North West Island Paradiso

The Great Barrier Reef is not just a place on a map; it’s a living and thriving ecosystem made up of billions of organisms and home to over 900 islands and coral cays. Just 75 kilometres off of Gladstone, Queensland, lies the Capricorn Bunker Group- the southernmost part of the Great Barrier Reef consisting of eight biologically diverse, and exceptionally beautiful islands that are just a stone’s throw away from the mainland. As we boarded the boat headed to North West Island, this tiny strip of land that we would be living and camping on for the next 7 days, with our two cars worth of gear, boards and leisurely essentials (apparently, we packed light) we had little idea of what we’d be in for.

 Under the stars. Our North West odyssey.

Under the stars. Our North West odyssey.

 Australia, you're so wild and free.

Australia, you're so wild and free.

 @danwilly and @indhi_ mid rapturous-delight in @willandbear

@danwilly and @indhi_ mid rapturous-delight in @willandbear

There’s just something about being in the open sea, with the wind on your face and a fine salty glaze glistening across your body. Watching the swell ease its way down the horizon, those gentle rolls that never cease to halt. Curtis Ferry Services have been dropping people out to North West, and the islands sprawled across the Capricorn Bunker region for the past 40 years. The trip out there is something in itself.

The first night we were there, our camp nestled amongst the Pisonia trees and only 20 steps from the soft sand, with those mesmerisingly translucent waters of the lagoon that shone the colour of a Moroccan gem. We were greeted with a warm cacophony from some of the islands local residents- Knoddy turn and Shearwater (Mutton) birds. Muttons are ever so graceful at sea, soaring freely across the high seas, but on land, well lets just say that’s another story. They nest and burrow under the Pisonia trees throughout the island, their rudimentary singing calls attempting to serenade us throughout the night- with little avail haha.

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 The walk out to the reef // just a step off from the high reef edge into an oasis of large pelagic fish and corals.

The walk out to the reef // just a step off from the high reef edge into an oasis of large pelagic fish and corals.

 Dinner done right. @micklatt @_sophiaanne_ @danwilly

Dinner done right. @micklatt @_sophiaanne_ @danwilly

Back in 1904, the island was actually used as the base for a turtle soup factory- the boilers still remain, in their rusted form today. The history of some of The Great Barrier Reef’s islands are flagrantly barbaric as much as they are intriguing. The turtles were caught, killed, butchered, ‘souped’, tinned and exported- the whole operation completed from sea to soup. It wasn't until 1950 that sea turtles became protected animals (thank god- I can’t imagine turtle soup being very appetising anyhow).

The days on the island consisted of waking up with the sun, that soft glow that slowly emanates its way through the trees and onto the side where we were camped. Stepping onto the beach is like witnessing the sands of time- every 5 metres or so there’s a new animal track lingering from the low tide and up into the soft sand of the foredune. Turtles. These guys come here to lay their eggs, swimming in after dusk on the low tide and leaving early the next morning before the predators lurk in the high water of the lagoon. Michael, one of the guys on the trip, has been doing turtle conservation work for the past few years- we counted 420 tracks encompassing the island in just the first night alone. 420- that’s wild man!

 Slacklining and hammock hangs part of the daily rituals of island life.

Slacklining and hammock hangs part of the daily rituals of island life.

 Watching the baby turtles make their way to the water. Pretty special moments in time.

Watching the baby turtles make their way to the water. Pretty special moments in time.

 @danwilly braving the sharkies for the shot. North West is the largest coral cay in the Capricorn-Bunker region, you can meander around it in under an hour.

@danwilly braving the sharkies for the shot. North West is the largest coral cay in the Capricorn-Bunker region, you can meander around it in under an hour.

 Absolute ledgie @_sophiaanne_ enjoying the afternoon sun.

Absolute ledgie @_sophiaanne_ enjoying the afternoon sun.

The abundance of marine and wildlife on the island is actually phenomenal. From the turtles laying their eggs on the beach to the Manta rays and small reef sharks swimming in the lagoon. One afternoon we were eating our stuffed spuds whilst watching the sun go down- the spuds filled with the previous night’s leftovers and marinated veggies (recommended easy and seriously delicious camp meal), enjoying the tranquillity of our surroundings and a cold bev, when all of a sudden about ninety loggerhead turtle hatchlings erupted from the dune behind us and came scurrying down between our toes in dire desperation to reach the waters edge. This was not a rare occurrence. In fact, after seven days, we had possibly become turtled out.

Australia seriously has so much to offer, it’s a country that’s beautifully wild and free. We yearn to visit those places overseas and tropical islands far out of our reach, but in reality, the best destinations and experiences are right here in our own backyard. North West Island, you were a real gem.

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north-west-island-the-salty-dreamers-jemma-scott-photographer
north-west-island-the-salty-dreamers-jemma-scott-photographer

 

This article was featured on Summersite

15 Years of The Beautiful Girls- Nothing but Bliss

Fifteen years after releasing their first EP Morning SunThe Beautiful Girls have been stripping it back to their roots, touring all around Australia playing songs from their first two albums such as Learn Yourself and On a Clear Day. These were groundbreaking back in 2003 but have increasingly become more loved overtime, and more iconic to the Australian roots/reggae scene than ever before.

Playing at The Hotel NorthernByron Bay, the vibes couldn’t be any more warmly enthusiastic. With Paul Bromley on the bass, Paul Derricot on the drums, and the man behind it all Matt McHugh serenading the people of Byron with his soothing melodies and classic guitar picks, it was a performance not easily forgotten.

This particular venue holds a special place in The Beautiful Girls hearts – 15 years ago they were playing at this exact venue. It’s pretty damn incredible for musicians and bands to survive, let alone thrive, over so many years in the music industry. I can tell you the energy surrounding the room was insanely powerful- everyone moving to the rhythm and singing tirelessly to the lyrics that they have admired for so long, I’m sure it would have been just the same so many years before. The Beautiful Girls have etched a spot in the Australian roots/reggae scene, and no doubt, into our hearts.

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Live Review created for Savage Thrills

Jungle Love Festival // Sunshine Coast

Jungle Love Festival- a place where diversity, individuality and androgynous attire is not only encouraged, but celebrated in style. Located 2 hours North of Brisbane in Imbil, Queensland, the festival is set right on Yabba Creek- perfect for swimming and inflatable flamingoes.

With no shortage of workshops and activities such as afro fusion dance, dunkata body beats (using your body as an instrument to create dynamic rhythms & sounds yeah), hula hoop making, symbiotic yoga, and my personal fave- water aerobics with Meg. Jungle Love Festival gave you the opportunity to learn and create, to your heart’s content.

The mornings generally consisted of a throng of dilapidated dreadfuls meandering their way down to the creek to either awash the previous nights’ sins, soak the soul, or just lounge back with an Emu Export in a blow-up inflatable. Anything goes.

The Jungle Boogie stage, with its simple scaffolding setup, smothered in palms, and 50-metre vicinity from the creek was an absolute hit. The constant flow of bubbles being pumped out into the space added to the good vibes. You’d be surprised by the length of time a single bubble can entertain a frazzled mind, they certainly added to the atmosphere, that’s for sure.

Some of the artists playing included Australia’s critically acclaimed HartsKallidadKoi ChildKarl S Williams and Brisbane locals such as HemingwayNice Biscuit and Pocket Love. A fruitful mix of creatives with an overarching cosmic vibe. Jungle Love thanks for the groovy times!

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NY & NJ Surf Chronicles // Ice Cream Headaches

If there were ever to be a book that encapsulates the raw essence of people’s stories and their sanctification to the surf culture, this would be it. Ice Cream Headaches is a celebration of the diversity, creativity and humour of East Coast Surfing. It features forty different stories from surfers, shapers, photographers, filmmakers and writers who represent modern surf culture in New York and New Jersey, and what it means to live a life obsessed with the sea.

 New York based writer Ed Thompson, and photographer Julien Roubinet, set out to capture and document this over a period of four years. Chasing swells and arranging interviews, Ice Cream Headaches sheds the light on like-minded souls who are so fervently drawn to the big blue. An abundance of cheap tacos and a few extra miles on the Jeep a were a given along the way.

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You guys both moved to New York six or so years ago now, how did you meet each other? 

J: We met through a mutual friend, surfing. I remember our first conversation was about visas. A common theme for expats.

E: Yes, we met surfing Rockaway beach. There is a little story about it in the Preface of our book. We got lucky and found a sandbar with a wave that nobody else was surfing, so we surfed there a few times and hung out.

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What was the main reason behind creating this project? And at what point did you decide to go all out and hit the road?

J: Ed came up with the idea after a session, while eating the almost religious post-surf bagel (light on the cream cheese, avo+bacon). 

We threw a few ideas around and once we had something that looked like a plan, we went for it. 

Michael Halsband was the first one we interviewed and photographed and that set the tone. I felt like we had committed to the project by spending some of Halsband’s time. The stories, names and excitement that came out of this first interview also indicated that we were on a fascinating track.

E: I think we both felt an urge to go deeper into what surfing means in this part of the world. It’s a really unique scene because there is so much else going on and surfing can be quite marginal. Yet for many people, especially further from New York City, it’s an essential part of their daily lives. There are also some really unique characters who make up the community here, and maybe a bit less ego, hype and sponsorship from the big brands than you find elsewhere, so it’s a very authentic community.

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Did you look for anyone in particular to interview, or just wanted to stumble across different characters out in the surf?

J: We had a couple of names in mind from the start. They were obvious in the sense that they are known surfers, writer or filmmakers. Then, each person we interviewed would point out a few names. If these names came up several times and the research would yield some stories then we would go after them (regardless of the status).

E: We wanted to invest the time and energy to meet people personally. We could have made a book about surf culture here with much less effort by emailing people interview questions and using other people’s photography and writing for book content. But we didn’t want to ask people to submit their work to our cause without any hope of payment. We also wanted to actually meet people, see new places, surf new breaks, learn about the scene and get ourselves into some real situations. We approached everyone, famous or not, with respect and preparation because we truly appreciate how difficult it is to be a surfer here and make the most of every swell – it takes real passion and commitment and we wanted to reflect that in our own approach.

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Out of the forty incredibly diverse people you met, was there one story/ person that resonated with you guys on a larger scale?

J: That’s a tough one! I can say with confidence that all have a pretty cool story. For me there is always a little something that I find amazing in each person we’ve met. Charles Mencel, for example, perpetuates the tradition of lifeguarding, surfing, shaping boards locally while including trips to Hawaii in search for heavy waves. Sam Shainberg has an hilarious sense of humor that often fazes people. Tom Petriken surfs at a pro level but stays relatively low key and works hard to get his Psychology degree. William Finnegan has surfed all over the world for most of his life, and yet, he checked the forecast a couple of time during our interview!

E: There were a lot of very special experiences meeting the different folks we interviewed and I feel incredibly lucky to have met every single one of them. Two of my favorite ones were Linda Davoli and Russell Drumm. Sadly, Russell passed away before we finished the book, but his daughter is really happy that we captured some photos of him and some of his stories. Both Russell and Linda enjoyed absolute dedication to surfing in their lives. Both had simply wonderful, funny and remarkable stories to share about their experiences – they came to surfing at really interesting times in American history.

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The four years spent on the project consisted of multiple road-trips and short sprints up and down the east coast- a prolific journey that  would have ensued some incredible experiences. What was the average time you spent with each person understanding and documenting their story?

J: We typically spent 3 hours with each person. We had the opportunity to meet again, surf and become good friends with a good amount of them.

E: Both of us worked on other projects while working on Ice Cream Headaches, but the prolonged time of making the book has helped us have a sense of what was important to include and what we could afford to leave out. There were just these moments that became important to us over the grand arc of several years of work. Some people were pretty hard to track down, and there were a couple of very long, not very fruitful journeys to meet people who were more interested in going surfing than being interviewed, but that’s all in the game!

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You’re currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo for the release of the book. What have been your main challenges in getting this to the print table?

J: We were discussing this right before we launched. The overall process has been fairly smooth but nevertheless challenging, chasing people, being turned down, missing swells, finding a publisher, making $0… I was sharing my concerns about pursuing crowdfunding because we weren’t sure if we had the velocity or the following for it to be successful. And Ed replied “true but so far things have always worked out”. 

E: It was tough finding a publisher. Someone told us to get an agent before trying to find a publisher, so we found an agent but at about the same time some of our outreach to publishers started to get traction and we ended up going it alone. We received two offers to publish the book and Damiani’s offer gave us a bit more flexibility and we felt it would result in a better quality object in the end. We’re stoked we decided to work with them.

Also, bless him, our designer Reynald has just handed over version #22 of the book design. That is a man with serious vision and stamina. Arriving at the right design which we all felt happy about has been a pretty involved process and Reynald has been incredibly committed to realizing our vision.

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How can we help?

J: Sign us a blank check! I think spreading the word is the best help we can ask for! We love the community here and I believe a lot of people outside of New York and New Jersey would be inspired by these stories!

E: Errr… tell everyone you know, whether you like them or not, that the book is going to be awesome! It’s going to be a really beautiful object and worth having a copy of to pass on to your children. Especially if you want them to dig surfing. You’ll find blood, sweat and some of Julien’s tears between the pages.

Ed and Julian have some pretty snazzy rewards goin’ round for their campaign. Sweet Ice Cream Headache Tees with a groovy little logo, fresh photo prints, and of course, the book. It’s all up on their Indiegogo campaign. Spread the love to help them get these stories out there!

For stories and pieces from the journal, check out their website.
Instagram // icecream.headaches

 

Originally created for Savage Thrills

Rad Livin' West Coast Tour

How often is it that you surround yourself with different people that inspire, challenge and motivate you to simply chase your dreams and follow your passions? It may be a little cliché, but life is what you make of it, and if you're not waking up every day with a burning passion or flowing contentment, start changing things up. There is more opportunity out there than you know, and this life you want to live, is more attainable than you think it is, and how society says it should be.

 Jonny @dustybootsmusic and Liv @donttellsummer catching up on old times.

Jonny @dustybootsmusic and Liv @donttellsummer catching up on old times.

 @zacwhiteee & @donttellsummer rock hoppin the rugged landscape of the South West.

@zacwhiteee & @donttellsummer rock hoppin the rugged landscape of the South West.

 Vanlife. And some very good humans.

Vanlife. And some very good humans.

This past week we spent time with a collective of extremely talented, kind-hearted souls creating content, touring the coast and getting to know a little more about guest speakers, long haired yahoos, and genuinely good people @theneverlandboys.co for @donttellsummers festival Rad Livinwhich will be held in Sydney on March 17th. The purpose of the Rad Livin festival is to inspire you to do what you love now, rather than waiting for some point in the future.  It’s a declaration to live an authentic, meaningful life. The other speakers making an appearance include Cam Greenwood (founder of Monsta Surf), Will & Bear founders, Steph Gabriel, Stefan Haworth and Elise and Dominic, founders of Down the Rabbit Hole Wines- they are currently travelling Aus in their 72 Westfalia Kombi. Yeahhhhh, not a bad line-up if you ask me. Pretty grateful to say some of these speakers are my good mates, and the rest a massive inspiration.

 Taking shelter from the rain inside Auri. @dustybootsmusic @ashkatch @adamharpaz @donttellsummer

Taking shelter from the rain inside Auri. @dustybootsmusic @ashkatch @adamharpaz @donttellsummer

 The crew goes South.

The crew goes South.

 A collaboration with Soul Camping ensured two very dandy nights of absolute lux. @tygerlyons @zacwhiteee @donttellsummer @ashkatch

A collaboration with Soul Camping ensured two very dandy nights of absolute lux. @tygerlyons @zacwhiteee @donttellsummer @ashkatch

With a solid crew of good people, we meandered south  down to Yallingup, Margaret River and Bunbury following the soulful, coastal folk tunes and groovy funk of Dusty Boots music and Adam Harpaz for their West Coast tour. Based in Byron Bay, Jonny (Dusty Boots) lives the simple life in his rolling home and is the co-founder behind the massive community Van Life Diaries. For the West Coast tour, a friend offered up her home for the boys to travel in whilst on the road- a 19 foot Mercedes sprinter van, a seriously dreamy conversion at that.

 The simple things.

The simple things.

 Creating content for @donttellsummer ‘s Rad Livin Festival in March 2018.

Creating content for @donttellsummer ‘s Rad Livin Festival in March 2018.

 Soulful tunes and mellow hues.

Soulful tunes and mellow hues.

We scored a few waves, watched the sinking sun atop the cliffs, glamped in the bush with Soul Camping's bohemian styled bell tents, talked about dreams, goals, aspirations, and the most random shit, all over the melodious strum of the guitar. In the end it’s the people you meet, the stories you share, and the little things that really make your world go round. These past weeks encompassed all three, that’s fo sure.

 

 @donttellsummer and @ashkatch are originally from America. We celebrated thanksgiving in style- pumpkin pie, turkey and all, with a bit of an Aussie twang.

@donttellsummer and @ashkatch are originally from America. We celebrated thanksgiving in style- pumpkin pie, turkey and all, with a bit of an Aussie twang.

 Don't mind if we do.

Don't mind if we do.

 Life of an instagrammer. @zacwhiteee & @tygerlyons are some of the most genuine people you will meet.

Life of an instagrammer. @zacwhiteee & @tygerlyons are some of the most genuine people you will meet.

 @adamharpaz and his insanely soulful tunes. This guy is going places.

@adamharpaz and his insanely soulful tunes. This guy is going places.

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Catching up with Zac White // THE NEVERLAND BOYS

The Neverland Boys -from groms documenting their youth in one of the most beautiful places in Australia, to serious videographers and bloggers travelling the world and capturing the raw essence of a life that is the epitome of living. I caught up with Zac whilst back in Perth and had the absolute pleasure of hearing a little bit about his story, travels from the past year and what’s to come for the group of three. Growing up is definitely not on their agenda… and it never will be.

Don’t know who these guys are? Watch The Neverland Boys latest project ‘Citizens of Nowhere’- it will blow your cotton socks off.

The Neverland boys originally started up in Rottnest Island, the perfect place to just roam free and explore hidden gems. How did you meet the rest of the boys and get together?

So in the group it’s Elliott, Jaxon and myself…I first met Elliott playing cricket when I was thirteen. We had so much in common right from the get go and spent more summers than I know playing cricket together, which has created this super special friendship we have now. Elliott was always raving on about this dude he was best friends in school with and so it was only a matter of time before I met this guy, Jaxon. Since then we’ve all been like peas and carrots and I don’t remember a time or day where we haven’t been together doing something super fun. Then I guess one summer, we thought there actually might be something better to do on a hot sunny Saturday other than cricket haha! So we thought we’d go to Rotto and find a job there and that we did! We haven’t looked back since, or even played a game of cricket in fact. I mean we lived for cricket everyday, like loved it, but Rotto just gave us something else, a new passion, which was photography and filming and it was hard to not document this life, I mean Rotto is insane…

 Photo: @theneverlandboys.co

Photo: @theneverlandboys.co

Since the humble beginnings of Rotto you guys have been all over the world to places such as Greece, Croatia, California and different islands throughout Indonesia. In documenting this rad lifestyle, what is the main message you want to portray and get across to people following your journey?

We’ve been more than lucky to see some really insane places and I honestly couldn’t be more thankful for that. I guess it’s this opportunity that has inspired us to document life and show others that there’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. But I guess one message we like to try to portray through doing what we do is to give people motivation to not be afraid to just go out and do what they love. Whether thats going out and travelling, starting up an idea you’ve had for a while, working in a job you actually like or just something as simple as little as finding time in your day or week to do something that makes you happy.

 Photo: @theneverlandboys.co

Photo: @theneverlandboys.co

Zac what does being creative mean to you?

I think being a creative gives me the chance to be me and express who I am in a creative sense. For me, I’ve always been pretty shy in expressing myself and who I am, so I’m really grateful that I’ve found a passion with photography and videography, which has helped me with this. But in saying that, being a creative means you don’t have to follow the crowd, you can think outside the box and be unique, which is what I like most.

 Photo: @theneverlandboys.co

Photo: @theneverlandboys.co

Describe a single moment from one of your travels this year (hard to choose, I know) something that resonated with you on a larger scale.

This whole year has been a standout for sure! I’ve visited places I’ve only ever dreamed of but also come across many challenges along the way, which has brought us three boys together closer than ever. In amongst this I’d say losing all our accounts to everything we’ve been working on has for sure been one of those challenges, a good and bad thing. It helped us grow, learn, and opened our eyes up to all the amazing people we’ve met travelling along the way- that helped us get back on our feet, which was incredible to see. There’s just so many like minded people out there that we’ve met, shared a lot with and learnt a lot from, and that’s something that has really resonated with me and the boys quite a lot this year.

 Photo: @theneverlandboys.co

Photo: @theneverlandboys.co

The content and video stories you guys create is seriously insane. I was awashed with pure joy after watching the first episode of Citizens of Nowhere. How do you work as a team to pull it all together?

Us boys are pretty open on how we create content. We all take photos and make videos, with some of us being more creative at one thing than another, but just having three brains to help put something together really makes the whole process a lot easier and more creative. But generally if we usually have an idea we want to do we just do it because if we don’t take that one picture or film that one video, we’ll just never know. Otherwise when it comes to the commercial side of things we really put all the ideas on the table and sort out what will work best. Then I guess if we have more than a few jobs to do we’re able to split them up, which makes it quite efficient for us.

 Photo: @theneverlandboys.co

Photo: @theneverlandboys.co

Sometimes there’s just no place sweeter than home. Where’s your favourite place to hang out and get back to your roots?

Its full chill mode when I’m home ahah! I love cruising in Freo, grabbing a coffee from a couple of my fave places then just surfing at my local or treating myself to a few days here and there at Rotto when I can! Home is great!

Upcoming Perth band/ artist you’re diggin?

I’m actually really diggin Great Gable! They’re a few legends just rocking out to some really cool and groovy stuff. I used to play cricket with the lead singer and I feel obliged to say they sound sick but I generally actually listen to them mostly everyday, they’re rad!

 Photo: @theneverlandboys.co

Photo: @theneverlandboys.co

The boys are holding their film premiere/photo exhibition from recent travels at Little Wing Corner Gallery in Perth early November.

 

This interview was featured on Savage Thrills

Finding Comfort in Creativity & Design // Fremantle Art Walk 2017

Have you ever wondered what spurs a creative? The process and inspiration behind their work? A glimpse inside their humble abode and work studio is a pretty good place to start.

 Open plan living space with overhead storage- sneaky surfboard up top perfect for grab and go’s when the waves are good.

Open plan living space with overhead storage- sneaky surfboard up top perfect for grab and go’s when the waves are good.

The Fremantle Artwalk, first spontaneously held by a small group of established Fremantle artists in 2014, is now into its third year, becoming a renowned biennial event. The walk offers the public an insight into the homes and studios of professional WA artists living locally in Fremantle and White Gum Valley. The whole creative process is generally one done in a solitary, unbeknown manner, and it is truly fascinating to see where the magic happens.

 It’s always interesting to see what artists choose to collect and display in their home- an eclectic mix of bits and bobs that when composed correctly look absolutely awesome

It’s always interesting to see what artists choose to collect and display in their home- an eclectic mix of bits and bobs that when composed correctly look absolutely awesome

 Art & music. Nuff said

Art & music. Nuff said

The Freo Art Walk was held this late May and featured seven different artists with special guests. The official event website aforementioned the walk should take approximately an hour or so. However, if you really want to delve into the thoughts and creative process, gawk over the beautifully designed interiors and even have a good old coffee and a chat with the artist themselves, prepare for a tad longer- I struggled to pull it off in three! A weekend that is definitely worth saving the date for.

 Interior envy.

Interior envy.

The seven artists included Annette Seeman and John Teschendorff (drawing, print & photo), Eveline Kotai (paint, scissor, stitch), Ian de Souza (drawing & paint), Trevor Richards (paint & sculpture), Penny Bovell (paint & prints), Jo Darbyshire (paint) and Michael Knight (paint).

 Afternoon light in the loungeroom

Afternoon light in the loungeroom

 Textures

Textures

It is evident to see how the use of space, colour, light and simple design can create such an inspiring environment for creativity and essentially productivity. Good design is known to affect your general wellbeing and happiness; from the complementary colour palette of walls to the smooth edges of furniture. When everything comes together it influences how we feel and perform, both consciously and subconsciously. So it’s no surprise that these home studios are immaculate in their aesthetic appeasement and modernist design.

Ian De Souza’s house - an open living space that intertwines the outdoors with the inside, lush green palms and a pop of colour on the walls made for a harmonious entryway. The bathroom was complete with glazed concrete floors and a rustic use of furniture; the bathtub lying against a jutting limestone rock wall. A home that is enviable, to say the least.

 Light, space and personal objects all contribute to finding your creative flow.

Light, space and personal objects all contribute to finding your creative flow.

 The sun shall pull the strings- Nature doing all the work.

The sun shall pull the strings- Nature doing all the work.

Each artist uses their space in a different way, whether it’s prioritising the position of the record player and the plethora of vinyl collections, or surrounding themselves with nature’s beauty; everything comes together to evoke comfort and inspire the creative process.

The Art Walk Fremantle, a must do event for any creative in Perth.

This article was featured on Summersite

Getting in the Groove // Anais Pierquet

Kind heart, warm soul, and an irrevocable groove. Anais Pierquet is an absolute killer on the longboard; her sure-footed finesse and easy rhythm on the water is not one to be missed as she dances along the waves of Batu Balong beach. Based in the creative hub of Canggu Bali, Anna has committed herself to a life of leisure and endless adventures through her brand Blank Pages, and general love of life.

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There's no doubt you're one of the grooviest lady sliders out at Old Man's break. What are your first memories of longboarding, and what drew you to the surf culture?
Haha you're funny! Damn I don’t really remember when I started long boarding! When I first started to surf I learnt on a short board, but after a while I guess I got bored at some point aha. I needed a more chilled out, mellow and funky surf sesh, a way to express myself. When I was a kid my dad was always windsurfing or wake boarding, he was addicted to water sports and I guess it’s been passed down to me too! Since so young I was dreaming of Hawaiian flowers, ocean breaks and surf even when I had no concept of what it actually was. 

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You moved to Bali almost a year and a half ago now. Why did you decide to base yourself in Canggu?
Yes! Two years now actually. I came to Bali with my best friend & started surfing and just immersing myself in the laid back lifestyle- after that I never wanted to leave haha! Canggu has a good vibe even if now that it’s getting more and more crowded. Waves are fun most of the time. Really it’s just the first stop on a life of adventure; I hope that the next will be Hawaii!

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Your brand Blank Pages, and its admirable ethos, is the epitome of the way you live your life. What inspired you to create such beautiful handmade products?
I guess it all comes from travelling! We all need to see the world and to see the world you need a bag, at least a small one to put your best camera in. I am also massively inspired by nature- mainly the gorgeous colours of flowers and plants, and colours of the sky. Nature is the most creative thing on earth- epically beautiful!

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How would you compare the break back home in France to Canggu?
Well believe it or not I’ve actually never long boarded in France, only hopped on the short board! It’s a shame, but I will definitely be back to change this soon! I heard there’s a great left in South West of France that I would love to sink my teeth into!

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What does being creative mean to you? And how does surfing revolve around this?
Being creative for me is self-expression, it’s the only way out. Plus creativity is not limited to one form- you can do anything that you want, everyone has their own way of expressing their creativity. Like you throw yourself into photography, I paint or write poems. For me this is how I can heal all pain, express all joy, and open my heart to let go of it all!

Favourite tattoo of yours, and the artist behind it?
Ooo that’s a tough one. I have so many! I have to say that my back piece made by one of my best friends Clea is the one that I cherish the most. A beautiful bunch of flowers to celebrate life!

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This interview is also featured on Herewith Magazine

Life in Canggu // Crille Rask

Crille Rask, more commonly known as Raskal; is a photographer, creative director and Rhythm ambassador. A man with a serious sense of style and a warm relaxed nature.  You can find him thriving in the creative hub and that is Canggu, Bali.

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// Why do you choose to base yourself in Canggu, and why do you think so many creatives are drawn to this place?

Hmm… To be honest I’m not sure. I wasn’t planning to move to Bali at the time but I kinda got sucked into the flow of things and stayed. I didn’t really have a choice at the time- it just sort of took care of itself. Bali, and Canggu itself can be an amazing place, but it also swallows up a lot of creatives on a daily basis. It’s so easy to get lost in distraction and flakiness; there’s just something in the air. Also really hard to focus and be efficient, but if you manage to its one of the most amazing places to be based as the whole world swings by all the time with new opportunity.

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 // How does this lifestyle shape,  and inspire your creative process?

Hehe… to be honest I think I was a lot more productive and creative when I was living in Sweden. There’s nothing like a dark Swedish winter that sort of forces you to do stuff or you lose your mind from lack of sunlight and sleep. But to stick to the Bali side of things, I really believe it’s the laid back happy go lucky culture that the Balinese Hindus have that is so happy and free. You can always joke, smile and sing- no matter what.  No one tells you that you can’t do something, they just do it without any presumption of failure; they learn that it’s that simple. Mental barriers could take the planet down and it obviously is, but I will stay away from politics. So this whole ‘attitude’ is in the air and if you are open to it, then Bali provides you with a lot of opportunity, especially time.

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// The Rhythm family has become a major part of your life; how did you meet Neal and get involved?

Yeah I’ve been involved with the Rhythm family now for almost 8 years. Haha gosh time flies. I started off working with a bit of marketing, to then looking after the whole European continent. Loved the job but everything has its time. After five years I was sort of ready to do something new- the office part was never my strength. Rhythm then offered me to stay in the family as an ambassador and keep creating content and spread the love. Very happy and thankful for their support and love- it’s become a big happy chunk of what my life looks like today.  Ahh.. Neal! He’s the best! There are few men on this planet that I respect and like as much as him. He’s a bit like a human life rocket scientist; he has a perfect, beautiful family, surfs like a god, shapes like a demon, and last but not least he has the biggest heart. Haha what a legend.  I think I met Neal the first time I was in Portugal at a sales meeting; we shared way too many drinks, laughs and good wobbles.

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// In the years that you've lived here as an expat, how has Canggu changed with the commercialisation and capitalism surrounding Bali?

Canggu has definitely fallen into the hands of tourism but at the speed of light. Sadly, like every other epic place on this planet, humanity has its way of never knowing when it’s enough. First time I came to surf in Canggu about ten years ago there was nothing but pure village beauty, and I would never have thought it would become what it is today. But yeah, it’s bound to happen. It’s an amazing place and you’ve just got to appreciate it for what it is today, not sit and complain of what it has become, otherwise you’ll become bitter and there’s no point in that. I love the place. Let’s just hope they don’t take it that little step too far into the concrete jungle.

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// Snow, surf or skate?

The three S’s.  As always the first love was the skate boarding. You can do it everywhere; it’s cheaper and more accessible to anyone no matter what economical background. Then naturally I started snowboarding as that’s what you did in the town I come from. However as I reached my twenties surfing stole me away from everything that I knew. I started travelling to catch waves and pretty much dropped everything I was doing. Nowadays I’m a full Sunday surfer. I try and surf everyday but work and business has found me, even in Bali haha…but yeah surfing is a funny one. Way too many people loose themselves in it I think; sometimes it’s good, and sometimes maybe not for the better. It’s a bit devilish, like a drug. You need to make sure you keep it balanced. A trip to somewhere without your piece of foam is healthy and fun too- this used to be a note to self haha. Nowadays I think I know better, maybe...

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 // The day in the life of a creative is always different- thank the lord. What's your one daily routine?

My one and only true love... Coffee! There’s not much that can keep me from going to my favourite cafe to have a latte and a random chat before I start my day. My favourite cafe in Bali being Canteen- it was one of the first in Canggu and it’s completely free of pretentiousness,  and not to hectic with tourists…most of the time haha.

 // Artist to look out for on your Rhythm-radio Sounds playlist?

My last playlist on the radio sounds is an Asian psychedelic trip. But if I have to mention a favourite on the playlist it’s Mr. Bungle: an old side project from Mike Patton from Faith No More.

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This interview has been featured on Rhythm

Sunny Smile & Easy Style // Ayok Canggu

I Gede Eka Wira Dharma, more commonly (and conveniently) known as Ayok, is one of Canggu’s finest longboarders. His easy, confident style and sure-footed finesse is absolutely mesmerizing to watch as he dances along the waves of Batu Balong Beach. Growing up in the small village of Canggu, he’s seen the rise of Indonesian surf culture and has become part of a generation where fishing is no longer his family’s main source of income. This is an insight into his story.

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// Surfing has given you so much. How has this sport and the Deus family contributed to shaping your life today?

Surfing for me is something that comes from my soul. It’s an everyday ritual that I will continue for the rest of my life. I don’t care what people think about this sport or myself in general; surfing is purely rhythm and passion. DEUS- those guys are pretty cool. They are my second family. They are more than just a brand; the feeling that I get from meeting these good people is insane. It’s always been about who’s been there for me and how people treat me along the way- I cannot express the amount of love I have for those guys!

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// Back when you were a kid growing up in your home town of Canggu, it was just a small fishing village with one big, beautiful, empty lineup. How has surfing and the tourism industry changed that?

Canggu was one of the best spots a while ago, and I really miss that. I guess there wasn’t more than six people in the water at a time; you can imagine how wonderful that would be! It’s been messed around after people started talking about Canggu and how good it is. So many people in the water, all the waves caught- but not necessarily ridden, no rules, and kooks everywhere. I mean it’s awesome for local business; board rental, restaurants and small warungs on the beach gather a lot of customers. However the people who come should be curious in knowing who and how they are; get to know the local people. If you do something kind you will receive something good back.

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// Can you tell me about the origins of the lobster nets on the longboards?

Before we used to take people surfing, we’d catch lobsters to pay for our school costs, and also for our arak (an alcoholic drink like rum made from rice and molasses) Lobster is delicious. It was a gold before. When we go surfing we put the net out during sunset and pick it up the next morning with big hopes of a catch. Looking back, I miss those moments now.

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// With the commercialisation and capitalism of Bali, what do you think is the best way to prevent Canggu from becoming like Seminyak or Kuta? Is there a way?

Canggu is still the small and lovely place that I know. It’s the place that I was born and have grown up in; my playground filled with beautiful memories. It would be a real shame if capitalism and money makers waste it away like Kuta and other places in Bali. People come here for the small, chill town that it is. We need to filter out what is coming in, and protect it from major development projects and growth like that. It’s much better to promote small local businesses than hotel sky rises. Everyone needs to make money, but they shouldn’t go crazy and get greedy over it. I wish I can call Canggu my home forever- with no risk behind it.

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// Surf teaching is a pretty rewarding job, let alone good fun. What’s a day in the life of Ayok?

It’s a dream job haha. An amazing lifestyle, hobby and so many girls… Hahaha no no don’t worry my girlfriend is here with me. I normally do about 2-3 two hour sessions of teaching each day, otherwise I’m surfing myself or back working at my homestay. I enjoy it at the moment. Just doing my best!

// One dream wave that you wish to travel to?

Noosa.

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This interview is also featured on the Deus Ex Machina blog.

Living Passionately // Monsta Surf founder Cam Greenwood

If you haven’t come across Monsta Surf; get amongst it. These guys are existing to change the way that we live by inspiring a passionate way of life, whilst giving back to those not as fortunate. Through following the Monsta journey and its admirable ethos for the past few years; it’s insanely inspiring to see this brand have such a positive impact on individuals and communities throughout the world. This is the story of Monsta, and the man behind the undeniable magic- Chief wizard Cam Greenwood.

 Surfer, photographer, writer, speaker, and absolute legend @camgreenwood

Surfer, photographer, writer, speaker, and absolute legend @camgreenwood

1 / To pursue this dream, you dropped out of a Commerce degree at University. What advice/words of wisdom can you give to the younger gen, or anyone for that matter, about pursuing their career path?

Know your why. So many people know what they do. Or what they want to do. But not many people know why they do it. When you have a deep why behind whatever it is you’re pursuing, your what will become so much stronger because you will be walking with purpose. You will also have more determination to overcome the obstacles along the way if you know why you are doing something. At Monsta, we have a very clear focus of the “why” behind what we do. And that is we exist to encourage passionate living. Our business is simply the platform we use to reach people. As I’ve pursued my dreams, I’ve become so fixed on the purpose behind what we do and it’s developed such a strong confidence for this adventure we’re on, from the valleys to the mountain tops.

 @josh.hallam frothing in a Filipino pit. PHOTO @camgreenwood

@josh.hallam frothing in a Filipino pit. PHOTO @camgreenwood

 2 / Your Team released the Live Passionately film late this May (free to watch on Youtube btw!) Can you tell us a bit about the Kickstarter campaign for the production, and a few logistics in making the film happen?

What an amazing adventure that was! Last year, we took some of our ambassadors to the Philippines. We have some really talented crew on our team so we wanted to document the trip. We told the ambassadors they were going on your average surf trip. But what eventuated was not what anyone was expecting at all! We explored the beautiful coastline, climbed volcanoes, surfed some incredible waves but the highlight of the trip was doing water filtration for some of the affected communities of Typhoon Yolanda.

The team didn't know we had this planned and it was super cool to see the profound impact the projects had on not just the communities there but also on our team personally. When we got home from the trip, Jordy Merry was looking through the footage and really believed in the story that was there. He took a massive leap of faith and decided to quit his job in order to produce the film. It definitely wasn't an easy process but we learnt so much along the way. The post production took about 4 months and then we launched a crowdfunding campaign to help fund the final touches and raise funds and awareness for the locals affected by Typhoon Yolanda, who have become great friends!

 The tribe meeting with the locals to install clean drinking water filters.

The tribe meeting with the locals to install clean drinking water filters.

 3 / The Story of Monsta Surf - Live Passionately film is beautifully created, humorous and just down right inspiring. What was the main purpose in creating this film? Giving back being a core value for the Monsta brand and your way of life.

Thank you! At the core of everything we do, we wish to inspire people to live passionately in their own lives. Over the past few years, I have blown away by the response we’ve received as I’ve shared this story to schools and organisations across Australia. We recognised that we had a tribe of people around the world who loved what we were about but may not have had the opportunity to hear how Monsta started, why it exists or hear some of our ambassadors stories. So the purpose was to be able to share our story to inspire people to step into their own stories. It really just evolved from there.

 En route to climbing a volcano. PHOTO @camgreenwood

En route to climbing a volcano. PHOTO @camgreenwood

  @elliotgray__ @camgreenwood stoked to be alive. PHOTO @seandwyeeer

 @elliotgray__ @camgreenwood stoked to be alive. PHOTO @seandwyeeer

 4 / Tell us about the Monsta Foundation.

The Monsta Foundation exists to remove the chains that hold people back from living a life of passion and purpose. It was founded in 2012 as I travelled to Kenya. I realised there was so much more to my dreams of creating a surf brand. That I could use this brand to also inspire people and make the world a better place along the way. We do water filtration work in South East Asia and Kenya. We also support our friends in the community of Huruma in Kenya. Next year, we will be expanding our work into local communities in Australia which I’m so excited for!

 ‘I see a tribe of people who are connected by their passion to live without limits, dream without fear and live passionately in every moment. We are a global family and together we strive for the same vision.’ PHOTO & WORDS @camgreenwood

‘I see a tribe of people who are connected by their passion to live without limits, dream without fear and live passionately in every moment. We are a global family and together we strive for the same vision.’ PHOTO & WORDS @camgreenwood

5 / In 2012 you traveled to Kenya with Go Beyond All Borders; evidently it changed your life and many around you. I hear Monsta has an upcoming Awareness Adventure trip for 12 lucky people back in Kenya, where it all began?

 Yeh we sure do. We actually have 14 people coming with Caz (the legend behind Go Beyond All Borders) and I. We held Skype interviews with people from all over the world who wanted to be a part of the adventure. It was super hard narrowing the team down but I believe we have an incredible bunch of world changers coming with us and I can’t wait to get to know them all over the 2 weeks we will spend in Kenya.

 Oceanic dreams. PHOTO @camgreenwood

Oceanic dreams. PHOTO @camgreenwood

   Beach bonfires and good vibes. A favourite moment from the  Live Passionately  film. PHOTO     @camgreewood

  Beach bonfires and good vibes. A favourite moment from the Live Passionately film. PHOTO     @camgreewood

6 / In this consumerist society, where companies and brands have a major influence on what we choose to spend our moula on; do you think clothing brands such as Patagonia, OuterKnown and Monsta itself will start to overtake some of the bigger surf labels in the consumer industry, purely because of their positive impact and ethical core values? After all, the products we choose to buy are a reflection of ourselves and the values that we uphold.

I’m dreaming of a revolution in the clothing industry. As we move forward, we wish to be a really positive voice in the manufacturing space and I am constantly learning more about best practices. From the materials we use, to how they are sourced, to how the factories we partner with create a friendly working environment for their employees, we really wish to make the world a better place in everything we do. I like to see the other brands who have a similar ethos to us as our friends. As we disrupt the industry together, I would love to see the bigger brands change and focus on how they can too make the world a better place through their operations. At the end of the day, we’re all responsible for our world and its people. And if companies place less focus on market share and competition and more of a focus on what they’re actually doing and the ‘why’ behind it, I think together we can turn a fairly negatively impacting industry into a powerful force for change.

 @brebsy and the crew delivering water filtration systems to a little village in the Phillipines.

@brebsy and the crew delivering water filtration systems to a little village in the Phillipines.

 7 / What can we expect to see from chief Cam Greenwood and the Monsta Tribe in the future? Whatever it is, I'm sure it will be rad.

 Wow. So many dreams! I’m dreaming that our tribe will be a powerful voice in the world. I’m dreaming that we will have a world changing influence. I’m dreaming that we will be able to empower people to find freedom from their battles and live a life of passion and purpose, just as we are so blessed to live. I’m dreaming that our spark will blaze trails with love wherever this adventure takes us. And ultimately, I’m dreaming that with what started as one surfboard in a backyard, turns into millions of lives changed throughout the globe, just by simply existing.

 Ready to inspire the world. The beginning of the  Live Passionately  film. PHOTO @seandwyeeer

Ready to inspire the world. The beginning of the Live Passionately film. PHOTO @seandwyeeer

Watch the full film here; it’s not one to miss.

Massive thanks to Cam Greenwood for taking the time to answer this interview, and for all that you do. Yew!

www.monstasurf.com

 

 

Surfing the Wild Rugged Plains of North West Australia

The North West of Aus. In these remote, arid stretches of red dirt and raw rugged plains, it’s easy to immerse yourself in the land and disconnect from society and the habitual use of social media. In fact, in most places you don’t have a choice; and it's seriously rejuvenating.

 #35mm disposable // Enjoying the last rays. Captivated by this vast crumbling coastline and the abundance of marine life. When it effortlessly takes you 3 hours to explore every nook and cranny in a 200 metre stretch of beach, you know you’ve got it pretty good

#35mm disposable // Enjoying the last rays. Captivated by this vast crumbling coastline and the abundance of marine life. When it effortlessly takes you 3 hours to explore every nook and cranny in a 200 metre stretch of beach, you know you’ve got it pretty good

 Getting a lil creative. View atop the dune at dawn

Getting a lil creative. View atop the dune at dawn

 Ahh the carpark. Arguably the best spot to admire the surf. Mind surfing all the way

Ahh the carpark. Arguably the best spot to admire the surf. Mind surfing all the way

One such spot is that well known for its harrowing left hander and coral reef breaks that have caused many painful drives over bumpy dirt roads into the main town - over two hours away. A face full of coral after a gnarly wipe out or a tiny, inconspicuous reef cut on your toe can often lead you down the same bumpy road- no kidding. We’ve seen guys whose feet have swollen until it’s too painful to walk, needing to be put on a drip whilst hoping for the best before the toxins slowly spread throughout their body- all from neglecting that slight cut with the betadine. Damn.

 Grom @georgesimpson04. I’ve found that surf photography opens a lot of opportunities/chances to connect with different people that share the same love for the ocean. I think surfers and surf photographers see each other as the same entity; both are respected equally in their own rights.

Grom @georgesimpson04. I’ve found that surf photography opens a lot of opportunities/chances to connect with different people that share the same love for the ocean. I think surfers and surf photographers see each other as the same entity; both are respected equally in their own rights.

 Dawn patrol surf checks on the hill.

Dawn patrol surf checks on the hill.

 #35mm disposable // Waking up every morning to witness the pink glow over the ocean and whales breaching from the comfort of your swag. Phenomenal

#35mm disposable // Waking up every morning to witness the pink glow over the ocean and whales breaching from the comfort of your swag. Phenomenal

The start of July is the busiest time in the North- Gnaraloo 3 Mile Camp flowing with Margs and Yallingyup locals who make up about three quarters of this seasonal community. The rest are Perth hopefuls and as always a few wandering gypsies. Gnaraloo when the swell is big- like 10 to 12 foot big- is absolutely incredible to witness. There’ll be about four or five guys in the water and the rest of the camp just watch in complete awe from the carpark. On those days you really are glad that your shitting yourself from the comfort of your camp chair, with refreshments in hand, and not from that oncoming  metre-thick lip that’s about to hit you on the head. When these swells reach the coast, WA surfers such as the Brown brothers and Luke Wyllie fly in specifically as not to miss an opportunity!

 Paul ‘Antman’ Patterson down the line on a fun one at Tombstones. Antman is one of the early pioneers of big wave action off the West Coast, and has made the pilgrimage back to Gnaraloo 20 years in a row, this time shared with his fam

Paul ‘Antman’ Patterson down the line on a fun one at Tombstones. Antman is one of the early pioneers of big wave action off the West Coast, and has made the pilgrimage back to Gnaraloo 20 years in a row, this time shared with his fam

 Desert sands

Desert sands

This July however, was a bit on the lighter side- and thank god really; it keeps everyone sane when they can get out for a surf. You can never truly rely on the swell/wind forecast- if you expect the expected you will be sourly disappointed. Even still, the weather word and weekly conditions always spread like wild fire around the camp. “Yep it will be light winds all day, no rush” An hour later at 10.47 am; breeze is in. Cheers Andy. It’s quite funny actually, you really just have to go with the flow and make the most of the good conditions whilst nature’s providing.

 This time of year Humpback and Southern Right Whales migrate to breed in the warmer waters up North in places such as Camden Sound. Their presence was constant; every few minutes you’d catch a glimpse of this big splash of white water out the back, then see a little whales tail pop up a few seconds later

This time of year Humpback and Southern Right Whales migrate to breed in the warmer waters up North in places such as Camden Sound. Their presence was constant; every few minutes you’d catch a glimpse of this big splash of white water out the back, then see a little whales tail pop up a few seconds later

 #35mm disposable // Travelling in the Toyota personnel carrier in this kind of arid terrain had seriously strong resemblances to an African safari- the only difference was we were chasing wild goats instead of lions and cheetahs. @livmickle @kalaniscott_

#35mm disposable // Travelling in the Toyota personnel carrier in this kind of arid terrain had seriously strong resemblances to an African safari- the only difference was we were chasing wild goats instead of lions and cheetahs. @livmickle @kalaniscott_

 Where the desert meets the sea. @georgesimpson04

Where the desert meets the sea. @georgesimpson04

The smaller days are sometimes the ones where you have the best fun. The lineup changes from a friendly hustle to a tight little community where guys such as Antman are pushing their kids onto waves and you're chatting to that friend  you met the other day who’s on the campsite just down the track; being able to meet new people and listen to their stories whilst sharing the sea stoke. That’s what it’s all about.

 About a hundred goats would meet and gather every night at dusk atop this little ridge overlooking the sea. Hhmmm family gatho anyone?

About a hundred goats would meet and gather every night at dusk atop this little ridge overlooking the sea. Hhmmm family gatho anyone?

 Western Australia’s coral coast is absolutely teeming with life, stretching all the way from Perth to the warmer climates of Exmouth // Exploring caves and taking underwater selfies, of course

Western Australia’s coral coast is absolutely teeming with life, stretching all the way from Perth to the warmer climates of Exmouth // Exploring caves and taking underwater selfies, of course

 The good ol’ dunny drop in the distance. With barely any rainfall throughout the year, native flora is adapted to survive with minimal water (xerophytes). The morning dew doesn’t do too bad a job.

The good ol’ dunny drop in the distance. With barely any rainfall throughout the year, native flora is adapted to survive with minimal water (xerophytes). The morning dew doesn’t do too bad a job.

 @ethan_.jackson charging on his potato. Ethan will be in the water for 6 hours plus some days- paddling from break to break in search of the next wave. One time we spotted him through the binos surfing ‘the bommy’ by himself- and on a softop. Fearless

@ethan_.jackson charging on his potato. Ethan will be in the water for 6 hours plus some days- paddling from break to break in search of the next wave. One time we spotted him through the binos surfing ‘the bommy’ by himself- and on a softop. Fearless

Apart from the surf, this part of the West Coast is renowned for its thriving marine ecosystem and desert terrain, amuck with now wild goats which were shipped onto the pastoral station in 1988. If you're not jumping off sand dunes and watching the moon set over the ocean, yes the moon, over the ocean (gawk); you're swimming with turtles in the coral lagoon and sipping sunset drinks around the campfire. Whatever bush tucker you prefer- the North West has it all.

 Collage @jemmascott__ // Just me, the moon, and those great undulating dunes

Collage @jemmascott__ // Just me, the moon, and those great undulating dunes

 

Collage @jemmascott__ // Just me, the moon, and those great undulating dunes

Travelling on Intuition

Perth to the Gold Coast; a whopping 6,324 kilometres of vast undulating plains and a meandering coastline that is an absolute pleasure to surf and simply soak the soul. I was offered a free flight across to travel with the rest of the fam; and for a student scrimping and scrounging every penny she could muster for her travels ahead, it was pretty much a pot of gold at the end of a hard years work.
However, she gracefully declined. Instead, she decided to make her own way using the most unconventional route possible. Rideshare, bus, train, trust in that stranger who in no time becomes appreciated as a like-minded companion. Whatever worked at the time, whatever her intuition told her. It is so much more enriching travelling the land than flying straight over it. And somehow, pursuing this trip just felt so… right.

It took me a month before I reached Rainbow Bay, where I met up with friends and family. A month of meeting some seriously awesome people, of concerts and festivals, of eye-openings and boundless opportunities, and just being able to explore and understand a bit of our own backyard; this land we call home.

                                                                        En route

                                                                       En route

                                Collage

                               Collage

                         The Gap, Carla

                        The Gap, Carla

Well, it all started with an email. It was a lift to Adelaide with the guarantee of meandering along the coast, taking it slow and enjoying the stops at small country towns as much as the open road. Welcome to Rideshare. And after meeting Carla in person for a beer at The Norfolk, already a good sign, euphoria was sky high. This ride had come down to first impressions; the vibes felt good, I admired her blue overalls and she was a lover of DOPE LEMON, so instant friendship right there. My stomach became giddy with excitement and the thought of this unkempt wild adventure. I couldn’t help but beam the whole train ride home.

By Feb there were five of us, and hell did we have a good time. Travelling in a tiny yellow Fiat (her name was Delilah) and a giraffe spotted Wicked camper, we were the grooviest cars on the road- and the most likely not to make it across the Nullarbor alive haha. The Nullarbor was something else; tranquil, remote and completely desolate. For some it’s classed as the most monotonous drive of their life with 1500 kilometres of almost straight road, the same low lying shrubs and just this never ending stretch of flat horizon. I loved it.

Its raw, vast beauty has always awed me; once an ancient river system made up of many small, fast-flowing rivers some 80 million years ago, it’s now the world’s largest limestone karst landscape. Nullarbor literally meaning ‘no trees’, it is covered with hardy drought and salt resistant shrubs such as Bluebush and Saltbush, and is home to more mammals and wildlife than you’d think possible- you just need to look out the window at the amount of roadkill to gauge that. Camping on the Nullarbor, in the bush, in the definition of the middle of nowhere, is what I've kinda always daydreamed about. Watching the sun cast a gentle glow over the low lying shrubs, the Fiat perched under a small tree, the girls eating saladas and tuna on our little camping table, soft tunes and outbursts of laughter fill the warm air, oh and Carla’s weed. Ha, a nice time to be alive.
Made it to Adelaide in time for WOMAD; a world music, arts and dance festival that aims to showcase different styles of music and bring people together from around the world. To put it quite simply; a phenomenon. We’d go from learning an African dance routine where 100 plus people are all in sync, feeling the rhythm of the drums and just getting absolutely jiggy with it, to going completely berserk amongst Parov Stelar’s sexy electro swing performance, to just chilling out on the grass and admiring artists like D.D Dumbo and yes, DOPE LEMON. A festival that is not only an absolute joy to the ears, eyes and soul, but one that empowers third world countries by giving them the opportunity to express their culture and contemporary issues of the society they live in.

                                                                    DOPE LEMON

                                                                   DOPE LEMON

If you haven’t heard of Couchsurfing, you really should look it up. A platform that enables travellers to connect with everyday people who offer their homes, hearts, or more often than not just a mat on the floor for the needy traveller in search of a roof over their head and a good conversation. For us girls, it turned out to be so much more. Tyran, our host, was a yoga instructor and tradie. We were three of seven staying at his house. Apparently that generosity wasn’t enough (don’t worry he says he’ll be rewarded with good karma); cooking up a massive feed of dhal, rice and curry, we all sat around a Buddhist inspired, low lying table on mats. The conversation ranged from the seriousness of corrupt political power, environmental devastation and our consumeristic society to the history of drugs in Nimbin. Actually one of the most meaningful and awakening conversations I've had in a long time. And that’s what Couchsurfing’s all about, sharing and learning off of other people and becoming immersed in their way of life. A cold beer and a bit of acro yoga doesn’t hurt too. This was just to Adelaide. Yeah I know… get on with it.

                                                                  The Nullarbor

                                                                 The Nullarbor

                                                                      Elements

                                                                     Elements

Caught a day bus to Melbourne. You’ll find that when you're bored, when you have hours in the plentiful and in a beautifully fixed position, that time is an inlet for freedom of space and creativity.

My time in Melbs was inspirational, yet a stark and harrowing reminder of city life and the contrast between suburbia and sleeping out under the stars. I caught up with other parts of my family and was reunited with a best friend from toddlerhood. We hadn’t seen each other in 16 years yet were basically living parallel lives, quite funny. After exploring the Mornington Peninsula we somehow managed to stumble into a Skeggs concert and got caked by the lead singer during their performance, yeah happy birthday man. The rowdiest, most intense crowds are often those in the local pub. There you’ll have the best fun.

                                                                          PEAK

                                                                         PEAK

To travel to Sydney, I booked a train ticket a few nights before leaving, but the morning after I received a message from someone on Rideshare offering a lift. Allessandro was his name, a Peruvian surf photographer who just got back from shooting a girls surftrip in the Maldives. My first thought: “Is this for real?” Oh yeah it was. With seven surfboards, three wetties and my little Meikon underwater housing, pit stops and surf checks at bays and beaches along the way were mandatory.
In Ulladulla we camped in the beach carpark, listening to the lapping waves of Mollymook and the pitter patter of rain on the tent canvas. It hadn’t stopped in two days straight. The morning arose with fresh swell, almost clear skies and vans of locals honouring their morning ritual. Hoora, we had hit the jackpot. Five foot left hand peelers and a morning glow so intense that it was almost blinding. Perfect time to get the camera out. We were out there all morning until our fingers started to look like prunes and the magnified light started to overexpose the images. Eventually all good things must come to an end, and unfortunately, after an intriguing few days of travel and good convo, we parted our separate ways.

I caught an arvo train/bus to Byron, where upon arrival at 4.30am in the morning, you could still find people hanging out on the grass down at Main Beach. There’s something about Byron that’s simply magical. Its mesmerizing waters and rugged landscape is not one that you can easily walk away from. The people fortunate enough to make up the community possess a deep respect for the place they call home and emanate values that reflect this. You can see why creatives and nomads alike are so easily drawn to it.

                                                                     Just casually

                                                                    Just casually

                                                                           Slide

                                                                          Slide

                                                                One step two step

                                                               One step two step

I arrived on the Gold Coast exactly a month after I had left, much to the relief of my parents. That month had entailed more stories than you could imagine, or if you like, the number of crackers and tins of tuna I had consumed (a lot), and was undeniably and irrevocably sweeter than that 5 hour plane flight, hey.

 

// This story was featured by Summersite -check out their recent posts, they're pretty groovy!

Schoolies Alternative Adventure

Life after school; a time to reflect on twelve years of friendships; made and lost, of hard work and unquestionable bouts of procrastination, and what felt like prolonged drudgery in those last remaining months. High school is a truly memorable stepping stone in the paths of our lives; it helps shape who we are.

So wouldn’t we want to celebrate our past dedications and achievements, 12 years of our lives, with something merely more than “YEAHHHH let’s get pissed dude!”

‘Leavers’ and’ Schoolies’ originally started in the 70’s, and ever since has become almost a rite of passage for Aussie adolescents. Excessive binge drinking, a blurred count of vodka and lemon lime shots, and the forced thought of ‘I’m having great fun!’ when you wake up the next morning. Repeat times five.

There are better ways to celebrate the beginning of freedom and a life of your choosing; ways in which you will actually remember.

In late November I travelled to Nepal with a group of seven other schoolies. We trekked and traversed our way over mountainous terrain, volunteered our physical strength and love to a remote school in the village of Dhampus, and were lucky enough to fly over the Himalayas-  an experience that actually touches the soul.

 Euphoria in Ghandruk. A dry open grass field with a 270 degree view of the sun rising onto the distant Himalayas.

Euphoria in Ghandruk. A dry open grass field with a 270 degree view of the sun rising onto the distant Himalayas.

 The gentle pastel palette of a Nepalese sunset. 

The gentle pastel palette of a Nepalese sunset. 

We did this with an organisation called World Youth Adventures; a company that offers truly unique experiences in different destinations around the world- a rewarding alternative to more traditional schoolies.

One of my many favourite moments; the final day trek to Ghandruk:

Upon walking up to a grassy ledge above Dhampus camp, we watched the shades of the mountains turn from black silhouettes to dappled misty greys; the rising sun a ginormous ball of pink light. The scattered huts and rice paddies etched into the mountainside slowly became clearer. Dhampus awed us with its raw beauty.

The first section of the trek was through lush jungle, off the beaten path and up quite an incline! We were a bit worried the terrain was going to be like that for the next few hours, however eventually we reached the top of the mountain and were welcomed by a seat at a teahouse with a clear view of the Himalayas; Mount Pistol and South Annapurna. They were always moving in and out of our sight along the trek.

 Trekking through the jungle like foliage of one of the many smaller mountains in Dhampus.

Trekking through the jungle like foliage of one of the many smaller mountains in Dhampus.

From here it was down and up stone steps. You had to remind yourself to look up every now and then to fully acknowledge and appreciate the view, pinching yourself that you were trekking in the Nepal mountainside. After our legs had almost turned to jelly from an infinite amount of steps up and down mountains, we walked along a flat dusty road for about an hour; seeing other trekkers and taking in the village of Landruk; local Nepali kids playing volleyball in their schoolyard and women beating millet (a harvested grain) outside their homes, a true atmospheric embodiment of a community.

We stopped for lunch further across in Landruk, down below a teahouse we perched ourselves on the grass, the chefs and porters utilising village huts and the open space to cook up their magic. The mountainside view we were blessed with was absolutely astonishing. We grabbed a bench chair and perched it on the edge of the slope, our feet lying underneath on the grass. We had a clothesline of patterned Soris and sheets over our heads, looking out into the haze of the mountains. The rice paddies and small local villages outlined in the distance.

Indra, one of our humble Nepali guides, served us pineapple cordial and for lunch a chapatti with small sliced sausages, vegetables and a bean mix with hot potato chips on the side; a mix of Nepalese and western cuisine. Safe to say we never went hungry! Also some of the best meals I’ve eaten. *Note: popcorn and soup together work wonders (this is no trickery!).

In the distance we could see the village that we needed to trek to for arrival at camp; Ghandruk. It was sitting above us on the opposite mountain, at a much higher altitude and a good length away. We were a little overwhelmed by what we had to accomplish in the next few hours; a knee wobbling descend and an intimidating incline, yet we hadn’t realised the great distance we had already achieved.

This experience really does make you grow as a person. And the amazing thing is you grow with other people, making lifelong friendships through some of the greatest moments you’ve ever shared. I’m visiting two of the girls who are from Byron Bay in the upcoming months; after only a few days of meeting each other we were already planning our next adventure! We couldn’t wait to be reunited with such like-minded souls.

 I have become so grateful for the places I've grown up in around Western Australia and come to not only appreciate, but love the simple things in life; after all, those are what truly what make us happy.

This is a mere snippet of my schoolies experience. And I think it was done right.

I hope that after reading this, more people can open themselves up to these kinds of opportunities; celebrate schoolies the right way. It doesn’t have to be climbing a mountain either!

 Local kids of Pokhara.  

Local kids of Pokhara.  

 Wandering the back streets of Pokhara. After a kind Nepali lady let us stand in awe at the view from her rooftop, we were in search for another at sunset.

Wandering the back streets of Pokhara. After a kind Nepali lady let us stand in awe at the view from her rooftop, we were in search for another at sunset.

 Dhampus camp // A community base while we volunteered at the nearby Primary school. Prayer flags are strung in the shape of a star, and when the sun rises over the mountains, it shines directly onto the roof of the community centre. A true embodiment of how Nepali people connect to the land.

Dhampus camp // A community base while we volunteered at the nearby Primary school. Prayer flags are strung in the shape of a star, and when the sun rises over the mountains, it shines directly onto the roof of the community centre. A true embodiment of how Nepali people connect to the land.

 Welcomed with marigold garlands and an abundance of smiling faces, upon arrival in Dhampus after a full day of trekking through the mountains.

Welcomed with marigold garlands and an abundance of smiling faces, upon arrival in Dhampus after a full day of trekking through the mountains.