I hope the boys from Bubu Racok Homestay don’t mind me using this image of them below from my recent trip to Bali.The photo basically sums up what I felt the whole time I was staying at this beautiful homestay. Connection.
I contemplated the power of connection a lot during my week in the little village of Amed, far on the north east coast of Bali. Amed is far from the bars, the lights, the messy Australians found in the south. A simple seaside town, open to tourism but still retaining traditional life. Sure, I noticed the bad points. The poverty, the rubbish on the road, the lack of infrastructure, the kids out of school. But I also I noticed the smiles.
Most of all, I noticed the smiles.
I wondered, are the Balinese really this happy with the little material possessions they have?
The answer is yes, I think, because of connection, not only to each other, but to a purpose. I watched Wayan and his family in awe during my week, at the end of which, I felt like part of their family. I almost howled when I left. I watched how they worked together and helped each other out for the united aim of being the best homestay in Amed, and in my opinion it is. Not because of the rooms, or the air-con, or the banana pancake, which is ACTUALLY the best. But because of the feeling you get when you are there. I watched as everyone worked together to solve problems and tasks. Sons and their girlfriends, cousins and friends. Nothing was too much for anybody. From cleaning to driving, to cooking, to helping fix a broken seat, to coming together in the evening to BBQ for their guests.
Between busy times, I would watch the family sit together, and just talk. Or sit, and just be together. I can’t remember the last time I sat with my husband, just in each others company. Without Netflix, without talking about bills, the cats, this DVA claim looming over or heads….the list goes on.
It rubbed off on me and I found myself talking to strangers during the week, connecting in the sunset, having real conversations.
The deep kind. I did not watch a single show or movie in ten days.
Something else that struck me was the connection to the spirit. It is something that you see everyday. It is not talked about, it is not pushed on people. It is lived. It is life. The week I was in Bali there was a series of festivals, people would return to their villages, for days of offering and thanking the Gods. Small baskets of flowers, rice and incense are put in front of people’s homes and businesses three times a day, every day. You will see them all throughout Bali on your travels, during festival time or not. This is a ritual based on thanks, and expressing gratitude, rather than on fear. The freediving team even held a ceremony to make sure that we are all safe in the oceans and to express gratitude for their business.
How amazing is that?
I can’t help but notice, back sitting in my cubicle, surrounded by people, how alone I feel.
Most of the time, I am surrounded by people. Sometimes, I’m actually squashed, whether it be on the bus or in the coffee shop.
But at the same time, I feel like we are all so alone. Together but disconnected.
Have we got it wrong?