Bali makes my soul dance – Part 4: What I learnt

So my recent holiday to Bali has had such an impact on me that there was no way to fit it into one blog post, or even 2 posts so I ended up doing 3, and it still felt incomplete at that point! I think the last bit I’d like to share with you (and I think anyone bitten with the travel bug will relate), is a list of all the things I learnt while away in this very special place.

Tree pose, with tree.
Tree pose, with tree.

It’s good to be home.

Strange one to start with, I know, but as someone who likes to keep moving, travelling, experiencing, absorbing – it’s an important one to say. It is good to be home. There is nothing like sleeping in my own bed (the absolute best is waking up the first morning after a holiday and for a second not knowing where the heck I am!). There is nothing like my family, my friends, excited pets, hearing my nephew call me aunty for the first time ever. There is nothing like having somewhere to call home, to come back to, to be able to sit there and plan the next adventure! Even though there were many loads of laundry to be done, many emails to answer, it’s good to be home.

We apologise FAR to much.

One day, while we were all chatting, we got onto the topic of how we are always saying ‘sorry’. We say ‘sorry’ when we are asking for something, ‘sorry’ when we make a bit of a noise, even ‘sorry’ when we simply just walk past someone. Imagine apologising for just being there, for doing something normal? Well, we all do it, and why? Why apologise for being in a certain place, at a certain time, for being YOU? It was decided to substitute the word ‘sorry’ with ‘surprise’ – and stick with that throughout our holiday. It was such a great idea, sometimes hilarious, but mostly true to ourselves!

Anyone who thinks ‘get a bunch of girls together and they’ll turn into a biatch gang’ is wrong.

I’ve never had the pleasure of going a million kilometres away from home, my comfort zone, and my support structures with a bunch of strangers, I normally do it alone. And if television is to be believed, never take yourself to a remote island with a bunch of women. Television is not to be believed. We didn’t all suddenly sync our ‘cycles’ and start stealing makeup and sobbing hysterically while clawing into a tub of chocolate icecream and stabbing eachother with stilettos. Instead we listened, we learnt, we grew and we cultivated deep friendships that will probably be lifelong. We were all working on aspects of our personal journeys and I have never seen such support, and such celebration together. Put a bunch of like-minded women together and you quickly find a Goddess Tribe is built.

There is happiness in simplicity.

The Balinese are incredibly spiritual and live a happy life of quiet subsidence. I know as tourists, there’s a lot we don’t see, and there is abject poverty in Bali – however this is not mirrored with abject materialism. Everything acquired is shared, and you can feel it and see it everywhere you go. The air is literally alive with the flow of unblocked energy. There’s a vibration of abundance far more tangible, ironically, than the visual, material confirmations in other places. You enjoy what you have, now – and you share.

Banana pancakes rock.

Really, enough said – the heading says it all! Do it, go to Bali, eat banana pancakes for breakfast every damn day. I’ve never been the same since, and neither will you!

Travel is better with people.

Normally, I travel alone, and I like it. I’m lucky enough to have friends around the globe, so there’s always the chance to meet up, catch up and sometimes even have a base. I do however like my space and love being selfish with my time – deciding when and where I want to be, and what to do with my day – and being able to shop shamelessly…! I have also always believed that travel with friends could make or break a friendship if you’re not like-minded about how much or little you want to do. This was the first trip, since I was 20, that I booked to go with a group of strangers – and it was wonderful. Being with like-minded, and easy-going people really is recommended, and instead of being mere travel companions, I’ve made some beautiful, supportive friends.

Don’t spend all your money.

Really, you reckon? I even need to say that? What on earth is this I’m reading? Is this padding to make a longer blog? Nah, I just mean enjoy spoiling yourself with your holiday budget, but don’t spend to the last banknote. Keep it for the next time. I have done that – kept a banknote (of a small denomination mind you!), as I firmly believe that it means I will be going back to Bali to use it another time. I keep that banknote in my mobile phone case as a reminder.

Ketut is a name. It’s not a job title, personal title, qualification or even an address.

Travelling around, I saw a lot of signs for doctors and dentists and businesses, all with the word Ketut included. I was then introduced to a few people some male, some female also with ‘Ketut’ mentioned in the introductions. I was confused and intrigued. Couldn’t be that EVERYONE in Bali has the same name? Was it some kind of title, or even maybe a salutation? Well, a quick lesson in Balinese naming culture taught me something new: ‘Every Balinese child is simply named by his or her order of birth. The first born, boy or girl, is Wayan. The second born is Made (pronounced ma day). The third born is Nyoman. And the 4th born is Ketut.  If a family has more than four children, the cycle repeats itself, and the next ‘Wayan’ may be called Wayan Balik, which loosely translates to ‘another Wayan’.’ – excerpt from this useful blog . So there you have it. You’re welcome.

The world will be a better place if everyone believed in Karma on a deep level.

Yes, we all have seen, and probably shared that lovely inspirational photo that does the rounds on Facebook about birds eating ants, and trees making matches, and ants eating dead birds and stuff, etc, etc. We’ve all cried after a break-up and hoped the ex has an outbreak of zits and all his teeth fall out – but we have become a bit skewed on this concept. It’s a bit abstract sometimes, and other times a badly-intentioned concept of revenge. In Bali, it’s believed on a deep, religious, almost cellular level. You place offerings everywhere, for everything, to bless and thank everything else. You consider not only every action, but every thought and how that thought translates into a deed, and into Karma. Is it good, is it necessary? This is probably why Bali had the most amazing energy, vibrating with contentment and potential – and why it felt safe, happy and welcoming. Even with the abject poverty, not one person was taking from another, or even having to ask. People give freely, for the greater good – because the only blessings you can take with you later, wherever you believe you go, is the goodness you have done in the here and now. If we all believed in Karma and built it into our way of life, I believe the world would be a far better place.

Your inner child needs to come out and play.

I forgot I had one. No joke. Please don’t do the same! Life can be cruel, but don’t hide your inner child so long that you forget her (or him!). Jumping around on the beach at sunset, doing some ‘yoga-play’, getting some pens and colouring in pictures by the pool, ordering milkshakes, jumping on beds – whatever it is you need to do, please make time to do so every day. I’ve been back now 1 month and 1 day, and the days I forget about my inner child are the days that the Bali trip seems years ago. Let your child out to play, it’s the cheapest anti-ageing product on the market.

So, I’ll end with this: Tan lines may fade, but memories don’t need to…

(and I’m saving for my next trip back.)


Photo courtesy of my phone.
Photo courtesy of my phone.

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