“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” -William Shakespeare
My Bali experience has been magical. Truly life changing.
I’ve been to see a healer. I’ve meditated and walked through the jungle and the rice fields. I’ve read and wrote…a lot. I have swam in the pool and down at the river. I have basked in the sunlight and fell in love with the local traditions. I’ve done yoga on my patio looking over lush gardens and sunsets up above. The Earth became my friend I, in turn, became grounded- in tune with the peacefulness and mysticism of it all.
I was f**king zen. And then…I wasn’t.
I wouldn’t be honest without disclosing the fact that there have been disappointing moments when I looked up at the sky above me wondering, “Am I missing something? Is there more to this? Why can’t I enjoy this peace and quiet for more than a few days at a time? What’s wrong with me?”
If you were to only see the stunning pictures on my Instagram or Facebook and not hear the rest of the story, you’d never know the experience I’ve had in its entirety…and that’s not the type of gal I am. I am full disclosure. Always.
So yeah, I’ve had a few “moments.” Does this make me an unappreciative spoiled brat? Maybe a little- maybe not. Maybe I am just human.
Here’s what I have come to learn.
BEWARE ALL: Movies change the way we think the world is going to look and feel.
My mind had built Bali up to be a provider of the same experience Liz Gilbert had when she visited years ago, providing her a happy ending, a lasting marriage and a book deal- which later became the famous movie starring Julia Roberts.
I came to Ubud in the heart of Bali- like many other women, with an “Eat, Pray, Love” frame of mind and unrealistic expectations. I was channelling my inner Liz Gilbert- I even wore the same aviator sunglasses and cute flowy dresses seen on Julia in the movie. It came out of me almost subconsciously- like my perception had already been created for me in the back of mind before reality could step in. In the back of my mind, I was Liz Gilbert.
Embarrassingly enough, I’ll admit, I couldn’t help but look over my shoulder while riding my rented bicycle near the rice fields, wondering “Is Javier Bardem going to come knock me over soon?” Thoughts crossed my mind before leaving for the day: I better put that mascara on and ride that bike pretty girl style. You know, just in case.
Then I thought: I wonder if Ketut Liyer will be my friend too? We could practice English, he can help me with my unresolved issues. We will be lifelong friends. Just like Liz! I’m charming, too, right? So I went to Ketut’s place.
Well, that was a bust. Turns out he’s 89 years old now and basically tells everyone the same thing when they pay quite a bit of money to have a palm reading.
Ladies: I think it’s important to know a few things before coming to Bali- especially if you are a fan of the book/ movie, Eat, Pray, Love.
- Don’t have expectations.
- Enjoy it for what it truly is- sheer natural beauty.
- Don’t look for a man. There isn’t a single one in sight. The only men around are the ones who were dragged there by their girlfriends or wives.
When you come into Ubud, it’s easy to spot the single females roaming around looking gorgeous hoping to complete the three word title of their favorite-book-turned-mantra: Eat, Pray, Love.
I was one of them. I promised I wouldn’t be. I just couldn’t help myself. And now I am telling myself, and whoever else needs it: Don’t be that girl. There is so much more to Bali than we come into it expecting- and it has nothing to do with men. Do yourself a favor: Be the Julia AND the Javier of the movie.
Enjoy the type of serenity only Bali can provide and breathe knowing you are one of the most fortunate people in the world to be able to experience such a magical place…with or without Javier Bardem.
Hindsight vision is always 20/20, isn’t it?