Yes, I am home. And I’ve had help getting new link to post from my blog to facebook! This is a test!
Days are now dwindling! In one week, I fly home. Yesterday was a full day. Several hours of cycling around Merida followed by coffee at Cafe Riqueza. Then loading packs and walking over a mile to the bus station. Scoring on a great restaurant right across from the bus station. Five plus hours on the bus. Now here in Bacalar.
A few images of this spot for you to savor.
Tomorrow, it is on to Tulum for the final five or so days. Two and a half hours by bus then settle into final hostel and explore favorite spots and changes in the village since last time. warming up so hopefully it holds up for the duration.
Warm, sunny, breezy and gorgeous waters here today! And lovely shrimp sope’s for lunch! That was after the ice cream appetizer. No worries about the calories. In flip flops, we walked over 20 miles around Merida in three days. What lovely exploration!
Tomorrow will be one week since leaving home. It’s been an amazing, full, perfectly paced time. The second day included a massage from Rodrigo which was great. Walking, bicycle riding, collectivo to ruins, bus to Rio Lagartos, more walking, evening marquesita ritual, new friends, people from all over the world.
AMAZING week! In the past couple days, I’ve met people from Italy, Greece, Brazil, Belgium, Russia and more people from France and Germany.
And now, it’s time to be leaving this lovely little oasis and move on. Everything from here will be different! This spot is especially tranquil, peaceful, friendly and lends itself to lots of interaction. Next, quiet “Pueblo Magico” of Izmal. Normally, that only requires a couple hours of exploring. However, I had the feeling that at night, it’s an extremely quiet typical Mexican village so we are spending a night there tomorrow.
Then it’s Merida for the weekend. Weekends are awesome there. Local pueblo’s come in on Saturday to the old markets for their shopping. There’s a vibe to the city. Music fest is happening so there will be music and dancing. They re-enact the ball game from Chichen Itza on Friday night. And Sunday Pasejo Montejo is closed for bicycles. Lots of local parks with music and dancing and food. And of course, there’s my favorite spot for buying a hammock! Might have to make room for one of those!
After that, it’s off on a 5 1/2 hour bus ride and hopefully warmer weather at the beach. It’s been unseasonably cold every day so far. I’ve got ZERO flip flop tan!
A few photo’s of recent experiences. Enjoy!
It’s been almost 24 hours since arriving in the Yucatan. It feels like at least 3 or 4 days! Now it’s the weekend, Friday evening. Soon, I’m heading to the Zocolo to graze and get a marquesita!
So far, I’ve met people from Paris, Cambridge, London, Brussels, New Orleans, Pennsylvania, Germany, France, Spain and, of course, Mexico.
I went for ceviche at lunch with my friend Susan. The little man who has made ceviche for 40 years, came up and gave me a hand shake, welcoming me back. Then he took me back to introduce his daughter and wife. Then he made fresh ceviche. Perfect!
This morning, we visited Ek Balam ruins. Yesterday we toured the home of collectors, Casa de las Venados, House of the Deer. Incredible collection of folk art.
And of course, I’ve had plenty of hammock time! True to the spirit of travel, we have already changed plans. Less travel, more immersion and restful time and more peaceful approach to the beach.
There are several beach options. Of course, since things are always working out for me, the decision on which to visit gets clearer by the people who show up. Yesterday, it was the guys from Brussels. Tonight, three men from Germany. Personal feedback about which experience feels more peaceful. Perfect connections, dropping perfectly into my l
Soon, I’ll be heading to the Yucatan to warm my bones. Yay! Nice way to kick off the new year!
Today, I’m experimenting with a new portable keyboard that might enable me to leave my laptop home and do any writing from my iPad. Testing and testing. The challenge is finding something these large hands can easily work with. Portable keyboards, by definition, are tiny!
So far, this one feels pretty good! It’s an Arteck wireless keyboard with keys that feel really good to me. And although it’s small, it’s nearly twice the size of the electronic one that shows up on my iPad.
APPRECIATION:. Before the end of the year, I sat with my journal and wrote down little things I appreciated from the past year. The first time I did that exercise, I focused on accomplishments. This time, I focused on little things that mattered, special moments with mom, a smile from a friend, a hug from a friend on hospice, a kind supportive gesture from a nurse, and all those little things. New friends I’ve met traveling, old friends staying in touch, having the energy to enjoy baking once again, hummingbirds in my camp, a black bear paying me a visit in the mountains and so forth.
I’m not done! By the time I finished two days of capturing ideas, I had nearly 150 items listed. And since then, more continue coming to mind! Such a pleasant energy to live with!
After that, I sat with my itentions for the new year. I don’t work with resolutions every. They seem frivolous, shallow and a bit manipulative to me. Rather, I get clear on the intentions I have for the next year from a general “energetic” perspective.
Already, I can feel those taking shape and forming the experience of my day. Such a cool way to launch into a new year!
My flight was really early! The express train direct left later than I wanted. I decided to take the SkyBus from KL Sentral to the airport. My last evening, with free time on my hands, I took the LRT rail to KL Sentral to shop for travel food and verify the bus schedule. They confirmed the early start. Even the people at the hostel confirmed that start later. Perfect….or so I thought!
I stayed up late in a first time effort to adjust my internal clock before coming back to the US. I slept for an hour and a half and woke at 2:30 am. Awake, I decided to shower and head out early. By 3:10, I was checked out and walking to the LRT station which is a very short walk from the hostel. It was closed! Surprised, I walked to the other entrance. Closed also, no LRT this early!!! Guess I need a taxi?
Walking back toward the street, I saw a taxi drive past me and head off on a side street. No traffic at 3:20 am! But I know that things are always working out for me, so I kept walking. Concentrating on looking for a moving taxi, I nearly missed the one parked just ahead of me.
The window was open and I asked how much it was to KL Sentral? Twenty Malaysian Ringits, roughly $4.5. Within moments, he was showing me photo’s of his three children, talking about how much he enjoys the peace of driving only at night and he dropped me next to my bus.
Even with the obstacle, I got on a bus 20 minutes earlier than I’d planned. Then our speedy bus driver got us to the airport in 40 minutes rather than the 1 hour plus they post. Perfect!
However, after walking all the way through the airport to departures, I learned it was the wrong airport?! Oh well, things are always working out for me.
I walked back, a purple shuttle bus pulled up a couple minutes later and then I was in the right airport still with time to spare.
Flowing, listening, being flexible, all those qualities helped me stay peaceful and trusting in the face of obstacles.
My flight was really full but I noticed an empty window seat with an empty seat beside it at bulk head. I moved up! And I met Ted, born in India, raised in Malaysia and living in San Francisco. Our conversation helped the 7 hour flight go fast. He invited me to be his guest in the United Club! I had a little over two hours until my next flight.
Good food, draft Japanese Asahi on tap, and a free shower to freshen up were all part of that experience! Perfect!
Last Friday, I got online to see about booking an economy plus seat for the 10 hour flight home. Something told me to wait so I did. Monday, I looked again for my flight the next morning, One row had three seats empty and the price had dropped nearly $70. On the flight, I had a row to myself! Listening pays and in this case, was much more comfortable!
Our flight arrived 30 minutes early! That was good! The shuttle suggested I book their 1:00 pm shuttle even though my flight wasn’t scheduled to arrive until 12:35. Great news!
Bad news, we were so early customs wasn’t ready! We waited on the plane for nearly 30 minutes and I walked off at 12:25 feeling I might not make the shuttle but knowing everything would be OK!
Immigration was a breeze. My pack was waiting for me. I breezed through Customs with my Global Entry pass. By 12:45, I was curbside waiting for my shuttle to bring me back to Longmont.
When I listen to and operate from that feeling of flow, it really is as if some invisible force is helping all kinds of cool things happen to help me on my way!
I’m now home in Colorado. Already, it’s really different. If I want to go get a quick bite to eat, I can’t walk five minutes to several different Indian or Chinese restaurants. I get in my car, by myself, isolated from people around me, and drive to a destination.
The feeling of being in the world, apart of the local community, a thread in the web of daily life is gone. I miss that! And am adjusting.
Improvising and adapting
When I first started training and facilitating, I was extremely nervous. My way of coping was to meticulously prepare! Prepare, prepare and prepare….then follow the notes of the structure I built.
One day, I realized that was a very inflexible way to “facilitate training” and was based on the wrong priorities. Effective training isn’t about content, it’s about engagement. My notes engaged me in following my outline so I’d be comfortable. However, it didn’t focus on the needs of the people in the room.
I knew that was never going to be good enough! After considerable thought and consideration, I decided to take improv classes. BOOM! Things dramatically changed. The biggest change: I became more comfortable with me being me no matter what was going on around me. And I knew I could adapt to whatever need showed up.
Fast forward many years to travel and the same principle holds true. I cringe a little bit when friends show me an itinerary for a trip to a country and culture they have never visited and know little about. Information gathered from somewhere gets built into a structure, reservations and bookings are made and the schedule is followed.
That schedule leaves little room for magic! Overhearing a conversation in Guatemala, inviting myself to an adventure and I was soon visiting “hot waterfalls” in a remote village. They were not in the tour books! I didn’t know they existed!
A random article somewhere clued me in to a sauna outside Antigua, Guatemala. As popular as Antigua is, no one had heard of them. I persisted, finally learned how to pronounce the name correctly and was soon visiting. For $5, I had 30 minutes in a wood fired sauna, an hour massage and a glass of fresh juiced carrot juice at the end. Perfect! And all unplanned.
Peaceful islands, wild orangutan, zip line into a tree house, cooking classes, trekking, seeing the blooming refflesia (biggest flower in world), pink river dolphin in the Amazon, mouse deer in Taman Negara, visiting the mossy forest…..openness and flexibility breeds possibility!
Give it a try!
The same holds true for life! Tightly structured and over scheduled, with a minimum room for experiencing anything out of the norm and life just isn’t as interesting. I heard people on the return flight from Bangkok complaining about service, slow pace, how difficult it was to get a bill after a meeting and finally, how “is sure isn’t like Chicago”! If you want Chicago, stay in Chicago! If you want to experience a different culture and way of doing things, open up and flow with it!
When I travel, I read about a country and get a sense of the few things I really want to experience. Then, I book reservations for my first night. After hours of travel and generally a 14 hour time change, I want a place to land. Then, I talk to people, learn about experiences other travelers enjoyed and feel out what flow works for me! Clue: feel out, not think and plan out!
And in that flow, surprises always come up! And that flow is part of the reason I stay in hostels, home stays and budget lodging. People talk to each other! And they are often traveling for an extended time, leaving one experience and leading off to another in a consistent stream of full engagement.
My last morning at Travel Hub in Kuala Lumpur, I met Jess. She graduated University in the UK, got a good job, and after a while, realized she wasn’t happy. So she saved money, quit and is not in the fourth month of a six month journey. Six months unless she decides to extend it! Exploring! Traveling alone and learning about herself! Meeting a lot of new people! Savoring the host of experiences travel can offer when you listen, flow and move with what the moment presents to you!
I’m savoring those moments, savoring all the new connections and all the experiences that contributed to my amazing five weeks of travel. Thank you everyone!!!!
Some experiences can only be felt, never described! Words can’t communicate what was experienced and felt. That’s what I feel on my last evening in Ubud this trip.
Experience: flow, magical connections, great conversations, amazing people, gratitude, each day an amazing surprise. For example…
One morning, I drove to a coffee shop. Their machine wasn’t working. Hmmm, what to do? I drove to another shop. A couple comes in who are from Germany, wanting to live in Bali and are looking for a place to live. He’s working with hospital in Denpasar. She, a doctor, it between work and exploring. Great conversation and connection, at that precise moment, because an espresso machine wasn’t working. I am connecting them with friends and healers that will help!
In Ubud, I see old friends who glow with excitement greeting me and sit holding my hand to talk. I dropped a napkin this morning and before I could reach to pick it up, a young woman standing by said, in her lilting sing-song Bali voice, “Not to worry!” and scooped it up. Two friends I have met here offered to take me to the airport, a grueling and pain in the ass drive! One healer yesterday suggested I had enough time to come back for one more session, today, before I leave tomorrow so he could see me.
The second time I visit restaurants, I’m greeted with “Hello friend!”. A busy intersection and I’m trying to find a space to cross when a happy friendly driver smiles while holding his hand palm down motioning for others to make space for me. Certainly not road rage!
I returned to a place I stayed early in my trip and the owner comes out of greet me with hands folded in front of chest in “prayer form” and bows deeply smiling at me, thanking me. And the most frequent question lately, since people know I am leaving, “when you come back”? Not five years!!
I visit Kahiyang with Mary. A woman enters wearing a shirt with the word “Inspire” on the front. She’s from Dubai and working here. Great connection and conversation! Each day is filled with the same energy: authentic, nourishing, real and connected conversation!
Those descriptions are shallow compared to the feeling the actual encounter. I’m at a loss for words because words can never transfer the experience. It’s a feeling, an embrace, a heart energy unique to this place. Eyes light up when people smile. It’s as if their heart and Soul come out through their eyes.
Everyone’s eyes do that, something comes out of your eyes. You do that! You broadcast something via your eyes! Always! Every time! Think about that! What is it? Here it’s gentleness, connection caring and kindness. Here, when eyes sparkle and faces light up back at me, it feels like they broadcast love and caring.
Some tourist eyes communicate: leave me alone; don’t get to close; I can’t trust you; I’m unhappy; I’m in a hurry; go away!
People are singing everywhere here, not self-conscious about their talent or lack of, simply joyful in the moment. Unbridles singing from an accountant, barista in a restaurant between customers, shop keepers on the side of the street, taxi drivers, it’s everywhere!
In the states, it feels more often like messages revolve around, “Sorry I’m so busy! Wish I had more time to see you. I don’t have time for myself and am surviving this day. Maybe I’ll catch up with you later (in months or years often).”
Here, it’s presence in the moment. Yesterday I watched people working on a construction site scooping rich by hand, putting into metal tubs, lifting it onto their heads and then walking to dump tin to a concrete mixer. They smiled at me! Acting as replacement beasts of burden, they smiled in the midst of tedious labor most Americans would consider beneath them
Amazing! And yes, those words don’t come close to describing the experience available here!
Don’t bring your busy hurried and hectic self if you come to visit! You’ll miss it. Don’t zoom through Bali DOING all the tourist things you imagined in only a few days. You’ll miss it.
I occasionally see some people here at Sandat Bali in the midst of what is an amazing experience and they rarely connect with it. You can see it in their walk. Hands swinging assertively, walking fast, head down, no hello to other guest or staff, hurrying off to their next yoga class or other experience.
To fully experience Bali, SLOW DOWN! Be more than you DO! Travel from your inner being, your “human being” state, not your “human doing” state! Go visit the little local warung’s on the back street rather than spend all your time in tourist areas. Those little local family places are not far away, within an easy walk, and they will reach out and touch you!
And, that feeling, this experience is up to me! Yesterday a massage therapist I love put her hands together and bowed when I stopped by to buy a massage as a gift for mama. She looked awkward when I gave her the money? Then she told me I had set her so many customers, she wanted to give me a free massage! Last night after my last session with papa, just him and I there in the healing room, he thanked me for being here, for all my help, for the people I have sent and for being his friend. Still touches my heart and brings tears to my eyes reading that
I’m asked each morning how I am doing and of course I’m doing great! I am in Bali!!! Most days, it’s the same answer. I’m doing great because I choose to! It’s the place I choose to come from each day. Bring that with you! That energy will shape you an amazing experience here.
I came with a clear intention: to recharge and heal! I wanted to rest, restore my energy deeply and simply enjoy being here. I didn’t do any of the activities or travel I normally would do. Places like the hot springs and coffee country will wait for my next trip. Mountain biking down hill through local villages or travel to Menjangan to snorkeling or visiting Lovina will wait as well.
So I’ve been still, present, resting. The first week in Kuala Lumpur and here, I slept 12 hours a night. I continue to meditate and do my morning stretching. I’ve listened each morning to what feeling unfolds for the day. “What’s your program today” is the general morning question. My program: listen, stay present, enjoy, be joyful and flow with what unfolds.
And I’ve only worn shoes two or three times my entire trip!
Perfect plan for this trip to Bali! Rest, healing, restoration and connecting!
And having fulfilled that intention on every level, I’m returning home a different person than the one that left to come here! Ahhhhh!
Thank you Bali!
It’s the eve of mom and dad’s anniversary. This would have been 67! Happy anniversary mom and dad! I can feel your presence tuning into my trip and looking over my shoulder, smiling with me!
My list of things I want to accomplish before I leave here has very little left on it. Today, I had my best cappuccino in Ubud! Thank you Eric! He asked me, shyly, if I could help him some more. I did today. He packed extra coffee into the portafilter, textured the milk, and it was the best cappuccino I have had here. Great coffee flavor! Sweet milk! Lovely texture! Lots of love in that cup as well!
I’m planning to visit Erma and help her learn to make her own Chai. I’ve got an ancient Yogi Tea recipe plus a Nepal recipe, both explaining the health benefits of the ingredients and what they do for the body. She has had people ask her about chai but isn’t sure what it is. With fresh ingredients available year round here, it should be a snap to make her own.
Went North today! Lots of shades of green! Quieter up there, rice fields, fair amount of development and lots of quiet and peace. Here’s what it looked like.
I’m so happy I decided to stay here at Sandat Bali! I was going to stay for a couple days and then move. Mama really wanted me to stay here and put me in a lovely, large room on the quietest part of the property. It’s been perfect. More money than I wanted to pay however, it’s completely in keeping with my intention to have peace and quiet and healing time to restore my energy. Plus, I feel so loved here!
I did a small photo safari of their place today. Have a look at what I experience every time I walk through the property.
And a few miscellaneous views of some of the creativity I’ve seen in the area the past couple days.
Feels like ages since I left and it feels like I fit in perfectly with this community! Can’t believe it’s only been a few weeks since I left! So different now! Amazing conversations, authentic connections, love and support from new friends, amazing life enrichment experience!