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Barong Trance Dance

overcast 82 °F

So last night we went through a really powerful experience. I am
Going to do my best to relay this accurately .
Every year the Balinese have almost a new year If you will and it is
Signified by a day at sometime in March called Nyepi. This day is a very holy day in which silence is observed and all normal activities cease. Leading up to Nyepi, the people
Of Padang Bai have their last 'Barong Dance' of the year. This ceremony is one of the key ceremonies of all in Bali. The performance begins at 5 pm and goes untill 8pm. Then there is a 2
Hour break. At 10 pm the ceremony is resumed and continues on untill 5 am the following day. Honza and Claudine brought us to the first part of the ceremony in which we had to cover all shoulders and wear sarongs around the waist in respect like many dances you may attend. But this one was quite different from the other dances I have seen in Ubud. Most people were wearing white, women wear flowers in their hair, and there are many rules to observe for instance you must sit on your bum the entire ceremony no standing allowed. The ceremony started just like any other Balinese dance with beautiful young Girls and trippy music and continued to men in animated character costumes acting out a story. This particular story is about Barong and Rarong and the battle between forces of good and evil. When we walked in the energy was so high it was crazy. You could feel the intense excitement in the air. Many men there warned us that this ceremony is not aimed for tourists quite like the dancing in Ubud or something but we stayed anyway for we wanted an authentic experience. To make a long story short, the heat and sitting still for three hours ended up being the least intense aspect of our experience. Claudine had mentioned that when she saw this particular dance as a child a chicken was killed and sacrificed at the end, and we knew it was a trance dance , but I didn't quite understand what the trance part of it meant. It was towards the end of our viewing when local people began to fan themselves and then break out into screaming and wailing, that I realized. When this happens the person is being possessed by the evil spirit. There were birds getting their head chopped off and eating the body of that bird is supposed to be one of the ways to get the person out of the trance. Many priests are walking around splashing holy water and are there to help take people out of the trance at the end point.
The energy changed very quickly and none of us were expecting it to get quite so dramatic as there were children everywhere watching this ceremony . When we walked out we saw dozens of Balinese laying in the street with another member of the community consoling them and taking care of them making sure they didn't hurt anyone until they came out of the trance. Many people from my training felt deeply affected by the experience. Seeing so many people not in control of their bodies and all the animal sacrificing and how normal it was to them was pretty crazy. My one friend who was pretty shaken up over it was being asked by all the Balinese if the spirit had gotten into her and saying if it did we had to take care of it right away and give her some arak to drink to cool it off or something. We all left in a totally different energy. I felt a heaviness in my chest. Perhaps we weren't susceptible to being in trance from the evil spirit because we weren't welcoming it in and haven't been watching these ceremonies since age 1. But I did definitely feel different. It almost felt like leaving a rave, really alert and excited but maybe a little scared, watching people stay at the rave with their friends who are one some kind intense drug that maybe you aren't on. It felt pretty crazy.

After some dinner and wine to bring ourselves back, we gathered in Honza and Claudine's villa to discuss the experience . Often times when an experience is super powerful for you it is because it is striking something within you. Possibly awakening a fear or something that is already inside. We answered questions such as what are you afraid of? And tried to look at the ritual without any judgement seeing it for what it is for these people. For them it is a celebration. Going into trance is a good thing I think for their people because it means you let the spirit move through you and out allowing yourself to be cleansed . In a way I think it's almost like yoga, it is a practice that allows for release and emotional break through. As strange as it was it was kind of beautiful to watch this person is trance freaking out and really going through something, and the people in the village just were there for them and made sure they didn't hurt anyone. At home sometimes we put a negative light on feeling, or crying. But it's something we all need to do or we carry those emotions with us every day. The other day I hit my hand during a game of ninja attack lol and my friend MiMi did some Rieki on it and I just cried and released. Maybe not even because it hurt so bad, but because the voice inside my head was rushing to all the worst possible scenarios about my basing and hardstanding going out the window if my hand is hurt. Maybe something just needed to come out Im not sure, but I felt so much better after. And rather than people thinking it was weird I was crying or dramatic or being freaked out, I had Dan rubbing my shoulders And John holding my hand and everyone just being there holding space for me.
I know for one when I have a student cry in yoga class or something, I feel so incredibly special that I was able to stimulate that release. I feel grateful and touched for the environment I have created. And I know many people after having that experience would just be like woah and drink all nightand not go into how it made them feel. So to have this deep candle lit talk was just so beautiful. And brought me back once again to what a sacred safe space I am in with these people. I feel that Acro yoga stimulates a space of communication, trust, and there fore creates a community. Sometimes we get stuck on our own Matt, closed off behind walls . Instead allow yourself to break them down, allow yourself to break down. Because every break
down, leads to a break through.

Posted by rachaelob 18:29 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali indonesia travel dance yoga wanderlust trance barong Comments (0)

ACROVINYASA TT Day 1 and 2

You are always exactly where you are meant to be. ✨

When I was searching for where this winter would lead me in terms of new travel and education, I was clearly guided to Bali for ACROVINYASA Level 1 teacher training. Between cheap flights, to good timing, to the experience I was in need of and location meeting the activities I was looking for, it just laid out in front of me. I've been trying to flow with the universe rather than fight it and so I signed up and booked a flight. But up untill the day I got to Padang Bai I was a bit unsure about this whole acro yoga thing.

I love acro yoga, it's fun and I had taken a few workshops and learned from friends here and there. But I was always just a stand in flyer for John, Little Fox, Shannan, whomever I met long the way, to throw me up in the air. I kept wondering why me? How am I going to teach this practice? And why do I get the privilege of learning from two of the best acro yogis I know of in the world?
I assumed everyone who would be at the training would be incredible yogis with a strong passion for AcroYoga just like my friend John from Upper Township who encouraged me to follow this through. John lives for acro and meanwhile for me, I really enjoy the practice of yoga more, and acro is fun to compliment it with. I kept wondering why ACROVINYASA and not ashtanga or something I practice more often?
I wondered this untill the moment I arrived at Bloo Lagoon Resort.
Side note; The place we are staying is made up of a group of 25 houses, a pool, restaurant and spa built on a hillside over looking the tourqiouse waters of the Lombok straight in padang bai east bali. The setting is a gift from nature and the houses are simple wooden structures and thatched roofs that maximize air flow and the connection to the out doors. It was all built without cutting into any land and reserves the nature make up of the land. The resort keeps an eco friendly philosophy of doing more with less and their slogan is 'Bloo is the New Green'. Basically it's fucking awesome. And I have my own bed with an ocean view, kitchen , and outdoor shower. It is very... Alive with wild life of all sorts. Snakes, giant black bumble bees that I've never seen, and there are no real enclosed ceilings in the villas so anything is fair game. I was told to keep my food all in the fridge and put any valuables away because nothing is safe from the monkeys. I amFeeling quite spoiled with my own kitchen and bed compared to the hostels I've been in ;). Breakfast is still included but rather than white toast and an egg, it's a buffet spread of exotic fruits museli, rice, noodles ect. I load up on green juices, omlettes and peanut butter after our 90 min morning vinyasa and meditation.

ANYWAY; Upon arrival we did the whole introduction thing like you would in any training, yet Honza and Claudine have fun games and ways of doing all this such as ninja attack, screaming toes, and also treated us to an authentic Balinese dance at our opening ceremony.
I was right about it, everyone is an incredible yogi, and everyone loves acro yoga. But in a different way than I thought, I am not even close to the least experienced, and being an incredible Yogi doesn't mean you have to be able to balance on your hands for three minutes.(although we have quite a few of those, I've been introduced to the world of handstand max outs YIKES) . Not everyone is 'instafamous' however there are some with a good following and it is still Surreal to me being taught by YogaBeyond and being in a training side by side with Laura Sakorya. Everyone is far nicer than I could ever imagine from their instagrams.

Honza had a good point explaining that his experiences of teacher trainings are lots of work, and then on the last day everyone usually gets together and has fun. On this last day you get to really talk and bond and make such great connections and then the next day boom it's over and you say goodbye.
So Honza and Claudine have been thoughtful enough to consider this and day 2 was a bit of a fun day, to ease us into things and allow us to make friendships. Which is probably a good thing to do before you trust someone throwing your body in the air with the probability that you make end up with your head near their crotch or feet in their face.
To start the day we had a morning session, an intro if you will to ACROVINYASA. Which gave me the answer I had been looking for of why I am here...

ACROVINYASA
Is a practice designed by Honza and Claudine Lafond of YogaBeyond that encorporates Vinyasa Yoga, Breath, Inversion Training, and AcroYoga with L based flying.
Many times my experience of AcroYoga was either paying to learn front bird again, or going to a jam where I'm being thrown up in the air into acrobatic postures, that are awesome, but I'm not sure how safe or yogic it was.
This practice was the first time I was able to really see the parallel of yoga whilst flying or basing another person. Both types, Acro Yoga and ACROVINYASA are incredible practices depending on what you are looking for. But ACROVINYASA to me seems like the first acro yoga practice, I can see being placed into a studio as a safe class on a regular basis.
What they have created here is absolutely incredible and totally ahead of the frontier and I couldn't be more psyched to be a part of it. I didn't fully understand what I was walking into here and that I would be one of the very first ACROVINYASA certified instructors in the world. I now feel like I've found the acro yoga that I can connect with and feel comfortable teaching. And admire the creativity of Honza and Claudine so much to create this.

Walking away from that morning session smiling ear to ear I was feeling connected to this training.
We then visited the near by temple on a full moon of Virgo which allows for transformation and made offerings to the temple . Next we then headed down to the beach and did a bit of body surfing and acro play. You can imagine the look on the locals faces when about 34 white folk come down and start stacking bodies on feet. And you can imagine the look on my face when I am casually handstanding with Laura on the beach, whom was one of the very first Yoga instagram accounts I've ever followed. After the beach Honza and Claudine brought us to a local restaurant with cucumber water and watermelon juice waiting for us, which was later accompanied by beers and sangria. We had a big group dinner getting to know each other over enjoying cocktails, and taking underwater pool pictures in the salt water dive pool.
We ended the day with a nice pow wow at Honza and Claudine's Villa.
We've had many conversations about authenticity. Because in many yoga trainings there are rules about teacher and student relationships, about not having sex or eating meat. drinking maybe bed times. Honza and Claudine decided not to set these rules because it is not a part of who they are. Which is respectable because how unauthentic would it be to have us be celibate, sober, vegans, and then for them to Goto their villa and not necessarily live that life. They also know that many of us don't live here or near here and have traveled halfway around the world. So thoughtfully they are trying to allow us to get the best experience of Bali while we're here but still covering a whole lot of material. So we have allot of freedom, yet the group understands everything in moderation and respects that we will be going upside down every morning. We also always still have the power to make our own choices and make this whatever experience we would like to get out of it. Honza and Claudine are also always asking for feedback and are open to any suggestions and changes as this is their first training. At our night chat someone suggested that we share the best and worst part of our days in a circle. It was a great exercise seeing that most everybody's worst part was something so insignificant like dealing with some crazy bugs, or seeing a snake in paradise. When it came around to me I expressed that I felt like I finally got my answer to if I belong here. That morning discussion and finding out what ACROVINYASA is a speak ignited in me. I've realized what an opportunity I have to be at the forefront of something amazing and intend to take full advantage. I also said that I appreciated Honza and Claudine's originality. They've created a training that is different like any other, not only in the practice, but because of their originality.
They balance guru and friend perfectly and don't hide from us who they really are. Being able to share a beer with your students and have them feel comfortable confiding in you, yet maintaining authority and respect, is a crazy balance to maintain, and yet they do it beautifully. Balance seems to be their forte in just about everything and I know I can learn so much from these people. I realize why the universe led me here the whole time, and am happy I didn't question it. You are always where you are meant to be. ✨?

I am surrounded by magic and miracles. Everything I need comes to me at the perfect time. Feeling like I am just where I belong and no matter where you may be right now if you've actually read to the bottom of this, know that you are exactly where you should be as well. How do I know? Because you're there!

Namaste ?✨?

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Our altar :)

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Posted by rachaelob 15:51 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali indonesia love yoga tt universe trust spirituality wanderlust acroyoga acro acrovinyasa yogabeyond Comments (0)

Perrtthhh Australian Adventures

When nothing is sure, anything is possible.

sunny 80 °F

When I first started traveling around Bali, I became increasingly upset that I already have a return flight home. Because Kelly and Stephen if you're reading, as excited as I am for your wedding, every hostel I Goto friends are planning their next move, or getting their Australia work visas and then they ask me 'what's after bali?' And I reply, back home to New Jersey.. Even if I wanted to go somewhere else I really should make my departing flight out of Denspasar, I felt stuck, in this plan. And I felt like it was silly that I came half way around the world, to see one small island and nowhere else around here.
When I had my issue with my visa, that's when it occurred to me, I'm not stuck. All my time in between that return flight other than my training is free . I can go anywhere I want. I am in charge of my life ! And that visa issue was giving me my chance, it was the universe saying just go Ya big dummy!

But of course as I am trying to escape one visa issue, I run right into another. We booked pretty last minute and tried online to get a visa for AU and the website was giving us all sorts of issues. Not sure if if was the site or Bali Guest Houses shitty wifi, we had to just show up and wing it. When checking my bag for my flight at 3 am I was told I cannot get a visa upon arrival and must have one before I board the plane. This led to last minute rushing of calling Australian officials, online applications, and running in the airports to get to the gate with one minute to spare.
These types of stressful situations almost entertain me now. The challenge makes me feel like I've accomplished or learned more. And like my old swim coach Mr. Wakely used to tell me, I work well under pressure. (Literally he'd tell me to go up to the blocks and that I was signed up for a race two minutes before it started and then laugh at me as I scambled.) Sometimes I can plan Too much and I need to be thrown into spontaneous, last minute, stressful situations like that. Anyway
I am so so happy that Jen, Kelsey and I decided to book our flight to Perth, Australia! Not only would I get to see a state outside of Bali, but a whole new continent!! Perth is the fourth largest city in Australia and the largest city in WA (the state of Western Australia ).
The minute I walked around the city I felt like I was in San Diego, and many locals told me they've heard that comparison before as well. Whilst being a big city, with big buildings and its own airport and what not, Perth still isn't that populated and is apparently quite low key compared to Sydney and Melbourne. The city is on a harbor and is very clean and I don't know how to explain it really, it just feels like San Diego. Similarly, the city has some cool parks and it's nice to walk around, but the cafes aren't as cheap or healthy as Id always like and instead I prefer the beachy, surfy, suburbs surrounding it.
Throughout our stay we checked out areas such as Marmion Marine Park , Hillary's, Scarbourough ( Scabra ) beach and Swan Valley.
Our first day there was spent in the hospital as Kelsey has been having some stomach issues, this gave me and Jen an opportunity to walk around and explore the harbour, the bell tower, and the candy selection.
Yes that's right candy selection, I try to keep it healthy yes, but I am a sucker for trying new things in different countries that I know we don't have at home even if it isn't that good for me. I'm also a sucker for Kit Kats, they're my favorite candy. I'm pretty Convinced that the Kit Kat must be the official candy of Australia as I have never seen so many different types and flavors. That and the awesome Perth international night food market right next to our place, leaves me feeling in need for a few days of yoga detoxification in Ubud.
We stayed in a hostel just outside the city, it was walkable to most places but when exploring other areas we could get a day pass for trains and buses and transportation was incredibly easy. In fact everything felt incredibly easy. Everything was in English, online, punctual, and they even have a count down at the free bus stop telling you exactly how many minutes until it arrives. It feels just like home. The only differences being the awesome accents, overwhelming friendliness of local Australians , and the overwhelming allure of Australian men. ??.
Anyway I was feeling quite spoiled once again being able to drink tap water yet forgot that I am once again in a real country and will be carded at bars. I forgot my ID everywhere (pulling a linny west) . Which was extremely necessary at night (most bars wouldn't even accept my license and wanted my passport! ) because it is the Aussies busy long Labor Day Weekend. Not a big deal, just less expensive beers for me. But it was interesting to catch another Labor Day in March and see how their summer season is just winding down as our spring at home is barely starting up ! I was able to enjoy this Labor Day instead of working the beach all weekend ;)

Another difference is the overwhelming Australian sun. The weather was gorgeous. Hot beach weather but not as hot, humid and buggy as Bali. There was usually a nice breeze and it cooled down at night. But this makes it even easier to get sunburnt and due to the huge hole in the ozone layer AUs UV index is off the charts.
Also Australians are coffee snobs, apparently Melbourne has one of the best coffees in the world and Starbucks is the only American franchise that never made it here! . McDonald's, Target, 7/11, they're all here, but the Starbucks have all been shut down. "They know sheet coffee when they see it." I thought that was pretty cool and interesting but This came as a big disappointment to Kelsey who as she travels, collects Starbucks mugs from different cities, yes probably the most ridiculous and inconvenient collections a traveler could have, but Ya gotta love her.
My favorite day was spent in Swan Valley and Freemantel, we started our way up north at Cavershath Because Kelsey wanted to Goto the Wild Life Park, Jen and I opted out and toured the free woodland reserve instead to avoid the entrance fee and get a more natural experience. We were just sauntering around behind the gates of the Wild Life Park walking in the trees and admiring the ostriches from afar when boom! We saw about 6 Kangaroos! It was my first experience seeing roos in the wild and I was very amused seeing them hop about, but I am pretty sure to Australians this is about as common and unexcitng as seeing a deer on the road back in Jersey.
Regardless, Jen and I took plenty a pictures of the baby Kangaroos and were ecstatic to have caught them in their natural environment rather than paying. Kelsey was still in the park so Jen and I wanted to head to Swan Valley to wine taste. We had missed the 20 Min shuttle that takes you back to the parking lot area by 5 minutes so we decided to walk.
It was quite hot and I figured this little path would be a safe area to have my first hitch hiking experience . It was just a little path and all people leaving the wild life park. I know, I know it can be dangerous, but we were kind of desperate, didn't have much money to spend on cabs and transportation isn't as easy outside the city. Plus I wasn't alone and I think it's something everyone must do at some point in life!
This experience worked out so well that we not only got a ride all the way out of the park but straight to the door of our first winery, which was pretty far north and we hadn't realized how long it would take to walk. Oh the kindness of the Aussies!
I was pleasantly surprised at our first delectable wine tasting only being 2 Australian dollars. Granted it wasn't as big and fancy as some I had done in Sonoma Valley, but to taste 7 wines for about 1.60$ American? I'm thrilled. The second one we went to was free! Followed by another short hitch hike we made it to a third and favorite wine tasting of the day. This one had two adorable "wine dogs", the most kind owner, was free, and we did a free olive oil tasting! Oh the life we live!! We made such good friends with the girl working and she happened to be just getting off work at 5 as we were leaving and gave us a free ride to the train station. In return of all the hospitality we experienced there, and off a high of this wonderful cost free day, we bought our favorite wine we had tasted there and brought it down to Freemantel beach. We enjoyed it while watching a beach sunset with a jazz, art and food festival behind us. It was one of the best days of my loyfe for sure. I almost Croyed tears of grattitude.
All in all it was a truly awesome experience my first one in Australia. And if I had booked every night in Bali a head of time, I'm not sure if it would have been possible! They say that when nothing is sure, anything is possible. And I am still free every day I am here! Sometimes it's good to not plan, to be open, because if you always choose what you think you want ahead of time, you could loose something even better that was waiting for you.

So now I head back to Bali and I just am so excited! As great as Australia was, to me it's more of a place to move rather than travel, it's so easy and accommodating and similar to the U.S.! I love the challenge and different culture Bali brings. I actually miss rice and everyone asking me if I need 'transport?' , the street markets and mostly how cheap everything is!! I don't think I realized how much I love Bali until I left it. And that's how we humans are with most things, not necessarily taking them for granted, but just not understanding a true appreciation for something until you are separated from it. And so I feel so much gratitude for the opportunity to get away and come back ready to experience Bali all over again with a new eye!
UBUD here I come!

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Posted by rachaelob 01:56 Archived in Australia Tagged food travel australia wine au wa yoga perth swan_valley spirituality wanderlust Comments (0)

THE ISLANDS

Lombak, and the Gillies. Power outages in Paradise.

storm 89 °F

Throughout my week on the islands life was very different from what I am used too wether it be trees growing in water, hospitality service, types of transport, or a little wind gust putting the power out. I had to drop my ideas of normal and need to control, and instead learn to be yielding and accept what comes.

The first island I visited was
LOMBOK:
Our driver friend Bj picked Trey and I up in Padang Padang and drove us to Padang Bai to catch the ferry to Lombok. On the way he took us to his favorite non touristy local Warung. Then we got to Padang Bai. We could have paid hundreds of thousands of rupiah for a fast boat from Padang Bai or Sanur but we went with mostly locals on a 5 hour ferry for about 2$.
Taking the road less traveled :) .

After almost a full day of traveling we got to Kuta,Lombok and started to question if it would be worth the cost and hassel of getting there. But it most definitely was and Kuta, Lombok is nothing like Kuta, Bali. Lombok is the quitest place in Indo I have been yet. There are wild cats, dogs, goats, and cows everywhere and little wooden shack beach bars lined up right across the road from our place. The first night we went to 'the original beach bar' which was a truck run by a very youthful looking chap named Oyook. Oyook is 20 and runs the little beach truck for his uncle in exchange for living with him and although he doesn't make money, he is able to practice his English with foreigners like us. His sparking positive attitude, the character of this truck, and the cheaper drink prices, led us to stay there instead of the busier more touristy beach bar across the way. We made good friends with Oyook and he would let us play our own i pods on his sound system . We jammed out to reggae tunes and took over the bar. He even got a generator going just for us when the power went out and we were the only ones at the bar.
Even nights when we went to the big psychedelic, packed party beach bar across the way we always pregamed with Oyook first.
My days in Lombook consisted of some light running or hut yoga, and afternoons of motor biking to Gurupak the local surf spot. We paid to be taken out to some pretty awesome breaks and big waves (by my standards) by boat . I would try driving the motor bike a bit on the way home because it is so quiet there . (Don't worry dad I was very careful). I once again feel like I met my comfort zone, challenged my surfing ability and tried something new and for those opportunities I am grateful.
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The islands are much less crowded and it is more common to see a horse and buggy rather than a car. In fact on the Gilly Islands, which are small islands that are a part of Lombok, there are no motor vehicles whatsoever instead bikes around the whole island.
This made me more likely to take the time to pause and look up at the sky at night, with less people and cars, we can we more engulfed in the truly beautiful magical nature around us.

GILLY Air;

Gilly A had a good amount of yogis and a whole lot of divers. The island is so small I ran around the whole thing in 45 minutes. The hostel I stayed in was not my favorite but each place along the beach had a beautiful salt pool with multiple levels for water diving trainings.
I've actually never paid for a professional massage in my entire life, and don't get nearly as much body work done as I should for being so active.
So one rainy afternoon I treated myself to a traditional Balinese Massage /Aloe Treatment at the Blue Lotus Spa to try to get rid of this sun burn some more and 10$ an hour isn't too bad.
I did a bit of yoga, some sunset watching, snorkeling, and I even found a slackline! I slacked with the local kids who are so cute and talented and that was probably the high light of Gilly A. Very chill place.

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Gilly Trawangan;
Gilly T is known as the party island, there wasn't as much to do during the day and most places are focused around night life. It has cool late night markets and almost zero police officers on the entire island. Our hostel had no quiet hours and 24 hour free pancakes.
We took part in lots of dancing, ladies nights, and live music, but luckily the two ladies I am with were on the same page as me. We'd usually rather enjoy our days than party untill 4 am spending money we won't remember.
All of the islands had lots of power outages, but Gilly T was the worst.
A huge tree fell across the road right next to our hostel crushing the woman's house next door and putting the power out for days. The weather to me just seemed like a windy rainy day, but to bali this is quite rare.
When we got there we had about two hours of a nice air conditioned room, and then for the next three days it was mostly off, no wifi, no running water and it was very very hot.
We made do by buying hand fans, showering with buckets, and lots of giggles at flash light puppet shows and whatever other dumb things we did to entertain ourselves.
A power outage is a great chance to let go. Because no matter how much you complain about the situation, the power is still out. So instead we let go of the way we thought the world is supposed to be and work in our 21st century minds. Letting go is a scary enterprise for those of is who believe that the world revolves only because it has a handle on top of it which we personally turn, and that if we drop this handle even for a moment well that would be the end of the universe. But when you try dropping it. You can sit back with your head in your hands and let things be as they are, you can actually relax. You can sit quietly in the now and cease your relentless participation. Watch what happens. The birds do not crash dead out of the sky in mid flight, after all. The trees do not wither and die, rivers do not run red with blood. Life continues to go on. Im not sure why we think our micromanagement of every moment in this whole world is so essential.

My days consisted of allot of walking, some beautiful sunsets (if we're lucky at a sunset swing) and lots of dancing and laughing. There was a yoga place right across from our hostel and I tried to eat as healthy as possible, but options were limited, and the free pancakes were pretty good ?.
I think the girls would agree that the one day we didn't have power alll day we laughed harder than we had in a long time. We had to make our own fun and actually talk to each other instead of being on Instagram!! Can you imagine?
Something I love to see about the young kids here is how they can have the biggest smile on their faces just by playing with leaves. There's no I pads or phones or TVs. This time without electricity really brought us back to realizing how privileged we are and how sometimes having these technological advantages can be a bad thing taking us away from the moment we are really in. (I say this as I type my blog on my smart phone.)

At night I found myself taking even more time to be gazing at the stars rather than down at a phone. It made me think of this quote by Mahatma Ghandi; When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.

Feeling very full, adventurous, grateful, beautiful, and connected.

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Posted by rachaelob 00:48 Archived in Indonesia Tagged islands bali indonesia travel surf fun party power lombok yoga fitness heat outage inspiration wanderlust gillys gillya gillyt Comments (0)

Bali Background

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So I've realized after my visa nightmare post I've probably made bali sound so horrible. So here is just some background and history on the beautiful island that it is.

Bali is a tiny Hindu island, only about the size of Delaware, in the middle of a two thousand mile long Indonesian archipelago. This specific stretch of islands constitutes the most populous Muslim nation on the earth. It is so picturesque and immaculate it could almost be a painted backdrop. It has rice paddies tripping down hillsides like giant steps, volcanoes soaring up through the clouds, dense tropical jungles, long sandy beaches, warm blue water, crashing surf everywhere and friendly people who don't just have a culture but actually live it.

Mostly everyone speaks English to help you, the westerner with the credit cards, be served more easily. Which is a relief because although I reviewed a few words I would have no chance speaking Balinese, a language more foreign to me than Martian. There's no parallels like say Spanish or Italian. I mean the only similarity is Yes is Ya. No- is Tidak. Like what?? Plus there's two types of language , Indonesian and Baha Indonesia which makes it all the more confusing. I'm also meeting lots of Australians, Canadians and other westerners on the way. It's actually crazy how everyone speaks English. I feel so grateful yet spoiled. I mean we show up to other countries and then expect them to speak our language to us. It makes me wonder how long it will be untill all of these smaller languages just fade out, which is sad because they are all so beautiful.

But anyway The Balinese are very kind and want to make you as comfy and safe as possible. Their economy suffered for years after a bombing about 11 years ago in kuta killed Australian tourists so they know the importance of us visiting here to them and our safety to their economy.

In Bali spirits come out to play in the moonlight, and offerings and prayers are put out by the local women every morning. It is estimated that a Balinese woman spends 1/3 of her life preparing for, participating in and cleaning up after ceremonies. There's a strew of 8 temples along the coast dedicated to various dietys supposedly making a wall to protect from evil spirits where monthly odalan (temple festivals ) are held.

The islands Hinduism was exported from India by way of Java. In the 16th century a violent Islamic uprising swept across the nation and the shiva worshipping Hindu royalty escaped to Java fleeing to Bali. The high class Javanese Brought with them only the royal families, the highest craftsmen and priests. So basically everyone in Bali is a descendent of some kind of royalty, religious figure or artist and you can feel this as you wander the streets rich with art and spirit.

It's the perfect balance of fun and partying, with surfing and chill spots, yet filled with yoga and spirituality. And just enough chaos that I feel like I'm getting a good travel experience.
Feeling so grateful for my time here.

Aho. Xo. Namaste . Rachael

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Posted by rachaelob 07:09 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali indonesia travel yoga sup spirituality wanderlust Comments (0)

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