With much contemplation, I have decided to end my journey abroad next week. I have loved every moment of my travels, but there are several reasons for me to return home sooner rather than later. Between the less than ideal accommodations in Ubud (rats, little space, bad bed), administration conflicts at the school (restructuring and a difficult new addition to the staff), my health (stomach and lethargy), and excitement about what awaits me at home, I decided to rebook my flight back for the 30th. As my mother said, “if Bali is not the icing on the cake, then it’s time to go home.”
Ubud is a great city, but quite Westernized, much more so than I’d anticipated. I wish I lived a bit more outside the hubbub and Polo stores. This weekend Kara and I are taking a trip to Nusa Lembongan, an island on the southern end of Bali. It is supposed to be fairly remote and calm, with great walking and biking, snorkeling, diving, etc. I am excited to have that retreat as my final stop. I do wish I could have done a bit more travel on the island, I wanted to go to Munduk, but there are places in each country I wish I’d visited: Railay Beach in Thailand, Northern Laos and 4,000 Islands, Koh Totang and Koh Kong in Cambodia, Sapa in Vietnam. It just leaves a reason to return!
If I could do anything now, I think I would return to Thailand and Laos. I would love to see more of each country, but I just don’t have the stamina for it. Today I am feeling a bit better, but yesterday I just slept for the majority of the day. Perhaps I can return in a few years with a friend or boyfriend. I watched so many couples and friends throughout my trip traveling together and sharing their experiences. I would love to have someone with me when I return to Thailand and Laos. It would add a whole new element to the journey. Any volunteers? 🙂
You would think my curiosity would be satiated, but far from it. I feel like I’ve discovered a whole new world that still has so much to explore and experience. I just know which parts speak to me most now.
I go home with so many wonderful memories of places I have been and people I have met. I can’t believe that it was all done in only 10 weeks! I feel like I accomplished all I hoped to on this trip. I met people from all over the world, learned about Buddhism and observed Buddhist life in and out of the monastery, I meditated with a monk and learned Thai cooking. I hiked through Northern Thailand and met the Karen hill tribe. I made it to Laos and saw the rural lifestyle and bustling, beautiful city of Luang Prabang. I was able to celebrate Songkran in Laos and Thailand. I saw the temples of Angkor Wat with my father and the beaches with Emma and her Cambodian crew. I met Carolyn and Joy in Cambodia and their friendships sustained me through all of Vietnam: the Mekong, Saigon, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi and Halong Bay. And now I’ve seen a Hindu culture and partook in a Hindu cremation ceremony, plus visited a city where art sustains life.
I made such wonderful friends at my home in Thailand, I feel lucky and blessed to have been able to live with such a wonderful group of people, and even luckier that I’ve been able to continue seeing them on my trip: Emma in Cambodia, Cyra in the airport in Vietnam!, Kara in Cambodia and now in Bali. Plus, we had just about the cutest kids in the world to teach, with so much personality and love. So lucky.
I go to Slukat one more time today, just to help out and hang with the kids, who are very cute. The school is a half hour outside of Ubud in a serene area of rice fields; it’s nice to just escape the city for a bit and play. Then Friday, off to Nusa Lembongan and Monday to the airport!
Terima Kasih! On to the next adventure.