Sunday, June 28, 2015

i have moved (blog) house

After a long relationship with blogger I have moved to incorporate this blog into my new website.
You can now find me sharing stories, photos and inspiration for an authentic free-range life HERE
Thanks to everyone for supporting Remote and Raw. The barefoot season continues; same beach and the same village, but now with a decent internet connection and a new blog name.  x

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

back in the days of puddles

The last heavy rain of the west season was on Sunday 13th April. There are two reasons that I remember this: one is that I am a weather geek and love to study synoptic charts, satellite patterns and record climate data, the other is that this particular rain was a tropical deluge unmatched throughout the wet season. It was Sunday morning, the power was on for church, and I thought I’d clean the desk in my studio, plug in my laptop, ring out some background tunes, write a few words and do a yoga session.  The rain started while I was in the shower and was so heavy I sheltered in the bedroom for 15 minutes. I couldn’t hear that the music had stopped and wasn’t to know what was happening behind the studio door.  

I returned to the desk to see my beloved Macbook Pro lying in a puddle – lid open, plugged in, screen black. Cue short repetitive expletives. I ripped out the power cord, picked it up and a waterfall poured out of the disk drive. The tin roof had leaked directly above the desk and flooded the studio. Poor Banjo, he wasn’t ready to die, he was still so young and vibrant. Despite three days in front of the fan, I was not able to resurrect his spirit, and when I plugged him in, smoke emerged from the depths. Not a heartening sight. 

I returned to Australia from Bali on a bargain $73 Air Asia flight, surprised mum and dad, and organized a replacement laptop in 48 hours. It is here I would like to give a plug for SGIO insurance who were outstanding in their service, understanding and support.  A week later I was back in Indonesia, and it is from Banjo Mark II Macbook Pro Retina that I write you this post.  

Meanwhile our internet is unreliable and choked, and my enthusiasm for blogging wanes with the moon. I read of the supportive, communicative blog community out there in the connected world, moving in vibrating circles of creative juice, gathering for Instameets, collaborations and Kinfolk dinners. I’m in the back end of Indonesia in a surf camp populated by 60 year old blokes who don’t even know what a blog is, with an internet slower than a smoke signal. Networking here means getting together with the neighbours to discuss the swell forecast, decipher village politics, play scrabble and eat banana muffins. I have nothing to sell, I’m not offering to take away anyone’s suffering, help them parent better, advise on shares, weight loss or how to be more popular, richer or more productive. If you are feeling the bite of winter and nursing a cold, perhaps seeing the waters of a tropical lagoon may even make you feel worse. What I have to offer are stories, authentic experiences, considered images; moments from a life of cultivating simplicity, awareness and love, with barefeet, a tan and gardener's hands. To all of you reading, thank you, I hope this is enough.

Monday, June 30, 2014

white roads to nowhere

Since gaining autonomy, our local island government receives an annual budget from Uncle Jakarta that they can play with however they see fit. In a country rife with corruption, transparency is murky at best, and coupled with our minimal understanding of the political wormholes, it is impossible to know how funding is channelled.  What is evident are new white gravel roads through uninhabited and rugged inland areas, that end in a swamp or at the foot of a cliff.  Many are built along former goat tracks, and do little but provide easier access for trucks to infiltrate the interior and pillage free rocks. No doubt the mayor's brother owns a truck or two and our local member happens to be in possession of earth moving equipment that can be contracted out at a handsome daily fee. 

Many of these roads are built in the wet season while we are away, so upon our return I am met with many exploring opportunities. We are fortunate to be babysitting a Yamaha trail bike that skips along the back tracks. Fuel has been scarce, as high winds have prevented the ferry crossing from the mainland, so long distance outings have to be timed with a full tank. 

Our village is relatively affluent since the introduction of seaweed farming as a profitable cash crop, and as a result almost all of the traditional houses have been replaced with brick hot boxes of mosquito infestation. For people in the interior, life is very basic and subsistent, and houses are still made from materials gathered in nearby bushland. Thanks to juice from the lontar palm, caloric intake is sufficient and stable, without an annual period of famine that effects other regions.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

it's the time, and it's slow

String out your hammock, wax up your quiver, the season is well underway. We have been back on our island home for almost three months, arriving in mid March after two months of summer in Western Australia and one month travelling in Sri Lanka (you may have seen the photos on my other blog). Nothing happens fast on island time; our days are a gentle wash of tides, watching the breath, watching the mind, watching the waves.

It is officially winter in the southern hemisphere, and while the temperature barely dips below 26 degrees, the signs of the changing season are evident. The occasional black cloud dissipates without a drop and the green tinge of the wet season has already withered to brown. Trade winds blow with persistence, and the cold fronts pushing through WA are bringing us consistent swell. It’s been a solid start to the surf year, and Aquaman has notched his share of barrels on the bedhead. 

If the exasperating internet service will allow, I will begin to fill in the past and keep up with the present.  I am actively posting photos on Instagram @sallymaymills, and my Facebook page , but blogging is difficult given a connection that gets slower every year. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

away for the wet

You may have wondered where we are: have we disappeared down the crab hole of tropical torpor or into the heart of a deep green barrel, never to return from the bliss of the present moment? Fear not, we are in our summer residence in Western Australia, frolicking under days of cloudless blue skies while our island home sleeps through the wet season. The presence of Cyclone Christine last month whipped up a few waves and strong winds, but other than a couple of broken light bulbs we believe the house is at ease. The garden will be doing its wild wet season thing, and hopefully we will return to a six foot mango tree and fruiting papaya. More likely a tangle of creepers, weeds and a few goat eaten sticks. 

We are leaving Australia in less than a month for a long anticipated trip to Sri Lanka, then back to Indonesia for the barefoot season of 2014. There are some big plans and crazy ideas coming up this year; I hope you can paddle in for the ride.  Thanks for being patient with the infrequent posts; with the lack of internet connection last year, it was difficult to sustain a continuous online presence.

A happy new year to everyone, I declare it is still ok to wish this throughout January. Some of us take a while to warm up.

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