I’m a Happy Hobo!

Last week, Luke from http://www.thehappyhobos.com/ ; did an interesting interview with me about life on the road, here it for anyone that hasn’t seen it.

Much love

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There is a rare breed of traveler who live life on the road full time, truly becoming citizens of the world. Rose is one of those. She lives mostly without money and makes the little she does need through selling handmade jewellery. After being gone for 11 years, she has a lot of wisdom to share on living freely and consciously as a traveler.

Originally from Australia, she moved to Latin America when she was just 15, and has since travelled in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean – locations not as well-beaten by travellers. So I was keen to catch up with her and have a chat.

Me: It’s rare that you come across someone who travels in the way you do. Where do you come from and what did you do in your previous life as a ‘normal’ person?

Rose: I was born in Sydney, Australia. But I don’t consider myself of any nation or any peoples, I am of the world and feel at home everywhere.

Me: The traveler’s way of thinking! What first inspired you to travel?

Rose: When I was 13, a lady came to our high school and spoke about the opportunity of student exchange programs where you live in another country and learn another language and it excited me so much that I applied, won a scholarship and left when I was 15.

Me: Amazing, so young. Trains intimidated me in my own country at that age! Where and when did you start your travels and where have you been since?

Rose: The exchange program I did in 2004 to Costa Rica was the beginning of it all. Since then I’ve spent a total of 6 years in Latin America, and then time in Africa, the Middle East, Europe and now the Caribbean!

Me: I bet Latin America feels like home. How did you pay for your first trip?

Rose: I won a scholarship for my exchange program and then when I came back to Sydney, I worked in a bar on the weekends while I finished high school to save cash for my first solo trip. I left 2 days after my final school exams with enough cash to travel for 2 years.

Me: So you spent a long time away at first! How did it feel when you first left home?

Rose: It was really exciting. I was just so eager to get out and see the world and what it had in store for me. I love and embrace change and feel like I always have. A lot of humans continue to listen to their egos and are afraid of the unknown but it makes me feel alive, awake and excited.

Me: Very true! How long have you been leading a nomadic lifestyle now?

Rose: It’s been 11 years since I started travelling. However, for many years I thought (probably like a lot of my friends and family) that I was just “on a trip” and would someday “come back to reality” as people say. People would ask me where I was from or where my home was and I would answer “Australia”- but after a while it felt more and more like a false statement. I think maybe about 5 years ago I realized that this is just how I live and that there’s no other reality.

Me: When I was away people always talked about going back to ‘the real world.’ Gets a bit tedious right? Did you plan on making this a full time thing?

Rosy: You can’t plan anything. Practice acceptance and non-resistance and you’ll feel happiness.

Me: What would you say your style of travel is?

Rose: Slow. Free. Nomadic.

I have complete freedom. I move when and where I want. I like slow overland travel. I couchsurf, camp, hitchhike/ boat-hitchhike and dumpster dive (when possible) and my basic philosophy is stay if I like the energy and move when I don’t. I try to stay in most countries for at LEAST 3 months but sometimes I stay longer if I’m interested in learning the local language and sometimes I leave before that if I don’t like the vibes.

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Me: Travelling slowly must mean you’ve sometimes had to stay in one place for a while. How was that?

Rose: I’ve never HAD to stay in one place for a while. I’ve chosen to stay in some countries for longer (was in Brazil for 1.5 years) but the longest I’ve ever been in the same city for (since I finished school) is one year.

I enjoy getting to know places in more detail, meeting the locals, learning their slang, creating relationships and building a community. You gain a lot from that experience. A lot of people think that takes years, but you can do it quickly if you’re observant, outgoing and socially mature. Being observant of your surroundings when you’re a traveler is NOT an option, it’s a MUST. You can build all that in a matter of months, you don’t need years. I have communities of friends all over the globe that I hold dear in my heart.

Me: Sounds like you’ve had some amazing experiences! Care to share one?

Rose: This question is too difficult to answer. My journey has taken me to some of the most beautiful places on Earth and I’ve been blessed with the presence and energy of some incredible beings. A child’s innocent smile or the soft sounds of leaves moving in the breeze or the flickering of flames on a fire can be the most human and spiritually inspiring moment, and touch your soul so gently. Any story could never rightfully portray the peace and bliss you feel from living freely and consciously- that way of life is and continues to be the most amazing experience I have every single day.

Me: Okay okay! I need to find a new question as no one knows how to answer that.. beautiful answer though. What about a bad experience?

Rose: This is the question that I get asked the most. It concerns me. People absorb too much media and have a misconception that the world is a bad place. Bad news makes good news unfortunately.

The world is an amazing place, safe and beautiful and full of good souls. If you truly believe this, live in the present and observe nature- you become really good at picking up on energies and will never encounter “bad experiences” because your energy alone will repel them.

In addition- “bad experiences” by definition DO NOT exist. You’re attitude towards the experience, your ego and your unconscious mind perceive it to be bad based on logic rooted in your social conditioning.

In truth, all experiences are positive because they shape and transform you into a more awake, enlightened and conscious person.

Me: That’s so true. Even bad experiences when you’re away seem like more of a lesson to help you grow. Have you ever felt at risk in your travels?

Rose: I was arrested in Tchad and don’t speak a lot of Arabic. Whenever I’m in a country where I don’t speak the local language I feel much more at risk. I’ve had a few moments when people have tried to assault me or attack me and I definitely did feel at risk. My mind’s reaction to the situation was “you could get hurt here, defend yourself” so I definitely “felt” at risk during the moment. I don’t shy away from risks. If I never took risks I wouldn’t know all that I do.

Me: What’s been your favourite country and why?

Rose: Can I give 3? Pleeeeaaassseee?

Palestine – mind-blowingly different from whatever stereotype you have in your head about the place

Brazil- because the people there really understand how to live freely and how to build community

Cameroon- living in Cameroon really taught me the perfect blissful beauty of living simply and I’m forever grateful for that.

Me: Really interesting that you’ve travelled in Palestine, what was your experience of it compared to what the media tells us? Did you encounter any of the conflict?

Rose: I didn’t experience any conflict in Palestine. I had an incredible experience and met amazing people. I couchsurfed with a guy who ran an NGO, a gay buddist who ran a cocktail bar and a filmmaker, all in different cities/ villages. I felt safe and I felt love from the palestinian people. I visited Ramallah, Jericho, Nablus, Hebron, Bethlehem, etc. I hitchhiked and couchsurfed and it was easy enough.

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Me: Amazing! What about your least favourite country then?

Rose: Your opinion about a place or a country is just a result of whatever experience you had there. If you go to Paris (one of the most beautiful cities in the world) and meet crappy people and have a crappy time, you’ll go away with a negative image of the place. Whereas you could end up in the middle of nowhere in a deserted town and meet a couple of AWESOME people with great, vibrant energy, have a blast, and go away with a super positive image of the place. So it’s really about the energy of the people then it is about the “place”.

I can’t think of anywhere where I had a terrible time- but I tend to avoid tourist traps like Cancun or Ibiza- those places have a very low vibration and are filled with negative energy, which I choose not to absorb.

Me: Very true, it’s always the people who make the experience. How do you continue to pay for your travels?

Rose: I spend VERY little money when I travel. And the little money I need I get by selling art that I create. I make macramé jewelry and sell it on the beach or in a plaza.

Me: Do you think money plays a big part in how much you enjoy your trip?

Rose: Not at all. If I have it I might choose to use it. If I don’t have it, that’s cool, I have other means of getting what I need. In Brazil I lived for a period without it at all and it was incredibly liberating, realizing that you don’t need this thing that you’ve been so conditioned to believe you do.

Your basics are accommodation, transportation, food and water. So if you’re camping, hitching and dumpster diving you literally don’t need money for anything. You can also trade and barter either something you have or something you can do/ provide for someone.

I think of money as a tool that makes some things easier- but not necessarily more enjoyable. If you have a swiss army knife, you can do a lot of cool things with it and save a lot of time. But what if you didn’t have it? Well you’d still get everything done, maybe you’d borrow a knife from a fisherman, maybe open your beer bottle with a spoon or the side of the steps…you figure things out and become more resourceful and more creative. You walk instead of catching transport so you observe more and meet more interesting people and become orientated with the place. If you have a lot of time money becomes of a much lesser value.

In response to the question, I think lack of money plays a really important role in how I travel. If I had a lot of it, I really don’t think I’d enjoy travelling like I do, it would be too easy, really monotonous and nothing of a challenge.

Me: Interesting way of looking at it. When you very occasionally need money, what’s the worst thing you have had to do for it?

Rose: Bartending in Sydney. Pretending to be someone that I wasn’t and not holding true to my values. Throwing away food/ alcohol and contributing to so much waste.

I decided a very long time ago that I would never do anything for money. If I do something that results in my acquiring dollar bills, it’s never the money that is the main objective. For that reason and to keep it true, I give away a lot of art, especially to children and sell all my art at a massively undervalued price, to make sure that the $$ is not my motivation for getting out there.

Me: It definitely changes the way you travel if money plays a central role. It’s more about how much something costs as opposed to the experience that will be had. What are the biggest challenges with this lifestyle?

Rose: Being away from my family and people that I love is definitely emotionally straining at times. Not being able to have a solid romantic relationship is the one thing that makes me think I would like to stop moving so much one day. It’s hard to find other people that live in a similar way- partly because there’s not too many of us but also because we generally keep a low profile.

Me: You say it’s hard to fine people who live like you – what would be your best advice for meeting nomads on the road? Does it really matter if you’re absorbed in the local culture?

Rose: The best way to meet other nomads is just on the road living life. I’ve often met them and moved with some people for a little while. These days there’s a lot of social networks online that make meeting people like that a little easier (alternative lifestyles, sailing communities, permaculture communities, rainbow family, couchsurfers etc).

And no, it doesn’t really matter, nothing matters at the end of the day. My intention is always to experience the local culture and community, but sometimes its emotionally beneficial to have someone with a similar outlook to reflect and meditate with.

Me: Do you regret not following the traditional life – get a job, a house, a mortgage, etc?

Rose: Not at all. The above things have never been things that I personally felt would make me happy so I’ve never pursued them and don’t intend to unless they become things that I believe would make me happy.

Me: What about travelling solo – does it get lonely? How do you deal with it?

Rose: It doesn’t get lonely. If you desire it, you will always be meeting people and making friends. I love meeting people and am happy to be around new people but I do enjoy my solitude so whenever I get it, I embrace it. I love reading, writing, exploring, swimming, playing guitar, making art, meditating, and these are all things I do alone.

If you are a person that is not comfortable and peaceful in your own company, I personally consider that very emotionally and spiritually unhealthy, and I would consider working on that before you take off travelling solo. Or heck, jump on a plane and force yourself into it!

Me: Very good point – not being happy in your own company seems to be a symptom of modern life. Do you get homesick much?

Rose: I don’t get homesick in the sense that I miss the land of Australia- because I consider it a useless thing to feel. Home will always be home and always be there to indulge in so I choose not to miss it and rather BE completely wherever I am physically.

I do miss my family though- mainly when something or someone reminds me of them. It might be a song on the radio, or a smell at a market, or something someone says…and it will remind me of someone I love and I miss them. I just think about them for a moment and send them good energy.

Me: What keeps you going when you are missing family and friends or when you’re not liking a place?

Rose: Vegemite!! No, in serious, meditation and just spending time in nature. Nature heals all. And love heals all. I’m never spending time in a place I’m not liking because if I don’t like the energy in a place I always move on.

Me: Seems like your style of travel has opened you up to a lot of wisdom. What would you say you’ve learnt?

Rose: The real answer to this would take up pages. But in short, I’ve learnt a lot about myself and others and about this gorgeous organism that is the planet. The only thing really worth doing in life is loving. And in order to love fully, you must be healthy.

Growing up I was taught to focus a lot of attention on my physical health (nutrition, exercise, drinking fresh water, taking care of my skin etc). This is obviously important, but travelling around and living in different cultures has taught me not to neglect and to focus also on my emotional, mental and spiritual health and I’ve been blessed with a great deal of guidance and growth in all 3 of these aspects of my health.

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Me: Being healthy is definitely a lot more important than many people think! What would you say to anyone reading this who is thinking about hitting the road?

Rose: Now has never been a better time. These days, with social networking on the web, travelling in alternative ways and (in particular) travelling nomadically without money, has NEVER been easier. More and more communities are popping up all over the globe. People think the world is in chaos and on the brink of disaster but in truth, we live in beautifully fascinating times.

More and more beings across the globe are waking up every day. More and more people are realizing that the social system that we’ve created (around money- a tool invented VERY recently) doesn’t work. It’s not human and it negates the fact that we’re innately connected to each other and to this earth.

The BEST way for you to understand this, is to observe nature. And the best way to observe nature, to REALLY observe it, is to step out of your daily environment, step away from distractions of all that social conditioning and get lost amongst the humanness that still exists all over the world. It exists in the smile of a friendly shopkeeper, it exists in the ocean breeze, it exists in the blessing of rain and in the laughter of love. And most importantly it exists in silence. Silence of the mind and of the ego.

We’re here to support each other because your success and happiness is also mine to rejoice in. We are one. If you need more inspiration or advice I and many more nomads are more than happy to be there for you.

Me: So inspirational, thanks Rose!

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In 2012, in a little village called Nablus in Palestine, my path crossed with a gorgeous soul by the name of Paula.

She’s a brilliant and inspiring young women who works hard for what she believes in. We’ve kept in touch over the past few years.

Yesterday she wrote me a poem. I was touched by her gesture. Thanks for the love sista. I’ve asked her permission to publish it here with my response below 🙂

Enjoy!

 

Rosie the Adventurer

Rosie: auspicious name. The color some give to brightly lit cheeks. You live under nets of found thread and borrowed frond, share breakfast in the morning and return it in the afternoon, count the guavas, melons, nectar and pineapple, tomatoes in shades too varied to name.

And the beach is your blanket, wind-scattered star and an opening moon your lamp.

What do we travel towards, from, into?

What rituals are worth fighting for?

How does your mind stay bright when the sky funnels clouds? When the fish net is bare and you are hungry? Clean, when the earth has no soap? Is there always soap?

What is it you are singing for and to? What is the color of serenity?

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Echo of Wanderlust

What do we travel towards?

Why towards nothing of course. For to travel to something would only be foolish.

From? From the heart.

Into? Into the moment, into the now, into growth, into awakening and into mindlessness.

Rituals. Are they worth fighting for?

Nothing in this world is worth fighting for if done so with an unconscious mind.

Why fought for? Why not simply enjoyed?

I enjoy some rituals. The burning of precious white sage or the soft scent of incense. A yoga stretch. A deep breath of fresh air under the moonlight. Meticulously and strategically packing my backpack to hit the road.

A grey cloud-filled sky and a perfect rainstorm remind me that a hot cup of tea and a blanket feel nothing but wonderful.

A bare net reminds me to give thanks for all I have and the certainty that I am currently, merely, human.

There is always soap. The earth always provides when you truly and wholly trust it will.

And should it not- that’s perfect.

Acceptance is the key to awakening.

I am singing for love and to love. Do you?

Serenity is the green of lush rainforest leaves on a sunday morning 🙂

Lush rainforest towers Crystal Shower Falls 2

To Pack or Not to Pack…

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Recently, loads of people have been asking me for a list of what to take travelling or just an idea of what I carry with me as I move.

It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time so here it is- a list of literally everything in my backpack.

Keep in mind that my backpack is my home so I’m probably carrying a lot more than you would need on your trip to wherever you’re heading. Oh and also I basically avoid winters like the plague so that my backpack is lighter. And if I do happen to find myself in a snowstorm I just buy what I need from a thrift shop and give it back when I leave. (happened to me in Jerusalem- standing there in birkenstocks and a singlet I realised I was going to have to get something warmer..)

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Inside my 55L Backpack:

  • a sleeping bag
  • a silk sleeping sheet
  • hammock (it’s made from parachute material, ties up to anything and everything, everywhere- I’m in love with it!)
  • head lamp534536_10152194198465597_861897922_n
  • large dry bag for all my clothes
  • tin cup that doubles as a bowl and I can wack it straight in the fire
  • sandals (birks)
  • joggers
  • needle and thread (every few months I sit down and sew all the holes/ rips in my bags and clothes back up- saves me so much money)
  • pegless clothesline (lifesaver when you’re camping and need stuff to dry quickly before you shove it in your backpack- avoids having mouldy damp clothes)
  • small backpack
  • shoulder bag (mochila de colombia)
  • kindle (sigh… my kindle and I have a complicated relationship. I love books and I really don’t like reading from my kindle but it gives my back and my feet a break from carrying all my books around)
  • a notebook (the only book I carry)
  • pen
  • incense …for all my tantric rituals.. 😉incense
  • herbal teabags (light and easy to carry and a cup of tea is always lovely )
  • old cornflakes boxes flattened in the back of my backpack (for when I need a quick hitchhiking sign)
  • waterproof/ shockproof/ sandproof camera
  • portable little speakers
  • ipod
  • headphones
  • chargers for all my electronic crap
  • mirco towelIMG_7312
  • road map of whatever country I’m in
  • guitalele
  • a few plastic bags
  • snorkling mask
  • scissors
  • lighters
  • pliers
  • a carbon knife (have it on me ALL the time- mainly for cutting up fruit but incredibly useful for a million and one things)
  • paperclips and safety pins
  • climbing caribenas (awesomely versatile. I use them to attach stuff to my bags when Im walking, to close up any zippers when im walking through any dangerous parts of town, use them to attach all my bags to my clothes when im sleeping in my hammock so I feel if someone is trying to rob me, use them for keys when Im staying in different peoples homes, etc etc )

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  • Clothes:
  • bikini
  • sarong
  • pairs of socks (x5)
  • undies (x7)
  • bra (x2)socks
  • rain/wind jacket
  • jumper
  • beanies/ head wraps
  • scarf
  • football shorts
  • jeans
  • singlets ( x 4)
  • tights
  • stockings (stockings are awesome because they take up no space and they’re versatile, I wear them under pants if it gets really cold)
  • skirt
  • 3 pieces of material about 1.5m x 1m (I use them to lay my jewellery on when I’m selling on the street, to wrap around me as a skirt, to wrap my hair like a turban or as a towel)

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Toiletries/ First Aid

  • organic coconut oil
  • sunscreen
  • tea tree oilcoco oil
  • peppermint oil (for my hair)
  • grapeseed oil (as a moisturizer)
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • natural insect repellent
  • shea butter
  • charcoal (as an exfoliate. or an olive oil and sugar mix in a little jar)
  • condoms and tampons
  • Bandaids
  • tweezers
  • Papaya cream

Paperwork

  • passport
  • yellow fever/ vaccination booklet
  • bank cards
  • copies of all the above

And that’s it!

I take my jewellery that I sell plus crystals and string to make it all but obviously you won’t be needing that.

It all adds up to about 14kgs, and then I carry an extra 4kg of jewellery stuff. 🙂

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Nuff life, love and gratitude

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There’s few people on this earth that know how broken my heart was when I landed in Jamaica back in July last year. I’d fallen in love with a man who would never be able to accept me and love me how I need and deserve to be loved.

I felt lost, I felt alone and I felt helpless. I wasn’t quite sure how to feel myself again, and the universe never gave away many clues… she just whispered “Jamaica”….

jam airSo I followed my heart and listened to the universe like she’s taught me how and boarded a plane to this little island in the heart of the Caribbean.

I didn’t come with any expectations. I didn’t come with built-up stereotypes in my head about how Jamaica is or would be. I didn’t come with any solid intentions.

I just showed up- with an open mind and an open soul- trust being the most precious thing in my 55L backpack/ portable home.

jungleFrom the moment I landed on this gorgeous little island, Jamaica has
completely seduced me, like the perfect story of lust and love.

At the beginning we had our differences, our disagreements. I wasn’t too keen on her when we were first introduced.

P1060301Sure, she was gorgeous, seductive and charming. And she tasted amazing! All her sweet fruits, new sensations for my senses. Her kisses of sunshine and soft ocean breezes…

But she was arrogant and self-centered. She was fully aware of her beauty and it showed. Everyone else seemed so hopelessly in love with her and I couldn’t understand why. I didn’t feel it and I was adamant that I wasn’t going to fall for her games like all these other fools.

P1060825There were lots of things about Jamaica that didn’t sit well with me. Things I couldn’t comprehend. Issues and attitudes that I’d never encountered before.

Disrespect towards women; homophobic comments seemed the norm; serious breakdowns of the family unit; a total disregard for any kind of monogamy; children without role models; a struggling economy; ignorance of global issues seemed rife and a lack of acceptance of differences of opinion.

Despite all of this we knew we had 6 months in each others company so we agreed to try and get along. I told her that if it wasn’t working I’d leave.

Just like any growing relationship, we gave each other time, space, patience, and acceptance.P1060439

We opened up to each other and showed each other our weaknesses, our bad habits. We shared with each other what we would like to change, how we would like to grow.

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We read together, dived around the reef together like mermaids, floated in the sea under the stars together, cooked on a bonfire together, walked through valleys and mountains together, woke up on the sand together, we dreamt together, we sung and laughed together, held a meds together, reasoned together, we held each other and most importantly we practiced love together. hammock

Jamaica nurtured my heart and my soul through her beauty and protection with so much love and guidance I cannot be more grateful.

P1060964I met all the right people and was gently guided in the right direction. Thank you especially to Matthew, Neo, Liz, Warren, Simone and Vali for their contributions to my path and the beautiful energy they shared with me.

My little heart was quickly healed in the most incredibly wonderful way.

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It was as if nature and the entire universe was saying “whatever happens, however painful it may be, just trust in me, trust in me completely and ill be there for you to lean on and gather your strength again”..

Swimming in crystal clear water every morning before a healthy breakfast of fresh fruit ; afternoons of meditation sitting on the cliff face in Portland overlooking the sea; breadfruit bonfires under the stars; careful and slow P1070480barefoot walks around the headlands and across rivers; peaceful contemplation of a single pimento leaf, a drop of fresh spring water falling from a rock to the earth; watching the waves crash effortlessly on the reef; climbing guinep and breadfruit trees, picking out the planets from the flickering stars; hunting seeds in little pods to build necklaces; feeling the kiss of the ocean breeze on my exposed skin …all this blissful peace healed all my wounds and guided me to all the right energy.

2014 showed me that falling in love is such a beautiful, natural and incredible thing.

backWho would want to deny themselves of  love? But so often people protect themselves (and I’ve done this myself before) and run away from love or don’t love as fully and completely as they know they could.  We can’t bear the thought of all the heartbreak and pain we’ll feel when we lose that person.

But I don’t agree anymore. Heartbreak hurts. It can stop you from eating, from sleeping, make you feel like you’re going crazy, make you doubt yourself.. But all pain hurts. And all suffering teaches us and enlightens us. There’s no such thing as a “bad experience”.

P1070508I live my entire life diving and throwing myself into challenges and uncomfortable situations. I’ve suffered both physically and mentally – and it’s been awesome! Without all that suffering and all that pain- I’d know very little about the universe, all that it involves and the way energies interact.

So don’t shy away from love. When you think about it, what do you have to lose, really? Love fully and love completely. Keep your heart clean, live mighty, live fully and live righteously.

Giving thanks to Jamaica and to all Jamaicans whose energy I felt. I needed it. It was perfect and it was beautiful. Stay in touch, nuff love, respect and gratitude…and im sure the universe will allow me to be back in Jamaica very soon..

4 Beautiful reasons why I live on the road…

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Last week, I was renting a small cabin on the beach by myself. The cabin was just a bed and four walls with the bathroom outside closer to the shore. At 1am one night, a guy I had met earlier that day barged into my room threatening me and tried to assault me. Over about 40 minutes, I managed to calm him down a bit, get him close him enough to the door, force him out of my room, lock the door and call the police while he tried to kick down the door and threaten to knife me. The police came but he’d already skipped town.

The next day I sat on the beach  in complete bliss and watched the incredible sunset above, even more confident, capable and inspired than I was 24 hours earlier.

People find it difficult to understand why I live the way I live. Or why I don’t choose a more “comfortable” existence. I’m constantly told that they could “never do what I do”. I think the way I live is so beautiful, I started this blog to inspire others to get the chance to feel what I feel. Here’s a few reasons why I move….

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Number 1:

Most people, when their surroundings are familiar to them, are only peripherally aware of the world around them. When things and objects (form structures) are new, your senses are stimulated and you become more present.

New smells, new faces, new roads, new maps, new sounds, new food, new tastes, new words…all force you to BE in the moment and truly experience life. You become more conscious and feel more alive!

Most people feel this when they go on a short holiday… why not make it into the eternal way you live and breathe?

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Number 2:

I’m uneasy when I’m too comfortable. The world and every tiny little atom and molecule in it are constantly moving and changing. So it seems only natural and perfect for us beings to do just that- go with the flow of energy, practice non-resistance and continue to move constantly. When I stay in the one place for too long or do the same activity for a long period of time, I don’t feel the same ascension, growth of knowledge and understanding like I do when I’m moving.

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Number 3:

People challenge my beliefs when I’m moving. Sometimes it is dangerous to surround yourself with people that consistently confirm your existing belief system.

Notice how a lot of people only research and source information that further strengthens their beliefs? This is fine. But an even more powerful practice is to be among those that challenge you, those that force you to re-think, redefine, reinvent your ideas about the world and who we really are.

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Number 4:

Suffering. When you tell me that you don’t want to suffer or that you shouldn’t have to suffer, you’re telling me you don’t want to evolve.

Suffering is the most beautiful and incredible thing. Through suffering, you learn about yourself and about others. You learn what you are capable of and what you are not. You understand your place in this interconnected web of life and you become a stronger and more intelligent being.

Furthermore, the acceptance of your suffering helps you to be present and conscious, accepting all that comes your way as perfect. It is what it is.

Doesn’t that all sound fantastic?

Come on the road with me! 🙂

sunset beach

 

 

 

Jam on the cheap

rose2Everybody goes on and on about how expensive the Caribbean is, and Jamaica was no exception. People warned me about how “dangerous” and “expensive” the island is and how utterly ridiculous it was to try and backpack it on the cheap…

Well folks…first month is up and the count is in. I spent a total of US$314.00 over the first 30 days. $11.00 a day ain’t bad, (includes a SIM card, phone credit, drinks, food, transport, weed, toiletries etc.)…. and I’ve had some nice meals and my fair share of Red Stripe so I’m sure it can be done for around $250.00.

Lowdown:

CouchSurfing

At first glance, there’s a seriously scarce amount of people using CouchSurfing in Jamaica. I was blown away with the percentage of ghost profiles (empty profiles of people that never use the page) with only a handful of real couchsurfers in each city I checked. For example, Ocho Rios (one of Jamaica’s biggest touristy cities) has 8 real couchsurfers offering a couch; Montego Bay has only 5, and Treasure Beach just the 1 guy. Kingston has maybe 50 which is a little better but still shockingly low for a capital city.

I think the main reason that this is the case is that they’re just aren’t really many travellers in Jamaica full stop. There are countless numbers of tourists, but few travellers and therefore very little demand for hosts. In addition, Jamaicans themselves tend to think of travel as a total luxury and something involving all-inclusive resorts so they’re less likely to offer their couches.

I sent out requests to literally everyone with legit profiles and got mixed responses. Most didn’t respond at all but the few that did ended up hosting me and have been fantastic. So all that hard work paid off!

So Couchsurfing is definitely possible here but be sure to send your requests in advance and know your dates, I’ve found sometimes it takes quite a few days for people to respond due to lack of internet access.

camping

Camping

Short and sweet- camping is more than possible here. Every Jamaican on the face of the planet will tell you it’s impossible but it’s only impossible because they haven’t tried it. I’ve camped out near rivers, built bonfires and caught fish for dinner; and where I’m living now I always see hippies on the beach setting up camp. If you’re unsure about whether someone is going to kick you out, just put up your tent at 7pm as soon as the sun sets and no one will bother you. It helps to have a green or black tent so you don’t stand out so much as well.

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Food

Supermarkets tend to be pricey here. You’re best bet is eating what grows in abundance and avoid all imported fruit and veg. So ackee, breadfruit, limes, tamarind, mangoes, guinep, banana, avocados etc, are all either available for free if youre wearing shorts and willing to climb the tree. Make sure you’re not entering into people yards (it could well be all the food they have to feed their family); but instead grab the ones hanging over to the street or the ones on the highways and mountain roads or in public parks etc. If climbing up an ackee tree doesn’t sound like fun, you can purchase all these goodies pretty cheap at the market. Things like rice and flour are cheap (around US$0.80 a pound) so if youre cooking you won’t spend a great deal. Eating out at a Jamaican low-key family restaurant could  set you back anywhere from US$1.50 to US$10.00 depending on what you’re after.

rose1Drinks

Rum is the cheapest thing in Jamaica. You can get a bottle of the stuff for 3 bucks. Drink that and you’re sorted. Otherwise a Red Stripe (Jamaica’s national beer) will set you back US$2 a bottle.

hitchingHitchhiking/ transport

Jamaicans generally drive, so more than often when you ask people which bus to take somewhere, they’ll have no idea. In fact, I’ve met people that have genuinely never taken a bus in their own country. Best source of information on where and when buses run are the bus drivers themselves, so if in doubt, just hail down a bus and then let the driver tell you where to get the bus you need.

Buses and “route taxis”, collective taxis that carry up to 4 or 5 or 6 (if youre all skinny) passengers, are generally cheap. Maybe $1 or $2 depending on where you’re headed. You have to wait for buses to fill up before they take off but that usually doesn’t take all that long.

Hitching is definitely possible here. I’ve done a fair bit of it in the last month but buses have been my main form of rose1transport. The times I’ve hitched, I’ve waited for much longer than I would in other countries, but it’s definitely possible if you have the time and the patience. Route taxis will stop for you and try and get you in their car, so just tell them you’re waiting on a friend or just simply shake your head so they take off and don’t ruin your chances of getting a real hitch.

When you do get picked up, be sure to mention in the first 5 minutes of the ride how you have no money and are a poor traveller bla bla bla otherwise when you get out the driver might try and get a dollar or 2 out of you.

Dumpster Diving

Again, possible but not in abundance. The outdoor fruit and veg market in downtown Kingston is a good option for dumpster diving off the street. I haven’t had the chance to check the big supermarket bins, but try Uptown Kingston  and especially the supermarkets on Hope Road near the American Embassy. They’re more expensive and just by wandering around the supermarket I’m sure they throw out a lot of stuff.P1060280

The reason I haven’t done any dumpster diving since I’ve been here is because you hardly have to! The trees everywhere you go are full of mangoes, breadfruit, ackee, tamarind, june plum, bananas,  jamaican cherry and jamaican apple….it’s impossible to go hungry!

So there you have it!

Jamaica on the cheap! Any specific info that you’d like, leave a comment here and ill be in touch 🙂

Bless up!

Jamaica- First Impressions

sunset beachSometimes I lie awake in my hammock, as the heat settles down in the late afternoon, reggae plays in the distance at some small bar; and with the sounds of the waves crashing on the shore and the low crackle of the fire nearby, and I wonder what kinds of things I must have done in a past life to have been blessed with so much freedom in this one…

I haven´t written for quite a few months. Life and love took me on a little rollarcoaster but I´m back on the road now, with the wind in my hair, a smile on my face, mangoes in my backpack and everything to live for!

P1060301Jamaica has always been a mystical place to me. And it´s also been a place I´ve wanted to visit ever since I knew what travel was. In fact, I have an old LP guidebook from 10 years ago  when I first travelled to Costa Rica. I´d bought it with me thinking I´d have the chance to travel here. But years have passed and my little feet have wandered across many a land before finally arriving here just 2 weeks ago!

Jamaica is in so many ways everything that I imagined it to be. The first thing you notice here is the tropical/ sauna-like heat associated with the entire equatorial belt. When I got out at the airport it took me back to when I flew into Cameroon in 2009. I remember thinking that the heat wave must be the plane engine as I walked down the stairs…but nope! That was just regular cameroonian heat.

P1060280All the fruit and vegetables and plant life are very central american or I guess caribbean. The place is alive and booming with lush mango trees, tall overhanging tamarind trees that drop their fruits all over the streets; the highways alined with huge breadfruit tress and the famous ackee that Jamaica is so well know for. Calabash trees abound, amoungst avocado tress and of course banana and plaintain fields.

The beaches are beautiful and the water both warm and transparent- typical of the shallow waters of the caribbean. And the island is a bumpy ride- with deep valleys and steep roads that wind over mountains.P1060281

Culturally however, Jamaica (in my opinion) has so much more in common with West Africa than it does with any Latin American continental nation.

It must be noted that I´ve only been in the country for 2 weeks so my opinion is barely valid. Nevertheless, I´m going to give it anyway and first impressions are always interesting to note.

Jamaicans dress and carry themselves a lot like west africans. And they seem interested in similar accessories , i.e. crazy coloured sunglasses, big silver and gold chains -think hip hop gangster- , women with braided hair extensions and colourful turbans wrapping up their hairs, people carrying baskets of food and goods on their heads, and lots and lots of colour!

The games the children play on the street and the way they utilise certain objects (plastic bottles, buckets, tree branches, nails, ice cream containers) for household appliances or furniture also has a very African influence.

Rastafarians are a different breed and I´ll comment on them separately in a different post.

I don´t mean to offend anyone with this comment but I really don´t feel as if Jamaicans are a particularily happy bunch of people. That´s the energy and the vibe I´ve been getting so far. Or perhaps they aren´t too happy to interact with foreigners or tourists, because I´ve encountered a lot of ill-tempered people so far.

It sounds so pessimistic, and don´t get me wrong, I have also met some nice people here, but particularily in comparison to any central american country, Jamaicans just don´t seem that joyful.

People here tend to be blunt and up front, certainly not too many ¨please¨ or ¨thankyou¨ ´s to be heard. And Jamaican´s have a very African way of demanding things as opposed to asking for them. ¨Gimme one cigarette¨, as opposed to ¨excuse me, may I have a cigarette?¨And these questions dont often contain intonation that would notify you that you are indeed being asked a question.

kingston-market09People on buses and in shops and restaurants seemed tired, hot and bothered and very few people smile and joke around. I get the impression that life is really tough here. On numerous occasions I´ve offered a ¨good morning¨ or a ¨whaa  gwaan¨ only to have it met with a stern and disinterested look. I´m very much hoping that this is an incorrect first impression and that Jamaicans will prove me wrong. 😀

A few Jamaicans I´ve asked about this blame it on the ¨british influence¨ (whatever that means), saying that they are more reserved, stern and a bit colder than surrounding countries because of colonial british influence. Something else that I´ve noticed is that rules don´t tend to be broken when it comes to authority. In Latin America, you can talk and wiggle your way out of almost any situation when it comes to authority or security or traffic police or nightclub bounces. And in Africa you tend to pay your way no matter what you´re trying to get away with. But here in Jamaica, something that might also be of British influence is that nothing seems negotiable. Don´t have ID to get into the club? Tough luck! Don´t have the right shoes on to go to this beach? Your problem! Don´t have the right papers or the right look about you? We make the rules! That kind of attitude. I´ve already been roughed up by immigration and a few police because of silly little things. Last week all I did was put my hammock up between two palm trees and I was told that ¨it disturbs the other tourists¨ and therefore goes against their rules and must be taken down immediately.

jamaicaAgain, don´t be mistaken, there are still groups of cheerful young Jamaicans having a laugh and strangers having a joke on the street, it´s just not as bubbly as Colombia or Brasil for example.

Obviously the language plays a huge role in the culture as well. Both Spanish and Portuguese languages lend themselves to so many more niceties and cute language diminutives than English does.

I´m off to pack up my backpack again and move to a different place. I plan on writing more about my impressions of Jamaica so watch this space! 🙂

$$ does not equal freedom or happiness…

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A few people have contacted me asking how the heck I manage to move so much and where am I pulling all this cash from…

I’ve mentioned that I’m going to efforts to eliminate money from my life entirely. I’ve read a lot of incredible books and met a lot of inspiring people across diverse cultures, am currently doing a Permaculture course and I feel like every day goes by I move closer to an understanding of how to live entirely in harmony with nature. But having been brought up in a city, there’s a LOT I still need to learn, and I understand that I’m  still quite a few years from getting to that point.

So here’s how I make those few dollars in the meantime…

You’ve probably seen people selling this kind of jewellery before, on beaches or in city plazas. It’s easy to learn and easy to carry around!

working in newtown

In all honesty, the greatest thing that I gain from doing this has nothing to do with money.

When I sit on the streets like this, in towns and cities I’ve just arrived in, I learn so much from observing those around me and start to gain an understanding of my new environment. Loads of people come up to talk to me and exchange ideas and energy, it’s always a really positive experience. Days often end with shared meals with new friends, or even couchsurfing at someones place I’ve just met; plus I get a chance to ask the locals all the tips and tricks of the trade (transport, communication, secret local hangouts/parties, abandoned houses to squat in, where to dumpster dive etc) that I’ll need to know for my time there.

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Obviously this doesn’t make me millions. But I don’t need or want millions. Something I consider extremely important in my life is my constant strive to be resourceful and live on as little as possible. (Almost everything I use to make my jewellery is locally sourced from whereever I am – so seeds, feathers, wood, shells etc). With my transport (hitching), accommodation (couchsurfing/camping), and most of my food (dumpster diving) covered; the amount of real cash that I actually “need” is really minimal.

If you’re serious about wandering around the globe without a lot of cash, it’s a good investment to learn a skill like this, or become a musician and busk; juggle at traffic lights, do dreadlocks, offer IT help or whatever talents you have. In short, learn how to do something that will allow you to make a small amount of money as you move, or harness a skill you currently have.

Alternatively you can wwoof, volunteer, or get jobs in the places you’d like to spend time.

If anyone is serious about learning macrame and/or how to make dreamcatchers and happens to be wherever I am , I am more than happy to teach you everything that I know and would be keen to see more people living this life and more support and love for people like us around the world. 😀

StreetBank


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Do you have so many lemons falling off your lemon tree you cant possibly use them all?

Do you think it’s a bit ridiculous that you go out and purchase a lawn mower knowing full well that the other 200 families in your street also own a lawn mower and probably don’t use it more than twice a month???

Do you have a bunch of things lying around your house that you hardly ever use and wish there were somebody who could make good use of them?

Do you wish you knew your neighbours?

Do you believe we are capable of building a better community??

Do you want to protect our environment??

This SUNDAY THE 1ST OF JUNE is Global Sharing Day!!

And the absolute, most incredible and fulfilling, worthwhile thing I can share with everybody is this wonderful website, inherently designed purely for that same thing- SHARING! 😀

 

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I was a member of FreeCycle until it merged with StreetBank last year (2013).

The idea is simple:

Streetbank is a website that allows you to see all that your neighbours are giving away or lending. It is a giant attic, skillshare, garden shed, toolkit, fancy dress chest, library and DVD collection for you and anyone living nearby.

Every time you leave your house and go out and PURCHASE something new, you’re contributing to ongoing problems of mass and violent consumerism across the world. When everything that you could possibly need for a healthy and wholesome life already exists, start being part of the solution, as opposed to the problem!

How it works:

For example, Marcus needs a long ladder to fix his guttering. He joins streetbank by putting in his postcode and finds that Caroline down the road has one which she hardly ever uses. Marcus borrows the ladder and now, when he meets Caroline in the street or at the park, they smile and say hello.

Who’s behind this idea?

Streetbank started in the UK, and has been launched in Australia by a dynamic group of young social campaigners in Sydney. Anyone, anywhere, can be part of streetbank.

sharing

What’s in it for me?

General happiness and a whole lot of free stuff! You save money, it’s good for the environment and you connect with your community.

What do I do?

Sign up, give your postcode, add one item and see all the items near your home.

What can I add?

Anything you like, it doesn’t have to be special. It can be a skill, a loan or a give-away. Maybe you are really good with computers and you’d be happy to help little old ladies in your neighbourhood getting their computers set up; or maybe you just bought a new BBQ and have an old one to give away; or maybe you have a guitar you barely use and you’d be happy for uni students in your area to borrow it so they can practice their music! If there’s something you want, streetbank lets you ask your neighbours for it too. Everyone is richer when we share.

Joining is easy at www.streetbank.com. The more people join up, the better the website will work. Let’s build a better, safer, richer and more sustainable community, and let’s do it together! 😀

“Home” Turf

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My home is my little backpack and the freeway, but if I were to call anywhere home it would be right here down under…

From all my hitchhiking, walking and running, I’ve developed the ultimate hitchers injury…a heel spur.

Super painful, and banned from hitching and carrying anything heavy for the next 6 months, I’ve flown to Australia to spend the summer with my family and mates down under.bjhvjh

Despite the limitations, I still can’t be stopped travelling, there’s just nothing that can stop me apparently!

So road trips it is!!!

Already did a few across parts of NSW, and now after a wicked New Years in Cairns, I hit the road headed West to Mount Isa and into Northern Territory to Tennant Creek and up to Darwin!kjkh

I got in touch with a lovely English couple on Couchsurfing looking for someone else to jump in their car to share petrol costs and off we went!

It kills me not to be hitching, but it sure is nice to sit back and enjoy the ride… and do a bit of the driving across this great red earth….

After New Years in Cairns, we’ve hit the road to Mount Isa, stopping just west of Charters Towers to camp. We stopped to have a coldie, a chat with Bob Katter and a rest in Mount Isa but then camped West about 200kms, right before the NT border. We arrived at the campsite at night and there was a river just nearby so I spent the better half of the night wondering what kind of horrific death I would suffer if there were indeed crocodiles.IMG_2647-Edit

The next morning we woke to a majestic sunrise and what felt like a million flies and hit the road into the Northern Territory. The landscape seems greener and more lush than I expected, even considering we’re here just before the big wet season. I imagined it more barren and red, but perhaps Western Australia will bring me those images.

Tennant Creek is nothing much to write home about, but we did stop to fill up the tank and have something to eat. I ate a can of corn, the last of my lettuce and 1 and a half carrots. From Tennant Creek we set off on the Stuart Highway heading due North, en route to Katherine. We stopped a few times to marvel at old towns and rusty old trains, before pulling up at the Pink Panther, a famous pub in a tiny little town on the highway called Larrimah. It used to be the end of the railway line from Alice headed north. So all the truckies coming south from Darwin would stop and load up from the trains coming North. We sat and had a well deserved beer with the owner Barry and his mates.larrimah

I asked Barry how many people lived in the town and he let out a sigh and looked at me like most people look at you when you ask them the population of their city.  “…oh, maybe about 5 or 6 darl’ …let’s see, ya got 2 o’er there in that joint, then ya got me and this lot ‘ere, ‘notha bloke up the road..yeah reckon about 6’ll do ya”.

We camped that night just south of Katherine in Elsey National Park. We set up our tents and made some pretty tasty penne with pesto sauce and played some cards as we waited for the night to cool down.

hkjhkIt was about 40 degrees in my tent so I spread out my fly on the ground outside the tent and lay there, gazing up at the starlit night sky as I waited for the night to cool down. I think I must of spent at least 3 hours there. I wasn’t sleepy, and I lay picking out constellations and wondering about life, love and my next adventures. The silence was immensely powerful. I thanked Mother Nature for all that she teaches us through her beauty and through her silence. I saw 2 shooting stars and dreamed up what would become of my 2014…

The following morning we had a swim in some natural hot springs just near Mataranka. It was nice to have a dip and float along the river. We stopped in Katherine to have some lunch and fill up with fuel and water for the last leg to Darwin.DarwintoAlice_Katherine_Hot_Springs_small_web

Here in Darwin I’m staying with a friend of mine, so it’s a luxury to have a cold shower, wash some clothes and sleep in a bed for a few nights. We should take off tomorrow to Kununurra and off to Broome.