I am back. Can’t believe that I just landed an hour ago in Vienna and I am waiting for my train to Linz. So in order not to fall asleep (in “my” time it would be 3:30 am right now), I want to do a first short recap of my trip. No worries, there will be loads of posts about different Bali topics. But to sum up a little and keep my heart from getting too heavy…
Did I like it?
Oh yes, and how I did. Saying Goodbye to a travel destination was never as hard as today (or yesterday or something) in the morning. The island has a special atmosphere, everything was so smooth and easy and the weather was so good for my soul. So many influences, so much magic, so much chilled time. So yes. If I had the chance to stay a day, a week, a month or a year longer, I’d definitely been doing so.
Was there something I didn’t like?
Well, it seems that Bali sees tourism as an enormous economical factor, since foreign investments are rather hard due to the import restrictions. So wherever you go (and hey, I was off season) – tourists, tourists, tourists. Every temple. Every waterfall. Everywhere. It is really hard to find a time or spot where you are not overrun especially by Japanese, Australians and Americans (because for them it is a short travel to Bali and comparable to Germans going to Mallorca). You can also realize this when you take a closer look on areas like Canggu. There is a lot of construction going on, the rice fields getting pushed back more and more, expatriats and digital nomads everywhere, somehow refusing to grow up and living in their Bali bubble. You can find Stabucks, Mc Donalds or KFC. It’s sometimes really hard to find things off the path.
Is there something I would do differently?
I would maybe schedule my travel route bit differently, but since I had my retreat at a fixed time, I had to shuffle my destinations around. If I ever do a retreat again, I’d definitely go for a longer one. And I would really want to do a cooking class including a market visit, unfortunately the recommendation I got was not available for the dates I had time for it.
I would choose an accomodation outside Ubud in the jungle, just as the retreat was. This time it was ok, because after four days in the green lung staying two nights in the middle of the city was a nice change. But next time I’d just rent a scooter and a tree house and get lost even more in that magical place.
What was the best thing about the trip?
I really can’t say. Maybe it is too early for this. Or maybe it is just because there were so many different experiences – from an island that is like Bali was 20 years ago over a 5 star yoga retreat, feeling like Robinson Crusoe on the Gilis up to the hipster city of Canggu. Definitely the Balinese people have a special place in my heart, except the bit grumpy guy collecting the parking fee at Echo Beach (and actually he was fun after talking a while too), I never heard a bad word or felt fooled or not welcome. Austrians should be a bit more like them!
18 days – enough?
First of all: you never ever have enough time. Second: you have to count at least two days for getting there and back from Europe (which works out fine without any jetlag if you have good flight times as I had). When you plan it right, it is way enough to see a lot and still have time for chilling at the beach. The only problem that costs a lot of time is again traveling from A to B, because in the traffic chaos, it takes you up to 1,5 hrs to drive 11 kms, and the boat rides to the islands are sometimes very long too.
Do I want to get back?
Oh yes, there is still so much to see and since it is such an easy to travel country, I want to go back. Maybe I can combine it with a little trip to other places like Komodo, since they are really close and just a short national flight away.
Can I imagine living there?
Yes. Probably not forever. But maybe for a while like in a few years during a sabbatical or break from work? Don’t get me wrong – I love my job and life here, and I definitely don’t have any intentions of leaving, but the presence of so many long time travelers and expats there make you think about that question (as well as I always ask myself those things anyways) ;-) And yes, Bali seems to be a place where you could even live with kids (at least as long as they are not in school), so that is also a factor that is a plus.
You see, I have a heavy heart. I will fight the blues in making smoothie bowls and banana pancakes, sorting pictures, keeping contact with people I met there, stroking over the new ink on my skin like an idiot in love ^^ and writing blogposts to transport a bit of this bliss to cold and grey Austria. My skin is tanned and my freckles are a reminder to these awesome days. Let’s try to keep the spirit alive and collect ideas for the next trips (ok, the next one is already fixed, Spain at Christmas) – because buying flight tickets is one of the best things to work for :-)