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VISA NIGHTMARE

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If you don't want to read all of this, basically;
If anyone is visiting Bali for over a month ever, make sure to plan a quick round trip ticket in the middle to a close destination of your choice or figure out your extended visa before you leave the states...

Explanation ;
Upon arrival in Bali I paid 30$ in the airport for a one month visa. I am going to be here for a while over a month but I figured that I had just gotten away with it or would deal with it when I pay my departure fee on my return flight .

So my two Canadian friends who I am traveling Kelsey and Jen with have been dragging me to the immigration office every day to work on getting our visas extended . Luckily Jen is very organized and notified me that if I don't do this I will be charged at the airport upon arrival for every day over 30 days and it's actually quite illegal if you're a week over and I could Goto jail.
SOO our first few days in Sanur have consisted of paying for cabs and going to the immigration office in Denspasar every day to work on this .

Day one we arrived at 220 and they close at 2. Day 2 we got there at 1 and the minute I got the forms in my hand the power went out.
Day 3...

I start my day with an Instagram post. (See happiness is now blog) saying how happy I am and how no matter what is going on in your life you are able to choose happiness and joy in every moment.

We get to the office at 12 . The immigration office in bali is just about as slow and friendly as maybe the DMV in south jersey, except your in a foreign country and you can't trust anyone.
So I take my number, get my paperwork, fill it out, wait again, hand it in, am told I need a photocopy of my passport and departure flight itinerary, walk around the corner pay for photo copies, go back, and hand in all of this including my passport.
I should have known right then that something was weird why do they need my passport if they already have a photo copy of it, but I thought maybe they would stamp it with my extended visa I would pay 30$ and Id be on my way. At about 1159 the guy gives me a paper that says return for payment February 18th and then my visa will be extended for another month. And untill then they will hold on to my passport and folder of paperwork. This is when I knew something was wrong. I explained to him that I don't want to come back a fourth time and I do not feel comfortable leaving without my passport and I would like it back right now. He said he can't give me my passport back and I need to cancel my application if I want that. I said okay I want to cancel please hand me my passport back . We went back and forth untill he handed me an oh so official blank piece of white paper where I should explain why I want to cancel and then told me it's his break time from 12-1 (even though he gets off at 2) and to come back at 1.
I stayed and intently kept my eyes on that folder.
While waiting an e mail comes through from the friend who told me of olap and is very experienced in Bali. I had written him about my visa issue and his response went something like this ;
"It might seem paranoid, but even when you overstay, just a few days, if there's a problem and the police ask for your passport, if you don't have a current visa, they can make trouble and it will cost you much more than a round trip plane ticket and you won't enjoy the experience . Never give the police your passport, just give them a photo copy, because they might try to keep it and sell it back to you. You can't trust the police or Immigration officials, there. It's not New Jersey."

Ect ect. As you can imagine Im freaking out.
And I think of my Instagram post. Ha what a test. If it wasn't for my two new friends standing by my side throughout this I may have cried. Instead I patiently waited and kept repeating in my head, choose happiness in every moment, deep breaths. Because even if I had freaked out and let myself cry and get angry and build up my temper, it wasn't going to get my passport to the other side of the window.
So instead I calmly waited and tried my best to be happy and put things in perspective, after all I am still in paradise, things could be worse.

About ten minutes later another worker from immigration asked me what my problem was as I was anxiously waiting at the window not leaving. I tricked him into giving me my passport back by saying I just needed to write down my passport number for a moment. And then once it was in my hands explained that I want to cancel and am going to write why on that white paper and be done with this. He said okay just give me your passport and go write it out the pens are over there.
No I think I'll hold on to this thank you. I wrote them a letter that ended in this was my third time to this office and I am done. Thanks. Rachael May O'Brien. I wish I took a picture of it. I told them that I will be headed to Singapore for a few days instead and will get another visa upon arrival.

We left Denspasar, came back to Big Pinapple Backpackers, and started looking up flights! What a head ache that was the past few days, but now I am being sent on another adventure! Perth, Singapore, Thailand where to?? It will be an unplanned expense yes. But I don't have much of a choice, and it makes sense to see somewhere else in south east Asia since I am over here. I am going with the flow of what life threw at me and now I'm on the search for the cheapest flight for a few days out of Indonesia!

Everything happens for a reason right? :)
Sometimes I am skeptical about the whole social media yoga world. We can post and say all we want but how many of us are really living it? And are my posts stemming from my ego just wanting more likes ? Why do people need to know what yoga poses I did today? It seems like just about everyone today is posting head stand pictures.
BUT it makes sense to share with others the catalyst of inspiration and peace in my life . Social media can be a platform for social change, we are all looking at it all day every day and it affects us. So if there are more and more positive quotes and healthy posts every day. That's something to celebrate . I would much rather see juices and crow poses than negativity, violence, and club pictures. Posting those pictures and that positivity, makes you more inclined to live it, because you don't want to be a hypocrit right? That's how it all starts. You fake it unyill you make it. We all have a vision that's not quite real yet and then we work work work untill it becomes our reality. That Instagram post and words I said that more helped to remind me to keep the peace within, while there was chaos and stress all around me .
And so I choose happiness and I will continue to do so.

Denspasars word; frustration.
Baha indonesia word of the day ; TIDAK- NO

Posted by rachaelob 06:35 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali indonesia travel visa happiness yoga inspiration wanderlust Comments (0)

SEMINYAK

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The first few days in BalinI have been staying in an area called Seminyak. Although very close to the ever forbidden Kuta that everyone tells me to stay away from, Seminyak has been just touristy enough that it's good for me to get acclimated to Indonesia . Plus the waves aren't quite like the infamous breaks of Padang Padang and Uluwatu so I am able to get some surfing in before
Moving on to the powerful areas that may be too big for me and the northern inland areas like Ubud.

A typical day for me in Seminyak goes like this:
Wake up at sunrise, morning cleansing, chanting and meditation .
Walk about 2 miles to Olaps house for his early morning advanced yoga practice. After walking down various alley ways and through the giant gates with the number 7 on them. I am greeted by geese, chickens, dogs and a green jungle wonderland where in the back you can find a large clearing and platform for yoga to be practiced. The platform has a rooftop so yoga can still be practiced in the rain and we can always stay for post practice chai tea :).

Olap has been teaching yoga for 30? Years I believe I have heard and was referred to me by a friend Jon via Adam green. He looks like he is 24. He is extremely knowledgable about the body and in his classes he asks you to dive deep within. Within his Iyengar style (whom he studied under for 20 years) he strongly emphasizes presence of the mind as well as awareness of every single tiny muscle in your body. He even has a skeleton in class so he can really break down what he's talking about. While originally Balinese and extremely traditional he kinda scares the shit out of me, but is very kind and keeps it light with humbling jokes throughout practice which costs about 7$ . He had me hanging off of every English, Sanskrit and Balinese word.

Next I goto the local organic vegetarian restaurant for a light post yoga breakfast if it is too late to get the free breakfast at my hostel.
Then to the beach to check the surf and either run or walk for a bit. Perhaps rent a board 3$ catch about three waves and get beat up paddling through the rest but walk away feeling tired and accomplished.

And when I decide I am beat up I head back to the hostel, on the way home stopping at my favorite spot Wayans authentic Indonesian
Side note: In eat pray love Liz explains that most of the population gives 1 of four names to their children, wayan, made, Nyoman, and ketut, meaning first second third and fourth. What happens If you have a fifth child you ask ? You start the cycle over again at wayan to the second power. I thought there was no way this could be true. But behold I have met several ketuts, mades, wayans and one Nyoman In my few days of being here. There's a Wayans Spa , Wayans Restaurant, Wayans surf shop, Wayans money exchange, and all on the same street. Liz wasn't fuckin around. Many of the Balinese have nick names to help avoid confusion because it wouldn't be uncommon for one Wayan to marry another Wayan and then have a child named; Wayan. And so you see how this gets confusing.

Anyway I stop at Wayans Indonesian. Here I can enjoy some authentic Indonesian Nasi Campur for 4$ and use the beautiful natural pool. Rather than the fake pool and hot dogs at the hostel, although the hostel is quite nice and has a great sense of community.
When all this is done I shower and change and do the walk once again down to the beach to enjoy a beautiful sunset on the beach, priceless. Unless a few bintangs are involved of course ;) and perhaps a light dinner to follow if I'm still hungry.
Life in seminyak is simple and good, and this is the area everyone says to run from. Can't wait to see the rest of it! Next stop ; Sanur , but first the Tanahlot Temple on the way :)

Today's Balinese word ; Terima Kasih - Thank you ? feeling grateful

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Nasi campur (Indonesian/Malay: "mixed rice", also called nasi rames in Indonesia) is an Indonesian Classic. It is adish of a scoop of nasi putih (white rice) accompanied by small portions of a number of other dishes, which includes meats, vegetables, peanuts, eggs and sometimes fried-shrimp krupuk all for about 3$ .Depending where it originates, a nasi campur vendor might served several side dishes, including vegetables, fish and meats. It is a staple meal of the Southeast Asian countries, and popular especially in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, and southern Thailand,

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And here I thought I was going to be able to escape Valentine's Day...

Posted by rachaelob 23:58 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali indonesia travel yoga chai seminyak wanderlust nasi_campur olap gyspy Comments (0)

Loosing track of time..

sunny 88 °F

Well they took my yoga Matt off my backpack when I checked it and asked me to carry it on. So yoga sessions had to be held at all airports.
The flight from Newark to Tokyo was long but I really didn't mind it to much. It just was confusing as I left at 10 am and then arrived in Tokyo 15 hours later at 3 pm. The screen in front of me would say time from departure location (newark) and time in arrival location (Japan) and show our little plane flying in between and I kept thinking but what time is it realllly ? is it breakfast? Dinner? Does it matter? What is time? Time, age, all just numbers we use to let our minds label and think we have control . Maybe I just was stuck in that damn seat for too long haha ?

When I got off the plane was 2 am at home but 4 pm here. I contemplated grabbing a Japanese beer to aid my sleep to Singapore. But when I asked myself if I really needed it I thought it will probably be over priced and I won't even like it and decided to Goto the oxygen bar instead. I can always get overpriced Tokyo beers on the way back, sneaky Japanese. If you didn't catch the South Park reference, I'm just kidding, everyone here is super friendly and nice and hello kitty is everywhere as I roam around the airport.
The oxygen bar has what they claim to be the purest air infused with Ayurvedic treatment flavors of your choice to revive you after breathing airplane air for 15 hours. Ten minutes comes with three flavors, tea, water and a reclining chair just for 8$ .
Better choice than the beer.
Met two others on the way to
Singapore who will also be in bali. This month. Gave in to having a beer with them. Got checked another 100 times before getting onto the jet star plane. Flew through some epic clouds and views, felt like I was entering another world. And landed. In bali.
I'm here safe yall ?❤️

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Posted by rachaelob 22:16 Archived in Indonesia Tagged tokyo indonesia travel airport yoga seminyak move wanderlust Comments (0)

Goodbye Florida

Love can be found anywhere, and with anyone, you just have to choose to see it.

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I've come to love Florida more than I ever thought I would.
I used to think florida was "flat" in every sense of the word. Boring, no waves, no mountains, Flat was Florida 'word'. I was spoiled by lots of time in San Diego and told my parents I would never move to the sunshine state.

But I think, that if you spend enough time in any place or with any person, with an open mind and heart, you can grow to love them.
My dear and wise friend Sydney shared with me this experiment a few days ago, that if you ask almost anyone, this series of 36 questions and look them in the eye for a few minutes, you will begin to feel love for them. Even a stranger.
Similarly, once I put my guard down about a certain place, or person, I am able to love and feel comfortable.
It's all about what we choose to see.
It's about choosing love over the ego.
These questions in the experiment get so deep that you must let your guard down and speak from the heart rather than ego if you're being honest. It helps to show you the other person,raw, unguarded, with an open heart, which stimulates love.
My ego would say florida is lacking mountains and it's boring, filled with old people and it gets too hot. California is much more progressive, has great waves, mild temps and mountains.

But my heart can now see the laid back, warm, friendly, energy of Florida. Me and Derrick had no problem finding progressive cool places whilst cruising down 95 to Hozier with the sun beating down on us. They do get waves and the water is always warm enough to not own a wet suit. You can find positivity and great people, anywhere you go. I may not know where I will end up permanently, but because of friends and family I've been drawn to Florida quite a bit the past year and a half, and I love it.
It's all about being present where I am, and choosing to see the love.

Now I head back to Jersey where I will choose to see the love of being back at my gym and studio, having my own room and seeing firmilar faces before I leave again! I even ended up sitting right next to two family friends on the plane home Mr. And Mrs. Mooney!

Feeling grateful for my travel buddy Derrick ?, everyone who welcomed us, reconnecting with old friends, the warm weather and waves serving as a warm up for bali! I am grateful for being able to choose love. I am grateful for being privileged enough to live this life and travel. As Hozier says ' I'm so full of love I can barely eat.'
(Which might not be a bad thing after last week ?)

Posted by rachaelob 16:10 Archived in USA Tagged travel love usa florida yoga nj wanderlust ego holier Comments (0)

Delray and DeerField Beach

(and running back to Miami, and running back to Delray) a collection of firsts !

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"There's nothing like returning to a place unchanged and realizing it is you yourself that has changed."

Although I had been to Delray and Deerfield before in 2013, there is always something new to experience especially when with new people.
It's easy for me to go on autopilot and go places I have been to and feel comfortable navigating, but to try new places and things is to grow. It's easy to get stuck in our patterns, trying new things and going to new places scares our ego, which is why it's important to do so. The ego may scare you into never doing something you've always wanted because you're too scared to try. My dad has always told me a famous quote by Wayne Getzsky "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take." This can be applied in your yoga practice or anywhere in life, traveling to a new city, or finding new adventure in one you have already seen.

So in a traveling sense Miami was a new location to me , these two next towns wouldn't be , but that didn't mean it couldn't be a new experience. Even at home in the same place, there's something new to see and learn every day.

So when we got into delray, Aunt Mindy met us for a Santana cover band concert. The night began with reunion tequila shots and ended with excellent pizza and sublime music. So great to reunite with old family and introduce new friends. ❤️
Delray is super cool and happening. The word for it might be, festivity or 'The Avenue'. Every week there is some kind of event going on. Seafood and wine festival, art festival, garlic festival. Always live music, always poppin clubs and bars, and lots of fancy food. The avenue itself is even a little too much for my liking.
So we found our favorite street in Delray - Swinton Avenue; a cross street by the avenue with The Sunday House and Shaffers Tea House on it.
Shaffers tea house is a rad cluster of all wooden little buildings and outside seating. Awesome live music, Henna tatoos, and the purest homemade healthy teas and treats is what you can expect here on a Friday night. Great vibe and staff.
The Sunday house is one block down, is a beautiful botanical garden and fancy restaurant and bar with random private seating throughout the gorgeous gardens . We walked through and found out that it also is a hotel. It even has an all natural pool with a water filtering system that doesn't use chemicals, a big green grass area, and bananas and other exotic plants and fruits growing randomly throughout the place. It is breath taking.
So we decided although it is not in our budget, we must experience this place at some point, perhaps with false identities.

When Delray became a bit much we headed to Deerfield but first ran back down to Miami to take some yoga at Kino MacGregor's studio. I was surprised at how small and humble it was. She and another teacher we wanted to see were absent but we took a great ashtanga class and it was cool just to be there . The guy who taught the class got both of my hands to bind to my feet behind my back in a lotus forward fold. This is something I've always wanted to do! And another first! And one day I will be able to sitting up and on my own after enough hip and shoulder work haha :). It always feels good to accomplish something new and different.
In fact Miami even seemed a new experience the second time around. I had only been there less than a week earlier, but that trip was about seeing the city beaching and partying. This short visit was about yoga and driving around coral gables to see the Banyan Trees. These trees are the national tree of the republic of India but can also be found in Florida. They are epiphytes (a plant growing on another plant) when its seeds germinate in the cracks and crevices on a host tree. So they end up looking like one crazy big connected tree with a bunch of roots. They're quite interesting and very pretty and it was my first time climbing on one !

It didn't even feel like I was in Miami. We also found a small street art fair and ate a very reasonable lunch at 100 Montaditos. Which is a cafe that sells small Spanish sandwiches and on certain days offers specials where select sandwiches are 1$ or 1.50$ . We happened to be there that day! Which also included 1$ sangria.
And so I could have not driven back to Miami because I had already been there, but that Sunday afternoon gave me a completely different view of the city it was cheap, healthy, fun and filled with beautiful nature.

That evening we arrived in Deerfield to stay with Mindy in her awesome little complex, the sandy pebble. Super chill people, super chill town. Got to bum on her couch for a few days and reconnect with Mindys neighbor Rasta who happens to live with a friend of mine Katie from high school. We rented paddle boards, did some yoga, ate some ice cream and enjoyed simple slow placed days and long walks on the beach. Deerfield is so chill with a stoner surfer vibe, and they have a great location. Everything I needed in walking distance from jazz music and side walk dance parties to uptown funk, and rockin reggae music a block down. I found myself thinking this is quite a nice set up they have down here... Our last day there we were blessed with some nice little waves. I didn't even plan on surfing, we had rented paddle boards and I was out at the end of the peir doing SUP yoga with Katie, and decided I would try riding in a wave. I've never surfed on a stand up before so I thinking Id wipe out. I successfully rode in several nice long lefts, making turns and digging my paddle in the water. It felt exhilarating and I kept thinking I wish my dad was here to see this. Another first experience. I also did forearm stand on a paddle board and handstand for the first time, even if I fell on my board a few times. You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take .

After surfing, Derrick and I journeyed back to the ever so fancy 'Sunday House' in Delray. (On a Tuesday) . After I made Derrick put up his long hippie hair and leave the guitar in the car, I put on some make up and we walked in pretending to be guests of the hotel. We successfully sauntered right past the from desk and swam around in the pool with live fishies and moss everywhere. Once again beautiful, is an understatement. Used the cold outside shower like the squatters we are and stayed for an epic dinner. It was awesome, and we totally pulled it off, even though Mindy said we wouldn't... Again you gotta take the chance :)
My last day and evening couldn't have been more perfect. The scenery and food was fantastic, and took the place of the fancy over priced meal in Miami, that we'd be making up for with PB and apples ever since. ;) (It may seem like I'm being wined and dined and am a total brat, but those meals are complimented with nice healthy cheap meals for traveling like fruit, pb, cereal ect. Keeping costs lower.)

So all in all, Even in places I had visited before, I experienced so many new great things :). Because I decided to take the chance.
So no matter where you are, take a minute to ask yourself if there's something you've been waiting to do. Why haven't you done it?
How can you look at somewhere you are all the time, with a new perspective?
And When was the last time you did something for the first time??

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Posted by rachaelob 15:58 Archived in USA Tagged nature travel surf tea florida yoga miami banyan_trees sup dinning inspiration wanderlust chances deerfield_beach firsts delay risks derrick mindy the_sunday_house shaffer_tea_house sup_yoga Comments (0)

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