My first ‚acquaintance’ with the Island of Gods was in 2012 – in USA. I was touring through the States on a ten weeks business trip when I met this Indonesian girl in Boston… She lived in ‚the land of free’ for many years and was planing a sabbatical year back in her home country.
She choose Bali and I thought ‚OMG thats like Eat Pray Love! That’s what I want’.
We stayed in touch and I promised that when I was ready to leave my long-term and addictive job (still beloved but at this stage kind of feeling like a one way road to nowhere) I would come to Bali and spend some time with her. More and more of my friends and acquaintances started to leave their secure and well paid jobs to travel the word and I became more and more inspired and convinced that this is the kind of adventure I need for myself. It took me almost one year and a few personal decisions to make to be ready for this step. In August 2013 I embraced the solo-adventure-trip to South East Asia and Bali was the kick-off. I booked an Airbnb with a lovely Indonesian girl and her Italian boyfriend and disembarked in Kuta full of insecurities of what to do with a life without a job (and a ‚purpose’)…
At first it was strange. You wake up and then what? There is no place you HAVE to be. Weird.
My beginning on the island was bumpy. I came to Bali with a friend who joined me on this trip for a ‚normal 14 days of annual holidays’. She was supposed be my moral support in my first steps in the ‚unknown’ but unfortunately our expectations were different and we just couldn’t get along. During this trip I discovered traits in her character which were not very compatible with my way of looking at life (and this after 15 years of friendship). It was sad and also surreal but I honestly felt a huge sense of relief when she left and I was ‚left alone’ to face my biggest fear – to be alone and bored. Sometimes you have to let go… and sometimes you have to say goodbye to people.
As for the fear to be bored I didn’t really face it to be honest (not at first at least). I jumped into Bali life. Thanks to the international lifestyle of nowadays (exchange programs, Facebook etc. :)) one is never alone or lonely for a long time when in a new place. So I discovered that one of my old Erasmus-friends lives here and also many ‚friends-of-friends’ and ‚aquintances-of-aquintances’.
The first event I was invited to was a silent art auction of the Rotary Club (invited by a New Yorker friend of someone I once met on the plane:)). And so it continued…
Thanks to the different people I met in Bali I ended up having insights into different lifestyles. From backpackers, over expats to local people. From surfers to business people. From yogis to fashion Asian chicks (mostly divorcees from a ‚Joe’ or a ‚Jim’). Thanks to the variety of my encounters I spent my time in Bali as much on fashion shows and in fancy beach clubs as I did in cute little Warungs (Indonesian answer to our ‚bistro’), in local houses or taking part in a shamanic purification ceremony, a spiritual healing ceremony or a Balinese wedding.
I am very thankful for EVERY experience!
I’m especially thankful for the three wonderful people who made Bali feel like home:
My first Airbnb host – a lovely Balinese girl who was not only my point of reference and my ‚Madame fix it all’ but who also became a close friend.
The Polish lady I met amongst the expat community – a very kind person who showed me around and taught me how to ride the scooter. She was ‚a piece of my long-lost home country’ (my parents moved out of Poland when I was a teenager).
And last but not least – the man who became a very special person in my live. It was ‚love at first sight’ – in a platonic way (since romantically he prefers men). Such a great time and big laughs!
I stayed in Bali for two months back then. After the first month I left my luggage, laptop and make up (yes, yes I was an ‚undecided hippie’… I went on this trip with both, a business style suitcase and a backpack..), I took my best friend to be – the Deuter – and left for Thailand, Laos, Malaysia and Vietnam.
After this amazing time, rich in many new experiences (such as a silent meditation retreat in the jungle of Koh Samui or a Thai Massage school in Chiang Mai) I returned to Bali. Thinner, happier and healthier – physically and spiritually. I rented another cute little Airbnb in true Bali-style, nestled among a little garden full of Buddha statues and frangipani trees, and enjoyed the last month of my sabbatical.
When my friend from Europe came to visit during the last two weeks she said she remembers me ‚floating down the garden stairs, dressed in a Batik style cloth, with a glowing aura and peace of mind’.
I like to think back and remind myself of this Bea…I even created a mental image of her. Whenever I loose ‚her’ to turn into this crazy person of the western world struggling with fears of what the future might bring or just stressing about every nonsense of daily life…In those moments I like to bring back this image of the part of myself I tent to forget.
Maybe one day she decides to stay for good! I’m working on it…
I returned to Bali 1,5 years later, on the way to New Zealand, the home country of my boyfriend. I decided to begin my travels before he did and spent a month with my special friend in his villa. Bali was as magical as before. I am happy to have this island in my life and am already planing the next trip.