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Hello and welcome to my blog formerly called Gypsy-K. Please note that I am only updating this blog while I am walking from Rome to Jerusalem from September 2015. My online home and permanent blog is at www.kymwilson.com.au. You can also sign up for pilgrim postcards and newsletters here. Thank you for being here and supporting my journey. With love and courage, Kym xx

Thursday, 23 July 2009

This is my Kuala Lumpur and Perhentians

Grey, hazy skies, feet fish spas, Petronas Towers, murky river, the importance of Mosques and the call to prayer.
More men than women on the streets, ice Kopi, Chinese donuts, large Tiger beers in Chinatown, walking till my feet hurt and lower back cramps.
Photos lots of photos, discovering Malay time is just like Thai time (things happens when they happen).
Pollution, traffic chaos, confused by the existence of pedestrian lights that don’t ever seem to work, being stalked and bluntly propositioned by overly keen men, inwardly amused by Abinga Lord and the book he wrote that he carries with him as a “pick-up” tool.
Experiencing cupping but not expecting the paint-ball bruises, amazing Batu Caves, witnessing separateness, happiness cloaked and veiled but existing somewhere beneath the surface.
Mobile phone towers “disguised” as trees, light poles “disguised” as flowers, restaurants every third shop and always full of people, late night eating and people every where.
Calls for help always answered, witnessing that politeness is always appreciated even when you are sick to death of being hassled to buy DVDs or take a taxi and you want to tell them where to go but bite your tongue and respect their spirit as a human being.
Homelessness, scavenging, begging, sleeping on streets, hardness of life, poor as well as rich, BMWs, Mercedes, Hermes, Prada, Jimmy Choos.
Not understanding menus, what am I ordering…is it meat? No it’s chicken…aggghh.
Markets, same same as Thailand, imitation everything, Tiffany, Ed Hardy, Nike.
7 Eleven makes me feel at home and Kinokuniya is my Borders away from home except all the books are wrapped in plastic so I can’t browse properly.
Experiencing incredible foot reflexology and amazed by the accurate identification of other health issues just by touching my fet, early morning whistle blowing but never discovering the purpose, stunning tropical flowers, butterflies beautiful butterflies and being followed by dragon flies.
Happy to visit but happy to leave.

And this is my Perhentians…

Discovering that the “ferry” is actually a tiny speed boat and I’m required to wear a life jacket, unsure if I’m going to make it there dry if at all.
Paradise found, turquoise crystal clear waters, golden sands, mountainous tropical jungle, no land traffic only boats, swimming in a blue lagoon caressed by 31 degree water,
Lightning flashes, rolling thunder and rain by night, both soothing and exciting the senses.
Hours spent hanging out with and talking to a dear friend, dreaming, planning opening my mind to to new adventures, new possibilities, expanding self-imposed boundaries, releasing fears and guilt, strengthening intuition, remembering life is short and to live without regrets at what makes me smile.
Awesome diving, stunning pristine reefs, abundant life, swimming through and above thousands of schooling big eye snapper, sighting my first Coral Cat Shark, Emperor Angel fish and Black Tip Reef Shark, meeting George the three-legged Hawksbill Turtle, completing my 100th dive wearing the yellow power ranger.
Eating my daily lunch of succulent, addictive freshly caught fish (extra salad minus the chips), Carlsberg or Tiger beer whatever hasn't yet run out consumed with hot fried vegie spring rolls.
Experiencing the “an iguana just went down the back of your top and now the front of your top” wake up call and laughing so hard I cried.
Cold water showers, living in a room with electricity but no power outlets, sleeping on a mouldy pillow, living with constant dampness, but it all matters not.
Surrounded by couples and families and wondering what has happened to single travellers.
Being asked if I have been playing paint-ball when a stranger catches sight of the cupping bruises on my back.
Laughing at my adventurous friend who has climbed ice-capped volcanoes, hiked unguided for days and climbed massive boulders but who is scared of fish and coral but inspired by her courage nonetheless.
Loving that there is nothing else to do but dive, swim, lie in the sun, read, write, eat and drink beer.
Living care-free and experiencing peace, inner bliss and natural perfection.

Happy Sad

I was on my way to the Perhentian Islands on the 18th July and I found myself feeling happy sad:

Happy to be heading back to the sea, diving and my new beloved friend Viv.
Happy to leave Kuala Lumpur behind me, happy to have had my time there, happy to have fallen in love with photography again and the world through the lens.
Happy that I managed to navigate myself to Batu Caves and the airport the cheapest way possible.
Happy, laughing, joyous tears welling in my eyes as I sing along to terrible Malaysian covers of Bryan Adams and Bon Jovi on the bust to the airport at 7.30 in the morning.
Sad as the realisation hits that a friendship I treasured has changed forever.
Sad because instead of living in the present moment with what is, I once again discover that I’ve been living in the past.
Happy because I consciously recognise this and I can honour that part of me that is sad.
Happy because in knowing and feeling sadness, I am alive, really living and experiencing vivid contrasts of life in all its highs and lows.
Happy because this reminder of the impermanence of life experience calls for me to treasure every moment fully as it occurs and while it lasts.
Sad because in this moment I miss my family and friends back home and the caring, soothing, loving embrace of their physical presence.
Happy because their love transcends distance and I feel it every time I think of them.
Happy because I know all the love I ever need is right here now, within me, inside my heart.
Sad because I feel the pain, loneliness, isolation and perceived separation that one of my loved ones is currently experiencing.
Happy because I can feel compassion and extend my love as a gentle ray of comforting light.
Happy because my life is an incredible adventure that I am choosing and creating everyday.
Happy because dragon flies are appearing to me everywhere and when I least expect them. New beginnings, good omens, blessings.
Happy because I am free, free, free. Blessed and free.
Happy because I am me.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Farewell Phuket

This afternoon, I sat at Naiharn beach, eating sticky rice and mango and watching the foamy waves roll in and rip back out to sea again as the warm breeze brushed my hair away from my face. And I was overwhelmed by an enormous sense of gratitude. All I could think over and over again with a smile on my face, was “how lucky am I?” How lucky am I that I can have this time to myself to be free of work, to do whatever I feel like doing, go wherever I feel like going. I have given myself an enormous gift of time and it’s a gift that I am trying to fully appreciate every day.

It is Monday, and whilst I have been riding my motorbike around Phuket, hunting for sticky rice and then the perfect location to eat it, I know that back home, my friends and family are working hard to support themselves and their families. And here I am, three months in to my self-imposed unemployment, sitting at a beautiful beach in the tropics, indulging myself in a new favourite snack. I am truly blessed to be able to do this.

I have had a fabulous three months in Phuket but it is time now for me to move. And the leaving is happy sad. Happy because I did everything that I set out to do here and more. Sad because I love her and her contradictions and I feel like I’m leaving a beloved friend behind not knowing if I’ll ever return to see her again. Although some bets are being placed by others that I will be returning to complete my IDC (scuba instructor course). We’ll see…

As I rode my motorbike around the island, so many happy memories zoomed through my mind as fast as the passing scenery. Beautiful people I have met through diving, Muay Thai and synchronicity, new friendships formed; afternoons spent swimming and playing at beautiful beaches; learning to ride a motorbike and loving it; riding a motorbike everywhere, free as a bird with the wind in my hair catching tears in my eyes and joy upon my face; hours spent training hard, learning Muay Thai rewarded with bruises and lumps and advancement; spending my first ever birthday diving with a lovely new friend; attempting to slack-line and not taking more than two steps but having fun anyway; wandering around and sampling at the local market; eating Capannina pizza, mango ice-cream, nutella pancakes, fresh, juicy mango and papaya; trying new fruit such as salas and durian; drinking singha and pina coladas; massages, so many massages, foot, thai, back and shoulder; experiencing the beauty of simple, unique sunsets; wats and buddhas; hours spent writing; a few crazy nights in Patong; chatting to my loved ones online; finding and knowing myself more and more each day. Oh, what a glorious three months.

And now it is time to move and I am ready to move. I sat and waited until the urge to move was upon me and now it is here. There’s no hurry, no rush, just an urge to move slowly, steadily, with purpose, with ease and grace. My life is in flow and I trust that each step takes me into a new perfect moment.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

All signs lead to detox...

Life often provides us with sign posts to show us which direction to head next. Sometimes we pay attention to the sign posts and follow them, consciously or subconsciously. Sometimes we ignore them and keep going on the path we have chosen, oblivious to the same sign posts that keeps flashing before us, warning of an obstacle or diversion ahead and pointing to an easier route to follow. Other times we sit and wait for a sign that we think we should be seeing when in fact there is a very different sign post before us but we don’t see it because we are too busy looking for something else.

For me, I am consciously seeing many sign posts in my life right now. They tell me when to go, when to stay and which path to follow. The paths lead me to people who give me information, answers, more sign posts or lead me to other people to provide the same. And it all happens easily and with grace, like floating down a river from one town to the next.

So it is through synchronicity that I found myself heading to The Sanctuary at Koh Phangan for a seven day fast and detox program. Fasting and detoxing is not something I have ever considered before. I enjoy eating and drinking and I would normally give this up for one day, yet alone seven days. But the seed that was planted said detox. Once I got over my surprise and sat with this seed as it started to sprout and grow, I knew detox was the right thing to do at this point in my journey. So I went. And it wasn’t long into my detox that all the signs appeared to show me I was in the right place at the right time of my life.

Koh Phangan is a tropical paradise in the Gulf of Thailand. It is a 45 minute ferry ride from Koh Samui but a world away, depending on where you stay. Koh Phangan is famous for it’s full moon parties when thousands party-goers converge on the beach of Haad Rin and intoxicate themselves with various substances and dance like crazy in celebration of the full moon. Obviously, Haad Rin and Full Moon Party was not my destination. However, The Sanctuary located at Haad Tien Bay just two beaches around the corner was.

As it’s name entails, The Sanctuary really is a sanctuary. From the moment you arrive you can sense the nurturing nature of this resort. Whilst it has a Wellness Centre that caters for fasters and detoxers like me, the resort also caters for everyone else with an alternative bent, unless you are a meat eater. The restaurant is purely vegetarian and seafood only but it still serves alcohol for those who wish to partake of a beverage or two. The resort offers yoga , pilates, meditation, different workshops by visiting teachers and holistic healing. This is somewhere I would definitely come back and stay even if I wasn’t detoxing. It attracts a group of like-minded, friendly people and not your usual young back-packing party goer. And Koh Phangan is beautiful. A dense tropical jungle surrounded by clear blue seas with its own rhythm and orchestra especially at night after the rain when the frogs and the cicadas turn up the volume, and I mean really turn up the volume. They were loud. But I digress from fasting…

Fasting is an ancient ritual. It is said that by eliminating solid food from one’s diet in conjunction with colon cleansing enables the body to eliminate toxins, excess weight, parasites and mucoid plaque. During the fast, you only consume liquids including psyllium husk and bentonite clay shakes five times per day, fresh juice (carrot, apple, watermelon and coconut only), a special broth to replace electrolytes and take herbal supplements five times per day. Despite the lack of food, you will rarely find yourself hungry. The shakes become quite gluggy after ten minutes making you feel quite full.

I, surprisingly, found that I didn’t miss eating. I didn’t crave food in the usual longing way although I really missed eating fresh, juicy, ripe mango. And I really didn’t think about food that much except when we were talking about it at “dinner” which comprised a very garlicky, watery, green broth that we flavoured with lime juice and chili.

My day was filled with activities that I looked forward to more than eating, including yoga, massage treatments, herbal steaming, meditation, swimming, and reading. I am now addicted to yoga and thanks to the generosity of a friend, I have my own yoga mat and instructional CD's to take with me on my travels so I can maintain a regular practice. I am also a convert to Osho dynamic meditations, specifically designed for the active Western mind. I have shaken my body around like a crazy person, danced uncontrollably, spoken gibberish, candle-gazed, opened my arms to and from existence all in aid of quietening my mind. These meditations were so much fun that I am considering a visit to an Osho ashram when I make it to India. But best of all, was hanging out with some really beautiful women and fellow detoxers, drinking ginger tea and chatting about food, detoxing, life, adventures and which path to take next.

As the days of my fast progressed, I found that I felt lighter. Yes I lost weight as a result of the fast but that’s not the type of lightness I am referring to. It was almost as if the emptiness of my stomach and intestines allowed my energy to flow in a way that it has never flowed within me before. My inner being felt much lighter but stronger, calm and at peace. Sometimes my physical energy was low and at other times it was high but towards the end my body started giving me the signs it was ready to start eating again. By night-time of day six and seven, my physical energy levels were so low I felt almost comatose and I knew it was time to eat.

I am now at day four of post detox and I am slowly reintroducing different food groups to my diet and watching how my body reacts to the different types and combinations of foods. So far my body feels best when I eat fruit (one type at a time) and simple salads. It doesn’t appear to be a fan of flour or fancy salads with spicy or coconut dressings. I have not yet had coffee, sugar, chocolate, alcohol or ice-cream, my old indulgences, although the temptation is there to slip back into old habits.

I knew the temptation would be there once I left The Sanctuary, so I had my blood analysed at the end of my detox and before I left. Even after seven days, there was still significant evidence of toxins in my red blood cells as well as yeast markers (say goodbye to coffee and chocolate), signs that my body is not absorbing protein properly and significant numbers of odd shaped red blood cells the cause of which was not identifiable. So although I feel fit and healthy, my blood is telling a different story and providing the motivation to make some changes to my diet. I now realise I need to consciously choose to consume only those foods that I know have nutritional content but also in a combination that suits my body.

The ten days I spent at The Sanctuary were pure magic and I loved every moment of it from the fast itself to the yoga and meditation and the beautiful friends I made. And if the opportunity arises or if I can make it happen, I will return and complete another fast and detox. But for now, I am finally ready to start moving around and leave Phuket, my home of just under three months. I have loved my time here and all the shades and contrasts that she offers, but the sign-posts are pointing south-east…Malaysia here I come.

My 7am shake kit

My 7am shake :(

Dinner

Moonlight over Haad Tien Bay (night prior to full-moon)