Showing posts from 2016

Bali: Eating, Praying and Loving around Ubud

What Julia Roberts does not convey in the movie is that one actually does not need to pass by Italy and India, but can get a complete package and "eat, pray and love" all in Bali. Well I did not encounter Javier Bardem (not even anyone nearly as charming, cute and attractive as him) but I did find many things to love there (including Macaques, Geckos and other living beings). So here I am in Ubud, just arrived from my cute little Canggu village and I am in complete culture shock. The central streets are overcrowded with tourists, scooters, taxi scooters and taxi drivers literally pulling me to get on their taxi scooter (at some point I even get offered a coffee, just to get on the scooter - sweet people...) - I am a little intimidated and the crowd is stressing me out. But it does have its charm, people are pushy but not too much, it is busy but not too much, it is chaotic but not too much. Everything is just at my good level of tolerance. Anyway, I am eager to get away

Bali: Local Peculiarities

One thing I am crazy about when traveling on my own is to ask people various questions. It is fantastic, you just need to ask and you get all answers and all different perspectives. In Bali there is basically no public transport, the only way to move between places is to arrange with some local people to drive you here and there. For many households, this is indeed the main source of income. You just find some number from somewhere, call someone, give some vague directions and voila - you have a personal driver in minutes. In the beginning it is a little intimidating, I wonder if they are cheating me with the money, if they will kidnap me and I will never come back, if we will understand each other at all, but by day 2 only I am already experienced, having a few numbers "from somewhere" and skillfully arranging tariffs and prices. I even arrange some trips for some strangers in Serenity and I am having a lot of fun.  I meet Johan at the airport, he picks me up and we qu

Bali: An Ultimate Yoga & Meditation Heaven

I am staying at a yoga house called  Serenity  in a small village by the ocean - Canggu. I highly recommend it to anyone whether passionate about yoga or not. It is just a little piece of heaven on Earth. Its tranquility is built on the wild vegetation all over the place, the little fountains, the peaceful music, the ultimately friendly and devoted to the guests staff. The food one could get there is not simply food to feed you, it is nothing fancy either but with every bite I am experiencing a bliss and wondering how I will ever eat anything else. Everything is vegetarian, fresh, natural and full of taste. The avocados, cucumbers, mangos, egg plants...nothing tastes like back in Belgium. It is somehow stronger and much more distinct. There is sufficient wild life, too. Little lizards are inhabiting the place and feel at home. They are not bothered by people and feel extremely comfortable to climb any wall behind you. I feel I am fully immersed when I am no longer bothered by hav

Bali: A One-way-ticket Destination

I booked my trip to Bali sort of spontaneously ... I was in the middle of another turbulent moment (best thing about those is that the same way you are sure they will come, you are also sure they will go) so I felt like making a gift to myself and without too much preparation I got on a plane to Bali. The magical thing about solo trips is that you end up never being alone. Fascinating people would always cross your path and you just need to be open and discover. What is special about it is that when meeting strangers, they have no background for you, you have no background for them - so it is an instant exploration from the very first moment. Strangers form their opinions based on exactly who you are at this very moment, there is no judgement based on past knowledge. It is sort of liberating and exciting. It actually helps you gain a better picture of yourself in the current time, outside of your usual context and environment. I have also learned so much from all beautiful people wh

Conceptualizing Power and Care with His Holiness the Dalai Lama

I have a long history of unconsciously pursuing His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.  When I was in high school (around 2005) someone had unintentionally left at home a book called "Siddhartha" by Herman Hesse. The book is a novel dealing with the spiritual journey towards enlightenment of a man during the historical time of the first realization of Buddha. I read it spontaneously and the concepts were quite distant to me at that point but without knowing I had opened the door to a life-long exploration of Buddhist philosophy.  I would do occasional readings on the topic in the years after, until I went to study at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville in 2011 (no obvious connection with the Dalai Lama so far, I know). There I signed up for a course in Non-violent Politics, which was led by a brilliant American professor... accompanied by a Tibetan Buddhist Monk! We studied the political movements of Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and... His Holiness the 14th Dala