I was terrified of hitting the submit button. What was I thinking leaving my family for over a week to travel across the world for a yoga retreat? All of the negative thoughts rushed through my head. What if something happened to me while I was there? Worst yet, what if something happened to my kids while I was on the other side of the world? How was this mom going to leave her post for some rest/relaxation in a place with a 12 hour time change?
I had mentally prepared for that trip for months. I had read book after book on Indonesia. I was knowledgeable about the government, money, and culture. Some stories made me think twice. Especially when I read about the terrorist bombing that had occurred in 2002 and the 200+ tourists that had been killed or injured. My payment had been submitted and my word given-there was no turning back. I was ready for the adventure and personal growth that such a trip would offer. The following are just a few of the events/activities/adventures that I was able to experience while in Bali, Indonesia
The plane ride was no joke. On the way there…Ohio to Michigan. Twelve hours from Michigan to South Korea sitting next to a strange man picking his nose the whole time-yikes!!!! On the way back. Bali to Tokyo. A 7 hour layover in Tokyo and 2 hours on the tarmac after boarding, made us miss our connection in Detroit for another 5 hour layover there. It was my first experience with jet lag. It took me a week or two to return to normal upon return.
Bali has critters and lots of them. You had to become one with nature. To the constant trail of ants in our bathroom and beds, to the lizards that adorned the resort walls and our bedrooms. The resort staff used long rods with tape on the end to capture the little guys for those who did not want the extra visitors. I was starting to think that maybe rats were my spirit animals. I was greeted on my very first night by a friendly little fellow on my way to the common area and many times after that. Nothing like meditating in the beautiful moonlight with a rat scurrying around your feet. We even shared our sack lunch with ants. PASS….will just feast on my own stomach acid-thanks! There were also many angry looking monkeys that lined the road-whatever you do leave the monkeys alone!!!
There are very few traffic signals or signs in Bali. Everyone shares the winding/twisting roads. From the buses of tourists, to the local family piled high on a moped, to the old man riding a bike, to the young girl carrying fruit on the side of the road. It was an intricate dance that they all were part of. The car rides are not for those with a weak stomach. I can say that it was my very first time ever experiencing motion sickness. Ginger candies helped a little, but it was rather miserable. If you rolled down your window for fresh air, you immediately got a blast of hot fuel infused air-not the best solution to a queasy stomach. The terrain was gorgeous though. As we drove along the lush rice fields, I envisioned the tales from one of my all time favorite books “Eat, Pray, Love.” Those car rides were worth every second of vomit, because they took us to some pretty magical places. My favorite was our hike to the waterfall- it was one of the most amazing places I have ever been. What an energy field. It reminded of something straight from another great book “The Celestine Prophecy”
Then there was the 6.4 magnitude earthquake that shook the island during our breakfast. The ginormous statues are gorgeous in Bali, but terrifying when they swaying from Mother Earth’s rumble. The workers were so calm and reassuring, although their insides were probably quivering. Many remembered the 9.1 magnitude 2004 quake that took 227,898 lives in and around Sumatra, Indonesia. Thankfully, there was no major damage and all were safe.
The food was interesting. My brave friend Jen, bought a stinky fruit, officially known as durian, and tried it. Anything that smells like dirty socks, cannot taste good. It stench is so strong that it is even banned from some hotels. If you transport durian in your car, it will smell like a broken toliet in there for at least a week. This did not help with the car sickness either. We also had the opportunity to drink Bali Cat Poo Chino(Luwak coffee). It is coffee made from the poop of the Asian Palm Civet. Of course I paid 50,000 Rupiah for a cup (about $5). In New York City, a cup goes upwards of $30. It tasted shi**ty…..had to put that in there. Actually it just tasted like strong coffee. The resort we stayed at, The Floating Leaf http://www.balifloatingleaf.com, was very eco friendly and health concious which I loved. The food was ultra fresh and they did not waste anything. One nights leftovers was probably going to be the next nights meal mixed in with something else. The food was so fresh and organic. It took my stomach awhile to adjust to Western food upon my return home.
Then there was the Balinese Healer/medicine man. I think I may have fallen asleep during our session. No words were exchanged or advise given. He was working his Reiki magic. Many had said that he had given suggestions on what needed done, but not me? I caught up with him a few days later and asked him why he never said anything to me. He told me that my energy was not blocked-it was free flowing. I was living my truth-ahhh yes sounds about right!
The Balinese traditions and ceremonies were fascinating. They live off of traditions and rituals that guide their everyday. Sometimes their ceremonies take hours, days and even weeks to complete. Some such rituals that I was able to witness were a wedding, offerings, funeral procession, and cleansing ceremonies. We were required to wear traditional garb of sarongs with sashes to some of the ceremonies. We were even taught how to make their traditional offerings out of palm fronds and flowers. You can find these offering at the entrances of all houses and businesses. We received a traditional thread bracelet at one of our cleansing ceremonies that I kept on for almost 10 months before it fell off. I was half tempted to Facebook my friend Sukma and have her mail me another one. Then there were the processions. How could I ever forget the clingy clang of the parade of thousands to the beach to celebrate the coming of the new year and their day of silence known as Nyepi. It was terribly hard to adjust to the 12 hour time change to begin with, let alone the 3 AM wake up calls of their drums. I swear some nights I only slept an hour.
Then there are the people. The Balinese were so friendly, loving and welcoming. They were go with the flow chill. For example, my sister left her wallet in the taxi that we took home from the beach one day. He turned around and drove 20 minutes back to return it with everything in it. They are super spiritual and live by simple standards, yet are abundant with contentment and happiness. They are an example of how all humanity should live.
Although, there were obstacles and nuances to overcome, Bali had so much to offer. It required me to let go and just enjoy the journey that was unfolding. Nothing I had read prior to the trip, prepared me for the immense feeling of calm and gratitudy that I experienced. I never once had a sense of worry, longing, or sadness while there. Even with the plane rides, car rides, critters, sleepless nights, not to mention the food, Bali gave me a worldly view that helped me become centered and relaxed. I met some incredible ladies that I believe will be life long friends. I empowered myself knowing that I conquered such an endeavor. I am a better leader and example for the little OMies because of it. I even think I might have come back a few pounds lighter too!!!
Sometimes even though our ego maybe telling us no, we need to go with our gut. The change that comes with going outside of your comfort zone is the yummy stuff that leads to a fulfilling life. I encourage all who are reading this to take a trip of great magnitude, let go, and embrace the adventure.
Debbie & My Little OMies