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adventure

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

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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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