I want to preface this update by letting you know there will be no beautiful visual photography reward at the end per our usual posts.
Alex is currently living on a catamaran up in the Banyak and Mentawai Islands and working as a photographer for a surf charter. He is there for a total of 6 weeks and therefor is not here to fulfill his side of this blog endeavor. However, I could not be happier or more proud that he is getting to do what is also known as “living the dream”-at least living the dream of an artistic surfer that is.
So, that just leaves me to report on our day to day life here in Bali-something I have wanted to do for a while. Our life has taken some beautiful twists and turns since landing down in the southernmost peninsula of Bali. We have made great friends, contacts -travel and business, and also gotten in touch with much deeper desires of what we want our life to be about. These all came as welcome surprises, since the original reason we chose to take a time out here was mostly for a budget break, and to stop moving for a while as I wanted to feel my feet on the ground and sleep in the same bed for more than 4 days.
The bed we found is in a town called Pecatu- pronounced Pa-cha-too, nestled along the rugged, cliffy coast of the Bukit Peninsula. In close proximity to world class waves and the beaches of Bingin, Padang Padang and the most well known- Uluwatu. Our home is essentially a free standing studio/bungalow/hut. It has nice high ceilings, a kingsized Asian style bed, a mini fridge, and an outdoor bathroom with HOT water and air conditioning..kind of a big deal here. It is in a circle of 7 bungalows just the same- with a pool and community out door kitchen in the center. We are nestled in the middle of fenced cow pastures to either side, and the ocean just a little ahead in front. Waking up to roosters, wooden cowbells thunking, and the smell of incense from the daily offerings is an everyday experience that I have come to find so comforting.
When leaving the serenity of our compound- just up a local road through a Balinese neighborhood, you encounter the funniest group of animals all up and down the road. It is common for chickens with babies, roosters, cows and dogs to cross in front of your motorbike, so its best to keep your speed low. Its kind of like a funny minefield of people and animals.
I have described the town in our previous post, so wont go too much into detail- but more just try to paint a picture of what its like for for foreign folks to try to make their home here in this part of Bali. Once you have your home secured- you need transportation, and the most popular and easiest way to get around is on a scooter or motorbike. I know, this is considered incredibly unsafe in a lot of peoples minds, but honestly it has been the most fun, liberating, and easy way I have ever been able to go from a to b. I actually don’t have any desire to drive a car ever again if possible- but most likely unavoidable at some point.
Most mornings, I wake up, look outside and put on my yoga clothes. Hop on my Honda Vario (the most common scooter around) and go to one of 3 different cafes. These happen to be the cafes that have a proper espresso machine- because I am just not man enough to handle the Bali Kopi every morning. The Balinese grind their coffee very finely and prepare it like instant coffee- no filter. The cool thing is, that since life and food are so reasonably priced in Bali- it is actually not that much more economical to eat at home every day. I also get a chance to see people, practice my Indonesian, do some reading, journaling and just wake up in a pleasant atmosphere.
The drive to the yoga studio I have been going to takes about 15 minutes and is a great way to observe daily life in this town. There are no high rises here, it is one main road with a few cafes, surf shops, quickie marts,local homes and warungs (small restaurants usually with local food). You pass by new businesses having opening ceremonies, tourists and busses on the bridge at Padang Padang, and people at their homes and businesses keeping busy preparing the days offerings, or burning yard waste and trash.
If you happen to run out of gasoline in your scooter, you can stop at a roadside hut that has old glass vodka bottles filled with a liter or two of gas. The going price seems to be about 8 thousand Indonesian Rupiah per liter which ends up being about 69 cents. Petrol prices are very good here.
After winding through town and the greenery that lines every road here on the Bukit- I get to the top of the hill in Uluwatu and make my way to the beautiful Morning Light Yoga studio at the Uluwatu Surf Villas. The studio sits on a cliff where you have jungle on one side, and the surf at Uluwatu below- one of the most beautiful spaces I have ever been fortunate enough to spend time.
Along with beautiful but low key resorts, there are a few spots for night life here too. Any given night there is a beach party or bar party with either a dj or local live band playing. Some are strictly tourist and expat shindigs- and some even attract local people. Personally, I have hung up my party pants in exchange for good sleep and hangover free mornings- but we have gone to a few of these events to spend time with friends and watch some pretty amazing sunsets- as well as listen to good music. We have had some lovely invites to temple ceremonies from the caretakers of our house, but so far have been away for the important dates. I hope to get to put on a real sarong and sash and make it to a ceremony while we are still in Bali. It is one of the most noticeable and beautiful distinctions of Balinese culture.
So now, on a more personal level:
Today, I am getting ready to leave here for a month of intense yoga practice and teacher training up in Ubud. While the chilled out existence here on the Bukit is addictive- I have recovered enough energy to go dedicate myself to continued growth and education, while Alex is doing the same in his own way.
We have zero plans beyond this October- but are really loving and cherishing our freedom and adventures at the moment, and this has been leading us forward in the most natural feeling way. The connections with people we have made here while some short and transient- are connections that I have no doubt will make some of the most lasting impacts on us and our future choices. So I want to end this entry with some reflections for anyone who happens to read this. We have heard a few times from people that they are envious, or that they admire what we are doing. That its something they want to do themselves- or we also get concerned questions like where will we settle down to live? While these are so honest and appreciated- the best answer right now is that we really just don’t know- and we are not worried about it. Honestly.
What would you do right now, if you gave yourself complete permission to do what you want- with no consideration for what you believe you “should” be doing? Are those really your own “shoulds”? Could you trust that things would work out? That enough money would be there somehow-maybe from ways you never thought of or expected, love would be there, and that you wouldn’t have to be afraid of how it all ends, or what people will think? I admit, we had some circumstances line up in ways that I never could have planned that made this possible for us. And I’m not at all implying that everyone wants to sell all of their belongings and live in Indonesia either. And it is scary to do something opposite to what most of your friends or family are doing, or may expect you to be doing. And while we do miss our friends and family often-this has still been the right choice for us. I understand that there are millions of ways to engage in life in a way that you feel good about personally. So what does that look like for you? I just want to be one of those nagging reminders to people that you are not stuck- ever. Even if it feels so true that you are. If I can let go of a million limiting beliefs about myself and my life- and experience and understand this level of joy and freedom- I know it is possible for anyone. So?