Indonesia TJs Writing


I woke early in the day we were going to Indonesia. I made sure my backpack was packed and waited for the others to wake up as well.  It was hot in India. It was only me and Mum, Gwennie and Priscilla. My dad and other 2 sisters were in Egypt. We were going to see them again in Indonesia. I was looking forward to the flight, planes are my favourite way of transport.  You get to look out the window and see everything from a birds eye view and go through clouds, not just look up at them.  Finally everyone was awake and ready to go.

kids in water

When we arrived at our destination there where lots of people waiting outside to greet us.  They told us there names but don’t remember most of them because there were so many.  Inside the house was bigger than I expected probably because there were not many doors.  In the middle and a bit to the right was a courtyard without a roof it was hard to tell if you were inside or outside.  Then they took us in our rooms.  One of them was white and blue with a Queen size mattress on the ground and at the end of the room was a little hallway that went of to the left witch i guessed led to a toilet.  The next room had two doors one from the main hall and one from in the other room it had pink walls with butterflies on it and had mattresses all over the ground.  I made friends on the first day all of the kids were younger than me but it didn’t matter.  One day it rained a lot and me and two of the younger kids ran around in the courtyard and got soaked.

lizzy hanging from rock

Lizzy was tired of people talking about her long blond flowing hair like it was made of spun gold. They always said, never cut your hair, you would not be you without your hair, you are beautiful because your hair is beautiful  and on and on and on. One day she said she had enough of it. She said we will be going to New Zealand soon and start a new season so she went up to Priscilla and asked her to do the honer.  Priscilla was delighted. She wanted to get started straight away.

lizzie haircut priscilla and abi

The next hour was spent with everyone outside watching Priscilla  and Abi make bizarre hair styles.  All of us watched as pieces of golden hair fell to the ground.  The next step was to shave the last bitts of hair off.  When that was done Lizzy looked like a completely different person.  Her head was shining and her face was glowing.  She looked happy with her new self and looked ready for a new season. 

lizzy henna tattoo

Later on that day when everyone was talking about the new hair style and cleaning up the hair Mum and Lizzy disappeared and when they reappeared Lizzy had a delicate henna tattoo across her shinny  head where her blond locks once were. 



The next morning everybody was up early and looking excited.  I didn’t know what was going on but when I went outside all I could see was scooters.  They were down the street outside the house and more were still driving in. Most of them were black but some were grey, green, blue, brown and lots of other colours.  Soon everyone was outside getting on scooters.  Before I knew what was going on I was on a scooter waving goodbye to my family.  In my group there were three or four scooters with about three or four people on each one.  Luckily two of my sisters were with me but were on two of the other scooters.  We stopped at the beach and started grabbing apples from the scooters and walking down the beach. We gave them out to random people along with red ribbons.  Some of them did not want them but others were delighted to get them. I still didn’t know what was going on but I gave out apples to everyone I saw.  After all of our apples and ribbons were gone we got back on the scooters and went to a park.  A few people that I recognised were already there when I arrived and after a while almost everybody was there except my dad’s group.  After they got back they all brought out food from were they are from and started giving it to each other.

aids awareness day


Protecting the Turtles at Çıralı Turkey

Yesterday I arrived back in Turkey.The beach here at Çıralı is famous among campers because its the best place to wild camp for free in Turkey. Our family was here for a month last year and really enjoyed the ancient ruins of Olympos right next to the beach.

This beach is protected from development because it is here that loggerhead turtles come to lay their eggs. The baby turtles waddle down to the water at night so its hard to see them but many people do.

Unfortunately, big business is trying to get the land and start development of hotels. This hit the papers in Turkey but there is not much news in English.


My friend Apo who owns the Sahin Pension, was on the beach a few weeks ago with his father to raise awareness of this problem. Rather than sell up to wealthy businessmen and make a fortune, they would rather protect the environment and the turtles and keep this beach a protected wild-life reserve.


I am making a short video on the problem. I will post a link to it here when I get it done

Related: WWF has a good French article on loggerheads turtles at Çıralı at WWF.


Last, Busy days in Bali

The last few days in Bali really sped up. We got to hang with lots of people who were Muslim, Hindu and Christian. We talked about religious practices and history, coffee and sugar, trust and peace, hostels and land, honour and respect. I learned about life in a country where religious divisions are part of your legal identity and printed on your identity card. I learned that Bali is 90% Hindu.


Respect is VERY important.

My daughter was not allowed to sit on the wall behind me because it would not be considered respectful for her to sit above me however I could sit on the wall above her. : )

The average Balinese Hindu spends a third of their income on small sacrifices of straw baskets containing a flower, a sweet (or cigarette – something of value), holy water and incense. These small baskets are everywhere, especially on the sidewalks and need to be prayerfully put out 5 or 6 times a day. It is preferable for the person to make these baskets themselves but most buy them.

Much of the beautiful, colourful artwork that a Balinese Hindu creates is disposable. It is trampled on or burned. The importance is the sacrifice and not the possession. I think this is beautiful.

When a Balinese Hindu dies they are buried in the ground next to the place of cremation until their family puts together enough money for the burial ceremonies. The cost is to feed the village for 7 days of ceremonies followed by the cremation. So, they believe you need to pay all that money to get your loved ones to heaven. I think this is sad. Seems familiar. Makes me more sad.

Everybody wears “skirts” – especially at the temple – women, men and statues. It is a sign of respect. At first this made me want to giggle but after being there for a bit I think I am beginning to get it.

In Ubud there is a place that is considered holy where very friendly monkeys hang out. There are no high walls to keep them in. I think that is cool. I don’t like putting animals in cages. These monkeys want to stay. I like that.


Wedding in Bali

People are so friendly here. We were invited into a wedding that was happening next door. We couldn’t say no.

Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Irwin Oley on the occasion of their wedding. Irwin is the Reservation Manager for Alila Hotels and Resorts in Bali.


International Aids Awareness Day


Today is International Aids Awareness Day. How did you spend it? We spent it with a group of Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Buddhists to make a statement. Many of us wore T-shirts that said, “I’m peacemaker”. These young people have gone to many “Peace Camps” together and are looking for ways to work together to help the world be a better place.  We left the house in twos and threes on motorbikes with backpacks full of apples and red ribbons to give away. The theme of the day was “STOP the stigma and discrimination”. The theme of their lives includes “We want to work together to help the world be a better place.” Afterwards we ate together in the park and will come back together tonight for a party at the community centre. What a GREAT DAY!


Thanksgiving in Bali

There are many American and Western holidays that I would never want to duplicate in a new country. That is not true of Thanksgiving. It is a holiday of giving thanks for a good harvest and provision of the last year. It is a moment to stop with friends and family to give thanks.

We have been given such amazing hospitality here.  I have been humbled by their generosity, openness, honesty, love and acceptance. Not to mention the amazing cooking we have tasted. It was nice to do something little for them.


We were taken for shopping, for the meal, at the “traditional market” for the meal. balimarket

At one point Andrew counted 41 people at the same time but about 50 came. balitdaymeal

We got some great photos of our friends so I thought I would put them up here.

I am starting to see dynamic equivalents in cultures around the world for Thanksgiving. A few days ago,  here in Bali, there was a festival day in which the streets were full of motorbikes with families in full ceremonial dress and baskets of gifts to show respect for their deities. The Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha. This is when a lamb is slaughtered in remembrance of the Sacrifice where the Koran says God stopped Abraham’s cutting Ishmael’s throat. We were there watching as the men sang, the women watch, they all drank tea and the courtyard was full of sheep waiting for the slaughter. Families would bring home the slaughtered lamb, feast with their families and the poor families that could not afford their own lamb.


Bald Eagle


Our lovely Elizabeth has declared that she doesn’t want to be defined by her long blonde hair. She said she feels like a “walking cliche” at times. She is making a new beginning. Yesterday, Priscilla, her sisters and friends cut her long blonde hair and then shaved her head. balishave



I tried to wake up every morning by 7 so I can turn on the pump. The water comes into this neighborhood 3 times a day. The first is from 7 to 8. Once I had eyes to see I noticed the water coming down the outside walls of our 4 story cement building and dripped off the front awning of the small shop below every time the water came on.  I also noticed a symphony of water pumps at the appropriate times each day. This sound added the baseline rhythm to the Ice-cream-van-like music coming from the trash truck and the rhythmic shouts of the fruit vender. indiashopindiaroads Later in the day men and women free themselves from the chaos with a rest. They don’t seem to care where.

We had a great week in Delhi. Spending time with new and old friends, roaming the streets, hanging with monkeys,indiamonkeyspriscindia



Last days in Istanbul

Family is now in a couple of different places. It all happened quite quickly as the tickets weren’t booked until the crew came back from Van.

Andrew is going through Egypt. He is taking Natasha back to her dad. Lizzy and Abi went with dad for the sheer friendship and fun of it.

Not to be competitive or anything but Debbie, Priscilla, Hannah and TJ found a route taking  us through Delhi. So we elongated our layover in Delhi to a week.

I can’t speak for the Egypt group but the Delhi group is doing great. We tried out in Istanbul and had some great adventures with our new couchsurfing friends. We got to hang with people from Turkey, U.S.A., Belgium, Canada and Japan. We also had a few turkish foods that needed to be enjoyed before we left Turkey. Like Kumpiri (baked potato with attitude) and Waffle topped with – as my momma used to say, “the Lord only knows what”.istpriscwaffleisttjham

On the 17th of November we will rendezvous in Bali, Indonesia where we will be meeting friends, and making new ones. We are going to see what mischief they are getting themselves into.

On the 11th of December we go to New Zealand which we are trying to make into our home base to travel out from. So far we have a a son, a storm damaged yurt and some friends with farms to park it on. Not too bad huh.

China Turkey

Wild camping and holidaying in Cirali, Turkey

Cirali, right next to the ancient town of Olympos, is simply the best place to wild camp in Turkey. The beach is the nicest in the country and there are free toilets and a water supply. We were parked next to the sand, under huge trees, and it was great! Plenty of other wild campers also from all over Europe.

But if you don’t have a camper, there are heaps of ensions to choose from. We had a bad experience in one of them and shifted over to Şahin Pension which was great. Apo is the friendly owner. He speaks English, German and Turkish. They have wifi, restaurant, and even their own boat for cruises. Good prices also. If you don’t mind a little walk into the main part of town, check out Şahin Pension down the end of the road.