WILD HEART FEATURE ➳ Angie Davis
Angie & I were introduced by a mutual friend 5 or so years ago at a Byron Bay Beach Hotel event. From the moment we started talking I knew we were destined to be life long friends, isn’t it crazy how you immediately align with some people?! Angie is one of the strongest, most interesting, intelligent and inspiring women I’ve ever met and I’m so excited to share her unique journey with you all.
Where are you from?
Adelaide, South Australia. But I have not lived there since I was 21. What once seemed like the most far-flung, sleepy capital city to me during high school, is now a place I get excited to return to visit the family, produce shop at the Central Markets, eat vegan food (the best Vegan bakery I have found in the world is in Adelaide!), and go on surf camping missions to the dessert. I go back and spend a few months each year with the family.
How old are you?
34 (on paper).
Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey so far…
I feel like the journey consists of multiple lives!
I grew up in the suburbs of Adelaide, in a split family, a product of my parent’s 10-year world trip finale. They ventured some 66 countries from the age of 20 to 30 without returning to Australia, backpacking the globe and I was conceived on the final leg home in Bali. Dad had an affair during mum’s pregnancy and they split before I was born.
My grandfather (mum’s father) and uncle shaped surfboards, my Aunty (mum’s sister) was a surf coach and my cousins all surfed. They taught me on Christmas Day at Middleton Bay in South Australia. I was 12 years old. I remember standing up on my cousin Teresa’s log on my first wave and thought: “This is it, this feeling of freedom stays.” I was hooked. My mum grew up literally living on the beach, and somehow developed a hatred of sand…we often joke I was born to the wrong sister.
I played sport almost full time: competitive gymnastics for my younger years, club and school netball, athletics, and I dabbled in competitive surfing but I really only liked the surf contests for the community and camping trips to Yorke Peninsula.
Academia came naturally so I didn’t really over exert myself at school. I went to a private high school and didn’t really fit in at all. No one surfed and I was bullied a lot by guys because I surfed. I definitely lacked self-love during these teen years and I tended to invite drama into my life and just generally felt like a confused young girl. I was always more comfortable around my older cousins and the surfing community and when I got my driver’s license at 16 years old I bought a car and was down the coast every weekend surfing.
In my spare time – before surfing took over – I was an avid scrapbooker. I would go to the local Flight Centre and ask for travel brochures on Africa, India, South America, and Japan, and cut them up and make mine on DIY travel guides. I was constantly journaling, and always had a camera of some description.
Dad took me trekking from a young age, between 7-12, and it was here I developed a love-hate relationship with trekking and an affinity with mountains that I wouldn’t come to appreciated until I was older.
When I turned 18, Dad bought me my first Nikon film camera. He was a great writer and photographer and kept journals and slides from their decade of travels that mum and I are re-writing and aiming to publish. Dad opted for the secure road and became a plumber, and I just know from a really early age I knew I wanted the life they had traveling the globe, but not the one where you had to come back 10 years later and re-enter the ‘real world’. I wanted endless adventures to be my ‘real world’, and so I set about manifesting this dream into a reality.
Bali was my first overseas trip at 12 years old with my dad and we did it the rough way, something I am grateful for in hindsight. I developed a love for street food, hostels, interactions with locals and mountainous adventures. I saw poverty for the first time in my life.
At university, I felt a pull toward social good and environmentalism, and at 21 I went on a family trip with mum, my step-father, and sister to South Africa to visit my uncle. It was a life-changing trip (aren’t they all?!), spending time in Kruger National Park, road tripping the entire coast down to Cape Town, playing with baby lion cubs, and seeing poverty on a whole next level. What startled me was how happy the children were…I will never forget their smiling faces. I was also drawn to the women and their beadwork. The vibrant colours, intricacy. I have a great love for indigenous and native jewelry and textiles, but I have lost almost all I have collected over the years (especially during the Japanese disaster). I do still wear ad travel the world with an alpaca poncho my mum bought in the 70s in Peru.
Ok so let’s fast forward…I end up changing uni courses from Business and Marketing to Arts, majoring in Japanese, Asian Studies and International Studies. I leave Australia at 21 (after the South Africa trip), bound for Japan. The plan was to stay a year, working on the JET program as an English teacher, saving money, traveling the country, and then setting off on a world trip finishing in Cost Rica, where I had planned to learn Spanish and study at the UN’s University of Peace. So instead I learn to snowboard, spend all my money going to the snow every weekend, move to the coast the following year, get married to a Japanese photographer a couple years later, and stay in the country for a decade, leaving post-2011 disaster after evacuating the tsunami and Fukushima incident.
I embarked on a journalistic career, freelance writing for surfing and travel magazines in Japan, worked as an editor at a bilingual Outdoor Travel magazine, evolved to digital travel producing, lived through 10 years of domestic violence, had two sons, came back to Australia post Japanese disaster (still married), became the travel editor and producer at Australia’s then-largest online travel media site, and eventually left the marriage just over 3 years ago, after a defining empowerment moment standing on the cliff top above Chicama in northern Peru. I then merged into filmmaking, directing an environmental/surf travel documentary Double Barrel in Northern Peru, and now I direct and produce Travel and Social Good Virtual Reality videos.
10 months ago, I decided to sell everything I had left – not much post-divorce – and canceled my lease, moving the kids down to SA for a few months to see the family then traveling to Colombia for 3 months, then Hakuba for the Japanese winter. For the past two months, we have been back in Lennox Head as the kids wanted to catch up with friends and return to school for a while. The compromise for my gypsy soul was that we would live in tents. So here I am writing the answers to this interview by candlelight in my ‘gypsy palace’ tent, listening to the sounds of crickets and breaking waves.
I still freelance as a travel and wellness writer, work on VR and film projects, and on my personal blog site The Anicca Way, so providing I have a stable Internet connection (the worst is in Australia!) and am relatively close to an airport in case I have to travel for a production, I can be based anywhere in the world. We’ll be living in tents for much of the year, and are currently planning a trip to Arnhem Land next month – the ‘real’ Australia, and in November we head to Nepal to live at a women’s refuge for a couple months – we are hosting a Himalayan trek for domestic violence awareness: First We Walk.
What are 4 things you’re grateful for today?
My kids, family, and friends. I count them as one!
My health – I quit alcohol and turned vegan a year ago, and practice the Wim Hof Method. Life changing.
My Australian passport – we are so blessed in Australia to be able to travel freely around the world, and return to this incredibly beautiful country at any time where we have access to free healthcare, free schooling, and so much untouched raw nature.
Nature and technology alike. I am learning to beauty of dualism and to be able to live in nature literally sleeping on the ground, with fabric as walls, yet maintain a professional career thanks to my phone hot spotting WiFi to my laptop and connecting me with people around the world…it’s quite mind blowing and I am truly grateful for this digital gypsy lifestyle.
When and where did you start off on your transformative travel journey?
I covered most of this above…but certainly, it’s thanks to my parents. I grew up with stories of mum and dad camping on the borders of warring countries in Africa, working in missionaries, living on a kibbutz in Israel, countless tales from India, bus crashes in Peru…When I saw mum and dad both working 9-5pm jobs, yet hearing all of these adventures, I just knew I would make travel my life. I don’t really believe in the concept of a ‘holiday’ and can’t remember when I have been on a trip where the goal has been to lie around a pool at a resort and do nothing. I certainly don’t mind the luxury hotel visits and am grateful to have had these experiences, but I think travel essentially should be a transformational journey, and for me this means meeting and interacting authentically with locals, exploring, immersing in the local culture, and coming ‘home’ (we don’t actually have a home anymore, so it’s wherever our bed is that night!) exhausted, and changed in some way.
What event shifted your mindset from conventional living to conscious living?
I think it was a gradual process. Dad took me trekking and camping a lot as a kid, so I was quite connected with nature from a young age. I think that comes from being a surfer also. Then travel – Bali and South Africa opened my young eyes to poverty, and I seemed to naturally transcend desires for material objects in my day-to-day life at home, instead of putting my savings into travel and purchasing hand-made mementos from local artisans on my journeys.
The first major shift towards natural health and a more conscious lifestyle was a month-long journey to India in 2008, whilst I was pregnant with my first son. I was unable to take any vaccinations or malaria medicines prior to the trip and my Japanese doctor strongly urged me not to travel. I had been dreaming of India for as long as I could remember and the tickets were booked and a magazine story commissioned before I knew I was pregnant. I went in my first trimester and surfed almost every day, ate almost a pure vegetarian diet, drank chai, met yogis, learned a little about Ayurveda, and water-fasted to heal a 48-hour bug I caught, the only sickness I endured in the full month of intensive travel. I surfed with street kids, lived in a surfing ashram, and volunteered at a girl’s orphanage all on that trip…it changed me spiritually, emotionally, and peeled my eyes open in so many ways I could never go back. The trip ended up making a 26-page cover feature in a Japanese surf lifestyle magazine and was later printed in three more languages in various travel and wellness publications around the world. Conscious travel became my niche.
I would say the next major event was the Japanese disaster. We evacuated the tsunami and spent a total of three months on the road in the south of Japan steering clear of the Fukushima fallout. Later, we left behind everything we owned and relocated to Australia. Those events changed my perception on life forever.
The conscious path has been an ongoing journey ever since. Abuse, divorce, motherhood, travel, heartbreak, and love have all helped me peel the layers off my eyes and evolve breath by breath into further awareness.
How do you maintain your health (and figure!) while traveling and working?
I practice the Wim Hof Method – conscious breathing, cold immersion, and mindset – daily. Currently, I swim every morning on dawn in the cold lake in front of my tent. Cold water is SO good for us! I eat a plant-based (vegan) whole foods diet with a large emphasis on raw food. I gave up alcohol and party drugs a year ago and have never looked back. I practice yoga, Muay Thai, I surf but not as much as I would like to but just spent three months snowboarding in Japan, and I take the kids bushwalking/trekking every Sunday – they have a challenge for us to visit 100 waterfalls this year. I think we are only at around 10 so we have some work to do!
What comes to mind when I ask for one memorable traveling event that will stay with you forever?
This is so hard because I have so many…I’m going to say surfing Chicama in north Peru, because it was something I had dreamed of for so long but it was also the same day I decided that when I returned to Australia I would leave my abusive husband and file for divorce. So it was a pivotal empowering moment and it’s moments of growth and awakening like these that I attribute to the importance and magic of travel.
What pieces of advice would you give your 15-year-old self?
The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz:
- Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.
- Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
- Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
- Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
What are you passionate about…what makes you come alive?
Women’s rights. I define this as unity. So, raising unity consciousness.
Creating films – I thrive on set and love the challenge. Watching your finished piece of work on a cinema screen is a very humbling experience.
Living in a tent.
Connection and sharing with like-minded humans.
Learning – I am a ridiculous book collector and more recently addicted to podcasts. I love to share the wisdom I have learned with those keen to learn.
Swimming in cold water.
Laughing with my lover, in my tent, by candlelight.
What is your purpose?
Service to humanity.
To inspire unity consciousness.
To live my most authentic self.
Your most rewarding accomplishments to date?
Two beautiful, natural births and the delightful souls my sons are growing into.
Double Barrel premiering at the Santa Barbara Film Festival and screening on Qantas planes.
Selling everything to travel the world as a single mum with my sons.
Living in a tent!
What does being creative mean to you?
Living my most authentic self.
Using my creativity for positive service for humanity and Mother Nature.
Favorite words of wisdom to live by?
Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better. – Maya Angelou.
The Rich Roll Podcast, Tony Robbins Podcast, Guru Singh Podcast, Sri Mati’s Podcast Divine Thruline
Your favorite place in the whole wide world?
Right now, my ‘gypsy palace’ tent!
Would you recommend parents traveling with young children?
Absolutely. Single mums especially. Break from the norm and take your kids around the world. You won’t regret it, and neither will they.
What are the long-term benefits for their personal development?
Learning to live simply, with non-attachment, and to adapt to change.
Global, life education.
Picking up multiple languages.
Gratitude for where they come from, especially after traveling through third world countries.
The vision of unity as opposed to borders and separatism.
Which countries do you perceive to be the safest most convenient countries to travel to with kids?
Japan would be my number one by a mile! It is still the country I feel the safest in the world. They have baby chairs on the back of toilet doors at train stations. Kids under 7 are free almost everywhere. The train system is the best I have encountered anywhere, period.
Japan is also super cheap.
Travel hacks for parents traveling with kids?
Pay for lounge day passes where you can especially if you have a long layover This seems luxurious for a single mum living in a tent but I swear by lounges when I am with the kids. Think showers, kids play area (not in all, but many), minimal risk of having your carry-on bags stolen when you have to take the kids to the toilet, primary school kids can go to the toilet by themselves, buffet, and if you drink, free alcohol. They also have free Wi-Fi and power points!
If you had one week to live how would you fill your last moments?
Wow, I had to really think about this question hard. There’s probably one place that sits the highest on my bucket list that I would have to visit immediately if I had a week to live, and that would be Tibet. I would fly there first class – because even a gypsy likes to stretch – I would take my sons, a rucksack and a tent…and go with the flow.
Before I leave for Tibet I would be down in Adelaide eating at the best vegan bakery on the planet, visiting my parents, doing one last strike mission to Cactus (preferably in a car with autopilot!), and somewhere along the line I would try and voice record the book I have been writing…
Would there be time for a quick trip to Bora Bora too? I have always wanted to go there…
Where can we follow your journey?
@angelahelenddavis (personal Instagram)
@theaniccaway (Professional Instagram and Twitter)
@takanamitrouble (the kids’ Instagram)
@firstwewalk (Trekking for Women’s Rights Instagram)
Last, but not least, what is your definition of success?
To travel when and where I want, and take whomever I want along with me.
To create films, write, and share with others with the goal of raising unity consciousness.
To be continually growing spiritually.
To be healthy, happy, strong.
To give service.
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