I made a conscious decision to make travel a bigger priority in my life. Especially since my dad passed, I’ve wanted to ensure my life is filled with zero regrets. So in the last few months, I’ve visited Spain, Denmark, Sweden, and as of this last week, Bali.
I’ve loved every place I’ve traveled for different reasons, but Bali filled me with absolute love and happiness. Never have I encountered an entire culture of people who are so authentically kind. As I’d walk on the street, people would stop me to ask how my day was going and shake my hand. They would ask where I was going and actually want to hear the answer. People would invite me to hang out and mean it. I felt myself being kinder in return and laughing more, letting little inconveniences or worries slip away.
One true indicator of this cultural kindness was when I had a motorbike accident. In my American way, I looked at my phone for directions, then tried to make a left- but into the wrong lane. My mind was preoccupied, even after a lovely visit to Tanah Lot and a delicious (yet ridiculously inexpensive) breakfast. As I turned I saw a motorbike coming at me and I quickly tried to readjust, only to wipe out completely on my left side. I smacked my chin, broke part of the helmet, and got road rash and bruises up my left side. Not fun. But immediately 4 or 5 people rushed over, moved the bike, and helped me to their shop to get cleaned up. They brought me coffee and water, cleaned my wounds, asked if I needed the hospital, all without wanting anything in return. A woman wiped my tears away from my face, telling me “don’t cry.”
In that moment I cried not just because I was a bit scared and in pain, but because of a story from my childhood my dad loved to tell. When I was 4 or 5 we went horseback riding. A snake scared the horse, which bucked me off, knocking the wind out of my lungs and frightening me thoroughly. My dad ran over to see if I was okay, to which I replied “just a little scared, dad.” And we continued. So 20- something years later, I wiped the dust and blood away and once again got back on.
I cried leaving Bali, knowing I’d miss my new friends, the peace, the beauty. Not all tears are bad, though. I’m lucky for living adventurously, lucky to even make these memories. I cried, but I will get back on a plane again and continue to live just as my dad taught me.