As I write this, I’m on the second-last day of a two-week scooter trip through Bali (part 1 is here). It has been an amazing ride (literally) and it has also been difficult at times. There were ups and downs, not just on scarily steep Balinese mountains, but also on the inside. I’ve gained insight into myself, passed some ‘tests’ and failed some. Just like in life, it’s all part of the journey and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of it.
Everything you encounter on the journey,
can show you something about yourself and your life.
One of the things I love so much about traveling is that it can be a fast-track to personal growth. Everything you encounter on the journey can tell you something about yourself and your life, if you listen. Especially solo travel (or soulo travel as I like to call it- as it brings you in touch with your soul!) has the potential to transform. There is no one else to talk or exchange with, you need to make all decisions by yourself and it’s crucial to rely on your intuition. Usually there is also more time to just do… nothing… which integrates the insights and inspirations you may get during the trip.
One of my insights was that it was not the best idea to bring my work along. It took away from some of that important integration time, especially after long and strenuous scooter rides. Only by making this ‘mistake’ though, did I truly learn the importance of actually voicing my need the moment it occurs (towards my clients in this case). Just like during the scooter trip I would sometimes drive somewhere and realise soon after that it didn’t feel right (yet) to go in that direction… and then I would just turn around and it would be so much more relaxed. Sometimes we first need to drive a little bit in a certain direction to realize it’s not the right one for us (at that moment). And then the art lies in not blaming ourselves but accept the lesson, move on and make the best out of the situation. It also reminded me that:
Detours or Delays can bring unexpected Delight.
Another lesson that kept on repeating itself was the importance of mindset. Somehow during this scooter trip, Bali was hit by a rain spell and so about one out of two weeks it was raining daily. A lot. At first I could still keep the spirits up. But at some point, I had slept badly again and was tired which translated of also being tired of the rain, which translated into a rainy attitude. Somehow everything in life started to seem more grey. It’s an old pattern of mine that I’ve worked on for a long time (plus one of the reasons I went to Bali in winter as I mood often matches the weather) shortly said: learning to be your own sunshine. This is another part where I ‘failed’ during some days, trying to lift my mood with help from the outside, instead of lifting myself up. But also there I had to remind myself:
“There is no such thing as failure, only feedback” -John David Hoag (+ NLP)
A third lesson, or reminder, was the peace that it gave to be less available and less online. As grateful as I am to technology and the ability to connect wherever in the world I am, still the constant need to be connected, can sometimes also feel quite overwhelming. I had set the intention to be online only once a day in order to write a social media update and reply to messages. Even though I didn’t always stick to it, ahem, it did feel really relieving to not have to be online all the time and reply right away. This is definitely a habit I am planning to keep up after this trip, having only a set number of social check-in moments per day vs. being always available.
And there are so many more insights that this trip has brought, again, just like any consciously taken trip or activity can. I wrote many pages in my journal and can’t wait to start sharing insights and inspirations from along the way and as they integrate, they will probably trickle into some future blog posts.
Also, on Tuesday 25 April at 4:00pm (10:00am CET) I will be giving a talk at Genius Café, an absolutely awesome cafe by the beach in Sanur. If possible, I will be also be streaming it on Facebook Live (FB/Soulydays). The theme is: “How to Live Like You Travel” and as the title says, it’s about living each day like we would when we travel; with more flow, freedom, lightness and relaxation. It will probably also have some insights from this journey.
And speaking of which, below is part 2, the summary of the second week (part 1 is here):
☆ BALI BY SCOOTER – DAY 8 ☆
Today I had one of those ‘uh-oh, what have I gotten myself into’ moments… It all started innocently at breakfast in Amed when I decided to check the weather as it had been raining for the the past 3 days. Amed was great but I felt the itch to explore more. So when it did turn out that the rain would last, I decided I was going to have to get wet instead and just go for it. As in: ‘life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain’… or ride in the rain in my case. Thankfully with a great raincoat.
So I said goodbye to Amed to be on my way to the next stop: Lake Batur by the Batur mountain.
The trip turned out to be indeed up a mountain and it started out beautifully with amazing views. I tried to take some pictures but since the roads were so steep I had to press the brake with one hand so they didn’t turn out that great. 😉 With time, the roads started getting curvier and steeper, the drops on the side deeper and the holes in the street as well… filled with water meanwhile because of all the rain. The inner adrenalin junkie had been satisfied by now… and all of a sudden my scooter was having trouble getting up the hill, I had to help out with my feet and was starting to slightly panic… I was only about 3/4 of where I needed to be. Ahh.
Just at that moment a guy on a motorbike passed and said that something on my scooter was overheated and I needed to pause the scooter for 15 minutes or so. He and his cousin waited with me… and as the rain got heavier he offered to ride my bike to a dry place and I could follow on the back of his nephew’s scooter. They seemed trustworthy so I watched, slightly nervous, as he drove with my (meanwhile smoking) scooter + suitcase up the hill.
Luckily all went well and a little later the tourist guide (who had popped up out of nowhere earlier) joined as well and offered to give me a ride on the most dangerous part which was right ahead. I agreed thankfully as by now I had gained respect for the roads here. And right there was my “uh-oh” moment.
We drove down a nearly 90 degree hill with gravel and potholes , followed by a u-turn and basically ending in a ravine if your breaks would stop working (but I tried hard not to think about that) all the while it was raining. I openly admit I prayed. And told myself to relax and just trust this guide, who has probably been doing this daily since years,. And yes… he drove really great and actually I was so grateful that he was the one driving there and not me.
So after a 4 hour mostly rainy ride I finally made it to the misty Lake Batur! Freezing cold for the first time in Bali, brr. But deeply grateful to have made it safely and for all the angels along the way. And to be warm enough for the night with 3 layers of clothing, 3 blankets and warm socks! Hoping your day was more relaxed! 😉
☆ BALI BY SCOOTER – DAY 9 ☆
After a cold night with little sleep despite 3 layers, 3 blankets and warm socks, I was excited to move down to warmer weather… but also a little nervous.
After yesterday’s scary scooter ride through the mountains, I knew I didn’t want to go back that way. But the guy (Putu) who had helped me with my scooter yesterday said it was shortest. At the hotel they said the other road was better and bigger. Whom to trust? In the end of course myself, that’s a main reason I am taking this trip. So I decided for the bigger better (but longer) road. Putu had offered to guide me until the main road. All great.
Weather forecast predicted rain and thunderstorms all day, plus next days. I decided to leave anyway. One last view at the lake and… the rain began. It was also super misty… I could only see about 7m to all sides. So I had to go slowww. And in that all… despite freezing cold, rain and mist, it was the most beautiful ride I had so far. Something about the mist made everything seem so myst-erious. It felt like being embraced by it and connected to the surroundings. .
Only being able to focus on just the next few meters ahead was kind of peaceful too. Such a metaphor for life again. That we don’t need always need to see everything ahead and around but just what is important in the moment, giving a sense of aliveness.
That aliveness led to appreciation and so many insights. So when lunch time came I was thinking to myself how great it would be to find a quiet place, perhaps by the beach that I had meanwhile reached, to write down all those insights. And voila… 5min later a little roadsign caught my attention and I found a warung (small restaurant) right by the beach. #magicmoment.
By then it was only 40min to Lovina in the North of Bali (I had wanted to come here ever since I heard the name! Apparently a mix between Love and Indonesia) .
And ahh, what a relief to arrive… the warmth, the sea, the hotel with bird sounds, green grass and palm trees (which I’d booked in 5min in the morning, quick decisions rock!) And the sun! Some contrast helped to appreciate these seemingly simple things again. #grateful
☆ BALI BY SCOOTER – DAY 10 + DAY 11 ☆
First real day in Lovina and it was raining and I was tiiired… the combination of the nerve-wracking roads + cold + quite some work for a client ‘s launch + little time to rest had gotten to me (note to self: roadtrip and work is not the best combo). So I found a comfy looking cafe and was basically hanging on the sofa there and since also my laptop got stuck and the internet was excruciatingly slow, I was working from my phone. .
Then some Australians entered and they smiled at me and I smiled back and returned to work. A little later they were about to play pool but needed a fourth person and asked if I wanted to join. Ironically the last time I had played pool was in Australia… many years ago. But why not? So I ended up playing a round of pool… and another one. And we actually won! Haha although the first round was because the others accidentally shot the white ball in when they just had the black one left. It was fun and lifted my spirits again.
By then the rain had stopped and I decided to leave my work for better internet connection and go to the beach. Since I was really needing some rest, I wanted to rent a beachchair at a hotel and since I had no idea where to go, just like the day before, I basically asked the universe to show me the perfect place. And it actually worked, again! So I ended up at ‘The Lovina’, such a peaceful place and super nice people. Even though it was one hour before it was raining again, it was perfect.
The next day I woke up tired again -I had hoped that by airing the room with windows open and fan running the whole day would help with the mold, but no. So after I decided to stay in Lovina one more day, I decided to move. I found a hotel that sounded closer to the central beach in Lovina, booked it and packed. As I was leaving to see where my new place would be…Google Maps showed it was just 1min away… turned out it was right next door!!! Too funny. And perfect actually because actually I really liked the surroundings and atmosphere of the place.
And I’m in love with the new guesthouse! Again a great garden with bird sounds and fresh frangipani flowers spread everywhere throughout the grass. Plus the room has an open air bathroom where you can shower while looking at palmtrees and birds… made me want to live there. Turns out they also offered massage in the room at a great price, sold.
After the massage, it was time for lunch and I left for my meanwhile favorite rasta restaurant by the beach. And there were three kids walking by with the tiniest puppies (see photo). Total cuteness overload! I’ve never held (or even seen) such a small puppy. Totally in love and the girls were so sweet too.
Then off to the beach again for this time 2h of sunshine and swimming the last stress away… #bestmedicine
The quote on an app I use today perfectly said: “Do more of what makes you happy”. What did you do today that made you happy?
☆ BALI BY SCOOTER – DAY 12 ☆
The trip is starting to come to and end and so it was time to leave Lovina and slowly head back. The supersweet, older massage lady of yesterday still came to bring the delicious homemade coconut oil and I was ready to leave… kind of. Somehow things didn’t flow so smoothly and got delayed. I had been rushing as I had been wanting to get out before the heat, but when I finally headed out and had driven for about 5 minutes I suddenly realized, I actually don’t really want to leave yet. It doesn’t feel complete. It was one of the most beautiful, sunny days so far, and I was going to spend it on the road for the most part. I needed some more sunshine and beach time!
So I turned around and looked out for a hotel where I could use their beach chairs for a little while. And within 2min I found one, they even offered that I could use them for free if it would be for about an hour, as there was noone else. #lovetheflow. And so, I ended up with the beach basically to myself, palm trees above and the smoothest ocean to swim in… getting some more sun and sea vibes which I had been missing during the past rainy week or so.
Cells filled up with the warmth of the sun, I took a second try leaving… and after about 15min I felt so grateful that I had taken the time to warm up, because the mountains already started and it was getting colder and colder. It looked like it was about to rain and I realized I had forgotten my rain jacket at the cafe where I had played pool the other day. Thankfully it didn’t rain though, just a lot of mysterious mist again.
“Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul,
the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.”