I’ve been home for 3-months now, but I still feel like I’m traveling. This is a good sign. I’ve landed this ship with ease, and with so much thanks to the incredible amount of support I’ve received from from close friends and family. The bay is a wonderful place to call home.
At this moment I’m sitting on my bed glowing fully with gratefulness, optimism, and love. Grateful for all the opportunity that has come my way, grateful for the wonderful food that nourishes my body, grateful for all the teachers that have shown themselves in my life in their many forms, grateful for friends, community, creation. Optimistic for the potential of the future, that it will all work out, that it’s all okay, no really it is all okay. Love. So much love. A love in my heart that wants to give give give, a love that can only be expressed while staring into the eyes of another at your side, a love for a brother, for a sister, for family, for community, for music, for dance, for the endless and infinite expression of life.
My Daily Mantra:
We are so blessed. We are so loved.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I put my camera down for a few months, though so much has happened. Below are a few photos from my remaining time in Nepal, Indonesia, and more recently Burning Man.
Bali, and more specifically the town of Ubud has won my heart in many ways. If you smile at someone, you get a smile back. If you look at someone in the eye, they hold the gaze with a sort of kindness and softness. The food….oh the food is so wonderful. And bali coffee, how I miss Bali coffee. And fresh juice everywhere. Every kind of juice. Pappaya, mango, beet, ginger, orange, lemon, avocado, jackfruit…every fruit! Oh and the mangos, how easy it is to mess my face with a sweet juicy mango. All of that is just part of what makes me love Bali so much, the other part is of course the people I met during my time there. A realization that has become more and more prominent this past year is how much the people around us are really what make experiences, shared experiences, that much better. To those people, and you know who you are, thank you.
Leaving Bali was bittersweet, but it was time to move on…and what a journey that was. To back up a bit it was Friday December 21st and I woke-up around 7am for my daily Mysore practice, grabbed some last minute things around town, had lunch, and in the evening went to Ecstatic Dance for a few hours. I stayed up that night and left for Mt. Batur, a semi-active but mostly dormant volcano on Bali to watch the sunrise from the peak. We left Bali at 2am after no sleep and headed to the volcano, hired a guide and he lead us the rest of the way to the top…and a beautiful sunrise it was.
We made it back to Ubud around 11am, packed, had a final lunch together and gave our heartfelt goodbyes as we all parted ways. I grabbed the public shuttle to the airport but no more than 15min into the trip we were moving at a walks pace behind a precession of thousands of people; There was a celebration throughout Bali for Lord Sanghyang Iswara and getting anywhere on a large bus was not going to be feasable. The driver of the bus called one of his friends who met us part of the way on a Motorbike and had me hop on back. We whipped through Bali traffic past the people, dodging cars, taxis, other motorbikes all while holding a 30lbs pack with all the core strength I had available. He got me to the airport right on time, more importantly alive, and I slipped him 50,000 rupiah note (about $5) and booked it to the ticket counter. The woman behind the counter greeted with me a large smile, pulled up my flight, and asked me if I received the notification. The notification that my flight was delayed 2-hours…I smiled, said thank you, and made my way to the gate for my 2-hour delay that turned into a 4-hour delay.
At this point I’m still on no sleep. 41-hours of no sleep. Eventually we make our way to the plane and I drift in and out of a light sleep for the 3-hour flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I hired a taxi for the 40-min ride into the city and give him the address of my hostel but he can’t find it. We drive around Chinatown for 20-min looking for my hostel…but nothing. I finally ask him to drop me off at what looked like a semi-awake part of Kuala Lumpur and walked my way down the street looking for any hostel. One after one the doors were locked. 5am. Almost 46-hours of no sleep and I retire myself to the wall of a hostel and await for someone to show up at the front desk. I’m in a state that’s beyond tired, sweaty, and more than irritable. Someone eventually came around, checked me in, and I slept.
It’s incredible how irritable and pessimistic my mind is without sleep. A city I was cursing just hours before, I saw with new eyes after 6-hours of deep sleep. Note to self: don’t do that again. The rest of the journey from Malaysia to Thailand was gravy. I booked a spot on the 9pm sleeper train, and slept the entire 10-hour ride to the border of Thailand. I made my way to Krabi by 4-hour bus and the next day took a longboat to Tonsai beach. It feels good to arrive in Tonsai. A wonderful gem of a beach hidden from the tourist beat of Railay. I stay here until the 5th of January.
It’s hard to believe I’ve been on Tonsai for 5-days and yet I’m still trying to cultivate a feeling of homeostasis. Coming from Bali to here was a hell of a journey. And while I was here I caught my first 24-hour stomach bug, and lost my ATM card. Alas I have an additional ATM card and my health is well again, but it’s been difficult to get back to a rhythm that I feel comfortable in. My experience with travel though is that this happens, and like the tide comes and goes. This too shall pass.
After Mary and Pete continued on with the rest of their travels to New Zealand, I ventured back to Ubud on the island of Bali for Indonesian Spirit Festival. The festival was held at The Yoga Barn in Ubud, and is by far one of the most incredible spaces I’ve been and continue to go to. Indonesian Spirit was a weekend of dance, movement, meditation, exploratory yoga, workshops, and live music. Finding this Yoga/Ecstatic Dance community in Bali feels like I’ve found a piece of home in a tropical paradise. Not only that, but I’ve met a few friends out here who also happen to be from the Bay Area…small world.
I plan on staying in Ubud until my flight to Malaysia on the 22nd, right before my Visa expires and was lucky enough to find a $17 flight to Kuala Lumpur on AirAsia. Until then, I plan to continue my daily Yoga practice…something I’ve wanted to do, but have never been able to make time for until now. I’m going on two-weeks strong of daily practice and have created a very intimate relationship with my sweat. I feel very blessed to have this opportunity. The temptation to come back to Ubud after New Years is strong and could easily find myself living here as many people do, for a few months.
A few photos from the last couple weeks:
With Love and until next time,
I sometimes forgot to let my body catchup with my spirit, which was more than ready to venture through Bali when my body was not. I spent a good three days in a very simple rhythm of waking up, eating, reading, & sleeping. The town of Ubud is wonderful…full of incredible food, art, yoga, and an easy place to act as a decompression chamber from the US.
I met up a few friends from home, Mary and Pete, and we’ve ventured to the Gili islands, Gili Meno to be exact. Gili Meno is quiet, and pleasingly so. There are no cars, and you can walk the entire island in about 2-hours. The owner of the bungalow we’re staying at is named Hero, and expressed to us how all the fresh water is brought in by boat and their efforts to conserve it. All the water from the sinks and showers is recycled and used for the gardens and Hero asks that we use a special biodegradable soap that they specially make here. We gladly comply. Straight out from the Bungalows are beautiful coral reefs and lively fish life where we spent the better part of an afternoon snorkeling through.
It’s quiet on this Island, and I’ll most likely make my way back to Ubud for a Conscious Dance festival over the weekend. After that it’s up in the air…like most of this trip.
A few photos from this past week: