My Korea goodbye was a blur. I remember it including many hugs and tears. There was a sickening (Never!) amount of barbecue. Lots of norebang. Some soju. Many cards and promises of reunions. Then there was some last minute shopping and apartment cleaning. Of course there was little sleep involved. I packed and cleaned well into the night and then all of a sudden my plane was lifting its last wheel off the tarmac and just like that Korea and I separated for good.
I made my way to Bali with a layover in Shanghai, and as my cab driver drove me from the airport to my hotel in Ubud at 7am I struggled to keep my eyes open and nod at his questions about my hometown of Boston, MA. Upon my arrival to the majestic Ubud Aura my bags were swept up and deposited in my new room along with a fresh glass of juice garnished with an icy slice of cucumber. I stood in my room with glazed and tired eyes, a heavy heart full of fresh goodbyes, and a necessary itch to get 'adventuring'. Although my plane had just landed a mere two hours before, my mind was already calculating the remaining time I had left in Bali along with the list of things I must do, see, taste, buy and try. But then I lay down to 'test' the mattress and was asleep in seconds. And my list would have to wait.
When I awoke my body seemed to have adjusted to 'island time'. I only slept for two hours, but that time allowed my body to rejuvenate and my mind to relax. I enjoyed a delicious breakfast poolside and checked-in with family and friends to let them know I had arrived safely in BALI!!
As I eased into my first day of post-Korea vacation I remembered an article I read a few months back titled Why You Should Practice Regret-Free Travel. And in that moment I decided to stop calculating my remaining Bali time and go about MY well-deserved vacation a bit differently. Stephanie Spitler wrote in this article about famously skipping The Louvre in Paris or Buckingham Palace in London because, "Remember, (in travel, as in life) be true to yourself. Spend your travel time exactly how you want to, with no apologies, no excuses and no regrets."
So I switched it up. I decided to stay in Ubud, the artistic and culturally rich hub of Bali, for my entire trip. Instead of lugging my Korea bags from car to hotel to car, I unpacked my clothes and spread my cosmetics onto the massive bathroom counter top in my room. I remembered why I had decided to visit Bali:
1) To do tons of yoga at The Yoga Barn
2) To experience the Balinese culture
3) To relax before heading home to job search and experience reverse culture-shock
So I did Bali slowly and with no regrets. There is such a thing as 'slow travel'. Slow travel is meant to give you the opportunity to become part of a local life and to connect to a place and its people. I let myself relax, unwind, and then soak in Ubud one day at a time. I wandered the streets of Ubud and meandered into cafes and small boutiques. I read for hours sometimes while taking breaks to people watch in cafes. I went on a bike tour with a local tour guide and then followed him up a volcanic mountain a few days later for a sunrise trek. I friended monkeys in Ubud's famous Monkey Forest and watched a traditional Balinese dance show. I lounged by the pool and I didn't allow myself to feel guilty about it. I was in Ubud for 12 days but I didn't jam pack my days with plans. I did a few things I absolutely wanted to do and spent the rest of my time doing yoga and truly relaxing.
My trip was a success because following Bali I traveled for 24+ straight hours and my family commented when I landed in Boston that I seemed 'calm and rested'. Nicely done, Devan. Now on to the next adventure: Find Devan a job. And if I get stressed I will remind myself of the postures, the people, and the pool.
Devan Meserve, a New Hampshire native and St. Lawrence University alum, decided that after two successful post college years living and working in Boston she was primed for exploration beyond the East Coast. With encouragement from friends and family and Aclipse’s expert advice she landed an instructor position with Chungdahm April English. Devan is loving life in Uijeongbu: she is continuously impressed and entertained by her young students and spends her free time following Anthony Bourdain’s advice, “I’m a big believer in improvising and getting lost.”
Check out her blog!