Finding a Balanced State

Ubud Travel Blog

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Dear Everyone,

There will be no warnings!

First I would like to thank those who have congratulated me on my daily e-mails of "Gail's world"! 

Unknown to many is the fact that when I was in high school, I had a certain English teacher, Mr. Moore (English lit), taken by my first essay, "My Forever Friend Daniel", who STRONGLY encouraged me to follow this path in creative writing, the world can always use this creativity. 

I also had a teacher named Mr. Savage, (Math) who really loved me and my perseverance, but strongly suggested I stay away from the sciences for a successful future, it just wasn't my thing.  He really was well placed to know, as I spent EVERYDAY OF MY SENIOR YEAR with him for tutoring just to try and pass, which I did, but to this day, I am really not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to this science!

Anyway, I guess when you are a writer and you become published, there will always be those who either LOVE IT and those who don't.  That is the way it has been with my letters and my life.  Either you loved me  (accepting my lack of diplomacy) or you strongly disliked me (and my openness to discuss just about any possible subject without censoring) rarely were people indifferent.

God knows I have very little mean spirit in me.  Hurt my family and you will be met by the ferociousness of a mother lion defending her babies, this I admit.  But to out and out hurt someone, with that intention, well apart from when I was in the midst of an major nervous break down, I really honestly can say, it is not in my true nature to hurt.

So that some (few of you) have felt extremely offended by one particular entry I had made, I am truly sorry.  I got some feed back and it was quite mixed.  One thing that was consistently conveyed was it was thought provoking and made some question themselves and others were very unhappy with me and felt judged.  I apologize to those who felt judged.

In the future I will refrain from offering my own meandering thoughts and leave the advice to Oprah and Dr. Phil.  They are official, bonefied Guru's and their word is gold. 

Me, well I am a Nomad-Vagabond, who has been laid off and is on the verge of e-baying my life.  I have lost the one belief I truly bought into, my marriage and family.  Today, having lost the one thing I invested totally in (never put your eggs in one basket. or Never rely on a rich spouse or a trust fund, you just never know when one of them may run out). 

I am certainly on a mission of deep and profound questioning of my life and what it is all about.  For those of you who felt judged, you have missed the point of realizing, the questions are not so much for you but for me.

I have simply allowed you to experience my journey in a voyeuristic fashion, but the insights are mine and not to be taken personally.  If it offers you a simple, new awareness or consciousness, and you appreciate my boldness to be so open and have sent me an e-mail of encouragement and questioning of "why don't you write a book, you have such a way with writing"... well, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for haven  "thrown me a bone".

God knows I spent a lot of my life "sitting pretty" just hoping someone would notice my efforts.  What I really ended up feeling is, I was always just one step behind getting that Gold Star or Brownie Point.  I mean for God sakes, even when I delivered, the church said had I been a real God fearing, God serving woman, I would have delivered naturally!!!  The fact that I weighed all of 98lbs before I got pregnant, gained 44 lbs and delivered a 8lbs11 ounce baby the first time and a 9lbs13 ounce baby the second time (you do the math)never fit into the fruit cakes mind just that I mustn't have prayed enough.

I guess somewhere I passed my life always thinking something had to be wrong with me and if I just worked hard enough, tried hard enough and so on, things would be o.k.  except I still failed gym in high school, even kids who never showed up for class still got better scores!  Just another field my teachers suggested I avoid pursuing...

Anyway,  I guess what I am saying is, I am far from thinking I have the answers, nor do I judge you in your choices in life.  I mean it doesn't take a brain surgeon to see that after my marriage ended, I lost myself completely and to be honest, have still not really found myself (you may want to put up posters, if anyone finds me please let me know...).

Maybe this is as good as it gets...  Maybe there is no more room for improvement but maybe just experiencing new things.  Maybe there will always be some of you who will wonder about me (you are not alone, I too often wonder about myself) who are offended by me who disagree with me but I am not trying to change you, I am trying to change me.

Today I venture out to rent a motorcycle to drive to Ubud and do one last visit of the rice fields and experience this very wonderful place called Bali.  Afterward I will drive to the temple in the middle of the sea to visit this awesome place as the sunsets.

I will wish you all a peaceful day.

Ibu Gail

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Selamat Pagi Semuanya,

So this will very likely be my last entry before I return home.  The day ahead will surely be a hectic one as I am determined to make up for lost time trying to heal my ankle.  There is no way I am going home without going to UBUD.  I am scheduled to leave at 7:30a.m.  I have been awake since 2a.m. I couldn't sleep for some reason and so I decided to start packing.

I will backtrack a bit to bring you all back to Indonesia the country and what this place is like.  You know for a person like me who rarely finds myself with a lack of words, I am finding it quite challenging to define Indonesia.  It is a paradox par excellence.  It is peace-loving and a deeply spiritual society and I would say this is the first reaction you get when you travel through this country.  Nowhere in my travels to date have I encountered a culture of such intense respect for their fellow man.

Example:  Bali itself is 95% Hindu if my memory serves me, where as Java (Malang) is 90% Muslim, throw in the remainder mix of Christian and Buddhist and this would normally be a melting pot for disaster.  Not so, in this country where these traditions live side by side in the most peaceful way.  They marry between religions without incidence and as you visit different areas, you are walking from a most beautiful Mosque, to a breath taking Temple.  I must admit, the temple energy fits more with my vibe. 

This whole concept of these two followings living peacefully side by side seams so unlikely as we constantly read in the paper of so much terrorism all in the name of God but in this country they have found a balance and this is what I find a traveler quickly integrates within oneself in this Country... Balance.

There is no hiding the fact that life is made of Black and White, Yin and Yang, Good and Evil, Heaven and Hell.  You cannot know Sweet if you never tasted Sour and so what strikes me the most is the sweet experience of the people. 

Wherever we travel, there is limitless beauty.  Be it the pristine beaches of Turks and Caicos, the Mayan ruins of Chitchen Itza during the spring Equinox (truly AWESOME), the Cloud Forest of Costa Rica, The Canals of Panama, the view from Rhonda in Spain, the coast of Algarve, the bush people of Masai Momba, the Suks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the sunset in Morocco... EVERY SINGLE PLACE I have visited, I have some very defined moments of my mind registering the view like a photograph.  But what makes traveling an experience of growth and opening of the mind is the interaction experienced through chance meetings with the people of the destination.  Otherwise, it is just another pretty view.   

I feel honored to have shared bonding moments with so many people here in Indonesia.  In particular with three specific women.  In Malang, I shared endless conversations with Yudha, (muslim background) a beautiful woman working at the Tugu Malang Hotel.  Everyday, I looked forward to our coffee breaks together to share girl talk.  In Tugu Lombok Hotel, I shared a touching, bond with Dewi (of Chinese background) with whom I shared many deep thoughts.  What an extremely emotional bright young woman and here in Tugu Bali Hotel, I met Mirah (Hindu background) who I unfortunately met only on my last night here with not enough time to share yet enough to see we quickly connected.  These three fabulous women shared themselves with me and I feel truly blessed to have had this window of opportunity.

It is through these encounters that I feel I learnt soooo much of the Indonesian culture and that experience remains priceless.

When I left Lombok, I was sent on my way with quite a few people waving me good-bye and it really felt like leaving home.  As we drove through the winding roads of the countryside for the hour ride to the airport, it began to rain quite heavily and suddenly the roads were lined with school aged children (5 years old up to 15).  I had to laugh as I watched them having a field day standing by the huge puddles of water waiting for the cars to pass by and splash them.  I could hear there laughter from inside the taxi.  How funny to become aware of what a difference rain can be from one country to another.  I can assure you, I am never thrilled to hit the streets when it begins to pour and I even more will admit that when a car rushes past me and leaves me looking like a drowned rat, laughter is not the emotion arising within me!  Different perspectives in different countries.

As I go through the motions of check-in at the airport and proceeding through security check, this too seems so ironic.  You have an acute awareness that their little machines to supposedly scrutinize our baggage, appears to be much more for appearances than any true security.  The workers are much more interested in their conversations and joking than the toothpaste being under 100ml.  Which makes you wonder, what is it with the 100ml toothpaste deal?  If a terrorist gets on the plane with more than 100ml of toothpaste, shouldn't that be a good thing, at least he won't die of Gingevitis (sorry don"t know the spelling for this word) or kill the person beside him with bad breath.

So I arrive in Bali after a 20 minute, 37$ flight from Lombok and their is a car waiting to bring me to my hotel.  As I drive through the streets from the Denpasar airport, I am amazed by such beautiful Monuments.  There is one that has a  warrior atop his horses, just amazing.

Driving in Bali is so much more relaxed than in Malang but just as crowded.  But nevertheless, with so many people on the roads, an endless sea of scooters, people scurrying across the streets, next to NO TRAFFIC SIGNALS and guess what... NO ACCIDENTS.  Not one since I have arrived.  You can easily see there are so many more tourists here, it is the place to be.  Now I see why I was like a martian that landed in Malang, as it is in no way a tourist destination, so I was about the only Caucasian there, not like Bali as I am just one of many.

Seminyak looks to be an interesting place to stop and visit but needless to say, with my brace/cast on my ankle, there was no stopping, unfortunately.  But come hell or high water, if I have to hop through the streets, I am going to UBUD today before I leave.  There is NO WAY, I came all this way not to make it to UBUD!  Although something tells me, I will be back here... maybe I can incorporate Seoul, Korea, Bali, Indonesia and Johannesburg, South Africa.

So if I have the chance to fill you in between my visit and boarding Japan Airlines, I will gladly oblige.

photo by: eddie8498