I went to Bali to heal. To heal my head, my soul and my heart. I knew I needed a change from the chaos that is Singapore, but what I didn’t know was how much I needed the healing.
I wouldn’t say these 9 days changed my life in any drastic way and I wouldn’t say that I “found myself”. But I will say that the storm in my head has calmed.
Up to a month before I went to Bali, my head was a mess. I couldn’t tell up from down and left from right; it was chaos in there, like a black hole sucking all my energy and life out of my soul. People were leaving me, my job prospects were dim and the guy I was seeing was treating me like crap. I was in a constant confused daze and my thoughts were eating away at me. When enough was enough, I knew I needed to get out of this toxic environment and cleanse my soul. I felt like my soul was locked up in a dark room with no windows and it desperately needed to get out. I wanted to let it run and fly free and roam. So I contacted two of my friends who live in Bali and they both encouraged me to visit them and to stay as long as I’d like. I will forever be grateful for their company, hospitality and never-ending kindness over the next 9 days.
I did no touristy things and had zero plans. Instead, I let my friend take charge and left everything in fate’s hands. It wasn’t easy at first- I was in my head way too much. But slowly, as the days passed, I let the poison seep out. I’d ride on the back of his motorbike, relishing the wind in my hair and the adrenaline rush in my blood as he went from 0km-60km/hour within 5 seconds. At night as we rode through rice fields in Keroboken, I would stare up in the sky and savor the sight of the stars. We weaved through traffic on Sunset Road, rode through Melasti Rituals as the Balinese were getting ready for Nyepi Day, got caught in a monsoon on our way to Ubud and still, through all this, my heart felt at peace. We’d go tanning at different places, make it rain at the gym and talk about the purpose of life- God, meditation, happiness. He’d enrich my life with stories of what he’s been through and open my eyes to bigger and better things.
At Nusa Dua, my other friend and I experienced Nyepi Day together, the Balinese new year where a big parade is held on the eve of to cleanse the entire island of evil spirits. The day after, the entire island is still with silence- no cars, motorbikes or lights are allowed. The Balinese take this time to reflect their year before and the year ahead of them. We rented a car and drove into town where she showed me her favorite hangout spots. We ate and drank while reminiscing times about college and what our future holds for us. We went on a road trip, where I drove a manual car for the first time since I passed my driving test. The trip was around 200km- who knew driving would be so relaxing? We intertwined through steep mountains and narrow villages. At the end of every weave, we were greeted with never-ending rice fields, luscious mountains and sky-blue seas. We snorkeled at Amed and witnessed the underwater world of Bali, where the creatures and corals lit up the sea. We stood at the base of a waterfall at Tegenungan while looking up and seeing the sun rays hit the palm trees. We climbed the waterfall and gazed down at the people bathing in the cool water.
At last, I’m at peace. I am happy. I made it a point to thank God- whatever God was up there- for the stars, the wind, the sun shining on the trees, my friends, the Balinese. I thanked God for my body, my mind, my heart, and for guiding me to that moment, whatever moment it was, that made me thankful for my life.
For the past 9 days, the energy of Bali, the nature and people have guided me towards the light. Their ear-splitting smiles, willingness to help and curiosity have defined their culture which had a hand in pulling me out of darkness. So when it came time to leave, half of me was ready and the other half of me dreaded it. I didn’t let the latter feeling weigh me down too much. Instead, I pumped myself up to get back to real life and start finding a job. On the plane ride back, it then occurred to me- what is real life to me? Is it really finding a job that I don’t hate and earning money so I can support my imaginary family in the future? Or is it continuing to travel and stay at peace and be happy? Unlike Singapore, where the robot-charged corporate blue and white collars live mechanic lives, the Balinese go where the wind takes them. While Singaporeans are consumed with and live in the material world, always seeking for the next best thing, the Balinese find happiness in what is right in front of them. Children and adults alike were consumed with what was around them, swimming in puddles from the rain on the mountain or selling soup in a cart. They had no need to stare at a screen and watch the lives of a fictitious world. This makes me wonder if in order to be successful in life, do I have to be sucked into this materialistic world as well? Or could I be happy by moving to Bali and working in a hotel?
So many questions in my head but time is what I have. Whatever it is, I will follow the voice in my now cleared-up heart and soul.