Guess what, I am not a fan of traveling. The other night when we were preparing to go on this trip to Sri Lanka, we were out to dinner with friends and talking about how much we fly. They asked Bobby & I how often we would ideally want to take trips...haha we replied at the same time... I said every six months, and he said every two months. And here is my reasoning why.
***VIDEOS OF THE TRIP & PAINTING HERE AT VERY BOTTOM OF BLOG POST
I like my routine. I tend to have a really sporadic mind and so every time I get back into Hawaii after a trip it takes me a while to get back into the groove of things. And doing that monthly can make me feel over-stressed or over worked. And traveling usually comes with the risks of not catching your flight, sleeping in airports, spending way more money than you planned...but saying all this, without fail every time we start our journey into a new place I am like a giddy child. The best metaphor I can think of to describe this is when I am prepping to go on a hike...I DREAD it. I know in my mind it will be amazing, but the thought of trekking through the mud or risk of getting hurt does not appeal to me in any way. And then 10 minutes into the hike I am like a kid in a candy store. And even more so, once we reach the waterfall or pinnacle of the hike, I am bursting with happiness. Traveling for me is like that. I have never found a place I am comfortable in internationally...until now.
The name of this blog post rang true to me. "artist's escape". That's what this was. As an artist, I will always want to paint. I want to paint every single freaking day. But when clients are demanding, or I am prepping for an art show sometimes I can paint too much. Or the stresses of the business side of painting creep in. Escaping to Ceylon Sliders was an escape in all the best ways. I was able to release myself from client expectations, retreat to surfing whenever I wanted, and be surrounded by nature all while getting to paint every day. That to me is the meaning of escape. Here are my reasons why Ceylon Sliders was the perfect hotel to work for for my first "In-house collaboration"...
I am seriously blown away with how comfortable and happy I feel staying here at Ceylon. The staff is so welcoming, and the Sri Lankan people are amazingly kind. But with all that aside there are some things that my day needs, so it warrants an accommadating environment. As a business owner I need a space to work and stay connected with people in the mainland and I am able to do that from these amazing leather chairs in our suite. I am currently plotting how i will fold these up and pack them for our trip to Hawaii haha.
Of course everyone needs a good bed especially when you are fighting jet lag, and after a four day journey to get here this bed was all I wanted to make me happy. hah (am I starting to sound needy and dramatic?) I think I just know what I want in life (aka the ability to beat jetlag fast). And Ceylon has it all -which again I have never experienced in my international travels-
Yoga and meditation take up a huge bulk of my life, as everyone knows if you follow my story on social media. Because my days are less busy here in Sri Lanka I can find my self bored at times. And instead of filling my hour of boredom with social media mindless scrolling, I escape to their rooftop or our balcony to meditate & do some yoga stretches all by myself. THIS guys, is my mental healing. I was reminded here at Ceylon how much I need this in my daily routine back in Hawaii. Its an easy thing to forget.
Annnnddd of course surfing. You all knew I was gonna bring this up right? Ever since I started turning this into a full blown business, I would say probably back in October 2016, I rarely have time to surf. Between painting everyday, video work for Rubias Collective and whatever life threw my way, I haven't had much time to surf. It's sad. And honestly it probably makes my artwork suffer. I can gain inspiration by flying over the ocean, but sitting in the water takes the meaning of inspiration to a whole other level for me. I found myself here in Sri Lanka zoning out to the glassy water of the perfect little longboard waves at the break everyone calls Fisherman's Reef.
I would get chills watching the water move underneath my board, or the wave facing up to the right side of the body as I cruised down the wave. I would feel the pull of resin waiting for me back in the hotel room while I was out there surfing. That to me guys is living. That is my version of happiness & joy...Are you over reading this yet? Hopefully not, cause I only have three more reasons why Ceylon Sliders was the best thing to happen to my artful mind in the year 2017.
When you travel to a third world country half way across the world, as a resin artist I wasn't able to pack a couple things. First I couldnt bring my torch, which I use for popping the bubbles/getting that glassy feel & look in my artwork. I couldn't bring the wood or even the acrylic paint on the plane. All these things had to be sourced on the island of Sri Lanka. And honestly that frustrated me the first day. I only have 9 more days left to execute a painting for the hotel and with each day turning up unsuccessful for sourcing all those things my stress levels rose. Petter (half owner of the hotel) lent me his personal assistant-local guy named Sarresh (sp?). He was the best. Everyday, Bobby & I rode down in his Tuk Tuk to Galle to source wood, torch tank, & paints.
And he didn't complain even though I made him drive all over the place. He even gifted us some fresh coconuts after a long day of driving (& frustration on my end for not being able to find the right torch). The point of all this is it was an experience like none ive ever had. I've never had to scour foreign land looking for my paint supplies. Nonetheless it made me grateful for America and how easy it is for me to get what I need in order to fulfill my painting dreams. We not only got to see more of the place we were visiting, we were able to make good friends along the way. From Sarresh taking us to a local dinner place, to then taking us to a local Sri Lankan concert (where we were the only non-locals), to falling in love with the owners, chef, and photographer hired by the hotel Ceylon. All-in-all hands down a trip that is in my books for the best trip Bobby & I have ever had.
Now I lied...I wasn't able to paint everyday. The first three days before I was able to get my hands on paint and wood I just surfed and kind of honeymooned with Bobby. But in my bored hours I droned. I droned probably 6 times in the span of three days. And thats a lot for me haha. Being able to drone in place of painting was amazing. I kept telling everyone "Guys! I have always painting green & blue mixed water knowing its out there, but now I'm physically droning & seeing it in real life!" I am blown away by the Indian Ocean. I am truly inspired by the seascapes here it gives me goosebumps. Just writing about the ocean here gives me goosebumps. So yeah, droning insanely beautiful scenery was a big plus for me on this trip. Not to mention the picturesque island that sat right out front of our room window. That little island is iconic to this hotel.
Okay, last reason. I'm gonna combine two reasons into one big reason because they go hand-in-hand. Petter & Linn-owners of Ceylon Sliders & Sunshine Stories retreat are pretty amazing people. It's amazing to sit down with people who can get away from the pits of instagram and be genuinely kind & caring human beings. I have a fondest for them I didn't expect to have. They were kind & gentle & thoughtful to all my needs while I was there. They supported me in ways I didn't know a stranger could be to me. Strangers no more tho! Bobby & I hope our friendship with them goes beyond this trip to the years to come. They were so amazing while I was gearing up for the last big night of our trip...my ART SHOW! Whaaaaa?? I had an art show in Sri Lanka? Is that even real? Did I imagine that? I was pinching myself all night realizing that it was me and the hotel that brought everyone together that night. People were deep in conversation, laughing and having a good time. People I didn't even know. But my art was able to bring people together. To me I am still in awe by that fact. To me that is something I still can't believe. I am truly humbled. It was a night I was forever cherish. This trip constantly opened my eyes, gave me a renewed sense of purpose in this world, gave me new friends and progressed old friendships. Aside from the pouring out of inspiration, I am ultimately so grateful to have had this experience. Thank you to everyone. (below I will list everyone that truly touched me on the trip), but you dont have to read that far. If you made it this far THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING THIS. I wish I could scream from the rooftops about how much I love Sri Lanka and how much I love Ceylon Sliders & everyone in it.
Little shoutout to my good friends Roxy, Malia, Brooke & Melissa. Thank you so much for joining me on this journey to Sri Lanka and making this trip extra special. Having friends from Hawaii attend my art show in Sri Lanka was such a gift to me and I will never forget it. You guys' ability to support me, take care of me (during food poisoning) & just being amazing company is something I will never forget. So thanks girls, my love for you all runs deeper now.
Thank you Petter and Linn. Bobby & I cherish you guys and only hope for the best. Just know we will be back to visit as soon as we can. Good conversation & just amazing people, you guys deserve the best this world has to offer.
Diana, you food was amazing. Food is the way to my heart and you weasled your way into my heart for sure. Thanks for being such a sweet soul.
Fillipe, you are the best photographer because not only do you work day in and day out for your photos, you are a genuine person who values human connection. You inspire me to be a nicer person. We are coming for you in Portugal this summer!
Tilli, Rachel, Nio, Sarresh & the whole staff at Ceylon thank you for making our trip so memorable.
Thank you Roxy for joining me and letting Rubias fully come along. Saying yes to the trip was something I will always be stoked about.
Annie, thank you so much for giving me the chance for this to even happen. That small email that came form you back in December changed everything. I'll always remember you.