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Weekly Blog: Postcards from Ubud

Community Manager
Community Manager
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Your correspondent was recently invited to take part in the fabulous Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, for its 2022 return after two years of COVID cancellations. The festival’s theme was “Uniting Humanity” and, with writers from all over the world baring their souls, I’d say it achieved its aim.

For something a little different, herewith a photo essay of my journey, spreading the message of supportive care for men with Prostate Cancer to the world, through my book Patting The Shark.


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2. I was getting a lift through Ubud back to my hotel one day when a familiar face caught my peripheral vision. I asked the driver to stop and said I’d walk the rest of the way. As a surfing writer I’m used to not being too high up the food chain at writers’ festivals. COVID and tight budgets meant Ubud didn’t attract some of the usual A-listers this year, so I found myself in the unusual position of seeing my noggin on the festival billboards all over Ubud.

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3. I know this isn’t Instagram and I shouldn’t be photographing my food, but one of my favourite things about staying at the fabulous Honeymoon Guesthouse in Ubud is the local style breakfasts. In this case, I decided to go on all the rides, fresh fruit, green banana pancakes, tofu with pickled vegetables and rice and a soy latte. Again, because of COVID closures, budgets were tight, so authors were basically paid in food, accommodation and lavish hospitality, which was an arrangement that suited me just fine.



4. One of the sessions I was on was held at the Four Seasons Resort in Ubud (as opposed to Four Seasons Total Landscaping in New York). The topic was “wellness” and my co-panellists and I enjoyed a wide-ranging conversation while the audience enjoyed a gourmet, three-course lunch. The woman on my left (your right) is Fariha Roisin, a Bangladeshi/Australian writer who spoke candidly of her childhood trauma and her efforts to heal. She also paid me one of the strangest compliments I’ve ever received. We’d exchanged details of our personal stories, when she leaned over shortly before our session started and said, “I feel very safe with you.” I was quite touched. “I feel most comfortable with people who are closest to death,” she explained. Um, thank you? When we were asked to define wellness, my answer was around feeling comfortable in my own skin, fully inhabiting my body, flooding it with light and breath and awareness, through a practice like meditation. You can get away with that kind of chat in Ubud. 


6. After the festival proper was over, I was invited to present a surf writing workshop at a surf resort called Komune which overlooks one of Bali’s finest waves, Keramas. In the spirit of barter that had permeated the cash-strapped festival, I was offered three nights’ accommodation in a beachfront room in exchange for a three-hour workshop. Where do I sign? What’s a surf writing workshop, you may well ask? Well, it's much like any other writing workshop except the subject matter is surfing. The craft, the technique, the writing exercises could apply to any style of writing but Bali’s full of digital nomads, surfers and yogis and other free-wheeling travellers trying to find a way to fund their Bali lifestyles. Writing “content” is high on their list of side hustles, and it made for a fun and lively workshop.

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About the Author



Tim Baker is an award-winning author, journalist and storyteller specialising in surfing history and culture, working across a wide variety of media from books and magazines to film, video, and theatre. Some of his most notable books include “Occy”, a national bestseller and chosen by the Australia Council as one of “50 Books You can’t Put Down” in 2008, and “The Rip Curl Story” which documents the rise of the iconic Australian surf brand to mark its 50th anniversary in 2019. Tim is a former editor of Tracks and Surfing Life magazines. He has twice won the Surfing Australia Hall of Fame Culture Award.

Tim was diagnosed with stage 4, metastatic prostate cancer in 2015 with a Gleason score 9. He was told he had just five years of reasonable health left, but seven years on, at 57, he’s still surfing, writing, and enjoying being a dad. His latest book, Patting The Shark, also documents his cancer journey and will be published in August. Tim will be sharing weekly insights into his journey to help other men who have also been impacted by prostate cancer.

Help is Available

Prostate Cancer Specialist Telenursing Service

If your life has been impacted by prostate cancer, our Specialist Telenursing Service is available to help. If you would like to reach out to the PCFA Prostate Cancer Specialist Telenurse Service for any questions you have about your prostate cancer experience, please phone 1800 22 00 99 Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm, Wednesday 10am-8pm (AEDT).

Prostate Cancer Support Groups

PCFA is proud to have a national network of affiliated support groups in each state and territory of Australia consisting of men and women who have a passion for assisting others who encounter prostate cancer. This network is made up of over 170 affiliated groups who meet locally to provide one-to-one support, giving a vision of life and hope after treatment. Call us on 1800 22 00 99 to find your local group.

MatesCONNECT Telephone-based peer support

MatesCONNECT is a telephone-based peer support program for men affected by prostate cancer. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer, our MatesCONNECT service can connect you to a trained volunteer who understands what you’re going through. All of our volunteers have been through prostate cancer. Simply call us on 1800 22 00 99 to be connected with a volunteer.

Newly diagnosed? or need to find more information? Access the PCFA resources here.

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