When it went down, it was so hard to breathe
I gave up everything in a slow fall down to the floor
Life was escaping me
I couldn’t find myself until it was all lost
Bali, that’s our first stop and my second visit to the island of the gods during the first month of our year-long travels. Our itinerary happened by accident, like how the initial intention to travel for a few months evolved into a year. Then we thought about using Taiwan or South Korea as a base while teaching English and travelling around Asia during the weekends. But that didn’t happen either. Our plans must have changed at least ten times before we finally figured out what was happening.
You see, planning a year-long trip is nothing we’ve ever done; it took me a while to figure out how to make sense of it in my head (and create the best spreadsheet in the world to keep us organized!). Some of my awesome friends are true free spirits in that they can book their stays on the same day. They wander around town until they find a place and room that looks good enough to stay. Unfortunately, I’m not like that. I need some semblance of a structure; I find that having plans help to avoid nasty surprises.
“The idea that there is no plan is breathtaking in its terror”
Ok, not that there are no preparations for this trip, but the plans are always changing. Fluid. Evolving. Taking things as they come is a bit foreign for the over planner in me. I’m learning a whole new meaning to taking things one day at a time as I put myself WAY outside of my comfort zone. But I love it. My senses become heightened in strange and unusual situations. That’s the best way to grow.
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Bali, our first stop during our year of living the nomadic lifestyle
I still can’t fathom how we almost skipped Bali as it was nowhere near our original itinerary. I can’t help but wonder if the chain of events that led us to include Bali in our travels happened for a reason.
The fact that Bali became our first stop is symbolic to me for many reasons. As a matter of fact, Bali was the only destination I had on my radar when I planned my first solo trip years ago. Some people said I was running away from my problems or trying to make sense of my life and in hindsight, I have to say I wholeheartedly agree. There was so much happening in my life at that time; moving between cities, quitting my awesome job… Those months were tumultuous and the last straw that pushed me over the edge was seeing the brevity of life. There’s more to the story that I won’t delve into here… all I can say is that my first visit to Bali was necessary because of the deep sadness I felt.
I had everything lined up to move back to Toronto
At the time, I was preparing for my move back to Toronto. I had my resume polished and called a list of Toronto recruiters to meet before something snapped in me. This is the only time to travel, I’ll always have to fight for more than two weeks of vacation in any future job. That’s when I started thinking I should take one month off and go explore the world. I just need a bit of faith in myself that I will find a job once I come back to Canada.
That same week, I asked every friend around the globe to go travel with me, but our schedules didn’t line up. I started to convince myself to stay in Canada by buying a nice designer bag. That happiness lasted for a fleeting moment before I was back at square one. I also happened to pay my first hefty tuition (aka made some poor investments) in the stock market that week and was super depressed after that. All in that same week. I swear, when it rains, it pours.
Time to #YOLO
And so the next day I walked into a travel agency and booked a six-week trip to Asia. I let the travel agent do whatever he wanted to and planned whatever he wanted to plan, except for one condition; I must visit Bali. Bali was this magical place I discovered from a wedding video that someone shared with me at the time. Watching the video was my only solace during that tumultuous period so it only made sense that I visit the very place that soothed my soul.
At the time, I was running away from everything I knew to numb the sadness in my heart. Bali, that’s all I knew, that’s all I cared for. I was so lost, so heartbroken, so confused. So much was going on and I had no way to make sense of my emotions.
Bali is now the start of this new and exciting adventure that I have been dreaming of for over a decade. Granted, quite a few details have changed, and iterative is the best word, to sum up this dream. Where I’ll be, where I’ll go, the external pieces don’t matter because I now know that I will end up where I’m supposed to be.
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