Hi there! Welcome to Maps and Mandalas, my little corner of the internet, my name is Oceana. I’m a writer, photographer, wanderer, creator and (of course) blogger from the northern tropics of Australia. In 2013 I started a travel blog 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.
Over the years my blog has changed, from being a budget backpacking website to a celebration of long walks, slow exploring, photography and family. Change is good, and I love that I can map some of the biggest milestones of my life right here on this blog.
In 2019 another change happened. Our son Oscar came into existence. Since then life has been even more of an adventure, as Dean and I try and work out the crazy world of being parents, while also showing our little guy the amazing world.
Why Maps and Mandalas?
When I first rebranded this website (originally my travel blog was called Barefoot Beach Blonde, a mouthful I know) people were always asking me where the name came from. 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: