I’ve already written an article on another blog explaining some aspects of my experience in Bali, so I’ll keep this one short. First, a few more photos:
For me, the best and worst parts of travelling were the people I met. Best in the sense that I enjoyed getting to meet new people, and worst because I wouldn’t get to know them for very long. A few random examples of the people I met:
- A high level German executive who helped to expand a retail chain expand throughout the United States, burnt out, re-evaluated her priorities, quit her job, and is now travelling the world for a year with no subsequent plans aside from never returning to the type of work she used to do.
- A happily married 63 year old Canadian woman who was travelling alone throughout Southeast Asia. I previously always frowned on the idea of spouses taking separate vacations, but my time with her convinced me that in the right circumstances separate vacations can be a great idea, and made me question my ideas about the flexibility of relationships.
- A 31 year old Filipino man who I met on the plane back to Canada. That flight was his first time out of the Philippines, and after years of trying and hoping, he was finally moving to Canada – maybe permanently – where he was about to meet his mother for the first time in 8 years, and his brother for the first time in 5 years.
- A business friend who I’d first met in February of this year in Miami. We randomly bumped into each other again in Bali while waiting to attend the same Kirtan class.
- The local family that owned a restaurant where I often ate and worked on a small island off of Bali.
- So many others.
One results of travelling is that I appreciate Canada more – the environment, the conveniences, the freedom, and my family & friends. Life in Bali felt free also, but in a different sort of “no rules, wild west” sort of way. That’s one type of adventure that I like, I discovered – adventure that is free and unstructured, with an unknown outcome. Getting on my motorbike (aka scooter) and driving out of town with a friend, not quite sure where we’ll end up is one example.
And although I’ve travelled before, I now feel like I have a better sense of what Canada is – what makes Canada unique. And at the same time the trip left me more skeptical of the seeming normalness of how I and those around me live our lives here in Canada.
Here’s a poem about life in a town I stayed at in Bali. It was written by someone I met in that town. The poem matches my experience, and for me it captures perfectly the best & worst parts of travelling:
The tides turn
Energy flows anew
As the wind continues to blow.
This place enchants
It draws you in
Then exhales. You fly…
Out of town
Life goes on
A new face arrives
Before you even have time
To forget the last
Who imprinted on your heart
And slowly spoke
Like it was a game.
To see how close
You both could get
Before it’s time
To say goodbye.
~ Caroline Southwell, on life in Ubud