Hi there! Welcome to Maps and Mandalas, my little corner of the internet, my name is Oceana. I’m a writer, photographer, traveller, creator and (of course) blogger from the northern tropics of Australia. In 2013 I started a travel blog called Barefoot Beach Blonde, to document what I thought would be a life of full-time travel.
But it didn’t quite work out like that.
Just a few months after I started that blog, I met the love of my life. In the years that followed we travelled extensively together, in Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. We lived in England for a year, explored Paris and Barcelona, and then moved on back to Australia to start a really complicated, bureaucratic visa process so he could stay.
As time went on, even though I loved blogging so much, I felt trapped by Barefoot Beach Blonde. As a blog, it didn’t represent who I was as a person anymore. I still love to travel, but I also love to write and take pictures and make things. I knew that I needed to do something different in order to be creatively fulfilled.
So I started Maps and Mandalas.
Why Maps and Mandalas?
The maps part is easy. I love to travel, to explore, and to see new places. Covering ground on a map is a part of that. But the mandalas? Well that’s something a little bit more interesting.
Everybody draws when they’re a kid, but between the ages of about 10 and 17 I stopped drawing altogether. Why? I felt that I wasn’t very good at it because real-life drawing was something I never mastered. In this period I didn’t stop creating things of course. I fell in love with fabric art, collage, photography and colouring in. The thing I enjoyed colouring in the most was mandalas.
From the inside to the outside, or in reverse, they bloomed on the page. I loved the patterns, the shapes and the symmetry. When I did eventually start drawing again, what naturally appeared on the page were mandalas. They were the starting point from which a love of drawing and art was rekindled. They were a train-waiting occupier, a stress reliever, a late-night relaxer. I sketched them on everything, getting slowly more fluid at bringing them to life.
When it came time to create a new space for myself on the internet, I liked the idea of mandalas being a part of it. Initially when I thought of the word maps it was just that, a word. It wasn’t until I did some research that I realised why it fit so well:
“Every mandala is a map of the entire universe, with all its fleeting moments, eternal truths and infinite possibilities.”
Peter Patrick Barreda, 2011
Yep, Maps and Mandalas, exploring the world one blog post at a time!
I’ve never been particularly good at sticking to just one niche when it comes to blogging, so as well as writing about travel, wandering and photography, I also write about personal stuff, or what I call life stuff. Not everyone is interested in reading those blogs, and that’s cool, but here are some of my favourites anyway.