After spending 10 amazing days on my little paradise island I have finally returned back to work. On the evening of my arrival I was lucky enough to catch Jackie AnakAgung Gede playing at Folk N Nomas Bar. He opened the night with one of my fave tunes and sang it with passion; after I handed his guitar back to him…I think the guitar was pleased.

Today I sit in my normal spot, upstairs at Mingle on Dewi Sita Street, Ubud. I love this little hangout; and the long black coffee the friendly staff serve me as I enter the building. Today I am accompanied by my publicist who delivers my extensive ‘things to do’ list…I really thought she would ease me back into the daily life of launching a book; but no, not her, and the spreadsheet she hands me gives further proof.

Suddenly Anik arrives from the stone stair passageway to carry out the daily offerings, presented to the small wall-hung temple just in front of where I am sitting. This little ceremony can be seen all over Bali and is known as Canang Sari. In Balinese, the word Canang means essence and sari is the word used to label the small palm leaf basket used to hold the offerings.The #philosophy behind this simple ceremony is one of respect and self-sacrifice in honour of the gods; as the offerings and prayer take time to prepare and execute.

Later in the day I have an appointment with a journalist who is interested in the message that The Banyan Tree seems to convey. He has put me in touch with a printer in #Jakarta who specialises in high quality embossed hard cover books. This limited edition copy will be displayed and sold in hand-picked selected outlets in and around #Ubud and #Seminyak.

This whole process of bringing the book into the public domain still fascinates and excites me.

Feeling motivated…




Ok! So here are a few simple things I learnt to incorporate into my daily life. I was never a fan of self help exercises; you know the kind of books I’m talking about? Normally there is a cheesy picture on the verso showing the self professed guru; often-times photo-shopped into a Disney character. Never did these shelf fillers have the subtle sense of authenticity for me.
These books will throw exercises at you – Ugh! Far too much like hard work. I really believe the process of getting to know oneself should be fun and fascinating, as the subtle changes rear their beautiful head – The fruit of the seeds of change you wish to plant.
Investing in your well-being is an admirable discipline and your responsibility, nobody can do it better than YOU. Yeah it takes a little work, but with time, I guarantee that the following 5 little things will bring about great change.
So! On to the few little things for you to play with (they are not new)…And I mean play. Try them out and take time to feel the almost instant subtle changes that will manifest into your little existence on this beautiful big blue ball called Planet Earth.

1: Learn to breathe correctly.

Yes! That old chestnut! (London cockney, for the tried and tested)
It has been studied time and time again that being conscious of the way you breathe can dramatically change your life and mental state. It is impossible (big statement) to feel anxious or in low spirits when breathing deep into your diaphragm. Try to remember that big talkers take shallow breaths as they churn the words out…So if that’s you; you can brush up on your listening skills in the process (win/win). Here’s a clue; the only time we breathe correctly is when sleeping. So insomniacs or those who like to ruminate…This is your fast boat to New Z land : ) Try this when walking in public and put your focus onto the soles of your feet whilst walking…You might just save a few dollars/ pounds/ euros on that impulsive comfort shopping.

2: Celebrate like a gladiator for no reason.

Now! This one is pure instant magic. You will release all of those feel-good chemicals deep inside your neural pathways. Dopamine the electro-chemical wonder drug produced by your brain will have your state changed in an instant…But use this with caution; people will be jealous of your god-like fearless state. You can use this little gem to approach that handsome or pretty stranger you want to get to know, or that presentation you are required to make, and so many more quirky human scenarios.
Make your way to the gents, ladies toilet or broom cupboard. Don’t do this in a public space for fear of a mass exodus. You’re not crazy; Are you?
Once inside this private little spot, place your arms above your head and celebrate like you have just won the lottery, or just won a fight for your freedom from the coliseum in ancient Rome. You get the picture? You are now shaking in ecstasy at the ceiling (pretend it’s the galaxy if you are more that way inclined).
At the same time silently shout with passion over and over, the word YES. Translate this into your mother-tongue as appropriate.
Do this for 60 seconds…
You have now caused a physiological avalanche deep within your mental state. But remember you need to act straight away, otherwise you risk an angry interchange for monopolising the WC or holding up the cleaner.

3: Smiling for no reason; especially when you can’t be arsed!!!

Once again, your smile is a set of muscles. Normally, your feel good mood will produce the smile. So here’s a trick! You are gonna turn the tables on your ever-changing mood. You are gonna smile for no reason; even if sad, lost or generally feeling like a wet weekend. What you are now doing is manipulating your mind into feeling good…because it knows that the smile is the trademark of happy. So the feel-good chemicals have found out that the mind’s one way street can be converted into a unidirectional highway of bliss. Chemicals will be released and your mood will turn from a ballad to a rock anthem. Give it a go!

4: Yeah! Here it comes again. Good old gratitude.

So! All I can say about this little old fave-rave is that if you don’t give thanks for the small stuff, then why should others, or bigger and better… The Universe, be bothered to shake it’s butt and send you the big stuff. So be thankful for that safe plane ride, that genuine compliment or that friend that dropped by to unconditionally say hello. This will make you smile as you do it with compassion, so get thankful and watch the chocolate cake land in your lap.

5: No more comparing…

This silly little behaviour is the number one fertiliser for insecure or inadequate feelings. Your life will constantly suck if you feed this little leech; so be aware that it is swimming right next you.
So next time you find yourself flicking through the timeline of others on social media; remember they only post the good stuff. They are fleeting moments of pleasure designed to put a plaster on the wounds of monday to friday’s mediocrity. Look at the selfies of happy smiling faces…then look again. No wrinkles or creases around the eyes says…Look at me! Don’t I SEEM happy?
So love yourself enough not to compare – It really is foolish. Walk with your held high in your authentic life and smile with all the creases, knowing that you have 5 little tricks up your sleeve whenever you lose awareness.


Another day begins on my favourite slice of paradise; otherwise known as Gili Air – So much of The Banyan Tree was written on this special little mound of white sand that protrudes out of the Lombok Strait with grace. Adorned with coconut trees and banana plants, she smiles a golden smile back at the imposing silhouette of Mount Rinjani ; the crown of Lombock, seen from across the bay.


As always it takes me a while to readjust to mini island life, after stepping off the fast boat from Padangbai on mainland Bali. The habitual polite word of ‘Suksama’ (Balinese for thank you) slips from my tongue far too easily for the first day or so, until enough of the locals put the word ‘Tampiasih’ (the Lombokian equivalent) into my mouth and bring it once again to the forefront of my daily vocabulary.

Irwan, the friendly manager of my preferred place to stay, kindly brings my habitual banana pancake along with the best coffee he can muster without a decent coffee machine; but all is imperfectly perfect as my neighbour Sarah can be seen walking through the lush garden. We had become accustomed to meeting for breakfast most mornings, enjoying coffee conversations of life and how to live it.
She looks a little nervous as she makes her way to the table sat beneath the overhead canopy of banana plants and exotic birds. It was a look I recognised all too well as she pulled her chair out and reached for the breakfast menu. She resembled someone with a mind that had travelled too far into the fresh new day, subsequently losing herself in an ocean of ‘should-be-doings’; as she planned her whole day from the comfort of her neighbouring rustic hut.

I ask her if she is ok, as I watch her nervous body language; brought about by over thinking and planning. She starts to talk about an imagined, imminent Tsunami…

“What would we do out here on this small island?” She asks with a pale look of fear in her eyes.
“I would rather be wiped out by an epic tidal wave in the tropics; then dying under a bus whilst crossing Oxford Street in the heart of London.” I reply with a smirk.

We sit there for a while laughing together at the imagined disaster…Before long her body language changes once again, as her need to plan her whole day pushes the panic button deep within her mind.

Momentarily she smiles as she successfully manages to source some powdered creamer for her coffee from a passing member of staff. The sachet of supplied condensed milk is quickly tossed aside as she goes about stirring the powder into her average coffee (sorry Irwan). As for me, I sit there in fascination of this beautiful woman reflecting back to me the way I used to be.

We laugh at random things happening in the small gardens surrounding the dining area as our Lombok coffee slowing diminishes into a tick slush at the bottom of our odd coloured mugs.


Suddenly Sarah hits me with her extensive list of things to do today. Snorkelling, bike riding and walking around the island are just a few of her intended things to do in the following eight hours before our arranged meeting at sunset to enjoy a Gin & tonic or two on the beach.

I ask her to stop in a compassionate voice, as I don’t like what her relentless planning is doing to her body.
“What do you mean?” She asks with a look of confusion.
“What would you like to do in the next hour?” I ask politely.
Sarah pauses for a while and takes a deep breath; as though surrendering to the idea of picking just one ‘doing thing’ from her extensive wish list. I guess her once fast moving corporate lifestyle had trained her to be a planner in her career, but somehow it had merged into her private down-time.

“I want to walk around the island, taking pictures as I dip in and out of the ocean.” She replied with a smile before continuing; raising her voice as she did so.

“Oh! I think I’m beginning to see what you mean.” She added as I begin to speak…
“Yeah Sarah…Just live hour to hour and see where your day takes you…I guarantee you by 2pm you will have changed your mind, rendering all of that planning useless and a waste of time and energy. Do you know what I mean?”
I tear out a specific chapter of The Banyan Tree that seemed to be written just for her in that moment.
“Here! Read this after an hour of walking.” I murmur in a compassionate tone as I witnessed how ready she was to try to introduce the changes that took me so long to manifest in my own relentless life of ‘should be doings’.
Six hours later, I make my way to sunset point on the western strip of the island. I decided to go earlier than usual due to the cloudless sky. I knew if I arrived too late, all of the neon coloured beanbags set before the ocean would be taken. Half an hour drifts by effortlessly as the sun makes it way closer to the surface of the ocean causing a golden glow on the water.
Suddenly I hear an excited voice approach from behind.

I had never heard Sarah swear in the time that we sat together in conversation. At that moment I didn’t even recognise the voice as her’s as I turned my head in a startled fashion to greet her beautiful smile and excitement.

“I’ve had an amazing day.” She adds as she hugs me before taking the beanbag I had kept occupied with my daypack and camera.
She went on to explain that she had stopped to drink a watermelon juice half way around the island; and decided to read the portion of The Banyan Tree I had given her whilst swinging in a hammock.
“I cried in a way I have never cried before – Really I was sad at my stupidity of not seeing things so clearly before…But please don’t be sad; I’ve done nothing but laugh since.” She added playfully as our drinks arrived.
“I ended up taking a random right-turn into the centre of the island and met this young girl who was keen to practise her English with me – She went on to invite me to a small settlement to meet her mother and cousins – I spent the whole afternoon there…It was a humbling experience to see how they lived; and it made me think…A lot. I realised I’ve been in a rush my whole adult life; and your chapter showed me how to peacefully drift into the NOW.”

Experiencing Sarah’s freedom-filled smile in that moment and throughout dinner made the journey of writing The Banyan Tree worthwhile. To see someone who is willing to learn and grow transform before you very own eyes is an amazing experience….

I heard from Sarah just before christmas 2016 as she wished me a happy birthday. She informed me that her life seems to flow effortlessly since that day; and she constantly reminds herself of the lesson she had learnt from living in small increments of time rather than her miserable but safe life of planning.
Stay tuned for the launch of The Banyan Tree…..



“People like to flock together to feel safe, but your truth won’t be found among the masses. The truth is found way up the mountain, but you will need to be strong in mind and spirit to go there. Many of the good people know the mountain exists, but still they prefer to admire all that might be possible from afar, in the comfort of the crowd and close to home. Remember, Kamajaya, that safety in numbers is the most comfortable of prisons. The possibility of living your dreams becomes lessened the longer you hold on to the hands of those who may appear to offer safety but are, in fact, holding you back, albeit unwittingly and good naturally.” – The Banyan Tree by Andrew Hyde
© Andrew Hyde 2017 All rights reserved


Funny I chose the colour green for the artwork of The Banyan Tree. It is actually the colour of the heart chakra. No coincidence there as I sit in Marzano Ubud waiting for my friend to arrive…It’s hard not to give thanks for the treasures that orbit around me in this special place. There is a magic in the people here ; after all it is this land and it’s people that inspired the book. So much peace and a simplicity that mere words are rendered useless. Such a special place…so yeah…the heart chakra is spinning with joy; right here , right now in Ubud, Bali