Welcome to Conversation With Katherine and my podcast Adventure Bali
My adventures in solo travel since November 2018 have given me both challenges and benefits. Learning the different aspects of myself has been an internal adventure. My adventure with Bali started a decade ago. I had heard from someone that I knew how beautiful Bali was and I put it in the back of my mind. It has been on my bucket list since I first heard of Bali. I would periodically look online but life was too busy and I never made the time. I find the time in my life focused on career took up too much of my life.
In November 2018, I was starting my old habits of focusing on making my life busy and I said to myself. I want an adventure. I decided to stop with the busy and focus on having fun. Now, international travel is very different than just going across the country. The trip started with a 17 hour plus travel time not including layovers. I knew I wanted to take an international carrier rather than a domestic carrier. All of my research indicated that Asian international carriers were the best way to travel to Asia. I went online to book my trip and the only carrier that provided a one day plus travel was EVA airlines. All of the other airlines had two or three day plus arrival times.
I had never heard of EVA airlines, I went online and it was ranked in the top five of some of the international airlines. The flight left at 1:00 a.m. and it was delayed for over an hour. My ruminations started me wondering had I made a good choice. I brought myself back to the present and myself and Magic ,who is my externalized adventurous self, mused about remaining in the present and not going into the "what if". I know that rabbit hole usually would takes me to a self imposed swamp land of my own making.
The seats were comfortable and I could sleep. I arrived at the Taiwan airport and I looked around and said hmmmm. Now I frequently having that saying in my mind when I am trying to figure out a response to a situation. It means, to take a step back and do an assessment. What did I see that made me take a hmmmm. The Taiwan airport has two terminals and they are not next to each other. The arrival terminal is terminal one and the departure terminal is terminal two. After a long walk you get to terminal two and you have to go through security. One of the things that I quickly realized, you have to be in moderate physical shape. Between putting my carry on bag in the overhead bin, to walking an unknown distance at airports. The physicality of travel is ever present.
I get to terminal two and another louder hmmm starts. The plane is delayed that will take us to Bali. Not a few minutes it ends up being delayed for over two hours. My hmmm gets louder and I say to myself lets' not go there into the idea of jumping to a conclusion. What was the conclusion my mind was taking me? I made a mistake.
In solo travel I do something that I would not probably do if I was traveling with someone. I talk to strangers. During this very long wait, I talked to a couple that was getting married in Bali. There was the normal grumbling among people and the jocking to be the first in line. Finally, we got on the plane and I arrived in Bali not in the afternoon but in the evening.
When I had done research on Bali I learned about the monkeys in Bali. According to the research the monkeys roam around Bali unencumbered. When I got to the the hotel I was relieved that it looked like the pictures on the booking website. I was told not to leave my door open in the evening because the monkeys might come into the room while I was sleeping. I immediately had a vision of myself sleeping and waking up to a monkey grooming me, I scream the monkey screams and it becomes a bad moment. When I went into my room I was pleased by how the room looked and I kept my door closed.
I woke up early to start my adventure. I went out and walked around the hotel grounds which were clean. It was sunrise and I noticed a sole person cleaning the beach which was pristine. Some of the hotels have private beaches and they maintain the beach. I took in a view of the beach, the sunrise, the lush vegetation of the hotel grounds and I smiled and forgot the stress of the journey. I started my adventure in Bali in that moment in timel
My first day in Bali I wanted to do some shopping and I hired a driver. The driver took me to a shopping area and parked and waited for me as I wander around the different stalls. When I finally stopped and was talking to a merchant he started the conversation by telling me that "we bargain here, in Bali". I hate bargaining. I never know where to start and where to end. Just tell me what you want and I will either buy it or not. So I could tell my his look he was waiting for me to say something. I made some feeble attempt, he looked at me. He knew and I knew that I did not know what I was doing. After a couple of feeble attempts he let me off the hook and just told me what he wanted and I gratefully left with my purchases.
One of the things that I am aware of is the driver was going to get a percentage of my purchases. I understood that and it was find with me because I am only going to buy what I want to buy. He asked me did I want to go to a coffee planation. There is a coffee that is considered the most expensive coffee in the world, Kopi Luwak . It is generally just called Luwak in Bali. It is the process of making this coffee that causes it to be expensive. The beans are first eaten by palm civet cats and when they poop the beans are then processed. Yes, I drank digested poopy coffee beans.
Bali money is called rupiah which comes in very large denominations. The coffee was 50,000(rp). In dollars that was about $5.00. I had been having conversation with the driver and I had learned that in Bali drivers can not go into facilities with tourist. You have to have a different, higher license of guide to enter with a tourist. My driver had a family and his daughter had graduated from college and she was working at one of the larger hotels. There was pride in his voice about her accomplishment. When we arrived at the coffee planation I offered to buy him a cup of coffee. He was startled and quickly said no. I was insistent and he still said no. I am a person that shares food. It is an automatic with me and since I was getting myself a cup in my world it would be rude not share with him.
The coffee with cream was 80,000 (rp). That was equal to a Starbucks latte. No big deal. Well I finally got him to agree to a cup and he was pleased. Later we were talking and I explained to him my reasoning and he told me that he had never had a cup of that coffee because it was too expensive. I thought hmmmm, what was just a $5.00 cup of coffee was too expensive for him to have in his own country. I mused about the unfairness of not being able to have something that your country was known for. I was a bit taken aback. We talked about his country. I was told that Bali is mostly Hindu not Buddhist. He told me most of the tourist were from Australia and not too many Americans came to Bali. He told me don't come in December because it is awful in December. We parted ways and I was left thinking about money, life and circumstances.
My next day I went on another tour. I had a guide and a driver. We went to temples and one of the temples he told me was 4,000 years old and it had 300 steps. He looked at me and I told him that I was game. I said to myself without fully realizing how bad could it be. We got to the temple and I started walking down the steps and I said to myself oh this is not too bad not thinking about much. We ended up at the destination and it was fascinating to see how people lived 4,000 years ago.
We started to go up. Oh, now I understand I looked up and they seemed to be forever. I had to rest on at least three occasions. One of my resting stops I had a fresh coconut. The other stops I just stopped and looked up and asked myself what was I thinking. I know, I wasn't thinking. I was so focused on the adventure I did not take my physical sedentary self into the equation. I survived getting to the top and I was done with temples.
The next day, I had another tour with this driver and guide. We were going to the interior of Bali to see the volcano. I have a mental picture of myself on this day. I was in a convertible, Jeep with the top down. I had my feet resting on the other passenger seat. I had on my hat and I was experiencing the environment. It was a happy memory and it is my go to memory when I think of fun and Bali.
I chatted with the guide the driver never talked. During this day he thanked me for coming to his country. What he really was thanking me for was the previous day I did some shopping. He told me that because I came to his country he was able to take care of his family. He has three daughters. He talked about how his life would be different if he had to work in the rice fields. He talked about the frustration of trying to learn a new language and his daughters just wanted his time when he came home. He told me about his religion and how each village has three temples and how a private house has to be set up to honor the gods. He showed me his humanity and I am honored.
I often tell clients that when you have an emotional memory that is powerful to save it in your mind. My last emotional memory of Bali was having dinner on the Beach. There was a full moon and I could see and hear the waves. The light of the moon cast a soft light and if someone was there it could. have been a romantic moment. I was there alone and I thought of how easy it would be to start feeling sorry for myself. I wasn't feeling sorry for myself because I was alone by choice and I was not lonely. As I was seating there looking at the other people who were having dinner my food arrived. As my food arrived a feral cat arrived. The cat sat down and looked at me and meowed. I mean A Little Shop of Horrors meow, feed me! I looked down and wonder why did the cat pick my table. There were plenty of other people there, I mused about that for a few seconds and gave the cat some of my food. Cat ate and meowed again. I noticed there was another cat who was not as bold as the one at my table, wanting food but not going for the food.
The staff came by and asked me was the cat bothering me, I said no I like cats. I think I shared a lot of my food with that cat. When I want to think of a peaceful and funny moment I think of the full moon, the ocean and my feed me cat.
I had a wonderful time in Bali. I learned things about myself, I am not in great shape, I have a sharing nature, having dreams and realizing a dream can be great fun. So if you have a bucket list and you are ready for an adventure where would you go? Thank you for listening to Conversation With Katherine Adventure Bali have a great day and a great conversation in your life about Bali.