Changing Perspectives in Bali

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Bali will change your perspective on life. 

I know that is a strong statement to say something will change you so profoundly, but I truly do believe it. I know it changed mine.  I visited Bali on my honeymoon as an adventure get away, not really know what to expect. When you’re in Bali you can have many different experiences depending on what you choose. We packed our schedules and took full advantage of two weeks in a tropical haven.  Regardless what you choose to do when visiting, you will be met with astonishing views full of natural beauty.  You will find rich culture to experience including sacred temples to visit and strong tradition leaving lasting impression. And you will meet a kind and humble population, full of love and a unique beauty of its own.

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To set the stage, let’s talk a little bit about Bali. Bali is a small island on the the other side of the world (from the US) in Indonesia. Very close to Thailand if you were to look at it on a map. Similar to Hawaii in size, rocking an active volcano, beautiful beaches, dense jungles, breathtaking rice fields and much more.  I know what your thinking, “did he just say breathtaking rice fields?”  I thought the same thing before finding out they were a tourist attraction and visiting the Tagalalang Rice Terrace pictured below. 

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One of the cool things about Indonesia is how their culture developed. It drew influences from both India and Asia eventually bringing us to use the word Indonesia to describe the chain of islands between India and Japan.  This history lead to most everyone living in Bali to practice Hinduism or Buddhism.  

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It was a breathe of fresh air watching their culture in action.  As I grew more curious and began to ask more questions, I found a taxi driver who explained their philosophy on praying for safe driving throughout the day.  Each morning they would say a prayer and make an offering.  They would pray for safety. And they would pray for the safety of not just themselves or their own family.  They would pray for the safety of all drivers and anyone that would be on the road that day rather than focusing on just the safety of themselves.  The same taxi driver also acted as our tour guide that day. Here’s a picture with him and my wife at Uluwatu Temple. 

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This way of thinking with equal care for others was an eye opening perspective for me to learn about. For such a way of existence to be considered the norm in this country was well, foreign compared to what I was used to. Driving is erratic in the cities of Bali.  Yet, some how with the chaotic traffic, motor bikes weaving in and out and a feeling like anything could happen at an moment, there were very few accidents and a low amount of stress.  Compared to our road rage stricken freeways in the US, Bali shed a new light on ways you can choose to live your every day life. They even used their horns differently there.  Instead of a horn meaning, “F you buddy you almost hit me!” It signaled, “beep beep, I’m getting ready to switch lanes, just wanted to let you know.”  This gentle and kind way of existence carried over into the rest of their culture and provided a very peaceful experience.

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Originally, when I sat down to write about Bali I wanted to share one of my most epic adventures.  We did a lot while we were there.  From scuba diving to parasailing.  Sunrise hikes up a volcano to waterfall treks through the rivers. Time spent on beaches in a resort style hotel to time spent in the sacred monkey forrest just outside of Bali’s cultural center, Ubud.  I wanted to write this article about our experience hiking Mt Batur to meet the sunrise. But, I decided differently. I didn’t think it would do Bali justice to only talk about it’s extrinsic beauty when such a large part of my experience was influenced by the intrinsic value brought by the people. I still want to share that experience with you so I hope you will tune in next time when I share what it feels like to wake up at 2am for the hike of a lifetime.

Thanks for reading, if you have been to Bali and would like to share your experience please do so below!

Because Adventure Travel Feeds the Soul,
Marc M and the Hashtag 59 Team