Where do I even begin here? I don't want to take you all on a day-by-day summary because it was an 11-day trip that we took through Bali, Indonesia and that would take forever. This vacation was a little different than most, though. My phone got severely broken and won't turn on, I got a bad case of the "Bali Belly," and a couple of other unlucky things happened too, but those are besides the point. Let's just say I was not having the best luck in Bali and it was quite discouraging... but I couldn't let these unfortunate events that were happening ruin my time there. My phone wasn't the only one that got destroyed, another girls' did as well and I told her, "Phones can be replaced. Our stomach's will feel better, but our time here is limited so we need to make the best of it." Given, there were some days where I couldn't move from my bed and my friends had to bring me meals to my bedside, but even when I felt like staying in bed all day, I still went to that white water rafting trip along the Ayung River and then on to ride an elephant through the jungle because I would look back and regret if I hadn't. Yes, it probably would have been best if I had just stayed in bed, but I'm all about the adventure and that's what this whole experience is all about right?
Indonesia is a country in Asia, which is a continent I had never visited before. After visiting Bali, I have now been to 6/7 continents in the world, Antarctica being the last one. Asia was quite like how I expected it to be. Bali is a third-world country so we didn't indulge in many luxuries while we were there, but we were not expecting to at all. It was about enriching ourselves in a new and unfamiliar culture, which is what traveling the world is all about. Again, we met many new people, and people were shocked to hear we were Americans in Indonesia, because Americans supposedly don't visit there quite often. Whenever we mentioned we were American, the reaction from the Balinese was quite consistent with; "Ohhhh OK OK. Obama."
The Balinese people were very friendly, and although their English was poor and broken, it was much more proficient than what our attempted Indonesian would have sounded like. The currency was pretty easy to get used to, Indonesian Rupiah, which consisted of an array of colorful bills in the tens and hundred thousands. Everything in Bali was dirt cheap which made it easy to buy souvenirs, personal items and to even treat ourselves a few times. Most of our hostels came out to be around $8-14 USD per night, which was unbeatable, and all of the hostels we stayed at were so much more clean, and had way more uplifting environments than was expected. Two of our hostels had outdoor showers, one overlooking a rice field. Almost all of our hostels had free breakfast (which usually contained rice), and a lounge where travelers could bond and hear each other's stories. Meeting other travelers has got to be my favorite part of traveling, besides the traveling part. It never gets old to see how many people just branch out from their lives, leave their jobs, leave their families and loved ones and just venture off into the world, usually having little or no plan at all. We meet people who have been traveling the world for 15 months solo, and have no plan of returning home anytime soon, even though they are out of money. It is just remarkable the passion that traveling brings to so many people all around the world.
The activities we did in Bali ranged from camel rides along the beach, parasailing, banana boating, visiting Turtle Island, shopping in the local markets, going to the Gili Islands, snorkeling, white water rafting, watching traditional dances, visiting Balinese temples, going to buffet dinners at sunset, riding elephants, spa days, etc.. It was the trip of a lifetime, even under the circumstances that occurred while being there. Even when bad things are happening, you still have to try and dig out the good. You have to take a minute and appreciate what you've got in front of you, and make the best of that rather than to dwell on something small like not having a phone or having stomach pains. Life is much bigger than that. I'm studying abroad to indulge within different cultures, and the last thing I wanted to do was miss out on a huge one.
Going to Bali really taught me a lot. There was one day that stood out to me, more so than any of the cool excursions that we went on. We were waiting for our fast boat to the Gili Islands to leave and were venturing around the Padang-Bai harbour when we spotted a beautiful view from the roof. All of us were taking pictures and were in disbelief of the breathtaking view of the harbour. I then wandered off to the other side, in double the amount of disbelief I had just been in a few seconds ago. It was a totally change of scenery. I was looking down at ruins, half of a house, and a whole family of four living in it. The mother was stirring a stew while trying to keep a fire, the father was caging the chickens that would soon be eaten for dinner, and the small boy and girl were running around barefoot on the ruins playing with each other, as happy as could be. They had no roof over their heads. None. The little boy looked up and noticed us staring down at them, and smiled and waved. I felt so rude watching, but I couldn't break my eyes off of this family. They had absolutely nothing, but they all looked so happy. It was all that they knew. All that that little boy knew was to play hopscotch between rocks in his bare feet everyday. All that his big sister knew was to do what her mother told her to and to chase her little brother around this place where they called home. They made the most out of their situation, and it truly inspired me to keep on making the most out of mine, living each day to my fullest and in pure gratefulness for everything that I have and everything that has been given to me in this beautiful life.
Tomorrow I embark on my next journey to visit and stay with my Great Aunt and cousins in Melbourne, Australia for 5 days!!! I am super excited to meet her again and the rest of my dad's side of the family, because my father means so much to me and getting in touch with his side does as well. If anyone wants to know more about Bali, inbox me or personally let me know!