Dear Bali, you made my heart smile.
In January 2023, I embarked on my first solo trip and travelled to Bali. I left my home in Le Petit Tournon, Ardeche and hopped on a train to Geneva to begin my journey to Bali, where I'd stay for 3 weeks.
I was excited, but at that moment I felt more fear of the unknown. I was worried about travelling alone and being so far away.
Fear is a powerful emotion. It's a completely natural sensation, yet we often treat fear as unpleasant. I do my best to embrace the fear and the scary thing anyways.
The Beginning of Bali Adventures
I arrived in Bali on a Sunday afternoon and was taken to my bungalow in Uluwatu. I would stay here for two days to adjust to the time change and enjoy the ocean views. It felt surreal to be in Bali. I felt a mix of drunk, exhausted, and dreamy after more than 30h of travelling. I struggled to sleep at night with the strong winds from the ocean and the not-so-rigid bungalow moving from the wind. I caught up on a sleep during the day by the poolside. Life was good.
I highly recommend Milo's Home in Uluwatu for a few days of relaxation.
But I began feeling major imposter syndrome the first few days. I was scared to take initiative and organize things. I'd lost confidence in myself. Or more accurately, I became acutely aware of just how much confidence I've been lacking back home in my daily life.
I was sad that I was here alone. I travelled so far to this paradise and I had no one to share it with. I felt silly. I was nervous and ashamed. I didn't want to leave my comfort zone which included the pool and hotel restaurant. I remember saying to myself "alone in Bali. What the hell am I doing here?" In these moments, all you can do is invite kindness and hold space for yourself. I continued to encourage myself and remind myself that these feelings are completely natural and I just needed some time to adapt.
Embrace the fear. Feel it, and do it anyway.
The next few days I indulged in a Balinese massage (the first of many!), visited a local fish market, lounged at the beach, hopped on a speed boat to, and visited the island of Nusa Penida.
The Bali Adventure Continues... featuring waterfalls, purification ceremonies, rice fields, and volcano hikes.
As I scootered around Bali with my taxi driver, I began to feel more relaxed and at ease with my solo trip. I was humbled by the kindness of the Balinese people, grounded by the incense filled streets, and uplifted by the abundance that was offered by nature on the island of gods.
One of my most memorable experiences was the purification ceremony at the Taman Beji Griya waterfall. I arrived and was invited to change into my bathing suit and cover up with a sarong provided onsite. I didn't necessarily understand why I needed a bathing suit until we started walking down and discovering two beautiful waterfalls. The purification would take place under these waterfalls where I'd be encouraged to yell, scream, laugh, cry, dance - embracing and holding any emotions that may arise.
This outpouring of emotions is part of the Hindu water purification ceremony known as Melukat, which means "letting go". For Balinese people, it’s a way to cleanse and purify the body through water immersion, while invigorating the body, mind and soul.
Gifts and prayers are offered to the gods in the hope of health and happiness in return. I was invited to cleanse under two waterfalls. Under the first waterfall, I would channel any anger, sadness, heartbreak energy. Allowing these feelings to be fully felt, and eventually releasing the emotions and giving myself permission to move forward to the second waterfall. This waterfall, you were invited to channel love, happiness, wonder, and joy. Embracing these beautiful emotions and soaking it all in.
It was a beautiful paradisiacal setting. With temples and natural waterfalls, I was surrounded by the tropical rainforest, dragons carved into the stone banks, caves and water cascading from above through the rays of sunlight.
I left the Taman Beji Griya waterfalls feeling grounded and grateful for the beautiful experience. We're often not encouraged to express our emotions publicly. It's safer if we keep these feelings and emotions to ourselves.
At first, it didn't feel safe to truly express my feelings in those waterfalls. I had to shift my mindset and allow myself to feel safe. Embracing the Melukat and Hindu traditions to channel the endless colors of my emotions from anger and regret to ultimate joy and love.
I highly recommend the purification ceremony in these waterfalls.
Bali continued to make my heart smile as I ventured through rice fields, ascended volcanoes, trekked in jungles, enjoyed nourishing foods, and relaxed with countless Balinese massages.
The island of gods gifted me with so many beautiful life lessons.
It taught me that happiness doesn't have to look or be a certain way. It reminded me of all the color and beauty that exists in this world.
Life is so fragile and precious. It's up to you to follow your heart and create the life you want.
Thank you Bali for making my heart smile.
Chloe Jane is a mindfulness coach, yoga teacher and sound healing practitioner. She believes in slowing things down and inviting deep rest into the fast-paced world.
She teaches a variety of restorative yoga styles: yin, restorative yoga and yoga nidra. She is a Sound Healing Practitioner and works with the energies of her Tibetan Singing Bowls.
Chloe will be embarking on a 2,650 mile thru-hike in March 2023 called the Pacific Crest Trail. She is South of France based and you can find her on instagram @chloejanejacobs.
Follow her sabbatical trek adventures and join her blog community!