Meet Samantha, a woman of many talents especially her way with words so I'll let her do the talking...
I do a bit of everything and a lot of nothing, finding most of my creative satisfaction in writing words and working on Monsoon Blooms; a never ending experiment in natural fabrics,
plant dyes and ancient artisan cloth work of India such as handloom.
It's a little project my husband and I started to keep our son connected to his Indian heritage and to give purpose to our trips back to the motherland.
I've been working remotely and independently since 2014 and my day-to-day life is always pretty slow, so I can't say there has been a huge lifestyle shift for me as a result of let's-not-even-say-the-c-word. The closing of borders, however, has offered me a significant mental challenge, one that I probably needed. Most of my career has centred around travel writing, and with the great privilege of travelling and living in exotic places comes the great burden of eternal restlessness. Being forced to sit still in Australia without any plans to leave is not a feeling that settles naturally with me, but I'm working on it.
Just please don't look in my internet search history as maybe I slipped up yesterday and found myself browsing real estate in Portugal. And maybe last week I used Google street view to stroll around the capital of Samoa. Oopsie daisy!
It's gratifying to see the widespread return to slow and simple living. Initially, the environmentalist in me was finding a little too much solace in the carbon emission drops and clear skies being reported. But watching the humanitarian crisis unfold, particularly in India, has made it hard to stay overly upbeat about the side effects. I think in a decade's time we will look back and see so much positivity resulted from it all, it's just such a crying shame it will devastate so many lives in the process.
Listening to: Ravi Shankar, Thievery Corporation, Devendra Banhart and Zero 7. That list rarely changes, to be honest. I'm a creature of habit when it comes to music. Reading: I have 'How To Label A Goat' and 'I Am Malala' on my bedside table but I'm struggling to find the attention span to read. I'd like to devote a reread to 'Em And The Big Hoom', 'The Art Of Hearing Heartbeats' and 'Women Who Run With The Wolves'. And one of these days I'm going to get a subscription to Well Read so the hassle is taken out of finding good books forevermore. Watching: I was going through a really rough patch in late December of last year and finally signed up to Netflix. I spent most of the Christmas / New Year break immersed in 'Suits' as it was the first thing I stumbled upon that rang a bell. We were in India at the time so the contrast between the show and my own reality gave me the respite I was craving. I've not watched anything since - I think I'm pretty content saving TV for the times when things fall apart and I need a life raft.
Ritual: I'm making my husband pat my hair every night while I fall asleep - what a gem! He sits beside me watching Malayalam films and it reminds me of the simple, blissful days when we first met.
Health wise, I've been chewing chunks of raw ginger, steaming with Tiger Balm, practising jihwa prakshalana and sipping turmeric drinks. When this crisis first became serious we were in Bali and I was suffering from a terrible, mysterious chest cold that I'd picked up on the journey from India. Being pregnant and knowing we would soon be making another international trip back to Australia, I was a bit frightened by the whole thing. These few health rituals certainly helped me physically, but the mental boost was most significant. Something about the repetition, the sense of control and the knowledge that I was tapping into exceptionally ancient techniques derived from Ayurveda...it felt very reassuring. As I type this I'm eating Vego FairTrade crunchy hazelnut spread straight out of the jar. I may need to make this a daily ritual, too.
“The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.” ― Paulo Coelho