“I am so terrified.” Those were the words that kept going through my head when I got the inspiration to spend six weeks in Bali, and, like, actually try to make it happen. I know there are plenty of other more valid reasons to feel “terrified”, and to a well-traveled person it might not seem like that big of a deal, but as someone who has always dreamed about traveling, but managed to let Fear keep it far out of reach from me, it is a huge deal.
At some point soon I’ll probably post some of my writing from that fear processing. But I have so much to say now, so much going through my head that I need to get out.
So, here is my experience so far…
From when I left my doorstep to arriving at my homestay, it was well over 24 hours of travel. On the car ride from the airport, I was informed that the people staying before me in the room I booked decided to extend their stay one more night. So for the first night I was set up in a nicer room in a different homestay, owned by the same people.
I was beyond delirious and disoriented when I arrived. I wore sandals, and kept the straps loose (a little too loose) so I could slip off and on easily while going through TSA at the airport. I was planning to tighten them when I got to my destination. By the time I arrived my feet were so swollen from altitude/air pressure, lack of circulation, and shitty sodium saturated airplane food, that the sandals were tight on me. I couldn’t wait to put my feet up, but what I wanted more than anything was to brush my teeth.
Before I could even gather myself to do that I just ended up walking around in circles in my room, starting to do one thing, then thinking of another, then realizing how disoriented I really was. When I’d actually stop for a minute I felt like I was still moving, the way you do when you get off of a boat and feel like you’re still rocking back and forth. Only it was two planes and a couple of car rides that I was still feeling the motion from.
Aside from the teeth, I knew I needed food and sleep. So finally, with great relief I brushed my damn teeth. I really did not want to have to use my brain anymore. There was not much of it available for use at that point anyway. But I managed to drag myself, with all my might, around the corner to the first restaurant that caught my eye, hoping that I wouldn’t start stumbling around, like a drunky, from the motion I was still feeling.
I order a chicken satay with peanut sauce and it came out with rice that was steamed in a banana leaf and steamed vegetables. It was delicious. And seeing that the beer cost less than $1.50, I couldn’t resist. Even though I was so disoriented already, and I am sensitive and to the effects of alcohol, I wanted that damn beer! Part of the appeal of coming here was that it is a haven for people like me who love healthy living. Lots of healers, yoga, vegan food, juices and elixers. But the funny thing is, as soon as I got here I felt like smoking and drinking. I’ve never been much of a smoker, but every so often, maybe 1-3 times a year, I might smoke a cigarette. I lost even those rare urges several years ago. Now, here on the Island Of The Gods, I could really go for a cigarette.
Anyway. I ate my dinner and dragged myself back around the corner to my room where I showered, took a melatonin, and went to sleep at about 8:30pm.
I woke up at about 5:00am and could tell that, because I am so sensitive, it is going to take me a few days to really start to feel like a human again. I was so relieved to have internet access, and that Facebook existed, so I could feel some sense of connection to my normal existence. I stayed in bed for a while before starting the day off with a hot bath in my beautiful open air bathroom. And I could feel in my entire body how badly I needed coffee.
As I was drying off, I walked from my bathroom and could see out my window, a mug, hot water, and coffee fixings waiting for me on my little table on the balcony outside my room. My reaction was somewhere between a little kid on Christmas morning, and the Road Runner, who takes off so fast that you can only see a cloud of dust and a ghostly silhouette of the character.My morning coffee and journaling is a very sacred (necessary) part of my day and I was happy to start getting into some sort of self-care routine. I had been jotting some things down in my journal, when I glanced up at what I wrote a few minutes earlier before I had any coffee. I couldn’t stop laughing:
As I sat with my journal, waking up to the warm, thick air, they brought me breakfast. A bowl of yellow watermelon and papaya, and green banana pancakes with coconut shavings.
When I was little I used to throw up when I’d eat banana. As I got older I think I became able to process it more, but I always associated the taste with vomit, so I’ve not been much of a banana person. But on my recent birthday, and upon planning this trip, I vowed that this would be my year of saying “YES”. And I’m so fucking glad because what went through my head when I was eating those pancakes was “this is everything a pancake is supposed to taste like!” I’m not even sure what I meant by that, because obviously they are not going to taste like what I’m used to, but basically I kind of wanted to cry they were so good.
When the coffee started kicking in and I was able to start thinking a little more clearly, and I could start to start processing. I just wanted to write- to get some of what was in me out of me, but I started thinking “I’m in Bali! I should get out and go- start taking it all in! Then I got real with myself…
It’s ok to go slow. It’s ok to take my time, I have plenty of it. I am going to be here for six weeks. I am not going to “should” on myself while I’m here! If I feel like staying in all day and writing, if I feel like going out and not writing, if I feel like smoking or drinking, if I feel like meditating for six hours- I am going to say “YES.” I came here (among other reasons) to experience myself in new ways. The “shoulds” are not Me. The “shoulds” are what get in the way of Me. They are just judgmental thoughts, the influence of being around people throughout my life (mostly in the past) who have encouraged me to stay afraid, even implanting Fears in me. Coming here at all was basically me saying a hearty “fuck you” to my Fears.
When the plane wheels first touched the ground, and as I took in the scenery on the way to my homestay, what struck me more than anything was not so much that I was here, in Bali… it was that I did this. I spent so many years making excuses instead of making plans, and now I am here, inside of the experience that I created.
I am in Bali. This is a dream come true. And I’m still getting my head (and heart) around that. This morning, as I sipped my first cup of Balinese (instant) coffee, the words in my head were “I am so happy.”