Just Relax


This next blog needs to be prefaced with a slight warning because anyone wanting to read funny stories about me killing it at Fili Beans Espresso, knocking out awesome coffees or following stories of the amazing Philippines adventures I’ve been having on Siargao Island, this one’s not for you. The idea of this blog is to give my personal and honest insight into transitioning from life in Australia to life in the Philippines and while I know it’ll be full of amazing stories down the track this next one taps into my inner hippy a little.

I woke up sick this morning. Not sick. I woke up with a sick feeling in my stomach. For the first time since setting foot on this island I woke up with a feeling of unsureness; was I actually going to be able to make this work? The plan was to surf as much as possible and meet people from all over the world, trading travel stories while making some of the best coffee on Siargao Island. So still with no coffee machine after two weeks and an injured leg keeping me out of the water it’s no surprise that a little self-doubt was beginning to sink in.


After a quick self-assessment, it didn’t take long to realise why someone who normally deals quite well with stress or slow times, was starting to feel the pressure and struggling. 31 years on this planet has taught me a lot but one of the most important lessons I’ve learnt is that we need coping mechanisms for when things aren’t going to plan.

When the surf’s flat, we go kayaking, when we’re sick or injured, we get comfort from family and friends, or when the pressure starts to build, we take a step back, head for nature and remind ourselves that we’re the ones in control and have the ability to alter the amount of pressure we’re under. The problem was that the environment has changed and I hadn’t adapted yet… until this morning.


After hearing her praises sung all week from a group of friends, this morning I headed along to Kayla’s class at Yoga Dojo. Even though I was nervous at the thought of reopening my propeller wound with a little too much gusto on the Half Pigeon, I took the chance and had my first crack at seeking mindfulness on the Island and am extremely thankful for doing so.

In what was undoubtedly my most positive and enjoyable yoga session ever, I was finally able to clear the cloudiness of the previous two weeks and not only focus on what I’d come to Siargao in search of, but why I’d woken up this morning feeling so far from it. The problem wasn’t that I couldn’t surf or that I wasn’t making coffee yet, the problem was how I’d been approaching these challenges and the coping mechanisms with which I’d employed; which long story short, was to try and party it all away. This isn’t to say I haven’t been enjoying my time here on the Island, quite the contrary in fact, but what it had meant is that rather than focusing on the issues, I was simply ignoring them in the hope that eventually I’d be back in the water, the machine would be here and I’d be doing what I came here for and life would back on track; I guess it was just taking too long.


So what’s all of this taught me? Well for starters, meditation, mindfulness and yoga are a great place to start as a way to deal with stress, or the pressures of life when things aren’t quite going to plan. As well as this I understand that when we change our environments there may also be cause to change the way in which we approach our times of stress or inactivity and boredom. What it also means is that once again I’m feeling super positive about the whole experience and can’t wait to get my Simonelli T3 (my machine) and start knocking out some of the best coffees on Siargao Island, get back in the surf and feel the saltwater on my skin again and keep riding the good vibes that come from living amongst one of the friendliest tropical Island communities in the world. 

Slice, Dice and Play Nice


It’s been pretty smooth so far. Reunited with a lot of old friends on the island, partied a little and will be bidding a pretty amazing crew farewell tomorrow. I've even managed to start getting stuck into some work on Fili Beans Espresso. That’s how I would’ve liked my second blog entry to begin; unfortunately though, smooth is probably the furthest adjective I’d use to describe how things have actually unfolded since departing Australia last Wednesday. It’s been an epic ride though and I’d do it all again 100 times over.

So how’ve things really played out the first week of the move? Well to start with there’s still no machine here, which as you can imagine, is slightly impacting coffee sales. I’ve got all of the important things cranking though; loads of Fili Beans stickers, business cards and cups, but with customs officers asking for more money than what the machine is even worth to release it, it’s meant that partying has taken precedent for the time being.

Instead of knocking out amazing espresso coffees for a bunch of customers, it’s been a week of bad dance-offs, inappropriate conversations, beach skinny dips, bon fires and enough beers to fill an Olympic swimming pool. Add to that a severed artery from what I can only hope was a clean and sterile boat propeller and I’d say there’s room for improvement for the rest of the move. 

What has been a massive success story are the people. The smiles and good vibes from staff at the restaurants and resorts, the locals and expats who’ve welcomed me back to the island with hospitality and friendliness which is second to none, the jovial doctor who kindly sewed nine stitches into the gaping wound in my leg and then joked that my blood soaked pants looked as though I was menstruating. Then there’s the party crew, the guys who cheered on my failed attempt at the worm in a dance off, the guys who cheered on my nudie run on the beach then hid my clothes from me, and everyone else who’s been there for the first week of my move to this island paradise – Siargao.  

Even the 50-hour journey over here, while exhausting and full of plenty of challenges with (100kg of luggage to drag around), had its own certain charm. Waking up at 3am to the sound of roosters on a passenger ferry had me laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation. There was also the excitement of meeting a group of strangers (with a mix of ages and nationalities) on their way over to the island and listing off all of the amazing things they had to look forward to. Then joining them on day trips up to the spectacular rock pools, the palm tree lined white sandy beaches of Daku Island, the numerous reef breaks around the island and the breakfasts, lunches and dinners where we’d all sit around reminiscing about the adventures we’ve had with a bunch of new friends you feel like you’ve known your whole life.

So I’ll be honest, things could have gone a little a smoother but I’m not here for smooth, I’m here adventure, I’m here for friendships, I’m here for the long haul and few bumps (hopefully not into anymore propellers) along the way keeps the ride more exciting.