When you travel, no matter how far you go, you always have to deal with a different culture. A different mentality, a different life-style, different food, different people all together. Not better, not worse, simply different. How you adapt to the “difference”, is the key to succes while travelling.
Now I’m in Bali at the moment, living in Legian, Kuta and adapting here is a piece of cake. The over-crowded South Bali is totally focussed on tourism and western people. Almost everybody speaks English, no matter what kind of food you want, there will be a restaurant selling that food, big shopping malls and of course endless amounts of hotels.
However, the most amazing part about Bali is their culture. Everywhere you go, you can see, feel, hear and smell their culture. From little offerings everywhere, to people fully dressed in their traditional outfit on motorbikes. Adapting to the difference, is actually discovering just how much you want to get involved in the local culture.
I work in an office with mostly Balinese people. Every morning I enter the office, the smell of incense in the fresh offerings welcomes me. I was invited to go to one of the biggest ceremonies in Bali and of course had to dress in the traditional kebaya and sarong (photo!). I eat at local warungs and drive a motorbike. I ask locals questions about their ceremonies, beliefs and way of living. To balance it out, I love to go to expat cafés, order a caffe latte, and watch the people pass by. I go to big shopping malls just for a stroll and some shopping. For lunch I sometimes bring a sandwich and I go to restaurants where they serve western food for dinner. I visit places and act like a tourist, taking photo’s of everything I see, although I’ve been there many times.
Everybody is different, and everybody finds their own balance. It just takes time. Allow yourself a bit of time to find your own balance. You don’t have to live like a local every day, allow yourself some western habits from time to time. I have found my balance, what is yours?