This is my first blog story since the beginning of May. During this last month I felt very uninspired to write anything lengthy about my health or my past travels. In addition, recent weeks have made me focus on more important things like racism issues, social injustices and everything that is going on in the US and the rest of the world. I am trying slowly to get back to sharing my original content, but at the same time want to be more inclusive, keep learning and become more involved in the issues that matter not only to myself but also others. This post is going to be about my 2016 trip to Bali, Indonesia. It will also be about people, kindness and appreciation. So, if you are still reading this, I hope you will continue further and share your thoughts and experiences afterwards.
It’s obviously weird and a bit challenging to write a blog about something that happened four years ago. I am not sure if I will manage to remember everything but I definitely remember things that left my heart so full of joy and gratefulness.
Me and Richard (my husband), chose Bali after debating for a few weeks, where we should go for our first international trip. We also were weary about the fact that we might not go somewhere so exotic for a while, as we purchased our first home the same year. I must say, Bali was an excellent decision and I know for sure, that one day we will go back there.
We have decided to take two weeks off and went at the end of April/start of May, as it was just the beginning of the busiest time in Bali. We managed to avoid the unbelievable crowds and the rainy season was also finished. Although two weeks seemed enough, now, I think three weeks would have been even better.
Because of our recent house purchase, we had to be weary of how much money we spend on this holiday. However, we also wanted to enjoy the time there and not restrict ourselves too much. So, we decided to find best possible prices for the flights and the accommodation, but we chose to give ourselves more freedom once we are there.
The flight there was very comfortable and we almost did not get any jetlag. We flew to Dubai from London during the day and the flight to Bali was during the night. The plane wasn’t full, so we managed to get a good night’s sleep, stretch our legs and enjoy several empty seats at once. A very different experience was when we were going back home. The flight was delayed from Bali to Dubai and we ended up running through airport like crazy people to get on the plane to London. We were literally the last ones to run into the plane and it would not have been possible to do so, if not for the amazing service we received from the airline we chose.
Once in Bali, we were picked up by a driver from the first villa we stayed in. It was in a town called Ubud. A place surrounded by the jungle, full of culture and authenticity. We were amazed how beautiful, open and private was our accommodation. We had our own private pool with outside area, beautiful outside shower and other amenities that made our stay super pleasant.
After spending a week in Ubud, we moved for another week to Seminyak. This was a completely different part of Bali. The ocean, streets full of tourist shops, music and so on. We also were staying in a surf camp, which was an interesting experience. Although I was too afraid to try this sport, Richard did enjoy a few good waves. So, whilst Ubud was all about the culture and tranquility, Seminyak was all about the beach, going out and enjoying the ocean.
The Bali Way
The week in Ubud was of course full of adventures, experiences and first impressions. One of the first times we realized that people here are very warm, friendly and down to earth, was when we hired a taxi driver. Not only did he take us to all the big tourist attractions, like monkey forest, rice fields and temples, he also stayed and waited for us each time. Eventually, he became our driver for the whole week and even took us to Seminyak, once we had to leave Ubud. Honestly, he was the friendliest taxi driver I have ever met and interactions with him, made me notice, what Bali is all about.
Locals living in simplest houses, only working to have enough food and simple clothes, enjoying their days in nature and honoring their culture. No pressure to look your best, no pressure to own the newest phone, car or to have the biggest house. Simplicity literally took my breath away. One perfect example of that was our rafting trip. Originally when we booked it, we thought it’s going to be a group of four to six people. However, apart from us, nobody else showed up and it ended up being us two in a raft and a guide in front. The river journey was incredible and even though I got a few bad bruisers from turning over with the raft and hitting myself on rocks, it was one of the best days we spent in Ubud. The fact that our guide was not bothered to take just two people on a private adventure, was a great example of friendliness and prioritizing people over money.
Aside from obvious examples, the overall energy on the streets was amazing. People smiling, playing music, being helpful and friendly. I can definitely say that Bali is one of those places where you can rest not only your body, but mind, soul and get your energy fields recharged.
One of the biggest adventures we had there, was the volcano climb. We were picked up from our villa at 2:00 am in the morning. The driver picked up few more people on the way and we started our drive to Mount Batur (an active volcano that had its last eruption in 2000). We climbed with torches, in the middle of the night, through a narrow path up. It took us about two hours to get to the top (about 1717 meters above sea level). I was exhausted but it was so worth it! We ended up boiling eggs in the volcano steam and waiting for the sun to come up. The view was truly breathtaking. We literally stood above the clouds, admiring the amazing views, enjoying warm rays of the rising sun. Eventually, on the way down, we met some friendly monkeys, took more pictures and marked this day as one of the most memorable ones.
Now, four years later, few more trips after and my home being 99% done, I feel grateful. Grateful for the possibility to travel to the countries I never thought I’d visit, grateful for being able to do this with my partner, grateful for having met people who are kind and accept you without any prejudice, grateful for cultural, emotional and social growth I experienced during my travel to Bali and other places I have visited.
Yes, I am going through difficult times both physically and mentally, but who isn’t? The world is literally crumbling to be rebuilt, people are dying to be free and everything around us is changing. I will always cherish my past, continue to learn to love the present and be excited about the future. Keep changing and exploring because this is what makes us human.