I have just gotten home from 14 amazing days travelling around the beautiful island of Bali, Indonesia. This was my second trip to the island in as many years – I fell in love with it as soon as I arrived last year and couldn’t wait to get back again.
Travelling around Bali always reminds me just how important travelling is for personal growth. You learn so much about yourself when you see how a completely different way of life.
Here are some lessons I took away from the beautiful Balinese culture:
1. You don’t need a lot to be happy
It’s probably one of the reasons I love this island so much – the Balinese, compared to traditional ‘Western’ levels of wealth, have very little, yet they are so happy. They don’t worry about the stupid, materialistic things that we Westerners revolve our world’s around. They just live in the moment, enjoy their family and friends, and love life. It’s incredibly humbling and always brings me down to earth.
2. There’s more to life than productivity and efficiency
Someone said to us when we first arrived in Bali, “Leave your Western brain at the airport.” and this is such great advice. Things move at a different pace in Bali and it’s best to adapt your western expectations quickly.
We call it ‘Bali time’. Everything takes a little longer, but you know what? That’s ok. The world doesn’t end. It’s made me realise just how impatient we Westerners are. We want things to happen NOW. We are stressed, uptight, and on edge. The Balinese don’t work like that and they are the happiest, most relaxed people I have ever met. I think we could all learn a little something from them about the art of slowing down.
3. Being kind to other people goes a long way
Waking up every morning to be greeted with a friendly face and, “Hallo! Good morning Miss Jess!” is a really great way to start the day. Along with their happy, relaxed nature, Balinese show just how easy it is to be kind to one another. It’s the little things – simply saying “hello” or smiling to strangers as they pass, going the extra mile to help, doing everything with a smile. It’s hard to be rude in Bali, and that’s really great. It is a stark comparison to my day to day life, and something I really appreciated. Hopefully, I can hold on to this lesson with my ‘Western brain’ turned back on.
4. Religion can be beautiful
I’m not a religious person, although I have always found religion and spirituality fascinating. Obviously, there can be negative aspects to religion, but in Bali, it unites them as a culture and community. It’s so beautiful seeing them carry out their daily rituals to the gods. While a lot of Bali has been overtaken by Western culture and tourism, there are still religious undertones in everything they do. It’s these traditions that help a culture keep its identity and its history, and I think that is really special that they have managed to hold on to that. It is this, I think, that underpins everything that is so beautiful about the Balinese – their kindness, happiness and humbleness.
I’m not going to lie, there were a few tears at the airport when it was time to go home. It’s safe to say that Bali has stolen a little piece of my heart. Turning my Western brain back on this week has been hard, but hopefully, these learners will stay with me and help my life a more mindful, kind and peaceful life.