Thursday, July 10, 2008

send me an angel!

120 angels have arrived into our hands, straight from bali!
we saw our friend made (the keeper of the ninth house, where we stayed in bali) in seattle two days ago and picked up all of our angels from him.  we have five different kinds, and four colors of each style.  they are beautifully hand carved and hand painted, and most of them hang from the cieling to help bless and protect your space.  two styles hang on the wall and they are all very special.  contact us for more support a balinese family, and the returning (and continuous) travelers!

Friday, June 27, 2008

on the road again

goodness gracious.....
sorry for the lapse in our blog posts...the longest lapse in the history of the blog....i hope we have not lost all our readers, and it's time to resurrect our adventure story!

adventure it has been, as our car we were going to drive to CA broke down while we were still in portland, leaking scarily large plumes of blue/gray exhaust, oil-inspired smoke into every intersection we cruised through in SE Portland. the car was parked, we lamented about our many (expensive) (inconvenient) travel options for hours, had a delicious meal at por que no and shared a margarita, got home, checked craigslist, and found a post from a sweet woman driving down I-5 AT THAT VERY MOMENT! what!? yes, we were already packed and ready, gave her directions to the house, and spent the next 10 hours in her car cruising down the freeway under the light of the full moon, dosing unsuccessfully in intervals in the back seat and having conversations about "kismet" and fate and things happening just as they are supposed to. we saw the sunrise over mt. shasta and i drove the last leg through the northern trinity alps, a new part of CA for both of us, into junction city where she droppe
d us off near her house and a pristine powerful gorgeous tibetan buddhist sanctuary in the hills. we made a cardboard sign "ARCaTA or MeNdociNO!" and stood by the side of the road for an hour and a half before a woman and her two little kids picked us up. what a pleasure, hanging out with Izzie Mae and Bowen, 1 and 4 years old, winding through the highway and the trinity river mountains, stopping for a while to skinny dip in the south fork of the river under the sun, washing off our night of travel, enjoying our new friends. we stopped in Willow Creek, got nourishment at the health food store, and stood by the side of the road for nearly 2 hours before Tara picked us up and took us to Arcata, where we went to the food co-op and promptly ran into my massage school friend, Jana (of course, the kismet strikes again!) . Jana invited us to stay at her house for the night, and our sleep deprived selves agreed, and we spent the rest of the afternoon playing banjos and guitars at Wildw
ood Music and cooking dinner with Jana and her sweetie Tom. The next morning we got a lift to the edge of Eureka, and waited for another hour and a half until our awesome new friend Brent picked us up, Carson's new inspiration and dream-job holder. Brent is a visionary Green Architect, with his own firm in Oakland, and has so many neat projects going we couldn't stop being in awe of him. Carson hopes to work with him in the future, we'll see! (Brent's current intern is a man he picked up hitchhiking in the exact same spot!) Oh what a joy it was to drive through highway 101 again, up through Garberville and the Heartwood region, one of my favorite spots in the world!

Brent dropped us off in Willits, where we only had to wait for 10 minutes until a sweet woman picked us up in her plush rental car and drove us all the way to Mendocino! She told us tales from her past year, being a nurse on a Disney cruise ship in the Caribbean. We ate delicious burritos at Lu's Kitchen in Mendocino, maybe the best burritos we've ever had, and waited for Sarah and Adam to pick us up! From then on was a lovely weekend of spending time with all the treasured Heartwoodians at Max and Nishkama's powerful, perfect, touching, beautiful wedding at Old Mill Farm. We also spent time at the beach in Mendo, and cooked some tasty meals at Eric's house (a friend of NK and Max who let us use his house for the weekend!) The community here is so vibrant and generous. Josh and Steve brought tasty chocolates for us to taste from the city, and we all shared stories and successes from our past three years since graduation. We danced to the Hot Buttered Rum string band at the w
edding, camped under the stars, drank wine, ate figs dipped in local goat cheeses, and congratulated our favorite bride and groom.

Oh there's so much to say, but dinner's ready and we're having lots of fun at our friend Jessa's house, a dear friend we met in Bali! The adventure continues, we're still not sure when (or how!) we're coming back north, but we'll just see what evolves! Once you get bitten by the travel bug, i don't know when the adventures ever cease!

Your faithful explorers,
Melissa (& Carson!)

follow this link to pictures from the wedding! (thanks to josh, the photographer!)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

chuckanut housesit

purple luminescent sunset painting
the hills of evergreens
to my right
the bay
(the sound of puget)
reflecting the sun,
and my camera can't pick up the pinks
or the hues that the clouds give
to the sky
and to my eyes.
my fingers hold guitar strings
and remember how to move quicker
and quicker, how to press solid
on the neck
between frets
mahogany touching the tips
of my hands
i've been doing this for 10 years
singing some lady's songs
and rarely my own;
how well could my voice withstand
it's own words?
how easy would it be to sing,

my body is stiff,
ready to unfold
and settle
into fascia, muscles, bones
--the sun speaks silently
to us now,
and illumines rice paddies
and duck feet
and standing water
and a pink lotus
where i once walked,
on the other side.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

there and back again.

we came, we saw, we came back, we're seeing. after lots of anticipation and trepidition, melissa and i are safe and sound back in bellingham washington. we have been up and down in a plane 21 times since we left, for a total of over 60 hours of in the air time...which might allow us to qualify for a flying permit. probably not really. somehow with more times going up and down we have become even more terrified every flight of little bumps that are naturally occuring--air turbulence. on the last leg of our journey returning from oahu to seattle we clutched each others hands tightly in a sort of "is this it" way as we bumped through the air over the pacific ocean. i tell myself to trust and believe that the captain knows what he/she is doing, and yet every time i fly now it seems like we're going down in a blaze of glory! but luckily as sure as we take off, we land, and all is well now. we have no more plane tickets in the waiting..we have no more train tickets. we are entering a new phase, something that we haven't done in a long time...staying put. melissa and i are renting a small octagon space that used to be a meditation space from a woman named serene in her front yard. it will mark the first time that we will have our own space since we subletted in portland 18 months ago. we get to choose what to fill up the space with (mind you it's no more than 100 square feet) and what not to fill it up with. it is very novel for us! it is a month to month deal, just perfect.

and now we begin. hitting the floor running we are going to be taking on something that we have both wanted to do for a long time. something to challenge and push and test our limits in some ways even more than travelling might have. from start to finish we are going to create an epic book about our journey. our adventure. our one of a kind experience that happened and will never happen again quite the same. we are creating a book that will be based from our 'page a day' ventures, our thousands of pictures, this blog, emails, poetry, typewriting, free-writes and on and on. it will showcase the style in which we explored, a way of being open to all possibilities, authentic sharing about what the trip was like for us internally...who we were when we started the trip and who we are now. it will be an extra-ordinary book, every page a jewel. something to inspire. something really fun :) we'll be working on it this summer as a part of each day... in addition to that we are both going to be playing lots of music, i am taking up the mandolin and melissa is fine tuning her guitar skills.. camping and hiking, seeing friends and family, practicing yoga and getting our bodies into shape, learning spanish, and working part time jobs as well to supplement all of the things we love to do. in short we are bringing our trip home with us and making it a practice to bring all of the favorite things we discovered that we love to do into each and every day! i hope that everyone is doing great, please feel free to email and be in touch.. carsonandmelissa(at)gmail(dot)com or moonsoleil(at)comcast(dot)net for melissa and carsonmead(at)gmail(dot)com for me.
aloha and mahalo for everything. :)


Saturday, May 10, 2008

finding aloha

hawaii...where we have been for nearly two weeks now, though it feels like ages longer. 5 days/4 nights on Oahu, at jeff and alycia's beautiful garden setting of a home in waimanolo, sleeping on their heavenly double-layer automatic pump up air mattress, floating off to sleep every night after bowls of salmon curry with vegetables and quinoa and homemade chocolate chip cookies, being enamoured by the waldorf school education training that alycia is undertaking and watching the bright children perform traditional hawaiian hula dances for may day....

the big island has been a different story.

whereas oahu flowed and was easy and comfortable the whole time, this place has been a mixed bag. i think that is what it is (or can be) for everyone. i am growing to love it every day. there's been many times i wanted to leave (such as the four nights we camped on our friend abram's jungle floor, tent hodgepodged in between roots, pieces of lava rocks, an ant's nest (which we saw after we took the tent up four days later), a hovering army of bloodthirsty mosquitoes ready to attack at any moment, pelting rain all night on the roof of our tent, dampness, and a chorus of invader frog species that have been multiplying out of control ever since they hitched a ride on a home depot plant shipment a couple years ago. we felt ourselves being overtaken by the jungle, vines growing around us slowly in that little tent, sleep deprived by the rain and chirping frogs, and wary of the mosquitoes around every turn. it was a blessing though to spend so much time with veda and aubri, abram's baby and partner, and help entertain veda with little books and her walking cart (she's nearly standing on her own!) she's a beautiful healthy baby who eats lots of poi (hawaiian taro root paste) bananas, fresh coconuts and papayas. on sunday we went to the weekly pahoa/puna area estatic dance, where over a hundred people rock out and move their bodies amidst a stunning jungle/ocean setting that looks out over the sea. we took the rest of that afternoon to walk for 5 miles down the coast and back up to our jungle haven, enjoying the wild surf against black lava rocks and the trees and a good chocolate bar and the smattering of rain and running into my oldtime bellingham friend megan who lives on the island too.

on monday...we got a car! our little home on wheels, a white chevy cobalt that is our new best friend and our ticket to freedom. it's taken us everywhere on this varied island, up the east side hilo coast to our campground of the past four nights, kalopa state park (a great spot for anyone traveling to the island, three tent sites up this long hill in a state forest reserve, quiet and clean and maintained by a great guy named beau). our accomodations weren't that much improved there, though we did have a shelter for our tent, but the shelter consisted of a concrete floor that our thin traveling yoga mats did little well to pad. we slept for two nights on that, and then the last two in our reclining seats in the parking lot of the campground, trying to get comfortable. (don't ever try to sleep squished with knees bent to chest in the back seat; i did that for half the first night and my knees still hurt sporadically!) but it was a great place to stay and we met some nice people, including a man from NYC who is a botanist studying a species of eggplant, and is on a 6-Hawaiian island tour researching his specimens.

the big island is varied and incredible. take for example yesterday, when we drove down to the west side coast and went swimming at an absolutely picture perfect beach at the currently-remodel-phase resort of mauna kea....swimming in pristine aqua blue waters at 85 degrees, picnicking on the beach and tasting the salty water on our lips, sweating and getting kissed by the sun....driving up the hill back to waimea (our hometown the past few days) and the temperature dropping 20 degrees, then winding back down to the saddle road, a road that goes between the big island's two biggest volcanoes, mauna kea and mauna loa, and watching the landscape transform from grassy fertile hills to dry grass with brush and jackaranda trees (brilliant purple) to desert like nothingness and a military training area up the hill to the visitor's center of mauna kea, through a sudden onset of mist making the black lava field look incredibly creepy, ascending the road seeing nothing, until we emerge into blue again at mauna kea, resting at nearly 10,000 feet, 42 degrees, chilly to the bone, cinder cones and lava rock crunching beneath our feet, watching the sun set over the underlaying clouds and shine into our faces, wind whipping our bodies, taking pictures of each other on the edge, clouds illuminated, sacred hawaiian site, looking up to the summit above (at over 13,000 feet, the tallest mountain in the world if you count it's height below sea level!) we attended a constellation tour and watched the stars and constellations come out into the night sky, looking through amazing telescopes at saturn (so cute with it's ring encircling it!) and the moon and orion's belt and other star clusters. we drove down at 10pm through mist again, emerging into pouring rain at hilo, back up the coast to our quiet little haven and slept in the car again.

we enjoy the north side of the island a lot....the drive from waimea to hawi and the north tip of the island is stunning, seeing haleakala peak of maui in the distance, a charming little town, and a valley at the end of the road that holds endless long waterfalls if you dare to climb down into it. we have driven through rainbows, watched the weather shift in an instant several times, swam in the ocean, and are enjoying a container a day of the most delicious lime/sugar cane/coconut drink that we also had on maui, made fresh on the big island! at abram's we ate at least one fresh coconut a day, water and all (he's a great coconut tree climber). today we splurged on a rustic classic charming hotel room with a shared bathroom at an old standby hotel in honaunau that my friend green recommended, and this afternoon we checked in and took a nap IN A REAL BeD! wow, it must be heaven! we have not slept in a real bed in so long, and have not slept well in so long, really the whole time we've been on the big island!

we have a library card, and have been enjoying the CD selection that the hawaii library system has to offer us, as well as an hour of internet every day if you like. we are off to explore some places by the coast that our friends blake and may recommended. tomorrow we are going to volcanoes national park to explore the active still forming side of the island!

we're heading back to the mainland on thursday after a few more days on oahu starting monday....hope every one is doing well!
much love,
m & c

Sunday, May 4, 2008

big island

the big island....
rough, tumbled, rainy, tent camping on the jungle floor, mosquitoes biting our ankles, fresh coconuts to drink, lava rock, no car, hitchhiking, living with a beautiful bright little baby, poi, bananas, going to sleep at 7pm with the sun, finding our way, car rental?, what are we doing here, 2 minutes left on the internet, lava flow, walking for miles, papaya farms, chocolate, finding our way here, looking for the sun!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

for those who don't know, we're in hawai'i!

aloha friends!

hope that everyone is well. after a couple weeks of seeing friends and family and experiencing the ups and downs of being back, we are gone again! we found a flight way back when in january for 300 roundtrip to honolulu from seattle (they still have them by the way!) and departed for this tropical destination on sunday. the night before we left we had a great night visiting friends in bellingham at jason's birthday party. we were there for 5 hours talking, connecting, playing music, having a blast. we left around 1 AM, went back to the house and packed until 2, slept for an hour and 20 minutes, then woke up and began our travel day adventure. we were dropped off at the airport by melissa's lovely parents, on an airporter bus down to seattle with two very friendly bus drivers ruth and carla, who showed off their southern hospitality at every stop by telling us exactly of what we were doing and how long we'd be stopped and what was coming up next. melissa and i laughed at the extreme difference between that experience and thailand..which would leave us completely out of the loop as to what was happening with anything at all. we got there 3 hours early, and had 2 + hours to shiver and wait in the frigid airport until our flight took off. vrrrooooommmm! airplane flights seem short now in comparison to our 13 hour/24 hour travel day returning from bali. 6 hours later we were walking off the plane and feeling that tropical breeze whip around our bodies. ahhhh hawaii. we were picked up by jeff, who melissa knew from back in bellingham when she was younger. he's a great man, with an easy laugh and a big heart. he brought us lei's (we were lei'd) and shared about where we'll be living for the next few days. we traveled over to the east side of the island and went straight for the beach. the sand was white, the water blue/green, and we jumped in and spent the next hour body surfing and playing in the water. blake and may (who live here too) and ani and adam (who are visiting from seattle) showed up and we all hung out on the beautiful beach eating ahi poke and making nori wraps, drinking a couple beers. blake and jeff and adam are all great drummers and they set up on the beach playing african drums in their own amazing rhythms and style. it was very idyllic, and one of my favorite drum experiences i've ever had! we came home, had some great food, and hung out with jeff and alycia (another bellinghammer) who are married and live in this great studio on beautiful landscaped property. the next day (2 days ago) we took a trip up to the north shore of oahu and enjoyed the scenery and company along the way, stopping at a fruit stand to enjoy fresh coconuts, mango, banana (i had a friend banana too) and avocado's. oahu has a seemingly unlimited supply of beaches and the one we finally chose to stay at was a crescent moon white sand beach with crystal clear water. it was calm and smooth and we spent the whole day playing in the water and relaxing on the beach. in the winter this same beach is home to some of the worlds most adventurous surfing with some waves reaching over 20 feet. that day was just smooth and nice. we found a great food stand and all enjoyed and ate quickly tons of delicious food. ahi wraps, chili hand cut fries, falaffels. we grabbed a six pack of beer and watched what was to become one of my favorite sunsets ever, fully appreciating the layers of the clouds, the colors, the full spectrum, the sun dropping behind the ocean, from start to finish over an hour of bliss.

the next day alycia, who had worked non-stop decided to take a day off and spend some showing us around. so the three of us embarked on what was to be a day of experiencing her and jeff's favorite spots on the island. we took a hike up a ridge that overlooks the east side beaches that would allow us to see moloka'i on a clear day..but there is an excessive amount of vog right now (big island eruption lava fog) so visiblility is spotty at times. melissa discovered the macro foliage setting on our camera and went wild yesterday, snapping off 150 pictures of all of this islands best it has to offer. we found some crazy foliage on that first hike and it's all documented! we stopped by the store afterwards and picked up lunch to be which included a pound of ahi poke, an avocado, nori, and sunflower sprouts, and 2 bags of kettle chips. then headed up the mountain for another hike which included bamboo forests that punctuated at old ruins that are home to the largest luau ever, over 10,000 people. plus a small waterfall hike. melissa kept dissapearing at all points in time to keep up her photography. less than ten minutes after we left that oasis we were dropping into honolulu. it was amazing to be so remote (it's where they film parts of LOST tv show) and then to be in the big city so quickly. we just scooted around the edge of the city towards an area called 'the wall'. a little neighborhood spot that has lava flow style rocks that have been smoothed by all of the pounding waves over the millions of years since it formed. we saw some big waves there, some people surfing and boogie boarding and tide pools and a big green sea turtle floating out and about. we went to alycia's waldorf school that she is training at to be a teacher and were amazing and impressed with what they've created there. we went to a kona brewing, enjoyed some delicious beer samplers, then drove home along the east side of the island! we came back to the house, met up with jeff here and made some salmon curry with vegetables over quinoa, while the girls put together cookie batter. after eating we all did some art with cool new watercolor crayons and pencils, talked for awhile, and then passed out hard! it's amazing all that you can fit into some days! over one 12 hour period we were at a party in bellingham, then on a plane, and then to the beach in a hawaii. and then there's days like today where by 1:30 we still haven't left the house and have no plans other than to go for a walk. tomorrow we leave for the big island to stay with our friend abram and camp on the property he's taking care of. when i told jeff i was excited about being there he said without hesitation "it'll change your life". i'm excited to be there...i know it'll be a big opening for me :) much love to everyone, we have 2 weeks on the big island and then we're back after that....probably. :)

Friday, April 25, 2008

wherever we go, there we are!

where have we been?
we've been home!
(we've NOT written a blog in two weeks!)
we've been experiencing reverse culture shock,
reintegrating into
what does it mean to us
-now, after everything we've experienced-
to be an american?
we've been overwhelmed.
we've been welcomed back into our families
our communities
seeing friends on the street
or in random places around town.
melissa's been working at the salon/spa she used to work in
being a front desk girl
greeting people and answering phones;
cleaning her room (see picture below!) of all the stuff she's accumulated in years and years and years (what happens after you've had a bedroom since you were 5?~ lots of stuff!!)
carson's been relishing portland
spending time with his family
hiking in forest park
and taking the train up to bellingham,
having his picture taken randomly for (check out the april 24th pictures, scroll down!)

we've been looking for a place to live
(may have found one yesterday!)
we've been deciding what to do about those hawaii tickets we bought in january
(looks like we're going on sunday! we were hesitant because of money, and were trying to move the ticket or get a refund, but hawaiian air said no way, and our friend chino said it best:

"Do not hesitate GO TO HAWAII, you will somehow find a way to finance the trip, and at the end you´ll have more beautifull stories to tell. Otherwise all you´ll have is regret. Life´s one and only, money comes and goes, and of course you can always work over there and make some cash to move around."

thanks chino!

so looks like we're going to attend a good friend's birthday party on saturday night, and then take the 4am shuttle bus from the bellingham airport to seatac, and fly on over to the hawaiian islands! what a trip!! we just finally "decided" to do this yesterday! luckily, we have friends to stay with on both oahu and the big island, including abram, our friend from pai who first introduced us to the durian! (thanks abram!)

we'll put more pictures on soon....both our memory cards are filled up to the max right now. we are also about to begin the awesome project of writing a book about our trip, to publish and share with the world! if you have any ideas, feedback, suggestions, memories of us (if you met us on our trip, or if you've been reading about our journey), pictures of us or you with us, etc., please send them our way and they can be included in the book if you like! our email is easy, carsonandmelissa(at)gmail(dot)com

we'll keep attending to the blog too, sorry for the lapse, we just needed a little time to decompress.
happy spring! smell those daffodils, they smell so good!

carson and his bro
melissa overwhelmed by her room
melissa and her sis

Saturday, April 12, 2008


sunrise at venice beach
1. rocket and his friend brooke, surfing stars!
2. we are so cold in this early morning
3. venice beach

two days ago, we had the most perfect experience about coming home.
we were looking at our blog page actually, and to the right is a little slideshow of pictures from part of our trip. we started to watch it, and immediately began to laugh as hard as we could, which turned to tears, and then laughter, and then tears, perfectly balanced between both extremes as we watched the continuous stream of faces of people we met, food we ate, places we were in....we both had tears streaming down our faces and were laughing so hard that we couldn't breathe. we finished out the slideshow and both heaved great sighs..."we needed that!" it was a great moment of getting our trip, at least a part of it, seeing another glimpse into the long and amazing journey that we have just been on together.

i wanted to share that little part of our integration, it was a sweet moment!

carson will have to tell you about our crazy and fun experience of going to the jimmy kimmel show taping last night and seeing keanu reeves, it was a blast!

this morning we woke up at 6 to watch rocket surf at venice beach. "from venice, italy, to venice beach" we have come far... :) we got home and i fell asleep for hours. i'm a bit congested and still adjusting to the 15 hour time difference! maybe tomorrow will be another exploring day, we are going to go to the boardwalk at venice beach and walk all the way to santa monica.

Friday, April 11, 2008

a day at the beach [malibu, ca]

we had a blast today being a part of the live studio audience on the jimmy kimmel show, right on hollywood boulevard. the guests were....keanu reeves!, a woman from desparate housewives (who is also michael bolton's wife), the mvp hopeful hornets player, and a band that i don't remember the name of. it was quite a trip! they gave everyone rockstar energy drinks during the wait, then passed out candy during an intermission, and we got to applaud...and applaud...and applaud and cheer and laugh and come in strong after the commercial breaks. quite a treat to be behind the scenes like that, with the live band playing during intros and outtros, and to see keanu so up close. also made the whole talk show thing seem quite superficial and 'just for the show,' you know, but that's hollywood for you.

rocket took us out for beer/wine (my first wine in months!) and spanish tapas at a great restaurant called cobras & matadors. we had salt cod fritters with capers and aioli, grilled mushrooms, mussels and chorizo with a tasty broth, sweet potato fries, flatbread with figs and goat cheese, and a revolutionary dessert of super-delicious french toast in little slices, drenched in maple syrup with whipped cream and a fresh california strawberry to boot! wow, we have not had these flavors in such a long time!

tomorrow we wake up at 5am to accompany rocket to venice beach to watch him surf in the sunrise!

through the pictures below, enjoy our time in malibu and driving through topanga canyon, covered with spring wildflowers (and then a little LA traffic to top it all off!)

our bali peeps!

1. jesse and margot
2. kamon the ninth house mascot
3. "man, i love this little house." -carson
4. wes and carson
5. the ubud riders
6. faith, ali and melissa on the night before nyepi
7. susie
8. kamong
9. katie, jessa, timshel and melissa at kafe
10. chloe <3 (thanks for inspiring us to come to bali, chloe!)

this is LA!

from mellow bali rice paddie walkers to hollywood boulevard strollers, your faithful travelers continue to have diverse adventures around the world.

in these pictures, you can see the hollywood sign, the sunset fading over sunset boulevard, the hand and foot prints of the three harry potter stars (fitting, because melissa just read the entire harry potter series on this trip), carson eating a delicious cream puff (he also ate one of the same brand in bangkok with jeromi) and melissa and carson waiting for a bus (yes! taking public transportation in los angeles! what a concept!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

things you didn't know you missed

a hard pressure hot shower!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


guess what!

here i am. here i am listening to my favorite billie holiday CD again, but this time the songs are moving through a nice speaker system, filling up this LA appartment full of bright LA sunlight streaming through the windows. opening up the sliding door does not give me the warm tropical breeze my body and mind are so accustomed to, but a frigid early april feel that gives me chills. my jeans are something i can wear, indeed necessary in some ways, and i know when i go out that i'll be wanting a warm jacket, and a scarf, and maybe a hat, and some gloves. and some sunglasses too. we went through customs last night and saw the 'welcome to the united states of america' signs, and a woman asked me if i was a citizen of the US and i paused not sure what to say. of course the answer came eventually but i'm so used to be a foreigner in a country, coupled with months of conversations about the state of the US and my own ideas of what it means to be a citizen of this country changing, it took me a second to perk up to the correct response. Hold hold, here here! let me bring you up to speed first before i get to into what it is like to be here now! we left bali at 4 in the afternoon. we had breakfast at kafe that morning with chloe, to be met later by katie and jessa. it was a fitting last meal, seeing people that were so familiar to us, yet we'd only known for 2 weeks. i acknowledged chloe for bringing us to bali, and what a difference that made for me! in the true style of our trip being so open to whatever possibilities we felt drawn to, it was fitting to be hugging goodbye the person who opened up the last 5 weeks of our trip to be what it was. we went to bali buddha one last time, sped down the road to our house and found that our airport driver, nyoman was already waiting for us. we went to the ninth house, and packed up all of our things last minute style and said a big goodbye to made (pronounced mah-day), and he told us 'the ninth house loves you two, you are always welcome here'. kamang and nyoman grabbed our packs and carried them back away from the ninth house and down the path. one last walk through the rice paddies, one last salumet siang! good afternoon! to all of the painters doing their thing on the path. we put our things in the van and said goodbye to kamang, almost crying at leaving him and made and our home. we pulled away and sped down the road towards the airport. a typical drive of dodging dogs laying all over the road, other scooters that just veer to the side of the road in the wake of bigger vehicles. sand piles that are just dumped in the street, rice drying in the sun, familes talking in the road, woman on the way to ceremony--there are no sidewalks, everyone just drives around it all. the whole way there was basically new territory as we never really explored the south of the island. it made me really appreciate where i was living even more! we got to the airport, checked in, surreal surreal, ...we had been given an offering by made and after buying a few last minute treats we went looking for a temple in the airport. i was surprised to see they didn't have one, but all of the stores had incense burning and offerings just outside their spaces. two women were encouraging us to go and have a drink in their lounge, and declining, we asked if we could leave our offering with theirs. visibly touched and delighted, they of course said yes and we set ours down next to theirs--it was a perfect moment. and when we were finally boarding the plane, we were greeted going down the tunnel to the plane with a group of balinese people singing and playing instruments and wishing everyone a good flight. we started crying at this point, tears of gratitude at how amazing and open and generous these balinese people are with their land and hearts. we flew to hong kong. sitting next to a very chatty and great woman from northern norway. i got kind of tipsy on 3 free beers! coming up to the city near 9 pm, it was dark, and from the southeast we arrived over the sea..mysterious lanters floating in the water-- fishing boats perhaps? and came upon the lights of hong kong. the clouds were puffy and fluffy and the city shone through them, black and white..towers reaching up to the sky, the massiveness of the place stretching and groping on and on. a nasty head wind on the landing made the plane jump and bounce not just up and down but side to side which was slightly terrifying. a few uneventful hours there and we're off on our main flight--a whopping thirteen hours flying through the sky --almost 8000 miles coming all the way across the biggest ocean on earth. the plane was a double decker and equipped with some fancy seats that had computers on them including 150 CD's, 50 movies, tv shows, documentaries, 100 games, language programs etc.. the time...passed. slowly at times, 9 hours, 7 hours, 5 seemed like forever and then it was just over. after the hour long customs entry and we grabbed our packs, walked outside and met our good friend rocket! the first time we have seen someone that we knew from home since jeremy in bangkok, 6 weeks ago. we sped through the streets of la, hopping on I-405, whoa! i called my brother and sister and heard their lovely voices for the first time in three months. we talked to our parents soon after and checked in with everyone..i dodged questions about the future..laughing them off as something that isn't right now and that i won't think about until later (the scarlett o'hara syndrome as my mom calls it). i stood at the window and looked out at the big lights of this sprawling mass of city, and dead pan in front of me loomed a giant i-pod billboard, yellow in the background with a dancing woman silhouette. that is when i knew i was back. i took some herbal sleeping pills last night and only woke up once, at 2:30 am, momentarily horrified that i wouldn't be able to fall back asleep, and through exhaustion i managed to until 9:00 this morning. 9:00am LA time equals 12 midnight bali time. i feel good now! i've been plotting and scheming a lot about how to beat this jetlag thing, and i think i might have conquered it! only time will be the test of that though. for anyone wondering..we left at 4 pm from bali, got to hong kong at 9 pm, left at midnight, and then arrived in LA 3 hours before we left at 9:15 pm. it was completely dark in hong kong, then at some point was light, and then just before arriving to LA the sun was setting again. it is very trippy going from dark to light and through a whole sun cycle in just 12 1/2 hours. we are adjusting to this world by landing in the heart of american pop culture for four lovely days. we will be in seattle on sunday and then down to portland. three days there for melissa and a week for me and then up to bellingham. we will still be blogging, so please check back often to see how re-entry is, reverse culture shock, settling back into a wonder-full, vibrant, alive experience of being here will be. we are full of inspiration and perspecive and excitement right now, and we can't wait to see everyone.

please write to us if you feel inspired to do so, especially for all of those people who have come across our blog that we don't know, we'd love to see who is reading this..we've had over 2000 hits on the site.

much love to everyone, and thank you soo so much for reading and supporting us on this journey!

carson (and melissa)

memories from an already distant land....

1. carson with the blanco gallery birds, lookin' like a pirate
2. drinking turmeric juice
3. us with made, the man of the ninth house
4. jessa, susie and timshel with the yellow turmeric tongues
5. us with jessa and katie at the orange warung

Monday, April 7, 2008


the day is here...
the last day of our trip (pretty much, though we still have 4 days in los angeles)
but it is the last full day of being so far away, and of being out of the USA.

i don't really know what to say.  there is so much to share; i feel like i've been a bad blogger here in bali, not really writing a whole lot about our experience, but little snippits instead. it feels like we are leaving a home.  bali (ubud in particular) is so special because travelers come here and stay for a *while*.  like pai in thailand, where people come for two days and stay a week (or 6 weeks, like we did), but even more so here.  people come here for a month and stay for three, and on and on, and then they come back the next year, and the next.  so there's a rich community here, both within the beautiful balinese people and the web of travelers and clothes designers and belt designers and jewelry designers and other artists that make this their second home.  and so, the friends we've made here are people who we've spent most of the days of our time here with, in large and small amounts, and they all feel like friends we've had for much longer.  the ninth house is also the place we've stayed longest on our trip; i wrote down all the beds we've slept in on our whole trip, and the ninth house is #50!  it also feels like our home; our room, the yoga space, margot and jesse (who left today!) and all the people who live there and help out to keep it such a nice space.  last night we had a potluck/dinner there with about thirty people who are friends of margot and jesse and us.  we bought 10 vegetable curries, 10 vegetable lawars, 3 chicken perlalas and 3 large salads from lala and lily's, one of our favorite restaurants where wayan and ibu, the women who work there, are just perhaps the sweetest women we've ever met (another na's kitchen experience, for bali this time).  carson, jesse and i carried all the food back on our motorbikes and had a feast with our friends at home. 

two days ago we finally pulled ourselves away from the ubud bubble and took a day trip down to padangbai to go snorkeling at the 'blue lagoon.'  at first the drive on the motorbike was overwhelming, but it evened out after a while.  (jesse jokes that we should make a video game of driving a motorbike in bali, having to dodge the dogs sleeping in the middle of the road or trying to chase you, random potholes, piles of rock or sand dumped on the side of the road, parked cars, billowing clouds of black exhaust from trucks passing, vans passing you so close you almost run off the side of the road, other motorbikes, rain pelting you in the face, the sun beating down, quick turns, etc.)  we saw countless durians on the drive, and ate two (fantastic!) and did some of the best snorkeling we've ever done in the lagoon.  really, i've never seen such diverse, colorful and healthy coral as i saw there, and fish of every color.  carson and i took turns with the snorkle set that jeromi gave us, and after we were done we gave it to a group of balinese kids that were so excited to have it to look down through the water they were swimming in.  it's so incredible how just that little snorkle set can open up a whole new world.

we've been attending potlucks to say good bye to other friends...learning more intricate and delicious ways to make raw chocolate out of fresh cacao beans...dodging dogs in the middle of the night... waking up for the sunrise...drinking turmeric juice with jessa susie and timshel and taking pictures of our yellow tongues... visiting the antonio blanco art gallery and getting pictures taken with macaws and cockatoos on our shoulders... hiding out in the rain storms (and driving in the rain when we can't escape it)... eating papaya and black sticky rice for breakfast... trying to find a new environmental school with the directions of "go right, then left, then right, then left" to no avail but seeing a little more of the country side instead...taking pictures of the terraced rice fields and flower offerings and sculptures at our house to show you when we get home...savoring the green views....watching the rice fields transform from green stalks to being full of seeds to being cut and harvested to drying on the side of the road (or in the middle of the road in some cases! :) ...taking a poi spinning class with a great teacher named nick woosley...eating a 15 dish balinese buffet at ketut's place with chloe and liam and three other new friends...eating warm fresh baked blueberry muffins from bali buddha...  tonight we finally go to the kecak dance (didn't work out the other day) with katie and jessa, and then dinner at the orange warung, and then home to pack up. 

i feel ready to come home, and also not.  i feel surprisingly neutral about it actually!  just like, wow, the day is here!  it's been so long, and i bet as soon as we land and see the space needle it will feel like it was all a dream.  of course, i am excited to see my family and carson's family and my dog and friends.  it will be comforting to be home around all things familiar and comfortable and home-like.  it's also feeling bittersweet today to be leaving, all of these new friends we've made here (who are also all leaving in the next few weeks too), and this culture, the smiles, the rice fields, the flowers, the art, the land.  it's not my 'home' but it's one of them.  for me, traveling has definitely helped expand my homes, the places that i know, that i have connection to and experience with.  i am wondering how the US will feel to me, having been gone for so long (having been gone at all, this being my first International trip!)  getting back into the world of news, and elections, and the troubled economy, and the making-money-world versus spending-money-world that we've been in for so long.  i'm excited to be in a place where you don't have to worry about mosquitos (some of the ones in bali carry dengue fever) or catching some horrible sickness (several people have been getting typhoid fever here, including one of our good friends).  i'm looking forward to cooking more food, going to farmer's markets, and spending some good quality time with the people i love!  i feel ready to settle for a while again.  bali itself has also been a place of settling, here in ubud....we traveled for so long so far, it's been nice to be cozy here in a nurturing little nest and not venture far from it.  carson and i have made lists of all the things we want to explore when we get home, like studying spanish, working on a farm and creating a garden at my parents' house, playing music together and learning new instruments, riding bikes, hiking a lot in the woods, growing wheatgrass, making "man bags" (that's his :) and other various things that sound like fun.  i think a challenge and a treat will be to continue the journey, the adventurous spirit, the exploration and newness when we get home, and to infuse that energy into every day.  i feel ready to leave bali and go on to something else, but that doesn't mean i won't be looking out the plane tomorrow until i can't see the rice fields any more :)  it really is such a unique and dynamic and beautiful place here, where a culture is so alive and practiced within the development and tourism and business of every day life.  yesterday i watched a woman in the laundry place give an offering to their little altar, a stick of incense burning stuck over a little tray of flowers, she flicked holy water three times on the altar and opened her palm forward.

i can't put it all into one entry...the integration process will be a process for sure, and i'm curious what it will be like for both of us.  the ways we've expanded and grown, the things we've learned about ourselves and each other and people and places and the world in general are all things we couldn't have learned unless everything had been exactly as it's been.  i'm excited to put some photos online when we get to los angeles so that you all can see where and who we've been for the past five weeks!

bicycles carrying an overflowing haul of cleaning supplies; ducks waddling together down the rice field and squishing their feet in the mud and laughing their quacking way together; the warm welcoming face of wayan as he opens the gate for us every night and says selamat malam (good evening); komong's smile when we greet him each morning and say "apa kabar?" (what's up/what's the news)  and answer "bagus!" (good!) like clockwork every morning, i love it, sometimes we raise our voices high or lower them deep to have fun; living in a town so small that you run into your friends every day, sometimes several times in a day; balinese people walking down the street in their ceremonial clothing, women carrying towering tall offerings on their heads; a dead chicken hanging upside down from someone's hand as they drive home on the motorbike; a lineup of motorbikes and cars all the way down the street from the gas station because of petrol shortage; fluorescent blue fish; women walking towards me with a stack of sarongs on their head, "for good luck"  "good for me, good for you!"; the smell of a durian; a circle of new and old friends holding hands and wishing each other well on their journey; rain so hard like a waterfall, rivers in the streets, and all dried up an hour later; red hibiscus flowers placed in the palms and behind the ears of stone deity statues; the view of the rice fields (really, there might not be many more things as beautiful as the bali countryside); a white heron resting on a tree; two giant glass containers filled with lala and lily's vegetable curry; a monkey holding it's little baby in it's arms and nursing; the string of "lasts" that we'll have today, saying goodbye to friends and places and favorite dishes of foods and views and sights and smiles and routines and little bits of home that have sprung themselves up all around us here.  tomorrow we head out at noon to drive down to the airport, and jump on a plane to hong kong, have a three hour layover, and then fly on over to los angeles to be rescued after the long journey by our good friend rocket.  it will be nice to have some time to recover from the 20 hour journey and the 15 hour time difference~ and what better place to do that then los angeles, wow!  not a better place for american reverse culture shock, if i do say so myself!

carson is off getting his birthday massage, a gift from chloe and liam.  i'm going to go meet him, and we'll make our rounds.  we look forward to seeing you all again soon!  it *has* been a long time.  there will be so much to share and to catch up on.  lots of good long hugs and sighs and happy little sounds too.  it will be a blast!

see you soon!
melissa & carson

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


water drained from the fields
to let the rice seed
met daily by rain
illumined by lightening
in the afternoon
formed into the perfect size
to be shaken out
of the hull
and dried flat
on a tarp
on the side of the road
on a side street
in a short-cut field.
this is what we eat every day
(this is what they eat every day)
this is where it's grown
terraced green beauty
irrigation masters
let the water in
or out
depending on what you want the plant
to do.

every day they leave burning incense
and little baskets of flowers
at all the entrances.
orange, lemon yellow, heart pink
with a prayer.
every day
the sun wakes us
sky blue
and every day the clouds
indigo gray billowing
carrying water
carrying sound
(like the sky cracking open)
carrying slow down
go inside
every day
the clouds pass

(in the past two days we've bought three monster durians)
(We watched a beautiful movie called 'born into brothels' about children of sex-trade workers in india...given a camera, it's stunning what they took pictures of, the windows into their life...highly recommended!)
(we have less than a week to go~!)
(what will it be like to enter the US again after being gone so long? how will our eyes be different? what will we notice? what will we see? how will we be different to you, and you to us?)
(we are grateful to be gracefully prosperous in all aspects of our lives....a mantra given to us by our friend alaya to welcome abundance instead of being afraid of money)
(lots of little thoughts and recollections...always lots to share...sometimes hard to do it in front of a computer screen. tonight is an indian food buffet with some friends of ours, and then a kecak performance (the monkey chant!)


Thursday, March 27, 2008


hello everyone!
the countdown has officially begun over here for our return home. we leave april 8th to head to LA, then back up the 13th of april to Seattle. wow, that's 11 and 15 days respectively. it's amazing that things are finally winding down from this journey..i can remember clearly saying goodbye to my family and our farewell party, and also i think back on all the things we've done and people we've met and places we've been and that seems like a large distance too. i think that time often moves not in a straight line but in waves, ups and downs and sometimes it is quick to get from one point to another and sometimes it takes a long time. 7 months is 7 months but right now it feels both incredibly long and also normal. alrighty, onto other things! other things like...yesterday was my birthday! i missed my family and friends a lot ..and thought back to a year ago having a big party with everyone and dressing up in 3 piece suits with my brother that were hand made in thailand for us (thanks kira!). what a great day that was. i also got a tandem massage from melissa and her friend lynn at aequis spa, which was my top massage experience ever. wow! but yesterday was a little different. i have a group of friends here that i've known for around 2 weeks, and all of them it seems as though i've known them for a really long time. so i was trying to coordinate a party of sorts and in true bali style, where it's near impossible to make a plan and keep it, nothing was really coming of it. so i let the party idea go and just let people get a hold of me as they were ready to hang out, and what developed was really special! we went to a botanical garden that's right outside of ubud, and our friend timshel ended up meeting us there. we walked around orchid houses and pitcher plant gardens (carniverous plants that look like water pitchers which attract insects to dine on) lots of manicured gardens and a small fruit tree and garden section. timshel was all about eating anything there was to find, so following her lead we tried raw spicy chilies, limes, lemons, passion fruits, all of which were completely unripe and which tasted bitter and not good. it was fun though, and we got our daily dose of torrential monsoon rain right as we were preparing to leave. we headed to bali bhudda which gives me a pretty continous feed of baked goods that are some of the best i've ever had. timshel bought me a birthday fresh blueberry muffin which was dynamite, and then we headed down to kafe for some lunch. i had a burger. mmm...burger...... and we just laughed and hung out for a lot longer. then timshel left and melissa and i met a woman who was sitting behind us and talked to her for a while, and then our lovely friend anne marie showed up. she's a peach from denver colorado and we fell for her right away last week and hung out a few times, the last being a great 4 hour lunch. she bought me a fresh slice of apple pie, heated up and it was oh so good. she's an amazing human--being that's so clear and bright and open. we spend another hour with her and then bid her adieu on her journey back to the states. we walked outside headed up the street and then got ransacked by our friend/shop ower meday. we told her it was my birthday and she insisted that i buy something for melissa in celebration. she immediately tied a long patchwork skirt that's really nice and talked herself down from 15 to 6 dollars for it. i didn't want to be left out so i bought myself a pair of bright patchwork pants. i've never worn/imagined myself in anything quite like them...................
we wandered for just a bit and then moseyed back towards our scooter to head over to dinner. as we hopped on the bike there was chloe and liam. we chatted with them for a bit and then all cruised over to lala and lilly's for dinner. we met two friends there, katie and wes, and then the six of us sat down and had a balinese feast! we ordered drinks, 8 dishes, and 3 desserts for us all for the bargain price of 45,000 rupiah each including tip (5 US dollars).. liam and chloe bought me a massage gift certificate, and katie made me a card that everyone signed. they sang me happy birthday and thanked me for being born, which i in turn thanked my lovely parents. then our friend faith showed up too and she gave me one of her favorite books, a candle, verbeena essential oil, and a beaded cigarette lighter holder. wow, i felt so honored by everyone really showing up for my birthday..not just physically. i was so loved and appreciated by really blew me away. and of course my sidekick, my partner in crime hung with me all day, the wonderful melissa. edgy, dramatic, singing whatever song is in her head, speaking truth and smiling and laughing along the way. yeehaw friends, if you've got horses underneath you that are bucking and bronking then have fun with it and make the most of every day!

this is what bali does to life

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


the stones have seen so much rain
vivid green moss grows between their edges
up their carved archway sides
into their open stone eyes
over their wings like a constant wind
dried chlorophyll on the backside
how many doorways can you walk through like this
how many days did they spend
carving a rock
a tree
a bone
into a diety god goddess spirit angel
to watch over
to protect
wearing a checkered sarong
and a fresh flower offering
white rice pressed
to the forehead.

we met a man the other day who has spent four years of his life carving a wooden statue that is one and a half times as tall as carson (and he's still got another large wing and garuda tail piece to go).

i have not found the words in a long time.
i forgot my voice,
like this.
the one that can rhyme and convey
the one that i love
the one that i share open
the window one
the sweet poetry
and flow.
now, it is
looking back
it is
looking out
onto terraced green rice fields
deep with one-o-clock in the afternoon rain water
and duck footprints
and dragonflies with bright red bodies
and intricate effective irrigation systems
and tromping through the trail rivers
after a rain storm
it is
and red hibiscus placed over the ear
rice plants maturing
mantras to bring on the rain
mantras to keep the rain at bay
mantras to raise us up
mantras for the rice
and prayers
it is the same shoes taking me everywhere
it is a little brown freckel on the palm of his hand
waking to the sunrise
wasps flying through our wall windows
red ants
smiles from everyone

Sunday, March 23, 2008


send me an angel...send me an angel....right now

here are some pictures for you...
we took none of them ourselves though :)
some are taken by our friend chloe, and others i just found on this computer or online. there is one of the beautiful women walking down the street with the offerings for the temple balanced on their of the sweet monkey family in the monkey forest here in of the stunning terraced rice fields that we saw on a drive the other of an 'ogo ogo' from nyepi at the bottom of the page...and the rest are views of the ninth house, where we stay: the views from the yoga space, the altar, the outdoor kitchen, the common room, the bench to sit at outside our room. beautiful, huh?!