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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Ancient volcanoes, and 500 waterfalls

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Ancient volcanoes, and 500 waterfalls

There are over 500 waterfalls in Lamington National Park; we covered three in half a day. If we are falling short of our #100waterfallschallenge goal near the end of the year, we'll hang in the park for a month and cover them all.

This area is oozing with history, and the kids and I soaked it all up on our short 8km adventure along the Main Border Track. Here's what you need to know:

  • The 20,600 hectares Lamington National Park is known for its natural beauty, rainforests, birdlife, ancient trees, waterfalls, walking tracks and mountain views;
  • There are 500 waterfalls;
  • David Attenborough visited and filmed the park while making the 1979 television series Life on Earth in which beech trees and bowerbirds were featured;
  • Lamington National Park is home to one of the most diverse areas of vegetation in the country, including one of the largest upland subtropical rainforest remnants in the world;
  • The roots of the oldest Antarctic beech trees in the park are over 5,000 years old;
  • The park is part of the Shield Volcano Group of the World Heritage Site Gondwana Rainforests of Australia (inscribed in 1986) and added to the Australian National Heritage List in 2007;
  • The plateaus and cliffs in the park are the northern and north western remnants of the huge 23-million-year-old Tweed Volcano, centered around Mount Warning;
  • The mountains in the park are moving. You may not feel it when you are walking through, but evidence is in the valley before you - it is still deepening and widening. It began when the high peak of the extinct volcano attracted heavy rains. Slowly and steadily the trickle of water formed rivulets, and eventually rivers all radiating from the volcano's peak. Valleys were eroded, some deepening to expose cliff-lined gorges between broad plateaus and eroded narrow ridges. Soil creep, landslides and creek erosion still continues today;
  • Elevation in the some areas of the park (south) reaches 1,000m;
  • The Nerang River, Albert River and Coomera River all have their source in Lamington National Park;
  • Aboriginal occupation within the park is suggested to go back some 10,000 years;
  • Soon after European explorers Captain Patrick Logan and Allan Cunningham discovered the area, the timber industry followed including the Lahey family who owned one of Queensland's largest timber mills at the time (1800s);
  • Robert Collins campaigned heavily to protect the forests from logging in the 1890s, but he died before the McPherson Range was protected. Later, Romeo Lahey recognised the value of preserving the forests, and campaigned to make it one of the first protected areas in Queensland;
  • The O'Reillys built their guesthouse in the park in 1926, 'OReilly's Rainforest Retreat', which serves as the starting point for many of the walks within the park;

And the coolest fun fact of all, according to the kids:

  • Marsupial Megafuna (Diprotrodon): weighing in at around 3 tonnes and standing 2m tall at the shoulder, this large, wombat-like marsupial, was widespread across Australia from about 5.3 million years ago, and co-existed with Aboriginal people for thousands of years before becoming extinct. It's believed that a drier climate, longer droughts and changing vegetation, along with being hunted by Aboriginal people, caused the Diprotrodon to die out.

Elabana Falls

The Elabana Falls were the highlight of half-day adventure, and by far the coldest waters I have encountered on our Australian trekking missions this year. When the kids poked their toes in and refused to swim, I knew it was a tad cool. As part of my Wim Hof Method training, I was going in. I lasted around five minutes and felt extreme tightness around my chest and neck; still a rookie in the WHM training but I love observing my body heat up internally as I focus on the inner flame within.

The falls were completely deserted from other humans; tucked deep within the rain forest this is truly a potent spiritual hot spot and my mind imagined early Aboriginals inhabiting these very swimming holes.

Once home the kids were shattered, and jumping into bed that night they exclaimed: "We can't wait to go to school tomorrow! It's such a good rest at school from all the trekking, we just sit around and do nothing."

This got me thinking about my ongoing love/hate relationship with the Australian education system. On the global scheme of things it would seem criminal to complain about the qualities of the Aussie system, but when we don't challenge a system to be the best it can be, aren't we doing an injustice to our kids and future generations?

For us, I'll be continuing to pull my kids out of school for chunks of time, months, each year, taking them traveling around the world to immerse in different landscapes and cultures, ensuring they are exposed to a mix of academic and 'life' education, the latter something I believe is not being taught in our national schools.

 

 

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Mt. Tamborine strike mission and 4/100 in the waterfalls challenge

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Mt. Tamborine strike mission and 4/100 in the waterfalls challenge

For our latest installment of the #100waterfalls challenge, the kids and I were joined by a beautiful couple, Peruvian wife Patti, Australian husband David, who we had met randomly a year ago in a local coffee shop in Lennox Head. Since I first set out to make my documentary Double Barrel, about an oil-dominated surf village in north Peru, Peruvians began to drop out of the sky into my life in Australia. I never had a Peruvian friend before I made the film, now I have a family across the world. Life is so beautiful like that.

Curtis Falls.

Curtis Falls.

Last week Patti reached out on social media, saying her and David had been following our waterfall journeys and would love to come on our next adventure. Early Sunday morning we set out north,  into the luscious rain forests that surround Queensland’s Mt Tamborine. Patti and David met us at the entrance to Curtis Falls - I’ll give away this one as it is well mapped, signed, and even has a boardwalk that prohibits you from entering the swimming hole at the base of the falls.

Experimenting with 360 Insta Nano to capture the feeling of being inside the 'womb' of Mother Nature.

Experimenting with 360 Insta Nano to capture the feeling of being inside the 'womb' of Mother Nature.

We were mesmerized by the trees in the forest as we walked down to the falls. The Curtis Falls Track is nestled within Tamborine National Park, Joalah Section, and protects remnants of Tamorine Mountain's plant communities including areas of rainforest with stunning piccabeen palm groves, tall flooded gums, open forest with bracken fern understorey and woodland. These plant communities provide essential wildlife habitat in a landscape almost entirely surrounded by urban and rural development. Basalt columns, cliffs, rocky outcrops and waterfalls are a lasting legacy of volcanic eruptions 23 million years ago.

Going deeper.

Going deeper.

More laughs, more play.

More laughs, more play.

Basalt and its healing properties

Let's talk about basalt. Until I Googled, I had no idea what a basalt column was, but I had a feeling it was to do with rocks. Here is what I discovered:

"Basalt is an igneous rock that forms from the relatively rapid solidification of basaltic lavas and is one of the most common types of rock in the world. Minerals and trace elements in the ash cloud are extremely beneficial for the planet. The rocks themselves have the basic elements for life including carbon, phosphorous and nitrogen, only requiring water to complete the formula. It is high in silicates, iron, and magnesium.

The fertility of some of the world's richest and most productive farmland is due to the minerals produced by nearby volcanoes.

Basalt and volcanic ash can be used for healing the physical body, remediation of toxic waste, nontoxic ‘enlivened cements’, healing building materials, radiation shielding, etc.

The crystalline structures within basalt can be used for communicators/capacitors. The light emitting from the structures are an avenue for many 'out of the box’ developments - and the microbes within have a world all their own.

The pre-Aztec Pyramid of the Sun outside of New Mexico, is built from volcanic rock and is highly paramagnetic. The Rosetta Stone was made of black basalt.

Basalts are the most productive aquifers of all volcanic rock types.

Rudolph Steiner believed there is rock powders that will pass on the subtle energies received from the cosmic bodies." - Kathleen Smith (Original article).

Full vegan power. In  Divine Goddess Yoga Products  leggings that are the BEST for weekend hikes.

Full vegan power. In Divine Goddess Yoga Products leggings that are the BEST for weekend hikes.

Why thank you Mother Nature for providing us with everything we need to heal and thrive right there! Unable to jump in the swimming hole at the base of the main falls, we trekked deeper into the forest (always going deeper!), and once again struck magic in the form of a high vibrational sheltered swimming hole under the shelter of towering palms. Patti and I stripped down to our bikinis, tip toed into the icy, crystalline water, and reveled in the refreshing pool.

The best free spa you'll ever find is the one nature provides, free.

The best free spa you'll ever find is the one nature provides, free.

At the end of our swim, we circumnavigated the 30minute route back to the carpark, and ventured into Mt Tamborine village for a walk and lunch. There is so much more to see in this area and I feel we barely scratched the surface. Such is the story of every adventure we embark on, and why we won't stop exploring. Patti texted me when we returned home that evening saying it was one of the best days for her and she was so grateful for the experience. Feeling refreshed, revitalized, and rejuvenated.

Recharged.

Recharged.

Wander deep, uncover more.

Wander deep, uncover more.

Don't feel that without financial investment you can't get the R&R you need. I'm all for natural spas and organic treatments, but I think the best ones you can find are out there, under the canopies of towering trees, free for those who dare to go after the experience. And if you can't make it outside for whatever list of reasons, just breathe; you are nature.

Tarzan.

Tarzan.

What is the #100waterfallschallenge?

In case you've missed my earlier posts, after returning home to Australia a month ago following 8 months of global travels, the kids challenged me to take them to 100 waterfalls this year - either at home in Australia, or abroad, and thus began the #100waterfallschallenge (Instagram: @takanamitrouble).

Rooted.

Rooted.

Living Simply for domestic violence awareness

As I write, the kids and I are house-hopping one last time for a couple more weeks before moving into the local caravan park to live in a tent for the year. Our objective with tent life is to promote sustainable living, connection with nature, and to raise awareness for domestic violence. 85% of domestic violence survivors return to their abusers, with many citing financial strain or the fear of a decline in living standards once they leave.

There is a huge lack of funding for domestic violence survivors and the safe houses in our country are appalling, or not available. Despite this, women do not have to feel helpless enough to risk the safety or their lives, and their children's, by returning to abusive environments. I believe that poverty is a state of mind, and that all women have the tools to empower themselves from the inside out. Find out more about how I support the empowerment of women through global trekking expeditions here.

Social Media:

Instagram/Twitter: @theaniccaway

Instagram: Angie @angelahelendavis

Instagram Ryder and Hunter: @takanamitrouble

#100waterfallschallenge

Want to share your waterfall recommendations? Include your comments below.

Peace, love and unity. - Angie xx

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Bare it all: minimizing the 'stuff' and moving to a tent

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Bare it all: minimizing the 'stuff' and moving to a tent

Why we are still cutting down on our crap and tent-shopping

Soon our tent will open out to views of this very spot...

Soon our tent will open out to views of this very spot...

I've got a half hour window to spill some thoughts on 'stuff', inspired by a morning spent cleaning up the house we've been 'sitting' for the past couple weeks since our return from overseas. I dropped a suitcase of my 'good clothes' along with a couple storage units of books, my surf board travel case (no boards, left them in Colombia), and a rice cooker which I think we'll use again soon.

Packing up our necessities - our three travel bags and some extras like my Ninja Blender, jars of nuts, grains and flours, plus my 'work bag' with my laptop and hard drives, etc - I realized we have way too much stuff. Still.

Last year, I sold everything and packed our lives into above said travel bags, and we spent eight months travelling, with majority of our time spent in Colombia and the snow mountains of Hakuba, Japan. We might be back 'home' now, in the sense the kids school is here in Lennox Head, but we are not done adventuring. Over a 24-hour period from today we will live in 3 different houses, which can be a pain packing and unpacking the bags, but we love it.

That time we took a taxi by ourselves in Colombia, and the kids couldn't beleive I actually could string some Spanish together to direct our driver to the supermarket. Winning.

That time we took a taxi by ourselves in Colombia, and the kids couldn't beleive I actually could string some Spanish together to direct our driver to the supermarket. Winning.

Don't settle

I'm not ready to settle. We came back to Lennox because the kids really wanted to see their friends, Hunter was ready to start school, and Ryder's reading and writing had fallen so far behind, with no love on the home schooling front. My work as a Virtual Reality producer is busy AF at the moment, and I needed my ninjas in school also to give me some time to get shit done. They get educated and entertained at the same time, talk about killing two birds with one stone.

"Oh wow you're back, how are you 'settling in'?" has been the common reaction when I bump into old friends in the village.

Um yeah well, if settling means choking myself as a single mum with bond, rent, bills, and accumulating more stuff, show me the door. We're staying, for a while, but we are certainly not 'settling' by the mainstream definition of the word.

@takanamitrouble  Hunter and Ryder appreciating street art rich with culture in Santa Marta, Colombia.

@takanamitrouble Hunter and Ryder appreciating street art rich with culture in Santa Marta, Colombia.

Minimize the 'stuff'

We have a couple more weeks staying with friends, then our sights are sent on the local caravan park; pitching a tent and living as simple as it gets, with the tea tree lake to one side, the beach to the other. I want to see how little we can have, and how much happier we can be. In all our months of traveling, the happiest moments were those spent camping or living closest to nature, in sustainable huts and mud cabins, with minimal 'stuff'.

Hunter trying to knock down a coconut for mumma to drink, from our campsite in Tayrona National Park, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia.

Hunter trying to knock down a coconut for mumma to drink, from our campsite in Tayrona National Park, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia.

Looking back on the past six years of my life since relocating to Australia post Japan disaster, I cringe to think how quickly we went from losing all our possessions, to having so many again. My ex-husband was a hoarder, and I admit I collected more than I needed, but when I look back at what the biggest stresses in my life have been since becoming a mum, it's been domestication and cleaning up the 'stuff'.

Selling everything and exiting my two-year rental last year was one of the most stressful periods of my life. Now I just need a few hours to pack up our 'stuff' and I'm ready to move on to the next location. Cleaning up someone else' pad is a joy rather than the burden I used to feel cleaning up our own; I'm so grateful when people open their arms to me and my tribe and whilst I'm not naturally gifted at house work (and sorry for the broken knife and running out of gas James!), I now love to leave places better than I find them.

Re-connecting with the 'self'

I want to re-connect. The 'stuff' in our lives shelters us from our surrounding environment, from having empathy for people and places, from connecting with our kids, from connecting with our self. Single mums, all mums, devote so much of our time to providing for our kids that we often leave little time for self care and connection. We're left unfulfilled, depleted, sick and depressed. Some of us hit alcohol - I've been there - some of us fuel our days with gossip, some of us become social media addicts, some of us become obsessed with shopping and materialism; we're all searching for that escape. Addiction really is a disconnect, and I watched an awesome little YouTube video on the subject of addiction this week that I highly recommend.

Living in a tent (geez we are really excited about this)nis really all about minimalizing, re-connecting, and going deeper into the 'self', along with learning how to be more adaptable. Yes it's the un-affordability of rent in Lennox Head (Air BnB's that cost a small fortune for a week) that spurred the idea, along with my unwillingness to 'settle', but the whole concept goes a little bit deeper.

Ryder making friends in Tayrona National Park, Colombia. We trekked about 11 hours on this day with no food and ran out of water in the first two hours. When we stumbled upon a mandarin plantation, after days without seeing a single fruit tree, well into our dehydration, I'm sure it was the happiest moment of our lives.

Ryder making friends in Tayrona National Park, Colombia. We trekked about 11 hours on this day with no food and ran out of water in the first two hours. When we stumbled upon a mandarin plantation, after days without seeing a single fruit tree, well into our dehydration, I'm sure it was the happiest moment of our lives.

Single mums leaving domestic violence are 80 per cent more likely to return to the violence, many citing financial strain and lessened quality of life as a major reason. Leaving a decade of domestic violence put me almost $50,000 in debt a few years ago, but I refused to re-enter the relationship and started the tough but liberating journey as a single mum in debt. What limited my rise was not the debt, but rather my limited belief systems that hindered my breakthrough.

Understanding poverty

It's taken me many life experiences, and many trips abroad (especially to third-world countries), to learn that poverty is a state of mind. On paper, the kids and I are technically 'homeless' - we have never owned a home, and we no longer have a rental lease. But in reality, we have everything we need, and most importantly, we are 'heart-full'.

Living in a tent will take my closer to a life of authenticity. And I hope it can offer other single mothers leaving domestic violence a chance to view the struggle from a different light; change the way you look at things, and the way you look at things changes.

Simplicity goals. Viviana of  Sol de Minca , in Minca, Colombia, built this retreat hideaway on their permaculture farm to host yoga retreats for women survivors of domestic violence. Her goal is to re-connect the women with nature, and themselves, awakening their true potential and abundance within.

Simplicity goals. Viviana of Sol de Minca, in Minca, Colombia, built this retreat hideaway on their permaculture farm to host yoga retreats for women survivors of domestic violence. Her goal is to re-connect the women with nature, and themselves, awakening their true potential and abundance within.

I remember when I went to India in 2008, 6 weeks pregnant with Ryder. We stayed a month, working on a 26-page surf/travel magazine spread for Japanese 'BLUE' magazine. I will never forget the day I volunteered at a girl's orphanage. Many were there because their parents were dead, in jail, or had raped or molested their daughters, yet these girls were running around giggling with innocence and took me by the hand into their tea fields to show me how they plant the tea themselves and harvest ready for sale to help fund the school.

India changed my life, yet many of the lessons I learned were clouded by 'human obligation' and 'stuff' as I lost my way time and time in domestication. In India I surfed with street kids, boys, many of whom had been raped by local fishermen repeatedly until a Belgium non-profit built a school and a surf club and took on the care of the kids; and I walked through many of the slums all over the country. I will never forget how those kids' smiles lit up my life. The same goes for my travels in Africa, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and South America.

Local friends in Papua New Guinea. I think they have the best real estate in the world...beach front, pumping surf, coconut palms galore. No frills, no worries, I never heard one of them whinge or cry.

Local friends in Papua New Guinea. I think they have the best real estate in the world...beach front, pumping surf, coconut palms galore. No frills, no worries, I never heard one of them whinge or cry.

What's your economical abundance ballpark?

Mine is freedom. To have the freedom to pack up and jump on a plane and say yes to opportunities. To have the freedom to chose organic, vegan food, and ethically-made products as opposed to the 'cheap revolution', to give my boys a wide range of opportunities - less toys, more experiences.

Rent at the caravan park is a small fortune, almost $300 per week for an un-powered site. Then add on the coast of global, unlimited wifi - I'm a working woman - and food, and you're not far off a mortgage. But there won't be extra bills to pay, no grass to mow, no house to clean. And when opportunities arise, we can pack everything up, pop it in the car, and head off again.

That's not to say I don't dream of a place to store my books, and my crystals, one day. But I'm certainly not ready for that yet. I don't know where I want that 'home' to be, and I yearn for the inspiration that springs from gypsy life. And I want to learn to live with less, to feel alive, and appreciate true abundance.

Coming up this weekend...the next edition of the 100 Waterfalls Challenge. Where to next?

Check out our little iPhone Vlog from our most recent adventure:

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Nightcap National Park Waterfalls Trek

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Nightcap National Park Waterfalls Trek

100 Waterfalls Challenge 3/100: Nightcap National Park

Yes we did it again, and we will keep doing it, until we hit 100, and then we will probably keep going. I don't think I ever really realized that I dig repetitions. If you analyzed much of my life you would notice some patterns for sure (cough cough), but what I am finding fascinating along this journey is that I strangely like a little bit of routine. As long as there's a whole lot of uncertainty to keep things exciting.

So off we went on our next waterfalls excursion, this time to the Nightcap National Park, about 45 minutes drive from our current 'home' in Lennox Head. I won't reveal the exact name of the waterfalls as that's not our goal with this blog series. We want to inspire you to go explore, just as we did, and there are plenty hits on Google if you do some proper research.

Market Pit Stop

We popped into Bangalow on the way for a wee, and behold the markets were on! Score. We detoured for an hour on the hunt for organic doughnuts, and felt a slight second of utter devastation when it was revealed they were not there this day. "Seriously?!" - Hunter.

Having to settle for vegan sushi, vegan mango ice blocks, and picking up a fresh tub of organic zinc (I can't remember the name of the brand but it's a local guy and the product is awesome, I'll grab it out of the car another day and give him a shout out!) we scooted back to the car and onto Nightcap National Park.

The drive alone was beautiful, and having never been to these falls before we were getting excited as we ascended deep into the Hinterland, before finally arriving at a picnic area and car park.

Rhyolite Cliffs

The falls are a plunge waterfall on the Repentance Creek, descending more than 100 metres over rhyolite cliffs once part of the Tweed Volcano.  I'm fascinated with the energy of these waterfalls we have been visiting, and looked into rhyolite to get an idea of what healing properties the cliffs posses. Here is what I dug up on rhyolite:

Keywords: Self respect, acceptance of the past, fortitude

Chakra: Heart

Element: Earth

Zodiac Signs: Sagittarius, Aquarius, Gemini

Rhyolite Crystal Healing Properties:

Rhyolite strengthens mind, body and soul and is useful for past-life healing. It helps us to process the past and integrate it with the present, bringing us peace of mind by teaching us to live in the moment. It aids in bringing insight and resolution to difficulties, stimulating solutions and promoting forward movement in life. Rhyolite enhances self esteem, self worth, self respect and deepens the acceptance of our true self. It helps us to heal old emotional wounds and to deal with challenging circumstances calmly and with inner strength. It is used to aid communication with animals and the realm of Nature.

Rhyolite History and Uses:

Also called Rainforest Rhyolite, Rainforest Jasper, Australian Rainforest Jasper, it is in fact a volcanic rock often patterned in colours of green, cream, brown and yellow. In the 1860’s the German traveller and geologist Ferdinand von Richthofen coined the name Rhyolite after finding it in his explorations of the Rocky Mountains. Rhyolite has been mined since prehistoric times in Pennsylvania in the USA, where fifty small quarry pits have been found.

Rhyolite Geological Description:

Rhyolite is a banded or spotted igneous, volcanic rock with silica crystal inclusions, it has a hardness of 7. It is found in Australia, Germany, Spain, Iceland, Ireland, New Zealand, India, China and the USA

Some cool rock info hey! I'm not sure why I was never into geology as a kid, considering my love of crystals and stones from a young age, but the kids and I are having so much fun learning on our adventures and we try and do a little bit of info-digging before we set off so we can take in the true power of these energetic hot spots.

The Trek

The Nightcap National Park was added to the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Site in 1986. And rightly so. The trek itself descends down into the sub-tropical rain forest, and it's advised you allow yourself four hours return, plus some time at the bottom to take it all in. The first 85% of the trek, let's call it a walk, is quite easy and the kids were almost bored with the lack of 'obstacles', which came at the end with some boulder hopping and easy rock climbing at the base of the falls.

The top of the falls is fringed by wet sclerophyll forest with majestic, tall blackbutt, tallowwood and flooded gums. We saw one Kookaburra in the picnic area, native birds, some giant jumping ants, and we hear there are the occasional koala sightings. As we descended into the valley, we were engulfed in an epic diversity of vegetation, including: Bangalow palm, brushbox, strangler fig, stream lily, tree ferns, red lilly pilly, white bark, stag horn ferns, orchids, and wisteria, among others (I'm good at Googling).

The Falls

The falls are simply stunning. The valley was freezing, completely in the shadows and with a strong breeze pushing in, plus the cascading water spraying all over the base of the swimming hole that captures the falls. The cliffs are spectacular, with stunning spine features naturally carved into the rock. There were a few hikers taking selfies on the rocks, then dipping their toes into the water only to wince in surprise at the temperature. I stuck my hand in and yep, she was freaking cold, made colder by the lack of sunlight, the wind, and the spraying falls.

I stuck my bikinis on and did a few rounds of the Wim Hof Method of breathing, while the kids ate their vegan lunch box, huddling behind the rocks protecting themselves from the water spray and laughing that I was actually going to have a swim.  "Your lips are turning blue already mum!" one of them exclaimed, and they were right. There's not a lot of meat covering my bones and I feel the cold easy, but that wasn't stopping me.

I eased into the water and it was the coldest water I have been in since returning home from the winter in Japan a few weeks ago. Shockingly cold. I had to focus my attention on the breath work and as the pain eased I was able to swim around and only after my whole body started shuddering in the water, maybe five minutes or so (I am still a rookie at this) I went in. My lips had turned completely purple and my body was shaking profusely but I warmed myself up and felt amazing. It was only a small step in my cold water immersion journey - I have some very cold lakes in my not-too-distant sights - but I could feel myself progressing and I had so much energy on the route back and I was ecstatic.

Not even tired...

Not even tired...

If You Go

  • Take water - we left ours in the car;
  • Pack some snacks for the trek, especially if you have little humans in your tribe;
  • Be wary of thieves; I've heard the top car park can be a hot spot for break ins;

*I shoot all images and video on my near-capacity iPhone 6s plus. After years of lugging a DSLR around the world with me, minimalism seems to work best for our lifestyle these days. Wouldn't mind a new GoPro though ;)

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Re-learning to nature: why home schooling didn't work for us

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Re-learning to nature: why home schooling didn't work for us

Cactus Beach and a world away from text books

Hunter (left) and Ryder (right): Follow their adventures on Instagram @takanamitrouble

Hunter (left) and Ryder (right): Follow their adventures on Instagram @takanamitrouble

When a group of mums from my son's primary school gathered last year at a Parents + Teachers meeting with a goal of discussing introducing mindfulness programs at the school, we were shut down shamelessly. I was so disgusted with the manner in which the school dealt with this issue - from the top down - that I soon pulled Ryder out of school and we packed up, sold up all our possessions, and hit the road, then some airplanes, and embarked on an eight-month journey from Lennox Head to South Australia, Colombia, Japan and now back to Lennox Head.

I'll be honest and say that the school incident was not the driving force behind our packing up and leaving. I was in debt following my previous marriage, I was not happy where I was living, I was dreaming of making a transitional move to California via Colombia, and the school situation was just the icing on the cake.

So we took off, and our first stop was SA, and an amazing strike-mission trip over to one of my favourite places on Earth, Cactus Beach. The kids were in heaven. Snuggling up in their own little tent, free to run around the wild, rocky terrain on the hunt for Blue Tongue Lizards, scoping for starfish on low tide, building rock 'cairns' on the edge of the world, and of course, bonfires at night in the desert.

Wild things out West

Wild things out West

Our campsite friend - kept trying to steal the kids' breakkie.

Our campsite friend - kept trying to steal the kids' breakkie.

Ryder had an idea on this trip to make a You Tube series, teaching people about camping and animals, and we tried to film a few clips on the iPhone but admittedly he got a little silly and shy when the camera was turned on him so we might leave that for another year or two. I had also thought to make a little blog series for the boys of their adventures, but really that's just extra work for me, so we created their own Instagram account @takanamitrouble and for now that's enough.

Prior to the trip, we'd been staying with my parents in Adelaide, and mum and I had been trying to home school Ryder. Mum is an educator, with a Bachelor in Adult Education, and with both my sister and I going through the public primary education, private high schooling, and then University, it's safe to say education is a top priority in our family.

I have worked throughout both my kids births, as a freelance/contracting writer and editor, and then full time as an editor in a staffed office six months after Hunter was born. Both kids have been in child care facilities in both Japan and Australia since their six-month-old birthdays, part-time at first then full time when I was working radically long hours. I hated having them fully institutionalized at such early ages and it's not the ideal start to education that I had wanted for either of them, but the centres they attended had a strong emphasis on play, creating, and the outdoors, so essentially they were in good hands and were learning things I couldn't teach them as a busy working mum.

Ryder was meticulous about building the 'cairn'; this took him two days and every piece was very carefully thought-out. He has always claimed he'd like to be a Lego-builder when he grows up, and he took his Lego skills to the rocks 100%.

Ryder was meticulous about building the 'cairn'; this took him two days and every piece was very carefully thought-out. He has always claimed he'd like to be a Lego-builder when he grows up, and he took his Lego skills to the rocks 100%.

The first year of Ryder's primary schooling seemed fine, but to be honest I was heavy into my divorce and was a very disconnected mum from the school. The teacher told me Ryder was a pleasure to teach and he seemed to be learning fine so that was good enough for me. The turning point came last year when he and his friends were experiencing regular bullying from kids 4-5 years their senior, and the school seemed to be doing nothing about it. Insert us mums educating ourselves about the growing trend, and success, of mindfulness programs in other schools in NSW, Australia and the world. The program would have ticked so many boxes for me and Ryder: correcting the bullying issue, instilling empathy, and helping Ryder work with the breath - as we were doing at home ourselves - a necessary tool for his healing after being witness to violence in the home for the first chunk of years of his precious life.

Ryder scoping the pools at low tide.

Ryder scoping the pools at low tide.

So yeah, mindfulness got shut down, we go to SA, mum has some success in home schooling when she introduces project work around animals and nature with Ryder while I'm away on a TV shoot in Tasmania, only I come home to take over the reigns with book work and Ryder doesn't want to have a bar of it. We argue, fight, and I'm still working full time from home so frankly I don't have time for this shit.

Cactus, on the other hand, is phenomenal and I see before my eyes my kids learning. They learn about the tides, native animals, how to make a fire, how to put out a fire, how to put up a tent, why drinking water is precious in the desert, how to make a 'cairn', why there are not many trees out West, why there are salt lakes, and how to entertain themselves with zero technology and no toys. The colouring books come out but mostly they play with sticks and rocks.

Tent life at Catcus

Tent life at Catcus

It was awesome watching them learn, and just giving them the freedom to touch, feel, and sit with nature - the real deal, not pretty pictures in a text book or a video on a screen. I definitely look back over the past eight months and think this was one of the best trips of the entire out-of-school journey, and in fact one of the best experiences of our lives.

Hot days and cold nights.

Hot days and cold nights.

I took photos on the Iphone with the intention of having Ryder create some nature projects to follow up from the trip. It was a good idea. We were pumped. But then the Vegan Festival came to town and the kids filled up with more new knowledge of a different kind (this was the first time we had all met vegan dogs!) and then we jetted off to Colombia and the projects never got done. That's not to say we can't go back to that creative idea some day. The knowledge remains, and maybe it's just enough to have the experience, take a few photos for the memories, and contemplate on all that was learned at his age. I mean, when the alternative is a meltdown at the books and screaming matches between the two of us...well I'm sorry but I'll take some rad real-life experiences any day.

So, the long story short is that the boys are going back to the school, yep the one that doesn't believe in mindfulness. After eight months and three countries I was about to go insane without the boys in school trying to work from different homes, campsites and hotels, and they simply missed their mates and were ready to come back 'home', and go to school.

I have mixed feelings about this decision. The school is beautiful, their friends are awesome, and we are beach-side and loaded with nature. But there are two other awesome schools north and inland that I would have preferred to enroll them; great schools with a focus on sustainability, mindfulness, empathy, meditation, and of course education. What it came down to in the end is what makes them happy. For now, it's structure and friendship, and keeping their feet still for a while. But our journey of re-learning to nature is shining through in every aspect of their lives and the next phase for me on my journey as a single mother is to maintain this process outside of the classroom. This means beach hangs at every chance, outside play, weekend strike missions inlandfor bush walks and hunting waterfalls (check out last weekend's first installment of the 100 Waterfalls Challenge), involving the kids in their food choices and veganism, letting them to play on the yoga mat and observing my own daily rituals, having open and honest communication about everything, and giving and receiving so much love.

Life is a journey, and knowledge can't all be learned from text books. Re-learning to nature: the Colombia installment, is another story for another evening.

Those sunsets...

Those sunsets...

Until then, or whatever I feel pulled to write about before then, I send you all loads of love.

Angie xx

 

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Bush walking adventures and the waterfall challenge

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Bush walking adventures and the waterfall challenge

100 waterfalls challenge: 2/100

Upper falls - after an hour playing in the lower falls we decided to trek another half hour inland...worth the effort when we found these stunning cascades and had the pools to ourselves.

Upper falls - after an hour playing in the lower falls we decided to trek another half hour inland...worth the effort when we found these stunning cascades and had the pools to ourselves.

Happy Easter!

Well, the Easter bunny sure appreciates a vegan family, delivering two recycled jars filled with dark chocolate vegan blueberries, strawberries, vegan Easter eggs, and dried apricots. We were up before the sun, typical of most days, yet instead of taking off on my morning run I hit the yoga mat first thing then went about my rituals of juicing and preparing the kids a healthy vegan breakkie.

We had no plans for Easter except for being outdoors, and with the beaches typically crowded over this holiday break we decided to go off on an inland adventure, about 3hours-ish south and into the bush in search of waterfalls we were yet to discover.

Ryder was complaining of a stomach ache the first two hours of the drive, resulting in me pulling over every 15 minutes so he could try to vomit. I think a few too many dark choc eggs were consumed first thing, a good lesson for my little guy about having rich foods in moderation.

We reached a dirt road and continued into deep rainforest for around 15 minutes before finding where we thought would be the start of the walking track. These falls are not sign posted - the best kind - but being Easter, there were a few cars parked on the side of the road suddenly so we knew we had hit the entrance.

We loaded up on water, a homemade vegan picnic lunch of fresh wraps, fruit and veggies, and set off on foot into the rainforest. This area is quite rocky and the kids loved crawling over rocks and fallen trees as we traversed the dusty, narrow track. It reminded us (on a much easier scale!) of our recent adventures in the Tayrona National Park in Colombia, where we spent two days exploring some epic terrain on foot in the park.

Lower falls and the water temperature was icy.

Lower falls and the water temperature was icy.

We reached the lower falls and spent a good hour playing in the frigid waters; I had suspected the water would be murky after all the recent rain but we scored crystal clear water and full pools. The sun was out and the rocks warm for some sun bathing between plays.

Frrrresh!

Frrrresh!

We left some of our belongings on the rocks and decided to go exploring a little deeper into the rainforest; our experiences exploring waterfalls in Colombia had taught us that the further you go, the more you can find. Such is life. The path was sketchy, slippery, and barely a trail but we made our way over boulders and scaled a small cave and after about 30 minutes we found what we were after: majestic falls without the crowds.

Going deeper...

Going deeper...

I could swim right up under the falls and felt the pounding water massage my skull while the boys played in the shallows. The water was so much colder than expected and I think we will be back in winter to use these pools as training grounds for the Wim Hof Method.

Raindrops keep falling on my head :)

Raindrops keep falling on my head :)

As we played in the pools I took a moment to look back over the past 8 years of motherhood, from living through raging domestic violence to being a lost, emotional single mother, to falling in love again only to find myself back again as a single mother but this time around a whole new woman and, in my heart, a whole new mother.

I realized that I had been living with some kind of contempt from being made a mother so young, in my eyes missing out on all the solo travels I had expected myself to undertake in my 20s. In many ways since my divorce I have been trying to recreate those 'lost years', and whilst I've had some wild adventures on film shoots and travel writing trips, there has always been a piece of me that has not been able to completely feel free since becoming a mum.

Eating the sun for afternoon tea.

Eating the sun for afternoon tea.

Day by day, this feeling has been transforming, and whilst I'm not going to sugar-coat single motherhood, I have realized that my blueprint for happiness has needed shifting. Instead of focusing on what I missed out on in my 20s, I've moved my attention to the epic adventures I can have as a mother of two rad ninja boys as a fit, healthy vegan woman in my 30s. Today was testament to this mindset shift and the three of us had a truly amazing day out in the bush exploring.

Rock hopper.

Rock hopper.

As if reading my mind, at the conclusion of the day the boys decided to kick off the 100 waterfall challenge for 2017. So whilst today's falls are so worthy of a return, it looks like our next waterfall adventure will be to new terrain. And we explored both the lower and upper falls of our secret location today, so that's 2/100 for the year (the five falls I visited on my solo drive from Adelaide to Lennox last week don't count apparently; the challenge is the three of us have to adventure as a family to new falls each time).

If there are any single mums out there struggling with the challenges of the day to day of motherhood, I encourage you to get out and explore your local area. Today's mission was a six-hour round trip in the car (less than $10 in petrol in our Toyota Hybrid Prius), with the kids sleeping the entire way home while I listened to Tony Robbins podcasts. Put the laundry aside, whip together a picnic lunch, throw in towels, hats and water, and don't overthink what you need to get out into nature and explore with your kids.

Upper falls.

Upper falls.

Happy Easter.

Much love,

Angie. xx

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Why you can't lose love

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Why you can't lose love

Love is not an object. It really isn't. Love is a state of mind.

Since my divorce almost three years ago, I've thought deeply about the concept of marriage. At my sister's wedding last year, as beautiful as it was, I pondered our culture's obsession with ownership of our other halves. I've watched nonreligious friends and family stand in churches and 'sign their lives away', joking about their partner finally being 'mine', and spending copious amounts of dollars on 'the day' so they can cherish it 'forever'. 

I don't want to be a cynic, but geez we love to overuse the term 'forever'. And don't we hang on to this concept of owning another all in the name of love.

But shouldn't we acknowledge that any intimate, committed relationship we enter into with mutual agreements is a 'marriage' without the pretty dress, hangover and high price tag?

I have recently had to let go of someone I love very dearly. During our wonderfully intense yet all so short (<2 years) relationship, we made conscious commitments to remain loyal, honest, and communicative, and in our eyes we were no less married than a 'husband' and 'wife' with a piece of paper. There was a time we couldn't ever see ourselves taking any other path than one of union together, and with me having two kids from my previous marriage we had to be sensitive that the kids would adopt a new live-in partner of mine as their step-dad. They did and we adapted and we all shared a stratosphere of love with each other.

But forever isn't human. We rise, we fall, and we re-birth. We grow, evolve, and wake up. We relate, we have affinity, and sometimes, we fall out of our inner peace when trying to adapt to others needs and dreams. The 'marriage' can still work if both parties are willing and able to invest, but sometimes we just have to let each other go.

But you know what? Letting go of someone does not mean letting go of love. Love is unconditional. And this is where we all too often miss the point. We are addicted to condition making. Legal marriages are built on condition making, "for better or worse." We are conditioned to condition those we love the most and in turn many of us are walking around feeling unfulfilled.

I listened to an interview with Glennon Doyle Melton on Liz Gilbert's podcast last week, where Glennon shared about her recent decision to leave her husband, at the particularly 'bad timing' point of her life where she's promoting her recent book launch for 'Love Warrior' which is all about marriage. Glennon wrote this about LOVE on her must-read blog:

"This next step is not a departure from the path of the Love Warrior. This next step is the fulfillment of it – for me, for my particular journey. Love Warrior is a book about self-trust. It’s a book about a woman who has painstakingly learned that there is a still, small voice guiding her through this brutiful life one next right thing at a time. And that the only thing she cannot do – not ever again – is betray that voice. Self-betrayal is allowing the fear voices to drown out the still, small voice that knows what to do and is always leading us home to ourselves and to truth and to love. Love is the boss of me, not fear, and certainly not “success.”

And by the way, success to me is not staying in a marriage — it’s staying in my own peace. At all costs. And so, even when it’s highly inconvenient – even when it feels CRAZY – I will listen to the voice, and I will obey it. And I will be messy and complicated – and I will show up anyway. Because I’ve fought too hard for my sobriety, sanity, integrity—and for your trust—to give it up now."

Well fucking said Glennon.

Whilst I wasn't the one in my relationship to be brave enough to recognize we both needed to let it go, I had for months tried to dodge my own needs that weren't being served and in turn slipped out of my own inner peace. Self-betrayal. After being abused for a decade by my ex-husband, and then falling into the arms of one of the most caring, affectionate, and conscious humans on the planet who loved and still loves me unconditionally, it was damn hard to recognize that I could love myself more than even that. And that I needed to, bring that love he gave me into self.

Fuck yeah it hurts.

And it's hard.

And perhaps that's how I know it's all so beautifully as it's meant to be.

Marriages end. People change and because of that there needs to be constant re-affinity. Sometimes that can't be achieved due to timing or circumstance or just simply because. Some couples last the tides of time or are prepared to to the real hard work but many don't and to those people I am telling you it is ok to let go. Be honest with yourself, with each other. Sure some break ups are more complicated than others especially if you're paying off a marriage debt - I fucked that up the first time - but nothing could have bigger consequences in the long run than ignoring your inner voice.

Love transforms, but it is never lost.

Love is a state of mind.

Love is all there is.

-Angie. xx

 

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Raw musings, emotions, and repetitions

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Raw musings, emotions, and repetitions

So as I sit down to start this new blog series, ‘Gypsy Journeys’, I’m approaching it in a completely different way from the rest of the content on The Anicca Way. As a professional writer, producer and director, my work is all highly curated content. This blog series is to be the opposite of that. Raw, unedited, write and POST style blogging straight from the heart.

Some days you may hear from me multiple times, some days not at all, but I am going to try and make a conscious effort to sit and write each day. And the subject matter? Well be ready for a wild journey of everything! You can probably expect a mix of everything The Anicca Way promotes: health, wellness, healing, travel, yoga, outdoors, adventure, women in tech, creativity, sisterhood, men and women, kids…and probably a lot in between.

One topic I will touch on in my musings is domestic violence, something I lived through for almost a decade, well over a decade if you include the ongoing emotional trauma I am still exposed to today with my ex husband. But I won’t be writing from a victim state (at least I don’t intend to…), and as I am aware that many of you reading this will be sensitive to domestic violence in some way - 3 in 5 women to be precise - I will try and refrain from details of the violence I was exposed to during those dark years (perhaps that’s a book waiting to be written?). Instead, I will be writing about my experience as someone who lived through a very turbulent karmic relationship, and what I’ve learned through that journey, how I heal (it’s ongoing), and what I’m working on to try and make a difference (check out our page First We Walk, our non-profit arm of The Anicca Way supporting survivors of gender-based violence).

Today, I’m in a freaking good mood after a really emotional day yesterday. This moon, she’s full today/tonight, has certainly brought some emotions to the surface, and I hear the same is happening for many friends. I like to view my emotions as my friends, something that I’m learning more about each day, and a new book I’m reading “The Language of Emotions” by Karla McLaren has opened my eyes up greatly in this field. E-motion, ‘energy in motion’, is such an interesting topic, and we touch on the feminine/masculine aspects of this area in the first Anicca Webinar with Briana Cavion, founder of Wholelife NLP - don’t miss this one we are posting it live on YouTube today and Podcast should be ready soon also!

It’s funny how society has outlawed emotions, and especially with women we are viewed as weak or high maintenance if we let ours out in public. So now we have this huge problem of human beings suppressing their emotions, which is hugely damaging. I’m not going to go too deep into the subject here, as I’m still learning how to feel and process my own, but I’ll share with you what’s been working for me lately:

    •    Feel the emotion as it hits, and where it hits, i.e. ‘sadness’ in the ‘chest’. If there are tears, let them flow and visualize this pain leaving from your body outwardly into the vast ocean of Mother Nature who is there to receive the burdens you do not need to carry;
    •    Sit with it, and don’t react - one thing that can help here is to identify which part of the brain this feeling/thought is coming from, this will help you from making irrational emotional-driven or reptilian/instinctive reactions. Get your journal out and ask yourself high quality questions: what can I do to turn this feeling/thought/emotion around? What need has not been met to bring on this emotion and what do I need to offer myself to meet this need (this is a self-love exercise, your happiness cannot come from an external source);
    •    Be grateful for the lesson you are receiving. This is an opportunity to grow. Change your perception of something and the something changes. The turbulence will pass and you will be one step forward in your evolution. How beautiful is that!

When you have a process, it’s amazing how much easier and quicker you can work through these painful emotions when they surface. Today I woke with a newfound vigor, and jogged to the Lennox Head lookout on sunrise. I’ve been a relatively fit person my whole life, played competitive sports throughout my childhood, and fitness and exercise has come really easily for me. I loved sports growing up, yet I never had a burning desire to be a sports champion. I am grateful for the hard training regimes I was put through as a young girl, particularly in gymnastics, and the sense of community that came with elite sports training and competition.

Now at 34, I am approaching fitness from a whole new lens. Since quitting alcohol almost a year ago, and switching to a plant-based diet (I’ve been vegan almost a year and LOVE the transformation!) I’ve maintained a daily yoga practice as much as possible (it gets shorter when I’m travelling but I always try and find time to do a few asanas) but I’m now craving more. Perhaps its all a wonderful spin off of a clean internal vessel, coupled with the Wim Hof Method breathing I do three rounds of each morning (plus daily cold showers), but I have this renewed energy and a craving for strength and endurance training and it is coming from a place of awakening the wild woman warrior within. I’ll touch on this another day, and will also share some resources on how to awaken this warrior woman, your goddess within, but I can tell you that a strong physical vessel is a powerful way to charge your strong mental state.

Repetition is essential if you want to see progress in your training, but as a creative I just love to mix it up. I’ll share with you my daily (no promises!) training sets as they’re quite easy and everyone can adopt them to suit their own needs and environment. I am not a professional trainer, so don’t take my word as fitness gospel, and I do what works for my body and go deep into my body to feel and listen to her as I train so it’s important you start to get to know your body well too.

Today’s set:

    •    45minute run of which about half was all inclining;
    •    Wim Hof Breathing in between - when I reached the top of the lookout, I did three rounds of the WHM standing up overlooking the sunrise and the ocean, visualizing the ocean receiving and cleansing each of my exhalations;
    •    20-30minutes of asanas on the Yoga mat at home, mostly sun salutations, but I focussed on core, legs, and stretching today. I always throw in a backbend to open the heart and as this is an area I used to have great flexibility as a gymnast and have lost a lot of it today I am working daily to get this flexibility back;
    •    3 x 20 reps of shadow boxing with stretch bands - many people use weights which can be extremely damaging to your shoulders. You want to first lubricate the shoulders by warming up on each side with no bands, then graduate to the bands for the resistance training. This practice was taught to me by my soul friend and Colombian professional Muay Thai fighter Daniel Silva (Dany is hosting martial arts classes at our Anicca Retreats program Togat Flow in the Mentawai Islands in October this year, you won’t want to miss it, epic surf and his teachings are beautiful and rare in the martial arts world!);
    •    3 x 10 reps of Lunges with 1kg weights - I would use heavier but that’s all I could find in the house we are staying.

Breakfast:

    •    Half a lemon squeezed into hot water and a cap of organic apple cider vinegar - to kick start digestion;
    •    Freshly made cold pressed juice of Beetroot, carrots, celery, kiwi fruit, and lime.

So that’s the day so far. It was pretty grounding to stand up the top of the lookout this morning, in the village I have held so many memories both blissful and painful, and allowed myself to feel ‘home’ again. Watching the ocean swelling, I contemplated just how vital she is; all her moving parts working together to cleanse our Earth, connecting all land masses and thus all living beings, infinite energy in this vast body of water.

What a miracle, what a blessing, what an honor it is to be a spiritual being having a human experience, that enables us to contemplate the elements and appreciate their true beauty and how much we rely on their existence for our own.

Have a great day wherever you are on this amazing planet.

Know that I love you all and you are loved.

Angie
xx

Lennox Head beach on sunset this morning. Pic: Angie Davis.

Lennox Head beach on sunset this morning. Pic: Angie Davis.

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