Driving into Ubud yesterday I found I often had to remind myself to breathe. The driving is something I’ve never experienced. Scooters flying around on both sides. Constant games of chicken with oncoming traffic, luckily it ends safely (at least it has so far). Everyone seems at ease. There doesn’t seem to be road rage here, or at least I haven’t experienced it. It’s just an understanding, I’m faster than you so I’m gonna go around you and when I flash my lights or put on my blinker or calmly honk my horn I’m just preparing you for my move.
It’s almost like a dance. The cars and scooters are just gliding down the highway, weaving in and out, speeding up, slowing down, taking a moment to breathe rather than moving forward with rage, they are grateful they are moving. It took us just under 2 hours to arrive in Ubud and I found as we got closer I had started to breathe again, I was at ease, taking it all in. Breathing in a new culture, a new perspective.
It’s amazing how different their highways, markets and housing is from the United States. I had a similar eye opening experience 3 years ago when I spent a month in South Africa and Malawi. One thing I noticed that aligns both places is people are happy, people are content and people here are breathing. They are soaking in every experience, every interaction and they want to make sure your time here is memorable. Every single person working at this resort knows my name. Not only mine, but every single person I am here learning with. Incredible.
What has made me sad though is the volcano activity has driven much of the tourism out of Bali. A lot of people that live here and that work at this resort have been evacuated from their homes and they are living with other family. They don’t complain about it, they don’t want your sympathy, they are just grateful that they are safe. We are the only people (minus one other couple) at this resort due to the warnings, warnings that aren’t even affecting our area, but warnings that are affecting the wealth of this resort, the wealth of this island. They could be angry, they could be rude to us, but every single person I’ve encountered shows pure gratitude. It has me thinking about the interactions in America, how could we be more like the Balinese, how could we be more grateful?
Breathe it all in and think of what you can be more grateful for, even if it’s just for that moment that you stop and just breathe.