Wanting to feel that “lightness of being” I often hear from people who visited Bali, I spent some days on this paradise island. Whenever I visit a place for the first time, I am curious and excited to see and feel whatever it has to offer.
Perhaps the most unforgettable experience this place has given me – aside from the peaceful environment, the beauty all around, not to mention the good coffee I thoroughly enjoyed – was my interactions with the Balinese people. They are deeply religious and spiritual, warm, welcoming, and peace-loving. They know how to enjoy life and appreciate the little things in life. They know how to pause and just be grateful. Of course, I didn’t meet all of them, but this is my experience with the ones who crossed my path.
I was taken by the many places I visited – the temples, beach, marketplaces, cafes in the middle of a rice field, and waterfalls at the foot of verdant mountains. My guide, Kadek, sees beauty and abundance everywhere, and reveling in it, he relates what he feels with enthusiasm. Viewed from his lens, I took it all in.
Though I was traveling solo, I felt safe. The place and the people also made me feel safe. On the sidewalks, it was common to see offerings to the gods, a small array of beautiful flowers.
“You might wonder why we have many temples here,” Kadek shared. “There is one for every household, one for the community, and one that is open to everyone.”
“We do our best to preserve our culture and traditions. At home and in school, children are taught at a young age our ways and how we ought to live our lives, and in time, they will pass it on to the next generation,” he adds.
There are many things to love in Bali apart from what I have mentioned. The food was also superb. Commodities are relatively affordable. It is generally safe to walk around even at night. I’m sure one will see something unpleasant that needs to be improved on, and had I stayed longer I would have.
I told Kadek it’s a different mindset when you are there as a visitor or versus living there. In a way, Bali taught me to appreciate more what I have been enjoying back home – our beautiful beaches, the ease of communication with everyone, the local produce, the warm, vibrant, and fun-loving Pinoys, the sense of belongingness, and the familiarity of it all. I can point out numerous flaws in my country and its people. Regardless, I love it with all my heart. And really, it’s always nice to come home
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