Over and over, before we even set foot on this trip, I wondered, “Should I even go to Bali? Bali’s just not me.”
I’m so stoked that you stuck around for part 2 of this blog because part 2 is so much better than part 1!
So here’s where you left off, “Needless to say, the first 48 hours were hard. Tell me, if this were you would you not be a bit uncomfortable, angry, distressed, or frustrated in this situation?” . . .
This just so happened to be the time that I was reading the book, The Rock Warrior’s Way. And though I was already aware of everything the author spoke of in the book, the timing was ironic.
The book is mainly about having a learning based mindset which is something I’ve valued ever since I’ve started traveling.
But it very much felt like a sign from the universe that I was reading this at the time…or it maybe it was a coincidence.
Though I help my mom make a lot of our travel decisions I don’t consider myself the one that gets to or has to make the big decisions. So for the next few days I simply worked on trying to personally enjoy this learning process and how I should really value this challenge.Having a learning based mindset is the idea that no matter what you love to do—travel, rock climb, write, whatever it is—it's about enjoying the challenges involved in that passion not achievements.Click To Tweet
Because if you value achievements or don’t even value challenge, you will never be truly happy with where you are.
Medewi was nothing if not a challenge.
The next morning, I woke up and looked at the sunrise from our balcony a different way, it really was about as a good as a sunrise could get. I was grateful for the simple things like electricity and water. I went surfing, this time walking along the beach which was much more pleasant and beautiful. I cut up my feet again, but scored some rad waves. We had lunch and smoothies at the warung as a big happy family. I played in the water with my siblings. I surfed with my parents again, this time at the fun beachbreak in front of our house. We hung out at the house in our boredom. And finally we had another huge meal at the warung.
The restaurant in itself saved us. The food was so ridiculously cheap here, we ate like kings. We’ve never been able to go out to eat anywhere and each order our own drink and here we each got our own drink twice a day.
Plates of food cost $1 and they were tasty.
During our stay the 2 women who ran the warung got to know us and my mom began asking for custom dinners. And if we ate well before, we began eating great. We had feasts for dinner and felt somewhat guilty because of how little locals routinely ate. When we ate better we began feeling better.
After one or two more mishaps with the water and electricity, they stopped being issues.
The surf got better too. We had 3 days of truly epic surf. If you’ve read my Raglan blog, you’ll know that I consider Raglan the most perfect wave in the world, but Medewi might have it beat.
We had a little routine going and we did a pretty good job of enjoying our time here. We were tolerating it well . . . but merely tolerating it.
So my mom had an idea, “We came to see Bali, right? Well we might not be back here so why don’t we use the money that we’d spend on a flight home to better enjoy our visit to Bali.”
So we took another risk, we rented a car on Bali. Remember how I was saying the roads were mad here (if you missed this go back and read part 1). Well it was an adventure to say the least.
For 10 days, we traveled how we normally travel. We road tripped.
We visited Seminyak and got a taste of what luxury travel is like.
Next, we went to Canggu for a week, and Canggu changed everything.
We loved everything about Canggu, the hipster restaurants, the surf, and the good vibes. One of our houses wasn’t very nice in Canggu which was a bummer considering how much we liked the town, so we explored Uluwatu for a day.
Then we solemnly parted with Canggu and headed to Ubud and once again loved it—loved the town and loved the jungle.
But as we went further north, things started going downhill again.
We saw the crowded Tegallalang Rice Terraces, hiked to one of the most beautiful waterfalls ever, and we drove along Twin Lakes—but the natural beauty we came to those places for, was sadly corrupted.
I believe nature belongs to the world, it belongs to everyone.
It’s not something to be bought and sold and unappreciated and all these gorgeous natural wonders were being sold to make money—sure, the people are poor and desperate but I think it’s wrong that everything beautiful on their island costs money to enter.
This set us off on a bad foot so when we arrived in an AirBnb near the North coast of Bali, we just wanted to relax with wifi and get work done. Except the house did not have wifi and there was nothing to go do near the house and the grocery store was far and we were left with a feeling of being trapped.
We found ourselves in the exact same situation we tried to escape in Medewi, except this time, with no world class surf break.
I hated that house with all my heart. Now imagine my mom, all the rage built up from 2+ weeks in Bali finally unleashed when the AirBnb manager didn’t let us shorten our stay and give us a refund. The guy was a completely rude and refused to let us do a simple thing, leave 1 day early and refund 1 night. One thing led to another, somebody came and asked for our passports and my mom freaked out that the police were coming or something and said “we’re leaving.”
The next morning we were soooo glad to be out of there. We came North to see the town of Munduk but we seriously contemplated skipping it. But in the end we figured that we’d come this far north we should make the 30 minute detour to see what we came to see.
The waterfalls were beautiful but once again we were charged to enter. We walked though coffee plantations and through the jungle and it was a highlight of our road trip.
You’re probably wondering where this is going at this point, but I promise the “lesson” this blog is all about is coming so keep reading 😉
We left Munduk and we’re back on the long windy road to Medewi.
Good things never last.My expert-driver mom tackled the craziest road—a steep, pothole-ridden incline. I feared turning back, but she made it, tires screeching, cresting the hill.
Finally after another hour of driving along a mountain ridge overlooking Bali’s canopy and declacenfing a long windy road, we arrived back at our house and we all said, “I never thought I’d be so glad to be back!” There was a strange sense of comfort being back in that village. But it didn’t last long.
We enjoyed being back there for 2 days or so but then the hardships came back. We were getting sick of the unhealthy food which starting to make us feel terrible. And in case you forgot, there was still no wifi.
We repeated the same contemplations. Should we buy tickets out of here go to Kuala Lumpur (which was a place we had to stop anyway on our flight back to LAX)? Should we tough it out for the final week? Should we have even come to Bali in the first place?
Some of us believed staying was wiser to save money we desperately needed when we landed. Some thought leaving would be worth the debt.
Then the decision was made. We leave and it feels like giving up.
I feel like we lost, not just mentally, but also really in the fact that we toughed it out this long, couldn’t we have lasted 6 more days and saved A LOT of money.
But in the end it was not my choice to make, I always knew it wasn’t. My mom wants to take our opinions into account and though she says she wants us to make the decision, she is a leader and her choice, which is almost always the right choice, is the only choice that matters.
And I’m so grateful for that choice.
In 1 choice, the trip turned from one of my least favorite trips ever to one of the greatest and happiest weeks of my life ranking among the week I traveled across the Southern border of France in 2016, the week I backpacked 2 Great Walks in New Zealand, and the week I lived on the side of Icicle Creek Road in Leavenworth and explored an alpine wonderland.
We went back to the 1 place on the island we truly felt at home.In Canggu our entire view of Bali changed. We loved Bali. Canggu was simply the perfect combination of locals, tourists, nature, structure, energy, and relaxation. Click To Tweet
We spent an entire week in Canggu, living life how a trip to Bali is supposed to be.
- We loved being able to be productive and work towards achieving our dreams.
- We loved getting French pastries in the morning (ironic).
- We loved the everyone-has-time-for-a-random-conversation feeling.
- We loved riding a motorbike (much less stressful than a car) past rice fields, down narrow roads with warungs, surf shops, and hipster restaurants lining the streets to go surf a really fun (and shallow) reef.
- We loved cooking our own food in our own kitchen.
- We loved playing pool and swimming in our own pool.
- We loved being able to order really, really good pizza (and we have high standards) and have it delivered to our house that we loved being at.
- We loved watching the sunrise each morning over the canopy and listening to the sounds of the jungle and the roosters and the crickets.
Here we are the last leg of the journey, I’m sitting watching the sunrise on our deck and I can’t help but think the human psyche is amazing.Bali was a marathon that we half heartedly ran ever since arriving here.Click To Tweet
Looking back, we went through Bali like a race, counting down the days until it ended—hoping each day, each step would get easier.
Then we changed pace, we did our little road trip and it was a pleasant run. We enjoyed ourselves but there were still negatives hanging on us throughout the road trip.
That ended and we’re back in a hard time, the countdown omnipresent in the backs of our minds.
The finish line was in sight but finally, we were out of energy to push any harder. We gave up, we quit the race and began jogging at a slower pace even if it meant losing. Then suddenly in a blink of an eye you’re at the finish line and you realize you don’t want it to end. You want to go back to the start and do it all over again. You want go back and know to just run it at the pace you want.We gave up, we quit the race and began jogging at a slower pace even if it meant losing. Then suddenly in a blink of an eye you're at the finish line and you realize you don't want it to end. You want to go back to the start and do it all over again.Click To Tweet
The majority of our trip was spent wishing we weren’t stuck here and the other half we love it so much we don’t want to leave and we can’t wait for the day we come back.
I tell myself and my family that if we had come with the intention to stay in Canggu the whole time, we wouldn’t have even come to Bali because we wouldn’t have been able to afford it.
Here we find ourselves in yet another, “Purposely getting lost,” situation. This phrase we made up refers to how, by seeking adventure, we allow ourselves room to get lost.
The general gist of it means that life is unpredictable. Not everything is going to go according to plan and that’s a good thing. That’s what makes life interesting.Let yourself get lost because by doing so you will be greeted with the the most memorable moments of your life. Click To Tweet
Related blog: Purposely Getting Lost
Part of me wondered if I’d gone “soft.” If it was “wrong” that I enjoyed living such an easy life in Canggu but I correct myself. Of course it’s not wrong, everyone enjoys comfort every once in a while. But it’s knowing that Im rarely ever this comfortable and that I’m not going to be right here forever.
Because in a mere 2 days my routines are going to completely change again as we head back to the US at ground 0—and that’s good too because life is all about learning and if I stayed right here in comfort what would I gain.
If I stayed in a situation as hard as Medewi, I’d be beaten down so much that my learning mindset might’ve disappeared completely.
The truth is, nothing in this trip was truly good and bad. It all was. Some experiences may have felt better than others but the experiences weren’t good or bad, it’s just your perception of it. The goods and bads are all just relative.
Medewi wasn’t bad. Medewi was just a poor, beautiful village with an epic wave and little infrastructure.
Canggu wasn’t just good because it was. It was my perspective of Canggu having come from one of the hardest 3 weeks of my life. In fact my first experience there wasn’t nearly as amazing as the experience I had the second time.
The challenges of Medewi, and even the road trip for that matter, just made me appreciate certain comforts and privileges in Canggu. I appreciated never having to worry about being without the essentials. I appreciated having the choice to enjoy dozens of different, delicious restaurants because it’s something that makes me happy. I appreciated not being forced to be bored. And most of all, I appreciated having the freedom to have easy (motorbike) transportation to go surf, go to restaurants, and overall to entertain yourself.I'm learning that life requires balance because experiences are all relative. A situation isn't bad unless you compare it to something better.Click To Tweet
Medewi was nothing close to bad. I learned more about myself in Medewi than all of my other travels.
Canggu is great, I’m not going to lie, the town has a perfect combination that just is. But the reason Canggu was great was because of the hardships I faced before that.
Bali ended up teaching me that toughing it out isn’t always the answer—that balance is key because you can’t have good times without bad times and you can’t learn and grow without some bad.
I spent the final few days in Canggu repeating one phrase in my mind, “I love my life.”
I love the being faced with a challenge and having to overcome it. I love the lows equally as much as I love the highs. I love the hardships and I love the easy times. I love the whirlwind of emotions that travel brings. I love doing the thing so love with the people I love around me.
(That shit’s tweet-able yo)I love the being faced with a challenge & overcoming it. I love the lows and the highs. I love the hardships & I love the easy times. I love the whirlwind of emotions that travel brings. I love doing the things I love with the people I love around meClick To Tweet
I love this life of adventure I live—it is my purpose.
Have you found yours?
Do you love the hard times and taking risks too? Let me know in the comments below! Feel free to share any questions you have about Bali too!