Pave the path to your dreams

As I drove the same road to the office yet again, by the time I parked my car at work I had realised that I may as well have placed a blindfold across my eyes. I’ve become so accustomed to driving that same route for two years, that I felt I didn’t even appreciate the beauty of the ocean along the way. To me there’s nothing worse than feeling as though your life is stagnating and you’re living the same chapter day in, day out. So exactly how do you break that pattern and add colour and depth to your life again? It all begins with mindset, because you’re the one in control here.

So often you might put yourself in a holding pattern without even realising it. Being held to that job you hate, that dissatisfied relationship and a town you really never wanted to live in. We are so programmed to only notice all the ‘what is’ in our lives, and from those observations believe sometimes that ‘this is the way it will always be’. This restricts us so much in the way we dream about how we want our future to look, although we were all too good at dreaming as a child, and I think it’s kind of sad that we lose that natural abraham hicksability as we grow all old and responsible.

I want to win the lotto then I can travel the world and retire early’. This kind of thought probably feels pretty good to you, but almost immediately you might contradict that thought with ‘oh but that will never happen, the odds are always against me’. The thing is, the law of attraction doesn’t care about your words, only your vibration that you’re offering. It’s only ever going to bring you more of the vibration that you put out there. ‘I’ll never have enough money’ means you’ll always attract more of not enough.

Believe it as just how you want it

Recently I got a job in Byron which allows me to move in with my man after 2 years of commuting, and living a little like passing ships in the night. In hindsight, I can now see that I got so caught up in how my life has been, that it took so much longer to manifest this new job than what I was hoping.

Even though I’ve learnt so much about law of attraction over the years, I was tripping on my own conditioned mind. Like a broken record I kept repeating in my own mind ‘I hate this lifestyle, I spend so little time with him, this job is so boring’ along with bucket loads of beach girlsimpatience and frustration. Of course I only got more of that which I disliked, which held me to the same old conditions, which left no room to allow any new conditions or opportunities to come my way.

The real trick is in playing an entirely new record in your mind. Whatever it is that you see in your dream lifestyle, write down all those aspects. For me it would be something along the lines of ‘I love waking up to you every morning, I’m so glad that all that commuting is behind us, I love living here again, it’s so great to be in a small community’.

Talk about your current lifestyle that you dislike as something of the past. Humans so often need to see a physical manifestation before they can believe something. The above trick gets you ahead energetically, which allows you to rapidly reach your dreams much faster than waiting for the physical manifestation.

I guess you can kind of picture it as brainwashing yourself! Don’t be afraid to get specific, it doesn’t matter how small the detail is, as long as it feels good and you can believe it to be real. There’s no point in saying ‘I can’t wait to live together, it’s going to feel so good when…’ as that will only remind you of the way it is now, you’ve got to speak it as though it’s happening right now, not in your future.

Catch your thoughts early on

Once you’ve put all that good energy into your new life thoughts, you have to be very mindful of negative thoughts that creep into your mind. In the beginning you might havesurf girl dreaming so much pent up resistance that you have to focus incredibly hard to wipe out these painful or negative thoughts.

I’m so tired of working with my colleagues, we have nothing in common and I’m sick of all the office gossip’, becomes ‘I love this new job, it’s such a positive atmosphere and in a strange way I look forward to coming into work every day’. You can see how this matches your vibration so much more closely to that which you want in your life.

If you’re unsure of the progress you’re making, just try to tune in to how you’re feeling. When you play with a puppy, you feel like a little kid again, and also feel so much joy. Tap into the joy that comes with your new mindset thoughts about your dream life. If you feel rundown and flat, then your focus is likely in the wrong place and you’ve got some work to do.

Look for the evidence

The law of attraction states that your own vibration will always match up with the vibration of another. Much like a tuning fork. What you attract externally is also another great measure of where you’re at with your mind thoughts. Just take the topic of road rage. A perfect example of the law of attraction at play.

The other day I was looking to hire a steam cleaning machine to bond clean my studio. I was getting increasingly frustrated at the high costs or lack of availability in my local stores. I recall driving out of the shopping complex all fired up that I couldn’t find what I was looking for, and had concluded that I never will.

As I approached a give way sign (with perhaps a little more speed than usual), I had to spiritualwait for a passing car at the t-section. Suddenly the car slammed its brakes on in front of me, with the female driver throwing her arms up in the air, before erratically flipping the bird in my direction. She must have thought I was going to T-bone her already beat up Holden Commodore!

This couldn’t be any more perfect proof, a suburb full of rich well-to-do’s and I attract the only one feral women who wanted to unleash her anger on me. Instead of taking on that anger myself, and getting even further fired up by retaliating I just started laughing at the irony of the situation. Those that are not tuned into law of attraction, likely would’ve flipped the bird right back at her, then continued passing that anger along to other people on the road!

So don’t be one of those people that state ‘I’ll be happy when…’ You are the one in control of your life and the thoughts that are churning in your head. It only takes around 16 seconds for one thought to attract another thought of the same nature, so why not make it a positive, good feeling thought?

 

 

 

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Why I’ve switched to vegan protein

When I switched to brown rice/pea protein I nearly vomited at the taste. And to think that some vegan advocates can describe such a taste as earthy, as if to make it sound somewhat inviting. While it takes preparation time to make my new pre-gym vegan shake, I’ve found it all to be worth it and I’m sticking to it. So why did I even bother with the switch? Trust me, it’s not because I’ve turned into a ranting vegan.

I do kind of miss the convenience of my dairy protein (WPI). Before I used to head to the gym, I simply measured out a spoonful into a protein shaker, added some water, threw in the ball whisk and away I went. These days it takes only a few more minutes to prepare my shake, but that’s a lot for a busy girl itching to get into the gym!

So it all began when I was researching for a client’s health article on hormonal issues cacaorecently. I stumbled across a pretty disturbing study. I get the whole thing about how humans are the only ones drinking milk from another species, and how it’s a pretty crappy life to be continually milked, and to have your offspring continually snatched from you. However, with my other non-meat eating habits, I feel not too bad about continuing to consume dairy. Until I found that study.

Dairy and milk products contain 70% of animal estrogen.  That is the figure that made me stop in my tracks and think, do I really want that high level of weird hormones floating around in my system? Some other concerns from that same study include:

  • Increasing body of evidence indicating possible effect of dairy food’s estrogens in tumour provoking or initiation and such evidence being a great concern
  • Intensive veterinary drugs, especially growth promoting hormones utilized in veterinary medicine results in an increase of the residues in milk and other dairy foods.

Basically, steroid hormones are incredibly potent in dairy and leaves profound biological effects in humans, even at low doses. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my cheese and dairy products. Mostly my cheese though. But over the last month I’ve found myself veering away from most dairy products simply for health reasons, which drives my decision to pick up a dairy-free option instead.

Hormones affect so many processes in your body

You’ve probably heard of mood as being most closely linked to hormones, especially withswitch to vegan protein all the jokes about “oh she’s just being hormonal” around a women’s time of the month. But did you know that your hormones also affect multiple other processes in the body including:

  • Metabolism
  • Fertility
  • Development of brain tissue
  • Immunity
  • Body temperate
  • Digestion

Therefore, any interruption in your levels of hormones at even subtle levels, may have profound effects on how any of the above processes are carried out. Hormones are after all, our chemical messengers, so I wonder what they would be sending out when animal estrogens are thrown into the mix?

To me it’s no surprise that hormonal issues are becoming increasingly common in both men and women. I can think of a handful of friends that are battling with infertility or thyroid complications.

Dairy industry giants

You might wonder why you don’t hear about these kind of studies too often? Unless you’re working directly in a role where you’re exposed to medical research, you probably will never hear word of the negative implications of dairy. That’s because the global net worth of the dairy industry was recorded at 335.8 billion USD in 2014.

Why I chose brown rice/pea combo protein

In avoiding my use of a WPI protein, I wanted to make sure I was going to find a non-dairy substitute that was fairly fast absorbing, and also provided a strong nutritional content and amino acid profile. After reading an article on Bodybuilding.com here I was convinced to give brown rice/pea protein a go.

In reading the article, you’ll note that while one of the proteins on its own might lack in a particular amino acid, the other protein will have its back and make up for that shortfall. While it’s not digested as fast as WPI, the author points out that it falls between the absorption levels of WPI (fast absorbing) and casein (super slow absorbing) and I’m pretty happy with that.

Getting past that earthy taste

You’ll never find me describing the rice/pea combo protein as earthy. It is simply revolting and you’ll likely struggle to down a glass, unless you have some major issues with your taste buds! I experimented with a few different recipes and found this one to be pretty damn delicious.

Recipe

  • One 30g scoop of pure rice/pea protein (24g protein)
  • Half banana
  • One TBS natural peanut butter
  • 1 heaped tsp of raw cacao
  • One squirt of honey
  • Half cup of coconut milk or other nut milk
  • Half cup of water

Blend together in a blender until combined.

Last of all, make sure you’re purchasing a 100% pure protein. Your body doesn’t need all that synthetic crap in it, and there’s simply no need for artificial sweeteners when you’re making a tasty recipe out of the protein powder anyway.

The Progression of Gratitude

Spiritual junkies will tell you that gratitude is one of the key foundations to ultimate enlightenment.  And I’m not judging them because I’m a junkie too. But what happens on those days where everything just seems to fall apart, and all of what your life is made of is seemingly crumbling before your eyes? Well you’ve simply found yourself out of alignment from where you’re supposed to be. Practicing gratitude by starting in a place that feels good, will provide a little bit of fuel to break out of your bad energy, and back into alignment with that best version of yourself.  

I don’t see any point in practicing fake gratitude. Sometimes you’re not even conscious that you’re doing it, but when you realise you are, you find it as counterproductive as no 65169_10151137360180168_400812489_ngratitude at all. “I love my job, I love my guy, I love my dog”, won’t get you anywhere if your boss keeps throwing overtime at you, your partner is finding all your triggers to frustration and your dog just pooped on the lounge room floor. The universe will simply align you with more of your dominant vibration, when your words don’t match how you feel at heart. In other words, you’ll get more of the same stuff that’s got you stuck in that point of frustration in the first place.

The universe does not care for the words you mutter; they will simply fall on deaf ears as it only cares for the energy that you vibrate.  

You want to perhaps imagine a life without your job or guy or dog. What would that picture look like? Sure you had to clean up that smelly poop from the floor, but what about when she gives you the saddest puppy dog eyes you ever saw, as you leave the house for work. Where you can see nothing but love in her eyes, and happiness in her wagging tail, when you return home from a long day in the office. Nobody said that gratitude can’t be broken down into smaller bite-size pieces. Just as many jigsaw pieces make up a finished puzzle, so too are many elements involved with each person, object or situation. It all comes down to your point of focus.

As long as you keep the bigger picture in mind. I always understood gratitude to be the cheekythought of blowing the gifts, the love, the connections, the positive circumstances and the miracles in life, so far out of proportion that it ignites an incredible wave of new energy that just overrides life’s nuances. Gratitude has a magical way of pushing away negative aspects of life from your mind. Because you know all too well how easy it is to make a mountain out of a molehill. You just have to choose what hill you want to build higher.

Practicing gratitude takes time and practice to truly nail it. To allow your vibration to match your inner muttered words about how incredible your life is, and everyone and everything that’s in it. As soon as the words and vibrations match- that’s when the magic starts to unfold.

Eastern v Western Medicine

The human body forever captivates me in all of its beauty to carry out its millions of functions, each and every day that you venture around this earth. It baffles me the commitment that the body has to keep someone ticking over, even when they completely abandon their health, poisoning themselves with cigarettes, alcohol and food that doesn’t deserve to even be called food. But the body can also hold a lot of darkness when it comes to disease.  When the body has had enough, it clearly lets you know. I felt this in what some might consider to be subtle, but nonetheless has opened my eyes more to my commitment to health and nutrition.  

One CT of my esophagus, a handful of blood tests, more radiation by way of a procedure in hospital, called a barium swallow, and a whole lot of worry, drew doctors to the diagnosis of acid reflux. Here I was thinking I was dying a slow death, when a sensation of something being stuck in my throat, sporadically occurred over the course of this year.throat.JPG While it ended up being a minor diagnosis, that’s very easily treatable with lifestyle changes, it still woke me up to take more care of my health. I imagine that other diseases on people have the same effect, although I know of many that still choose to ignore the warning signs.

East v West treatment

I very rarely go to visit a GP, perhaps once a year, at least when I’m not head butting reefs in the Philippines. I’ve been very fortunate to find a doctor that practices a blend of Eastern and Western Medicine. His name is Dr Ali and he loves Ayurvedic approaches, one of the most ancient medical systems in the world. It pre-dates Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine combined.

Dr Ali is happy to print me a script of antibiotics, but he’ll forewarn me that it’s a last resort approach, running through the various side effects, such as the destruction of good bacteria in my gut and increase in free-radicals. He will even go so far as handwriting traditional Chinese remedies, or supplements to take if I choose to be prescribed with the antibiotics, in a bid to counteract their damaging effects. The Eastern and Western divide can be described in the following extract from National Institutes of Health:

“Western medicine, while excelling at acute care and surgery, puts great emphasis on the chronic use of drugs to suppress the symptoms of illnesses. What is forgotten is that our bodies have a natural wisdom and intelligence; they have an intrinsic knowledge of how to grow, heal, maintain balance, restore homeostasis, and regenerate. Our bodies have evolved over aeons with these capabilities, but when they are suppressed, for example, when nutrition, exercise, and diet are not given adequate attention, or people ingest toxins, then “lifestyle-related” diseases including obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease are much more likely to arise”.

Unfortunately, the divide between East and West has become all too much for Dr Ali and as he was helping me in my plan to tackle reflux, he told me he was taking off to Colorado in two weeks to study genetics as he’d had enough of the practice.

The Western Approach

I had requested blood tests of my own will, to rule out any issue with my thyroid and of course I was itching for the results. On the day of my appointment with Dr Ali, he had called in sick last minute, so I had to re-book with another unknown doctor.

Let me tell you, he was one of the coldest humans I had ever met. Even his white skinwestern medicine looked cold, as he pressed the dispenser of the antibacterial gel, that sat atop of his desk, lathering his hands in eliminate-all-bacteria, while his eyes glanced over my breasts and legs.

He remained expressionless, as he asked me why I had requested blood results for an issue with my throat. Before I could even answer, he found ways to talk over top of me. Scrolling through the results, he uninterestedly told me all my vitamin levels were fine and he couldn’t see anything worth concern. With a CT of my esophagus and blood tests showing nothing, I knew I had to book into the procedure in hospital.

The Eastern approach

After my results came back from hospital and I returned to the welcoming rooms of Dr Ali, the diagnosis of reflux was noted, but he also told me my blood tests were not great. My vitamin B and folic acid levels in particular, he described in his words as “ratsh*t”! On a running scale of worst to best, I had just made over the worst rating, which apparently was enough for the cold doctor to clear me of any concern. Something he had been taught in medical school Dr Ali mentioned.

The thing that shocked me most, was that the doctor had a discussion with Dr Ali asking chinese medicineif he had followed some particular code of practice, that again. had been taught in medical school in Australia. Dr Ali carrying over 30 years’ experience, in his unique blended approach and  practicing all over the world, mocked his colleague in his chest-puffing capabilities.

Dr Ali went back in the system and read the clinical notes of that doctor, from my visit to receive the blood test results. They were utterly appalling.  Any of the words that I managed to get out that day, throughout being cut, were recorded in the notes in quotation marks as if I was mad, and his final recommendation was to prescribe me psychotropics! Dr Ali laughed and said “well I won’t be doing that anytime soon”. My only guess is that as reflux can be triggered by stress and anxiety, this doctor’s approach was to prescribe me some anti-depressants! That shall fix the problem! I think I’ll stick to my yoga and meditation.

Holistic treatment

Of course a giant wave of relief washed over me as I found out that I was in fact, not dying. Relief turned into excitement in finding ways to better improve my already pretty good diet. The most uncanny aspect about the whole event, is that I’ve been writing health articles for a client on acid reflux for the past three months. I also had a gut instinct long before diagnosis to increase my vitamin B’s (being vegetarian) and had ordered PH test stripsnatural medicin for saliva months before.

Dr Ali handwrote his prescription of various supplements and Chinese Medicine that I could order to best treat my reflux. He also wittingly drew a map to the nearest fresh food market with the best raw treats in town.

It’s only been one week since I got my results, but I feel so full of life and energy, from mindfully increasing my intake of fresh fruit, vegetables from my garden, and Chinese teas containing a mixture of various healing plants and flowers. I’m yet to receive my supplements from an online order, but I think life will become even richer when I do.  I’m so proud of everything that I’ve learnt on holistic approaches to health over the years and everyone that has influenced that. Even though Dr Ali will be off overseas, on another journey and no longer there to guide me, I’m forever inspired to seek out alternative practitioners for any future health issues, and avoid prescription medications at all cost.

Nature’s own rhythm

And I could sit on the shore and say that the tide’s all wrong, the wind is up, it’s about to pour with rain and the waves have no form to even consider riding. All was true. But my desire to be out there with an ocean to myself was too much to resist. Then I remembered I could still feel the warmth of a summer just passed, the water wrapping around my body as I sit alone being rocked in an ocean so vast and empty. White puffy clouds taller than any man-made tower soar on the horizon, igniting the purple tints reflecting from a sun soon to set.

I remembered it all but at the same time forgot so much.

I forgot what it was like to sit alone as the weather started to turn.

Beating to its own unmistakeable rhythm.

Black clouds arrived seemingly out of nowhere, as though they were ready to perform at a circus. The calm air quickly turned into a ferocious wind, as if to introduce the storm-front lashing the ocean to the north. Any colour from the horizon drained and transformed to229327_10151038233085168_1203521898_n shades of grey, like an artist knocking his brush water over his fine watercolour canvas.

Rain whips my soft skin and beats so heavy I lose sight of the shore I once was sitting on. I shield my hands over my eyes as my vision is pierced by the dagger-like drops of rain. Why am I worried that a wave will come that I simply can’t see? I felt it a hundred times before but how could I forget.

Amidst the chaos, I couldn’t help but begin to laugh out loud as a shiver of joy ran from head to toe.

A wave suddenly peaks as I laugh at my own joke and I have to paddle hard to make it safe to the other side. As I dive deep into the warm green water, I briefly escape the piercing rain drops. Returning to surface, the entire water is encapsulated by a blanket-like cover of soft mist, revealing the perfect curves of the ocean. Misguided lines of swell roll in, regardless of what the heavens had planned.

And as quick as the ocean was torn apart, the air calms as the little pocket of storm moves further south, as if to follow the second storm front moving in sync along the mountainside in the distance. You could never tell me that you used to surf, for you were never a surfer in the first place.

The Wild Things

I feel my fiercely independent nature weaving into my daily life most profoundly when I sit still. I’m a wanderer, a drifter, a gypsy who’s never really found a home other than in the hearts of those whose souls call to converse with mine. But more often than not, I find my home in the ocean because its lines seem to run deeper than the thread of another. Floating above the earth’s surface encapsulated by sparkling blue waters, I feel it’s all the comfort and reassurance I need to get by.

The last full moon rose in my sign of Cancer and I hadn’t felt the need to crawl in my hardspiritual shell and tuck my claws away as strongly as I had in this moon’s pull. It wasn’t until after I felt waves of sensitivity, to everything, and an almost overwhelm, that I placed my eyes on an astrology report that spoke just to what I was feeling.

I’ve read that the stars and planets are a reflection of the current happenings on earth and that they are deeply in sync. Those that can whisper those reflections back to us have a gift of communicating with the universe.

I am a believer in astrology, not that I know too much about it, but I want more of its grounding explanations read to me to put everything in its place. I like things neatly in their place.

The moon brought out in me a feeling of panic, an overwhelm that I’ve been overseas for so long that my communities have spread so wide that they feel almost out of touch. Sometimes I forget that many can still reside in my heart, if not in my presence. I’ve thrived for so long in the vastness of the ocean on my own.

Watching the sun lazily rise above the misty horizon. Schools of bait fish passing through to disturb the ocean surface. The tide changing to create strong currents sweeping out to sea. Lone dolphins happily exploring the curves of the ocean floor.

I desperately wanted to scamper to find groups of friends, feeling I could easily distractlost island myself with resolution by external source. As the moon seemed to pull I pushed harder in return. I needed quiet. I needed to explore a corner of my soul that hadn’t been touched for so long.

Today as the moon wanes to barely visible, I feel the cooling offshore breeze from the furthest mountains on my face.

I feel it so deeply that I nearly trip over my own feet after I close my eyes and breathe it in. I was reminded of seasons that we’ve all left behind, cycles that come and go and the need to slow down and observe. To stay out of the chaos.

Authentic connections are what I most crave. If it’s anything less then I’m OK to get lost in my vege garden, talk to my dog, read about mythology and theories on our existence. I just want what’s real. Why don’t you go out and socialize…maybe another day. I want to learn a little more about myself.

The transits to reach Philippines

Somehow I managed to survive two months in Northern Thailand, completely extracted from any sniff of a surf scene. It was a pretty beautiful place. I had initially planned on a six month stay to work on my online business. But for the first time since learning to surf, I completely lost my muscle tone in my paddle arms which was a very bizarre feeling. I so badly needed that extraction. To see the world through different eyes. But it was long enough. Tracking somewhat close islands for a chance of a wave, began to take over the time I should have been working on my online stuff. And then I did it. I booked four flights en route to Philippines. In particular Cloud Nine surf break. Boardless.  I like to talk about going on a surf trip prepared. Well this was going to be different.

Kuala Lumpur (KL)

Heading through KL is a pretty common route for surfers wishing to get a slice of Cloud9. I like KL as it’s been a transit point for multiple Indo, Mentawai and Malaysian trips. It’s familiar and I know where things are.

KL offers many options accommodation wise (affordable backpacker dorms to luxury hotels) and public transport is reliable and regular. Services are available by way of taxi,how to get to cloud9 train and bus direct from the airport. There’s two airports so make sure you get the right one. All Air Asia flights leave from KLIA2.

The city of KL itself is pretty bad and pollution
rules. It’s  rare to see blue sky through the thick smog that permanently coats the city.

Poverty is real, as it’s a common stop for refugees that have fled Myanmar (Burma) who stay illegally in slum-like conditions, waiting for the next option to flee the city. Usually by road and then sea.

Most with falsehoods on reaching the shores of Australia. The land of milk and honey.

As I found out, the Australian Government funds search and rescue operations in Malaysia by helicopter. They also carry out Police raids and water patrol units to hunt out refugees and send them back to where they came.

I spent three weeks throughout Malaysia in 2014 and the general vibe of the locals wasKuala Lumpur not great. They came across as quite unwelcoming. Perhaps the Australian Government’s influence is part of the reason why.

If you have an overnight in KL it’s worth checking out China Town in the city. Scores of markets line the streets, similar to the markets in Bali (Kuta).

As usual, be prepared to bargain for prices. You can get cheap clothes, sunnies, watches and bags. There is also an array of amazing food and fresh tropical fruit at low cost.

Transit through Cebu

OK so I must admit I didn’t quite do my research about Cebu. I just pictured a little island in the middle of a turquoise blue ocean, palm trees and beachside markets. Some of the atolls, reefs and islands we flew over were incredibly beautiful but by the time the plane flew over the island of Cebu, I realised it wasn’t anything how I had imagined. I had a one night layover here.

Grabbing the nearest taxi outside the small airport, I was in for a bit of a ride. From the driver, I had the usual “where you from, where’s your boyfriend, you had no one pick you up at airport?” type questions which you get used to when travelling alone as a female!

I was then quick to notice he was off-chops (drug induced) through his mannerisms and erratic energy.

At one Cebu travel point crossing a large bridge, where it was clearly sign posted that there was roadworks up ahead and the lane ended, he went straight through the signs, which smashed the rear of the taxi.

He burst out laughing and I said “taxi’s too big to fit through!” and his reply while throwing his hands in the air was “oh nah miss you’re just so beautiful it make me swerve all over the road!”.

The remaining trip involved him texting at every chance while swerving all over the road, running red lights and making up random and lengthy arrival times when I would get to my hotel.

I was pretty worried that he was actually taking me back to his house but so relieved when I recognised the sign for my hotel.

Stray goats roamed the city streets on miscellaneous missions, oblivious to the poverty that surrounded them. Kids barely old enough to walk, equally as oblivious as they clung tightly to their brother’s shirts, while mounting the back of rusted bicycles.

It wasn’t until I was safely in my hotel room, that I looked up “Cebu local news” on my laptop, that I realised just how bad it was. Bold text splashed the page, showing the past three days of events:

College student raped, killed in Cebu home. Man faces murder charges for daughter’s death. Lovers found dead in Cebu hotel. Boxing champ stabbed multiple times in domestic dispute.

Many were targeted Western attacks.

Luckily, downstairs from my hotel room was a small convenience store. I stocked up on asurfing cloud9 healthy array of white bread rolls, peanut butter, canned tuna and instant milo. Pretty much anything I could grab quick enough to then spend the duration of my time safely locked away in my hotel room.

I felt a million miles from Cloud Nine surf. Through tired eyes, I was surprisingly able to get a restful night’s sleep.

That morning I returned to the store to buy a local sim card.  While at the counter, I heard a kid whistling past the open shop door and glanced up to see a cheerful smile, dead chicken casually dangling from his clutching hand. I couldn’t help but smile back at him as our two worlds’ collided.

Past his small ripped t-shirt shoulder, something caught my eye on the other side of the busy street. A heavy looking, long and limp object in a white bag was being loaded onto the back of a pickup truck. Others that passed by, did not so much as blink an eye as they went about their day. I doubt I did either, as I struggled to hide my dinner-plate eyes. begging-1683496_1280

I honestly couldn’t be more happy to pack my bags and get the hell out of there.

It seemed my newly built hotel ($5.75 a night) was in a rough part of town. Their website did a great job at selling it to me.

I had to stand on the side of the road for a very long fifteen minutes praying for a cab to  pass by. Every passing car slowed to stare at my lonesome presence.

When a cab finally arrived, my bracelet got stuck on my lace shirt and I couldn’t lift my hand out to flag him down. It was like a nightmare unfolding before my eyes. Thank goodness a local guy came just in time to hail the cab for me. This ride was not as bumpy as the last.

Finally to Siargao

In the safety of the airport I could relax a little. I had two families come up to me and ask for photos in broken English. The kids giggled as their eyes curiously glanced over my hair, face and clothes as if they had never seen a Westerner before. Philippines kids

Once the plane passed over rusted tin roofs, visions opened to a vast ocean, full of every shade of blue imaginable.

Coming into Siargao is absolutely stunning, with a lush island rich in palm trees and jungles, peculiar shaped mountains and wide canyons. I could not wait to explore.

It was everything I hoped and more. Perhaps my excitement was exacerbated because my two months in Thailand without an ocean felt like an eternity.

Basic bamboo shelters lined the paved road, underneath thick canopies of palm trees dancing in the ocean breeze. The locals come equipped with that naturally laid-back island energy and are stoked living their simple lifestyles.

I was lucky to arrive when the swell was 6ft and barrelling at cloud nine surf spot. However I had to wait for the swell to back off as I could see just how challenging the takeoff was.

Top Tips for this Journey

Avoid the overnight in Cebu if possible!

-It really isn’t a safe place to be hanging out. The more I spoke to expats in Siargao, the worse the stories became.

It is possible to link your flights and get from KL to Siargao in one day with Air Asia from Cloud 9 boardwalkKL to Cebu. Then choose Cebu Pacific for the Cebu to Siargao leg.

Bring cash as there’s only one ATM 

-Best to get cash out before heading over as there’s only one ATM on the island and it’s regularly out of order. Never been happier with my purchase of my money bag that was strapped firmly around my waist under my t-shirt!

Watch your valuables in your hotel or shack

-I heard theft is very common here. Be sensible where you stash your cash, laptops, phones etc.

Take your own boards

-On the off chance you’re on a surf trip without boards (laughs). You already know tosurfing Philippines bring your own boards in your specific dimensions. Board hire is around 200 peso per hour ($6AUD) or 500 peso per day ($15AUD). Expensive. To buy a board here will set you back 12,000 peso ($370AUD). Cloud nine surf also has a high potential for breaking those boards in half.

Sunscreen and zinc

-Also very expensive here, about 520 peso (over $15AUD) for a small tube. Again experienced surfers know to bring their own.

Always be on alert

-Philippines is a dangerous country there’s no doubt about it. The use of meth is very common in many regions. The longer I stay here the more stories I hear of attacks on locals (mostly in transit to Siargao). Many attacks are in a bid to get money to fund their meth habits.

The threat of typhoon is very real

The slightest drop of rain will see your flight from Siargao back out to Cebu cancelled. The authorities simply don’t take the risk. If you can afford the luxury I would not booksurfing Cloud9 your international trip home until you are out of Siargao. Or better still make it a coupleI saw many surfers missing their next leg

Other than the general warnings, it truly is a stunning part of the world and one that blew my expectations right out of the water. I spent four weeks living in a very basic bamboo shack around the corner from Cloud Nine surf.

More in-depth rundown coming soon!

Mentawai Islands

If you’re a princess kind of surfer who must wear delicate designer bikinis and only paddles out to be “seen” by the men,  I highly recommend staying home as this place is not for the faint-hearted. If I could associate one word with Mentawai my first pick would be “wild”. Think jungle meet waterfall, meet crystal clear lagoon and waves that will absolutely blow your mind type perfection. If you’re a surfer, this is the one part of the world you definitely should not leave untouched.

Stay at home princesses

Just getting to the outer islands can become a treacherous and very tedious adventure, depending on your style of travel. For me I opted heading over to work at a surf camp, which turned into an accidental-lets fall in love at first sight with owner of camp- have craziest period of my life to date type of travel.

Totally unplanned. Totally let’s drop everything I thought I knew about life. Totally and utterly unforgettable.

Doing it rough

Over the period of two months in these islands, my mock itineraries included being the 10361064_10152102063020168_2727645846378015545_nonly Westerner sleeping top to tail amidst hundreds of local Indonesians on the floor of a rusted out boat.

The very same port to port journey in which a boat of similar description capsized in rough seas killing seven locals that same evening.

I sat for 12 hours in a tiny fishing village wondering if a boat home was ever going to arrive. I found myself being transported in dug-out canoes built to strictly transport supplies to the camp.

The scariest of all was stepping foot onto the same supply boat racing out through a narrow reef passage into the biggest, roughest stretch of ocean I have ever seen before, drenched to the bone and terrified if I would make it out alive.

vs doing it in luxury

Now, enough of the crazy stories.  The majority of surfers that visit the Mentawais opt for a more comfortable experience for their short period of time in paradise. There’s thirty or so charter boats from budget to luxury that buzz around the chain of islands.

You’ll also find a select number of land camps to choose from- most in which offer a safe and enjoyable ride from the mainland (to avoid the crazy alternatives that I found myself taking). The Mentawaisocean house feature the “no rules, anything goes” type lifestyle where you can truly live with no restrictions that you find back home.

Some surfers take this too far and end up living out there too long and completely losing their minds or going “troppo” as they say.

An amazing experience

Being a chick in the Mentawai rocks. Guys give you massive credit and respect in the lineup as they’re stoked to have a female join them in some heavy waves. Your surfing ability will improve faster than you can imagine, with mechanical barrels galore and long green walls that seem to peel forever.

When you’re not surfing  you can go brave the dense jungle, practice your Indo on locals in the small villages, pick fresh tropical fruit from the trees, explore outer islands and reefs,  snorkel & spearfish, gaze at picture perfect sunsets or pretty much anything your heart desires. But remember- no barbie dolls in these neck of the woods.

exploration

The wonders of burdock root

What I love about the Japanese culture is just how health and beauty conscious they are. We could certainly learn a thing or two from them in our modern Western world and I’ve recently stuck my head in to the traditional remedies that they and other cultures have natural healthbeen depending on for thousands of years direct from mother nature. Burdock root holds some incredible properties and is great to drop a few roots into a cup of tasty miso soup. 

After a bad blood infection and reoccurring large and painful boils on my legs while on an extended trip in remote Mentawai Islands, I decided to look into having a tonic made up from a naturopath that focused on purifying the blood.

This was with the intention to provide my body with relief after the purchase of cheap and nasty penicillin out of immense pain and desperation while in Malaysia on that same trip. The tonic had a noticeable effect on clearing up the boils and it was years until I had only a small outburst of them again (only after coming into direct contact with someone that had them).

I was pretty impressed given my GP had told me boils once contracted can stay in the blood stream for a lifetime and can reoccur at any point.

One of those many ingredients found in the tincture was “burdock root” and while curiously browsing the aisles of an Asian supermarket I found some dried burdock and decided to look at ways to implement it into my diet.

Burdock root health benefits

Other than being popular throughout Japanese culture, burdock has a long history throughout the American Indians and Europeans for its healing properties. It is also very well used throughout Indian and Chinese Medicine for the treatment of various ailments

Blood purifier

Exactly what I was after when suffering from boils. Burdock root is a great detoxifier and has been found to remove heavy metals from the blood stream which develops through poor diet and lifestyle choices. These toxins are effectively removed from the body due to the active compounds of the burdock.

Clean and pure blood means proper organ function, improved circulation and overall health and vitality. I am assuming that the cleansing properties and improved circulation means more blood is able to be pumped to the surface of the skin, therefore having a positive effect on cleansing skin infections such as the boils I had.

Naturopaths will often prescribe tinctures including burdock root extract to patients suffering from psoriasis and eczema with positive effect. Burdock root tea is also applied topically to acne ridden skin and other conditions to improve skin quality. Burdock root also assists in the drainage of the lymphatic system which is commonly full of toxins and waste, and which can easily block the proper function of the lymph nodes which are vital for a strong immune system.

Youthful skin

Again due to the great detoxifying properties found within burdock root, the quality and pexels-photo-112327appearance of skin is improved through its regular consumption. Perhaps this is one of the secrets to Japanese appearing much younger than they actually are (other than their good genes).

Clinical trials find that burdock root also helps to reduce the common signs of ageing such as wrinkly skin. All that time in the sun surfing over a lifetime surely will add up! It’s nice to know there are natural ways to combat the leather skin look.

Anti-Cancer Properties

The removal of heavy metals from the body and consuming foods that are high in antioxidants are both positive steps towards reducing your risk cancer developing in the body. Burdock root is extremely high in antioxidants meaning it is a great scavenger for free-radicals and harmful metals that you simply don’t want in your system.

As with most natural cures for widespread diseases, not enough studies have been “officially” carried out by professionals, but many naturopaths have continually been amazed by the positive effect burdock (in combination with other natural treatments) has on patients suffering from chronic tumors. They put this down to the anti-mutagenic and anti-tumor properties which inhibit the cancer cell growth, disallowing it to reproduce and spread throughout the body.

Burdock root tea

I found the easiest way to introduce burdock root into my diet is a simple tea made fromburdock root tea the dried burdock root. I found a packet of the dried root at my local Asian supermarket for around $4.60. Simply place a few of the dried roots into the bottom of a cup and pour hot water over top, allowing to steep for a few minutes.

Alternatively you can make up a tea pot but I didn’t have one on hand at the time. The taste I can only compare to miso or a slight mushroom taste and I found it quite pleasant to drink. You can experiment with adding honey or sugar if you like, however I saw it as more of a savory tea.

You can also use the leftover softened burdock root perhaps in stifrys as it has a soft mushroom texture or pour more hot water over the top and use the tea topically for any skin ailments. You can also use as a shower cleanser to really take advantage of the wonderful properties of this plant.

Conclusion

Other than those listed above there are what appears to be an endless list of positive properties of the burdock root and I’m sure many more that we are not aware of. Some of those properties include:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties which is great for the reduction of painful types of arthritis
  • Assisting with those suffering with diabetes
  • There are around 26 known minerals and vitamins contained within burdock root including iron, selenium, zinc, vitamin A, B6 and C
  • Improves digestive issues
  • Assists in the treatment of an enlarged spleen (due to a poor immune system)
  • Boosts memory
  • Antiseptic properties
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increases metabolism

There are certainly enough articles to be found throughout the internet and herbal handbooks reporting on the great effects of the burdock root and I’m pretty happy to have stumbled across it and have it so readily available.

Read more from Dr Axe here

Resources:

Clinical trials: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21429215

Clinical trials anti-aging properties: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19146605

Dr Christopher’s herbal legacy: http://www.herballegacy.com/Light_Medicinal.html

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/burdock

http://www.naturalnews.com/031390_blood_cleansing.html