Home » journey

Tag: journey

An Encounter with the Soul of Bali

I landed in Bali with a prayer and a hope to heal the emptiness in my heart. As I left the airport, the island began to answer my prayer in its own charming way. Ubud’s expansive rice fields reminded me of my limitless capacity to love. The waves of Canggu beach woke up my courage and yoga brought me to a space of gratitude. I was almost whole, but little did I know I would find that completeness in the most unexpected way.

One afternoon, after walking the busy streets of Legian, I hopped on a motorbike taxi, heading to a yoga class in Sanur. The bike dropped me off at the end of a narrow alley where the noise from the traffic descended and I found myself in front of a bamboo hut by a quiet beach. I quickly signed up for a class but since I had a full hour to wait, I proceeded to sit on the beach and listened to the sound of gentle waves lapping the shore.

Suddenly the soothing sound of waves was broken by children’s laughter. Four young Balinese boys came running across carrying a large kite. Their wild laughter and excitement filled the air as they attempted to get the kite airborne and before I knew it I found myself smiling and cheering them on.

Eventually the boys pulled the kite away and a little sadness came over me, only to evaporate as soon as one boy began to sing Kecak, the Balinese gamelan human choir. I was in awe as the others joined in and I heard a harmonious pentatonic melody made up of each boy’s unique syncopated tone. Their little bodies moved in response to the underlying notes and completed the living orchestra. Their voices stirred the air and created vibrations that traveled through the space and touched my heart.

Bali had invited me to see a glimpse of its soul through the impromptu act of the boys expressing and communicating their joy through Kecak. Its distinctive Balinese melody sounding like it was carved out of the people’s connection to their land and gods. The soul of the music was reflected in the sway of the coconut trees and the fragrance of the offerings. As the music soothed and enchanted me, I reflected upon my own connection to nature and the lives around me and found myself whole.

The boys and I exchanged no words, but their presence and combined energy had taught me to always keep my own spark of joy and express it freely. On the sand of Sanur beach, I said a prayer of gratitude for the completeness I had found through the pure soul of four Balinese boys.

Balinese Boys playing kite at Sanur beach.
Balinese Boys playing kite at Sanur beach.

The Flight/ Train Therapy

I just came back home yesterday from picking up my grandma’s youngest sister who lives in Solo, a city in Central Java, Indonesia. Here it is on the map. It made me think about journeys and long rides. And I just feel like writing about it.

We took a 9-hour train ride from Solo to Bandung. The train ride was beautiful. It gave me a chance to connect with my grandma’s sister. It also reminded me how I often go through deep reflections or process a major emotional release or gain an exceptional insight and clarity on long rides like this. Especially on plane rides.

I have shed so many tears or go through massive emotions on plane rides. When my grandpa died in 2009, my uncle and I flew immediately from LA to Bandung. We sat on different rows but I knew that both of us cried so much on that flight.

For some reasons, my breakups tend to be close to plane rides. And on those rides, I become extremely emotional. I could listen to a Coldplay song on the entertainment system and then burst into tears. I could watch an innocent movie and just cry a river. Plane rides have provided excellent space to wallow, tens of thousands of feet above the ground, and contributed to my healing process so many times.

I experienced massive fear of dying on my ride from Chiang Mai to Singapore. This happened shortly after those series of plane crashes a couple years ago. And it was as if I picked up the anxiety of everyone on the plane. I’m not normally afraid of flying. But that moment, I was filled with fear. But somehow, I knew it wasn’t only mine.

And almost always, I have to journal on my flights. Often times I don’t have anything to write on, so I would grab the paper bag you get for motion sickness and start writing on them. My journals have paper bags and scraps of paper inserted between their pages from these outbursts of desire to write and pen my thoughts.

My friend call this the flight therapy. My theory these days is just that my body vibrates on a different frequency while I’m flying. And this frequency brought me closer to perhaps a highest self. Or maybe not. But for sure, this frequency amplifies my emotion and pushes me to release them, one way or another. I think this phenomenon (for lack of better word), is also due to sitting still not doing anything much for a long period of time, and therefore sort of forces me to reflect on myself and my life.

Train rides have the same effect of getting me to be reflective. But not as much as plane rides do.

Of course, the emotions I released weren’t always sadness, frustrations, or fear. In the last plane ride and train ride I took in the last couple days, I actually felt a lot of gratitude. Huge gratitude on the plane ride cause I felt extremely loved and cared for. And on the train ride, I felt a lot of awe of the beauty of this world. But also lots of deep reflective moments of how humans can be so narrow-minded and how we should always teach kindness and love to the next generations.

Anyway, I find these rides amazing and fascinating. We take these rides to get from point A to point B. But often times, if you’re like me, we travel inwards from the outside into ourselves and learn something in the process.

Yeah, traveling for me is never just to see the world. It’s also a process to be at peace with myself and to learn more about myself.