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Less is more

By Victoria Prince

Less is more
If you haven't been following my blog, we have been in Bali for 3 weeks now. This sweet little girl is our balinese neighbor. She lives in a shack-like structure tucked beneath a culdesac of trees right behind our villa. I've never seen her with shoes on or without a friendly curiosity in her eyes. 
Sometimes she's wearing clean clothes but most often shes wearing nothing but underwear, playing with her toys in a dirt driveway surrounded by cows, chickens and more than a few poi dogs. Her mom is always nearby hanging laundry, making handcrafted offerings or doing other chores around their home.
 
This child fascinates me. Her life seems so simple yet so full of love. It reminds me of the way I was raised. She may not have much, but she does have something most children don't; a childhood uncrippled by materialism and technology. A life full of imagination and wonder, and empty of the constant want for more. She is happy. She is proof that less is more.
My first world self wants to buy her a new bike and all kinds of toys and clothes or whatever she could ever want or need. We did buy her a brand new bicycle, as we noticed she was growing out of her old one. At 4 years old she rides impressively without training wheels down her rocky driveway.
But my true self knows the greatest gift I can give is kindness. I would converse with her so much more but she doesn't speak any English. Smiling is our common language. 
Every morning when we set out on our daily exploration, I open the gate and there she is. I routinely wave and say Good morning. She sends us a heart-melting smile and an excited wave and we are on our way.
One night Graham and I were getting ready to leave our villa for dinner. I opened the gate and there she was out front riding her bike. She lit up, beaming with excitement to see me. I was so flattered my eyes welled up. I smiled and said Hello. She stopped her bike and gave a short pause seemingly out of confusion. Then she looked at me, smiled, and said "Goodmorning." it was 6pm. I love her.

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Balance

By Victoria Prince

Balance
The people of Bali leave little offerings every day as I mentioned in my previous blog. 
Each compound calls for about 15 of them to surround the perimeter. The women here spend a great deal of time, money, and love hand crafting these offerings every single day. The baskets are weaved from coconut leaves. Each basket is filled with seven different types of fresh flowers as well as other various objects. The only time women get a break from this ritual is when they are menstruating. This is when they are considered "impure" and unfit for the job at the moment, in which case the man of the house takes over.
Some of the offerings are to appease the gods, while others are to fend off the demons. The Balinese believe in a yin-yang type of balance. Where good cannot thrive without evil. Fortune cannot be abundant without an equal dose misfortune, such is the circle of life. 
Meanwhile, I'm having the literal time of my life here in Bali. My first time out of the country, my honeymoon, everything is going more than perfect. I even thought to myself, "everything is good, too good. It feels off." 
Sure enough, I received some heartbreaking news that my dad is in the hospital with severe pneumonia and a partially collapsed lung. Heart instantly broken. It's crazy how one phone call can make everything crumble at the seams.
When I found out my dad was sick, I decided to take a day off from adventuring and practice some self care. Bali has more pampering pitstops than Seattle has Starbucks. On every corner there's a spa, yoga hale, or massage parlor.
I stopped into @thepracticebaliyoga and took a class. Afterwards my mind, body and soul were aligned and I felt peace again. 
 
I found peace in the belief that life is a balance and not all things can be good. I found peace in meditation and self care. Remaining positive is sometimes all we can do. 
 
When tragic things happen, and they teach us to cherish every moment. Life is fragile and precious and it won't let you forget it.
 
Admitting I am powerless over situations, people, places, and things helps me in all areas of my life. At the end of the day, everything will happen as it's meant to. I am grateful for these lessons of this life. Namaste. 

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Waking up in Bali

By Victoria Prince

Waking up in Bali
I thought hawaii was a tropical romantical paradise, until I came to Bali.

I mean it is, but nothing in comparison.
Waking up in a plush villa sandwiched between two rice paddies every morning is serene. My husband does his morning circuit workout on the deck outside. I sip some tea in my robe on the balcony and marvel at the view of them both.  
Its very humid here, much more than Kona. We slip into our private pool for a refreshing morning dip. We whisper as if we are going to wakeup the rest of the island. We hear nothing but the sound of the pool pump, farm roosters crowing, and later the neighbors singing their beautiful Hindu prayers before they begin their day.
Having a pool is unexpectedly romantic. As a beach bum, something I never thought I'd want is my own pool. This one changed my mind.
Mornings are our quality moments together. Sharing them here is especially lovely. Waking up in Bali is a dream come true.
The owners of our villa live next door to us. An italian man named Maurizio is part business man, part family man, and friendly as can be. His raspy godfather-like italian voice is fascinating to me, but not more than his wife Wayan. She's a smiley, kind eyed local Balinese woman who cooks us lavish breakfasts every morning at 8am sharp. Her fresh homemade juices are to die for. Papaya juice and watermelon juice are among my favorites. She whips up a delicious plantain pancake. 
Before day's end she sets a new hand crafted offering on a beautiful stone shelf just outside the entrance to our villa. She lights insence and splashes water on it. I curiously asked about her ritual and her eyes lit up with great passion. "You must beliebe in Bali yes? Gibe many thanks ebery day. Its a small task por all that we are giben." She is right. 
The maid is a sweet 21 year old local girl who comes every day while we are out and keeps this place seriously spotless. The pool boy comes twice per week. Our driver Ketut comes whenever we call. We can get full body Balinese massages right in our villa for 150,000 rupia (about $11) per hour.
I find myself felling guilty knowing that I can easily make my own bed, do my own dishes, cook my own breakfast, and drive my own car (although maybe not here).
We have a moped we like to ride after breakfast before it gets too hot out. I prefer a driver in the afternoon and evening as the roads here are complete organized chaos. There are no stop signs or stop lights. Everyone just kind of goes for it. The locals use a lot of teamwork to get to where they are going. If you hear a horn beep its more of a friendly signal than a warning here. Very unlike america where every man is for himself and a horn blare is the equivalent of picking a fight mid road rage. Its a crazy experience driving on the opposite side of the road. The lines are more of suggestions as people weave all over them, over sidewalks, between cars and trucks. We even saw a family of 4 packed onto one moped. Its a sight to be seen.
If you're low on gas all you have to do is pull over at a little shack that sells "Petrol" out of old absolute vodka bottles. For a couple bucks they will fill up your tank with a funnel and a smile.
I learned how to say thank you, how are you, you're welcome, good, good morning, and goodbye so far in Balinese. The language is very difficult to speak, even harder to understand, and impossible to spell.
Graham is wondering why I'm not in the pool right now, Wayan will be here with breakfast soon, then we are off on another scooter adventure. Here are some photos to wrap up this rambling morning blog.
Selamat Pagi from Bali. xoxo - VP


Photos by @child_indigo - follow for Bali through her lens. 
And more from my iphoneography

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Life serves the risk taker

By Victoria Prince

Life serves the risk taker

The adventure began when six of us jumped in the back of an old beater truck. We drove through villages and jungle foliage, past temples and rice paddies, weaving between motorbikes, janky construction sites, and women carrying oversized baskets on top of their heads.

We arrived at a bamboo shack in the middle of a farm where our tour guide slapped some stinky, damp, mildewed, life vests and helmets on us and sent us on a 100 stair trek down the mountain to the river bank.

The stairs were all shapes and sizes and built of all materials possible. Power lines were draped over sticks and trees trailing all the way to the bottom where they used the electricity to blow up our rafts and charge their cellphones.

Andre, our guide gave us some loose instructions on what his commands in broken English meant for our own safety during our three hour escapade. I should've paid more attention.

Sardined between a family of Persian speaking Iranians we set off on our journey down the rapids. Growing up in Southern Oregon and rafting the Rogue countless times throughout my life gave me a false sense of confidence in the raft. I was quickly humbled. "BOOM BOOM" yelled Andre as we rambled down the first stretch of white water. I mentally crapped my pants as I almost flew out of the raft! I was jolted out of my comfort zone. Instantly my fight or flight instincts and adrenaline kicked in.

There I was, stuck in a thousand pound raft full of first timers and a hundred pound Balinese steersman in a 3rd world country. One of those 'What am I doing here? God help me. Sorry mom.' moments. I was right to throw my mental guards up but I still wasn't prepared for what was next.

We crashed into rocks, were attacked by fire ants, saw a huge snake swimming by, faced the most treacherous rapids I've ever rafted, bounced off the banks, swerved around rusty rebar and fencing poking out of the river, and held on for dear life.

Being so familiar with rivers and rafting made this experience even scarier. I've heard all the headlines of people drowning, rafts tipping over or deflating, and rescue searches being held. I've been in rafts where collisions are followed by concussions, passengers are flung into the water, and blood is shed. The river is not like the ocean, it is constant, it gives no breaks between sets. It is a force to be reckoned with. Not to mention all my experience was in America where there are rules and regulations and safety precautions, where the water was clean and clear, not muddy, contaminated, and full of who knows what. 

I don't think the others in the boat realized how dangerous it actually was or how many things could've easily gone very wrong. Ignorance was bliss in their case. Having my strong and wise husband beside me put my mind at ease. He knew something was wrong without me even saying a word, and I didn't due to my belief that the spoken word is powerful. Manifesting unfortunate events by speaking of negative thoughts was the last thing I wanted to do. Besides, if all else failed I imagined we'd Tarzan and Jane that shit and figure out a way to make it out alive. 


Despite all of my worst-case-scenario-worry I was able to soak it all in with a smile on my face (nearly) the whole time.

We floated past majestic waterfalls, 3rd world villages, jimmy rigged water irrigation systems, plush million dollar resorts, bamboo huts, and waterfront villas straight out of the travel channel. The views were ones that can only be seen from the river itself. The architecture and scenery were absolutely breathtaking.

Halfway through the trip Andre pulled over at a sketchy looking "rest stop" on the river. We were greeted by two happy Indonesian women, a refrigerator filled with cold drinks sitting on the river bank, a basket of chips, and coconuts laying in the mud. The women sat under a tarp structure and yelled "Come now and rest, one more hour raft and two hundred stairs more. You must eat and drink. Eat now, pay later no problem!"

We were refreshed by the coconuts after they machete chopped them open for us. The Iranians took selfies as we brushed up on our Balinese speaking skills and munched on indo chips that tasted like the dry saimin I would eat as an after school snack in the 3rd grade.

We hopped back in the raft and continued on. We creeped through a canyon where the walls were covered with intricate designs carved artfully into the rock. The sight of it all was jaw dropping.

All the while our Iranian boat mates sang songs of their country in Persian. They a were loud, enthusiastic, loving, and a crazy musketeer-like group of three. They left me with a lovely curiosity of their culture. 

At the end of the float we hiked up the 200 some stairs we were promised. Near the top there were locals trying to sell us trinkets and clothing and clutter for 60,000 rupia a pop. (just over 4 bucks.) If I had money on me I would've bought something just for their efforts. I'm such a sucker for supporting the locals, even in my hometown. We popped out of the jungle onto a chaotically busy road with cars and scooters whizzing by, just a short block from our start point. 

We made it back to our sweet driver Ketut, who waits patiently smoking cigarettes and chatting up the other locals while we slay our tourist activities. Seeing something/someone familiar gave me a sense of safety again. His huge smile was contagious and reminded me to smile myself. In that moment I realized, Holy shit guys we survived.

For the record, I don't think I gave Andre enough credit, that man was smart, swift, and knew what he was doing. Maneuvering a boat ten times your weight through all of those obstacles with little help from your guests is no easy task. We kindly thanked him with a tip for getting us down the river safely. 

Rafting in a 3rd world country was about the same kind of fun as skydiving for me. An incredible and mind blowing activity that we were lucky enough to enjoy un scathed, but probably won't push it and do it twice too close together. Nevertheless, once again life serves the risk taker. Another adventure down. Thank you Bali, for the unforgettable experience of white water rafting down the Ayung river.

 

 

 

 

 

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A person's a person, no matter how small.

By Victoria Prince

A person's a person, no matter how small.
To all you mothers, with grown babies, living babies, and angel babies; Happy Mothers day. As I celebrate all the mamas in my life, I can't help but feel a deep sadness in my heart. I never thought it would happen to me. But it did. And I'm finally ready to break the silence and talk about it.
Eager for some good news, we rushed to our appointment. We giggled as we pulled into into the "expectant mother's" parking space. We checked in. Waited. Saw a doctor. Waited more. Hours went by and It wasn't exciting anymore. Now, it was terrifying.
I stared at the ceiling in a dark room filled with a haunting silence and the humming of machines. 
The tech squinted at the monitor as it lit up her worried expression. I couldn't see the screen but he could. The tech didn't say a word. He reached for my hand. I looked over and at that moment I knew..... His strong jaw clenching. His glassy eyes blinking in what seemed like slow motion. Looking back at the ceiling, I couldn't bare to ask. My heart raced, my ears filled with tears that fell from the outer corners of my eyes.
His hand squeezed tighter. He knew that I knew. There would be no good news.
I'll never forget those flowers. The ones outside the clinic. Purple something-or-others blowing in the breeze. My heart was so heavy I could hardly breathe. I stopped to snap a photo of them. I wanted something to keep. Anything remember. Anything but the ultrasound photo I didn't ask for because it would only be a painful reminder. A photo full of so much hope but so empty of life.
The sun was setting as we slowly and painfully walked back to the car. I read the words "expectant mother" once more. It even had a stick figure with a baby bump belly, something I may never have. My stomach turned. My eyes filled with oceans, my chest tightened, my throat felt as if I had a lump the size of a grapefruit. 
He had never seen me cry so deeply. Even in the midst of all my shock and grief I felt sad for him, like I somehow wasn't being strong enough. I didn't have a strong bone in my body that day. It was all him. And I don't know what I would've done without him. I had never felt a loss so deep, so dark. He felt it too. We were speechless.
We went through the weekend waiting for some kind of cramping or any sign that this would be over soon. We were trapped somewhere between eager for it to be over and unwilling to say goodbye so soon. Quite possibly the longest two days of our lives.
Monday dragged on and we found ourselves right back in that parking lot. We both pretended expectant mother's parking spaces didn't exist. 
They said it would be painful but I never imagined it would be that bad. And it was bad. We chose to go through the process naturally. I'll spare the details for several reasons but mostly because I can't bare to re-live one of the hardest nights of my life.
At first I felt I had let everyone down. That it was somehow my fault. I was so humbled by the fact that I am literally thee healthiest person I can be. I don't drink alcohol. Never have been a smoker. I exercise regularly. I nourish my body with proper nutrition. I was 27 years old in a very solid and loving relationship. I have the world to offer. And still.... why? Nothing made sense. Everyone who knew I was pregnant wanted this baby as much as we did. The devastating news broke my heart, but my loved ones kept my spirit alive.
I didn't leave the house for days afterward, and probably wouldn't have for weeks if I didn't have some amazing people in my life. People like my moms sister who came to my house with comfort foods. She me laugh, and took a nap in my bed with me since I refused to leave the house.
My sweet friend Sam who got me out of the house and into the sunshine at our favorite beach. My incredibly wise step daughter who knew exactly what to say to make me smile. My amazing mom, who was one call away the entire time. She sent me a care package filled with the smell of her house, something comfy to wear, and other stress relieving items. Even her handwriting put my heart at ease. My loving in-laws comforted me with hugs, home cookin, and words of encouragement.  And my sweet Graham. My rock. The father of our little angel baby. I couldn't not have done this without him. Literally and figuratively. The texts poured in. Our closest friends and loved ones showed us so much support. I was blessed with this support group keeping me afloat. And I am eternally grateful to all of you. Even to you reading my story now. Thank you for being here.
To anyone suffering in silence, please reach out to others. Not everyone will understand your loss or the magnitude of your grief. Not everyone will know what to say or do to comfort you. Some will make remarks in an attempt to lighten the situation but really they will hurt you even more. Things like "you're so young. You can try again. At least you know you can get pregnant. This happens all the time you'll be better before you know it. It's all a part of gods plan. I knew the risk when I had a child. At least you didn't carry full term Etc...." NONE of that justifies the loss you feel. Regardless of what people say, it is a huge loss. And I never understood it until it happened to me. There may not be anything in the world that can ease your pain. There wasn't for me. 
And for me, the pain didn't end after it "ended" either. I choked back tears in public when I saw pregnant women or babies. I cried when I received a baby shower invitation in the mail from someone who lives 3,000 miles away. My stomach turned endlessly when my entire Facebook, instagram, Pinterest feed, amazon cart, and email inbox was full of baby stuff.
If you have felt this type loss, this is for you. I'm here to tell you, at the very least, that you are not alone. Did you know 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage? I didn't. I had no idea. This happens more often than anyone talks about. And maybe thats part of the problem. The stigma in our culture is to talk about pregnancy loss. Fuck that, let's talk about what's REAL. It doesn't matter how far along you were, or how or why they say it happens. Nothing is your fault. From my heart to yours, I feel you. 
 Dr Seuss once said: "a persons a person no matter how small." I couldn't agree more.
So there it is, my story. I was pregnant. Now I'm not. I had a miscarriage. No, I do not know when I will decide to try again, or what will happen if I ever do. All I know is I made it through the darkness by focusing on all of the blessings I still have and am able to live a happy life again. When I was in the thick of it I really didn't think that was possible, but it is. I promise. And no matter what, Happy Mother's Day. 
#ihadamiscarriage #1in4 #pregnancyloss #breakthestigma #breakthesilence #notalone #tearsinheaven 

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Debut Single Release

By Victoria Prince

Debut Single Release

I turned 28 on May 5th. 🎈 
My one birthday wish was to release my debut single for the world to hear. 🎵
AND IT CAME TRUE! 🎉
"Butterflies" is available on iTunes! Click the photo to navigate there now.
Wherever you are, pretty please download it, post it, bump it, jam it, and share it with your friends & family!
Music is truly the gift that keeps on giving, and being able to share mine with you is the greatest birthday gift of all. 🎁 📀 🎧 🤘🏽 

 

-VP

 

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Featured article in West Hawaii Today

By Victoria Prince

Featured article in West Hawaii Today

Huge mahalo to West Hawaii Today for running my story in their Friday issue. To my surprise I made the front page of the entertainment section, then I flipped to the center for a two page spread! I'm so humbled by their kind words and by everyone who has helped make my career possible here on the Big Island. Special thanks to Karen Rose for the awesome interview.

 

"Born on the Big Island and raised in southern Oregon, singer-songwriter Victoria Prince has it all: talent, brains and beauty. 

After earning a degree in audio engineering at the Art Institute of Seattle, Prince moved back to Hawaii where she now calls Kona home. A full-time performing musician, she is currently working on her first studio album. Yet while her life appears something out of a storybook, Prince’s life wasn’t always fairy tales and princess parties."

Follow the link for the full story! 

http://westhawaiitoday.com/arts-and-entertainment/talent-resiliency-and-perseverance-victoria-prince-following-her-dreams

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Your path is beautiful and crooked and just as it should be.

By Victoria Prince

Your path is beautiful and crooked and just as it should be.

Every single choice you've made in your life has led you to where you are now. Right now, reading this sentence. 

Often people ask me how I ended up in Hawaii, how I became a swimwear model or a full time musician, how I met the man I am soon to marry, how I find the motivation to compete in body building competitions etc.

The truth is it has been one gigantic crazy beautiful mess. Literally. It has been a combination of unfortunate events, luck, terrible decisions, addiction, depression, optimism, trial, error, small accomplishments, huge failures, and a heaping pile of hard work. The kind of hard work that makes you want to crawl into a hole and hibernate for months at a time while contemplating never showing your face to the world again. It. Has. Been. Exhausting. But so worth it. I think people are asking these questions not only out of curiosity but also because they want to pursue something in their own lives but don't know where to start?

In that case, it doesn't really matter where you start as long as you start something. All you have to do is make a choice to start taking small steps in the right direction. Its incredible where your own two feet can take you if you just point them in the direction of your wildest dreams. Then one step at a time, before you know it, you're there. You made it. And then you think "but what is making it?" And you keep going, with a whole new set of wildest dreams and the journey continues. 

For the record, I am not the greatest singer, I'm not the best guitarist. I'm not the prettiest model or the strongest athlete. I'm just me. I smash it all together, I do my best, I don't give up, and here I am. I face my fears and present this semi-organized mess to the world and hope for the best. That's all there is to it. All we can do is our best, when we do, we cannot lose. 

Furthermore, Comparing one journey to another is like comparing sushi vs. donuts in a culinary standoff. While sushi is delicious, and everybody likes donuts. Would I ever eat the two together? Probably not, but they are equally enjoyable in their own way. They simply cannot be compared. My point is, don't worry about what other people are doing, they are in an entirely different category with a completely different set of circumstances, strengths, weaknesses, and priorities. Ive had many people perceive me to be "selfish" because sometimes following your dreams looks that way. Until wahlah - your "evil plan" to brave the world and create your own happiness looks like a masterpiece and then suddenly they wanna know how you did it. What we must understand is that there is no way to happiness, happiness is the way. If you love what you're doing its going to look like perfection from the outside but only you will see know hard it was to get there. Only you will know the struggle. And thats ok.

Your journey is beautiful and crooked and just as it should be. If you get lost just ask yourself what you can do today to continue your journey toward whatever it is you want out of this incredible life we are gifted. 

-VP 

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