I really blew my load by almost dying so early on in the trip, didn’t I? What self discoveries or interesting musings do I have left to make? Probably none now that I’m a fully self-actualized and perfectly well-rounded human being. I guess I have nothing left to say. *This was all written before meeting up with the Vietnam/Laos/Thailand group: WHAT A FOOL I WAS.* If the first few days of Bali was about finding a renewed sense of connection and life and then also certain death, the last few days was about #knowingthyself.
While traveling can be fulfilling, and can help give new perspectives, it’s also incredibly hard. There’s so much pressure to “travel the right way.” Do everything there is to do, see everything there is to see, and eat all the foods. If you’re not careful, traveling can turn into the very thing you’re trying to escape from: stress. One of the toughest things is giving yourself the permission to do what you want to do, and not worry about the things you think you should do. So when the option of climbing up a volcano to watch the sunrise on Mount Batur in Kintamani presented itself, I very seriously thought about doing it, even though my fitness level is about the same as that of a soft baby. And since I nearly died the day before via cliff, going up an actual active volcano was dangling the proverbial carrot in front of death. So I said “LOLOLOL EFF OFF, BRO, YA RITE.”
And guess what: NOT A SINGLE REGRET.
Sure it would’ve been a physical challenge, but that’s not what I’m really after. What am I after? I don’t know that either. In the broadest sense, inspiration? A deeper understanding of who I am and what I want? I already have a pretty good idea of who I am, but I think this constantly needs to be challenged so I don’t get stuck in my ways. But choosing NOT to hike upwards for 2.5 hours starting at 3 am? That’s not me staying in my comfort zone out of fear. That’s me honouring myself and valuing my goddamn life.
I was rewarded with the perfect view, a full belly, and a doggo best friend.
After a delicious breakfast with a view, we left Kintamani that morning and made our way to Ubud, and I made sure to take my now daily Gravol for the drive. Before getting to Ubud, we stopped for lunch at the Planeterra-supported Senang Hati Foundation, which assists people living with disabilities in Indonesia. Having any type of disability is hard enough, but remember that Bali is mostly Hindu, which believes in reincarnation and that your circumstances in this life are a direct result of what you did in a previous life. So not only are people with disabilities unable to do the most basic of tasks because Asia is hella inaccessible, but there’s also a religious stigma attached to being born different. Which fucking SUCKS. I bought some bracelets there to support the cause, so I’m that person who goes to Bali and comes back wearing beaded jewelry. COME AT ME.
We also stopped to try Kopi Luwak which is civet coffee aka the coffee beans that civets shit out. It was pretty regular tasting. But you know what they say: Once you drink coffee shit, you’ll never need another reason to drink coffee shit.
Anypoo, the hotel we stayed at in Ubud was probably the nicest one so far except that it was next to the monkey forest so it was overrun with monkeys. And sure, they were cute, but they were not fucking around. That hotel and surrounding area was THEIR territory and they let you know that by stealing your phone and sunscreen right out of your hands if you weren’t paying attention. Having studied primatology, and knowing better than to ever underestimate them, I made sure to keep my head down and eyes straight ahead and my pace steady. Does that make me sound like a huge dud? Probably, but I didn’t come to South East Asia to get rabies. So no pics of monkeys, just this one poolside. Sorry.
Ubud, if you’re curious, is dope. It’s chill, full of tourists, but still very Balinese. There’s more shops and cafes and bars blaring Ed Sheeran, but also warungs and temples. And spas. Hot damn, is it ever filled with spas. Now, as we’re already established, Baby Girl honours her body, and the greatest gift I’ve ever given myself was booking a 90 minute massage, Balinese spice rub, and flower bath at Karsa Spa. If you’re not already sitting down as you’re read this, I implore you to take a seat lest your boner makes you fall down and die after you see what this spa looks like. No matter what else happens on this two-month long trip, I already know this was the best experience and made everything worth it. Massage AND full photo shoot with flowery semi-nude, yet tasteful selfies? YEAH OBVO.
Oh and this was outside of my room.