I was lucky to grow up in two different environments – on a farm in Austria in the mountains and in a small town – Bruck an der Mur. Very early I learned that I feel more comfortable in nature than in crowded places, even when my sheep fooled me by eating flowers I picked for my mum; silently – behind my back. I liked that fluffy crew though.
As a curious kid I was fascinated by the night sky, the billions of stars always made me feel small, and at the same time their bright light, travelling so far, inspired me to do the same. They obviously didn`t care about distance, and neither did I.
In my teens I figured out that most people who surrounded me, were always focused on the same issues, caught in their comfort zone. When I introduced an idea of travelling somewhere, to get a new point of view, it was often commented by “that’s impossible” or other rational reasons, which should make me stay. So I stayed realistic and started to plan wonders. We are living on this beautiful planet and I decided that I want to go where my heart and my intuition is leading me.
If I should stay in the same place for years, it feels like, that I am only living in one room, but don`t discover the rest of the house, the garden, or the attic. I want to listen to the waves of the ocean, surf, stand on mountaintops with friends and snowboards, eat exotic fruits while chilling in hammocks, hike to spectacular views, scuba dive, rock climb, play music with locals, get to know and inspire people and their stories, live passionately, make a change, get surprised by people I like, and as I wrote in one of my songs: “try to get lost, to find your way back again”. Sometimes that takes a while.
At 17 years old, I started my first trip to Ireland, just me and my backpack. In Dublin I bought a map and sat down in a coffee shop, pointing on the map with closed eyes, to feel where I should go. I had no reservations, no information about the country, no clue. And it felt good. The adventure began. Another guest watched that scene unfold and asked what the result was, and I replied: “Galway! Do you know how to get there?” Turned out he was a bus driver and took me all the way. So I learned how things are working out, when you’re in the flow.
Since my early childhood I was dreaming about Hawaii. Later my goal was to study Art there, but I could not afford it. So I started as a nanny in Florida, but had to go home earlier, due to a surgery. At the airport I met a man, who wanted to hire me as staff on a cruise ship. I was confronted with recovery and a huge medical bill, so Hawaii had to wait. A lost chance.
Distances were always different for me. Long distance – no problem. If you really want. I started to cross oceans for people I love. Friends at home were just shaking their heads, calling me irresponsible. I heard lots of times: ” What if you get stuck somewhere? What if it doesn’t work out?”
Me: “And what if it does?” I love my friends, their anxious questions show me, they really care.
Subconsciously I started to manifest my Hawaii-dream. I thought about a possibility of my art taking me there, somehow. When I am ready for it. Years later I got an offer to do an Exhibition in Oahu. And there I was, after working 6 months in my studio. Aloha…Flowers around my neck, sunshine in my eyes. Fully connected to that place, as soon as I got out of the aircraft. It felt like I was home. Right after the Exhibition in Waikiki, I took the bus to Haleiwa to see the north shore, Laniakea, Banzai, Sunset Beach and get inspired by the waves and the pros. I wanted to surf and got knocked out by my board during my first lesson. Never give up.
My boss offered me to take care of the accommodation, if I do the booking. So I found a surf shack using Airbnb, I loved her, her smile and the way she sat under a mango and star fruit tree, instead of a hotel room. Breakfast from trees. As friends saw the picture of my new “home” they asked me if I already plan to jam with Jack Johnson. Sure, if he’s around. He was smart – cleaning beaches while touring and running a studio on sustainable energy.
I took a walk at the beach around sunset and saw a group of turtles feeding in shallow water. So I sneaked slowly closer, without disturbing them to spend some time with those old, wise creatures. I believe that wild animals get your intentions somehow. In this case I sent Aloha & Aloha was given back to me.
I continued alone to Kauai , hiked the Kalalau Trail, and flew to Maui to work on my surf skills in Lahaina. Finally I found my Surf Zensei, at Bully’s Surf School, who taught me a lot about Hawaiian culture, their relation to the ocean, beach clean up’s, and how to do my first turns. Happy me. Sunburns, freckles and more smiles.
Years ago I had a dream about someone calling me, in form of a Hawaiian Conch Shell Player, and I did a painting about that. One evening after surfing I went to a bar to grab some food. While waiting and watching the ocean, I saw a traditional dance happening in the garden starring a Conch Shell Player. My painting became reality and I was so moved, that tears of joy and goosebumps kept me company. Mahalo.
So I learned to manifest, and my biggest fear is just my doubt. Powerful, but I am ready for a challenge. 3 hours before my flight back, I tried a long board in Waikiki. Catch the last waves. Bus to the Airport, sandy feet and mermaid hair, my heartbeat in tune with this islands. Sure travelling isn’t always as beautiful as this experience, sometimes things get difficult, but just by taking the first step out of your comfort zone, you give life a chance to work it out for you.
More About Me:
Singing, Songwriting: Soundcloud Anja Leoa
Clicking, Snapping: Instagram.com/anjaleoa
Thoughts, More Art: Facebook.com/anja.leoa
Projects To Help:
Organic Farm: Hana Farms Hawaii