The scooter life…

On the first day I said I wouldn’t need it. I’d walk.
The second day’s walk I hailed a ride.
The third day I rented a scooter, just for the week.
The second week I extended it for the whole month.

The scooter proved to be very easy to drive. The driving rules very difficult to understand. And this is what I can tell you about driving a scooter (In Indonesia).

1. When you think you don’t fit: you fit. There is apparently no space through which an Indonesian guy in a scooter cannot go through. It’s as if the trees move when you need to pass between them. Being on the back of a scooter? Tuck your knees in!

2. Always, always, drive a helmet. Except if you’re wearing those earrings. Or if you arranged your hair beautifully. Or if you went in a shop and then left without a helmet, and then you started feeling so free, and you started wondering how you’ve never felt that way while driving the scooter, suddenly you see police looking suspiciously at you, and then sounds start being overwhelming, because you can hear everything, because you’re not wearing a helmet. So you make it home, and with the 35 degree Celsius you walk back to the shop to get your helmet, to avoid the risk of police looking at you suspiciously once more.

3. No matter what you do, you’re being honked at. Too slow? too fast? on the right? on the left? overcharged? not looking when turning? looking when turning? using lights? not using them?? Just to say hi? You’re being honked at. Join the club (I have) and honk.

4. There is (although I have not tried this myself) no amount of junk that cannot be put on a scooter, only if you arrange it properly: I have seen scooters with 12 cages with roosters, with car tyres, with gas tanks (I love this one for some reason), with surf boards (one or 2 or 3 and the optional second passenger on it). Scooters with baskets that overdo the size of the scooter by 5, scooters with 6 pairs of legs (quite hard to make if it was 5 or 6 but it turned out there were indeed 6 people of all sizes). I feel adventurous when I am carrying my backpack AND my laundry at the same time, and even then the laundry guy offered to help me load the scooter after I’ve sat on it and started the engine (I take he underestimates my skill).

5. It seems safe to leave the helmet on the scooter. Or not. I mean it is safe to leave it and no one will steal it. But you might put it back on and remember: it just rained the most torrential rain for an hour and a half, and half of that rain is still in my helmet. NEVER, leave it upside down. I know it sounds obvious, but I dare you to remember THAT!

6. If there is no space on your lane, then for sure the other lane can take one more, in the wrong direction. This is the most adrenaline shooting sport. You see the other scooter coming right at you. It is advisable not to move from your route, since they are doing the manoeuvre, you continue your journey (not without honking) and you let them get out of your way, they surely have a plan, on time.

7. We drive on the left. A brain-wrecker. So the turns take place the other way around, the stop, the passing over, also you should drive on the leftest side of the lane (not only on the left lane). And while you try to remember this you are honked at, and then you see a blonde girl (this is a true case, not just saying she was blonde for the story) take the main avenue on the right lane, about 35 scooters honk simultaneously, and she fights the traffic like there was no tomorrow, when she’s almost by my side (me going opposite to her) I hear her say: is this a one way street? No darling. We drive on the left.

8. When you need petrol, there isn’t any. I have the bad habit of charging petrol at the latest hours of the day, so that’s something I would typically do on my way home after dinner. Not here. There are not many petrol stations. And how do we get petrol? Well, people put little tables on the edge or side of the road with the sign “Petrol” and you stop for them to pour one (or more) litters of unknown petrol from a bottle of Absolut Vodka. Welcome to Indonesia.

9. Have you travelled 2.5 hours on a scooter? I need a butt transplant.

10. Someone (almost) always, is there to help. Wether it is to park, to start, to move, the scooter. And also, someone is (almost) always there to charge you for the parking. How do I get away with it? Today the ‘parking’ guy came over to charge his “fee” and I asked him, where you here when I arrived? he said yes. So why didn’t you tell me something about the fee then? He said: ok, go…

I hope you enjoy the ride of the story, more to come, follow me on instagram @igoyoa!

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Time, Space, Energy…

I don’t know where to begin. Most probably from now on my posts will be random scripts of what I go through during the trip and not a chronological account of the events. But in the end time doesn’t matter much, simply because time has become a different dimension for me in the last weeks. Let’s not start from the beginning.

I am writing about time because I think it’s the one thing that stroke me once all the excitement of the new place had washed off a bit. I started realising that time can be a pleasant companion instead of a cruel guardian. Being in Ubud I have spent the last weeks without the leash of time. It has not been “lunch-time” or “bed-time”, except for the wakeup time for yoga I pretty much have not had to do anything specific at any given time. What a bliss and I kid you not, the day you start eating when you’re hungry, sleeping when you’re tired, going out when you need air, staying in if you need a moment, seeing people if you feel like a chat, things change dramatically. I do not know how it happens but responding naturally to the demands of body and mind makes me free. Why should we all eat at the same time? Appart from being a social activity on top of a nourishing-nutrition-survival-etc one, why should we all keep the loyalty to the clock? Why if our bodies are different and need different amounts of anything, should we be doing the same things at the same time? How have we become the clockwork machine that tells us at what time of the day we should move our bowels? Or drink water? or take a nap? I have heard of kindergarden schools where kids are all brought to the potty at 11am, what in the world is wrong with the world. I get we all need maybe a little routine, but you will excuse me and I will say it, the world would be much better if we made some little changes. Call me a hippie, whatever, I went to a Montessori school, and I took naps whenever I felt tired, and I survived the real world very fine, so I can take it.

Being in Ubud makes me get in touch with those basic things I had put away because the system and the work life and the way we handle life in the big city with the big job and all those big things I was bound to believe I wanted. I actually do not miss any of those things, I barely remember them. And people ask why Bali is sort of the spiritual capital of the world (?), well, I am starting to understand and the similarities with my hometown are astonishing.

People need a place, time and energy do find themselves. If you don’t have time, or make time, or give yourself time, the finding yourself is not going to happen unless you are already quite high in the mental-spiritual plan. But if you don’t “have” time for the spiritual, it is very likely you don’t have time for your body too, and I don’t mean going to the gym one hour every second day. I mean taking time to take care of your food, or preparing it, of eating it, of disposing of it. If you don’t have space, as in an area where you live, enjoy, rest, a spot, a haven from the outside world, your cove, your tree which you climb up to hear the birds. If you don’t have a spot you enjoy then the surroundings are likely to be very toxic for you, there is no space for the CO2 to go our of your system and you accumulate it all thinking every day: I hope I win the lottery and I can buy a deserted island in the pacific where no one will ever find me again. Energy. Well this one is the toughest one. We are energy, and we can leak it, or we can produce it, and recycle it, we can take it from others, and we can give it to others, and we can share it. If you don’t have physical energy you’re probably not feeding your body enough, or with the quality it needs. If you are but you are still tired then you are probably spending that energy in the wrong things, or you are having others drain it away from you without noticing. Or maybe you are caught up in negative thoughts and negative waves that diminish the energy that would otherwise be multiplied if you were investing it in good things.

So what happens in these magical villages where foreigners arrive one day, find their peace in the jungle (beach/forest/mountain) and then call all their friends turning it into a sarong best-seller town, overcrowded with barefoot vegan hippies with unshaved armpits and overly long hair, who give free hugs and smell like garlic and lavender? Well, it’s not ONLY that. These kind of places offer a lack of judgement in the form of i-can-be-anything-i-want and that is something hard to get, at least for me, in a place where everybody knows me. a.k.a Home (Home in Mexico). So that gives me space. When you come down here and you get to meet people who are also trying to find themselves you offer them the same benefit, you don’t know who they are, actually maybe you don’t care, you don’t ask questions, you don’t ask them what is their vision of themselves in the long term, or what are they going to do as they are now unemployed, you don’t judge, you just drink your green juice and wish them the best. Also the space with a swimming pool is a very nice space to look for oneself, I must admit, let’s be no fools, it could be worse.

Time. I quit my job and have been unemployed for little over one month. It’s not half as scary as everyone said it would be. I don’t have an infinite pool of money and I don’t have rich parents-husband-sponsor that will keep me living the good life forever without lifting a finger. BUT. I have taken time off life as I knew it. I have taken time for me, and I have ran away with myself, to ask myself all the questions and evaluate the answers, to get inspired, to see beautiful things, to have amazing encounters with people, to eat vegan cake, to talk with nature, with the sea, I know running away is highly criticised but I encourage everyone, at least one time in your life, to run away (as long as it is with yourself).

Energy! I don’t remember being as tired as I was through 2012 and 2013. In my whole life. Fatigue and tiredness that made me want to go back to bed the minute I woke up. My body had no energy most of the time. It was a large effort to keep me afloat and I managed ok but thanks to a strong will and a stubborn personality (together with some sugared-up cake). Yoga though was the best part of my day but it seemed like I was a boat, with a leak, and I was sinking. Most times I just wanted to go to bed. In the last month I have slept long and deep. I have taken naps. I have stocked up on energy and I am learning to use it properly. I do not want to go back to bed right now. And that feels pretty awesome! The best is that I am able to share that with others. And I am also learning to differentiate tiredness with lack of energy.

I am truly grateful for all that I am living, and I am happy to share it with anyone who wants to know how I did it, to take this time, to set myself free, to “quit” and go, it was actually quite easy now that I think about it. If you’re thinking about it and want to ask me practical questions please do contact me. And if you feel like following my trip with images you can follow me on Instagram @igoyoga

Namaste!

Tamara

Time, Space, Energy…

I don’t know where to begin. Most probably from now on my posts will be random scripts of what I go through during the trip and not a chronological account of the events. But in the end time doesn’t matter much, simply because time has become a different dimension for me in the last weeks. Let’s not start from the beginning.

I am writing about time because I think it’s the one thing that stroke me once all the excitement of the new place had washed off a bit. I started realising that time can be a pleasant companion instead of a cruel guardian. Being in Ubud I have spent the last weeks without the leash of time. It has not been “lunch-time” or “bed-time”, except for the wakeup time for yoga I pretty much have not had to do anything specific at any given time. What a bliss and I kid you not, the day you start eating when you’re hungry, sleeping when you’re tired, going out when you need air, staying in if you need a moment, seeing people if you feel like a chat, things change dramatically. I do not know how it happens but responding naturally to the demands of body and mind makes me free. Why should we all eat at the same time? Appart from being a social activity on top of a nourishing-nutrition-survival-etc one, why should we all keep the loyalty to the clock? Why if our bodies are different and need different amounts of anything, should we be doing the same things at the same time? How have we become the clockwork machine that tells us at what time of the day we should move our bowels? Or drink water? or take a nap? I have heard of kindergarden schools where kids are all brought to the potty at 11am, what in the world is wrong with the world. I get we all need maybe a little routine, but you will excuse me and I will say it, the world would be much better if we made some little changes. Call me a hippie, whatever, I went to a Montessori school, and I took naps whenever I felt tired, and I survived the real world very fine, so I can take it.

Being in Ubud makes me get in touch with those basic things I had put away because the system and the work life and the way we handle life in the big city with the big job and all those big things I was bound to believe I wanted. I actually do not miss any of those things, I barely remember them. And people ask why Bali is sort of the spiritual capital of the world (?), well, I am starting to understand and the similarities with my hometown are astonishing.

People need a place, time and energy do find themselves. If you don’t have time, or make time, or give yourself time, the finding yourself is not going to happen unless you are already quite high in the mental-spiritual plan. But if you don’t “have” time for the spiritual, it is very likely you don’t have time for your body too, and I don’t mean going to the gym one hour every second day. I mean taking time to take care of your food, or preparing it, of eating it, of disposing of it. If you don’t have space, as in an area where you live, enjoy, rest, a spot, a haven from the outside world, your cove, your tree which you climb up to hear the birds. If you don’t have a spot you enjoy then the surroundings are likely to be very toxic for you, there is no space for the CO2 to go our of your system and you accumulate it all thinking every day: I hope I win the lottery and I can buy a deserted island in the pacific where no one will ever find me again. Energy. Well this one is the toughest one. We are energy, and we can leak it, or we can produce it, and recycle it, we can take it from others, and we can give it to others, and we can share it. If you don’t have physical energy you’re probably not feeding your body enough, or with the quality it needs. If you are but you are still tired then you are probably spending that energy in the wrong things, or you are having others drain it away from you without noticing. Or maybe you are caught up in negative thoughts and negative waves that diminish the energy that would otherwise be multiplied if you were investing it in good things.

So what happens in these magical villages where foreigners arrive one day, find their peace in the jungle (beach/forest/mountain) and then call all their friends turning it into a sarong best-seller town, overcrowded with barefoot vegan hippies with unshaved armpits and overly long hair, who give free hugs and smell like garlic and lavender? Well, it’s not ONLY that. These kind of places offer a lack of judgement in the form of i-can-be-anything-i-want and that is something hard to get, at least for me, in a place where everybody knows me. a.k.a Home (Home in Mexico). So that gives me space. When you come down here and you get to meet people who are also trying to find themselves you offer them the same benefit, you don’t know who they are, actually maybe you don’t care, you don’t ask questions, you don’t ask them what is their vision of themselves in the long term, or what are they going to do as they are now unemployed, you don’t judge, you just drink your green juice and wish them the best. Also the space with a swimming pool is a very nice space to look for oneself, I must admit, let’s be no fools, it could be worse.

Time. I quit my job and have been unemployed for little over one month. It’s not half as scary as everyone said it would be. I don’t have an infinite pool of money and I don’t have rich parents-husband-sponsor that will keep me living the good life forever without lifting a finger. BUT. I have taken time off life as I knew it. I have taken time for me, and I have ran away with myself, to ask myself all the questions and evaluate the answers, to get inspired, to see beautiful things, to have amazing encounters with people, to eat vegan cake, to talk with nature, with the sea, I know running away is highly criticised but I encourage everyone, at least one time in your life, to run away (as long as it is with yourself).

Energy! I don’t remember being as tired as I was through 2012 and 2013. In my whole life. Fatigue and tiredness that made me want to go back to bed the minute I woke up. My body had no energy most of the time. It was a large effort to keep me afloat and I managed ok but thanks to a strong will and a stubborn personality (together with some sugared-up cake). Yoga though was the best part of my day but it seemed like I was a boat, with a leak, and I was sinking. Most times I just wanted to go to bed. In the last month I have slept long and deep. I have taken naps. I have stocked up on energy and I am learning to use it properly. I do not want to go back to bed right now. And that feels pretty awesome! The best is that I am able to share that with others. And I am also learning to differentiate tiredness with lack of energy.

I am truly grateful for all that I am living, and I am happy to share it with anyone who wants to know how I did it, to take this time, to set myself free, to “quit” and go, it was actually quite easy now that I think about it. If you’re thinking about it and want to ask me practical questions please do contact me. And if you feel like following my trip with images you can follow me on Instagram @igoyoga

Namaste!

Tamara

Strawberries and Champagne

There is definitely something about me that makes people act weird sometimes. Especially when crossing borders or immigration counters, maybe authority in general is a challenge for me. I am pretty sure the questions they ask me they don’t ask no one else. Let’s not forget the time when an immigration officer asked me who had paid for my education and wanted to know how much that was.

Or the time another one asked me if my boss was aware of my very dodgy past. Which might have been a joke. But being Mexican, crossing immigration is not my idea of a walk in the park. It makes me nervous even if I’m not at fault. And it makes me sweat and shake and it also makes me angry. Because while immigration officers are allowed to come up with the stupidest questions and make you feel like a criminal there is no way you can come back with the same level of moronic slash ironic answers.

This morning I walked up to the counter for police check at Frankfurt’s airport. I speak a bit of German but I’m not taking the risk of saying something I don’t mean in a language I am not fluent in. So the first thing he does is he fixes my eyes for like 5 seconds. Without saying anything. I say good morning and he stares. I hand my passport an boarding pass. He says in German: I don’t recognize your perfume. What are you wearing? I tell him I don’t speak German, would you please say again in English? He repeats in German: you are wearing something I have never smelled before. I smile and I ask him once more to excuse me. To speak in English. He then starts looking at my passport and tells his colleague every single date from the passport stamps I have. He turns to me and waves his hand the way some chefs do to bring the scent of a sauce closer to their nostrils without sticking their face in a plate. So he is there. Smelling me. And I am there. Freaking out. I don’t dare asking if there is a problem. He then says something I don’t get and this time I say: I am really sorry but I don’t understand what you are saying. So he goes in English: vat parfume are you vearing? I tell him it’s Victoria’s Secret Strawberries and Champagne. He then tells me that I have no entry stamp on my passport. I explain I live in Belgium and have never entered through Germany. “Please show your alien ID card, immediately”. There it is. I might be an Alien in all the extent of the word. I give it. He says: YOU MAST SHOW ZIS EFERY TIME YOU ENTAR ZIS CANTRY. I say ok. Then he tells his colleague in German: have you ever heard of this Victoria Backham perfume? Colleague says no. I don’t bother correcting. Then he turns back to me and asks me: so, this perfume is expensive?

At this time I really don’t see where this is going. But he has my documents and I cannot tell him to bugger off. So I tell him I don’t know, it was a present. Which it was. But I am not up for perfume prices discussions with the Polizei. And he’s not even nice to me, so why should I? He adds: YU MAST BE FERY LACKY TO HEF PERFUME PRESENTS. I nod. I take my documents back and I leave as he stares at me, again. To be honest I am not even sure I wore my perfume this morning. But god knows where our conversation would have led had I told him this is my own body scent.

I hadn’t even left the country yet and I was already having weird encounters with the authorities.

The flight was excellent, had a wonderful seat by the window and an empty seat between me and this Australian guy who fell asleep before take off and wouldn’t wake up 5 hours later when I tapped him in the arm and shoulder several times because I needed to get out. I hate bothering people while they sleep but I hate being trapped even more. So I decided if he didn’t wake up then I could probably jump over him without him waking up. So I did. I had to decide, I case he would wake up, if I’d jump over him facing him or facing him back. I went for face to him. First leg up and over. And just as I was ready to cross over completely, he woke up, with me over his lap, my arms on his head rest. Hi. He looked confused. I couldn’t help but laugh.

I am currently in Dubai waiting for my 4am flight to Jakarta. The report from the airport is: I have never seen so many stunning and exotic people in the same place. And while I’m not exactly into exotic (I like blonds) I can only say that it feels like I’m the most unnoticeable person ever. Except for my yoga mat which helps for people to strike conversation!

I have another 8 hour flight, then another 1.5 hour flight before arriving in Bali. It will be late at night. I have lost track of time. I’m not tired and I feel like a million dollars.