A changing perception of time

NL84 Bali Inn The Brilliant Beast Blog

Flying, diving, hiking, eating, eating, and more eating in Jakarta and Manado. What a whirlwind of experiences! After the flurry of fun with family, we moved on to Bali.

The vacuum of quiet was a bit overwhelming at first. We were really on our own. No family with us, foreign surroundings, and a stretch of time ahead to do with as we pleased. It was exciting, and it was what we wanted. But I felt a lot of weight on my shoulders. It was up to us now to determine what to do, and how long it should take. Strange how that can actually feel like pressure.

Aside from the initial stall, it was nice to just enjoy the day to day. It’s surprisingly hard to do, though. After eating breakfast and making coffee one morning, I didn’t know what was next. We had no activities planned, no meals to take care of, no one to meet. I felt a bit tired so I just sat in the cool air-conditioned bungalow. When I got bored of that I moved outside into the humid afternoon and sat there. I read from my book, I wrote in my journal, and sipped on my coffee. I allowed myself to get bored, and then to go beyond that. Every time I felt bored, though, I remembered the great tropical fauna and flora that surrounded us.

Trees reach up and out with leaves bigger than my body. When the rain pours over them, the collective pattering is both thunderous and soothing. The sun shines very bright in the morning, flinging straight up above the horizon. Chirps, coos, and cackles from an endless variety of birds fill the warm, breezy air from every possible angle and distance. Roosters crow from dawn until dusk. Geckos burp from the ceilings at night. Motorcycles hum past on the street. Children’s laughs and shouts have a charming hoarseness. It comes from growing up playing outdoors.

Long term travel is a huge playground to exercise a different perspective of time. I practiced taking my time back home. I exercised full immersion in things like walks to the park. The different textures of the sidewalk squares, new flowers on trees and bushes, bugs and birds and lizards that crossed my path or caught my eye. Everything, even in my own neighborhood, day after day, could be interesting and of the utmost importance for at least a moment. I created immortal moments by giving myself to these little things with no reservation. I tuned in to eternal moments by allowing everything to soak into me. It was great practice for this open-ended travel adventure.

No matter how long a traveler is in a place, there’s never a completion point. And on the other hand, there’s no point in thinking that one’s experience is ever incomplete. It simply is what it is. There’s no way and no reason to do it all, and what transpires, no matter how great or small, is the essence of life. Time slows when things are appreciated. And when time slows, life becomes more dense.

Yesterday we moved to a different inn because we couldn’t negotiate a more reasonable price with the owner. We wanted to stay longer since it was such a nice place, but we also wanted to try something new. So we said our goodbyes and moved on to a cheaper, but still very decent, abode. Had we been time starved, though, we might have panicked and either paid the higher price to stay or decided to leave Bali sooner than we really wanted. I don’t think we’re quite ready to hit the hostels.

Walking on a daily basis in Bali has been great. We’ll soon be ready to do some more exploring, but it’s been decompressing to just stay local for several days.

Live powerfully,

Steve

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