2016-11-01

Vanlife surfari France/Spain/Portugal 2016

Tomorrow the kids and I are setting off on a vanlife, surfing, skating, musical road trip adventure through Spain and Portugal.

It is about experiencing, learning, discovering, connecting, sharing, growing - taking risks and going outside our comfort zones. It marks a transition in our family life - a gradual shift, a coming of age, learning to gradually let go and trust my children to make their own life choices. All I can give them now is experience, a view of the real world, an insight and interpretation of this time that will help shape them.

Pacha is the catalyst for the trip. Being part of the Australian team at the world junior surfing championships in Portugal motivated us to think about how we could make the most of a once in a lifetime opportunity. This led to a 5 week home stay with wonderful friends in Hossegor and gave rise to our idea of renting a camper van to explore the region to bring Pacha back home. This time we'll be bringing along our dear cousin Neroli too - making the most use of the four spaces available in the van!

It's all possible because we are immensely privileged - by living in this lucky country Australia, by the generosity of Pacha's sponsors, by family support, trust and love, by living simply enough to gather the resources we needed to be able to go.

Still, some people wonder how in the world we can afford to do this (ie. single mum with a minimal income). I think it's what we do without that makes this kind of adventure possible.  I don't buy coffee out (annual savings app. $1000 and saves throwaway cups and lids as a bonus!), rarely eat out (savings $5000), cut my own hair, don't get manicures, pedicures or massages (savings
$2000) and don't really buy anything new.

I'm not sharing this information to make people feel bad about their lifestyle choices, but somehow there is a perception out there that people who travel must be extremely rich. To me it's about personal priorities. We live simply and it gives us freedom. There are new terms emerging to name this way of life; 'frugal hedonism', 'slow Epicureanism', 'voluntary simplicity'...I started calling it Slohas (Slow Lifestyles of Happiness and Sustainability) many years ago.

And now we are about to take off! Starting in Lisbon we will collect a van from Soul Campers and drive the 9 hours to France to pick up Pacha  (who seems to be having the time of her life). In this modern techno world, it seems like she's been just down the street - being in contact everyday has been delightful!

Pacha talks about how strong the culture is in France - the appreciation for family and friends and food and celebration. She talks about how important study is for French kids and is reminded of her own freedom to make her own decisions on what she wants and needs to learn to be able to survive and help others in the future.

From France we plan to travel along the coast of Spain and Portugal, ticking off the famous surf spots as we go; Mundaka, Pantin, Peniche, Nazare, Super Tubos, Ericera, CasCais, Cadiz and Tenerife...It will be cold and the Atlantic waves will be big, maybe humungous!

We'll live out of the van - free camping and getting local market supplies to do some of our owncooking. We'll stop by skate parks and Eco-villages, busk in the streets, wander down cobblestones and climb mountain paths meeting friends and family along the way. And we'll be sharing the story through social media and video logs, hoping to encourage others to open their minds to new experiences, cultures and ways of life.

The contradictions are sometimes paralysing - we are, after all, burning a lot of jet fuel to get there and ticking off a 'carbon offset ' box just doesn't cut it. We can only hope the experience will deepen our commitment in this lifelong quest to protect life.


We will travel through landscapes ravaged by climate change droughts and fires, observe the reality of people struggling to survive the beginning of the collapse of the globalised economy, see the impact of those seeking refuge from resource wars - and balance this with the incredible beauty of landscapes, culture, food and resilient communities.

We know we are witnessing the collapse of the earth's life support systems, of any semblance of democracy, of the false perception of a benevolent global economy - and yet we are compelled, with eyes wide open, to keep discovering, experiencing and connecting on this quest for understanding, creativity and resilience.
With thanks to Gerry Nichols for the great shot at the Dust temple! 

2016-10-31

Going with the flow...

 Abandoning to the flow...

How do I even begin share these thoughts after so much time has passed?

There is no real explanation - time just slips by and I allow myself to flow along in the current that is the easiest. No struggling against the tide, no effort in directing the course...the one that is more personal - not so public - where I have no real 'wisdom' to impart, no strong willed inspiration to be, or do, or struggle...but being this 'present' means I have neglected many people I love - especially in Japan and for this I apologise! Perhaps I finally found the definition of being truly 'Sloth'.

It was a wonderful journey to Japan in July, with warm and deep reconnections and the chance to freely explore new places with very little planning. I felt so privileged to have the gift of time to show Pacha and Yani some beautiful hidden places around Japan, and sad for the reality that most people in Japan have never had or taken this opportunity to explore. Renting a van and living freely made us realise how magical this country is, not just for the beautiful secret places around just about every corner, but how easy it is to stop just about anywhere and find safety and supplies.

The themes of our visit revolved around the great gift of play - truly, freely playing - which means falling over sometimes and making mistakes and not being so concerned about what other people will think - rather following what's true to your heart...Our play this time was mostly in the ocean - with surfing at the core. We hope it will encourage others to step outside their comfort zones and find simple joys and freedom.
Abandoning to the flow...

How do I even begin share these thoughts after so much time has passed?

There is no real explanation - time just slips by and I allow myself to flow along in the current that is the easiest. No struggling against the tide, no effort in directing the course...the one that is more personal - not so public - where I have no real 'wisdom' to impart, no strong willed inspiration to be, or do, or struggle...but being this 'present' means I have neglected many people I love - especially in Japan and for this I apologise! Perhaps I finally found the definition of being truly 'Sloth'.

It was a wonderful journey to Japan in July, with warm and deep reconnections and the chance to freely explore new places with very little planning. I felt so privileged to have the gift of time to show Pacha and Yani some beautiful hidden places around Japan, and sad for the reality that most people in Japan have never had or taken this opportunity to explore. Renting a van and living freely made us realise how magical this country is, not just for the beautiful secret places around just about every corner, but how easy it is to stop just about anywhere and find safety and supplies.

The themes of our visit revolved around the great gift of play - truly, freely playing - which means falling over sometimes and making mistakes and not being so concerned about what other people will think - rather following what's true to your heart...Our play this time was mostly in the ocean - with surfing at the core. We hope it will encourage others to step outside their comfort zones and find simple joys and freedom.

Since our visit to Japan, Pacha has been the man focus of our lives, travelling to Portugal for the World Junior Surfing championships. She is still in Europe, living with friends and soon Yani, my niece Neroli and I will be joining her to take another surfing roadtrip, this time through Spain and Portugal through November.

We will try to keep the story of this journey available through video diaries.
If you haven't already taken a look, here are the videos of our visit to Japan, created by Pacha!

Week 1: http://youtu.be/0HYPLdL0LXk
Week 2: http://youtu.be/SFHgUKZUC80
Week 3: http://youtu.be/GpGQV8TXM98
Week 4: http://youtu.be/EKkCfbMWDbw
Week 5:http://youtu.be/3qchLcdUIJk
Week 6: http://youtu.be/98_nIijgrNo
Final week: http://youtu.be/LCbDa-lJ5FU



2016-05-19

RIP Don Fernando Luque…


Today we heard the sad, sad news that Pacha and Yani’s grandfather, Fernando Luque, has passed away in Ecuador. 

Just weeks before, he had been forced to escape from and then witness the destruction of his home - the home he had built and lived in for decades -  as the earth quake shook the seaside eco-city of Bahia De Caraquez to the core. 
It must have broken his heart...

And Fernando was a person with a big, big heart. He always opened his doors and arms to us whenever we came to visit - telling us stories of an amazing life spent helping others. As the head veterinarian of the state of Manabi in his younger years, he managed projects to help communities learn and improve the way they raised livestock. We were so grateful that we were able to visit him and the family in Bahia three years ago, walking slowly and sedately alongside him on the seaside promenade - his daily ritual.

He was a person held in extremely high regard and respect by the whole family and the entire community, but to Pacha and Yani and his many, many other grandchildren he was as soft and sweet as a marshmallow. 

So we shed tears here, far away in Australia; tears for Fernando and tears for Bahia, hit by a series of knocks over the past two decades - both natural and human made - but showing so much promise to chart a different, more sustainable course for the future. 

I’ve heard that there has been very little support coming in to Bahia and a huge need for basics like tents and tarps to provide shelter for the community - most of whom are now homeless. 

We hope we can find a way to support good projects on the ground helping to rebuild in the most ecological and resilient way possible - like the bamboo building workshops being set up by Nicola from Rio Muchacho. 

I have faith in the spirit of the people of Ecuador, in their resilience, in their cohesion as a community and in their optimism and energy…I imagine Fernando continue to watch on with a glint in his eye; so proud of his children and grandchildren following in his footsteps to chose  a life path to help others. 

2016-05-10

5/10:Slow Surfari - just Pacha, Yani and Anja!

And then there were three…


We have some news. 

Our surfari fellow van lifer, Jonny, has had to cancel his trip - so it will just be Pacha, Yani and I, our surfboards and musical instruments on an adventure of a lifetime along the southern coastline of Japan from the 6th until the 28th of June.

This makes our lives more simple, and we are happy about having a little extra space in the van! We have fixed events in Kyushu (Itoshima and Miyazaki) from the 17th until the 27th June, but our plans are pretty loose and free from the 7th until the 17th June. 

We dream of exploring the coastline of Izu, Wakayama and Shikoku (surfing, exploring hot springs and music busking)- and if you are in these areas and would like to meet up (or organise a gathering), please let us know!

Our Sloth family are helping organise some events in the Tokyo area before and after the road trip, so please contact them to find our about events and come along - we would love to see you! 

We look so much forward to meeting our friends again, to sharing and being reignited by the spirit of Japan (and, Yani says: eating natto!) 



Looking forward to seeing our Sloth family again!
Be the Change - all ways...

2016-05-01

4/26和訳:エクアドルと日本~地震のこと


母なる地球がゆれている …

エクアドルと日本に対する思いで一杯ですが、今の心境を表現する言葉を少々 ...

先日これらの国を激震した巨大地震の後、家の周りの瓦礫に埋もれた通りを歩く人々のパニック、不安、深い絶望感やるせなさは私たちにも想像できます。

陰鬱な啓示のような気持ちになります。問題ばかり起こすやっかいな人間たちをゆり落とそうとしている地球 … あるいは、この地球温暖化という熱で身震いしている地球、その熱は巨大権力が人間中心経済のグローバリゼーションで引き起こしたもの。
.
最初から生活が厳しい地域を襲ったエクアドルの地震は非常に不公平に思えます。被害のあった地域は隔絶されていて、援助の手を差し伸べるのが困難です。私たちは、彼らの地域に向かうため、その海岸線を何度となく辿り、森林の美しさに、海岸沿いの集落に、ガタガタで野生あふれる小径に感銘を受けたものでしたが ...

パチャとヤニの家族や親戚、私たちの友人はみな無事のようで、悲しくも命を落とした600人を超える人々には含まれていません。私たちの友人の多くは、自分たちの周りのコミュニティーへ何年にも渡り多くのものを与えてきた人たちですが、すでに持続可能な暮らしの再建を始めています。あたかもゼロからの再出発を強いられているかのようであるものの ...

友人のニコラとダリオとその子供たちは、ほぼ全壊した住まいの外でテントを張り野営しているのは確かです。彼らが他のコミュニティーのリーダーと協働し、できるだけ早く他の人たちを助けようとしているのを知っています。

そして日本、列島の南の九州では、とてもたくさんの友人たちが、彼ら自身と子供たちのために、新しい暮らしを創り出そうとしています。現在進行中の福島のカオスから遠く離れた地で、向き合っているのは、先行きの見えない未来、そして、これは確信していますが、活断層の上の原子炉を廃炉にするという新たな決定 …



ノアの海岸地域サーフィン村は、最も被害が甚大だった場所のひとつ .

カノアのメインストリートは、今では瓦礫に ...(写真は3年前に撮影したもの)


では、私たちに何ができるのでしょうか?

ニコラとダリオの資金集め活動(リンクはこちら)があるのは知っていて、他にもそれはそれはたくさんの活動があり(赤十字、ユニセフ 、国境なき医師団 … )、コミュニティーを助け出そうとしています。私がやっているのは、ベストな支援方法をもっと見つけ出すこと。具体的に、最も甚大な打撃を受けたコミュニティー(カノアの海岸地域のサーフィン村のような場所)が直接的な支援を得るよう助ける方法で、これらのプロジェクトの資金集めの支援ができるようになりたい。特に、日本にいる間にやりたいです。

壊滅的な地すべりやこの前のバイアでの地震後に対してただただ、失われたものの再建を祈っていますが、チャンスもあります。文化や生物多様性を培い、世界中の地域から最良な知識や工夫を集めて、環境に配慮した復興をするチャンスです。

私の一番大きな望みは、人々のしなやかな回復力にあります。その人たちは金銭面で貧しいかもしれませんが、人と人とのつながりや生き延びるための実践的な知識がとても豊かなのです。

(翻訳:沓名輝政)


ジュンと彼の家族が生き延びたと聞いて幸いです。しかし、郡区は倒壊しています


マルセロとルーケ一家のみなが無事でほっとしました

2016-04-26

4/26:Ecuador and Japan - Earthquakes


Mother Earth is shaking…

Our thoughts are full of Ecuador and Japan, but there are few words that can express our feelings right now...

We imagine the panic, the fear and the utter desolation as people walk through the rubble of the streets of their home after the massive earthquakes that rocked these countries recently. 

It brings with it an eery feeling of apocalypse -  the planet trying to shake off these pesky humans who are causing so much trouble…or shuddering in this global warming fever brought upon by our juggernaut of human-centred economic globalisation…

It seems deeply unfair that the earthquake in Ecuador devastated communities that already have a hard life. The areas affected are remote and hard to reach in order to bring help. We travelled along this coast more than once, fascinated by the beauty of the forest, the coastal communities and the rough and wild paths needed to get to them...

It seems that Pacha and Yani’s family and relatives are all ok, and that our friends are not among the over 600 people who have tragically lost their lives. But many of our friends, who have given so much to the community around them over so many years, slowly building sustainable lifestyles, seem like they have to start from the beginning again…

Our friends Nicola and Dario and their children are apparently camped in their tents outside their damaged buildings, virtually cut off. I know they will be working with other community leaders to help others as soon as they can.

And in Japan, in the southern island of Kyushu, where so many of our friends are trying to create a new life for themselves and their children - far away from the ongoing chaos of Fukushima - are facing uncertainty for the future and (I am sure) a new determination to close down the nuclear reactors on the fault line’s path...

The coastal surf town of Canoa was one of the hardest hit...

The main street of Canoa is now rubble...(this photo was taken 3 years ago)
So, what can we do? 

I know there is a fundraising campaign for Nicola and Dario (link here:   https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/nicandfamily )
and there are many, many other campaigns (Red Cross, Unicef http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/ecuador.html Medicin San Frontiers...) trying to get help out to communities. I am trying to find out more about how best we can help specifically - especially in getting support directly to the communities that were hardest hit (places like the coast surfing village of Canoa) and we hope to be able to help raise funds for these projects - especially while we are in Japan. 

We pray that in rebuilding what has been lost, just as in the response after the devastating mudslides and previous earthquake in Bahia, there is an opportunity for an ecological revival that nurtures culture and biological diversity and brings the best of knowledge and ideas from communities around the world. 
My greatest hope lies in the resilience of the people - they may be poor in money, but so rich in community and practical knowledge for survival. 


We are happy to hear that Jun and his family survived, but their township is flattened...

It is a relief to hear that Marcelo and all the familia Luque seem to be safe...




2016-04-20

4/11和訳:スローサファリ・ツアー2016



親愛なるナマケモノのみなさん、


パチャ、ヤニ、そして私アンニャは、今年6月・7月と日本に戻ります。おそらく今回は、いつもよりスローで、シンプルで、のびのびとした滞在になるでしょう!

今回、日本に戻りたいと私にせがんだのはヤニでした。ヤニは日本のすべて~人々、文化、食べ物(特に納豆!)、そして温泉~が本当に恋しいのです。

パチャもまた、日本に戻ることをとても楽しみにしています。今回はただ「いる」こと、そして、もちろんサーフィンにもっと時間を使えたらと思っています。

私にとって、持続可能な暮らし方や考え方を紹介するためとはいえ、再び飛行機に乗って、燃料をたくさん使うことに対してもちろん後ろめたい気持ちもあります。その矛盾についてはお詫びします。私自身も学びのプロセスの最中なのです…。


私たちはとってもお得な航空券を買い、寝泊りもできる車を借り、サーフボードや楽器を積んで、東京から宮崎まで旅をします!

旅の仲間は私たち家族の他にもう一人、音楽家でサーファーでもあるジョニー・ドストウが。彼の音楽や国際的な広がりをみせる「ヴァンライフ・ムーブメント」についてみなさんとシェアできるのも楽しみです! (http://vanlife.com.au).ジョニーの音楽はこちらで聞けます! Jonny Dustow music 

ヴァンライフ・ムーブメントとは、車1台分のスペースで、シンプルに、そして自由に暮らしながら、愛とつながりを基盤にした世界的なコミュニティをつくっていこうという取り組みです。

私たちが日本でしたいことは、サーフィン、歌うこと、みなさんとの再会を通じてスローでスモールでシンプルな暮らしについて知恵をわかちあうこと、旅の途中で出会うであろうポジティブなムーブメントや人々を応援し、つなげていく役目を担うこと!旅の途中でみなさんにお会いできたらうれしいです。

コンサートやトーク(テーマはディープ・エコロジーやスローライフなど)、あるいは、ただぶらぶらと一緒に過ごし、海や山や森で愉しむお誘いも大歓迎!ギターやウクレレでのセッションも楽しそう!

◆4/12時点での私たちのプラン

5/27(金) 日本到着
5/28(土)夜 カフェスロー15周年イベントに参加!(国分寺)
5/29(日)午後 自然療法イベントに辻さんと参加(品川)

6/1(水)午後 川崎、夜 関内にてトーク&ライブ
6/2(木)昼間 横浜方面でトーク&ライブ予定

6/3(金) スローサファリツアースタート!
藤野~伊豆~静岡~和歌山~京都~鳥取~四国
~九州(糸島をメインに)

6/22(水)~26日(日) 宮崎滞在
6/27(月)~ 旅しながら東京へ

7/1(金)~ 関東滞在予定
7/13(水) 成田より出国


ご覧のとおり、現時点では私たちのスケジュールはいかようにも対応できます!イベントを企画したい方、サーフスポットの近くで夜、駐車させていただけるスペースをご存知の方…、私たちの旅に関心のある方はぜひ、直接連絡をください。

Eメール light.anja@gmail.com 
フェイスブック https://www.facebook.com/anja.light?fref=ts

日本に戻り、みなさんとディープな時間を一緒に過ごせることをとても楽しみにしています。


愛をこめて
アンニャ、パチャ、、ヤニ