The last few weeks have been pushing my limits in more ways than one. Although that may sound like a negative to some, I hardly see it that way. Every day brings me something new. Whether we explore an abandoned building, travel to a new island or take a trip to the fruit market, I’m learning. I’ve experienced so many moments of internal challenge during my time here. Which to me symbolizes an adventure done right. What is travel without challenge and the testing of boundaries? I’m currently finding myself feeling more confident in some areas and less confident in others. Being a part of this workshop hasn’t made me feel like a bad writer. It’s taught me how naive I am about the business, how slow I am at producing work, how much I need to give my ego a good shove while writing pieces and just let go. The list goes on. More importantly though, it’s been filling my brain with all the knowledge and understanding I need to improve in those areas. It’s been incredibly eye opening, but my lack of confidence definitely doesn’t extend to the belief in my ability to change the way I approach the world of writing. That is something I know I’ll take back with me and among several other things, has made this experience entirely worth it.
This photograph, among three others in this series, was taken on the island of Gili Trawangan at a local market.
Along with this, I’ve been forced to reflect on the time I need to spend alone. It’s true that nine times out of ten, I want to be around this incredibly kind and talented group of people. But we’re together more often than not and it’s been important for me to listen to my body when I know it’s time to be in my own space. It can be a struggle. The fear of missing out is a very real thing. I think I’ve come up with a pretty good balance but listening to my body when it’s time to slow down for a hot minute has been a challenge all in itself. It always is on journeys like this. Sometimes it’s okay to be still. I’m remembering that.
I met this man during a Balinese Hindu offering making workshop I attended in Ubud, Bali. He teaches woodcarving there, a craft he has mastered since childhood. I could tell just by looking at his hands.
People continue to fascinate me. The colours of every place I visit are breathtaking. I’m not sure I have the time to articulate everything I want to say in the right words. Today has consisted of my fingers typing furiously and almost nothing else. After hours and hours of article writing and tweaking, I was desperate to share something a little more personal.
How fascinated she was with my camera. Our interaction before this photo was full of laughs and smiles. Somehow, I caught her during a quiet moment.
I find it funny how easy it is to slip back into your comfort zone so quickly after living outside it. Over the past three years since my first backpacking excursion, I’ve found myself continuing the adventure and self discovery every chance I get. I haven’t, however, experienced a culture shock since the month I spent in Thailand. That kind of travel makes for an entirely different experience. It isn’t an experience that I’ll ever forget by any means but I very quickly adjusted to my old and privileged habits after returning home.
For every traveller, it’s a struggle to return from a trip abroad and take with you every single thing you’ve learned, every new outlook you’ve adapted to and use it in your day-to-day life. Old habits die hard, man. I don’t doubt that I change quite a bit with every trip and that I become far, far more aware of my actions and mindset. I just know that I’m human as well and we mould to what we’ve always been familiar with.
It goes without saying that the world has us asking a lot of questions these days. Usually it’s not a struggle for me to look at the positive going on amongst the negative but this time was different. I let the darkness of the world completely consume me to the point where I even considered not travelling to Bali at all. I was nervous to fly, I was nervous to be in an airport halfway across the world. I let it weigh me down. I never want to disregard the reality of what goes on in a country other than my own. I don’t want to turn a blind eye or become naive to the truth of world issues, but letting the fear of possibilities run my life to the point of me not living at all is letting the darkness win. Did I really want to let fear run the show?
Thankfully, I didn’t. I now find myself in an area of Bali called Canggu. I’m living in a villa with 29 other eager and like-minded writers. Once again, I am reminded of how much I enjoy Asia and all it has to offer. There’s no doubt that my experience here is extremely Westernized. It certainly has had its moments. But I try my best to look beyond that. I’ve been focusing on the landscapes and nature as much as I can. I’m trying to order local dishes whenever possible. I want to spend more time scootering through the back roads. We’re all taking language classes so speaking Indonesian is a steady work in progress. Through my photography, I love learning more about the people that live here, of course. There are so many things about being somewhere new, especially in a place so starkly different from your home, that I nearly looked past and had forgotten about. I’m remembering how to trust the flow of a journey as much as I used to. Things are falling into place and every day I learn new things from my surroundings.
Before I left, someone explained to me how important love is. Love at the root of all things can change so many outcomes. In the same sense, it’s important to continue spreading goodness when things seem helpless.
Without knowing it, you could be consciously missing out what makes the world beautiful, the experiences that represent the light it holds. You could be the light someone needs. In my opinion, those aspects always triumph.