Saturday, 30 July 2011

Listening and learning

Bliss

It's a hard life on the road

Lunch

The food was wonderful

Sunrise

Taking photos for yoga city's website as the sun rises.

Guruji

A descendant of Krishna and indian yoga master. He's been doing yoga since he was 4 (he could do incredible positions) and is opening 'Yoga City', high up in the mountains of Bali. We were privileged to accompany him and his four students there. It's not yet open for business. It covers a huge area of the hillside and is laid out according the body's chakras. He took us on a hike around the land and explained what will be built where. One of the best spots in Bali, that overlooks the seven mountains and sees the sunrise and set. Just beautiful.

Yoga day

Up at 4am this morning to drive to a yoga retreat. A spectacular day!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

New album (1): Sabbatical's log

I've been busy in Bali recording two albums. The first is the songs from the 3 week journey by boat from Cairns to Darwin around Cape York aboard the Sabbatical. It was a difficult trip to say the least. The guy sailing the boat was a retired Dutch guy and his life was a real catalogue of miseries and he wasn't selfish in passing it on. Sailing every day all day and berating us for every little thing. No time to see the Great Barrier Reef or kick back. I had to grab writing time when the boat and my stomach stopped moving enough. I left on one demo track unfinished to give you an idea of what that would sound like. Thankfully Maria was with me and inspired more positive songs.

DOWNLOAD: I'm making these albums donation-based, so you pick the price. You need a Paypal account, but that's pretty easy to set up if you don't have one already. Asia is a quarter of the price of Australia but I can't busk anymore... they go by too fast on the scooters... so album sales would be a big help!!!



DOWNLOAD


1. Making my life too hard [2:36]
2. Dog's life [2:49]
3. 34 years old and a birthday at sea [3:16]
4. Reportarla a casa [2:12]
5. Love is happiness [2:05]
6. You can't say no to love [2:47]
7. Sailing [1:21]
8. Letting go [3:03] 
9. I'm not sea sick, just sick of the sea [2:36]
10. Gulf of Carpentaria [3:01]
11. The model [3:02]

New album (2): As it was now

The second album is a collection of topical songs based on the news that I wrote back in Europe and put on youtube, but never got around to recording. Thankfully Gadaffi is holding onto power so it's still topical. I haven't had a chance to write more news-songs as the boat had no connection to the outside world, and travelling and busking leaves little time to read the newspaper. Instead I have been writing more about my experiences and the people I meet and local issues. I was thinking about this on the boat and had the idea to rearrange all my albums, organising the songs by where I wrote them, rather than when I recorded them, and call the collection the 'Troubadour Chronicles'. So this album 'As it was now' will only be available in this form for a month.



DOWNLOAD


1. Revolutions 2011 [2:16]
2. CEO [3:27]
3. Plastic sea [2:24]
4. Another dead man in Afghanistan [4:32]
5. Liberate Libya [2:08]
6. A day out in Detroit [3:05]
7. Mohamed Bouazizi [2:42]
8. Dear shareholder [3:50]
9. The US economy [2:29]
10. The stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones [1:53]
11. After the Olympics has gone [2:22]
12. Killing the kids (Jamie Oliver Blues) [2:47]

Monday, 25 July 2011

Roadside refreshment

We cycled back to the Green Village again yesterday. 2 hours there and 2 back in the heat. Oppressive! The scooters make the air so dirty. My white shirt went brown from the fumes. Coconuts are the plus point.

Maria is interested to work in the Green Village building the bamboo houses. A dream for an architect, it's like working with a giant model, and ideas turn into reality overnight rather than the years it takes in Europe. We had another tour and it sounds promising. Don't know what this would mean for our travel plans, but the plan us no plan.

We met a nice guy through couchsurfing called Herard and he can get us some house concerts through his Fine Art performance network here and in Java. Too many options. I can get a visa extension of another 30 days and do some yoga/Ayurveda courses in Ubud which is a hub for these things, so I wouldn't complain about having to stay longer in Bali.

(Maria also heard about the village through couchsurfing. We got the mine gig through couchsurfing, the radio shows and train tickets through couchsurfing. We met through couchsurfing. It's runs our lives ;)

So today Maria is updating her CV and portfolio and I'm finishing the recording of two new albums to send out, and try to raise some more funds. The tandem wiped out our savings and I need money for coconuts.

Ready for action

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Ubud

Played an impromptu show in a stunning cafe overlooking the rice fields of Ubud. Met some lovely people and slept in an old rice house. Stunning area, just along from where they filmed that Julia Roberts eat love pray romp. The rice fields were beautiful at night. Fireflies, frogs and moonlight. Idyllic isn't half of it. Spellbinding

Impromptu couchsurfing

Durian

One strange fruit

Maiden of the rice fields

Food

$1.50 for nasi goreng in the street cafes. There are more touristy places but we're on a budget.

Tour de France!

Delicious

Brand new hospital

Only open 4mths. Lots of competition here. We were among the only patients. Recommend it to everyone. I got a filling done too for $25.

Blood tests for hepatitis first

I was brave

Vaccinations

We finally found a local hospital with local prices. A 6th of the Australian prices.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Tanah lot

Doing a bit of sightseeing here at a temple, but the best thing to see is the life going on here. The streets are full of life, with everything for sale everywhere.

Searching for a tandem

With a little help from some locals, Gusti and son.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

The most dangerous thing on the road...

Adjusting to indonesia

Made it to Bali. We couchsurfed with an Italian guy last night and he took us out for sushi in a beautiful little restaurant. We've rented a scooter for three days and getting used to the rules of the road, or lack of them. It's crazy after Australia, which was mostly empty of people. Tonight we're couchsurfing with a local so looking forward to that.

We have the scooter for three days so will go exploring tomorrow. After that I think we'll buy a tandem, it was $400 for one I saw in a catalogue new, so we're still holding out for something cheaper. The scooter gives you a headache

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Lammingtons

Stephane's birthday with a special desert.

Couchsurfers

We've been hanging out with one of the best group of couchsurfers I've met. Hardly any of them live in Darwin, just individual travellers come together, and most are leaving at the weekend. Jugglers, acrobats, sailors, surfers and musicians.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Post-sail

I'm finally getting  used to land again. Man that was a long sailing trip. More cruising than sailing because it was mostly backwind with little changes of course and the windvane steered the boat. I wrote another album on the boat about the day to day of it. It was certainly an experience, sailing up the great barrier reef and around the north coast of Australia, but I wouldn't do it again. There are not many interesting points on the coastline and we sailed most of every day. I got sea sick, especially on the 3 day crossing of the Gulf of Carpentaria as there was no respite, and I lost weight, particularly muscle, from no exercise and not keeping food down. That coupled with the guy we sailed with being a 'difficult' character made the trip not the idyllic experience you might imagine. Looking back I'm still positive about it because it renewed my hunger for life – long days of not being able to read even because I had to watch the horizon and just thinking of things I did when I got out. Kinda like being in prison. Thankfully Maria was amazing and didn't get seasick of sad once, the light in the dark. I felt bad complaining once too often when sailings her dream and she was saddled with a landluver and a nightmare of a captain. We took each other on imaginary tours of the world and of the things to see and we'd do there and mostly of things we'd eat, as I was hungry all the time.

Besides that I tried meditation and got many good ideas. One was to rearrange the hundred songs I've written and recorded over the last two years on tour into 'The Troubadour Chronicles'. So rather than grouping the songs by when I recorded them, I'll group them by when and where I wrote them. That means an album for each country or area I've toured through, which is much more logical. There will be 8 albums so far. The preface, with the 'work' songs before I started touring. Then ones for Scandinavia, England, Holland, America, Southern Europe, New Zealand and Australia.

Another thought was to play festivals in the future, and travel the world that way, rather than busking, which is frustrating because people listen sometimes but it is mostly a fleeting relationship. Festivals are hard to get in of course, but with a collection of 12 or more albums in The Troubadour Chronicles presented nicely and sent out well in advance it could work out.

The plan for the immediate future is no plan. Just get to Bali on Saturday, get vaccinations where they're cheap and a tandem and head West into Java. I don't know whether it's too hilly to ride, or too much traffic, and I don't know where we'll sleep or if they'll even want us to play. 2 years on the road and this is my first time out of a Westernised country, so in many ways it feels like I'm only now starting to travel. When I began the journey the dots on the map were shows. I spent a ton of time on the computer trying to get booked into venues, then house concerts, up to 6 months ahead. I could tell you where I'd be months ahead of time. But time and again I was disappointed as nobody came to the shows as they'd never heard of me. So I gradually switched to turning up at bars on the day and asking for a show, and then finally to busking. Now looking back at the map the dots I see are the friends I made and, with The Troubadour Chronicles, where I wrote songs. I've become a true troubadour, spreading news from one place to another. Such philosophical whisperings… you see what three weeks on a boat does to you.

Darwin has been a nice reintroduction to land life and good goodbye to the West. It's so expensive because everything is freighted in. Newspapers are more than twice the price for example. We've been busking everyday on the mall at lunchtime and make about $45 on average which is not a lot but if Indonesia is as cheap as everyone says then it should last us a long time. We're able to save almost all of it now thanks to Darwin's dumpsters. Maria is a dumpster-diving legend. We're staying right in the centre couchsurfing at Jessica's tgether with Stephane, a superduper French guy who's also on a world trip. We celebrated his birthday here last night. Darwin is great for that, it's peak travelling season here with the climate at it's coolest before the build-up in a few months when humidity reaches 80%. We've met so many people who we met travelling up the East coast. Bali should be a good halfway house to start because it's very touristy so will give us a gradual introduction to Asia. We have to stock up on vaccines, diarohea pills, mossy nets, etc, which cost a fortune in Darwin. So that's where I'm at. Thanks for reading and your interest.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Busking

The council only allows four buskers a day in Darwin. You have to register early in the morning at the TI and pay a few dollars for a spot

Darwin

Great surfing in Darwin. We're staying with many other surfers in an open house. Our room is a cage at the bottom of the garden. Fine once you're used to the possum on the roof

Railway Club

In the evening Sunday we played at the railway club, a cool venue here in an old working man's club. Only 6 people came but it paid well fortunately

Beer can boat

The annual beer can boat regatta was great fun. The couchsurfers of Darwin had built a boat and competed. Thousands of people there. We busked at the beach Market. Very hot day

CS boat

War

Beer can regatta