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 who have crossed my way and, hence, I am sharing here some of my experiences.

My first encounter is on the plane from Bangkok to Bali. I sit next to a beautiful Scandinavian girl, a little younger than me, who is asking me if I am scared to fly. She shares that she has been going into tears her whole life when on a plane, as she has always been flying with her boyfriend and now for the first time she is on a plane going to the other side of the world and there is no trace of fear whatsoever. She has realized that she has been ultimately dependent on her relationship and now she has booked a one-way ticket to Bali to get to know herself outside of a couple. She has left her make-up and hair-straightener at home, taken one small bag and boarded a plane. She is going to a surfing school and she doesn't even know how to swim. I find this young lady so brave and impressive... the first person I meet, out of many, who has gotten a one-way ticket to Bali and headed towards the unknown.

I spend my first few days in a Yoga house by the sea, where I meet a few people from whom I learn a lot. I say hello to this British girl a little before midnight and we spend the whole night till the morning talking. I somehow know that had we met in our usual environments we would have never spoken but there, in Bali, this has little importance, everything starts from scratch. She has had a car crush, where three of her friends have lost their lives and since then her life has turned upside down. She is telling me what helped her get out of bed in her worst days. I am thinking how we can never be prepared for what life brings us, but yet we need to take it. While discussing how she could find again who she was before the car crush, she realizes that probably what she has to find is just a new version of herself. I somehow develop such a deep sympathy for her - for me she is already a new version of herself and I feel so thankful to have met her.

I meet this French girl who is on her way to a Vipassana retreat, which consists of 10 days of meditation and complete silence. She has almost never practiced meditation before and, hence, she is spending a few days in the Yoga house to adjust and gain some confidence.  She has quit her job as it has no longer been rewarding and fulfilling and there she goes - a one-way ticket to Bali. She admits to be quite anxious about staying in silence for 10 days but eventually on the day of her departure she is ready. Based on what she tells me when it's over - the Vipassana retreat is something everyone should experience. In the first days you are fighting with yourself  and you feel as if you will explode, in a few days all your "daemons" awaken, even those whose existence you did not expect - your thoughts, fears and concerns conquer you and you can't figure out what to do with them. You are angry with yourself, with the world. At day 8, almost before the final, she wants to quit but the main teacher at the monastery talks her out. Finally, she completes it and admits to have experienced the most powerful and in fact quieting the mind journey, which she even wants to repeat. It is interesting to me how much our consciousness has to say, how much we pile there daily and how difficult it is to come in peace with it. 

As I am eating with my new friends outside on the beach, we share the table with a German lady who is eating on her own. She gives us some advices on the food and I immediately realize she is sort of "local" so I am ready to bombard her with questions. I have already been so enchanted by the idea of the lives of all those expats who I randomly meet and who have established their lives in this remote village by the sea, that I am just insanely hungry to learn more about them and how and why they do it. She has worked her whole life in a corporation in the fashion industry in Germany, having a glamorous life, huge apartment, fancy clothes - basically everything, but true fulfillment and happiness. One day she has just booked a one-way ticket to Bali and has never come back. Now she has her own business of importing and selling silver, her only shoes are her flip-flops and she is happily living with a man who she met on the island for 5 years already. She is sharing how fed up she has been with having her life planned in her agenda weeks and months in advance, with having to book a restaurant always in advance, with living according to standards set to herself from outside, with having to fulfill some social norms in order to be accepted and to be approved by her family. She says (I imagine she is in her late 40's) that never ever in her entire life has she felt so free and so happy like in Bali. I ask her what she misses from her life in Europe - she has to think hard to come up with an answer and then she is like "maybe I sometimes miss the snow". She is so relaxed and has such a strong presence. She is laughing and her last words to me before she leaves are "Don't worry, you just need to have a target and follow your inspiration, that's all." Everything that she says somehow makes so much sense to me and at the same time I still find the concept somehow distant. 

Anyway, I meet fantastic people and my friends at Serenity have all arranged to be there when I leave Canggu to head towards Ubud, as they are staying much longer and it is very very touching for me. It is exceptional how in just a few days, in this isolated environment, you have bonded so strong with the people you've met that you can actually call them friends. It is truly touching and I am so thankful for my experience, but I am also ready to move to the next step of my trip, and so they are. A fine lesson on Non-attachment and love.

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