This is my third trip to Bali, but the longest one. I am here for a month total, with a small side trip to the Gillis which is technically a part of Lombok. Bali is different to the rest of Indonesia. Indonesia and Bali have different religions, but I don’t think that’s why Bali is so different. It just feels different.
By the time I arrived in Bali, I was really stressed. Packing up an entire apartment, selling away your possessions and saying goodbye to friends and family without a time to return is hard. Really hard. Despite having a wonderful adventure ahead of me, goodbyes are the worst.
Life in Bali is very different to New Zealand and simply crossing the road or a conversation with a lady who’s doing my nails illustrates the point. Bali has taught me a lot about life and I’d like to share some of what Bali has taught me about life:
1) Slow Down
Aside from some of the crazy motorcycle riders, most people in Bali simply live life at a slower pace. Things take longer here, but it’s not a cause of frustration. Last night I wanted a massage so went to my favourite place here in Kuta and there was a 20 minute wait. I noticed two men asleep on the massage chairs, I thought perhaps they were waiting for their partners to finish a treatment. Nope, they were waiting for a massage too and had just decided to take a nap. This would never happen in New Zealand! If we had to wait so long for a massage that we could have a decide nap, we would be furious. Here things are a lot slower, more relaxed and a bit more casual, I like it.
2) No Worries
We had a problem dropping off a motorbike to the shop owner: he simply wasn’t there when we had mentioned we would be dropping it off. We had to go to a different hotel in a different area so we left the motorbike there and took the key and two helmets with us. We returned them the next day, a full day after we were supposed to return everything. The owner didn’t apologise for not being there and we didn’t apologise for returning the gear a day later. In New Zealand, the shop owner would be there, for certain and if we returned gear a day late, we’d probably be charged. It wasn’t even discussed, he just asked if we wanted to rent it for another day..
Nothing’s a problem here. Want to ride down the wrong side of the road, on the footpath, whatever. No worries.
3) Family is Big
If you have a conversation with a Balinese, one of the first questions they’ll ask is about your family: are you married, do you have children, what ‘number’ child are you? (Here in Bali there is a specific name for the children based on birth order, so it’s important). If you ask a Balinese about their family, they will glow and gush about their children, siblings and parents. It’s really sweet and not something that comes up anywhere near as quickly in Bali.
4) That Things Happen Exactly as They Should
The Balinese believe in reincarnation, that if you don’t do the ‘homework’ or lessons you’re supposed to in this life, you’ll come back again to work through them. They believe that things can often be tests of character or challenges. So when things happen, they feel more like they were ‘supposed’ to happen that way or needed to, which gives them an advantage of people who think that bad things are just bad luck. I think this attitude contributes to their relaxed nature in dealing with things.
What countries have you been to that have taught you life lessons that you’ve tried to take on board?
I love the Balinese way of life and would love to spend a lot more time here.