I realize it’s been far too long. The thing is, I’ve really wanted to write, but I just haven’t been able to. Since leaving Bali, I have spent the past three weeks languidly relishing in the memories of my month in paradise. Sometimes it takes a while to fully process a place or experience-at least to the point where you can do it justice outside of your own head. Today, I laced up my dusty tennis shoes and stepped out into the intense mid-day heat and stagnant humidity of Luang Prabang, Laos. As my music pounded in my ears and the relentless sunshine beat down on my sweat-drenched body, I came to a couple of realizations. The first (and more overbearing of the two) was that I was certifiably insane for not bringing any water with me; this confirmed by the look shot my way by each and every local that I passed. The second was that, assuming I’d make it back to the hostel alive, I was finally ready to write.
As much as I enjoyed my time in New Zealand and Australia, I didn’t feel like my adventure really began until I landed in Bali. When I booked my RTW ticket, I had planned on staying in Australia for a full three months before heading to Bangkok, but about two months in I started to feel unsettled. Here I was, half a world away from home, no real responsibilities, living out of a backpack, staring at a sky full of different stars every night…and I felt restless. It was an exceptionally odd sensation; at first I tried to ignore it. I stayed in Sydney for a couple of weeks with a friend that I had met when I first arrived (she’s now traveling SE Asia with me), quickly and easily settling into a routine not too far from what I had at home: hot yoga, favorite bars, spots for brunch and good glasses of wine. I had a preferred running path, a small group of friends, a few dates. Maybe I hadn’t been traveling long enough to appreciate this sense of normalcy, or maybe becoming too settled makes me uncomfortable. Whatever it was, I felt an overwhelming desire to continue moving. Sydney is a great city, Australia a great place, but everything was so easy. I wanted to be challenged in every sense of the word. I was desperately craving a language barrier, unfamiliar foods, sweaty days of exploration that would end with a sunset and a cheap beer on white sandy beaches. The longer I stayed put, the more dissatisfied I became. One day I randomly went to the library and spent an entire afternoon with a gigantic pile of books in front of me; I had grabbed literally every single reference book on Bali that I could swipe off the shelves. That night, I canceled my original ticket from Melbourne to Bangkok in mid-June (STA Travel was, once again, amazing to work with and gave me absolutely no hassle) and bought a one-way ticket to Denpasar.
Looking back on it, I’m not really even sure why I chose Bali. I knew literally nothing about it besides the fact that when we lived on Guam, my mom and her best friend had gone there and I thought I remembered her enjoying it. Despite my lack of knowledge, I felt an almost indescribable pull and confidence in my decision to completely rearrange my travel plans and go there. I think these scenarios exist for everyone, and one of the best decisions you can make is to acknowledge the energy that the world is sending your way. If you feel an instinctive pull towards something-a place, a person, an idea- that’s powerful energy and I firmly believe that it’s not circumstantial. So I said my farewells in Oz, and off to the Land of the Gods I went; my taksi awaited.