ISWG January 2018 – How you can travel the world without leaving your island?

This post is made for Insecure Writers Group. Read more about them here: 
This post will be about my experiences in Waimea Ocean Film Festival in Hawaii.
What is cool about it is that you do not need to go far – as the world will be brought to you in the movies. I love traveling, but recently have enjoyed to be more stationed in one place and that is why it is a delight to travel visually for a change;) 
It has touched me to the core and I think it is my duty to share it with my writer friends. One thing for sure, this festival has reconnected me with the true artsy being in me – touched me so deeply that my tears have been flowing each day and I have promised to take better care of my artist’s talents this year and put them in use – filmmaking included… 
I am deeply touched. New Years Day has been amazingly full of so many surprises. I have never driven a road here in Hawaii on the 1st of January at 8 am. It was such a pleasure – as there were almost no cars on the roads!!!
Half way through I saw 5 goats by the road. Hawaiians say that this can be the message from the ancestors. Last time I did something extreme like this – being kind of alone and where the masses were not was in Volcano – doing that family retreat.
The goats reminded me today again that I will always be the one who walks her own path during times most do not. What is really weird – is that I do not feel scared or alone at all. This is something my artsy being actually loves to do and it is so natural for my being.
This is a huge step ahead – to be like that, as then I am there where most people are not. Many times – that is where the pioneers are.
The beauty of this island took my breath away. The sun was rising behind the mountains and I could see the holy Mauna Kea mountain with the snowcap on it. Waimea was greeting me with clouds and 63F. Felt like I was back in Estonia again.
Coming here was a journey. I found this info already last year, but never really acted on it. Once I decided to choose it – it created ripples.
Question mark – do you really go for your dreams or give up? I did not give up and asked for help from different invisible helpers and they did. I am so grateful.
I was looking for places where to stay during the festival and it seemed to be a mission impossible. Then I just got an idea to ask someone I know. She recommended someone who used to have a B&B. So I put it into motion and when I arrived here I was blown away.
We have choices – to pick a place by the busy road where you can not sleep the whole night or hold your breath to climb the mountain with your car or choose the true queen’s palace just 8 minutes from the festival locations (that was my pick). Wow;) I am a super ‘manafestor’ on this island. I thought that maybe this muscle has got rusty…. I have the view to the Mauna Kea side and the full moon and the Kohala mountains on the other side. There is a little stream down the base of the house and it is just so spacious. I could just stay here for a whole month and write, write, write and write…
Today’s Waimea Ocean Festival was very inspiring. My first film festival experiences were in Tromsö in Norway. I studied visual anthropology during that time and it was compulsory for us to go. I remember meeting the filmmakers and talking to them and I was so excited – I almost was shivering. After I did my two documentaries myself and left the academic world – movies and filmmaking has been kind of in the background and not very active theme.
But during the last year it has kind of surfaced again and I think maybe it is because my ancestors would love me to leave behind a bigger mark than I have so far.
Movies are a great way to do that. They are a huge work, but the impact may be beyond what we can even imagine. I really love documentaries and imagine I spent 2 years of my life to learn how to make them and now this has just been on the back burner for 10 long years!!!
Today’s movies talked about big wave surfers and several movies were about the Big Barrier Reef in Australia. The most powerful movie was the ‘Chasing Coral’. I was crying most of the movie as a true mermaid. I have noticed how the corals are in bad shape around Kona waters.

The movie tried to document what is happening to the coral reef in different parts of the world and the results were shocking. If it continues like this – the reefs in the world may be dead in 30 years time!!!! Coral reefs are super important to our ecosystems in the oceans and they are like the forests of the sea. Take these out and you will have no fish and to put it simply – the whole planet’s ecosystem is in danger.

Because the ocean temperatures have increased, the reefs are dyeing slowly and all over the world. If you would love to see what you can do or what your children can do to save this planet, check it out here:
What is also really interesting that I was one of the few persons from my age group. Most people attending were retired people. That made me think – do other people not care about quality films and issues in the world – or is it that we just work, work and work (especially my age group) and never stop to take a break to think – where are we running, how are we living and what choices are we making and what are we doing and leaving behind for the future generations?
I am glad I chose to clear my schedule and made a choice to come here. I decided to give myself a gift as my last year was a very successful year. This is not only a gift to me, but will be a gift to the world, as I will take action as well share some of this with my tribe and classes.
Only now – 41 years old I am really starting to own what an artist I am truly in my heart – the writer, the filmmaker, the painter and maybe while living here in Hawaii – it is time to let them surface and see how I can serve them and how they can serve me and the planet. In my mind I have the old and stupid belief – you can not earn money with these things and these are just for fun, so do not pursue them. I have been so insecure about them.
My visual anthropology studies in Norway, I financed myself and made it happen. I do not know too many Estonian women who have lived and filmed in South Africa for 5 months completely alone…
After the first day I am full of ideas, touched to the core of my being and will create many new things in the future inspired by this very day where I chose to see 9 different films today.
The Hawaiian canoe Hokulea film and Q&A was also super inspiring.
I am so lucky to be here and be able to attend. I am very grateful to my husband Michael Ditton as well as he was so kind to support my trip here.

After the second day…
Wow. I am speechless. Today I saw 8 movies. Despite the long hours of sitting – I feel so alive – it is almost unreal!!! I travelled from the surfing under the Arctic sky and northern lights and Antarctica and its amazing animals and breathtaking nature to the Great Barrier Reef’s mantas, whales, sharks and other visitors to the whales in Tonga and sharks in the world to the killing of rhinos and elephants and finishing up with the circumnavigating Mexican team in sailing in 1973. I am so touched, so alive and I must admit I cried so many times.
I cried because this planet is such a beautiful place and I could see it because all these brave people had travelled places and filmed it – through cold and ice, snow and sandstorms – so I could see it and experience in the warmth of the movie theater in Hawaii… safe and sound.
I cried because we humans do so many stupid things out of not knowing or just ignorance or because we think that money will bring us the happiness we seek – killing the last species of its kind. I was so shocked to see and experience that the white rhinos died during the filmmaking of the ‘Last Animals’ and that the same destiny is waiting for the other types of rhinos as well the elephants and sharks if nothing is changed by the humans and laws. To see that an animal will be cut because of one body part has a value on the black market and the rest of the body is just left behind to rotten or pushed over board – totally broke my heart – it is not one or two – it is hundreds and thousands!!!! Many people died in protecting the nature reserve in Congo for the rhinos and elephants. It is just crazy cruel. How is this even possible?

Three of the last seven Northern White rhinos left in the world follow the Kenya Police Reserve who protect them, as they head out on their daily evening patrol. (Photo by Kate Brooks)

Most people live their lives, pay their taxes and have no clue that all this is happening and that the very choice of driving a car which is not eco friendly can contribute to the climate change – can heat the oceans and kill the corals – which are the forests of the sea – killing the fishes as well all the ocean animals – and the ocean itself – the lungs of the planet – which is the main important element in the elements on this planet we call Earth. I loved how Kate Brooks, the woman behind the film ‘The last Animals’ said that we – the people – should actually be worried about becoming the endangered species as we are killing the very HOME underneath our feet…

These days watching all this made me realize and understand one of the main reasons why I was born on this planet and I am going to pursue this idea and will see if the Gods will be behind me to make this happen. But I think this was one of the main reasons I actually had to move to Hawaii. I am so glad I followed the call. I will keep you posted what comes out of it and I am excited about the process as I have been in it several times before and it is the process which is making me so alive.
I was so lucky to talk in person with the captain Chadd of ‘Hokulea’ navigation team – today. The mana he has is amazing. He was so welcoming and so curious about me as well. It is not every day you meet an Estonian in Hawaii who knows a bit of sailing and can ask specific questions. He was so happy to answer!

Photo belongs to ‘Weekend Sailor’ movie

What an amazing person he is! I shared some ideas with him as well asked him more about the journey around the world (3 years). He was so kind and invited me and my husband, who is a sailor too to see the canoe once it is back in Kona;) How cool!!!

The last movie I saw was the ‘Weekend Sailor’ – sharing a story about the Mexican sailing team who won the world navigation race in 1973. It is amazing how it was put together and how it worked and how they made it. I was so happy and it was so cool to hear some Spanish and I felt like I was in the boat with them, as Mexico has really become so dear to me while I lived there with many sailors around.
With this day I know that one of the message I got from today is – we should all make conscious choices each day. Because each individual is capable of changing this planet big time. If there are more of us who are conscious – the chances will be bigger that the effect will happen faster. So what are the choices you make today which will guarantee that the planet Earth will be here in 100 years time or later and as a lush garden instead of a dead land?
There is no other experience in this world like during these kind of film festivals – the movie ends and the audience is silent for like 5 seconds or more – because the movie has touched them to the core and they need the time to take it in. I also love that you always applaud after the movie. I know what it takes to make a movie and how much hard work it is. I am so grateful for all these filmmakers, who made this possible as well Waimea Film Festival team – what a wonderful festival it is!
Today reminded me how I organized a little ‘film festival myself’ putting together a student film showcase in Tromsö within only 4 weeks and we screened it with huge success and had the coverage in all kind of media. I am so glad I met my ‘old friend’ – filmmaking again and will see ways how to get back to it and share my messages with the world.
What I also like about the film festival movies these days is that these are not only movies – these are actually tools to make a huge difference and make people to contribute to a new future. This is one of the ways to protect what we have and build a conscious future.
Check out the info about the movie ‘The Last Animals’ here and do what you can do to help the project so that your grandchildren would be able to see the rhinos and elephants in the wild nature in the future.
In summary I would say that it is super important for any kind of writer to go out of our natural habitat and ‘hunt’ – for ideas, thoughts and new ways to live your life. This is something which has always been in my life as I have travelled so much, but during the last year, has been less as I have had less travels and more focus on building up my new future in a new way. It does not matte whether we are feeling secure as writers or not secure – it is important to feed your ‘juicy artist’ in you – because without this food there will be no flow of words. As a writer – words are the world for you!

I am Crystal Ra Laksmi. I am finally learning how to step up and really own to call myself a writer, filmmaker, singer, painter, poem writer, creator etc;) It takes a lot because I am afraid that if I do not do it right – I will be judged.

I love what I learned from the retreat in Volcano – if you walk your path, and you are braver than the average people are – judgment will be your partner as well the guilt. It is just a natural side effect and you have to learn to live with it.
I know that this movie festival will kick my book process into the final phase and I put a new goal and by the latest of this year’s June – my very first book should be between the covers in Estonian and from there into English.
I am glad I am on this planet right now so I can make a difference. I start with my words. Next will be the movie and then we will see where the path will guide me.
– Share with me what thoughts came up for you and what is it you can do to change this planet a better place to be?
– How do you ‘hunt’ for new material and inspiration for your writing? 
Mauna Kea mountain with the snow

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