Let go, let Love

I know I said I would start writing more often, there’s just so much to do it’s hard to find the time!

So after Renata left to Legian and Jeroen left the next day to Gili Trawangan, I was able to get a bit of alone time. Though not as much as I wanted, and I know I’m the only one to blame for that.

Sarah was recommended the Yellow Flower Cafe for dinner so she booked us a reservation one evening. She was told it was a bit far to walk so we rented a motor bike. I was under the impression she had driven one before so when she offered to drive first I was more than happy to tale the backseat, having only attempted driving one last week for about 10 minutes on a quiet street. However, I guess I had gotten the wrong impression because after doing pretty well and seeming fairly confident with her speed, she gave it a bit too much gas and veered into oncoming traffic! She ended up giving herself a panic attack, getting super embarassed, and refusing to even get on the back of the bike, let alone drive it. So I asked some Balinese men to help us park it and we walked the rest of the way to the cafe.

After climbing up a bunch of stairs and walking along a dark path, we arrived to the restaurant, and I noticed a few things that made me want to leave. One, there were only white people there. Two, they hadn’t saved a table for our reservation. Three, it was extremely humid up there. And four, we could get the same food at a local warung (shop) for a quarter of the price.

So we left and I took her to Dewa Warung, where I had been going almost every day for cheap, local food. After eating and chatting with a new friend and local, Blacky, he read our palms and then helped us get our motor bike back to the hostel.

The next evening Sarah was leaving to do a yoga retreat in Canggu so we decided to spend the day shopping. I opted to shop from the stores rather than the market for quality over quantity and I was quite content with my purchases, though they weren’t as cheap as the market would have been.

That evening Viqi took me to a vegetarian buffet called 9 Angels where you serve yourself, wash your own dishes, and pay by donation. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was super chill. Apparently some evenings they have live music, though I wasn’t lucky enough to be there for that.

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The following day I wanted to send my friend, Mike, a postcard, and I also decided to ship some stuff home by boat to make my pack a bit lighter. It ended up being $50 CAD to ship about $150 worth of stuff home so I’m not sure it was really worth it. It will also take 2-3 months to arrive. Oh well. Note for next time.

After running my errands I went for lunch and met with Blacky. He took me to see the hostel he is building and showed me how to make some bracelets. Turns out I already knew how as I used to make them when I was younger, we just called them ‘friendship bracelets’. Haha!

I made sure to go to bed early that night so that I would be well rested for my shuttle bus ride to Legian, Kuta the next day.

In the morning, after having my last oatmeal breakfast from the Black Pearl across the street, I began talking to an Australian girl who had also been staying at Wanderlust who was taking the same shuttle. We started out talking about the American election and once we got onto the shuttle bus, our conversation got a bit deeper. I was able to offer her some reflections, and I got some of my own.

If you have been following my blog then you know I had been having issues with people getting attached to me. I had realized that it was a reflection of my own attachment, however I couldn’t figure out the root of my attachment in order to address it. Well, I figured it out.

I had a hard time saying no to people because I didn’t want to hurt their feelings or make them think I don’t like them. Now, I can see that thought process as a projection of how I would have felt if someone said no to or didn’t want to hang out with me. In other words, the root of my attachment seems to be my need for approval from others. So, in order to eliminate my attachment, I need to stop seeking acceptance and approval from others.

I AM more than good enough.

I AM empowerment.

I AM strength.

I AM beauty.

I AM all that is awesome.

I AM Love.

I AM.

As we were nearing Kuta, I decided to tell this new friend about a small synchronicity that I had experienced in Ubud. I had gone out for dinner one night at Dewa Warung with Renata and Jeroen and Jeroen noticed someone had left a book there sitting under the table. The book was called Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential, which just so happens to be the book I am currently reading. It is all about archetypes and I had wanted to pass it on to José, a guy from Mexico that I met in Kuta the day I arrived in Bali, however I wasn’t finished it (and I’m still not) so I wasn’t ready to give it up just yet. I decided that if no one came to claim their book by the time we left, I was taking it and was going to attempt to give it to José, and if not I was sure I would meet someone else who would be inspired by it. Sure enough, no one came, so I took the book. I ended up giving the book to Sarah when I first met her while having breakfast at the Black Pearl.

Anyways, I was telling the Australian girl (I cannot remember her name for the life of me) about this and as soon as I said the name of the book, her eyes went wide and she said, “That’s my book.”

What?? Are you serious?? Haha!

So this small synchronicity was part of a much larger one. Unfortunately I no longer had the book to give it back to her, though she did express that she had been carrying it around with her for a while and had only gotten about halfway through it. So maybe it was time to let go and move on or maybe it will come back to her at a time when she’s ready for it. Either way, everything is as it should be.

When we arrived in Kuta, we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. Mine included a sweaty 25 minute walk with my bags up Legian to Renata’s homestay, Pesona.

Legian was pretty fun. We went out to Sky Garden (a 4 level club) one night, which was more than enough for me, and went surfing everyday! It is still Kuta, so very busy, though we made the best of it.

I LOVE surfing!

…when I’m good at it haha!

I got a lesson the first day and I had no problems getting up on the board with the help on the instructor. The following days, doing it alone, proved to be much more difficult, though I still enjoyed myself. I’ll just have to practice!

From Legian, Renata and I booked a return trip to Gili Trawangan via shuttle bus and fast boat. It cost a total of 500K Rupiah (about $50 CAD) just for myself to go there and get back to Ubud when we were ready to leave. Not a bad price considering the shuttle bus and boat rides were each about 1.5 hours.

The boat had no air conditioning so it was super hot and sweaty. I was glad to hit land at the island. Gili Trawangan was a pretty cool place. We arrived on a Sunday so I think the craziness of the weekend was coming to an end because it wasn’t as busy as I was expecting. However it was still quite touristy, though we discovered some quieter areas which was nice.

I took a few notes on the journey to the Gili’s of topics I had discussed with Renata and wanted to bring up here, on my blog.

The first topic was part of a conversation that came about because of Donald Trump winning the American election and people of Muslim religion no longer being allowed to enter the US. Renata is Muslim so this affects her.

She said that here in the Eastern world there are areas that are more Muslim, some that are more Hindu, and other parts that are more Buddhist, and none of it matters. They all live in harmony together, not judging each other based on their beliefs, just being aware of and respecting one another. Which made me think how much more divided people are in the Western world.

So then I thought, why is that? Why is it that, for example, Muslims have a negative reputation in the West? It seems that it is all because of the media, which is controlled by the government, meant to divide and separate us.

United we stand, divided we fall.

If we are all too busy arguing amongst ourselves then we are weak and easily controlled so the government can do whatever they want because no one is paying attention. However, if we don’t fall into the trap of their distraction, living in fear, anger, and hate, then we can come together as one, stand strong in unity, and create real change.

We are the many, they are the few.

Another topic that came up in discussion with Renata was skin colour. She was extremely upset when her skin got super dark after surfing and snorkeling for days on end. As I noticed her judgements of other people, I offered the reflection that maybe she was afraid of people judging her for the colour of her skin because she judges other people for the colour of their skin. She seemed to understand that it’s all about her mindset.

(Side note: Renata just sent me a message as I was typing this complaining about how dark her skin is lol! It’s a work in progress.)

She explained to me that in Eastern cultures, light skin is seen as beautiful. I told her that in Western society, dark skin is seen as beautiful. It seems that we all want what we don’t have.

I think that it’s all subconscious social conditioning. In the Eastern world, light skin is seen as a higher class because the working class are generally outside in the sun all day so their skin gets darker. Whereas in the Western world, dark skin is seen as more beautiful because if you have the time to be bathing in the sun then you probably make enough money to be able to afford to and have the time to travel to exotic destinations.

The truth is, none of it matters. Light skin, dark skin, light hair, dark hair, tall, short, fat, skinny, it doesn’t matter unless you make it matter. What’s more important than what’s on the surface is what’s underneath. Who you are at your core. And Renata is beautiful, not only on the outside, on the inside as well.

On some level, we all desire acceptance and approval from others. Will the comparing and competing ever end? At what point do we find acceptance and approval of ourselves rather than looking to others for it?

I personally find that people tend to become more or less attractive to me physically, based on their personailty. Confidence, self-love, and strength of character are all super sexy qualities, regardless of physical appearance.

Anyways, back to the journey to Gili Trawangan.

Upon arrival we found our hostel, M Gili, which was super nice. We dropped off our bags and immediately left to find lunch. I was getting sick of rice so I opted for Gado-Gado, a dish of steamed vegetables, tofu, and peanut sauce, and this one did not disappoint. Thank god because the price of everything on the island was plus half or double what it was in Bali.

After chillin’ at the Icha Cafe for a bit, our friend Andraz came to meet us. We all started talking about moving to Ubud together and shook on it over a banana split haha!

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Later that evening, after relaxing at hostel, Andraz took us to the night market where there were a bunch of vendors selling meat skewers, vegetable dishes, fruit juices, whole fishes, and some delicious desserts all for super cheap! I got a choice of 5 vegetable dishes for only 20K Rupiah ($2 CAD) and then followed up with 3 pieces of dessert for 25K Rupiah ($2.50) and I was more than stuffed for less than $5! Yummy!

That night we were all pretty tired so we went to bed fairly early so we could go snorkeling the next day. I had never been snorkeling in the ocean before and wow, is it ever beautiful! I really began to understand Otis’s (a friend from Portland) passion for his salt water tank.

Again, if you’ve been following my blog you are aware of my aversion to water, especially the open ocean. Fear of the unknown maybe, not knowing exactly what is beneath me. Either way, I didn’t get to diving, however snorkeling was a step in the right direction.

After snorkeling we relaxed with some fresh juice on some bean bag chairs by the beach before heading back to the hostel to shower. Renata and I each rented a bicycle to go around the island on a hunt for a white dress for the full moon party (dress code: simple white) that evening.

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Remember when I said everything on Gili T was expensive? Well to put things into perspective, to rent a bicycle (50K rupiah) there for 24 hours cost about the same as renting a motor bike (60K rupiah) in Bali for 24 hours. Only they don’t allow motorized vehicles on the Gili’s so the only way to get around is by cidomo (horse-drawn cart), bicycle, or simply by walking. Though we did see a couple of locals with electric scooters which was cool. Maybe they will make that a more regular occurrence soon.

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We didn’t end up finding any white dresses that we liked so I settled for wearing a white top I had bought while out shopping with Sarah and some demin shorts, and Renata bought a top that looked somewhat similar to mine.

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That evening, after getting some food at the night market, Renata and I met up with Andraz back at the hostel. Some of the staff and guests were playing guitar and singing in the common area so we decided to join them. I would have been happy spending the evening there, however Renata seemed to have a case of restless leg syndrome so we began making our way to the Full Moon Party at Pandawa Beach.

Since we only had two bicycles between three people, Renata ended up sitting on the bike rack while Andraz peddaled. During our bike ride earlier that day, we had found a short cut through the streets of Gili Trawangan back to our hostel so we attempted to find our way back there the same way, which did not work out so well. We ended up riding through a dark, quiet area of shack-like houses that seem have been erected using what seemed like scrap pieces of whatever material they could find. Before realizing we were not going the right way, we found ourselves riding down a dark and creepy path, lined with trees devoid of any leaves. Though Renata got a little scared so we turned back, I found it beautifully mysterious and would have curiously continued on had it not been for her. We stopped some locals to ask for directions and were told we had ventured into the jungle… How exciting!

Anyways, after a long, bumpy, and sweaty bike ride, Renata had a sore bum, and Andraz was exhausted from carrying the extra weight on the back of the bike so we took a seat on some lounge chairs by the water. The setting was club-like with a twist. There were bright, colourful, flashing lights lighting up the beach. There were food vendors and sexy dancers, and the water was seemingly abnormally high, which I attributed to the full moon. The DJ wasn’t really my style so I wasn’t drawn to dancing. Especially after our adventure through the shack houses, into the jungle, I was feeling more introspective than anything.

Having not seen very many poverty stricken areas in Bali, and then having that experience, I started feeling a lot of compassion for the people attempting to sell me their goods and services. I began to wonder who was putting on this party and how much the people were getting paid. Does Indonesia have a minimum wage?

Note: I just googled and they do, however it is minimal (equal to anywhere from $150-$310/month CAD depending on the area).

Renata brought this topic up the next day and she sees things a little differently than I do in that she thinks that most Indonesian people have a lot of money. However, I think that might just be her perspective based on her own experiences. She expressed to me that she thought that all Western people are rich, though now she realizes that it’s not true. I mean, it’s all relative, really. No matter where in the world you go, there are rich people, and there are poor people, and everything in between.

For me to make an averge Canadian wage at home and then come here and convert it to Rupiah, I feel rich, because $1 CAD equals approximately 10,000 IDR. And since everything is so cheap here, a small amount of CAD, which wouldn’t get me very far in Canada, can sustain me for 5x as long in Indonesia. Whereas if an Indonesian person, making an average Indonesian wage were to come to Canada and convert it to CAD, they wouldn’t get very far. So, like I said, it’s all relative, and there’s massive wage gaps in every country. However, if you want to travel the world, it’s much easier to do when your income is in a currency of higher value.

Andraz ended up heading back to Bali the day after the Full Moon Party while Renata and I stayed another night. After an amazing three-way Skype call with two sisters from SSSEx California, Olya and Katie, where Katie read us an exerpt from The Sophia Code and we chanted the Green Tara mantra Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha (which I have chanted myself everyday since), Renata and I decided to relax by the beach that day and get a cold, fresh, young coconut. Yum!

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Renata did a bit of snorkelling and then we went back to the hostel to take a nap before going on a hunt for some live music. After having a couple drinks we went back to the hostel again and joined in as the same guys sang and played the guitar as they had the previous night until quiet time, which was 11pm.

At this point I was pretty tired, however Renata wanted to go out and wouldn’t go alone so I indulged her and we went for a walk. We ended up at a club where we left almost immediately after arriving and decided to head back to the hostel. Renata wanted some corn and I didn’t want to wait for it to cook so I went back home without her. She ended up getting back quite late and, although there was a moment before falling asleep where I felt the need to check if she was ok, I was happy she finally felt comfortable doing something without me having to be there.

The next day we packed up our things, ate lunch, and headed to the beach where we were to be picked up by the fast boat. Since we knew the boat had no air conditioning, we both agreed we wanted to sit on the top deck this time so as to avoid the sweatiness of the last ride. And I’m so glad we did because what a view! The sun was setting and it was just beautiful.

When we got to Padang Bai, Bali, Renata got on the shuttle bus to Kuta and I got on the shuttle bus to Ubud, where I had booked a beautiful AirBnB all to myself, about a five minute walk to the Yoga Barn. After being in hostels most of my trip and spending so much time with other people, though I am grateful all the new friendships I have made, I was really looking forward to some alone time to reflect and relax and the Gangga House is a great place to do that. For $26/night CAD I get this beautiful, large space which includes, Wi-Fi, drinking water, breakfast, hot water, and a kitchen. Not to mention, the owners are lovely.

I’ve been here for 3 nights now and I have 1 more to go. I did a Qi Gong class and a couple of yoga classes at the Yoga Barn. Though I wasn’t a fan of the Qi Gong instructor (I felt the energy of the reflection of his unhappiness with himself very strongly), I loved Emily, the instructor that taught both the yoga classes I’ve done so far, Yin with Meditation and Hatha.

Since my place ended up being super close to a friend’s house that I met on CouchSurfing a couple weeks ago, Viqi, I have spent a lot of time with him and his friend, Agung, Agung’s 2 adorable kittens, as well as a few other CouchSurfers. We did the Campuhan Ridge Walk, watched the sunset over deep conversation at a local warung overlooking a rice field, went to open mic night at Bali Bohemia, and explored a beautiful abandoned retreat center that had an amazing spa area I would have loved to revive!

Since I have also really been indulging in my alone time, doing a lot of writing and reflecting, and truely loving every minute of it, I feel like I am more able to enjoy spending time with friends and I am able to be more present with them as it is a choice and not an obligation.

The more time I spend here, the more I see myself coming back for a more permanent vacation.

Alright, this has been a long one so it’s time for me to close out with 5 words that describe my Love now:

– grounded

– centered

– balanced

– open

– free

Let it all go, see what stays…

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