If you’d asked my 6 months ago if I’d be spending over 24 hours sitting in planes rocketing off to the other side of the world so that I could spend a month in Bali, Indonesia I would have said you were crazy.
Yet here I sit…in my outdoor kitchen facing the pool here in, you guessed it, Bali Indonesia.
What a trip! I have the gift of being able to pass out on planes before they’re wheels up so while most people were busy telling me about how much it would suck to be in a plane for that long, I was busy enjoying dreamland and checking out beautiful views whenever I happened to wake up. Side Note: If a waitress on Singapore airlines ever offers you a drink called a “Singapore-Sling” take it…it’s pretty tasty.
Anyway, here I am! Beautiful Bali! I was staying at a friend’s house for a few days and just grabbed the villa beside his and I’ll be here for a month until December starts. Then it’s back to the states to lock down a place in Vegas to have that “U.S. Base” I know I need and then who knows what’s next from there.
That’s the beauty of living life on your own terms, even after the grueling years of struggle to set this life up. And that painstaking process has led me to Bali, which has taught me so much in just the few short days that I’ve been here. I can only imagine what I’ll experience and learn when I’ve been here for a whole month but for now here are 6 key things I’ve learned in my first 6 days in Bali.
1. You Can Change Everything In An INSTANT
MAN this is a biggie!!! I was overpaying for an apartment in California that I HATED and it had turned into my little comfort zone even though it wasn’t that comfortable to live in with the screeching planes outside, fighting neighbors I could hear through the walls and crying baby I could hear in the apartment above. I found myself COMPLAINING and if you know me, you know I’m not one to complain, so that’s a big deal for me when I catch myself doing it.
Anyway, I was talking to a friend and business partner Chris on Facebook and I’d occasionally slip in a complaint about the apartment. Whenever I did he would instantly invite me out to Bali to come stay with him for a while to “get away from it all”. I joked “Yea yea, for sure bro, I’ll have to do that someday” but in reality I knew I’d never pull the trigger on it.
One day something inside of me snapped (maybe it was having baby problems with no baby!) and I got rid of EVERYTHING (didn’t even bother selling it), condensed everything I owned to 3 bags, and I got on a plane and LEFT!!!
I emailed my complex LATER and told them I moved out. They hit me with a fee of over $3,000 since I didn’t give 30 days notice on leaving but who cares. Money isn’t real, doesn’t control me anymore and that was the best fee I ever paid. Because I was essentially paying for my freedom, making the decision first and worrying about any “repercussions” later.
I went from being miserable in an apartment I hated to writing this blog post poolside in paradise and it only took one decision that I ACTED ON right away. You can literally change whatever you want in your life, but you’re the only person who can pull the trigger on it and actually make it happen. Never forget that nobody else can do it for you.
2. Change Isn’t As Scary As We Think It Is
Ever heard that saying “It’s all in your head”? Well it’s 110% true! I’ll be honest, when I was first boarding my planes to come out to Indonesia, (San Diego to San Francisco to South Korea to Singapore to Indonesia) I had some fears about missing flights, getting held up at customs, whether the TSA would let my Kangen K8 machine through that probably looks like a bomb in my suitcase, all those good little fictional worries that were dancing around in my head.
Guess how many of them came true? ZERO. But they APPEARED because my mind was trying to get me to stay in that comfort zone, to avoid change at all costs.
I made all my flights even though I got shuffled around to all kinds of different airlines and the only time I got “lost” was when the cab driver in Bali accidentally drove me 5 minutes away from my friend’s villa and we got there 5 minutes later after punching in new directions. All the fears I had were all in my head.
The fears of what it’s like to condense all my belongings to a few bags, not have an “official U.S. residence”, to jet off to the other side of the world spontaneously, etc. etc. It was all in my head.
It’s critical to understand that your reptilian pre-historic brain is still trying to run the show. “Stay in the cave, don’t go outside, the big animals will eat you!”. That equates to the modern day version of just sitting in your living room, watching TV and not going on adventures (certainly not to a place you’ve never been on the other side of the world!) because that would rip you out of your comfort zone and you could face a terrible demise.
This part of your brain will always be ON. But you can quiet the voice of it down and remember that it’s not in control, not the voice that you have to listen to.
3. Life Rewards You When You Try New Things
One of the first things my friend Chris told me when I got here was that I needed to learn how to ride a Scooter because it was the easiest way to get around. Funny thing is, I’ve gotten so used to just Ubering everywhere in California that I hadn’t even driven a car in the last TWO YEARS because hey, I could just Uber everywhere! Crazy right?
Even crazier that me “learning how to drive again” would involve a scooter on busy roads in Indonesia. Not exactly what I expected as my reintroduction to driving, but often times life is not what we’re expecting at all!
Day one I sucked. I was gunning it, probably looked like “THAT American” who had no idea how to drive one, and almost jetted straight into a rice paddy in front of a bunch of beautiful Australian girls (super sexy move right?). I only saved myself by hitting the brakes and slamming my feet down, but unfortunately for my left big toe I was wearing flip flops and the scooter dragged my toe on the ground and ripped off a layer of it on the top. I still have the blood on my flip-flops if you ever want to see the evidence!
Anyway, we were on our way to my first surf lesson but instead we drove back so I could clean my wound and as soon as it was cleaned, my mind came up with about a hundred brilliant reasons why I should abandon the scooter for good and just take taxis everywhere. I was about to go along with it too until my friend Chris again assured me it was the easiest way to get around and that once I got it, it would be as easy as riding a bike.
Fast forward to the next time we went out for me to practice driving a scooter and it felt like second nature after a while and the sharp turns and crowded streets no longer bothered me. I’m not 100% yet but I’m sure I’ll be there in the next 2-3 times I go out with it.
Because I kept going out on it, I saw beautiful sights from a perspective I wouldn’t have seen them from otherwise, got to feel the feeling of the warm wind in my face as I jetted down long roads past the temples and rice fields with a big old grin covering my face. I was rewarded for trying new things and without trying those new things I wouldn’t have gotten that reward. It’s as simple as that.
4. Mother Nature Is Our Greatest Teacher
99% of the time, who are we “learning” from? Humans. Makes sense right? We ARE humans. Or at least we THINK we are, but that’s a rabbit hole for a different blog post! I now see this as a big mistake in my book because although there’s so much we can learn from our species, when we’re ONLY looking at our species for lessons we are completely missing lessons from mother nature herself, and she’s got the BEST lessons.
I’ll see a beetle here die and minutes later a hundred ants come from out of nowhere and carry it’s body that’s twenty five times their size VERTICALLY up a wooden pole to their nest. Then I’ll see the lizard that’s there waiting for them at the top to pick them off since he knows where they’re going to go and then I’ll see the exact same process the next day with different beetles, different ants and different lizards. Nature is always in MOTION. It’s always INTERCONNECTED. And it’s always working together in perfect harmony.
The beetle is not thinking “Ah there are so many things I regret!” before it dies. It lives and it dies. The ants are not reading motivational ant books about how to move a giant beetle vertically up a pole. They just get together and make it happen. And the lizard is not thinking “What if I run out of ants to eat?” It knows there is an abundance of them and will be more everywhere he turns. In short, nature doesn’t OVERTHINK…and neither should YOU, for you’re a part of nature after all 😉
5. There Is Beauty Everywhere You Look
I’ve never seen a sunset like the ones I’ve seen in Bali. I try to capture them on my iPhone and even though the pictures look beautiful when I post them it doesn’t even come close to what it looks like in reality. I’ll have to buy a nice camera soon to see if I can capture a more realistic shot of the sunsets here. And that’s just at NIGHT! During the day I see the rice fields, the temples, the smiling faces of the Balinese people I walk past in the street, and I’m reminded that there is beauty EVERYWHERE I look.
And the biggest lesson there of all was that the beauty wasn’t JUST something I saw when I got to Bali. There was beauty in that apartment building I hated living in. There was beauty in the late nights when I would hustle to get out of my current situation and into a new one. There was beauty in living somewhere I didn’t really want to live and having that lead me to make big moves that drastically pivoted the way in which I see the world.
In short, there wasn’t beauty JUST when I got from A to B. There was just as much beauty in point A because it made point B a reality. Where would I be if I didn’t have so much I had to overcome? How much weaker would I be if I didn’t have to go through so many obstacles to get to where I am now?
There is BEAUTY in your life, even if you can’t see it yet. If you push through it you’ll wind up a much more beautiful version of yourself inside and out with a much more physically beautiful view around you, but don’t forget that without the mud there is no lotus so there is beauty in your struggles as well.
6. Allow Contrast To Increase Your Gratitude
I would have been grateful just staying in a room in my friend’s beautiful villa, let alone deciding to pull the trigger and get the whole villa next door for myself for the month of November. When I climbed up the stairs and gazed over the beautiful view of the fields and the buildings, I noticed a little shack to my left put together with spare metal, and I learned later it was the home of a decent-sized family. The average worker here makes under $2,000 USD per year, farmers probably even less, even though they’re the salt of this earth.
Yet everyone seems happy. Offerings are seen all over the streets every day for the gods the Balinese worship. I hear them singing and worshipping in the fields, setting off fireworks, eating as families outside at night while they smile and laugh. It’s truly a beautiful sight, and I’m grateful it’s one that I get to see for a whole month.
When you read “under $2,000 per year” maybe you cringed a little bit as did I when I first looked up those stats. But money isn’t what it’s about. It never is. It’s about living the good life, being happy, experiencing joy with those you love more often than not, and spreading that love wherever you go. That’s what the people here do.
I know they have less worries than we do even though I’ve talked to so few of them. You can just see it on their faces. And it’s a contrast between lives I never would have seen if I didn’t make the move out here to see what life somewhere else besides my “comfort zone” was really like.
I’m forever grateful to be learning so much so quickly in Bali even though I’ve only been here for a few days and I promise to keep sharing what I’m experiencing and learning with you so that you can experience it in a way too. Come out here sometime. Don’t stay at a big swanky resort that doesn’t give you a real taste of what the culture is like. You can get a nice villa right in the heart of everything and experience the real Bali, the real Canggu without that “two steps removed” feeling of staying at a big hotel or something, even though sometimes that experience is great as well.
Wherever you go, wherever your travels take you, enter them with two eyes open so that you can truly take in the magnificence of a new place on earth, and all the lessons that come with it. Lessons you can apply to your life, your business, your relationships, your view of the world and most importantly your view of yourself and the path YOU are walking down. The view doesn’t change from your comfort zone, but it certainly does when you step out of it. Never forget that.