To describe Bali in a single word is almost impossible, but if I had to the word would be sacred. Its interesting because many people would debate me on that, this place has such strong energy seeping from its pours that it tends to diverge people. You tend to either love it or hate it. Bali can chew you up and spit you out if you're not careful, but if you're able to peel back the layers of hectic traffic, relentless street vendors, and intensely populated areas, the magic you will find is unforgettable. For me, Bali was the source. The constant spicy aroma of incense, the brilliant colors of tapestries and basket offerings, the sincere foundation in Hindu ceremony and ritual…it all painted the backdrop for the most major transformation I've ever experienced. This was the commencement of a new era and a rewrite of my life's script. Bali was more than just the stage, it was the muse.
My first day in Bali was completely unplanned with zero prior arrangements. My goal on this trip was to connect with my most primal instincts, feelings, and emotions in their rawest form. In order to do this I felt there needed to be as little planning and as much spontaneity as possible. I got off the plane with one bag, no board, and a list of hotel suggestions I'd gotten from friends in Tahiti days before. Little can compare to the level of freedom I felt in that moment. I quickly met Made, an incredibly sweet taxi driver who after swiftly braving the insanity that is Denapasar traffic, escorted me off towards the Bukit Peninsula. No amount of jet lag could subdue the tingling excitement of my new adventure.
After politely answering Made's classic and endearing Indonesian series of opening questions: "What's your name?" "Where are you from?" "First trip to Bali?", he finally got to "Where do you stay?" and I started with the first accommodation on my list. No luck, he'd never heard of it. So I continued to the next but to no avail, anxiety levels climbing with each name read. Not one of the places on my list had this man heard of, which couldn't help but make me question his integrity as a taxi driver. Regardless, I had no sense of direction or much of a clue of my surroundings, and it occurred to me that in less than an hour of stepping off the plane I had been grated my wish. It was time to wing it.
I was beginning to realize that sweet little Made was not much of a help. Although his intentions incredibly virtuous, he didn't really know his way around the Bukit and got us lost a few different times. I wasn't going to get much help on this one I could tell, it was up to me to figure it out. At one point we ended up in a little town called Bingin, of which I'd heard was absolutely beautiful. I couldn't really tell, the dirt roads were narrow, windy, and canopy covered, but at the first sight of a giant Frangipani tree I knew this was where I wanted to be. We got to a cross-roads with a sign for some bungalows. "There!!" I said, "Let's try there." Intuition calling the shots, we pulled up to the bamboo gates. By the complete grace of Lady Luck they had a cancellation and a room was available. There were minimal accommodations at what I later learned was a highly sought after resort that was always booked and way above my price range. I booked it for just one night until I could find something else more affordable. I need this, my soul echoed. Relieved and rejuvenated, I grabbed my bags, paid my goodbyes to my fearless leader, and headed to my room.
I walked down a stone path leading to a beautiful atrium, with 4 or 5 straw roofed huts surrounding the perimeter. There was a small infinity pool and a hut for dining with one big table and cushions for seating. As I walked further out into the common area I gasped, a moment I will never forget for the rest of my life. Standing at cliff's edge I overlooked the most spectacular view I had ever seen. The sun was beginning to set over incredible undulating cliff lines, crystal clear blue water, and as I arrived on a day with pumping swell, lines upon lines of waves from Uluwatu to Padang to Bingin all the way to Airports. The view literally took my breath away and I just stood in awe. A sweet Indonesian woman came and took my bags. She looked at me and smiled. "First trip to Bali?" I smiled back. I couldn't speak. With intuition guiding, my heart had found home.
More to come on my explorations through Bali..
All my love to family and friends who may be separated by time and space but who travel in my heart always. XX