2 Months of Living in Bali

Gili Air Sunset

Sunset on a small island called Gili Air. Those mountains in the background are on Bali.

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:

Monkey in Uluwatu

Monkey in the south of Bali.

Crab on east coast of Bali

A crab on a beach on the east coast. This crab is about an inch across.

An island called Gili Trawangan

An island called Gili Trawangan.

Cokorda Rai

Myself being worked on by local healer Cokorda Rai. I’m skeptical about whether his techniques actually work.

Cliffs at Uluwatu in the south of Bali

Cliffs at Uluwatu in the south of Bali.

Gili Air

Looking off of an island called Gili Air.

Spider on Face on bike tour

A harmless spider on my face during a stop on a bicycle tour.

Waterfall near Lovina

A waterfall in the north of Bali near a town called Lovina.

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
They come
They go
As the wind continues to blow.

This place enchants
Ensnares
Excites, inspires
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
Your name
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

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