I'm about three weeks into my third trip to the magical island of Bali - third time in the past three years - and needless to say, this place continues to draw me back, every year, and each year for a few weeks longer than the last.
Now, like everywhere in the world, Bali has its fair share of issues, downfalls, and straight up ugly sides. But, for me at least, the positives greatly outweigh the negatives, and I credit this little slice of paradise to teaching me some extremely valuable life lessons. Life lessons that traveling across the globe will teach most anyone - so long as their eyes and mind stay open - but lessons that seem to be deeply rooted in the people, the culture, and the sacred lands and waters found on, in, and around the Island of the Gods.
So here they are, in no particular order, the top 10 lessons I've learned, so far, from
my time spent in Bali:
1. STAY HUMBLE. Your ego is not your amigo, and Mother Nature will forever be more powerful than us. Respect her greatly. Honor her deeply. And admire her ability to change at any moment.
2. With that being said: LIFE IS SHORT. It's fragile. And it can be taken away from us in an instant. Be grateful for each and every moment on this planet, do your best to simply show up for life and the experiences that it gifts you.
3. DO EVERYTHING WITH INTENTION, or don't do it at all. Simple as that.
4. HAPPINESS does not come from material things, but from being present, connected to nature, and surrounded by those you love and those who love you back. The "richest" people tend to have the least amount of stuff.
5. THERE IS NO ONE RIGHT WAY TO LIVE. Respect other people and other cultures. Try to learn the language or at least a few words. Even if you don't agree with something, or the way someone chooses to live, it does not necessarily make it/them wrong. Open your mind.
6. WORK WHEN IT'S TIME TO WORK, REST WHEN IT'S TIME TO REST. Don't stress yourself out with all that "should be doing" bullshit. Give up the not good enough guilt. Do your best with what you have and the moment that you're in.
7. Reef-friendly sunscreen (the thicker the better), sarongs, big hats, light neoprene, and decent sunglasses are your BEST FRIENDS in the tropical, equatorial sun. USE THEM. Get to know them well. And don't forget to drink PLENTY of water, and moisturize after your post-surf shower. Oh yea, and always keep your cuts clean too!
8. Always refuse single-use plastics. ALWAYS!!! Invest in a good reusable water bottle, bamboo utensils, and if you need it, a stainless-steel or glass straw. And if you're gonna step over a piece of trash on your walk to surf, use a little extra effort to pick it up and dispose of it properly.
9. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE the power of prayer. And a smile. A genuine smile goes a loooong way.
10. KARMA IS REAL. Very, very real. Be mindful of your actions :)