A piece on a place close to my heart.
Each year, I leave you with mixed emotions. Broken hearted but knowing that I'll be back sooner than I plan. Each year, I try to talk myself out of this trip. I try to convince myself to travel to a new pretty place. But it never works. Maybe, it's because I'm a creature of habit or maybe because, Bali is more than just a pretty place.
Bali is a dirty mess, full of people, myself included,
who pretend everything is blue, pristine and flawless.
Boys and girls melt down when the reality of Bali doesn't match the one they've built in their mind. Posting the good on social media, crystal clear photos, not showing the trash floating through the line-up, or the bad habits you pick up. The bintangs, the cloves. I feel, Bali is like any person. Trying to keep it together, be attractive to
outsiders. Humanly. Pretending life is "Pineapples and Coconuts." like someone told me at bobby's mart the other night. Pretending we don't have problems. "good vibes only." But Bali like most people is a mess, unstable, raw and has its ups and downs.It's fun to pretend like those parts of us don't exist but it looms, you can feel it.
The fact that you hassle over 50 cents that you don't really need, but someone else does. The old white men that think that they can talk to women however they want because "It's Bali sweetheart." The guys and girls who pretend there isn't someone waiting for them at home. Almost anything flies. But it obviously isn't all bad.
The greatness of Bali comes in the
smallest forms that you learn to love.
The cuts on your feet from the reef that you ignore because the surf is so good. The people- locals and tourist are the best people you will find in your whole life. The long lasting friendships that you make along the way, each year adding people to the story books. The stories you get to hear passing through. The late nights at Bobby mart hangouts, the early mornings drinking coffee at Sudi's. The Mie-Goreng! The mopeds, the crashes. The trash burning on the side of the road, and how somehow you start to like the smell. When you take away the social media post, it has the oddest form of beauty. Everything is full of destruction, love, excitement.
Bali is a spiritual place. Where people go to "find themselves." A place where you learn you can control your outcomes with the way you approach situations. You can decide to be happy, to get good things. Or you can decide to be sour and you can see the snowball effects that follow. This place shows you more than anywhere I have ever been that you are in control of your life, and where you want to go with it. You can get sucked into the bad habits, and easy living, or you can push back and find out what you are made of.
Last time I was here my first friend had died, I had dropped out of college, broken up with who I thought was the love of my life, had no idea who I was, or what I wanted. I wasn't excited about my future, I was naive and lost.
I don't remember that girl.
Bali has always been a huge part of my life. The first time we came over here I was seven years old. The mamas looked after me and the boys took me under their wings. The people here have become part of my family. Teaching me, helping me grow up every trip.
I used to dream about living in Bali. I will always have that dream, but there's a lot of putting my head down that needs to go on first. It's taken heartbreak, failure, and lost to figure out who I am and what I want. It has taken a lot to believe in myself, to follow my dreams. I want to work for it. I want to push myself now, and relax later.
Bali sacrifices itself. The locals sacrifice their home. Tearing down the forests to build more villas, keep the economy thriving. To keep people like me coming back. Sometimes people forget the reason to go there is the rawness, the energy, the being able to put the phone down and fall off the grid for a minute. It's more than a spa day. Bali is destructive, beautiful, painful, and ever changing, much like a person.