Eat, Pray, Love: Bali Prophecies

Right around the time that I lived in Indonesia, Eat, Pray, Love was taking off. Lets face it, what woman wasn’t dreaming of gallivanting off to Italy for the fine Italian…pasta…and seeking sanctuary and relaxation in India and Bali. Liz Gilbert was our idol, and in her honor, we visited THE Wayan—the actual traditional healer from the book—in Ubud.   Pictures of Julia Roberts and Elizabeth Gilbert cheered us on as Wayan grabbed our hands, pinched our cheeks, rubbed cream on our faces, made us swallow vitamins, and examined us from top to bottom: Wayan: You like sweets and eat too many. You need to stop. Your blood is dirty. You are a 5th generation reincarnation. You dated a man for 3.5 years and had two jobs. Me: [Stunned silence. That first and last sentences were definitely true] Yes, ma’am. Wayan: You have too much acid in your stomach. You…

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Visiting Tanah Lot in Bali, Indonesia

Traveling whispers unintentional commentary on humanity—which might explain why I am such a people watcher. Sidewalk cafes feed my imagination and more tourist destinations read like one giant live Facebook feed. Bali is no exception. Tanah Lot is beautiful and crowded. It is steamy hot from the equatorial sun yet cool and misty from the ocean breeze. Men pedaling pictures with giant snakes greet visitors as couples casually soak in views from strategically placed benches. Young girls with big hats and flowing dresses work tirelessly on their Instagram selfies and videos, backs turned to the views, while dreamers and poets silently ask the clouds and sea for inspiration. The tide restricts access like a snobby bouncer, causing longer cliff-side lingering, and low tide grants exclusive and pushy access. A juxtaposition of natural beauty and tourism, inspiration and chaos. Indonesia is a series contradictions just like America, which makes it uniquely…

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Not just a tourist: Traveling to Indonesia

As noted in earlier posts, from 2009-2010, I lived in Depok, Indonesia as a United States Fubright Fellow.  This past February, after eight years of being away, I decided to make the long return back to visit with my husband.  I wanted him to see the land that shaped my life and I longed to see old friends and adopted family members.  We designed the majority of the trip as a social visit but we also decided to spend some downtime in Bali.  Although exhausted from the two-day journey over, the first week of our trip flew by with drinks out at my favorite Jakarta haunts, rambutan-filled car rides, late nights with Jakarta-based friends, and visiting my Indo family.  In Bali, one of my best Depok friends met up with us, and we had a whirlwind 2.5 days spying temples and monkeys, attending a Fire Dance, and drinking coconuts at…

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