Podcast Episode 3 – Humans of Bali with Chayton Thompson

Podcast Episode 3 - Humans of Bali with Chayton Thompson
Chayton Thompson.


When it came to the actual graduation, and like, our pre-grad ceremony, the biggest bummer is just, because I still got to see all my friends, but not being able to go and see teachers.
And be able to hug them and say proper goodbyes.

But I just, I feel like we were so lucky. The people who were on island, we ended up going to a hotel together and we stayed there and we watched our graduation premiere on YouTube.

And I don’t know, it was, I loved our graduation, and I don’t know if everyone graduating in 2020 had the same, or as good as an experience.
But I’m just very lucky that I still got to be around people who I love and be around my friends. Still got to say goodbye to teachers and I mean I still graduated and still presented my Green Stone. Just in a different way.


Achintya Nilsen Hi everyone and welcome to another episode of the Seven Stones Podcast.

Today we have with us a guest as part of our ongoing series: Humans of Bali.
A series where we dive into deep conversations with diverse individuals and topics that form Bali’s authenticity.

With me, in the studio, today is an old friend and very recent graduate. Chayton Thompson. Having spent a good 10 years of his life in Bali, Chayton pretty much grew up here, right?

Chayton Thompson Yeah.

Achintya Nilsen All of those 10 years were spent at the Green School, where he learned a myriad of different things, asked a lot of interesting questions, maneuvered his way through a marimba band, and shared his good-natured and cheery self with everyone around him.

His Green Stone, which is Green School’s version of a capstone experience was based around curiosity and fermentation.

Which already has me feeling curious, and intrigued, so before I keep on blabbing on and getting into all our green school shenanigans, let me welcome Chayton. How are you today?

Chayton Thompson I’m doing very good thank you for inviting me here.

Achintya Nilsen Is this your first time on a podcast?

Chayton Thompson Yes.

Achintya Nilsen How are you feeling so far?

Chayton Thompson Good.

Achintya Nilsen What have you been up to most days recently?

Chayton Thompson I’ve just been kind of enjoying being graduated from high school.
I’ve been hanging out with friend, before they leave, because people are now starting to move out of the island and go work on their plan for the future.

Achintya Nilsen Has everyone started leaving already or?

Chayton Thompson Yeah people are, I mean people obviously started leaving while school was still in, but now yeah. Some people start going to start leaving like in the next week. Some people have left already.

Achintya Nilsen Is that sad?

Chayton Thompson It’s a bit sad. But I feel like it’s been actually pretty, we’ve been so lucky to, I mean it’s unfortunate that maybe we couldn’t present in front of a live audience with our Green Stone, or have a graduation with everyone to be there. But we’re, I feel like we were so lucky to still be able to see all of our friends because in Bali the lockdown hasn’t been as strict as other places obviously.

And so I think we’ve gotten to say goodbye to each other like 50 times. So it’s pretty great. And I’m still going to be here for a couple months and so are a couple of other friends and it’ll just be nice to hang out with them.

Achintya Nilsen So before we get super super into this, maybe for the audience out there you could talk a little bit about your background.

Who are you, where did you come from and all that.

Chayton Thompson Okay, well. My name is Chayton Thompson, I was born in Japan.

Achintya Nilsen Oh, wow.

Chayton Thompson Yeah. I was born in Japan, I was there for two years. Then moved to Singapore, for six. And then I moved to Bali. So my parents put me in the Green School. We came here for the Green School, and then I’ve been here for 10 years. I’m 17 now.

Achintya Nilsen Where are your parents originally from?

Chayton Thompson My father is from California, and my mother is from Vancouver, Canada.

Achintya Nilsen But you’ve been growing up pretty much in Asia it seems.

Chayton Thompson Yeah, I’ve lived my entire life in Asia. I’ve visited North America, a couple times. Well, for the summer, to visit family and friends. But I’ve never lived anywhere but Asia.

Achintya Nilsen So what’s that like to kind of, have your origins be from somewhere, but grow up in a completely different culture and environment?

Chayton Thompson Well. It’s because it’s not like I have this, I don’t know, I’ve had this conversation a lot because I have a teacher and my friends, always whenever I say I’m born in Japan they’re like, “oh so you’re Japanese?” and I’m like, absolutely not. Because one, I do not look Japanese, I can’t speak Japanese, neither of my parents are Japanese. So it’s like, I’m not Asian, even though I’ve lived here my entire life. And I don’t know maybe it would be different if I was maybe not in an international school. Because I’ve been surrounded by culture and community that’s similar to what, well not 100% similar, but like I still am surrounded by American culture, European culture, things like that. And my accent is obviously American. So I consider myself North American. Or if someone asked me where I’m from I would say Canada and America.

Achintya Nilsen Right. You wouldn’t say Japan, Singapore, Bali.

Chayton Thompson No, I would not say that.

Achintya Nilsen What has that been like, to kind of grow up in a very multicultural environment. In the sense that like, clearly you’re not from Asia, but Asia is pretty much your home, right?

Chayton Thompson Yeah, Yeah.

Achintya Nilsen What has that been like, to grow up in a multicultural environment.

And you talked about also kind of still being exposed to American culture, and American people, but in the international school environment.

Chayton Thompson I mean, yeah, when it comes to school, I feel like, before I came to Green School of course, my schooling was probably pretty similar. Other than the fact that, I think the big thing is kind of just like, one of them is language.
No, I feel like the big thing is just the people. Like, in Singapore I was surrounded by Singaporeans, Malaysians, Indian people. Obviously at school I had friends who were American. A lot of my friends were expats. But just, I feel like just being around a different group of like I just feel like I’m so used to being around Asian people, or things like that.

And then it’s just weird to sometimes, even, to go back to the States. And I mean, not that there is anything, it’s just that I’m surrounded by, because with my family I’m surrounded by only white people. And I think that’s the biggest thing, is just, and then obviously religion. I really, I have no…

Achintya Nilsen What’s that like to kind of have an international environment around you, family-wise, school-wise, but be living in an Asian culture?

Chayton Thompson I mean, for the most part my life is like, I wouldn’t say I’m engrossed in Asian culture things like that. I know about it, I’ve participated in it before but I feel like my life is mainly International. I go to an international school.

Achintya Nilsen That’s just kind of your life?

Chayton Thompson I don’t really have any…

Achintya Nilsen Thoughts on it?

Chayton Thompson Well, I mean, it’s just because I have no context of what it’s not like to be living like this.

Achintya Nilsen Right, okay.

Chayton Thompson So it’s just kind of how I’ve been.

Achintya Nilsen Right. Is it ever weird when people ask you where are you from. And you just, you have to answer that you’re Canadian American. Even though this is your home.

Do you consider this your home?

Chayton Thompson Bali?

Achintya Nilsen Yeah.

Chayton Thompson Yeah, I would say Bali is my home. The majority of my life has been lived here. And I’ve made all my friends, and teachers and stuff are here.

But like when, I’ve had this argument with multiple people, multiple times. Or not argument but discussion. I consider myself to be, I have an American and Canadian passport, so I’m American and Canadian. Or my parents are American and Canadian, so I’m American and Canadian.

But then I’ve talked to people before where they’re like ‘Oh I grew up in Bali.’ But they’re white obviously, they’re European or American or something. And they’re, obviously they don’t say they’re Balinese but they say ‘Oh, I’m from Bali.’ But it kind of, it just seems weird to me, because, no you’re not. You live in Bali, even to say, Bali is my home sounds a little funny to me.

Achintya Nilsen Do you feel a disconnect?

Chayton Thompson No I don’t feel disconnected to Bali. No, I don’t feel disconnected to Bali at all. I love it here, I love Asia, I feel really connected to this entire island, I just, I love it here.

I would say I feel pretty disconnected from America. I kind of usually just view it from the news, and kind of culture and things on the internet. And then some of the friends I have back there. So whenever I go back to the states, it’s just, I don’t know, it’s very overwhelming for me. After a week there, I’m not even in busy parts of it but it’s just, America is overwhelming compared to Bali.

Achintya Nilsen Yeah. I mean, I was there very briefly but yeah, I can get what you mean.
Do you feel like it’s kind of a little bubble? Bali is kind of its own little bubble?

Chayton Thompson Yeah, that’s something that’s always kind of brought up by people. Sometimes it’s kind of said like a negative thing, by some people. Some people are like “oh you guys are in a bubble, it’s not really the real world out there.”

And obviously Green School is more of a bubble than Bali is, I would say. Just because, I don’t know, it’s such a safe place, the teachers are amazing, everyone is friendly, it’s such a community. Which is not always the case in other parts of the world, or Bali, or anything. But I don’t think it’s like, I mean obviously physically separated, but I don’t think when we go out into the real world we’re going to be like, “oh no what’s going on?” I feel like kids from Green School, or kids from Bali, they’re pretty smart. They just have a good understanding of the world.

And it’s because obviously they’re around… Well I think, the big thing is being at an international school. Because you have so many people from literally everywhere around the world, like 42 different countries.

Achintya Nilsen You get exposure from that

Chayton Thompson To everything.

Achintya Nilsen Yeah.

Chayton Thompson So I feel like it makes you a very, for the most part,

Achintya Nilsen Well-rounded person.

Chayton Thompson Yeah, like open-minded, and yeah just you have lots of experience with different religions, different races, different cultures.

Achintya Nilsen You get the whole world in the bubble of the Green School.

Chayton Thompson Yeah. Kind of.

And then there are some things that I won’t understand until I go to the US.

Achintya Nilsen So you just graduated recently.

Chayton Thompson I did.

Achintya Nilsen And what was that like to graduate in a time of COVID-19?

Chayton Thompson I think it’s not just graduating online, but our last couple months transitioning into online school, for some people that was very bothering. Some people did not like it at all. It was kind of depressing for them.

Achintya Nilsen Is some people you?

Chayton Thompson No I actually liked online school and I was fine with it and talking with people from the computer and stuff, because for years every night with my friends who are in Singapore and around the world I play video games with them. And we always just call each other and we’re just talking like that. So I just, I still feel very kind of connected through screen, to my teachers and to my classmates.

And I just didn’t mind the online learning at all. But I obviously did miss being at school.

And then, when it came to the actual graduation, and like, our pre-grad ceremony, the biggest bummer is just, because I still got to see all my friends, but not being able to go and see teachers. And be able to hug them and say proper goodbyes.

But to be fair I’ve seen a lot of my teachers and stuff outside of school which is fantastic.

But I just, I feel like we were so lucky.
The people who were on island, we ended up going to a hotel together and we stayed there and we watched our graduation premiere on YouTube.

And I don’t know, it was, I loved our graduation, and I don’t know if everyone graduating in 2020 had the same, or as good as an experience. But I’m just very lucky that I still got to be around people who I love and be around my friends. Still got to say goodbye to teachers and I mean I still graduated and still presented my Green Stone. Just in a different way.

Achintya Nilsen That’s a very optimistic way of looking at it. That’s so nice.

How did that all go down, the whole graduating ceremony, and then the Green Stone?
What were the technicalities?

Chayton Thompson Yeah. So we, for the people, because I actually have no idea how many, right now, but maybe like half? I have no idea.
But some people from our class left island, some people were on island, some people were on island but more secluded to their homes. So you had the option to come to the Green School and have it filmed. Or you would film it yourself, whatever country or home you’re in, and send it in.

And I went and did mine at Green School. And because COVID kind of threw around my Green Stones ideas, and I would say that time management is not my best quality, I ended up being quite last minute with my speech. So I ended up reading off a teleprompter. And Adrian, who edited and filmed all the things, did a very excellent job of making it look like I spoke seamlessly in one take for the whole thing. Where in fact, I messed up like probably 30 times. So that was one major plus side to all this, to having it being online.

So all the Green Stones were filmed, and then they were presented maybe like 10 a day. One on a Sunday, then on a Wednesday, then on a Friday. And they’re premiered live onto YouTube and each stream was about one and a half to two hours.

And it was great because…

Achintya Nilsen And it’s still up there now yeah?

Chayton Thompson Yeah, all of them are up there, I think they’re all still in huge long videos. But I think eventually they’ll be posted as separate videos.

But it was nice because you could be saying, “Oh good luck,” not good luck but “That’s amazing” “We’re so excited’ We were all texting each other. And on the YouTube kind of like comments sections. So it was really nice.

Achintya Nilsen Aw that’s so sweet.
To get the virtual support from everyone, while you’re doing it.

Chayton Thompson And it was cool because like, my, not that relatives don’t watch the Green Stones that are normally filmed, but it was cool to kind of have my relatives be watching it like at the same time. And it was more, I feel like there was more emphasis on screening it and having a bunch of people watch it because there was no actual live performance.

Achintya Nilsen Right. Because usually people come there, and watch as a live audience right?

Chayton Thompson And then on the graduation side, well we had a pre-grad dinner and that was just a zoom call. And that was actually really fun and people would just get up and talk about teachers. Videos were played.

Achintya Nilsen How did that…I’m just trying to picture how to have a pre-grad dinner on a zoom call. How do you organize who says what when?

Chayton Thompson So I think Ibu Leslie was in charge. She was kind of facilitating everything. And so some people were in groups, like people on island. Some people were together. Most people were just with their families. And everyone was on the call, teachers, I mean you couldn’t see everyone on one page. We had like a projector up so we could see people’s faces. And we just kind of keep going through and people were waving. And then when it came to the teacher’s gratitude we had already planned out what we were going to say, so Ibu Leslie would just call our name and we would get up and start speaking and it was really nice.

And then like the videos of us as kids, the parents make that. That was just premiered as a YouTube video beforehand.

Achintya Nilsen That’s cool.

I think it’s really interesting how everyone has managed to adapt to this new learning style. Instead of letting it kind of stop everything.

And how was it like to kind of, like I think you have a very unique experience in the sense that you have been at Green School for 10 years and I know you also were witnessing all these people graduating and they’re graduation ceremonies. And then the cute little Gradumon cards that you made. What was it like to have such a unique graduation experience from the other ones that you’ve witnessed before? Especially being at that school for so long.

Chayton Thompson Yeah. Because I’ve, as you said, I’ve seen every single graduation at the Green School. And partaken in every single one of them as well. And, I don’t know, it was just.

Achintya Nilsen Were you ever disappointed? Or was there a feeling–

Chayton Thompson I wasn’t like, “oh no.” I don’t know, it wasn’t something that was really going through my head, I was just like oh yeah we get to graduate. Like at all.
And so it was just, I just, yeah. I was being optimistic about it.

Achintya Nilsen I think it’s nice that you’re very upbeat about it still.

Chayton Thompson Yeah, but it was so great. They made a video and filmed a bunch of different things. And, yeah it was nice. And were all just sitting there at the hotel eating dinner and watching. And we still got to go up and throw our caps. I almost killed someone with mine.

Achintya Nilsen How did that happen?

Chayton Thompson Just, you know, just throw it up and then it went ffuh–
Went through, and almost hit them. I feel like everyone gets injured from throwing caps.

So we still got to do that and that’s like, I mean, that was the only thing I really, that was the only thing I really wanted to do. Was throw my cap.

Achintya Nilsen So for you personally it was kind of just like, it’s great that you can even graduate.

Chayton Thompson Yeah.

I think for some other people, I know that they, kind of like the feeling of being at graduation and doing that, that they were really excited for that. But I wouldn’t say I was super looking forward to actually the graduation ceremony. I mean I was looking forward to it, but it wasn’t something that was really important to me. Like it was more just like, oh yeah it’s great. But it was also great how it was done this year as well.

Achintya Nilsen I think that’s a very unique perspective as well.

Chayton Thompson Yeah.

Achintya Nilsen For you to have that.

Chayton Thompson Yeah.

Achintya Nilsen And going online, and that whole shift moving everything. Did you ever lose motivation to study, was it ever difficult, or how did you kind of keep going with that different way of learning?

Chayton Thomspon I mean, We only had like one full block that was online and for most grade twelves, so for me especially, I was just mainly working on Green Stone. And I don’t even actually think there was a class that I barely partaken which I probably should have. And then the other class I took was LEAP which is a program with the school that I’ve taken for years but it was an online version.

Achintya Nilsen What is it Let’s Eat. ..

Chayton Thompson Oh yeah Let’s Eat Amazing Pizza.

But yeah, it’s just like a project-based experiential learning program. So that was the main stuff I was doing and I was kind of it was my Green Stone and I was doing that stuff for LEAP and I was kind of just working on all that for… yeah. And I wouldn’t say I was busy, I was just kind of, because I wasn’t like, I’m never really that busy anyways in regular school.

Achintya Nilsen Haha. The Green School.

Chayton Thompson Yeah.

Well just especially me I just really like to it easy and just really learn and enjoy what I’m doing. So, yeah I would say there were some days where I was just a little unmotivated because I really had to like go and do all this stuff myself for LEAP, and making different things and I was doing lots of fermenting for my Green Stone.

Achintya Nilsen Fermenting in your thinking as well?

Chayton Thompson Yeah.

So yeah there was times, but.

Achintya Nilsen Yeah because I feel like a whole lot of what keeps us going is going to the actual location. So I’m intrigued in how you managed to keep up that motivation when you’re learning from home.

Chayton Thompson Yeah. Yeah that, I think being around also… Yeah, I think a location is a big thing because you’re kind of like when you go to school you kind of switch into school mode. And at the green school it’s a different school mode than other schools. Then when you go home you kind of switch back off.

So it does it, makes it hard to, and also like, my mom was telling me about routines, because routines just went out the door. Some people had school in the mornings, some people had it in the middle of the day, some people had it in the afternoon, like, based on what classes you were in. So I mean not just me but people’s sleep schedules were all wonky because some people were waking up at 1 to start their classes and some people are waking up at a regular time. Which just seems so early now at like, 8? Or even I don’t even, yeah.

Achintya Nilsen 8 is early now?

Chayton Thompson Well no, now I’m starting to sleep and wake up like a regular person. But I hadn’t woken up at 6:30 for months and I had done it two weeks ago, and I had forgotten that sunrises existed. It was quite nice.

Achintya Nilsen Oh my gosh. You’re reawakening.

Chayton Thompson Yeah.

Achintya Nilsen To the human experience.

Chayton Thompson So yeah, I feel like that is a big thing kind of like just getting stuck and you’re like you’re just in bed and then it’s like you’re feeling lazy but then just you kind of get your computer and you join class but your kind of half asleep. It does, going to a location and then I even think just being around people. Which I talked about a bit in my Green Stone. It’s like learning, because obviously you’re learning with other, well no you’re not really learning with other people on online school, because you kind of get it all from the teacher. And some classes were better kind of having more discussions on the zoom call, but you can only really do that with a small number of kids in the class, like four, yeah.

Achintya Nilsen So speaking of school and maybe going away from all that online learning because that’s what everyone is talking about now. But the Green School specifically is quite a unique environment right. And the Green School is a place that I think, speaking from the lines of the school, ‘raising a generation of changemakers.’ We’re taught to be these young, innovative, green leaders of the future. And with all this in mind did you ever feel kind of, the pressures of having to amount to something, as what’s expected of aGreen School student?

Chayton Thompson I never did because I was just kind of like yeah I’ll just kind of do whatever I want to do. And throughout high school there were phases where I was like, “oh college is stupid,” and I think I was kind of just being a little edgy or whatever when I was in Grade 9 or something. But then in Grade 10 I was like, or maybe college could be a good idea if I wanted to do something,” and then Grade 11 I was like maybe it’s just not really for me.

So I’m not going to college this year. But I’m going to go and just take a gap year and I’ve happened to do stuff that is quite green. I’m going to be working on a permaculture farm and doing lots of stuff with gardening and permaculture. And then hopefully go do some tree planting next year.

Achintya Nilsen Wow you’re like the prime Green School student. Like the advocate for Green School.

Chayton Thompson Yeah, no. So I mean it happens to be that I did those things so I guess…

Achintya Nilsen But do you feel like a few of the students feel that pressure of like, this is what the school stands for and this is what we need to come out doing.

Chayton Thompson I don’t actually know. I don’t feel like I’ve talked to it about, about this with my friends that much but I feel like most of my friends are just…I mean I don’t actually know what most kids from most schools end up to go do. And I don’t know what my friends are really going to do either. But I think they just all have really creative things that they’re super passionate about.
Friends that are super interested in building cars and kind of robotics and stuff, or friends who are super interested in music, or fashion. Which I think happens at any school.

And I just think just somewhere deep down there you know there’s a little bit of sustainability ingrained in them. Maybe the person who goes fashion does sustainable fashion, or the person who’s doing music advocates for or maybe not, you know. Maybe that’s not how you do it. But I just, I feel like there’s lots of different ways to be a “green leader” or maybe not lots of different ways… like you can be a green leader but…

Achintya Nilsen In your own small way.

Chayton Thompson What I’m maybe going to do, like I’m not leading this huge movement I’m just going to work on a farm. So…

Achintya Nilsen So it builds a kind of group of sustainable people but not necessarily in the massive global scale but just in your own little community too.

Chayton Thompson Yeah. I would say that 99.99% of students that leave Green School are going to have some sort of sustainability or just kind of like that green mentality somewhere. It might be what they want to do, like being an activist or something like that, and some it might just be a lot smaller.

And some will never care about it ever again.

Achintya Nilsen Do you think that’s a lot of the students?

Chayton Thompson No, I don’t.

Achintya Nilsen I think a lot of us tend to go towards the environmental.

Chayton Thompson And I think definitely the kids, and when I say that some maybe won’t, kind of just forget about it, I think those are kids who’ve only been here for maybe a year, or came years ago and then left.

But I don’t know. Maybe somewhere down there it is there.

Achintya Nilsen But there’s definitely still some sort of environmental mindset whether it’s a smaller or larger scale.

Chayton Thompson Yeah.

Achintya Nilsen Yeah.

Chayton Thompson Yeah.

Achintya Nilsen And these unique aspects of the school. What do you think are some of the advantages or the disadvantages of going to a school like this Green School?

Chayton Thompson Yeah. It can– I mean, the amount of documentaries that I’ve been shown at Green School whether it’s about like equality or the environment or anything like that. The first time I see it, it’s great even though sometimes it’s a bit boring but I’ve seen so many videos like over and over again for years. And I wouldn’t say it, doesn’t, it doesn’t happen as much anymore. But it would just be like people coming in and talking about forests being destroyed, which are all the important things to talk about, but sometimes you can be quite depressing. And obviously it’s not, we weren’t in any danger or anything, it wasn’t super affecting us. But it’s just kind of, sometimes it’s nice to have more positive, which would also happen, like, people would come with some crazy new innovative ideas and things like that. But it’s just a lot. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to think about, and then maybe it can be like you’re at the Green School are you going to save the world or things like that.

And maybe some people feel that pressure. I did not really. I don’t. But I just, now at this age, I’m kind of like, Green School has just been throwing stuff at us for years and some of it’s kind of stuck on. And so I just– okay you’re talking about advantages and disadvantages? I went off.

Achintya Nilsen But I love when conversations go off on a tangent like this.

Chayton Thompson I would say kind of the advantage of it is like, Green School kids, and more schools are doing this now, but Green School kids are very educated about kind of global issues, environmental issues definitely, global issues for the most part. And I think we’re just kind of very educated and kind of have a better understanding of sustainable ideas and a sustainable ideology than most kids from other schools just around the world in general.

Obviously there’s other schools like the Green School that are doing similar things. But then, I wouldn’t, and then I would say disadvantage, which I don’t think is a disadvantage it’s just I mean it can just be–

Achintya Nilsen It depends on–

Chayton Thompson Overwhelming.

Achintya Nilsen Okay.

Chayton Thompson What were you going to say?

Achintya Nilsen I was just going to say it depends on person to person I think.

Chayton Thompson Yeah. That’s true.

Achintya Nilsen But you’re saying like the amount of difficult news that comes in can be a little bit overwhelming, to the point where it makes you almost apathetic right?

Chayton Thompson Yeah.

Achintya Nilsen Like you think, oh we’re not– what can I do?

Chayton Thompson Yeah.
And then let’s just no good for anyone.

Achintya Nilsen Yeah.

Chayton Thompson But I mean no. But I don’t, that’s not, like at the end of my experience at Green School that’s not how I feel. I don’t feel like “oh God the world’s gonna, it’s awful and blah blah blah,” I mean, it is awful sometimes. But personally, obviously everyone at the Green School is different, everyone in my class is different, and I’ll maybe feel different about this in a month or something, who knows. But I feel very kind of just, after being at Green School, just kind of have a very hopeful mentality for myself and kind of for the world or whatever communities I put myself into.

Achintya Nilsen So ends up being like a great space to build that optimism and hopeful–hopefulness for the future.

Chayton Thompson Yes. For me 100%.

Achintya Nilsen I think so too. For me.

Chayton Thompson Yeah.

Achintya Nilsen And also makes you kind of, instead of, you know, I think every person always has a choice when they see injustice or they see difficult issues, Green School builds the types of people who will do something about it instead of being like ‘oh that’s so sad,’ just be like, ‘okay well that’s sad, but what can I do to fix that?’

Chayton Thompson Yeah.

Achintya Nilsen Speaking of all that kind of unique aspect of the school, the Green Stone in itself is quite a unique experience for the school.
What was yours about and why did you choose that topic?

Chayton Thompson So my Green Stone that I did was called ‘FermenChaytion.’
Which is…

Achintya Nilsen Because of your name?

Chayton Thompson A fantastic name.

Achintya Nilsen I love the pun. I love it.

Chayton Thompson Which is probably, I wouldn’t say 20% of the reason why I chose that as my Green Stone but probably like a good amount. When I really decided that yeah that’s it.

And so my project, which I changed multiple times throughout the year, and I was kind of, I really had something going with kind of starting to build a– I was going to build a pool at the Green School. A natural swimming pool. Which hopefully at some point still happens or I get to be involved with a project like that because it was super fascinating. But when COVID happened, just, school shutting down, obviously money was a big thing for the school, so it just couldn’t happen anymore.

So then fermentation was, I mean I talk about this in my Green Stone, but it was something I had already been working on throughout the year. And it was just something I was super interested in. Ao that became my project. And I was fermenting different drinks, different foods, making hot sauces, making bread and it was just so much fun.
I was learning so much, I was eating such great yummy food, most of the time. Sometimes it was revolting and awful and smelled disgusting.

Achintya Nilsen That’s part of it right?

Chayton Thompson Yeah. That’s the fun. Sometimes I would miss all this stuff together and just wouldn’t work and I’d have to throw it out. But then other times it would turn into this delicious bubbly drink.

And so I had this project but I didn’t really have a message or a purpose behind it. I mean obviously it was there, I just didn’t know what it was. So that, like I had written the fermentation part of my speech two months before I had done any of the other curiosity and community part of my speech. So I was just talking to the Drama teacher at the school, Pak Shawn and Pak Mo, who kind of became my mentor for this. And I just, I couldn’t figure it out. And then I was like ‘oh okay it’s about community, that’s why I like this stuff.’ And then I was having a conversation with Pak Mo when he’s like, ‘yeah that’s true, but I feel like you’re missing on like the one thing that is one I think one of your most defining qualities, is like being curious.’ And I was like oh!

And so then I like, this is like, I went from scratch, what do I do… So like I just had curiosity and community, and then I ended up working with a fantastic lady named Emily. And she helped me just like, because I sometimes struggle to get everything from my head, just out. And she just helped me kind of say my message about how being curious, and being curious as a community, are so important. And then she helped me turn that into a speech which I then presented.

Achintya Nilsen So do you think like, I know yours is a personal experience with curiosity but I think it’s also very important to stoke this curiosity flame, in kids in general right?
I watched your Green Stone,

Chayton Thompson Thank you.

Achintya Nilsen I was very interested in the way you started saying that you had a lot of questions. And I think a lot of kids always have a lot of questions and it’s also very important to be surrounded by the right community who doesn’t just disregard those questions, but in fact builds it into something. Which is what you did. Which was incredible.

You explain a little bit about how that fermentation went which I think sounds like some mixed emotions of sometimes good sometimes not.

Chayton Thompson Yeah. Yeah.

Achintya Nilsen And are you going to continue with that stuff?

Chayton Thompson Yeah. I mean all my stuff is kind of, because I was doing a bunch of it and then when it kind of came to crunch time I was like, ‘oh God I need to do my Green Stone now,’ and working on the speech lots of my stuff kind of went bad or got gross. And I just wasn’t– so I’ve just started to be doing it again.

Obviously it’s going to be something I’m going to do for the rest of my life. And I mean I’ve had daydreams of maybe one day me being like a–owning a winery or something or becoming a brewer. I think that would be so much fun.

Achintya Nilsen Yeah. I could totally see that that would be so cool.
And within your permaculture farm.

Chayton Thompson Yeah, within my farm. Yeah.

Achintya Nilsen So people can find your Green Stone right now as part of the bigger YouTube stream.

Chayton Thompson Yeah, it’s on Greenstone 2020 day one I think. And it’s somewhere in there. I’m the one with curly hair.

Achintya Nilsen Yeah.
And as for the future you’re taking a gap year.

Chayton Thompson Mhm.

Achintya Nilsen But thinking about going into permaculture farming or you’re starting that now already?

Chayton Thompson Yeah. Well I’m doing some just very small stuff like helping out with Community Gardens and just learning more about it.

Achintya Nilsen Will that be in Bali or are you planning on heading out?

Chayton Thompson Right now working on those gardens and farms is just in Bali.
And then my plan is to go to California and start one up there. Because then I’ll be in America and I’ll be near family and yeah that is my plan.

I didn’t really– I think Corona for some people really through their plan out the door and things like that, but I didn’t really have a plan to begin with. So Corona happened and I’m like okay now I should start thinking of one.

Achintya Nilsen Yeah. So it’s been a nice pause to lay out your plans.

Chayton Thompson Yeah. I mean, I had some ideas– or actually it did kind of mess up some things actually. But I just, I wasn’t committed to it like I need to go here this is–I was kind of like okay well then I’ll do this instead. And it’s– I still don’t even know what’s going to happen in like two months really. Because things can just keep changing and I don’t even know when I’m leaving Bali right now but, yeah. I’m excited.

Achintya Nilsen Yeah. And that’s always good going forward.

Chayton Thompson Yes.

Achintya Nilsen To be excited.

Chayton Thompson Very good.

Achintya Nilsen And curious.

All right well, thank you so much for joining us, Chayton.

Chayton Thompson Yes, no, it was fantastic.

Achintya Nilsen And thank you for all you listeners out there for tuning into this podcast.

If the audience were interested to learn more about you or from you or perhaps get in touch with your future Winery business how would they be able to reach you?

Chayton Thompson I have a ‘FermenChaytion’ Instagram. Which is ‘FermenChaytion.’ That’s what it’s called. And I’ve got some of the stuff that I’ve been doing there so I guess yeah that and then my Green Stone video.

Achintya Nilsen Okay. Cool. So there you have it.
This has been a very enjoyable conversation for me.

Chayton Thompson It has been.

Achintya Nilsen So great to catch up with you.

Chayton Thompson Yes.

Achintya Nilsen I hope the audience has learned something and perhaps will be intrigued in learning some fermentation from you.

And yeah thank you so much for listening. Let us know what kind of conversations you’d like to listen to on the Seven Stones Podcast. Otherwise we will see you on the next episode.


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Andrzej Barski

Director of Seven Stones Indonesia

Andrzej is Co-owner/ Founder and Director of Seven Stones Indonesia. He was born in the UK to Polish parents and has been living in Indonesia for more than 33-years. He is a skilled writer, trainer and marketer with a deep understanding of Indonesia and its many cultures after spending many years travelling across the archipelago from North Sumatra to Irian Jaya.

His experience covers Marketing, Branding, Advertising, Publishing, Real Estate and Training for 5-Star Hotels and Resorts in Bali and Jakarta, which has given him a passion for the customer experience. He’s a published author and a regular contributor to local and regional publications. His interests include conservation, eco-conscious initiatives, spirituality and motorcycles. Andrzej speaks English and Indonesian.

Terje H. Nilsen

Director of Seven Stones Indonesia

Terje is from Norway and has been living in Indonesia for over 20-years. He first came to Indonesia as a child and after earning his degree in Business Administration from the University of Agder in Norway, he moved to Indonesia in 1993, where he has worked in leading positions in education and the fitness/ wellness industries all over Indonesia including Jakarta, Banjarmasin, Medan and Bali.

He was Co-owner and CEO of the Paradise Property Group for 10-years and led the company to great success. He is now Co-owner/ Founder and Director of Seven Stones Indonesia offering market entry services for foreign investors, legal advice, sourcing of investments and in particular real estate investments. He has a soft spot for eco-friendly and socially sustainable projects and investments, while his personal business strengths are in property law, tourism trends, macroeconomics, Indonesian government and regulations. His personal interests are in sport, adventure, history and spiritual experiences.

Terje’s leadership, drive and knowledge are recognised across many industries and his unrivalled network of high level contacts in government and business spans the globe. He believes you do good and do well but always in that order. Terje speaks English, Indonesian and Norwegian.

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Ridwan Jasin Zachrie

CFO of Seven Stones Indonesia, Jakarta

Ridwan is one of Indonesia’s top executives with a long and illustrious career in the financial world. He holds several professional certifications including being a Certified Business Valuer (CBV) issued by the Australian Academy of Finance and Management; Broker-Dealer Representative (WPPE); and The Directorship Certification for Directors and Commissioners, issued by the Indonesian Institute of Commissioners and Directors.

His experience includes being the Managing Director at one of the top investment banking groups in the region, the Recapital Group, the CFO at State-owned enterprises in fishery industry and the CEO at Tanri Abeng & Son Holding. He’s also been an Independent Commissioner in several Financial Service companies and on the Audit and Risk Committee at Bank BTPN Tbk, Berau Coal Energy Tbk, Aetra Air Jakarta as well as working for Citibank, Bank Mandiri and HSBC. His last position was as CFO at PT Citra Putra Mandiri – OSO Group.

Ridwan has won a number of prestigious awards including the Best CFO Awards 2019 (Institute of Certified Management Accountant Australia-Indonesia); Asia Pacific Young Business Leader awarded by Asia 21 Network New York USA (Tokyo 2008); UK Alumni Business Awards 2008 awarded by the British Council; and The Most Inspiring Human Resources Practitioners’ version of Human Capital Magazine 2010.

He’s a member of the Board of Trustees of the Alumni Association of the Faculty of Law, Trisakti University, Co-Founder of the Paramadina Public Policy Institute and actively writes books, publications and articles in the mass media. He co-authored “Korupsi Mengorupsi Indonesia” in 2009, which helps those with an interest in understanding governance in Indonesia and the critical issue of corruption. Ridwan speaks Indonesian and English.

Per Fredrik Ecker

Managing Director of Seven Stones Indonesia, Jakarta

Per is the Managing Director of the Seven Stones Indonesia (SSI) Jakarta office and has more than 25-years’ experience in Indonesia, China, and Western Europe. He previously worked in senior management positions with Q-Free ASA, Siemens AG, and other companies in the telecom sector. Over the last six years, he has been the Chairman of the Indonesia-Norway Business Council (INBC) and recently become elected to be on the board of EuroCham Indonesia.

His most recent experience is within Intelligent Transport Solutions (ITS), Telecom, and other sectors within the Indonesian market. He is today through his position in SSI and by representing Norway Connect, promoting Nordic and European companies that would like to explore business opportunities in the Indonesian market. He’s also playing an active role to help create the Nordic House concept in Jakarta that will provide an excellent platform for Nordic companies entering Indonesia, where they’ll find a community that can offer support with trusted information and affordable services to enter this market.