We have always been dreaming about living abroad, experiencing another culture, spending more time with the locals, getting used to a lifestyle a different place can offer. So we decided to pack our bags and visit Bali, the island of Gods and I have to say, it was the best decision we have ever made!
Where are we now?
We are in Ubud, renting a place for a month in the middle of the jungle, where the movie Eat Pray Love starring Julia Roberts was filmed. Ubud is the cultural center of arts and dance, this is the place where traditional Balinese culture and spirituality can be found on every corner, in every tiny detail.
This is the place where we wake up to the song of the birds from the jungle and go to sleep to the hypnotic strains of gamelan. This is the place where drivers stop their car to let monkeys cross the street and where locals put flowers in my hair and offer mandarins from their trees.
We came here to learn, to rest, to heal, to bloom, to recharge and to reflect. And we have found the perfect place.
Here are the top 10 things we have learned during the first week spent on this amazing island:
1. In Bali you are never a visitor, you are always a guest.
2. Balinese people are humble and selfless, so follow their example: respect and kindness comes first, what you give out today is what you will receive back tomorrow.
3. Talking to the locals can turn into the most amazing experience ever, they have so much to share with you. So don’t hesitate to ask them about their culture, religion and daily life.
4. As you walk down any street of Bali, you will see colourful offerings everywhere. Literally. They are made every single morning and offered as a gift to the Gods. Pay attention to them, while the incense is still burning don’t step on them and don’t kick them, because the “sari” or essence is still rising to heaven. When the incense is out, the “canang” returns and the offering becomes an earthly object ready to be thrown away the next day and replaced by a new one.
5. Balinese traditions and holidays will be one of the best things you might experience during your stay. Do some research to understand what is exactly going on and respect the special regulations during the holidays.
6. Learn how to connect to the nature. Appreciate the hot summer days, cool off in the pouring rain, value the sweet fruits growing on the trees and get used to animals, because whether you want it or not, your new friends will be treeshrews, geckos and monkeys of the wild.
7. Speaking of monkeys, they are cute and funny, especially the babies, but be careful, they can become quite aggressive in a minute! Don’t go too close to the babies and don’t even think about touching them, otherwise you will get into serious trouble with the much more bigger mama and papa monkeys. Also, don’t forget to take care of your belongings, because these guys like sunglasses and phones as well.
8. Never visit a sacred place when you are on your period. You will find signs outside of temples restricting women from entering the sacred places during their period. Don’t be surprised if someone will ask you about your menstruation status at the gate of a temple. They say that the spiritual world is divided into low, middle and upper realms. Blood, sexuality, birth, chaos and wild being part of the low realm does not belong to the upper realm of the Goddesses and Gods.
9. Cheap doesn’t mean less good when it comes to eating out in Bali. Warungs are family owned and operated restaurants and they serve just as tasty food as the fancy places.
10. If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, Ubud is the best place to visit in order to have an outstanding culinary experience. Even for meat eaters like us trying the raw and vegan food in Bali is absolutely amazing. This is the place where it is truly tempting to order some tofu or vegetables instead of choosing to eat chicken or any other meat.
On this Thursday, the 7th of March the Balinese people will celebrate the new year, NYEPI, also called the Day of Silence. This means that a new article on this topic is coming soon, so don’t forget to subscribe and follow us to find out more about the beautiful traditions of these amazing people!