On Bali I stayed in two places, to do absolutely nothing but sleeping, eating, surfing, tanning and snorkeling. The surfing I did in Canggu and the snorkeling in Amed, but the rest of my daily activities were the same. In Amed I stayed at Meditasi Bungalows, where I spent a little more to stay in a bamboo room right at the seaside. It was so close to the beach that the sound of the waves was almost too loud for getting to sleep. The writer of the book ‘Eat Pray Love’, Elisabeth Gilbert, stayed in Bali for 4 months, and happened to have stayed in exactly the same room as me! This is what the owner proudly told me, I had never read the book. I decided to read it now. Her journey actually has a lot of similarities with mine. Except for the fact that the reason she went on her trip was a little different… she went through a terrible divorce, suffered from depression and was in the middle of a total identity crisis. But apart from that, we are both women going on a journey to explore the world and ourselves. On an intellectual, physical, mental and spiritual level.
Elisabeth Gilbert’s meaning of eat, pray and love is something like indulgence, spirituality and balance or (romantic) love, elements I definitely have encountered on my trip, but not exactly the meaning I would give them during my time on Bali, because what I mainly wanted here is recovering from my severe tiredness. So my version of eat, pray and love on Bali is as follows. I focused on my physical health (eat) by doing yoga, surfing and eating healthy. My mental health (pray) by meditating, snorkeling (I will explain why this is mental health) and going to a traditional healer. And my social life by hanging out with some very cool people at the beach (love).
Bali is a foodie’s paradise. Not that I’m that much of a foodie, but I do like to eat all the trendy healthy stuff like quinoa salads, granola/smoothie bowls, veggies with humus, avocado toast… okay maybe I am a bit a foodie. But after a couple of months with too much fried rice and noodles and way too little vitamins, I longed for good food. So I spoiled myself with all the yummy dishes you can find on Bali. The advantage of a place which has an overload of tourists… Hipster food everywhere for a nice price 🙂
In the fishing village of Amed I had a room with sea view for my own. There even was a bed on the balcony so I could sleep outside if I wanted. Because of the mosquitos I didn’t sleep there, but it was a perfect place to meditate. Two days in my stay there I discovered that the hotel owner was a traditional healer and he invited me for a typical Balinese drink. It was really interesting to hear how he had helped people with all sorts of problems, mental and physical. So I asked him to heal me for my anxiety and panic attacks that I’d been suffering from since I got so burned out in Thailand. Worth trying right? It was a ritual where he did some praying and then we both had to meditate and focus on a bottle of water, which would become like a medicine. After that I had to pour the water over my head and my face and drink it, every act 3 times. I kept the water bottle and had to repeat the ritual before bedtime and in the morning. Although certainly not cured from my burnout, I must say I haven’t had a single panic attack or something close to it until I got home!
Amed is beautiful for diving and snorkeling. Because of the volcanic soil the sea life is very rich and apart from that, there are some beautiful shipwrecks close to the coast, covered with corals. I didn’t want to dive in my current mental (and financial) state but the snorkeling was good enough… Wow, those views. Swimming in a real life aquarium with is a meditation in itself: the beauty of nature and the silence of the ocean under the water surface.
It was my birthday on Bali, so tired or not, I wanted to celebrate it. I met up with an old friend from Hong Kong and made some new ones, so together we could party the night away. A quarter of a century and getting drunk on Bali… I don’t know what that says about me but I am definitely not feeling like I am halfway through 50. If I learned something on my trip, it is that age doesn’t matter, so I decided to stop counting from now.
I also met up with Roosje & Casper, the couple I travelled with in the Russian van in the Gobi desert,and who I later met a couple of times in China. They happened to be in Bali as well! What a small world… And how nice to spend some time with people you already know! It stroke me that as long as I was with other people I felt comfortable with, I didn’t feel as much stressed and I even got a lot of energy. Or I just could forget about it for a moment. So apart from the 6 days in Amed, I actually wasn’t spending that much time alone on Bali as I’d planned.
Surfing – 3 for 1
I’d like to add surfing here as a separate category, because it actually is all 3 in 1. And I don’t mean the fact that apart from a pretty though physical exercise, you can surf with your friends or that you get very hungry so you want to eat… but I mean the feeling of being in the water and catching a wave just makes you feel… complete, one. I don’t want to sound too hippie-ish here but I can’t explain it in another way than this. It feels like your body is in sync with nature and you can feel the love of the universe. Yes, the rasta, reggea, peace, happiness kind of ‘feel the love’. I am sorry but that’s just what I feel when I surf.
Peace out <3