I composed these thoughts while sitting on the beach (I know, how cruel of me to share that while it's still winter back in the Midwest!). We ended our time in Bali with some unexpected beach days. The water, the sun, sharing the sandy beaches with as few as a dozen other people or as many as hundreds - depending upon our beach choice or the moment.
I can't believe our three weeks in Indonesia went by so quickly. While of course it is a luxury and a privilege to travel like this, we have been very budget-conscious - perhaps too much so. We did relax on the budget a bit during our last week in Indonesia; I even got a massage!
We ended up staying a full week in and around Ubud, and after getting over our initial shock of being in a bustling city center with plenty of tourists, we found a great balance by alternating days spent in the city with day-trips by motorbike. We visited the famous floating temple (Pura Ulun Danu Beratan), found an unexpected waterfall, and got our fill of rice terraces.
In Ubud proper, we walked to more rice terraces, walked along the Campuhan Ridge Walk multiple times, enjoyed a couple of the art museums and watching Balinese children practice traditional dances, and saw so many monkeys at the Monkey Forest Sanctuary. We did plenty of walking in the heat and humidity, but also took downtime to read and nap - especially after early morning excursions to catch the sunrise!
Our lovely homestay in Ubud included a delicious breakfast and recommended yummy, inexpensive local restaurants. We also ate out at a couple of restaurants that support local charities - like Fair Warung Bale. It was really good to take moments to connect with a volunteer at one place and one of the founders at the other. Our time in Thailand has opened our eyes to some of the injustices in the world, and while we will always have more to learn, injustice and poverty are no longer an intellectual discussion (and perhaps once easily brushed aside after the moment ended) - but rather, issues that resonate in my heart and spirit as something tangible. I feel like I'm still struggling to express this well, so I'll leave it there for now.
And so here we are, sitting on the beaches of the Bukit Peninsula in southern Bali, enjoying our last afternoon before our flight 'down under'.
After perhaps a rocky start to our travels (at least in regards to the rainy weather and my moments in the bathroom), I feel like John and I found ways to navigate this beautiful and intriguing country - while taking some time to be in the 'in-between' as we mourn our Thailand life before encountering all that life holds for us back home in the U.S. And I feel like we have settled into and found a rhythm in our travels.
More about Australia when I blog next.