12 o’clock and caught a total of 5 waves. There is no concept of time when you are out on the water; I rather like it that way. What is time anyway, when all your worries are washed away by the ocean?

I encourage you all to try and surf. It may not be the exact same experience for you as it was for me, after all everyone is different. However, I can promise you that when you catch that first wave…your life will never be the same again.

xo

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