90 Spontaneous Days Around The World : When we believe the best about ourselves
March 6, 2014
I’ve heard about Bali my whole life and it seemed like an exotic place only other people would visit. But today, I’m going to set foot there. There were a million reasons to not go. To stay stuck in fear. To pull back, especially in the face of so much pain and uncertainty— but I didn’t. I chose to Go Big, and this is my new philosophy. My new North Star. I’ve decided I don’t want to live my life as I always have. I want to live differently. I’m not completely certain what this will look like. I’ve decided I’d like to travel and write and work incredibly hard to support myself with my pen (camera and computer too).
I would find that the real magic in my life lies in an elegant truth. An elegant truth it would take a trip around the world to discover.
Java, this ancient place of mystery and history, the island where my dad was born, the island where he fought for his survival during WWII, transformed me and my pain.
Calls of “hello”
Swimming in holy water
Offerings to volcano cauldrons
24/7 people in crowded squares
Life, life, life
Manic driving and motors
4:30 AM calls to prayer
Jungle shrieks and hums
I will miss it all
The bike ride with Hannah, Tim and Peter
through the nighttime streets of Pandangaran
Volleyball, 2 AM feasts
flying foxes for dinner
Markets and the mystical
A witch’s spell cast
A holy tree wrapped
The spirit world
A heartbeat away
Waiting to be felt
Waiting to speak
Living with duplicity
the black and the white
the left hand and the right
good and evil
all have a place
finding a balance
A great harvest ahead
in the joy
that comes from
It’s my last few hours on Java and I’ll take it home with me. Whenever I feel unclear or uncertain, I’ll bring the harvest in the palm-tree fringed rice paddies to mind, trusting a rich harvest is ahead.
I take the ferry from Java to Bali today. My dear Indonesian friend warned me about the ferries. “They sink a lot of the time. Go to Bali another way,” she said. I prayed extra-hard on the crossing, so breathtakingly beautiful I can’t imagine arriving on Bali any other way.
The Hindu temples here have monuments at their entrances in the shape of hands in prayer. As you walk through, they bless you and as you leave they wish you well.
I went to the gardens of good and evil at the Goa Gajah temple in Ubud. I was kind of shocked how they acknowledge the evil spirits in this way, so different than the West.
My guide, Ketut, told me that there was a small school in the Elephant Cave at the temple here. Once upon a time, the King taught boys there about religion and philosophy. Ketut mentioned that the students were instructed in controlling their emotions because it is the only thing a person can control. He said that when there is a problem, that the problem always lies inside you, never inside another person. The the only two things a person should pray for from God, according to Ketut, is health and harmony in the family. When life is out of balance then there is a problem.
Word of the disappearing Malaysian Airlines plane shocked the world, and Indonesia was in the spotlight for the search and rescue effort. As countries scoured the Java Sea for the missing plane, relatives contacted me and my fellow traveling friends to ask about our welfare.
Was our next flight a Malaysian airlines flight? It’s hard to put into words what it’s like to go through such a global event at the heart of the event itself.
Of course I think about how short life really is. And how small the world really is. And how if we could just wrap our arms around each other more, we would weep less. That it’s ok to be afraid of the unknown, even when the world asks the question about how the impossible can happen. It’s okay not to have any of the answers you want and need when you want and need them. It’s part of the journey. Back at home people were concerned at me traveling so far away to places so different from the U.S. The more I travel, the more I understand that the key to world peace is in the friendships we make. Because, in the end, we all want the same things. We want to be happy. We want our children to be healthy. We want to be there for our friends. The more friends we have in the world the more peace we will have in the world. – March 9, 2014
It’s like Hannah said, there’s a difference between going on vacation and traveling. She told me we are travelers. And I believe it was at this point in the trip I took inspiration from Hannah and became a true traveller myself.
to be continued….