Particles of Existence: a virtual exhibition at Montreal's Phi Centre

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Particles of Existence: a virtual exhibition at Montreal's Phi Centre

Walking through the doors of Old Port in Montreal's Phi Centre, I felt like I had been given a Golden Ticket to Mr Wonka's Chocolate Factory. I had viewed teasers from the exhibition on social media and follow some of the creators and the visit was on my Montreal to-do list from the moment I stepped off the plane. It did not disappoint.

  Discover the universe at a non-human scale and gain new insights on space travel, climate change and mass migration.

Discover the universe at a non-human scale and gain new insights on space travel, climate change and mass migration.

Covering themes so close to my heart, and offering very different experiences, the exhibition is an absolute must for anyone interested in Virtual Reality, immersive storytelling, design, art, documentary film and raising empathy through storytelling.

Highlights included going behind closed doors at NASA, discovering the inner workings of a sequoia tree, uncovering the wonders of the Hubble Telescope, standing aside the female warriors fighting back against the ISIS soldiers that sexually abused them, flying through the Chalk Room, and viewing the world from the perspective of different animals on a forest canopy floor.

Each experience celebrates the great opportunities for storytelling in immersive Virtual Reality, cultivating compassion as the stories lift the veil on climate change, mass migration, and women's empowerment to challenge our views on nature, violence, and justice.

You have until August 12th to go check it out - I will be going back for a second serving.


Opening hours and time slots:

Monday: closed

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday:
Starts at 10 AM, 2 PM and 6 PM

Wednesday:
Start at 2 PM

Saturday and Sunday:
Starts at 10 AM and 2 PM


Chalkroom, created by Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huang

chalkroom-vr

United States and Taiwan | 2017
Language: English
*Canadian premiere

Chalkroom is a virtual reality work created collaboratively by multimedia artist Laurie Anderson (United States) and mixed media artist Hsin-Chien Huang (Taiwan). While experiencing the work, the “reader” flies through an enormous structure made of words, drawings, and stories. Words sail through the air as emails. They fall into dust. They form and reform. The experience, which has been shown at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Taipei Museum of Fine Arts, and the 2017 Venice International Film Festival—where it won Best VR Experience (for Interactive Content), as La Camera Insabbiata—brings shape and dimension to the concept of story. Once you enter the work, you are free to roam and fly.


Chorus, created by Tyler Hurd, produced by Chris Milk (WITHIN) and Megan Ellison (Annapurna Pictures) with music by Justice

United States | 2018
Language: English
*Canadian premiere

Crystals, lasers, monsters, heroines. Transform into fantastical female warriors in this social virtual reality experience. Six people can band together to battle evil in this epic journey of empowerment, set to “Chorus,” a track by Justice.


Discovery Tour by Assassin’s Creed: Ancient Egypt, created by Ubisoft Montréal

Canada | 2018
Language: available in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin and Japanese

Discovery Tour by Assassin’s Creed: Ancient Egypt is a dedicated mode of the game that lets visitors free-roam beautiful ancient Egypt to learn more about its history and daily life. It is a world to discover and explore; a world free of conflict, time pressure, or gameplay constraints. This way, everyone—from players to history enthusiasts and even non-gamers—can discover at their own pace or set out on guided tours curated by historians and Egyptologists.


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Fistful of Stars, created by Eliza McNitt, produced and commissioned by National Sawdust

United States | 2017
Language: English

Explore the cosmos through the lens of the Hubble Telescope. Journey to the Orion Nebula and experience the birth, life, and death of a star. The atoms in our bodies were forged inside the furnaces of stars, therefore, we are literally stardust. Fistful of Stars is an immersive encounter with the cosmos that deepens our understanding of the universe. Through virtual reality, viewers are transported thousands of light years away as they discover that humans and the stars are connected. Fistful of Stars is accompanied by The Hubble Cantata, a musical composition by Paola Prestini,  performed by a 30-piece ensemble, 100-person choir, and two singers from the Metropolitan Opera.


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In the Eyes of the Animal, created by Marshmallow Laser Feast

United Kingdom | 2015
Language: English

This artistic interpretation of how animals view the world allows you to explore the forest through the eyes of four woodland species. In the Eyes of the Animal was developed by creative studio Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF). MLF delights in exploring the boundary between virtual and real-world experiences. Created using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs—also known as drones), LIDAR scans, and bespoke 360° cameras, this visual experience is complemented by a meditative binaural soundscape that incorporates audio recordings from United Kingdom forests.


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Isle of Dogs: Behind the Scenes (In Virtual Reality), created by FoxNext, Fox Searchlight, Google Spotlight Stories and Felix & Paul Studios

United States, Canada | 2018
Language: English
*Canadian premiere

This virtual reality experience places the viewer inside the miniature world of Wes Anderson’s stop-motion animation film. It features a series of “on set” interviews. With a selection of actors from the cast of Isle of Dogs. All of the actors play dogs in the film, and the interviews feature the animated dog puppets talking as the actors themselves as if between takes, discussing their roles and experiences on the film.


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Roxham, created by Michel Huneault, with Maude Thibodeau and Chantal Dumas, produced by NFB, in collaboration with Le Devoir, Phi and Dpt.

Canada | 2018
Language: available in English and French
*World premiere
(Virtual Reality Garden)

Photographer Michel Huneault takes you to Roxham Road, the location with the largest number of irregular border crossings by asylum seekers moving from the United States to Canada. Close to 20,000 people were intercepted here in 2017, a record number. Between February and August 2017, Huneault spent 16 days here, arriving early in the morning and leaving at nightfall, and documented more than 180 border-crossing attempts by people from more than 20 countries. Roxham is an immersive experience based on 32 true stories.


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Space Explorers: A New Dawn, created by Felix & Paul Studios, in collaboration with NASA, Oculus and Headspace Studios.

Canada | 2018
Language: English

Space Explorers: A New Dawn is a cinematic virtual reality experience about the new age of space exploration. Witness the lives of NASA astronauts as they navigate the trials and sacrifices of their training and missions. Explore the camaraderie of space programs around the world, and discover the latest advancements and plans for deep space exploration. Space Explorers: A New Dawn shines a light on mankind’s most ambitious journey to understand our planet, our universe and our origins.


The Sun Ladies, created by Christian Stephen and Céline Tricart, produced by Maria Bello and Céline Tricart

United States | 2018
Language: English
*Canadian premiere
(Virtual Reality Garden)

An in-depth look at the personal journey of the captain of the Sun Ladies, Xate Shingali, from her roots as a famous singer in Kurdistan to her new life as a soldier on the front lines, risking everything to stop the violence against her people. In 2014, ISIS fighters invaded Iraq and targeted the Yazidi community of Sinjar. The men were killed, and the women and girls taken as sex slaves. Some of the women who escaped started a female-only fighting unit called the Sun Ladies to bring back their sisters and defend the honour and dignity of their people. The audience is faced with the question: “Who would you be and what would you do faced with extreme inhumane violence against the people you love?”

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Treehugger: Wawona, created by Marshmallow Laser Feast

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United Kingdom | 2016
Language: English

If you have ever looked at a tree and dreamed of climbing to the heights of its canopy, glimpsing its inner workings, or dialling into its particular rhythms, Treehugger: Wawona is a virtual reality installation from Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF) that sheds light on this world beyond, rendering the invisible visible at last. Treehugger seeks to convey the immense scale of these trees and to question our relationship with the natural world during a time of crisis and change. MLF follows the principle that a person must relate to a subject to be moved or inspired by it. In the field of conservation, to wish to save something, you must first fall in love with it.


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Back on a surfboard!

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Back on a surfboard!

When I was a 'grommet', all I could think of was building a life based around surfing. I had a fleeting moment as a young teen surfer that I might strive to become a professional competitor, but truth be told I loved surfing mostly for the community, the travel, and that feeling of freedom that dancing on water permitted. Competing, sadly, gave me the shits (literally) and I simply could not stomach competition (pun intended).

Through my university years I surfed less and partied more. I dated a musician and our life was filled with live shows and loads of boozing. It was not until I moved to the coast of Japan, after a year in the mountains snowboarding, that I lived within walking distance from the surf and I possibly surfed harder and more frequently than ever. In my first trimester of pregnancy with Ryder, I jetted from Tokyo to Delhi, and spent almost a months surfing the west coast of India. Shortly after, my little bulging bump turned into a hindrance on a board, and I switched to an inflatable mat, getting in the water daily until the day of delivery. Post-baby, I surfed like a nut again, spending months in Australia with my cousin Serena, a surf coach and previously Australian champ, and also a new mum to baby Jet who was just two months older than Ryder.

Over the years that followed, I have learned that ocean and the joy it offers will always be a part of me, but that there is more to life than an unhealthy addiction to surfing. Travel and a love of the mountains has taken me off the beaten path more than once, particularly in the past two years as the kids and I have lived in locations far from the sea, such as Colombia's Bucaramanga, and Japan's Hakuba.

When I met Remy, it was as though we both felt the same about our love for surfing and our ease in adapting to varying landscapes and travel opportunities. In fact, in the first six months of living together in Australia, we surfed only once together. Our weekdays were filled with ocean swims and beach walks, but we had our heads buried in new pursuits - Virtual Reality development for me, and music for Remy. We thus did not hesitate to venture off on a surfboard-free road trip to far North Queensland, and then later a four-month epic across Asia and the Himalayas.

Fast forward a year, and we have both been missing the ocean. Jumping in for swims as much as we could during our weeks in Adelaide, when we arrived to Lennox Head to surprise the kids and re-organise our few belongings before Remy was to take off for a visa run to New Zealand (he left this morning) with plans to meet the kids and I in Canada by the end of the month, surfing was finally on the agenda.

 Out there! In my  Abysse  eco-friendly wetsuit.

Out there! In my Abysse eco-friendly wetsuit.

We snuck our first little session in back at The Pass, in Byron Bay, with my cousin Serena and her kids. Then yesterday, with the winds offshore and eager for one last mini adventure before Remy hit the skies, we threw our boards in the car and took the ferry over to South Ballina to my favourite wave around this area (name omitted). As a true gentleman would do, Remy let me paddle out for a couple waves first. The water like a bath and crystal clear, I felt at home again on my board, although my shoulders and legs in their jelly state were yet to catch up. My first wave a wobbly disaster, by the second I recalled what it felt like to surf and I felt a deep sense of connection to riding waves that may never be lost despite how many months I spend away from the sea on my travels.

 Eco-friendly wetsuit by  Abysse

Eco-friendly wetsuit by Abysse

 Remy tag-teaming daddy day care for a surf.

Remy tag-teaming daddy day care for a surf.

Remy was next, tag teaming daddy day care for the board and getting out there in board shorts to show me that this French surfer boy raised in Congo could still shred the lip, even tucking into a sneaky little closeout barrel and poking through the wave to claim a 'kinda' pit. After hours in the sun, with the kids screaming in joy as dolphins relentlessly bodysurfed the transparent waves, we packed up our gear and shuffled our sunburned pasty skin back to the car and home for one last family meal together for the month.

 Booby traps.

Booby traps.

I feel like I went another layer deeper with Remy today, sharing this love of surfing that we have both grown up with but not yet had the opportunity to experience much together in our relationship.

 Homeschool life.

Homeschool life.

As I kissed him goodbye this morning at Gold Coast Airport, my heart felt strong in our love and I bid him a great fucking trip.

See you in a few weeks babe. Ready for the next chapter.

Angie

xx

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Hit refresh

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Hit refresh

Let's start with the cliche, 'home is where the heart is.' We made the journey back to Lennox Head, surprising the boys and then all their friends. Ryder nearly cried. Hunter almost peed his pants. Lennox is, after all, the longest place they've ever 'lived' despite the continuous moves and overseas travels. But what makes this place truly special is the group of friends the boys have made over the years, a group that I am certain will be in each others' lives no matter how far the distance, no matter how far each of them eventually roam.

The first day back I felt that familiar feeling of nostalgia. After six months away, it felt like we'd never left. The sultry air, the hypnotic sound of crashing waves, the birds at dawn that wake me for my sunrise walk to the point and early swim...By the second day, nostalgia had turned to a lump in my chest, a strange sensation that made me feel uneasy. For some reason that I am yet to fully understand, I have never felt completely 'at home' here in Lennox Head, and I began to question "why?" and try to uncover what might be wrong with me that I can not seem to just bunker down in one place. It only took a few moments to remind myself this line of questioning is indeed pure madness. I have learnt over the years of travel and through many experiences that being grounded in heart can allow you to feel at home all over the world.

With Remy's final days in Australia approaching - his visa is expiring this week and he's bound for New Zealand before we all meet in Montreal at the end of the month - we have been spending as much time visiting friends and catching rays at the beach as possible. The constant movement has been exhausting, so today we opted for a quiet visit out to local waterfalls with our dear friend Cade.

Cade is a beautiful young man with an old soul. Not only does he make the best chai in the world - this is no joke, we have crawled the globe searching for a better chai latte and we are yet to discover a better brew than his - but he is also one of the most grounded and inspiring individuals we have met along the path. A fellow traveller, both internally and externally, I could spend hours chatting with Cade and today we certainly did.

After a dip in the freshwater swimming hole, I felt completely energized, a stark contrast to the lethargy I felt after a morning in the sun at the beach. Last year upon return from huge travels overseas, I made a commitment to spend more time inland visiting waterfalls and connecting with the energy of the lush rainforest that surrounds us here in the Northern Rivers. These visits gave me an opportunity to hit refresh on Sundays, giving me a booster that would continue through for the rest of the week.

With Remy leaving for three weeks, our biggest separation since we met, I will be making regular waterfall visits a part of my weekly routine, knowing that how I fuel my body and mind is a matter of conscious choices that I am making every day, every hour, every minute, every breath.

It is this grounding of heart that gives me peace, and trust in the journey ahead.

Angie

x

 With my love, Remy, at a local waterfall near Lennox Head. Pic: Cade McConnell

With my love, Remy, at a local waterfall near Lennox Head. Pic: Cade McConnell

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Homeless CEO - packed up and crossing Australia, in two days

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Homeless CEO - packed up and crossing Australia, in two days

First thing's first, I am committing to a solid effort to regularly blog from here on in.

So here's goes it. Rather than give a blow by blow update on the past six months of our Gypsy Journeys (go check out my YouTube channel and keep an eye out for more vids from our recent trip in Asia), let's just say for now that following our #crossingasia adventures, we landed back in Australia in early February and havebeen laying low in my hometown of Adelaide. By laying low I mean shaking our booties at Womadelaide and shooting some 360 video for my talented Aunty Evelyn Roth, reading a ton, indulging the festivities of the Fringe Festival, and frolicking in the dazzling Adelaide metro beaches. 

Today, we packed up our Toyota Prius and once again hit the road. As of today, I am a homeless CEO, and I couldn't be happier. Our bigger goal is Montreal, Canada. Today is the first step in a short process to get us there. After 18months of learning and yearning in immersive media, I am slowly cooking up a dream start-up with Montreal-based creative super mama Paula Toledo. More to come on this, but in the meantime check out our instagram and twitter at @welltechinnov.

 Teleported in the Aussie bush. I just love VR.

Teleported in the Aussie bush. I just love VR.

We kicked off the first of our two-day road trip from South Australia to New South Wales at 4am, with a solid 14hours of driving to land in Parkes for the night. Tomorrow we are off again at 4am, bound for Lennox Head, where we will be surprising the kids with a few weeks of catching up with friends whilst Remy gets kicked out of Oz (visa) to NZ and I begin logistical planning for Montreal.

Did I mention tomorrow we are off at 4am? I did, yep. Well, lucky for you, my droppy eyelids are begging me to log off, so I will spare you my shockingly crappy review of the Newell Highway Caravan Park - do not stay here, even in a cabin (we booked the family cabin for "2 adults and 2 kids" on booking dot com, then got pinged by the not-so-friendly Chinese owner for extra money for the kids)...

Bon nui (French spelling may not be on point).

 

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Back in Japan!

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Back in Japan!

 Hakuba, Japan. Pic: Angie Davis.

Hakuba, Japan. Pic: Angie Davis.

We finally made it to Japan, touching down a couple weeks back just in time for my 35th birthday. In what was kind of an anti-climax to the #crossingasia voyage, we decided to fly to Japan from Chengdu, in China, instead of take the ferry from Shanghai to Osaka, because quite frankly we were running out of budget and the boat was significantly more expensive than flying.

As vegans, we were also starving in China, a country that is definitely not ready to adopt the concept of taking meat out of anything, let alone creating stand-alone vegetarian dishes or anything vegan. The decision to fly the last leg, after traveling almost the entire route across six countries overland (bar the India to Thailand flight - unavoidable) was completely sporadic. We were cold, almost broke, and hungry one afternoon in Chengdu after arriving by overnight train and a few scrolls of my Instagram feed's #japow hashtags, plus a quote from the ferry company (over $1000 for the four of us to travel 48hours from Shanghai to Osaka sleeping on the floor), was enough to have me searching, and booking, the flights.

 Giant Panda toddlers at the Chengdu Panda Research Base, China. Pic: Angie Davis

Giant Panda toddlers at the Chengdu Panda Research Base, China. Pic: Angie Davis

To be honest, I wanted to get the boat, for half the price. But in life, sometimes we don't get what we want, we get what we need. Instead we high-tailed it to Japan, Remy and I spent two days in Tokyo together, without kids (who went to visit their father) for the first time in over three months, then we all took the bus to Hakuba and within days were shredding powder on the mountains and soaking in hot springs. The lesson: be strict, but flexible, in life, and thou shall be rewarded.

 Tokyo, always an action packed yet short visit. Pic: Angie Davis

Tokyo, always an action packed yet short visit. Pic: Angie Davis

So this is just a quick post to say HI, we made it, and we are now busy editing all our vlogs from the trip and writing articles to post and share! The Freeride World Tour is also in Hakuba this week and I've been on the mountain doing some media work for Evergreen Outdoor Centre, excitedly soaking up the action from all the shredders in the village and keeping my eyes peeled for Travis Rice, who has received a Wild Card entry to the Main Event, which is currently on hold until the snow dumps next week.

 Luke Smith from Evergreen Alpine Academy on his 3rd place victory run in the Freeride World Tour Hakuba Qualifier.

Luke Smith from Evergreen Alpine Academy on his 3rd place victory run in the Freeride World Tour Hakuba Qualifier.

Thanks for your patience with the Vlogs, they're coming, I promise.

Arigatou gozaimasu!

Angie x

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Pushkar Camel Fair: Happy camels or just human entertainment?

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Pushkar Camel Fair: Happy camels or just human entertainment?

The Pushkar Camel Fair had been on my 'to-do' list since I was the editor at Yahoo!7 Travel, when we'd create galleries and blogs about the world's craziest festivals. I'm not sure what attracted me the most at the time. Was it the cinematic elements of dressed up camels in the Rajasthani desert? Or was it the stories of gypsies gathering to trade their animals and enjoy the accompanying festivities? Probably both.

 Pushkar Camel Fair. Credit: Angie Davis

Pushkar Camel Fair. Credit: Angie Davis

In the six years gone since those gallery-building days, I have turned vegan, and have a completely new outlook on dressing up animals for entertainment. Regardless, as fate would have it I found myself on a bus to Pushkar at the tail-end of the 'Mela', Remy and the kids, and my camera, in tow.

The Mela

Held each November at the time of the Kartik Purnima full moon, Pushkar Camel Fair is quite the spectacle, attracting thousands of camels and their owners from all over the Indian desert region of Rajasthan, and visited by almost half a million people in just two weeks. Photographers and travel writers have long-documented this cinematic event, but I was intrigued to visit first-hand to witness both the carnival atmosphere and the camel vibes.

The fair is, admittedly, impressive. Seductive even. We arrive at dusk, and the light is a photographer's dream. As I rush around in the sand taking shots of the camels and their owners, I'm drawn to the community atmosphere oozing from the makeshift campsites of the traders. We are joined by a local Rajasthani musician whom we met in the market, who doubles as our guide and informant. He walks us through the hundreds of camels and humans and I'm in awe at the magnitude of this event.

 A camel taxi. Credit: Angie Davis

A camel taxi. Credit: Angie Davis

On one side of the fairgrounds are food and trinket stalls; camel decorations hang from shop tents like tinsel from a Christmas tree. Flamboyantly decorated camels stand attached to ruby red wagons, aka camel taxis, waiting for the tourists (mostly domestic) to hop in for a ride around the desert. Camels have a unique personality that I can't quite grasp; solemn, perhaps, proud, perhaps, but I'm quite sure I didn't spot a happy camel among the throngs. I see one camel tied at the knees, screeching as its owners try to force it to the ground. Another is being dressed decorations through the nose, similarly resisting with all its vocal might. One more walks heavily through the sand transporting a 'healthy' family of Indians in the red taxi cab, the camel master whipping the animal's rear to keep her inline. The kids are perplexed; such a wonder to be surrounded by these mystical animals, but why do they look so sad? Empathy builds.

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What we know about camels

"The earliest known camel, called Protylopus, lived in North America 40 to 50 million years ago (during the Eocene).[15] It was about the size of a rabbit and lived in the open woodlands of what is now South Dakota.[59][60] By 35 million years ago, the Poebrotherium was the size of a goat and had many more traits similar to camels and llamas.[61][62] The hoofed Stenomylus, which walked on the tips of its toes, also existed around this time, and the long-necked Aepycamelus evolved in the Miocene.[63]

The direct ancestor of all modern camels, Procamelus, existed in the upper Miocene and lower Pliocene.[64] Around 3–5 million years ago, the North American Camelidae spread to South America as part of the Great American Interchange via the newly formed Isthmus of Panama, where they gave rise to guanacos and related animals, and to Asia via the Bering land bridge.[15][59][60]

 A camel walks with its owner. Almost all camels left in the world are now domesticated. Credit: Angie Davis

A camel walks with its owner. Almost all camels left in the world are now domesticated. Credit: Angie Davis

The last camel native to North America was Camelops hesternus, which vanished along with horses, short-faced bears, mammoths and mastodons, ground sloths, sabertooth cats, and many other megafauna, coinciding with the migration of humans from Asia.[68][69]

Like the horse, before their extinction in their native land, camels spread across the Bering land bridge, moving the opposite direction from the Asian immigration to America, to survive in the Old World and eventually be domesticated and spread globally by humans. Most camels surviving today are domesticated.[40][70] Along with many other megafauna in North America, the original wild camels were wiped out during the spread of Native Americans from Asia into North America, 12,000 to 10,000 years ago.[68][69] Although feral populations exist in Australia, India and Kazakhstan, the only wild camels left are the wild Bactrian camels of the Gobi Desert.[9]" - Source: Wikipedia.

When should we transform tradition?

Years ago I joined my good friend and professional surfer Dave Rastovich to the south of Japan, filming for The Cove, a film that exposes the horrific annual dolphin drives and slaughters in Taiji, Wakayama. The night before our intended peaceful paddle-out ceremony to pay tribute to the dolphins who had lost their lives over the years in this eerie yet stunning bay, my ex-husband, Dave, Hannah Fraser and I found ourselves on a night-mission trip from Osaka to Taiji to meet with local fishermen and surfers to discuss the issue and potential solutions.

It has been clear to the dolphin hunters for many years now that the West does not support its capturing of dolphins for aquarium trade and the subsequent slaughter for meat that has now been well documented globally by the likes of Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd. And whilst Dave presented many alternatives for economic empowerment, including dolphin and whale watching, which would generate much more revenue for the fisherman and require far less physical output, the local consensus was made very clear: killing dolphins was their tradition and they weren't planning on stopping.

The irony of the Taiji saga is this: Japanese people don't eat dolphin. At least, not knowingly. Some eat whale as a delicacy, but those who consume dolphin are mostly unknown to the fact, with the meat sold under the term 'Whale Bacon', or being used for dog food and fertilizers. When The Cove was shown to Japanese citizens, many were shocked that the huntings were happening in Taiji at all and couldn't stomach the footage.

But despite the global attention that the film generated, the killings still continue, even under the watchful eye of the world. Tradition, for now, prevails.

 Camels and their traders camp in the sands at the Mela. Credit: Angie Davis

Camels and their traders camp in the sands at the Mela. Credit: Angie Davis

So what fate lies in store for the camels of Rajasthan, with almost half a million festival-goers treading through the sands each year to get up close and personal with these intriguing creatures and their pom-pom adornments? Let's hope more love is offered their way and as with the slow demise of elephant riding in Thailand humans raise their awareness to appreciate these creatures without exploiting them .

What do you think? Should we transform tradition in respect for the animals? Have your say in the comments below.

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Jaipur city sights

Jaipur city sights

Jaipur was our first destination of the 'Crossing Asia' adventure (with no planes, no plastics, and two kids!), and just a few days felt like a few weeks.

Arriving at midnight on Scoot Airlines from the Gold Coast via our layover in Singapore, I was not at all surprised to find our hotel transport was not there to greet us with a shady handmade sign bearing 'Angie Davis and Remy Richard' in smudgy black texta. Shame. Nevertheless, being my second trip to India, I had presumed this would be the case, and thus did not panic at all. Rather, it felt like the adventures were all beginning with the necessary 'happenings' (or 'not' happenings) that make India, well, that place you love and hate at every moment all at the same time. 

Funnily enough the fixed-price registered taxi that we succumbed to directly out front of the airport exit doors offered us a cheaper price than the hotel had promised. Winning. We met our bobble-headed driver and were soon whisked away into Jaipur's rather fresh, orange-lit night air.

Ahh, India. It felt good to be back.

Compared to my first arrival in India eight years prior, when I was pregnant with Ryder (now sitting by my side with boggle eyes taking in this strange yet seductive place ), I had landed in Delhi, and started my trip scared shitless. This time around I felt seasoned. I knew how to do India. Come on, bring it.

Our hotel, unlike that last time in Delhi, was better than I had gauged from the booking.com photos when I had booked a few weeks earlier (I like to book a hotel for the first couple of days when arriving into a new city at night, period). It offered clean rooms, check, a rooftop restaurant, check, and toilet paper. Bonus! We liked to so much we extended our stay an extra night, staying three in total, and took to settling in to our new home, taking off for long days exploring the city.

 Jaipur City Palace

Jaipur City Palace

Jaipur, in comparison to those years prior in Delhi, was, how can I put this, easy! Ok yes we were getting ripped off every time we breathed in a Tuk Tuk, and yes the streets were ear-piercingly noisy, dirty, and we counted more animals than we probably should have in the confinements of a major Indian city, but it was all so exhilarating and our movements all seemed to flow quite nicely. Heck, our Tuk Tuk driver (who we totally overpaid) even took us to a local textile factory where we saw men, yes men, stamping hand made fabrics with local dyes made from vegetables. For us vegans this was the jackpot!

 Hand printing with natural dyes at a textile factory in Jaipur

Hand printing with natural dyes at a textile factory in Jaipur

Now if you've been following our journey on social media, you will 1. notice that this blog post is weeks behind the actual events (apologies, the WiFi access and time to sit and write has been, well, as thin as uncle Brenton's crew cut), and 2. that we are completing our trip using no plastic drink bottles. AKA, no PETs. Now this made for interesting hydration experiences in India. Think 40°C heat, warm tap water, and a UV filter that kills all the bad things, except, you guessed it, the taste. 

Nevertheless I was proud of us for sticking to our plan from day one, hell if we had of caved on the first day I may as well have packed up and started flying all over the country (we are doing the trip with no planes, too), so I am happy we stuck to the plan.

You might also recall, if you're over the social airwaves, that I am attempting to daily VLOG, well as close to daily as possible, the entire journey. And lucky for you, the first two videos, shot in Jaipur, are edited and live on YouTube. Now if you'll forgive me I'd best be getting back to the five-week back log of edits so that I can keep slinging you some interesting content to view!

 Hunter loving the Tuk Tuks

Hunter loving the Tuk Tuks

If you go

We stayed at: Hotel Kalyan

We flew (the only planes of the trip) Gold Coast to Jaipur via Singapore with: Scoot Airlines

We are avoiding plastics by using: Steripen UV Filter

 A floating palace!

A floating palace!

Follow the journey

#crossingasia

YouTube

Instagram handles:

Remy: @remsrd
Angie: @theaniccaway @angiedavisfilms

Twitter: @theaniccaway

 

Overcoming fear on the journey

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Overcoming fear on the journey

Joy, discomfort, fear and trust. Notes from the Himalayas.

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Since arriving to India, beginning our four-month journey across Asia, I’ve felt fantastically in flow. Every day a wild adventure, full of action, education, inspiration and joy.

Two days ago we travelled 15hours with our driver Raj at night deep into the Himalayas, on potentially the most dangerous road on Earth. It was intense, but I felt no fear. Just frustration and pain, and a huge desire for comfort. Working through these intense emotions at 3am when every muscle of my body ached trying to hold my sick son in the back seat of a troopy whilst absolutely freezing my skinny little boobies off was challenging. Having both sons yell out ‘stop’ to the driver continuously along the way to vomit, was hard.

One of my great teachers, Guru Singh, says we can only grow from the space we have not previously occupied. He says: be comfortable in the uncomfortable. This is how we grow.

Tears filled my eyes at sunrise, as we passed the second-highest driveable pass in the world...I got my fucking period in a Himalayan Outdoor toilet with no paper, no water, and someone else’s giant shit looking at me from the squat bowl below. I thought I was done. But then I walked back to the makeshift tent where we’d stopped for chai and heat and saw my kids battling their altitude sickness with glassy eyes, and no whinging.

Those tough little ninjas made me pull my shit together. And a big cuddle from my love Remy - whenever one of us drops down, the other holds us up. We never crash at the same time. We’re good like that. The four of us. We’re a team. Each on our own individual journey, but each having the others’ backs. Our little internationally diverse family doing it our way.

Today, a simple thought caught some old rooted insecurities off guard, and instantly fear filled my mind, and subsequently my body. Fear about the future, questioning my self, my lover, money...what would come of all of this adventure?

Tears filled my eyes, and I felt ashamed. Ashamed that during the most intense, dangerous road trip of my life with my kids in tow I didn’t once feel fear, yet suddenly something so insignificant could set off a chain reaction of negative, self-sabotaging stories that could so quickly shift me out of my inner peace. I felt so ashamed I couldn’t communicate my feelings to Remy immediately, and watching his confusion was even more torturous. Communication is one of our greatest points together, and I was failing the team. More salt in the wound. Fear is a fucker like that.

He kissed my lips and sent me off to the shower, suggesting I finish off with ‘a coldie’; full power cold water for a minute or so. After the coldie I came back and clearly communicated my feelings. Instantly my fears were gone, as fast as they had arisen.

The answers to my questions were not answered. I don’t know what will come of all of this. I don’t know what will happen next, if money will come, if the kids can keep educating on the road, if I’ll write my book, if the other projects I want to work on will eventuate, if Remy and I will keep strengthening our love, if, if, if, if!

What I do know is that the ‘ifs’ will kill me.

Not trying, will trap me.

Not trusting, will break me.

Not loving, will destroy me.

In a couple days, we set off for Srinagar and Jammu, in Kashmir. The media says it’s unstable, the Australian government says do not travel there. The locals, of which we’ve met many here in Ladakh, say our route will be completely safe and the Kashmiris are welcoming travelers with open arms.

I don’t fear the journey.

It’s in the journey I feel most present.

It’s in the journey I overcome my self-sabotaging fears, and this is why I know deep down this path is the right one.

Trust in life, and life will flow through you abundantly.

That’s a simple little freedom.

Good night from the Himalayas xx

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Crossing Asia: The preparation

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Crossing Asia: The preparation

It all started with a plan to trek in Nepal to raise awareness for domestic violence survivors, and in a big way, experience the magic of the Himalayas with my kids as a voyage of healing for ourselves. But whilst in Nepal, it would be rude not to visit India, don't you think?

In the early days of dating my French boyfriend Remy, I had shared with him about the trek and he'd soon expressed interest in joining our adventures.

When tickets popped up for A$250 one way from the Gold Coast to Jaipur, it was set in stone. With four plane tickets booked, we would begin our journey in India, cross over into Nepal overland, and continue east across the largest continent on Earth, with no planes and no plastics, in an attempt to reduce our carbon footprint and just generally see more.

So here we are two days out from the beginning of our epic journey, #crossingasia from India to Japan, on a minimal budget, over a time frame of roughly four months and just a couple of rucksacks, a camera, a microphone, and a guitar. Oh, and two kids.

Until a week ago, we didn't even have backpacks, let alone good weatherproof gear - the kids and I had left all our snow wear in Japan awaiting the next season. And then there was the problem of clean drinking water and a pledge to not consume single-use plastics. How could we cross Asia - notorious for poor drinking water and choking with plastic waste - without consuming plastic PET bottles of water?

I reached out to Paddy Pallin and explained our cause, and the team loved the concept and offered a helping hand. So last weekend, Remy, the boys and I popped up to Brisbane, a mere three-hour drive from Byron Bay, to get fitted with new rucksacks for the trip, hydration packs for the kids, lifetime warranty socks to keep our sole transportation devices, our feet, warm and dry, and to pick up perhaps the coolest travel item I have ever owned, the SteriPen, a UV water filtration 'pen' that charges with a USB and over its lifetime saves the user from consuming 16,000 plastic bottles. Best yet, it has a lifetime warranty; if you reach the end of its 8,000 charge cycles, the company will replace your pen with a new one.

We Vlogged our journey up to Brisbane and a first-test of the SteriPen. Check it out below, and subscribe to my YouTube channel (and turn on notifications) to follow our journey as it unfolds in a couple of days.

 

 

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A secret waterfall in Australia

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A secret waterfall in Australia

Where do you go when all the beaches are blown out with putrid winds and the temperature hits 38 degrees Celsius? Inland. Last Sunday I dragged the tribe out of the cool comfort of our concrete floor rental studio for a three hour drive south in search of nature's best refresher, a waterfall.

The walk in was hot and full of flies but the falls and swimming hole were worth every minute. Now that the temperature is heating up dramatically, it's getting harder to find cold water to keep up our Wim Hof Method training, crucial for our goals to immerse in frozen lakes in bikinis and shorts in the Himalayas next month. Inland waterholes are always colder than the ocean or lakes near the sea, and these particular falls were incredibly refreshing and we all certainly felt recharged after a few hours playing in the pools.

Below is our VLOG from the day. If you want to see more of our journeys, go check out my YouTube channel and subscribe (with notifications on) to get the latest videos first.

It would mean the world to me if you would leave your feedback. What videos do you like best? What do you want to see more of? What topics other than travel would you like me to cover off in my Vlogs?

Thanks for the ongoing support.

Peace,

Angie

x

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Behind the Scenes with Divine Goddess Yoga

Behind the Scenes with Divine Goddess Yoga

Monday Morning:

4am Wakeup

5am Drive Remy to work

6am Yoga and Check emails

7am Cook vegan pancakes for the kids

8am Editing vlogs

9am Journey down to Broken Head Beach to join the Divine Goddess Yoga Products team on their campaign shoot, kids in tow (school holidays)

9-9:45am Shoot behind the scenes video footage for VLOG

10am Run off to pick Remy up from work (car sharing blues)

11am Start editing

12pm Start the rest of my work day

Mamas, struggling to find time? It's easy to fall into the cycle of excuses. Juggling shit can be hard, but we are truly capable of more than we realize.

Resilience is a double edged sword. It kept me in an abusive marriage for 10 years. Now it is the fuel I need to pack as much as I can into my days to achieve all I want, and can.

Life is not a rehearsal, it's happening now.

Be resourceful, start today, and start saying 'I can' instead of "I need more time."

Stay healthy, never compromise on health, but note that the fitter, stronger and healthier you become, the more energy you will have and energy = time.

Enjoy the Vlog!

Thank you Divine Goddess Yoga Products for inviting me to be a part of your campaign, the collection looks absolutely gorgeous.

Under promise, over deliver

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Under promise, over deliver

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Under promise, over deliver. A concept I've had to really learn over the years, where growing up my father always expected the best from me and heaven forbid I should fall short of perfect. It's a great practice though, to be sure of your promise, then deliver above that, and is relevant in all areas of life, from business to creative to relationships.

When Remy and I met, I was a single mum sole parent living in a tipi, with no possessions but a car, surfboard, books and a suitcase of clothes. I couldn't offer much materially, and raising two kids whilst running my own freelance creative business meant money wasn't quite abundant, but I do remember thinking (and I probably said it aloud): "I don't know where we're going together, and I have no expectations, but I promise you it won't be boring."

In four months we've lived together in my gypsy palace tipi, chased waterfalls, covered 8,000kms and 14 campsites in Far North Queensland, went to Sydney for a charity Gala with Tibetan and Japanese musicians, and in just over a month we start a four month journey #crossingasia between India and Japan, trekking the Himalayas, playing music with kids in rural schools, testing virtual reality, and trying to do it all without planes and plastic free. I'm not quite sure what's going to come from this trip, but intuition tells me it's going to be nothing short of boring. 

 

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Mama and son surf

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Mama and son surf

I have been avoiding surfing like the plague. I am not kidding, it's actually got to the point where I don't think I can call myself a surfer anymore. Since I witnessed the shark attack and death of my friend Tadashi two years ago, I have struggled to get back into the daily flow of surfing. Excuses fill up easily, and I just have not managed to get back into the swing of things.

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To be honest, it doesn't bother me much. I love surfing and it will always be in my life, I have simply lost the passion to surf everyday. I have yoga, creativity, and I still manage to jump in the ocean often, so I don't feel I am missing out.

I have pangs of guilt that I don't take my sons surfing anymore, as there was a time when I was religiously taking them to the beach every Saturday. Remy actually dragged me away from my laptop yesterday, and down to Broken Head, whilst I decided I would raise some low vibes and start whinging about the wind and the busy car park. It's funny how nature, and kids, can change your vibes in an instant - from one side to the other and reverse!

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After lying on the beach for a while soaking up some sun - and secretly loving every minute of it - Ryder came and asked me if I would take him surfing. When your son asks you to take him surfing, you don't say no, ever. This is my 101 active mama rule and I stick to it. So, wind chop and all, out we waded into waist deep water and had an absolute ball.

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I love creating content so much, and kick myself that I haven't been filming the past 10 years of my life, but it's never too late to share the journey and by committing to you guys to produce regular Vlogs and blogs, it actually inspires me to live more outside the box than ever!

So here is a little edit from our surf session, and a lovely reminder that sometimes the things you just don't want to do are what you need to do because you'll feel so much better after it. Surfing, yoga, meditation...just do it!

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Kangaroos get up close and personal in 360 video!

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Kangaroos get up close and personal in 360 video!

I have been editing our 360 vlogs from the Far North Queensland trip like a madwoman. It has been an exciting learning curve to be physically filming and editing in 360, and I am loving this medium for storytelling and teleportation.

On our recent visit to the north of Australia, we encountered some over-friendly kangaroos, with Ryder even having one jump straight over his head!

Check it all out in 360 video - move the cursor around to view the full sphere of footage, or if you are on mobile you can move your device around to take it all in. Don't forget to switch on HD, we shot these videos in 4K.

Enjoy!

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What we learned living in tents for four months

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What we learned living in tents for four months

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I have something to confess.

It’s hardly a secret for those of you following my social media, but if you’ve been living off the gram, you might have missed this one.

Ok here goes…

After four months living in tents, I caved, and on Saturday we were offered to move into a two-bedroom studio, and I accepted.

First reason, the rent was $8 more for a house than for an unpowered patch of grass, and since we returned from our trip north (360 travel videos coming soon) the caravan park had moved us from our large, shady spot opposite Lake Ainsworth, to an exposed, smaller site where we were getting smashed by rain, hail, wind, sun, and other humans.

Second reason, the food and kitchen boxes had started to do my head in. Perhaps it was simply that following our three-week trip north, where we pitched our tents in 14 different locations, I was exhausted and wanted to come home to a ‘holiday’, where cooking for my family (which I love doing) didn’t mean trudging around a caravan park with a gas stove, gas bottle, two kitchen boxes, especially in the pouring rain or brutal winds. For some reason, it all seemed so much easier until a week ago.

Third reason, with seven weeks to go before our epic #asiacrossing where we will cross seven countries from India to Japan over three plus months, I need to buckle down into my laptop and smash some work, edit videos and start Vlogging (YouTube channel launching in September!), and start selling off our accumulated ‘stuff’ (again) before we hit the skies.

So yeah, the timing was impeccable. I hadn’t even considered moving until that morning, and followed through with a spontaneous message to a friend whose empty studio Remy (my boyfriend) had been painting. We moved in the same day.

In a matter of days, with my Ninja blender plugged in to power finally, I had made batches of organic almond milk, bliss balls, salsa, macadamia butter, and daily smoothies, nurturing my family from the luxury of a small kitchen and feeling like a mum-boss. Not to mention how much work I’ve been getting done.

But, there are things I miss profoundly about living in a tipi, like waking up to jump in the cold lake, hearing the birds, and sleeping on the ground. In fact, since moving to a bed, like a ‘real’ one off the ground with a thick mattress, inside a bedroom with four walls and a roof, I have had the worst sleeps this year. Interesting right! Not to mention we go to bed much later, which is good on one hand – I’m being more productive – but on the other hand I feel my body is being stimulated by artificial lighting and thus making it harder for me to fall asleep.

The kids love having a TV, but at the same time they’re being boisterous around the house, jumping off furniture and they even tried to create a slide out of a didgeridoo. The difference is clear: when we lived at the caravan park, the tents were simply bedrooms, for sleeping, and the outdoors, nature, was their home. They played outside from sun up until sun down, minus the time they spend at school, but in a house the temptation to be inside, watching TV, and ultimately getting ‘bored’ easily makes for chaos.

I am so grateful for the four months we lived in tents. What I learned about simplicity, sustainability, and also about myself, could not have been taught to be without actually living the experience. There is no doubt in my mind that one day I will buy some land, build myself a little cabin with a sleeping deck surrounded by glass walls, a bed on the floor, and space for me to pitch a tipi whenever I want to be closer to nature. I’m consciously walking outside to stand in the grass barefoot, something we were doing throughout the day when we were camping but when you are in a house you can’t ‘earth’ as easily what with concrete, tiles, carpet and floorboards.

But one of the most important lessons, a recurring theme throughout these recent years of transformation, is to not get too attached to a place, for your life can change in a breath. We are making the most of the comforts of a house before we hit the unknown road, where we will venture to the depths of the Himalayas, working closely with the Australian Himalayan Foundation and women’s refuges like Her Farm Nepal, across India, Nepal and Bhutan, before heading East crossing into China, Mongolia, Korea and finally Japan, my kids’ second land of origin.

What follows that adventure we are yet to be sure, but one thing we do know is that the more we live outside the box, the more we grow, and the more we grow, the more we live our most authentic selves.


Check out the first in our 360 Vlogs from the Far North Queensland trip! What do you think?

Subscribe to my YouTube channel and turn on notifications and stay up to date with our travels and the preparation for our big Asia trip. I'll be Vlogging regularly in traditional video and 360, so come and join us for the ride!

 

 

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Help! Nits on an 8,000km road trip are not our friends

Help! Nits on an 8,000km road trip are not our friends

 It's all fun and games until nits join the party. 

It's all fun and games until nits join the party. 

You meet the boy, fall in love, he accepts your 'baggage' aka two kids under seven (living in tents that occasionally flood...) and after a few months decide to hit the road for an 8,000km epic road trip north as a foursome only to discover a few days in that you're all infested with head lice.

Seriously...

Now my mother was a hairdresser for over 30 years, and in my childhood I never had nits, not even once. Ironically Remy's mum too was a hairdresser, and yup, he never had nits either.  

Over the 10 months the kids and I were traveling last year, they didn't have nits. Hello Lennox Head, you have a head lice epidemic! 

This year has been the worst, I even shaved my boys' heads and they still re-infested. 

The problem is when the little buggers spread into my long, wild, wavy hair...I'm doomed. I barely get a brush through my hair once a month let alone one of those minute-teethed nit combs. Impossible.

But when Remy started scratching like a dog with fleas, enough was enough. 

Treatment  

You all know I'm a natural girl so of course I've been treating nits with the likes of tea tree oil and organic conditioners, and yes, those bloody combs. But with all of us whisking our fingers through our hair constantly scratching on the road trip, it was time for the big guns: KP24. 

"I told you so" piped my mum on the phone. Yeah yeah whatever...I'm desperate. 

$44 later, I'm back at our tentsite at Mission Beach lining up the troops and dousing our heads with the treatment. 

It. Did. Not. Work. 

Legit. 

I've done three treatments on myself in two weeks and those little buggers will not die. They've evolved, super nits and indestructible. I'm at my wits end. I'm shaving the kids heads again, but I'm not going bald for the cause! 

I'm not taking these little suckers to India, so we have eight weeks to eliminate completely! 

What to do! 

Help! 

What is your go-to nit plan?

Going naked in nature for health

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Going naked in nature for health

Waterfalls are best enjoyed in the nude. I wouldn't say I have always been 100 per cent comfortable with my body, but the decade I lived in Japan certainly released my inhibitions around the female form; bathing nude with women of all shapes and sizes, pubic hair and not, will soon teach you we are all remarkably different and beautiful in our own skin. 

The female body is indeed magnificent. Having observed the changes to my own body over the past eight years since carrying and birthing two children, I am somewhat mind blown at what the female form is capable of. I am certainly not one to obsess over my body, and have chosen out of pure convenience to sway away from wearing makeup almost all of my adult life.

(*Whilst writing this post I popped into the campground toilet block and stumbled upon a young girl no older than 10 years old leaned over the bathroom sinks applying make up. It's 2pm on a Monday during school holidays.)

I have 'life lines' across my forehead and bum; scars of lessons learned, child bearing, and imperfect perfection. My boobs have gone from a decent handful to exploding during child rearing to post-breastfeeding mini cups with 'life-full' nipples.

I have experienced being the only waxed woman in a public bathing house full of pubic hair; I find it so interesting how the Japanese shave their face, arms, backs, and legs, yet find it weird to remove pubic hair, just as intriguing for my Asian friends as to why us westerners enjoy a smooth genital region but let our arm hair grow wild!

The longer I live in a tent, the more I am keen to be naked in nature. Perhaps it's the early swims in the cold lake, or it's those moments spent soaking up the sun on a picnic blanket on the grass outside my tent (both I partake in with bikinis, for the sake of the old caravan travelers with front-row seats to my campsite), but the closer I am to nature the more it has begun to feel unnatural to be layered in clothing.

So when the Leo Monkey and I ventured to local 'secret' waterfalls last week, it was a no brainer that we would get our kits off and immerse our naked selves in nature for a few hours.

With the cascades alive with gushing waters from the weeks of recent rain, and the swimming hole racing with current, the energy transaction of cold, moving water to skin was intense and invigorating. Swimming around the pools naked was an empowering and recharging experience, but I think Remy's cliff jump (and lucky last-minute hand-save of the genitals) was the highlight of the morning.


Aside from feeling free and empowered, being naked is really good for our health. Here are five reasons you should get your kit off more often:

1. Boosts your immune system

Being naked, especially when you are exposing your free body to the sun's rays, increases your body's intake of vitamin D, which is directly related to your immune system. With sufficient levels of vitamin D you are at your optimum for beating off viruses, such as the common house cold and flu.  If you have a nice patch of grass out back, a warm balcony, or know of a local slice of nature that you can enjoy in solitude, then take the opportunity to enjoy some 'clothes-free' time each week.

2. Prevents bacteria growth

As with the rest of your body, your genitals need some time to air out. Vaginas in particular can be prone to bacteria or yeast over growth that can lead to infections. Sleeping naked is a great way to let your vagina breathe instead of having it constantly cloaked in clothing - especially if you are not wearing organic cotton underwear during the days. Sleep naked to help maintain your healthy level of vagina flora.

3. Promotes self-love

Being comfortable with your own skin promotes self-love, something that is profoundly lacking in our modern societies. Getting naked, especially in the outdoors, is a great way to become more comfortable with your body. Take the time to feel yourself, making mental (or vocal) affirmations about the love you have for your body.

4. Encourages self healing

Spending time in the nude is an intimate way to get to know our body and any potential issues or health problems that can arise as symptoms in the skin. What is the correlation to skin problems and physical or mental health? The secret lies in our cells. Biodecoding® is a new way of decoding any type of symptoms (physical, emotional or mental) and resolving their underlying bio-emotional and ancestral cause at the cellular level through a signature methodology. It is a complementary approach to any conventional and alternative treatments, which has the potential to unlock and speed up healing for permanent results.

5. Promotes better sex

High vibes attract high vibes. Feeling confident with your naked self is sexy. Spending time during the daylight hours, especially in nature, with your partner is a great natural way to enhance sexuality and can serve as excellent foreplay. Sex in nature is the ultimate; it is highly erotic and awakens the senses. Just be sure to watch out for unsuspecting insects, snakes, and other unwanted guests when you are getting your groove on in the outdoors.

 

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Wollumbin - Mt. Warning Summit Climb.

Wollumbin - Mt. Warning Summit Climb.

Walking with eyes wide open

We have clocked over a month in the tents. Last week, radical weather hindered my morning WHM and lake swim routine for a few days. The nights were impressive. Cyclonic winds and torrential rain. My brave tent shielded the brunt of the storm but by day break it on the first full day of the storm it was well and truly flooded. The kids survived clean and dry but it took some handy French engineering to drain our main tent site dry, with the interior remaining flooded and requiring a mass evacuation of books, bedding, guitar and didgeridoo. It was predicted it would rain for over a week, and sure enough, it has. The sun displayed some mercy for a half day, shining forth a few rays to dry my gypsy palace just enough to rest my head again.

Backtrack a week.

Wollumbin - Mt. Warning Climb

Seven years in the Northern Rivers region, split between Byron and Lennox/Ballina shires, and until this month I had not ventured up the sacred Aboriginal grounds of Wollumbin (Aboriginal name), aka Mt. Warning. The mountain is the remnant central vent of an ancient volcano, and is a sacred place of great significance to the people of the Bundjalung Nation. It is the first place on the Australian mainland to be touched by the morning sun.

With the charming French monkey Remy by my side, we hit the track mid-morning and reached the summit around noon for breathtaking views and a midday picnic. The trek is more of a steep nine kilometer return walk and climb, and took us just under two hours to reach the summit, passing through subtropical and temperate lush rainforest, wet sclerophyll forest and heath scrubland that has to a large extent recently damaged the track from strong, consistent storm fronts. The climb to the peak ends with a chain-assisted rock scramble before reaching the summit, where we were greeted with sweeping views of the Northern Rivers and Tweed Valley regions. Atop the summit time is best spent soaking in the sun on a picnic blanket; take some snacks and water to enjoy before the climb back down.

The weather was in our favour on this day and we made it back down to Byron Bay just before sunset and the full moon rising, and we sat witness to day merging into night from atop the grassy knoll at Little Wategoes. Dolphins danced at twilight in the breaking waves, runners sweated it out en route to the Lighthouse, while lovers walked hand in soaking in the evening sky's colourful palette.

As we watched the sun bid farewell to our gaze for the last time that day, Mt. Warning soaked up the final rays, visible from our perch in the Bay. It was quite magical to contemplate we had been lying on a small patch of grass eating nuts and fruits at the top of the mountain earlier that day, and were now just a touch above sea level, looking on.

Days like these remind me to walk this world with my eyes open, and appreciate every way this journey takes us, North, East, South and West. With awareness, we can equally learn to appreciated the moon as we do the sun, the wind and the rain, fire and earth. This is wholeness, unity, and necessary for a harmonious, authentic life.

With love and gratitude,

Angie

xx

Nepal Trek for Domestic Violence Awareness

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Nepal Trek for Domestic Violence Awareness

Registration is now open to join our First We Walk Nepal Himalaya Expedition to trek the Gosainkunda Lake region, November 2017, for Domestic Violence Awareness.

From November 15-27, you can join me, my ninja turtle kids, and like-minded trekkers from around the world on an incredible expedition in the Nepali Himalayas. Our trekkers will all be fundraising throughout the year leading up to the trek, with 100% of public donations going to Her Farm Nepal, a non-profit women's agricultural refuge in Nepal growing hope for the Himalayas.

Objectives

  • Raise funds to finance a new Greenhouse for Her Farm Nepal, and a women's micro-finance fund;
  • Host a 3-day 'thrive' retreat at Her Farm (limited spaces available) following the trek, to share skills and stories as a global community (yoga, meditation, Wim Hof Method introduction, agricultural farming, storytelling for film making, holistic therapy);
  • Raise global awareness for domestic and gender-based violence;
  • Inspire unity consciousness.

The Trek

12-days from Kathmandu through the Gosainkunda region and return to Kathmandu.

The Gosainkunda area has been delineated as a religious site. Hindu Mythology attributes Gosainkunda as the abode of the Hindu deities Shiva and Gauri. The Hindu scriptures Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu Parana and the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata refer to the Samudra manthan, which is directly related to the origin of Gosainkunda. Its waters are considered holy and of particular significance during the Gangadashahara and the Janao Purnima festivals where thousands of pilgrims from Nepal and India visit the region. Gosainkunda is believed to have been created by Lord Shiva when he thrust his holy Trident into a mountain to extract water so he could cool his stinging throat after he had swallowed poison.

The main inhabitants of Gosainkunda region are Tamang and Sherpa (of Tibetan origin), whose religion, culture, language and dress are similar to the Tibetan people. Gosainkunda trekking offers an incredible opportunity to experience Nepal's unique combination of cultures, landscapes, stunning mountains and diverse wildlife and vegetation.

For full details and to download the trekkers information PDF, visit: http://www.theaniccaway.com/nepal-2017/

There will then be limited spaces are available for trekkers to join us at Her Farm following the trek, from November 27th to host a 3-day workshop with the women, sharing skills and stories. We will practice yoga, meditation, and breath work, hold a storytelling for filmmaking workshop, learn agricultural techniques from the women, and share stories and sacred space as a global community of women (and men!)

Register your involvement today ad join us to make a change and help end domestic and gender-based violence worldwide.

 

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Why we moved into tents and found freedom

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Why we moved into tents and found freedom

Eight months ago I sold or gave away almost all our possessions, keeping just a few suitcases of clothes, books, and my car (that I tried to sell but it didn't). I took my sons overseas and followed the rhythms of life to Colombia, USA, and Japan. We came 'home' at the kids request for a while to catch up with their mates and school, but my gypsy heart (and bank account) isn't ready to settle too deeply, and I've got used to having very few things, which has given me more joy than all the things I've ever had.

So I decided we were going to live in tents - plural, I'm not sharing mine with lego. 'Home' to the kids is where school, aka 'friends', is, here in Lennox Head, Australia, and when everything is within a couple blocks from the local camp ground that fronts a Tea Tree Lake on one side, and the ocean on the other, well who was I to complain? 

The kids picked a spot overlooking the Tea Tree lake as our designated 'home', so that we could wake up, unzip our tents, and eat breakkie by the lake. We moved in six days ago, copped two nights and a day of heavy rain, much to the delight of our new feathered friends.

Each morning I wake before the sun, practicing the Wim Hof Method of breathing - currently in Week 4 - meditating, stretching, then jumping in the cold lake as the sun rises, as part of my cold immersion training but also I'm building up my stroke count and aim to do be completing full laps of the lake within a few weeks. 

The kids are asleep with the stars, and up with the sun, and aside from school they now spend almost every waking minute outdoors. I've not seen them happier in life. Today Ryder, my eldest (7yo) followed me to the laundry room as apparently the simple act of putting money in the coin slot is freaking cool AF. He has to help put the clothes in the right way (which translates to him undressing with more caution now as to save him an extra job later), popping them into the washing machine, measuring out the liquid, placing it into the soap slot, closing the door, putting in the money, selecting the wash cycle and pushing start. I'm not allowed to overstep a single process; he is in charge. For $4 a load, knowing my 7yo can do laundry by himself and is learning to appreciate the steps involved, and the lack of gender-bias around this chore...worthwhile investment. Camp life is the best.

It is truly something special to take a step back from where society expects us to be operating, and lie here in my tent at night with the outer-shellopen looking at the stars as I type this post. I work some 20-40 hours per week, sole-parent two active sons, train Muay Thai 2-3 times per week, practice yoga every day, meditate, practice WHM, prepare meals, do laundry, read books, listen to podcasts...you might say I'm an active single mum with a full time career, but I live in a tent AND I've never felt freeer. The biggest difference I've noticed is my domestic duties. Whilst still up there in terms of time spent in the day, they have reduced dramatically. There are no rooms to clean, no bathrooms to scrub, paying for laundry use means I'm washing once a week, and with no 'stuff' - especially toys - to clean up, I feel such a huge weight has lifted from my shoulders.

Part of my mission is to raise awareness and money for domestic violence survivors and single mums, and I'll be trekking in Nepal for @firstwewalk in support of @herfarmnepal later this year (check them out on Insta). 

With over 85% of DV victims returning to their abusers due to financial constraints, unavailable safe housing (a 10+ year wait in the Northern Rivers region of Australia), and the stresses of sole-parenting whilst in the thick of post-traumatic symptoms, many women feel there's no better life for them and would rather go back to the violence than walk forward in struggle alone. 

I was once that woman; I went back time and time again for a decade. In the three years since finally walking free, I have struggled through intense financial hardship, near bankruptcy, alcohol and drug abuse, PST, ongoing threats from my ex husband, but some burning fire inside of me would not go out, and I have pushed through challenge after challenge knowing my life has a higher purpose. Going sober and vegan a year ago was the beginning of a new trajectory, a life-changing pivot point that I look back in with incredible appreciation. I found new love and later had to let him go, which then took me to the depths of heart break on one hand, and awakened me to mutual unconditional love on the other, an experience that grew me exponentially and saw me begin to realize the great self love that I was missing within. The love that man gave me was something I could then take and bring in to self, and I'm so proud of the honest love and trust we share ongoing despite no longer being together. Since awakening this warrior woman, who I now stimulate daily through martial arts and immersing myself at the mercy of Mother Nature's elements, I have discovered an inner strength that I commit to cultivating daily, a previously untapped potential that all women - and men - are sitting on. 

Some days I scold myself for sharing my life so publicly, and I realize my openness isn't stomachable for all. But this past week since sharing our tentlife mission with social media, I have had such an influx of comments and messages from friends, family and strangers expressing their thanks for inspiring them in some way. Just last weekend at my cousin's wedding, an old family friend thanked me in person for posting photos of myself in yoga poses around the world: "I forget to move and your pics remind me to stretch," he said, which made me smile, because I'm certainly no yogi, but it is yoga too that has saved my life. I'm grateful my snaps can help ignite someone to get into their body, as I am greatly inspired by the many yogis of Instagram.

Donations for our Nepal trek will open soon, and after speaking today with the guide who will be leading me and my team on the Gosainkunda Lake trek route - including some frozen lakes for me to practice my cold immersion in and high altitude peaks for us to climb - I am delighted to announce that we will be opening the trek to the public and registration will launch soon. And the best news is my kids will be joining us on the trek!

The Gosainkunda Lake is a holy Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage site and one of the most beautiful trekking locations in the Himalayas. I'll be sharing more information in the coming days, but I encourage anyone interested in participating in the trek to look into studying the 10-week Wim Hof Course, available online. My goal is to introduce the method to the women at Her Farm, as it is an incredible tool for trauma and abuse survivors to control the body's fight or flight response.

🙏🏼 Poverty is a state of mind friends; unleash the power within ⚡️ 

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