I spent my last few days on a quiet beach called Balangan on the south east coast. I whittled away the days reading, writing, yoga-ing and indulging in fried Warung foods.
I met the most inspiring Brazilian ex-pat who surfs regularly and teaches yoga everyday on the beach at sunset. His happiness was palpable and contagious and he saw each sunset as if it was his first and most favorite one ever - even though I'm pretty sure he's been here for years. The class wasn't even really a challenge for me and I did my own practice in the mornings anyways - I just went to soak up the positive energy and the fiery colors streaked across the sky. So if you're ever in the area, you'll find Max at 5 PM with a pile of yoga mats just past the Balangan beachfront Warungs, overlooking the beach.
Bali is now hovering towards the top of my travel list, but it's not without its own issues. As with Sri Lanka and India, stray dogs and burning piles of rubbish can be found everywhere. And the surge of tourism is a double-edged sword. With the additional dollars comes additional pollution and damage to the natural resources like the reefs, which I witnessed first hand. I would love to create a grassroots ad campaign to encourage long term strategy and sustainability for both locals and tourists to keep Bali beautiful.
And smoking seems to be the national sport as 99% of Indonesian men I met had a cigarette in his mouth at some point. According to Wikipedia, Indonesia is the fifth largest tobacco market in the world with almost 60 million smokers (34% of the population) throughout the nation of islands. It's a particular problem with children. You remember that viral YouTube video of a nicotine-addicted two year old chain smoking? Yeah, that was Indonesia.
Regardless, the past month here in Bali is now a blur of memories that feels like it's gone by as fast as a one-thumbed scroll up through my Instagram gallery. I arrived with next to no plan and ended up making everything up as I went along and have had so many unexpected excitening (exciting + enlightening) experiences. I learned a lot and have the bumps and bruises to prove it. I scootered and speedboated and surfed my way around this place in awe of the unique culture, architecture and the natural beauty all contained within its relatively small borders. I left part of myself on the beautiful island and you better believe I'll be back for it someday!