A slower pace of life

Sash Milne has achieved something which remains a dream for many – her job as a screenwriter allows her to work from anywhere in the world. She currently lives in Batu Karas, a remote village in Indonesia, and her blog Barefoot Ink is all about slowing down to the pace of life over there, with some travel stories as well.

We asked Sash some questions about life in Indonesia.

How did you end up in Indonesia? And why Batu Karas?

I ended up in Indonesia because I was feeling trapped and a bit uninspired living in a big city in Australia. A friend of mine got a job in Batu Karas and asked me if I’d be interested in moving there with her.

Batu Karas is a tiny village on the south coast of Java – it’s extremely remote; no supermarkets, no shopping, no movie theatres within 8 hours of the village – it sounded perfect. I made my decision quickly and within a few weeks I had packed up my life and boarded a plane to the island. I’d never been to Indonesia before in my life, and it is the best decision I have EVER made!

What’s the biggest difference compared to life in Australia?

The biggest difference in terms of my lifestyle is the speed at which life travels. Life is slow and relaxed in the village whereas in Melbourne life was fast paced and I was forever rushing to get from one event/job/meeting to another. Now, there is nothing to rush for, life goes at a relaxed pace and every day achieving one thing is a massive event – there is little to do so it took a few months to really slow my brain down, but now, I wouldn’t have it any other day. It’s exhausting doing nothing!

Could you describe a typical day?

My typical day starts with a hot cup of tea on the beach around 6.45am accompanied by good conversation and a cigarette with some local friends. Then, depending on the surf we go in the water or I go home to do some work. Around 10 I meet friends for breakfast of eggs or noodles and then it’s time for the beach. In the heat of the afternoon I work (write) under the fan in my bedroom until low tide, which is when I get my longboard and head out into the surf to cap of the end of the day. The evening involves chess, delicious food and bonfires with good friends.

What language do you use to communicate?

We use a combination of Indonesian and English every day. Some of the locals speak very good English (the younger generation) but are very encouraging when you try to speak their language. The villagers communicate with their local language (Sundanese) on a day to day basis – but it is an extremely complicated language and I just can’t seem to get a grasp on it!

Is it difficult to blog from there? Do you have any problems with internet access, electricity…?

It’s not too hard to blog from Batu Karas, I have an internet connection at my home which is very slow, so uploading photos takes some time. It’s all about patience, the electricity goes off often and the internet often struggles – but when you’ve slowed down to a snails pace that’s never much of a worry!

What about the culture and religion?

I love that the village where I live has such a different culture and religion to where I come from. It is something to be celebrated and I feel extremely lucky to have been welcomed so whole heartedly by friends who are very willing to answer any of my questions about their religion, culture and customs so that I can grow to understand what they believe and what it is that is the foundation for their lives.

Intrigued about life in Batu Karas? Check out Sash’s day in pictures, explorations of the surrounding villages or this post on a rare newspaper and a Javanese theatre artist.

All photos in this post courtesy of Sash Milne.

Read more:
Photo tour of West Sumatra, Indonesia
More blogs from Indonesia on Blogs of the World
An Indonesian wedding with a difference

About the author

Lucy (Liz) Chatburn
Lucy is English and first ventured out of the UK she was 19. Since then she has lived in 4 different countries and tried to see as much of the world as possible. She loves learning languages, learning about different cultures and hearing different points of view.
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2 Comments

  • I wanted to get on a plane and join you over there!

    I lived in Indonesia years ago, in Semarang, which is (for those not in the know)a big provincial city on the north coast of Java. I loved Indonesia and remember it fondly, even though I since lived in a number of other countries.

    Living in a different country, learning about another culture can be a wonderful experience (most of the time!)and teaches you a lot about yourself and what is important in life (and it’s not about having stuff and things!)

  • Miss Footloose, that’s exactly what I was thinking when I was writing up the interview!