Inspire To Make.
Nadia and Taber Hunt are the first featured guests of our “Inspire To Make” Series. Nadia (hailing from Cimaja, Indonesia) and Taber (from Maryland, U.S.A.) met in Indonesia, fell in love over late night Tequilas, and decided they wanted to carve out a path together that would allow them to live the life they truly wanted. They now have a beautiful daughter – Sophia – and operate a furniture business that allows them to spend their summers in the quintessential American tourist town of Salisbury, while jetting off from the cold western winters to the tropical climates of Java, Indonesia. We talk to them about their story, plus what it’s like to bring a daughter up in an environment that encompasses two very different cultures, while they talk family life and chasing the waves from the Easts and Wests of this world…
How did you guys first meet?
T: i was over in Indonesia for a business trip in 2014, during which I always tie in having some fun in the waves and exploring. I was here in Cimaja and Nadia was back here in town, having just recently finished her job at Billabong, Bali. She was helping the family with their business and…
N: …then he was like to my mum “who’s your friend?” and she was like “that’s my daughter!”
T: “Did that actually happen?”
“… she was drinking me under the table every night! And then late night Cimaja bonfires, surfing together hungover everyday…”
T: Some buddies and I were staying at the beach so I took them down to a spot to grab a burger and a beer. It was their first time here – I hadn’t been back in 3 years – but y’know I remembered Nadia’s mum and her mum remembered me and we got chatting. I spotted this girl at the end of the bar in a beautiful dress, and I asked “who’s your friend?” and she told me “that’s my daughter!” and I was like “what? I didn’t know you had a daughter!”
T: And the next thing you know she is shoving tequila shots down my throat…
N: … and we fell in love…
T: … she was drinking me under the table every night! And then late night Cimaja bonfires, surfing together hungover everyday…
N: … it was fun…
T: … and then my friends and I were going to Bali for a week so I asked her to tag along, so we went to Bali together and instead of Tequila it was Jack Daniel’s every night! Yeah it was a good Bali trip; I don’t think I took my boards out of the board bag once, we were basically in the club every night.
Nadia, how was it growing up in Java, Indonesia?
N : I have really great memories from when I was a kid, but then I went to live in Australia and it was a completely different world. When I came back here it was a big culture shock. But I love Indonesian tradition, and the way of life, it’s just so simple. Although Cimaja is predominantly Islamic, and everyone looks negatively upon you for wearing a bikini, so I swear I’m the only girl surfer here! That was a challenge in comparison to Australia, besides that, yeah I really loved growing up here.
“Expect the unexpected, anybody that has spent any time in Asia should have a good idea of that!”
What brought you here Taber?
T : I finished up university in 2011 and wanted to embark on a big trip, take in some of the world’s best surf spots. I also knew the Indonesian people love to drink as much as anybody, and that brought me here. A buddy and myself came here and travelled around, did a month on Bali and then Sumbawa, and after having to do a visa run we met in Jakarta, Java. My friend had been to Cimaja once before, so we came down here, and we just settled in. The rice paddies, the beautiful countryside, how nice and quiet it is. It’s a lot less crowded than Bali, which means good waves all to yourself! And it’s easy to just go off and explore, finding new waves along the coast.
And how do you feel being from different cultures, how does that work in integrating it into Sophia’s life?
T : To me it’s awesome. I look at Sophia and the life that she has lived so far. Being able to grow up in two completely different worlds – opposite ends of the planet – different cultures, I think is a really good way to grow up. It’s a much better education in my opinion, you learn so much just growing up like that than what you learn just going to school. And the fact that she will be introduced to two different languages is awesome you know, I think it’s cool we’ve created an environment for her that I sure wish I had. Nadia had that herself and now our daughter is getting to experience it…
(Sophia shouting and laughing in the background)
T : She agrees!
“I love Indonesian tradition, and the way of life, it’s just so simple.”
And you are back in the States now?
T : Yeah, although we have been trying to spend as much time as we can in both. We usually spend May-August in the States. During these month it’s super busy, the East Coast is completely swamped in the summer which we take full advantage of for work. It’s great to spend time with my side of the family, but as soon as Fall and winter hits and it starts getting cold, it dies down, our town goes from about 300,000 people in the summer to about 7,000 people in the winter, which is insane! It’s completely dead, which for us is nice, because we like to escape, get out of there and head to Cimaja at that time of the year. It’s not like we are missing out on anything back home, so it works out pretty nicely actually.
And when you are in Cimaja?
T : So we usually come to Cimaja for a good week or two, wind down, get a bit of surfing in, hang with the family, and then head off into central Java. It’s usually about a week or two there, then we’ll come back intermittently for another week and do all our designing and building, ordering stuff and picking stuff out. Then we load up the container and send it back home.
“We’re going into dusty warehouses and people’s back yards and picking through their piles of repurposed, reclaimed, old forgotten stuff from traditional Javanese homes.”
Y’know we are not just picking stuff out of a catalogue, ordering like 100 dining tables here, 200 coffee tables there, we are actually going and working with some small family carpentries – mom and pop shops – and building furniture. We’re going into dusty warehouses and people’s back yards and picking through their piles of repurposed, reclaimed, old forgotten stuff from traditional Javanese homes. We’ll have a vision for them, work with them, make furniture out of it, make artwork, and make sculptures. Everything we pack in the container has a story behind it. It has history. It takes 30 days to ship home, so then we have some time to relax here and get surf in before we have to get back on the grind!
“… we are actually going and working with some small family carpentries – mom and pop shops – and building furniture.”
How have you founded adapting over in the States Nadia? I guess with Australia it’s a little easier?
N : Well it’s definitely different to Australia I would say, you know you watch the movies and they have the boardwalks and the ferris wheels and roller-coasters on the beach. It’s definitely like that! It’s really pretty, I love it, it was my first time seeing snow last year which was really cool…
You reckon you guys prefer being in one place or on the road?
N: On the road.
T: Oh yeah.
N: I don’t see us being in the one place. even when we are really old…
T: Someday it would be nice, we have dreams of having our own place, own land, y’know put some of our furniture in it! Every piece of furniture we have I’m personally connected to, I’m secretly piecing together our dream home, so it’s sort of hard to let go and sell these pieces. To someday settle down and have our own place and piece together our own home would be great.
“It keeps you young, excited.”
For now though, travelling is great, especially while Sofia is young. People always told us “once you have kids it’s all over” but it hasn’t slowed us down at all. She’s not even a year old yet. Literally wherever we go we just pick her up and drag her along, it’s pretty easy!
When it comes to education and schooling, we’d like to potentially explore options for online learning for her. We’d still like to be able to spend our summers in the states and winters in Indonesia, allowing Sofia to continually develop her cross-culture upbringing, and her own education and understanding of these different cultures. but for me staying in the one place for too long definitely gets stale, we like being on the move.
N: It keeps you young, excited.
“Be flexible, definitely have an open mind, and be ready for no sleep!”
Finally, if you had to give someone advice on raising a family in different cultures and moving around on the road, what would it be?
T: Be flexible, definitely have an open mind, and be ready for no sleep!
T: Definitely an inconsistent sleep schedule, and dealing with time-differences. In the states we are 12 hours behind Indonesia, so it’s like almost the complete opposite. Right now it is 2 in the afternoon, while it’s 2 in the morning in Indonesia. Add to that the 24-hour travel-time between each place, and you’ve got to be flexible with sleep patterns!
N: Also, expect the unexpected!
T: Yeah, expect the unexpected, anybody that has spent any time in Asia should have a good idea of that!
So there you have it! Nadia and Taber telling us how they live the life they truly want, showing us it is possible to have it all. At Melon we believe striving for the life we want is a life we want to live; with focus and passion, comes liberation. You can have your cake and eat it, and you should, because cake is delicious. Eyes peeled for more stories in our Inspire To Make series!
If you’d like to find out more about Nadia and Taber’s furniture company Hunt & Lane, check out their website at: http://www.huntandlane.com/
Check out Nadia and Taber on Instagram at their Instagram handle: huntandlane