Celebrating one year in Bali! How crazy. Time is a peculiar thing. Sometimes feeling like a flash of bright light holding all the memories in a tight compact bundle while other times a long winded colorful road that I slug slowly along.
I typically write about the highlights of my month, and this month will be no different. However, I do want to point out that every month is an emotional roller coaster with really high highs and relatively low lows. This month was no exception. When I was at the top of the roller coaster, I could’ve sworn that I was going to be there forever looking down on the rest of the ride saying, “hey, I’m just going to hangout here for a while. Yep, no need to keep the ride going. You can just hit pause for a bit.”
But as always, there is no pause button. What fun would that be anyway. The whole thrill of the ride is the drop. And of course, this drop was inevitable. It’s just a manner of how you handle it. Do I put my hands up and squeal with delight or curse in the name of fear?
Well, this month was a little bit of both, but I never promised to get through life gracefully with no dirt on my hands. It’s all a learning process.
So why were there high highs and low lows?
I took a long weekend to travel to a small island off the coast of Bali called Nusa Lembongan. There is a cluster of three Nusa Islands next to each other. Two are connected by bridge, and the other you have to get to by boat.
Nusa Lembongan has beautiful views and is fairly easy to get to. With an hour drive to the port and a 30-minute speedboat ride, we made it.
I went with a few friends and then a bunch of people I had never met before until I showed up. Such is the life of traveling abroad. Going with the flow and meeting many new, different people along the way. Luckily, everyone was super sweet, and it was fun to get to know everyone.
Traveling during rainy season is quite the crapshoot and unfortunately, it rained like crazy the first two days I was there. We tried to go snorkeling and see a bunch of mantas, and although it was sunny when I got on the boat, 30 minutes in, the rain poured down like it was freaking Noah’s Ark.
If you’ve ever read the book The Odyssey, it felt like I was Odysseus on the boat trip of his life dodging waves and hurdles. I have never been on a small boat in as big of waves in my life. Many people were getting seasick, so we had to cut our snorkeling short and take cover on Nusa Penida. The biggest island of the cluster.
We took cover at a local beach club and simply sat around hanging out until the storm passed. No luck with seeing any mantas this time. With slight disappointment, it’s an excuse to come back.
The next day, everyone left. Yet, my friend Kaija and I stayed to see if we could get lucky and enjoy a sunny day on the island. Weather gods were compliant and gave us the most beautiful day of all! We took advantage and traveled around Nusa Ceningan (the smallest of the islands) eating smoothie bowls looking out at the clearest blue water and stumbling around rocks to get more views of lovely nature.
We ended the day eating cheese plates and watching the sunset on Nusa Lembongan. Yep, pure bliss. Another huge HIGH moment of the month. I enjoy traveling when there is no rush or deadline. You get to just choose “yeah, hey, it’s a beautiful day here. Let’s stay.” Instead of having to pack up and rush home.
Back when I had my corporate job, I had a strict schedule and could only take a certain amount of time off. I would never be able to just ask for another day off within a moment’s notice. It feels so good to have this freedom. This is how I want to continue to travel. With tentative plans and flying by the seat of my pants.
I like the location I’m at? Great, let’s stay. Seems like it’s time to move on to the next thing? Awesome, book it to a new place.
That’s how I feel about Bali in general right now. Currently, Bali feels like home, and until I feel this huge urge to up and leave, I will stay here surrounded by good friends, serene vibes, beautiful scenery, and a support system I am beyond grateful for.
My wonderful yoga instructor celebrates Chinese New Year and organized a small get together at a local karaoke bar.
Y’all. This is Asia. Karaoke is the real deal here. This wasn’t just your local bar with a small stage and a drunk dad singing Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" in the corner. This was a big private room with a stage, TVs all around, flashing lights, a stand to queue up songs and bottle/food service. Super legit.
I rang in the Year of the Ox with a high energy performance of Girls Just Want to Have Fun and Wake Me Up Before You Go Go (there are indeed videos of my iconic performance, so watch to vicariously live this experience with me :) ).
Everyone was singing and dancing the night away that when the local crew cut off our equipment for karaoke, we decided to go a cappella. The staff literally had to come in and drag us out of the room. We were having way too much fun. A night to remember for sure. I love karaoke. And I love it even more here in Asia.
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Okay, okay. Let’s address the elephant in the room. “She never talks about her dating life publicly.”
Correct, wonderful observation! If you want the nitty gritty details, that will have to be a completely separate newsletter. There are talks of me starting (another) dating blog…..but that’s a conversation for another time. ;)
What I will say, is that yes, I am still single. No love interests currently...except for myself. (Yes, it is corny. Yes, I'm here for the corniness of it all.) So, Valentine’s Day was a celebration of self love.
A massage in tow with a wonderful sunset meal rounded out with writing and eating cheesecake in a cute surfer cafe. Sounds like the perfect way to celebrate my one year anniversary of solo travel in Bali. I am indeed proud of myself and the person I am becoming.
This past month, I helped organize a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training onsite in Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia. The space was absolutely breathtaking with cliffside views of the ocean and a spa with a steam room, sauna, hot pool and cold plunge pool to relax in during breaks.
Since I already got trained as a yoga instructor, I was simply helping make sure everything ran smoothly. I sat in on a few classes here and there and learned new mindsets and techniques that I will incorporate in my own classes and life moving forward. It was like reading a book twice. I was in a new headspace to gain more valuable insight and information. I am a better, more confident yoga instructor because of this experience.
This is where the highs come in. Going back to the roots of yoga and realizing that this life we are living is actually way more simple than I sometimes make it out to be.
All of the problems I create and stress over, none of those are real. This fear of failure and fear of not being good enough is a fear that is self made. The only thing that is truly real is love. And through love for myself and others, I already have access to everything I could ever want. It’s the limitations I put on myself that restrict me from experiencing my desires.
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So yeah, yeah this all sounds good and inspiring, right? But the ego doesn’t necessarily like it. My mind is so used to picking myself apart and telling myself I’m not good enough, that it strangely finds comfort in these habitual mindsets even though it is so detrimental to my mental health. This is because it’s what it has known. Self doubt and worry raised my little brain, and now in moments of hardship, the brain wants to be coddled with what it knows. So pity parties, wallowing in self hatred, and telling myself I’m not pretty, skinny, or worthy enough is the framework that my mind falls back on.
This is where the lows come in. My task in these low moments is to be extremely conscious and aware. To understand where the brain wants to head, and then knowingly try to carve out new paths. Form new habits and neural networks for the brain to rely on instead of the old patterns it knows too profusely well.
This is where the real work lies. Yeah, life can be all rainbows and butterflies when you are avoiding all of your triggers.
But eventually, you just corner yourself until you’re forced to face what it is that made you run and hide in the first place.
And then, once you face what made you run and hide, you can actually breathe for a minute. You no longer have to run. You welcome everything in because you know that you can face it. Nothing scares you, and if it does, you tell it to come seek refuge in your arms and rock it gently until it’s no longer fear anymore. It has transformed to love.
So I am sending you lots of love wherever you are reading this in the world. I love having this opportunity to connect to you and build a community of individuals all seeking similar things: immense joy and inner peace.
It is a true honor to share my authentic journey with you. It’s a blessing to fully strip down and be the truest version of myself and still have people interested in hearing what I have to say. I am grateful for that every day!
I hope that not only do you enjoy reading about my adventures, lessons I’m learning and life abroad, but you find pieces of my experience that you can relate to your own life. Because at the end of the day, we are all in this together, and I genuinely wish you your own individual joy and happiness.
In Judaism there is this saying of Tikkun Olam— directly translating to "repair the world." The world is innately good, and we can highlight the divine beauty in our own lives to shut out darkness. This in turn creates a ripple effect that not only illuminates our world, but reverberates lightness to the rest of the world. I am sharing both my light and darkness in hopes to spark divine light in your life.
Here’s to sharing my bright, authentic light as permission for you to share yours.
As always, thank you for reading. I welcome any and all feedback and would love to hear about your month.
Until next time. <3