Traveling the world is a unique way to discover yourself, that much, I believe. While most of my traveling is work related, I have discovered Bali (one of the 17,508 islands that make up Indonesia) on a personal quest to find peace and patience in my life. What sticks with me the most after I leave a place is The Human Factor. Not just what I have learned about (and from) guests traveling with us, but also what I can learn from the locals. Dealing with logistics on a constant basis, to ensure your guests have the experience of a lifetime, requires to understand culture and often traditions of the destinations you feature. In Bali, my questions were more “Who are the people, what can I learn from them, and what kind of person do I become in their presence?”
This led me to create Wellness journeys to Bali, yet, without the terrible “boot camp” feel to it. Far from it, our journeys are designed to showcase the Bali’s way of life, while enjoying some fun activities, fantastic massages, great food and having a daily (optional) morning routine with an expert so we never feel guilty about the wonderful and authentic cuisine the country boasts. Guests go home rejuvenated and with a routine in mind they often keep using.
Until we get the pleasure to host you in Bali, here are three easy things the Balinese can teach us about being happier, better people, live a healthier life without making huge changes to your existing one.
1. Everywhere Beauty
Even in this extremely poor country, beauty abounds and is prioritized. Sure, it’s naturally very beautiful, with lush rice paddies and sunsets for days, but everything from food to architecture is crafted and presented in a way that says, “I care.”
The Balinese are a deeply spiritual people and construct religious offerings from palm leaves, flowers, incense, and food, which are then placed throughout homes and public spaces. They labor over these, making new ones from scratch daily. Incense and flower offerings even make their way into public bathrooms and airport security. And even without knowing the symbolic significance of each offering, its beauty brightens my day.
Even the poorest of communities has elaborately beautiful temples, and no detail is spared on the top of roofs. Ornate expressions of devotion abound. And in hip locations like Canggu, where I’ve been staying, every item is served in beautiful dishes with small little touches, like a frangipani flower. No occasion or moment is too mundane to make special.
2. Finding Calm in Chaos
As in many countries in Southeast Asia, most people in Bali don’t drive cars to get around and instead hop on motorized scooters. The scooters co-mingle with the cars and trucks, sometimes three to a lane. This style of weaving through dusty roads is definitely not up to U.S. safety standards, but there is a serene calm amidst the noise and dirt. To the uninitiated, it might look like a maddening scene. But you don’t see road rage or angry exchanges—everyone falls into a continuous flow, a way of creating some semblance of peaceful order amidst chaos. This type of orderly chaos does not rely on law enforcement, but rather awareness, cooperation, and trust of those with whom they share the streets. “We’re all in this together,” they seem to be silently communicating as they drive around following local, unwritten codes of conduct. If that code is disrespected, everyone loses.
3. The Art of Patience
The Balinese are notoriously friendly, and their resting face is often a smile. Even if you’re distraught or irritated, they are highly unflappable. Regardless of your mood or disposition, they look at you with grace and ease, and greet you with kind, gentle patience. As far as I can tell, no Balinese person has ever been in a bad mood. So assuming you aren’t ready to up and move to Bali (which, for the record, would not be a bad idea), how do you similarly cultivate everyday beauty, find calm in chaos, and emanate patience? Which small pockets of your day could use a little aesthetic upgrade? Where do you feel out of control and long for inner serenity to take over? When does anxiety and impatience get the best of you? All those are questions that can be answered on our Journey of Renewal to Bali.