Life Lessons in Indonesia

Today marks the one month mark of my backpacking adventure. That’s about 0.3% of my life so I’m not going to claim that I’m a completely new person or that traveling for 30 days changes your life but I do believe that taking a month to listen to your body and sit with yourself can teach you a lot if you are actually willing to listen, willing to slow down and willing to accept what is coming up. Traveling with JoJo in Indonesia these past two weeks has also shown me that there’s a lot to learn from talking with strangers, opening up, being a little weird, belly laughing, getting up before 3 am, salsa dancing like nobody is watching and rambling about nothing and everything.

On Food: Notice your body. Are you consistently getting tired after your lunch? Are you missing meals? Food is the fuel us to live out our days. Get in a good relationship with food. Are you eating your meals too quickly? A yoga instructor at Radiantly Alive in Ubud told us to think about where your food is coming from before you eat it. If you think of a tomato before you eat it, start with the seed. There was someone that planted that seed and watered that seed. Then someone picked that tomato and it had to be transported and transported some more. Then there was the person that washed the tomato, cut the tomato and prepared it to be on your plate. Take a second to be grateful for the food that’s on your plate and begin to notice how this impacts your relationship with your body and the food you eat. Eat lots of food that comes from the ground. Grow a garden or buy food with less food miles.

Hummus made during cooking class at Sari Organik Penestanan, Bali
Gado Gado made during cooking class at Sari Organik Penestanan, Bali
The Rabbit Salad at The Elephant in Ubud, Bali
Green Juice at local warung near Radiantly Alive Yoga Studio, Ubud, Bali
Onions growing at base of Mount Batur, Bali
Gado Gado at Mopi’s Place, Moni, Flores
Coconut at Premier Surf Camp Hotel near Changgu Beach, Bali

On Sharks: Avoid. Somehow I got away from the my group on a snorkeling trip near some coral reefs off of Flores Island and almost bumped into a reef shark over 5 feet long. Never thought I’d be in the ocean, making a fist, praying for my life and I would really like to never have to experience that again.

2 day boat trip to Komodo, Rinca, and other islands off of Flores
2 day boat trip to Komodo, Rinca, and other islands off of Flores

On Exercise: Try something new. I tried fly high yoga for the first time this trip and I’ve been practicing yoga for the past 5 years. If you’re a runner, have you tried running on the beach? If you’re a climber, have you tried climbing to catch the sunrise? If you’ve always done crossfit or high intensity workouts, maybe try yoga or meditation to give your body and mind some rest. If your workouts getting boring, have you tried a new gym or a new class? Try swimming. Don’t overdo it …If exercise is taking over your life, have a glass of wine and cheese (ah I miss good cheese) and be okay with it.

People running on Echo Beach near Changgu, Bali
Quick climb on Rinca Island off of Flores
Sunrise Hike Mount Batur, Bali
Sunrise hike on Mount Batur, Bali
Fly High Yoga Radiantly Alive, Bali

1 week unlimited pass to Radiantly Alive Yoga Studio, Bali 

On Friendship/Relationships: Surround yourself with people that make you feel good.

Rice Paddy Lunch in Ubud, Bali
Barely keeping our eyes open on Mount Batur, Bali
Komodo Island off of Flores
Monkey trying to get Jo’s Snickers Mount Batur, Bali
Coming down from Mount Kelimutu, Flores
Waterfall crossing Moni, Flores

On Making Decisions: If it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t right. Listen to your gut. Trust in yourself when you make choices. Bouncing ideas off friends and family is smart but have you confided in yourself and taken a moment to breathe, to feel before going forward? Take a moment to sit with yourself before jumping, before reacting. And whatever you choose to do, do it for you because you want to.

Sunset on Boat Trip to Islands off of Flores
Sunset on Boat Trip to Islands off of Flores

On Happiness: Jo and I met an owner of the first all organic restaurant in Ubud, Bali. At one point in her life she had been homeless and living in a bus station for over two years. During our conversations over fresh pressed juices, chopping vegetables and eating soups she had such a refreshing perspective on life. She reminded us that we are the only one’s responsible for our happiness. Not our moms or our dads or our grandparents or our friends or our husbands/wives. Just us. So try to remind yourself what it is that you want out of life. If it’s money that you want, then go after that. If it’s happiness, then do whatever it takes to get that. If it’s having and growing a family, then fight for it. Also, treat yourself. Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat, Pray, Love in her book has a great quote.. She says, “For me, though, a major obstacle in my pursuit of pleasure was my ingrained sense of Puritan guilt. Do I really deserve this pleasure? This is very American, too—the insecurity about whether we have earned our happiness.. in the Italian culture, where people already know that they are entitled to enjoyment in this life…Which is probably why, when I told my Italian friends that I’d come to their country in order to experience four months of pure pleasure, they didn’t have any hang-ups about it. Compli- menti! Vai avanti! Congratulations, they would say. Go ahead. Knock yourself out. Be our guest. Nobody once said, “How completely irresponsible of you,” or “What a self-indulgent luxury.”

Walking Changgu to Seminyak on the Beach in Bali
Finns Beach Club Seminyak, Bali

On Sadness: Be okay with sitting with yourself in the sad moments. In loneliness. Oriah Mountain Dreamer says, “I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.” If you’re upset, don’t push it away. Feel. Breathe. This too shall pass.

3 locals walking the beach in Bali


On Staying Young: While poolside at our hotel, I asked a 41 year old Uruguayan man why he looked to be in his late 20’s. He said to me that he always does things that scare him. That push him out of his comfort zone and allow him to grow, to feel and to experience life. To get out from behind our phones and computers. So many people traveling have reminded me to live in the now. Most of us always have to have a plan or a destination but we tend to forget to experience the journey. Many times we are disappointed that our plans don’t work out the way we pictured or planned…but what if we just allowed ourselves to be okay with the unknown. To give it up to god or destiny or whatever you believe in and allow ourselves to just be.

Sunrise Hike Mount Kelimutu, Flores

Let me know if you want any suggestions for Indonesia! Jo and I went from Ubud, Bali  (yoga, healthy food, Mount Batur) to Flores, Indonesia (Labuan Bajo, Boat Trip to islands, Moni, Mount Kelimutu) and then back to Bali (Echo Beach, Changgu, Seminyak) in 2 weeks. Below are some other pictures!

Traditional “First Time Touching Earth” Ceremony in Ubud, Bali
Mount Kelimutu in Flores
Mount Kelimutu in Flores
Waterfall Moni, Flores
Indonesia Aerial View leaving Flores
Labuan Bajo in Flores
Labuan Bajo in Flores
Sunset near Seminyak, Bali

10 thoughts on “Life Lessons in Indonesia

  1. Katie, What a great experience! I am impressed with this blog, make a CD and sell it at presentations you can do when you get back home. Enjoy, you only go by this way once live for the moment, you look relaxed, great job, keep it up.

    Love, Grandpa Bob

    PS, keep me on your blog mailing list


  2. I am so happy I got to share in this experience with you 🙂 Your writing is beautiful and I love the inclusion of the Oriah Mountain Dreamer quote. Thanks for being such a wonderful friend I’m lucky to have you in my life xoxox


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