Our journey from Australia & New Zealand to Bali, and the evolution of the Eco Lodge…
Linda grew up in Wellington NZ, Norm grew up in Sydney Australia. Linda’s journey started when she sailed to Australia becoming a massage therapist and working on charter boats in North Queensland. Norm left Sydney at 18 and moved North to the tropics, becoming a fisherman, then charter boat captain, settling in Airlie Beach where he met Linda some years later.
After marrying and having our two sons, Larz and Oska, we moved to a beautiful alternative town, Bellingen, in northern NSW. Each year we’d come to Bali, staying in our little house in paradise, where we also ran Permaculture courses. During our time in Bellingen Linda started one of Australia’s first Organic farmer’s markets which, is still running today. After 5 pleasant years living in ‘hippie land’, Linda - studying Organic farming & Certification & Norm - Environmental studies, we decided in 2000 to move full time to Bali.
When we moved we had two little kids, not much money, and a cute house in a remote part of Bali. Norm started working in Kuta, consulting for hotels and running an environmental NGO that was sponsored by the surf industry. Linda set about making a home for the family , teaching Environmentals Studies in Kuta to International students and home schooling the boys.
Over time, our life, and our home became more comfortable. Linda used an Australian, home schooling curriculum to teach the boys, eventually, as she became busier, she brought in tutors from around the World. Larz and Oska finished their schooling at home, enjoying the benefits of growing up in a village community while traveling overseas each year and having access to the internet. They’re now studying in Australia.
After the Asian tsunami, Norm worked in reconstruction, in Aceh (Sumatra), for more than 2years and during this time, with Norm often away and the boys being taught by tutors, Linda started creating the Eco Lodge which, opened for business in 2005.
The management principles for the Eco Lodge grew naturally from our existing lifestyle. We’ve always composted and kept food gardens, we’ve never used pesticides or strong cleaning chemicals, and we love buildings built from natural materials that nestle comfortably in their surroundings. We’ve always respected our local community and their traditions, and we’ve always treated our staff more like family than servants. We’ve always preferred swimming in a natural creek over a swimming pool, and we’ve always highly valued clean air and natural spring water. Linda has a flair for decorating with natural materials and tones, and she’s developed an amazing menu of organic and healthy meals by working closely with our local ladies in the kitchen.
So creating the sustainability principles for the Eco Lodge wasn’t difficult as they grew naturally out of our existing lifestyle, however developing the business was a much more challenging process as Linda had to create everything without previous experience or guidance. To her great credit she’s built a successful tourism property in a highly competitive market. The Eco Lodge has become a real-world model of sustainable business, benefitting not just our family, but the local community and our environment at the same time.
While Linda was busy running the Eco Lodge & consulting for other "Eco" projects, Norm continued consulting, designing & building green projects via our company, PT Bali Greenworld. After a few years building green properties, Norm has moved on and at the time of writing he’s working on sustainable development projects in West Papua.
With the boys now studying Australia, we’ve gone back to the sea for inspiration and to stay fit. In 2015 we started a new chapter in our lives buying a sailing boat, ‘Jumpa Lagi’, in the Philippines. ‘Jumpa Lagi’ (‘meet again’ in Indonesian) is a lovely 38’ Warram catamaran, she’s not flashy but she is a fast and a capable passage-maker, with everything we need without any extraneous luxuries. After a few months sailing around the islands and doing some aid work, we sailed West from the Philippines stopping first at gorgeous Palau, where we happily explored for 3months. We then sailed South to Raja Ampat in Indonesian West Papua, where we now expect to keep the boat for some time.
Currently, Norm is more or less full time on the boat in West Papua and Linda is commuting back and forth, alternating between life onboard and maintaining her responsibilities the Eco Lodge.
Linda and I are both eternally grateful for the eventful life we’ve enjoyed while working and raising our sons in Bali. Indonesia is a wonderful country, everywhere we go local people of differing cultures and religions are friendly and polite, and we always feels safe.
To be sure, it hasn’t always been easy, we’ve worked hard and like everybody, we’ve had successes and setbacks, but the guiding principles of Earth Care and Family Values have kept us strong, moving ever forward. We’re not religious, but we feel blessed, our lives in Bali have been meaningful and deeply satisfying.
Finally, we want to thank our guests at the Eco Lodge. You are exceptional, you are not typical tourists, you are appreciative and kind, and that is the real key to our success. We sincerely thank you… for your patronage, for your interesting stories, and for telling your friends.
Norm & Linda