“Travel and your soul will heal”. That was my initial thought 2 weeks before starting into an adventure that I will remember forever. After a heartbreaking separation, quitting my job and moving back home, I’ve pretty much stayed in total isolation for over a month. It was time for me to step out of my self-destructive existence and move forward. But in order to achieve this mission, I needed a change of surrounding. Not that I hate being back with my parents or that I was forced to quit my job… but everything around me felt wrong and numb. I wasn’t able to feel love, happiness or any positive feeling.
I cannot tell you how I came up with Asia. After all it has never been a continent that seriously catched my attention. I did however want to visit Bali for some time now. So I bought 6 lonely planet travel guides (more or less I’ve simply hit the “add to basket” button on what sounded nice or had a nice cover on Amazon) and went from there. Within two weeks I’ve convinced my dearest cousin to join me as my plus one, buy the tickets and book the first hotel. She was free 10 days, which seemed enough for Bali.
After 16,5h of movies, indescribable food and no sleep, we’ve landed in Denpasar. We asked the hotel to pick us up, so we’ve waited for our driver Putu to arrive. Somehow as he was not coming, we started to joke around about how he must’ve been stuck in traffic or had an accident of some kind with the car. What can I say… we shouldn’t have joked about that. He sent us a video with a crashed car and the note “sorry, but there was an accident!”. An hour later and with bad feelings about our joke, we’ve arrived at Balangan Beach, a recommendation of my friend, who lived in Bali for some time. A great beach to surf, but very empty in January.
The hotel was super nice, super friendly staff and very delicious food! I’ve managed to get my very first surf lesson ever and I even stood on the board after only 3 attempts. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing. My thighs, belly and arms didn’t laugh that much though…they were pretty bruised for almost a week! But where there is joy, there is always pain involved.
Because of the lack of transportation possibilities in this area we’ve decided to go to Ubud together with two Germans, who shared the taxi with us. The ride was pretty hilarious. At one point we started to sing Indonesian songs from the radio, comparing the voices of the singers with internationally known artists and laughed really hard for 2h. Thank you for the fun rides for conversations in the hotel.
Ubud was everything we’ve had hoped. Vivid streets, life threatening road crossings and always joyful people. Also infinite offerings in front of every house or shop, which made our walks more like walking though a field of mines, because you should not step on them!! Well… I did… Now I guess I’m safe to say that I’m not cursed, but I really didn’t see it coming.
The fascinating thing about Ubud was it’s love for Latin music and dance events. And they sure know how to dance salsa and bachata. The food was interesting… depending on where you go it can be either very delicious or undefinable and… not so good.
The second day in Ubud, we ordered a driver, our friend Yuri, who drove us around to get us to some important places around the area. Of course he took us to the Bali swings first. From this experience on, we referred to it as “trashata”, which can be interpreted as the trashiest shit we’ve done whilst in Bali. Also expensive as hell for what you get. But you know what’s funny? When you see the videos and photos of all these pretty women with long dresses and perfect hair, you never hear what’s really going on. That’s why you never see their faces. They scream… and as the happy Italians that we are, it was a blast for us to see the scared faces and hear them scream for their life. Afterwards Yuri drove us to the tegalalang rice terrace, where we hiked around the rice fields and took lots of photos. This was also the place where I slipped with my Birkenstocks and fell knee deep into a rice field. Covered in mud and unable to get out by myself, we both burst into laughter and it was almost impossible to wash off all the mud that covered my shoe, my pants and my leg.
The best part of our day tour was visiting Pura Tirta Empul, the temple of ritual purification in holy springs. It was fullmoon, a very important day for Balinese Hindus, so we were lucky to experience the energy and commitment surrounding the ritual, which is supposed to cleanse their souls and war off all evil by praying and then taking a bath under all 30 showers. Seeing young and old Balinese sitting in front on a huge pile of offerings, holding flower blossoms between their praying hands and becoming one with the surrounding was one of the most powerful things I’ve seen in Bali. I was in awe and after taking some photographs I stopped for a moment to inhale the magic energy and tears filled my eyes. I believe that within this moment a part of my soul cleansed itself, too. A weight was lifted off of me and I was thankful. Just by putting these words here, I feel this energy again and tears come back. But that wasn’t the only magical thing that happened that day…
In the evening we met 4 Canadians. What began as an unfortunate attempt of one guy trying to hit on my cousin, ended in a night full of conversations, “awkward silence” moments, shisha, stealing Cocoa Puffs that were already set up for breakfast and infinite laughter. It’s been only a few times in my life that I’ve experienced a group of random people getting together and having a wonderful connection within a few minutes. Hard to explain, but it’s all about the vibe. When you don’t feel the need to change who you are in order to make an impression, when you can tell that person everything truthfully and the feeling is mutual.
The next day we went to the monkey forest with two of the guys. I think I don’t have to tell you how funny it was. My cousin and I agreed, that meeting them was fate as exactly what we all needed. I can only speak of myself, but I think some higher power (call it god or whatever you believe in) wanted me to meet them and have these conversations and adventures. I don’t believe in coincidences. It was too real and the connection too strong to call it luck or coincidence. Unfortunately the guys left the hotel that day to go to their Airbnb, so we said goodbye, but promised to meet again in Seminyak.
For the last days we’ve decided to spend them in Seminyak. Back to the beach for some final relaxation before flying to Kuala Lumpur and saying goodbye to my cousin. And yes we’ve even managed to both get the worst sunburns of our lives!!!! I even got to practice some Yoga on my travel yoga mat, that I squeezed into my backpack, hoping for it to get pulled out more often than it actually did. Seminyak is a wonderful place. A huge vivid beach, big enough for sun bathing, reading a book and surfing in peace and colorfully lit at night with many bars and lots of people enjoying themselves surrounded by music, laughter and occasional fireworks. We’ve even managed to meet one of our Canadian friends!
As I am about to end this post there is only a few little things I have to get off my chest…
Bali, you have been wonderful to me! When I arrived I wasn’t the person who I knew my whole life. I was crushed, negative and without any perspective. You have welcomed me with open arms and gave me all the things I needed to set a foot into the right direction. I am thankful for all the places you’ve taken me, for showing me the culture and religion, the warmth of every Balinese person I’ve met and most of all I am thankful for guiding me towards new friends, good conversations and unforgettable memories. You gave me the strength to start reflecting on my past, me as a living being and who I am destined to be. I am thankful for having had the chance to experience this trip with my cousin and I am 100% positive that it made our bond even stronger. I have embraced every experience and sign and I will never forget nor lower the value of this trip.
Til then, stay safe wherever you are, embrace the little things that come to you, life is good. God is good.
Yours always and truly,
ElinaAria aka. ChickenMonkeyBackpacking
In addition to the post I’ve decided to put a little playlist here with songs that I’ve listened to during these days.
- SOHN – Rennen
- Other lives – For 12
- Warpaint – Billie Holiday
- Son Lux – Resurrection
- Four Tet – Two Thousand and Seventeen
- Fink – Looking too closely
- Billie Eilish – everything I wanted
- POLIÇA – Amongster
- Soko – we might be dead by tomorrow