It all started with two words: why not? That rhetorical question gave me my solitary adventure in Bali November of last year. My cousin just came from the island from her backpacking trip-around-the world and she had nothing but praises for the renowned tourist attraction. She said it would do me wonders to travel alone and just let myself be in the ‘Island of the Gods’. I have always travelled with family and friends and deciding to forge ahead by myself suddenly gave me an unexpected thrill. I had money to spare, time on my hands, and a resolve to know myself better, so why not?
Thus began my most cherished season to find courage within me and beauty around me. Admittedly, the allure of this Indonesian tropical paradise has been enhanced with Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling memoir (adapted into a film starring Julia Roberts), Eat Pray Love. But as I would find out, the charm of Bali is not only due to its breathtaking sunset beaches, mystical temples, and spa clubs; its real staying power is that it offers tourists and locals alike with so much more than meets the eye.
There’s a certain sense of romance and freedom to the notion of travelling alone. Having an open schedule meant expanding my travel plans and taking up suggestions from other fellow tourists. Even changes in the weather were welcomed with open arms. One morning saw me staying in because of the sudden rain, which later on gave me the perfect opportunity to finish reading the book I brought with me to this trip. Other days, I was just compelled to go out with the sun beating down happily and calling everybody to just frolic by the ocean waves. Those are my favourite times.
Living up to its name, Dreamland beach on the Bukit peninsula of Bali is every bit a stretch of paradise treat for the senses. Visitors are simply intoxicated with its stunning scenery of vivid sky and sea colors, pleasant temperate waters, and a lovely tranquil aura that is hard to miss. For the sunny day I was there, the season was definitely alive in that pocket of a dream that it was almost a sensory overload. Sitting there on the powdery sand and watching the tides move in and out of the ocean to sometimes kiss my bare feet, I am reminded that as inevitable as seasons have beginnings and endings, certain life experiences must also start and end. “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” so stated in Ecclesiastes 3. For me, my time in Bali was my season to wander, to grow, to appreciate, and finally to embrace all moments with enthusiasm and expectation.
Though beautiful life moments like this may be but fleeting, it is through my writing and reliving this scene that I gladden my soul and heart. Asking yourself ‘Why not?’ could lead you to an unexpected adventure, just like what happened to me. It also opens up another rhetorical question begging to be answered: ‘What have you got to lose?’ And usually the answer is ‘Nothing, but everything to be gained.’ It is my sincere hope that as we change with the seasons, we would always remember that every ending assumes the promise of new beginnings. It does so predictably.
Words by Evita Limlengco
Photos by Franz Navarrete