About Samia Shalabi
Samia Shalabi is a Seattle based artist & designer, yogi and traveler who has roots in the Middle-East, was raised in the middle-west and is drawn to India. She has a degree in geology, has traveled all over the world with a backpack, and believes in following her dreams. Samia does yoga most mornings, enjoys walks around Seattle, loves to laugh, and daydreams about where to travel next. She is working on a movie shoot in France.
Latest Posts by Samia Shalabi
The impending rain looming over the, nearly ready to be harvested, rice fields in Ubud Bali reminds me of the gloomy days lived out in Seattle. This is different though, taking the place ofbone chilling cold, this tropical heat is mixed with full on humidity and reminds me of my summers growing up in Wisconsin.
I’ve been here nearly two months. Here being Bali, my new home or should I say launching pad. The magic does not stop, even in the mundane of daily life. Today being one of those magical days. Early morning wake up to the roosters and ducks outside my window, sunrise meditation, followed by a few hours of work. The hours pass and I think to myself, I live in paradise.
First image credit: globeimages dot net.
It’s been a ‘take your breath away’ kind of few months. My life is with the wind these days and I am, once again, on my way to India. After 2 months in Bali and 2 days in Bangkok, I am sitting in the airport, reflecting.
|ceremony in Bali
|ceremony in Bali
|blue sunset, Bali
Bali is one magical land, where even the word enchanted doesn’t mean much. I have found it to be a beautiful place to ground my wandering soul and make beauty with my art. From the luscious green of the jungle to the bright green of the rice paddies, the gentle flow of the feminine steeps in to every bit of everything. The soft rolling land and the kind people of Bali with their smiling faces and eyes, make me feel welcome. I often say the lush green reminds me of the place I was born, (Wisconsin) in the green of the summer. As I think back on the last two months, my mind thinks nothing but positive thoughts, from jewelry making to journeying. But alas with my big love for Bali, I am still drawn to India.
It has been 14 years since I first landed in India. I have visited the same number of times. I am still excited about the energy it brings to my soul. The vibration of Ma India.. boom boom.. Can’t wait to see you soon!
Bali on two wheels. I’ve been in Bali for the last two months making jewelry and making music. It’s quite amazing to be here again.
Last week a friend was visiting and we decided to go on a 3 day scooter trip around Bali. It was a first for both of us, normally just scooting around town. It was magical…scroll down for a meander.
Lyrics from a new song.
by Ken Pascoe and Samia Shalabi
I can hear your voice
I can hear your voice
through the wind and the rain and the trees
I can hear your voice
whisper to me
whisper to me
twisted and turned
windy road unknown
tell me what you heard
where are we going
so mind blowing
i can hear your voice
whisper to me…
Since the beginning of my world journey, I have (mostly) refrained from shopping (been wearing the same pair of shoes for 7 months and if you know me, that’s a feat). I just have my backpack with a few pieces of clothing and my computer.
I believe life is a bit simpler without a lot of things… But now I am in Marrakesh and coming to the end of my journey. Marrakesh is a neverending artistic shopping haven. So, I decided to go shopping with a mission, a beautiful handcrafted leather bag.
Wandering the magnificent souq, I came across shop after shop with the same leather bags.. They were nice and beautiful, but I wanted something different.. At one point, I turned down a little windy lane and there was a small small shop with 2 men working on leather bags, I walked right by it, but then turned around and came back. There was something different about it, the energy was different, the people inside were calm and the bags were beautiful. So, I went inside.
I saw the bag I wanted and then another one and why the hell not.. 2 more (gifts of course). I sat with the artist (Hamid) for a bit and chatted, he was a bit aloof, but super nice. And anyway, I like aloof in this kind of situation.
We started to chat a bit more, he offered me tea and then another man came, we all continued to talk, at some point during our conversation, I asked where I could buy a guitar. They then wanted to hear my music, which I happened to have with me.
So they listened and listened and frantically started running around trying to find a guitar. It was so cute.. To no avail.. We didn’t find the right kind of guitar.. Oh well.
Each place I go in the world, I like to connect with the ancient traditions still alive and here in Morocco, they have a lot of superstition.. So yesterday while I was wandering, I met a man selling hair oils and creams made from argan oil and I ended up sitting with him for about an hour, we talked of many things and he told me about some of the superstitions in Morocco.
At that point, he pulled out his little jars of herbs and spices and put together a little mix for me.. Good luck for my business, good luck for my family, etc…
Today, I still had the little plastic sack of good luck in my bag, so I asked the leather bag artisan, Hamid, if he could make me a tiny leather pouch to put it in…As soon as I pulled it out of my bag…. Everything shifted..
He started to glow with a grand smile and suddenly took my hand and started to read my palm.. He was so happy about my little treasure bag, he immediately made me a small leather pouch and made it into a necklace for me to wear around my neck.
I ended up spending the rest of the day with them, sitting and talking and I even lead them through a short meditation in his shop in the middle of the Medina. It was amazing! They were so kind and I can’t believe he read my palm. He told me his family has been doing this for generations. He invited me to stay with his family in the mountains.. So, I may do that.
I ended up buying 4 beautifully artistic leather bags with 100+ year old berber rug inlaid.. Wow!! Another magical day on the road.
Morocco.. Ramadan 2012. After years of dreaming of the magic of Morocco, I finally arrived.. during Ramadan, of course. A special time to be in a special place, the festive air at night, the subtle quiet kind energy during the day. Ramadan, a time to be at one with those who have less.. there is no eating or drinking between sunrise and sunset, a time to be more healthy, as fasting can be so good for your health, a time to be at one with God and sacrifice our comforts. The practice is no small feat, as I tried it most of the time I was there.. Except, I couldn’t do the no drinking thing in that crazy Moroccan heat.
About an hour before breaking the fast, the buzz was wild, everyone running around to go shopping for the food or running home to be with their families, delirious from not drinking all day.. There are traditional foods to break the fast, soup, dates, sweets, bread, juice and tea. So lovely really.
My journey to Moroccan was amazing, from visiting the coast to the mountains and of course a lot of lovely time in Marrakesh. I hope to visit again one day soon!
Sometimes, when traveling, time is like a vortex. I get lost in each moment and forget all the rest. It’s a peaceful place to be. In the zone, focused on the present. I woke up this morning to the sounds of the ocean, the waves making sweet music.
I’m on a tiny island called Gili Air, off the coast of Bali. There are no motorized vehicles here, only horse drawn carriages and push bikes. The water is an aqua blue and today I plan on snorkeling with turtles.. I can’t wait! He he he…. I left Bali a few days ago to do a little traveling. I was feeling a bit stuck in Ubud, a magical place, hard to leave. Since arriving on these small islands, I’ve been sucked into the calm steady way of island life. Slow moving, shanti shanti shanti.
Above – Goa Gajah: elephant caves in Bali, Indonesia. Wide open, roar, the entrance to a cave, an intricately carved stone mouth, monster, or whatever it is. I didn’t do my research before going (or after). But that doesn’t matter, the feeling is strong, the energy is powerful. That’s all that is important to me, really, or at least in this instance. The impressiveness of the entrance was muted by the dullness of the cave, a small, dark open cavity, with 2 small statues inside. Ganesha, om gum ganapate namah and Shiva, om namah shivah.. But this is not my story.
After leaving the cave and wandering down the path towards the jungle, I saw an old man sitting beneath a magnificent Banyan tree. He was wearing all white and was dirty, as in hasn’t showered in ages. He was glowing, as well and I like that.. A beaming light of being, a true Bodhisattva. Baba Gushti is his name. As I approached, he stood up with a radiant toothless smile, his hands were shaking and his shirt was splotched with red dribble from his betelnut habit. He took my hand and lead me into the river beneath the tree. A magic little spot, with spring fed water and Buddhist ruins from an earthquake in 1917. He surprisingly spoke a little English.
As we left the river, He said. “Mediation cave, long walk?” I, of course, followed his lead through the mysterious jungle. He laughed. I giggled with joy in the magnetic attraction we had for one another (you know what I mean). We walked deep into the jungle coming to a serene and secluded tropical river flowing through the jungle. We crossed, a precarious bamboo bridge and he lead me to the cave in the jungle. We sat and meditated. I sang some mantras, we shared a magical silent moment in the midst of the buzzing jungle. After several minutes we departed, I jumped in the river and smiled, Big. Really BIG. Feeling particularly blessed by that moment. Letting paradise soak into my skin.
A few days later, I returned to visit Baba Gushti. Again, we went to the cave, again we meditated and again I swam in the river. He told me, he lived in the cave for the last 20 years. He doesn’t eat, only chews on betelnut..Sometimes, food isn’t the only fuel to keep us alive.
Open to the moment. Open to experiences of travel. Magic happens.
Singing stillness of the tropics buzzing with sounds of nature. The Bullfrogs drone in the night. Then suddenly.. the cool rain comes, full force.. Glistening in the lightness of the dark night. Tap tap tapping, boom boom, creating music on the way down from the sky. Ticka ticka ta ta. Beauty, awe, and wonder. Feeling all alone, yet fully embraced.
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